Row over running event on taxi rank

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A Sutton taxi drivers’ representative has questioned why a young people’s athletic event needed to be held on the town’s taxi rank.

Hundreds of young runners took part in Linford Christie’s Street Athletics event on Fox Street on Saturday.

But branch secretary of the Ashfield branch of the National Taxi Association, Nigel Marchant said: “Whoever at the council decided to close the taxi rank on Fox Street on one of the busiest days of the week seriously needs to take a look at themselves and the salary they draw at the end of the month.

“What was wrong with using Sutton Lawn Pleasure Grounds?

“It costs hundreds of thousands of pounds each year to maintain the Lawn Pleasure Grounds for activities like this yet on Saturday the lawn was empty.

“People including OAPs were coming out of ASDA with shopping to find the taxi rank transformed into a relay track for the day complete with bunting and Linford Christie. How much did all of this cost?

“Aren’t we supposed to be in austerity and saving money instead of paying for road closures and employing security personnel on time and a half for working a Saturday?”

He said Ashfield District Council took over £70,000 per year from the taxi trade but treated them like “Third World citizens.”

ADC service director Trevor Watson said: “We are sorry that Mr Marchant feels that the delivery of the taxi service from Fox Street was not fulfilled for one day.

“The event, which brought Linford Christie to the streets of Sutton was to promote health and wellbeing and to engage local children in sporting activities with a well known Olympic athlete. The taxi drivers were consulted in advance and alternative arrangements were made and therefore had no issue with the one day event.”