The boss of a thriving taxi firm in Crowborough says he can’t employ new drivers because of red tape.
Donald Richards, of Pleasant View Road, who runs Ashdown Cars, urgently needs two new drivers to help deal with increased business.
But he says both applications have been held up because DVLA officials lost paperwork and the council doesn’t reply to repeated requests.
He said: “I’ve been advertising for drivers and one came in six to eight months ago.
“Drivers have to go through Wealden to get a licence. One applied in November. He’s passed his driving test and his medical and the CRB and police checks have all come back OK. We’ve now been waiting for the DVLA but they say they’ve lost the paperwork.”
The second would-be driver has been waiting for his forms to come from Wealden for about six to seven weeks.
Mr Richards explained Wealden now operates its licensing process under the wing of Rother District Council, having adopted its procedure for processing new drivers.
But he said the councils seem to operate on the basis of dealing with only so many new applications per week, which means there are dozens apparently on hold.
He feels this is a disincentive to cab firm owners who need new drivers, and to people applying for jobs.
Richard Parker-Harding, head of environmental health – shared between Wealden and Rother - said: “There are a number of stages to the application process including an interview with a licensing officer. Once this has taken place and the taxi licence application has been properly submitted together with the CRB check and driving licence, the paperwork has to be submitted to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.
“Unfortunately we have been experiencing delays of eight to nine weeks for the return of completed submissions, and we are investigating the possibility of using private agencies who offer a dedicated service to speed up DVLA applications.
“We have spoken to Ashdown Cars on a number of occasions about the delays we are experiencing. We welcome the support prospective employers give applicants to help them manage their paperwork and avoid any further delays.”
But Donald Richards argued: “One of the people is out of work at present but he is ideal for the job and all his checks are fine. I just want to get him on my books but it doesn’t matter how many times I ring and try and push the process through, I’m frustrated at every turn.”