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Faversham: Reeves Taxi owner says Kent County Councillor risking safety of their customers

By Bess Browning

Faversham’s county councillor has barred a taxi firm from parking outside its office, which has resulted in the elderly, disabled and parents with prams have to wait in the road.

For the last 17 years Reeves Taxis owner Antony Pout has allowed his less able customers to sit and wait in the office, just off of Preston Street, before they are picked up from the door.

But he now fears for their safety after Cllr Tom Gates (Con), who owns the site, decided to ban the cabbies from driving into the yard and force them to pick up on the busy street.

Tony Pout at the entrance to Reeves Taxi's.

Tony Pout at the entrance to Reeves Taxi's.

Mr Pout admits that the original tenancy agreement, written in hand on a piece of paper, did say that no taxis could drop off or pick up in the car park, but Cllr Gates has never enforced this in the last 17 years.

Mr Pout said: “For the last 17 years he has always been happy for us to park there.

“There has been a disagreement about who should pay for a new waterpipe for the building, and since then, he’s clearly had a bee in his bonnet and it is only in the last two weeks that he has decided to enforce this condition.

“I now have to send old people and disabled people to stand at the end of Preston Street to wait for a taxi and I do not feel happy about it.

“It’s particularly dangerous at the moment because of the roadworks and traffic lights, but even without them, it’s not safe.”

Mr Pout says his customers are confused and dismayed by the change of heart.

Reeves Taxis is the only Faversham firm to have an office in the town centre.

Kent County councillor Tom Gates.

Kent County councillor Tom Gates.

Mr Pout said: “I have people in their 90s coming in here and they sit and wait in the office before the taxi picks them up from the door, and that has always been the way, but now we can’t do that. We have been here since February 2000 and we have always kept to our end of the bargain and never had any issues.

“I would not be worried about most people standing at the end of the road, but I am certainly not happy to let a 90-year-old or a woman with a buggy stand there and be at risk.”

Cllr Gates said: “When Reeves Taxis took on the tenancy, it was pointed out that the lease was for the offices and parking space for one car only and that taxis dropping off or picking up could not be accommodated.

“Congestion in the car park, already quite bad, would not allow this to be done with any degree of safety.

“This was written in to the lease that was signed by both parties.

“Pick-ups and drop–offs have been occurring occasionally, I know, but this has increased lately.

“I have therefore had to enforce the terms of the lease as there was a danger to pedestrians with the extra traffic this engendered and also huge inconvenience to others who pay for parking spaces there.

“I agree it is a regrettable situation and it might be that the premises are no longer suitable for a taxi business. I would understand if this is the case.”

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