Southend Hospital taxi ranks to be moved again due to traffic problems

Taxi ranks outside of Southend Hospital will be relocated for a second time in less than a year after it failed to solve traffic problems.

The taxi stands were moved last year so that bus stops could move into their place, making it safer for bus passengers during busy times outside the hospital.

But the new locations for stands on Prittlewell Chase caused fresh problems for taxi drivers who were unable to pull out due to the queuing traffic.

New plans are looking to move the stands to the opposite side of the road and closer to homes rather than the hospital.

The council says the suggestion has come following conversations with members of the taxi trade and the hospital, but before any changes are made there will be a consultation.

The deputy leader of the council, Councillor Ron Woodley, who oversees transport, said: “We listened to the pedestrians and various councillors who said the initial layout was wrong and the bus stops should all be together as one stop, so we moved the taxi stands.

“We then spoke to the taxi drivers who told us people were queuing to get into the hospital and blocking Prittlewell Chase.

“The drivers told us that if we move the stands over to the other side of the road they won’t have to struggle to get past the traffic to pick people up.

“This is a good result in the end, we have listened to taxi drivers, the bus drivers and the patients.”

Mr Woodley added that he believes the decision to move the stands will solve the public transport issues while the hospital develops a new ring road within the hospital grounds to cut congestion.

The ring road plans will link the hospital car parks together and an application for planning permission was submitted to the council in December.

It seeks to demolish the Churchfield Two building – which sits between car park H and the road and roundabout already within the hospital site. The building currently houses administration staff, who will be moved to the education centre on site.

Discussion over moving the taxi stands will take place during a council licencing committee next week.

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Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter