Taxi office appeal rejected

The office on Wallgate

The office on Wallgate

The owner of a taxi firm has failed in his appeal to overturn a conviction over the use of a Wigan town centre building without planning permission.

Bolton Crown Court upheld the guilty verdict on Crusader Cabs boss Hossein Ghorbani in relation to the firm’s move into a former financial services shop opposite Wallgate train station.

Planning permission is required for the use of the building as a private hire office and we would urge Mr Ghorbani to cease the use of the premises for this purpose

Karl Battersby

The court was satisfied the primary use of the building was as a taxi booking office and not a facility for providing information to visitors as Ghorbani, from Aspull, had claimed.

The judge therefore decided Ghorbani, of St David’s Crescent, was guilty of breaching a stop notice issued to him by Wigan Council.

A separate appeal against the fine of £1,000 imposed on him earlier this year will now be heard at a later date.

Ghorbani originally stood trial at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court in September after he did not move Crusader Cabs out of the building following Wigan Council’s decision to serve a temporary stop notice back in May.

He immediately launched an appeal against both the conviction and sentence, which involved him having to pay £200 costs and a victim’s surcharge of £100 in addition to the four-figure fine.

The appeal heard two days of evidence last week to determine whether the building was being used as a private hire vehicle booking office, for which Ghorbani did not have the necessary permission from the town hall, or not.

Wigan Council director of economy and environment Karl Battersby said: “Mr Ghorbani has continually ignored council advice with regards his use of the building on Wallgate and we feel his conviction could have been avoided had he co-operated with us from the start and the enforcement and stop notices had been complied with.

“Planning permission is required for the use of the building as a private hire office and we would urge Mr Ghorbani to cease the use of the premises for this purpose.”

The town hall was forced to take out a private prosecution against Ghorbani after its attempts at enforcement action over the illegal use of the building had no effect.

The council said the private hire vehicle’s move to the building without approval to trade was a breach of planning regulations.