Visitor and taxi trade views wanted on Morecambe prom rickshaw idea

People’s views about allowing pedicabs or rickshaws to carry passengers along a section of Morecambe prom, and possibly on local roads, are being sought throughout July.

Lancaster City Council wants feedback from residents, visitors and taxi business about allowing pedicabs to operate between Morecambe’s Midland Hotel and Whinnysty Lane in Heysham, and possibly on the road between the Midland Hotel and Happy Mount Park.

Retired nurse Lorna Manlove is seeking a licence to operate pedicabs on a wider section of the promenade and possibly along some roads, so tourists can be taken on pleasure trips to local attractions, cafes and tea rooms.

Mrs Manlove outlined her ideas to the city council’s licensing committee in early June, and councillors had an update on pedicab information and consultation plans this week.

Lorna Manlove.

Councillors were told pedicabs have to be licensed under hackney carriage rules even though they are quite different types of businesses.

Licensing manager Jennifer Curtis said the proposed pedicab promenade route is 1.7 miles while the road route to Happy Mount Park is 1.8 miles.

Ms Curtis said: “Licensing of pedicabs is complex and there are lots of things to consider, with public safety being paramount. Due to the number of users on the promenade, including cyclists, walkers, families with pushchairs or animals, councillors requested a consultation plan be set-out to obtain the public’s views.

“Additionally, Lancaster City Council currently limits the number of hackney licences to 108, so it was recommended that hackney licence proprietors must also be consulted on the potential impact on the trade.

“By law, pedicabs must be licensed as hackney carriage vehicles. However they do not meet the city council’ s current hackney vehicle specifications. Additionally, drivers are required to obtain a licence from the council.

“The regulation of pedi-cabs does not easily fit hackney or private hire taxi legislation. Councils set separate vehicle specifications, driver application requirements and licence conditions to meet local needs.”

She said pedicab licensing had been discussed in Parliament during a transport committee meetin, but the focus was London and no dates have been suggested for any new national laws.

Ms Curtis added: “There are many reports online about incidents, altercations between riders and passengers, and excessive charging in London, but very little elsewhere.”

Coun Roger Cleet asked for clarification on electric powered pedicabs and speeds. He said: “One thing that concerns me is that the applicant said the pedicabs would be motorised. This is my ward and the promenade can get very busy with pedestrians.”

Ms Curtis said electric batteries help to turn the pedals, like electric bikes, but the speeds were slower than the maximum allowed on the promenade. The applicant, Mrs Manlove, had provided information.

Coun Andrew Gardiner suggested a manufacturer bring a pedicab to Morecambe for a trial run for councillors, an idea approved by recently-elected Ellel councillor Sally Maddocks.

Coun Melanie Guilding, licensing committee vice-chair, said there were some bottleneck areas on the Happy Mount Park route, but she also recalled traditional ice cream tricycles had been allowed in the past.

Councillors approved a four-week public consultation through July. Lancaster City Council will use its website and social media for consultation, and licensing staff will speak to some visitors on the promenade to get their views. Hackney carriage businesses will also be contacted directly.