COUNCIL chiefs in Worcester are pleading with taxi drivers to make up their minds over a possible High Court legal battle - with politicians saying they want to find a solution.

Your Worcester News can reveal how the body representing city cabbies has still not withdrawn the threat of a court challenge, despite indicating in April that the process was likely to be shelved.

Both sides are at loggerheads over a new council policy to tighten up the age criteria which forces drivers to buy brand new vehicles once their current one is deemed too old.

Prior to last November once the car reached around 12, taxi owners were allowed to replace them with vehicles aged up to three.

New taxi vehicles straight off the production line cost around £40,000 to buy, whereas older ones aged up to three sell at around £10,000.

The city's licensing committee now says it wants ideas from the drivers as to what policy they would prefer - an olive branch designed to try and avoid an expensive court battle.

Councillor Roger Knight, who sits on the committee, said: "We really need a proposal to come from them.

"We need to know what they want in terms of the age of the vehicles, otherwise we'll end up coming up with another (watered down) policy that the drivers still aren't happy with."

Both sides did meet in May in an attempt to meet each other halfway, but it ended without the taxi trade putting forward any alternative.

Councillors were hoping to be able to vote on a new, watered-down policy this month but it will now not be possible.

Councillor Paul Denham, who also sits on the licensing committee, said: "There was an absolute invitation to the trade to come forward with an idea last month, but they came to that meeting without any proposal whatsoever."

Worcester Taxi Drivers Association says the trade is not prepared to cancel the legal action until it is happy with a new policy.

More talks are now planned between both parties to see if they can reach a breakthrough.

Lesley Borthwick, from the association, said: "It's still ongoing at the moment - in terms of the legal action we can't withdraw until everything has been ironed out."