Taxi firm asks why it should pay rent on Langney rank

Taxi drivers who are still in business but affected by the closure of the Langney Shopping Centre. March 27th 2013 E13165P' (L to R): Clive Connell, Gary Young and Steve Parks

Taxi drivers who are still in business but affected by the closure of the Langney Shopping Centre. March 27th 2013 E13165P' (L to R): Clive Connell, Gary Young and Steve Parks

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The taxi firm with the contract to ferry shoppers to and from Langney Shopping Centre is being charged rent, despite the closure.

Dave Hopkins, company secretary of 720Taxis, explained the firm has a lease on the rank outside the shopping centre and pays its rent quarterly. Taxi work from Langney Shopping Centre has been nonexistent since it closed in December - yet the owners are still demanding rent.

He said, “The shopping centre’s roof caved in on December 20 and our standing order went out on December 21.

“On March 24 we got our next bill for payment up to June.”

Mr Hopkins wrote to LAMS and said he would not be paying the March bill and wanted to be credited for the payment taken out in March.

He received a letter back from LAMS saying he still owed the money.

Mr Hopkins said, “Langney Shopping Centre was one of our main areas for customers.

“There were quite a few drivers who used that taxi rank to make their living.

“That business has completely gone.”

He added, “I don’t blame LAMS because it is the agent, but the owners have got to be fairer.”

Langney councillor Alan Shuttleworth said he was ‘outraged’ to hear about the situation with the taxi rank and he ‘backed Mr Hopkins 100 per cent’.

Mr Hopkins and the team at 720 Taxis are not alone with being charged rent. Traders inside the collapsed building have also been charged rent.

Mr Hopkins said, “Small businesses will go out of business if they haven’t already.

“The shopping centre will die if they don’t do something to help the people.”