A TAXI firm director has been granted a private hire licence by Argyll and Bute Council – three months after his bid to provide a wheelchair-accessible taxi in the Helensburgh area was refused.

David Haddow’s previous bid to have a wheelchair-accessible taxi on the road in the area was thrown out by the authority’s planning, protective services and licensing (PPSL) committee in September.

The committee cited a lack of evidence of unmet demand as their reason for the decision at the time of that meeting.

But last month Mr Haddow, from Alexandria in West Dunbartonshire, was granted permission to use the vehicle, which he has already purchased, on a private hire basis.

Mr Haddow is a director of TOA Taxis, which has recently taken over Trident Taxis in Helensburgh.

According to minutes from the PPSL’s hearing, published by the council this week, an agent for Mr Haddow told the committee: “It was his understanding that there were 56 private hire car vehicles in Argyll and Bute.

“He advised that he was unable to find out how many of these were within Helensburgh and Lomond.

“He indicated that Mr Haddow had received 8,000 client enquiries in May and that this had now risen to 9,000 per month. He advised that this led him to believe that there was currently an under provision and that the licence should be granted.

“He said that the car which the licence was being sought for was a wheelchair accessible vehicle and that it was his understanding that there was only one which could currently be booked at the booking office.

“He advised that there were 11 care homes in the area which regularly sought to hire a wheelchair accessible vehicle.”

Mr Haddow was then asked by Councillor Roddy McCuish what had changed since the refusal of a taxi licence in September.

The minutes continued: “Mr Haddow advised that nothing had changed and that he was still getting numerous calls coming in for wheelchair accessible cars which he could not accommodate.

“He advised that when this type of vehicle was not available from the Helensburgh and Lomond area the company were suggesting to the care home that they phone the Alexandria office to send a taxi which resulted in them having to pay a supplement.”

Committee chairman Councillor David Kinniburgh admitted he shared the concerns of objectors.

But the minutes added: “He said that he did not believe there was anything presented today which would mean he could refuse the licence.

“He advised that his own feeling was there was nothing he could put forward to make a recommendation to refuse. He said that he felt that he had no alternative but to grant the licence.”

The committee then agreed to grant the licence to Mr Haddow.