Sunday, November 15, 2009

Douglas Street 24 hour taxis - are all bets now off?

Could this empty building become a 24/7 taxi office?

Attention now turns to the former bookies at 44 High Street and the new planning application received by Highland Council. Nairn seems to have no shortage of taxis, in fact the recent advertisement in the Nairnshire asked readers to use local drivers in preference to others. The taxi driver's licence is a Highland wide one and thus a free market exists. Recently there were complaints in Inverness by some taxi drivers who complained that too many licences had been issued in the capital thus making it harder for existing licence holders to earn a living. Sheer economics is obviously making some of them come through to Nairn to look for customers.

Can the residents of Douglas Street now stand down their campaign to stop a taxi office in their patch?


Anonymous said...

It's an interesting one this. A proposal for the use of a High street building that has been empty for some time.

On one would be one less empty building in the town centre (not that the High Street is exactly full of empty buildings) and ,just because there are existing taxi firms, it doesn't mean you can deny the right of someone to start another one.

On the other hand we really want a 24 hour taxi office in such a central location? Given that it looks like the street is to be smartened up, which will inevitably increase interest in the few empty properties, is a business that will at times naturally tend to attract a less than desirable element what you would really hope for in such a prime location?

What chance the lane to the side would just become an open toilet when punters were waiting for a cab? Where would the cars be parked? and the fares picked up.

The people living in an already noisy area really don't deserve a further increase in the amount of disturbance they suffer on a regular basis.

There are places in the town well suited to such ventures - even though it's a ramshackle gaff, the old booking office next to the bus station would be perfect , or how about the former Somerfield petrol station?

I have no idea what controls the council could place on the people applying for this , and , even if they could address most of the concerns, are they ever capable of policing & enforcing them?

Graisg said...

Parking isn't ideal is it? Especially at a point where the High Street narrows. I wonder how far up the street the £800,000 streetscape proposal will come and what this area will look like afterwards. If the normal parking places are to be used what is to stop drivers that are not part of the 24 hour operation parking there anyway?
Are late night punters already well served with the present ad hoc system where local drivers wait further down the street?

Anonymous said...

The streetscape will go from the top of the Brae to the RBS/corner of Leopold Street.

Anonymous said...

I agree with both the comments already made...

First, the High Street itself is primarily a retail zone, with a few other typical high street businesses like estate agents banks and financial advisers, all operating normal hours (9-5). So priority in use of vacant high street premises should in principle be given to other similar retailing businesses. Yes I know there are a couple of pubs/bars, but none has dedicated car-parking.

Services like buses, etc (not to mention a late night chippy/pizza place) are just a few yards away - sensibly and logically located in the town, beside the A96, just by Somerfields, where there is parking space and relatively easy access for cars. This is indeed the logical place for a taxi office, and there are buildings available and needing to be brought back into use.

It makes little sense for the High Street to be "streetscaped" - partly to make it more shopper-friendly - and then to permit taxi operators to set up there, in an area where traffic is already a problem, there is restricted parking, little space for cabs to wait or pick-up, and no suitable areas for customers to wait.

Can we look to the planning authorities to take a sensible view of this?

Graisg said...

re anon @ 9.51 Would you be willing to put your name and a few more details to your complaints?

Anonymous said...

"Given that it looks like the street is to be smartened up, which will inevitably increase interest in the few empty properties, is a business that will at times naturally tend to attract a less than desirable element what you would really hope for in such a prime location?"

There is already a lot of interest in Nairn High Street, for the simple reason that there is a severe shortage of local commercial properties.

The derelict Somerfield-owned properties aren't available, so they are not even an option.

I'm not sure why it's claimed that a taxi office will attract "undesirables" - I would have thought the old folk who are constantly getting taxis in and out of the town for their shopping were welcome customers - and anyone coming out of the pubs late at night would be better shunted off home as quickly as possible, rather than wander around the town and be subjected to temptations for mischief? :)

It's ironic - one of the one hand, people complain about how the high street looks, but when it comes to renovating a dilapidated building, suddenly there's a call to vet any possible normal usage?

Seriously, it's not like anyone's proposing a lap-dancing club for the High Street!

The only real issue is one of parking and congestion, especially with the new Streetscape design in consideration. Will there be room to park a number of taxis, or will parking be too restricted to make it viable? That's the only question really to focus on.


- Brian

Graisg said...

The only real issue Parking? It may turn out so Brian but surely we can't say that at this point. There will be several neighbours (business and folk living in the area) that will be have an opportunity to raise objections if they so wish and they may make important contributions to the debate that will have to be investigated by the planners.

Graisg said...

Sorry anon, not willing to go with that complaint, it needs too much investigation, beyond the time resources of Gurn operations. The easiest way for such an article is Mr So&so claims etc...

Try the local print media and see if they are willing?

Confused said...

Just out of interest, Can you actually hail a cab in Nairn or must you sit in a smelly waiting room first?

Graisg said...

Confused, have you an irrational fear of taxi waiting rooms?

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous Brian 2c." is right that waiting and parking space - especially after streetscaping - is a very important consideration.

But it's not the only one. As someone who is involved in business and commerce, he surely understands that there is a difference between retail activity (ie high street shops) and service-operators such as a taxi office. And there is a very important difference (especially for those living and working in the vicinity) between a 9-5 business and a 24/7 service operator.