Taxi rank changes approved in South Shields town centre after covid wrecked original plan

Plans to extend the hours of a hackney carriage stand in South Shields to support the hospitality sector have been backed by councillors.

The taxi rank in South Shields town centre.
The taxi rank in South Shields town centre.

South Tyneside Council’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee were given an update on the taxi stand on Keppel Street, which sits near the rear of the town centre’s McDonald’s branch.

The stand was appointed in 2019 as part of the ongoing regeneration of the town centre, and landscaped into the area with paving, trees and shrubbery.

The rank was shaped over the road from the new transport interchange, and created space for nine hackney carriages operating from there between set times.

Operating times will change at the rank.

This included from 11pm to 5am with the space remaining as a loading bay outside of these hours.

But as life changed with Covid-19, South Tyneside Council looked again at the rank.

According to a report presented to councillors this week, the pandemic “never allowed the council to consider the rank in action.”

As the “early evening hospitality sector is now in recovery mode,” the report adds, “it is considered that this rank should now be amended to run from [an] earlier time.”

The taxi rank in South Shields town centre.

Council officers proposed allowing the rank to open between 6pm-5am every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

James Maughan, the council’s operations manager for resilience, presented a report on the proposals at a council meeting on Friday, September 10.

He told councillors that the proposed changes aimed to “support the night-time economy in South Shields” and had been discussed with interested parties to ensure they were suitable.

The council officer went on to say: “The changes have been discussed with representatives from the Hackney Carriage Association and with consideration and consultation with police and colleagues in [the council’s] traffic services.”

To officially change the times for the hackney carriage rank, the council has to go through a legal process including the publication of a public notice and statutory 28-day representation period.

The council’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee backed the plans for the time changes, subject to the results of this process.

Any representations submitted during the consultation will be considered by the same committee at a future date.

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