Over two hundred London black cabs that have been mothballed in fields in Essex may need to find a new location after council rules they are an eye-sore.
North London-based rental company GB Taxi Services has seen the occupation rate of its fleet of 100 black cabs plummet from 95% before the coronavirus pandemic to just 10%, despite halving its fees to encourage drivers to hold on to their vehicles.
It is one of two firms using an area of farmland in Epping Forest, Essex, to store around 220 unwanted taxis so they can stop paying to insure them.
But the plan backfired when intruders stole catalytic converters and diesel particulate filters from around 50 of them.
Simon Georgiou, a director at GB Taxi Services, said: “We got our knees taken away with COVID and loads of vehicles getting handed back. Then this theft happens, which cost in excess of £120,000. We’re in a right mess.”
However a parish council has signalled its opposition to allow the taxis to continue to be store on the green belt land.
Members of North Weald Parish Council unanimously expressed their dissatisfaction of the use of land at Weald Park Farm in Thornwood.
GB Taxi Services had submitted a retrospective planning application to Epping Forest District Council which confirms the company has 212 vehicles on the land.
However the parish council was told the vehicles have been on the site since April last year.
Speaking at the meeting, Councillor Terry Blanks said: “This is a totally inappropriate use of a farm, it’s more like a field than a farm.
“There are 200 older taxis parked there already. They started off (parked) relatively neat; some are clearly being repaired. This is not a place to park old cabs.”
Councillor Sheila Jackman called on the parish council to lodge a “strong” objection”, saying they (the taxis) have already been there for a year. They’ve been breaking the regulations.
“If it was to be given permission it’s effectively giving permission for two years and I really don’t think that’s on.”