Cab inspector ‘struck off list’ by West Norfolk Council

New Taxi Rank within Sainsbury's Town Centre Car Park King's Lynn
LtoR, Clare Ward (Silena Automotive), John Stevens (Taxi Driver), Simon Nash (Silena Automotive), Jason Smith (Taxi Driver) ANL-150731-151846009
New Taxi Rank within Sainsbury's Town Centre Car Park King's Lynn LtoR, Clare Ward (Silena Automotive), John Stevens (Taxi Driver), Simon Nash (Silena Automotive), Jason Smith (Taxi Driver) ANL-150731-151846009

Simon Nash, owner of Silena Automotive

West Norfolk Council has taken the action against Silena Automotive following an 18-month saga with its proprietor Simon Nash.

The Setch-based business was one of only five garages in the borough approved by the council for tests in respect of hackney carriage and private hire vehicle applications.

But last week the authority wrote to drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles saying it would only accept MoT certificates and borough council compliance test certificate from four garages, with immediate effect.

It came after Mr Nash stuck a notice in the window of his business stating that council officers and members would be refused access to the premises unless they had been expressly invited to attend or could produce a court warrant.

It also said there would be no conversation or cooperation with council officials unless 24 hours’ notice is provided in writing for Mr Nash’s consideration.

The notice said: “It has been demonstrated on more than one occasion that officers and members of the borough council are prepared to behave dishonestly whilst acting in their official capacity.

“This behaviour will no longer be tolerated.”

It also said Mr Nash would request the attendance of his solicitor or third party witnesses whilst council officers were on site if he deemed it necessary.

His stance came after a dispute between himself and the council escalated last September when the authority banned him from sending any emails to officers, members and staff.

Having received more than 50 emails from him within 11 months, the council blocked any further correspondence from him, saying repeatedly dealing with his emails had “wasted public money” and placed an “unreasonable burden” on officers.

The emails had related to the issuing of taxi penalty points to a local taxi driver who allowed his licensed vehicle to be driven by a mechanic.

Mr Nash believes the issuing of the points was wrong, claiming the council misinterpreted the relevant transport legislation, but the authority said its interpretation, and the issuing of points, was right.

Mr Nash also questioned evidence used in the case and has since accused the council of failing to comply with its own taxi testing codes of practice.

A spokesman for West Norfolk Council said: “Maintaining a positive, productive and co-operative relationship with the owners of garages on our list of approved testing stations for licenced vehicles is imperative.

“In exceptional circumstances, where such a relationship cannot be maintained, the garage would be removed from the approved list.”