A LACK of nightlife in Fareham is hitting taxi drivers’ pockets, says the town’s Hackney Taxi Association.
The group claims that since Chicago Rock Cafe closed down last summer, they are suffering financially as they have not seen the same number of fares.
In particular, they say sailors from HMS Collingwood and HMS Sultan are choosing to go to Gosport, or catch the ferry from there to Gunwharf Quays for a night out, instead of spending time – and money – in Fareham.
Mel Chorlton, from the association, said: ‘There really is no hope for Fareham, and I fear that whatever Fareham Borough Council does now, it will be too late.
‘The government are telling everyone that the recession is over and things are on the incline, however, Fareham is getting progressively worse.’
Mrs Chorlton criticised the work the council has done to stimulate night-time trade and said the opening of Whiteley Shopping Centre with its restaurants has only made the situation worse.
She added: ‘It seems that all surrounding areas can move with the times, generate the income for their villages and towns, but Fareham constantly drags its heels.
‘This is a grim picture for taxi drivers in Fareham as it is governed that taxi drivers cannot rank outside their borough.
‘I fear if this is left for much longer, then no day will be worth working in Fareham.’
Chicago Rock Cafe closed down in May 2013 when its owners Atmosphere Bars and Clubs went into administration.
Ward councillors Paul Whittle and Katrina Trott said the closure had nothing to do with the council and that the town did have night-life, such as the Slug and Lettuce and The Crown Inn.
Cllr Whittle said many residents objected to the anti-social behaviour from revellers outside Chicago Rock Cafe when it was open and he would welcome another type of business, not a nightclub, to open there.
The premises that Chicago Rock Cafe occupied, next to the bus station, is empty.