Council to look at reversing Kettering street's daytime taxi ban

It's been described as a 'victory for the most vulnerable in our community'

Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 3:59 pm

Council bosses are looking at calls to revert to letting taxis use a Kettering town centre street 24 hours a day.

For a number of years Newland Street, used by many as a rat-run, has been a pedestrian zone with buses and taxis allowed to travel through it at all hours.

But since August new rules and signs have been in place, warning taxi drivers they are now only permitted to drive through it between the hours of 8pm and 8am, in a bid to address air pollution and congestion at a nearby junction.

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Newland Street, Kettering.

Labour councillors have argued that the move is 'too extreme' and called for it to be reversed, saying that it penalises disabled shoppers as they can't be picked up from or dropped off at popular stores including Wilko and Iceland.

And North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) has confirmed that they will be considering proposals to let taxis use the street at all hours after a Kettering Town Council meeting discussion.

A spokesman for NNC said: “We have been approached by Kettering Town Council with a suggestion for some changes to be made to the recently implemented highways works in Newland Street, Kettering.

“The restriction of vehicles accessing Newland Street was implemented as a safety improvement as the route had been used as a rat-run.

“Proposals for the rejuvenation of Newland Street had been prepared over a number of years with the aim of improving access for cyclists and pedestrians.

“The town council proposals will now be considered with our executive member and local councillors to see if they can be implemented whilst maintaining the overarching purpose of the original scheme.”

An email sent by NNC's assistant director of highways Graeme Kane, seen by the Northants Telegraph, said he was looking into how, and when, they might be able to enable Hackney carriages to access Newland Street 24 hours a day.

Cllr Clark Mitchell (Lab, Avondale Grange), said: "This is a victory for the most vulnerable of our community and shows the strength the town council has when it speaks with one voice."