'They don’t care': Heathrow locals say airport cabbies are a 'nightmare'

By Imogen Howse - SWNS

20th Jun 2024 | Local News

Graham Hawkins, 74, is one of many Stanwell residents fed up with the behaviour of Heathrow's taxi drivers. (Photo: Tony Kershaw/SWNS)
Graham Hawkins, 74, is one of many Stanwell residents fed up with the behaviour of Heathrow's taxi drivers. (Photo: Tony Kershaw/SWNS)

People living near Heathrow Airport say "nightmare" taxi drivers are causing problems - by weeing in the streets, parking in disabled bays and 'intimidating' locals.

Residents in Stanwell Moor, a village located just two miles from Terminal 5, say cabbies use the area as a "free" place to wait for jobs.

But it is claimed the drivers engage in anti-social behaviour - which has become "a real problem" for the neighbourhood.

Cabbies have been spotted peeing behind shops and even defecating on dog walking trails, it's claimed, while others locals allege some taxi drivers become "aggressive" when confronted.

One resident said a cabbie "squared up" to him when he asked him to leave his disabled parking bay – and one woman described a "frightening" experience in which a driver trailed her friend on her walk home.

Residents are concerned taxis sitting stationary with their engines on are adding to the already high levels of pollution from planes at Heathrow Airport nearby. (Photo: Oliver Monk)

Locals have also complained of cabbies sitting in their cars with their engines and lights on until the early hours of the morning.

This, they said, is not only a "nuisance" - but also adds even more fumes to an area already hit by airport-related pollution.

Heathrow is Britain's busiest airport, with more than 81 million passengers passing through over the last year.

Graham Hawkes, 74, said of the cabbie problems: "It's a nightmare.

"The entire neighbourhood is fed up with it. I know some people are even considering moving out.

"Drivers p*ss in the park, chuck their rubbish on the ground, and line their cars up here so no one can park by their homes."

The pensioner, who has lived in the area for nearly 40 years, said cabbies even use the disabled parking space outside his home.

He said: "They park up in my disabled bay – even though it's clearly labelled. And if I ask them to move, they get aggressive.

"Just the other day, I asked one to move – and he squared up to me. Shouting going, 'Why have we got to move? What right do you have?'

"And I said, 'We live here, mate!'. Now, whenever I leave the house, I have to put traffic cones up. Otherwise, I can't use my space."

Diane Griffin, 72, said she had also experienced aggressive behaviour.

She said: "You ask them to move on and they get abusive. I've been called nasty and all sorts – I've had cameras shoved in my face. It's not nice."

Diane and her friend, who also lives in the village, have taken to bringing rubbish bags with them on dog walks so they can collect some of the litter.

She added: "We pick up what we can because these drivers use the street to clean out their cars.

"But sometimes those walks can be a bit nasty as you come across other stuff. Look, you can tell the difference between a dog poo and a human one."

Linda Fuller, 72, said she feels "uncomfortable" when cab drivers wait outside her home.

"It does make me feel uncomfortable," the grandmother said. "Because rows of men are parked outside your house with their lights and engines on.

"I feel that I'm okay because I have my husband. But a lot of women around here live by themselves and I know they're scared.

"Just the other day, my friend was walking back to hers from our house – it's just down the street – and a cab driver followed her along the road in his car.

"She came running back here. She felt really intimidated."

Linda has a sign on her gate telling cab drivers not to park on the road – but she said it hasn't made a difference.

She claimed: "They don't care. They just don't give a damn. They park where they want and leave their engines and lights on until the early hours.

"So they keep us awake sometimes and add even more pollution – as if it isn't bad enough already around here."

Mitch Osbon, 37, also expressed concerns about the pollution the cabbies were causing.

He said: "A lot of them leave their engines running and fall asleep in their cars – so they're just pumping fumes out right by our homes.

"They also obviously take up the spaces by our houses – which I worry about when I'm out at work and my missus comes home from the shops with our six-month-old baby. It's a lot to handle."

Mitch said drivers usually move when he asks them to – but admitted that on one occasion an angry cabby damaged his car.

He claimed: "Sometimes they get a bit ratty but I generally find they move if you approach them nicely.

"But one time – a guy got quite aggressive with me. And he let my tyre down."

Residents in Stanwell Moor, a village located just two miles from Terminal 5, say cabbies use the area as a

Jeff Ford, 67, said taxi drivers aren't the only problem.

Holidaymakers also cause issues – as they leave their cars in the village instead of paying for parking at Heathrow.

"People pull up with their suitcases at 6am in the morning – jump on a bus – and leave their cars in our spaces for weeks," he said.

"It means no one can park by their homes. It's infuriating.

"And the cabbies are bad too. They p*ss in the park and row with people – I've seen some quite aggressive confrontations.

"But I'm starting to get used to it after 44 years of living here."

Linda also mentioned the holiday-goers.

She said: "It's so obvious what they're doing. There are spots where there are dozens of cars parked up, wing mirrors in, just left there for weeks.

"I understand the prices are bad – but it's unfair on those of us who live here."

Spelthorne Council implemented a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in March, which bans cabbies from parking in the area.

Warnings of fixed penalty notices have been put up around the village – and Heathrow Airport have supplied residents with signs to leave outside their properties.

But most locals feel more could be done.

"I'd like to see some more enforcement," Diane said.

"You never actually see wardens around here implementing this – and all you need is for half a dozen drivers to be fined and then word will go around."

Mitch added: "I've heard from a neighbour that there is a place for taxi drivers to go at Heathrow – but I had no idea before so it's clearly not marketed very well.

"If they advertised that more then maybe drivers would move away from here."

A spokesperson from Spelthorne Council said the Stanwell Moor PSPO had only recently been implemented and so it was too soon to determine whether it was having the desired effect.

A spokesperson for Heathrow Airport said: "Everyone travelling to Heathrow should respect our neighbours and we work closely with community groups to make this a great place to live and work.

"We are supporting local authorities as they step up enforcement and exclusion zones while we continue to invest in dedicated waiting areas at the airport, to keep drivers off nearby roads."

     

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