SCRAPPING taxi zones across Shropshire has been delayed after some drivers said they would lose out.

Shropshire Council wants to create a single licensing regime for hackney carriages which would allow drivers to work across the county and not be restricted to their zone.

It had hoped to introduce the change from April 1, 2019.

But taxi drivers in zone four – Shrewsbury and Atcham – said they would be at an economic disadvantaged as they already have to have wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

All hackney carriages across Shropshire will have to be wheelchair-accessible from April 2021 with those who chose not to being offered the opportunity to continue trading as private hire operators.

Mandy Beever, transactional and licensing team manager, told the Strategic Licensing Committee: “In response to this we are looking at postponing the implementation to April 1, 2021.

“This would allow us to notify all existing hackney carriage operators that they will be subject to that and they have got two years to get their vehicles up to that (wheelchair-accessible) standard.”

Councillor Simon Jones, for Shawbury, said it was a “very sensible suggestion” from taxi drivers in Shrewsbury.

Licensing across Shropshire is currently based on the former borough council areas of South Shropshire District Council, North Shropshire District Council, Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council, Oswestry Borough Council and Bridgnorth District Council.

The initial 10-week consultation which ran from June to September saw just 16 responses with 80 per cent of those in favour of a countywide regime.

Ms Beever said because of the changes there will need to be another four-week which will begin on Monday (DEL OCT 8) after councillors gave their approval.

It will then come before committee in November, before going before Cabinet at the start of 2019.

Councillor Paul Milner, for Oswestry South, added: “This is important.

“It is hard enough for people who use wheelchairs to get taxis as it is and it is important that we follow this through.”