Town centre rickshaw plans postponed
SAFETY concerns will need to be addressed before rickshaws are seen on the streets of Cheltenham.
Councillors have agreed to defer making a decision on introducing the innovative pedal-powered vehicles to the town.
They say more work needs to be done detailing how safe the vehicles are and how they will be licensed and regulated.
The proposals were initially put forward to Cheltenham Borough Council in March of this year by Rickshaw Revolution, a Cheltenham-based company keen to provide the new service in the town.
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Councillor Peter Jeffries, cabinet member for housing and safety, said the authority is 'supportive' of the rickshaw plans but more research needs to be done.
He said: "At Tuesday's cabinet meeting, we agreed to defer the decision to licence rickshaws, until such time as the additional safety concerns can be addressed.
"A representative from Rickshaw Revolutions highlighted some issues within the proposed policy and I have agreed to meet with them to discuss those concerns. This will sadly delay the process further and at this time it's unclear as to when the report will return to cabinet.
"In principal, cabinet members are supportive of the idea but my priority continues to be that of public safety. Rickshaws provide unique challenges in terms of safety as there is no recognised national framework for us as a council to use.''
Speaking at the cabinet meeting, council leader Steve Jordan said implementing rickshaws in the town would be a difficult process simply because there isn't an easily adoptable framework that Cheltenham can mimic.
He said: "I personally am supportive of the concept of rickshaws and I think it would be of benefit but it is important that we get it right.
"There is nothing currently that fits the bill and we are having to try to fit it to other things. But this is a whole new regime so it is worth getting it right."
However, the decision to defer the decision has left James Meyer, one of the directors of Rickshaw Revolution, irate.
He says he will consider 'abandoning the project' if the council doesn't 'get a move on'.
He said: "I am not going to carry on with this unless they get a serious move on. It has taken seven months to produce a wholly unsatisfactory document.
"If it takes seven months to produce a wholly unsatisfactory document, how long will it take for them to produce something that is satisfactory?"