TAXIS could be banned from parking in a town centre.
Calderdale Council is considering the radical plan to encourage shoppers into Brighouse.
Clr Colin Stout, who represents the town, supports the move to help town centre traders.
The independent councillor said: “We have eight private operators in Brighouse running 150 cabs, most of which are parked in the town centre and taking up all the on-street parking. It’s not acceptable, it’s choking off the town completely.
“If shoppers come in to Brighouse and can’t find a parking space they are going to go somewhere else.”
Clr Stout added that shopkeepers in Brighouse needed help.
“We have to increase the footfall into the town centre because a lot of traders have said that if trade doesn’t pick up this Christmas they will have to close,’’ he said.
“We will end up with a ghost town full of taxis.”
Clr Stout and his two fellow Brighouse councillors have asked Calderdale’s Cabinet to ban taxis from parking on Bethel Street, Commercial Street and Market Street during the day.
Clr Stout added: “We’ve been in touch with the Department of Transport in London to see what can be done. They told us that the council has the power to put up signs banning taxis from parking between set times.
“We want it to be between 9am and 6pm to give shoppers a chance to get in and out of the town. I think the council has got to go for this.”
Calderdale’s Cabinet will consider the plan on Monday.
But Mohammed Iqbal, owner of Wood’s Taxis on Market Street, said the cabs provided a valuable service.
He said: “Disabled people use our taxis to get to the shops and pay us to wait for them. We wouldn’t be able to do that if we’re banned from parking. We’d have to tell the disabled person ‘sorry, we’ll have to leave you here’.”
Mr Iqbal added that his drivers needed to park in the town centre because they used the taxi office’s prayer room.
He said: “We have a special room set aside where our drivers can pray three times a day during their shift.
“The council needs to come up with something better than this.”
Mr Iqbal, whose company employs 25 drivers, pointed out that taxi drivers were not the only people parking in town centre.
He said: “All the shopkeepers park outside their shops – they are part of the problem.”
Mr Iqbal added: “The problem would be over if the council brought in pay parking.”