Town centre taxi office is still flouting the law

The premises at the centre of the dispute in the town centre opposite Wallgate station
The premises at the centre of the dispute in the town centre opposite Wallgate station

Pressure is growing on a taxi firm illegally occupying a Wigan town centre building after a major transport organisation confirmed it was working to evict it.

Network Rail has now said it is the landlord of the Wallgate building which is being used as a taxi office by Crusader Cabs without planning permission.

The organisation, which looks after the country’s rail infrastructure, said it was taking action against its tenant to resolve the situation.

However, it was unable to put a timeframe on when the authorities would be able to ensure the use of the former tourist information centre ceased.

Crusader Cabs boss Hossein Ghorbani was found guilty at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court of breaching a Wigan Council stop notice to abandon the use of the building last year.

Attempts to appeal the conviction and the fine of £1,000 to a crown court judge in Bolton have both failed.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “Network Rail is the owner of the property in question and has been in regular contact with both the current tenant and the local planning office over its current and future use.

“The matter has been handed over to our legal department and for that reason it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.”

Wigan Council has repeatedly spoken of its exasperation at Ghorbani and the firm’s continued blatant flouting of the law.

Despite his legal avenues appearing to be exhausted the office is still regularly open for business at weekends.

Crusader’s actions have sparked outrage in the industry, with black cab drivers in particular demanding action is taken immediately against the firm.

Representatives of the borough’s hackney cab drivers say the private hire vehicle business’ actions make a mockery of the rigorous standards other taxi firms have to abide by.