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Don't turn Tendring's taxicabs into Noddy cars!
TAXI drivers are fighting council plans to force them to give their cabs a two-tone colour scheme they say will make them resemble “Noddy cars”.
Cabbies are locked in a dispute with Tendring Council over proposals to give all the district’s taxis a white and green paint job, topped off with the council’s crest.
Taxi drivers claim it would slash the value of their vehicles and make them hard to sell when they needed to replace them.
Earlier this year, the council agreed the plan – aimed at making legitimate Hackney carriage licensed cabs instantly recognisable to customers.
Drivers have lodged an appeal in the courts via the National Private Hire Association. A hearing is due on October 26.
John Hones, chairman of Tendring District Taxi Association, said cabbies had suggested an alternative silver colour scheme which would overcome their objections.
He explained: “We don’t want them to look like Noddy cars. Some of the 300 taxis in Tendring are owned by firms, but most are owned by individual drivers.
“That means they are not just a working vehicle, but one used to drive the family around and go on holiday. “If you take off the top light and the licence plate, it becomes a private car, but if it’s green and white, it will look like a joke.”
Cabbies think they have a good chance of overturning the ruling, after the success of a similar appeal against a Durham County Council proposal.
A recent report to councillors on the issue by Tendring Council officials explained: “There are many good reasons for raising the standards for taxis, apart from providing a boost to the tourist economy.
“Good-standard taxis can act as a flagship from Tendring when visiting other areas, airports and towns, and they can also encourage the elderly and vulnerable to go out more.”
However, the report goes on to warn defending the policy in court could prove costly for the council.
Drivers were originally told the new paint schemes would apply from October 1. All vehicles newly registered with the council would have to be white, with a green bonnet and boot – and less than five years old.
Existing cabs would be allowed to stay on the road until they were ten years old and they would not need to be repainted.
The council’s licensing committee will decide on Friday whether to push ahead with the original plan, or re-open talks with drivers.