Council has ‘ignored’ King’s Lynn taxi rank concerns for a year, driver claims

New Taxi Rank within Sainsbury's Town Centre Car Park King's Lynn ANL-150731-151746009
New Taxi Rank within Sainsbury's Town Centre Car Park King's Lynn ANL-150731-151746009
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Concerns raised a year ago about the siting of a Lynn town centre taxi rank have still not been addressed, a driver has claimed.

A Facebook page has been set up accusing West Norfolk Council of “ignoring” the worries raised about the Vancouver Quarter site, despite acknowledging that action was needed in a report last summer.

But council officials say work on improvements is due to start next month and pollution levels are lower than they were before the rank was moved to its present location.

The taxi rank was moved to its current position from Albion Street to the ground level of the Sainsbury’s car park in the shopping precinct last year, as part of a £1.6 million regeneration of the bus station area.

However, in August 2015, one of the drivers, Jason Smith, claimed their trade had slumped by as much as half following the move.

He said drivers were suffering respiratory problems, headaches, fatigue and depression as a result of pollution from vehicles using the area, which he claimed was inadequately ventilated, while smokers were also congregating there.

He also claimed a lack of signage and anti-social behaviour had also driven customers away.

Mr Smith has now posted a report produced by council officers in August last year on the Facebook page, titled Make the King’s Lynn Taxi Rank a safer place to work and catch a taxi.

It said pollution levels were consistently below those that could be deemed a risk to health, although monitoring would continue.

The report also indicated that work would be undertaken towards a new pedestrian crossing point.

However, Mr Smith says nothing has been done since then and there have been several near misses involving drivers, motorcyclists and pedestrians.

He said yesterday: “Somebody is going to get knocked down on it.”

Mr Smith said the page had been set up to show the “record of neglect” of the council on the issue.

He added: “During the past 12 months several taxi drivers have stopped using the rank altogether as its such an unheathy and depressing place to work.

“But, for some, there is no other option but to suffer it and risk our health on a daily basis.”

However, a council spokeswoman insisted the authority had examined all the comments it had received about the taxi rank.

She said: “We have recently completed a tender process to appoint a contractor to carry out improvements to the decoration in the taxi rank, and work is scheduled to start in September.

“Work to improve the lighting is also planned.

“We continue to monitor air quality at the bus station, and have done additional monitoring at the taxi rank, after concerns about air quality were raised with us.

“The results are freely available on our website, and confirm that there is no impact on human health. In fact, the levels of nitrogen dioxide are lower than before the taxi rank was moved.”