'Substantial' number of missed consultations sees North Northants taxi 'de-zoning' meeting cancelled

The meeting was to discuss the findings of a public consultation
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A crunch meeting to discuss the de-zoning of local hackney cab services has had to be abandoned after consultation documents were found to have been missed out of the report due to be heard.

But no sooner as councillors on the North Northants Council Licensing and Appeals Committee and members of the public gathered to hear findings of the report, the meeting closed.

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Dozens had gathered to hear the findings of a 12-week consultation on proposals to ‘de-zone’ the area, a move that could see the four legacy boroughs brought under the same rules.

Hackney carriages in George Street, Corby/National WorldHackney carriages in George Street, Corby/National World
Hackney carriages in George Street, Corby/National World

It means cabbies would only need to get one licence to operate, rather than four separate licences, but that they would have to sit a ‘knowledge’ test for the whole of North Northamptonshire.

Cllr Jonathan Ekins (Con, Finedon), committee chairman, said: “Unfortunately it’s come to our attention later this afternoon that a number of consultation responses filed by members of the public and the hackney carriage trade have not been included in the report as published.

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“To ensure that proper consideration is given to all responses, I have decided as chair that this meeting cannot go ahead.”

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A legal representative said: “It is an unfortunate position the committee finds itself in this evening. The absence of the responses presents a significant risk that any decision made without the opportunity to give them due consideration would likely be subject to challenge. The prospects to the success of a challenge would be ‘highly likely’.”

Cllr Ekins described the amount of consultees missed off as a ‘substantial number’ covering a broad range and the meeting would have to be cancelled to allow a new report to be written and so people could be ‘fairly heard’.

He added there had been ‘an error on a spreadsheet’ that had led to the comments being missed.

Results of the consultation had showed 94 per cent of responses were against the proposal.

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Cllr Lyn Buckingham (Lab, Lloyds) said: “We need to know why this has happened, it’s really disappointing and unacceptable.”

The new meeting will now be held on Thursday, March 21 at 7pm at Corby Cube

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