The number of cabs in Northampton could be capped by the borough council

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Northampton Borough Council is set to cap the number of licensed taxis in Northampton town centre.

Councillors in the area will decide next week if a survey should be undertaken to determine whether there is a sufficient number of licensed hackney carriage vehicles to service the people of the town.

It comes after the Hackney trade association has expressed concern at recent meetings that the town is being steadily flooded with new cabs, diluting their takings.

At a meeting on September 13, it was agreed by the chair of the licensing committee that officers would investigate and put forward an agenda item in respect of this issue.

The licensing committee is set to agree that a specialist consultant company undertakes determine if capping the number of licensed hackney vehicles for Northampton would be reasonable.

Until the introduction of the Transport Act 1985, local authorities had an unrestricted discretion to limit the number of hackney carriages that they could licence.

As no limit on the number of Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licences has since been reintroduced, if a vehicle meets all the required local vehicle conditions, Northampton Borough Council cannot refuse to grant a hackney vehicle licence.

Central Government says restrictions should only apply where there is a clear benefit for the consumer, and that councils should publicly justify their reasons for the retention of restrictions and how decisions on numbers have been reached.

In the event of a challenge to a decision to refuse a hackney carriage licence, Northampton Borough Council would have to establish that it had been satisfied that there was no significant unmet demand.

This is established by way of carrying out an unmet demand survey which will explicitly conclude whether a restriction on numbers of hackney carriages is justified and hence reasonable.

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