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TAXI drivers are risking their licences stopping outside Witham train station after the rank was shrunk.

Drivers are reporting there are four times more cabs than spaces and many have started receiving points on their licences.

One of the reasons may also be because it is claimed taxi drivers in Witham and Braintree have abandoned a forty-year-old agreement not to work in each others patches.

A row erupted in November when some drivers began violating the pact and things have come to a head at the rank outside Witham Station, in Albert Road.

John Cenci, chairman of the Braintree Hackney Carriage Association, said: “For the last seven years since I have been doing it we have been queuing on the other side of the road. We have never caused any harm to anyone.

“When the breakdown of the gentleman’s agreement happened I said to the council it would cause problems with more drivers coming over here.

“It fell on deaf ears and less than a year later the problems are getting worse.”

Mr Cenci said now at least ten cars come over to Witham from Braintree every day, meaning on any given evening there can be up to 32 drivers working from what is an eight space rank.

He said: “There is nowhere else to park and the drivers have to stop on double yellows or block people’s driveways.

“We accept that is wrong and we have told people not to do it but it still happens.”

Drivers have received warnings and penalty points from the council for stopping illegally, and some drivers are said to be becoming “scared” to work from Witham in case they lose their licence.

Mr Cenci said: “I feel it is going to put people out of work. Some of us are already losing around £40-a-night because there are more drivers here.

“One of our main concerns is we are not going to be able to serve the public.

“It could have a major impact, what happens when the thousands of commuters that rely on us being here come out and have to wait forty minutes for a cab.

“It is dark around here and imagine if it is a thunder storm.”

Drivers have asked that a few extra spaces be added to the rank but their suggestions have been ignored.

A Braintree District Council spokesman said. “A number of taxi drivers have recently been issued points under the council’s penalty points scheme for parking on double yellow lines in Albert Road while waiting to use the taxi rank.

“Any request to increase the size of the rank would be for the Essex County Council highways to decide and would need to consider the impact of everybody who uses the road.”

The problem is set to continue.