A LEEK taxi company is looking to expand its fleet of vehicles by opening a new operations centre on the edge of the town.
Leeklink Taxis has submitted a planning application to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council for a partial change of use of Springbuck House, Leekbrook Way, Leekbrook, into a taxi operations centre with residential accommodation.
A design and access statement, submitted on behalf of the applicant by Andrew Dukesell of DBD Architectural Consultancy of Leek, states that Leeklink Taxi currently has five Hackney cabs and one private hire vehicle. Mr Dukesell said: "Staffordshire Moorlands District Council private hire licensing regulations allow one private hire vehicle to be registered at a private address.
"The use of the office at Leekbrook as an operating centre will allow the company to expand its business to around 10 private vehicles registered at the centre.
"The existing property at Leekbrook is considered to be an ideal location to run the radio controlled taxi operation, as a base for the telephone operators to receive calls booking the taxis and for them to contact the driver using the radio system.
"It is considered that the ground floor accommodation of the two small office rooms would be used by the business owner and the telephonist on duty. The canteen/kitchen area would be used by drivers in the event they came into the office, as well as the telephonist.
"There is a larger room on the ground floor which could be utilised as a drivers' lounge in the event they were waiting a call or pick-up at the office, instead of returning home or waiting in the town centre"
"This would leave half of the existing accommodation potentially unused.
"This comprises of a large open plan former training room on the ground floor, together with a similar sized space on the first floor
"It is proposed to convert the ground floor training room into a lounge and kitchen, utilising one of the WCs and adding a shower. The two first floor offices spaces would be converted into bedrooms as part of the residential living accommodation."
In the event the business grew to many more taxi cabs on the road, it is likely the only office-based growth which would be required was a second desk and phone line, with computer and radio equipment to cope with the extra demand.
The business plan is to provide more school runs and airport type advanced bookings rather than spontaneous booking, the report adds.
A decision on the application is expected within the next eight weeks.