New consultation could see rickshaws heading to Suffolk beauty spots
For visitors it could be a gentle ride down Felixstowe’s Promenade.
Rickshaws are already a popular method of travel at prominent tourist hotspots around the globe and in London’s west end – now the vehicles could be peddling or driven their way around east Suffolk beauty spots.
It’s all part of a consultation being run by Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District councils after they received a number of applications for such schemes in the past few years.
One those businesses was The Suffolk Rickshaw company run by Ian Lightfoot.
The company is based in Felixstowe and has been providing a rickshaw service for events since April last year.
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Ian got into the business as a keen cyclist who was looking for a new challenge.
Ian mainly uses the rickshaw at weddings,birthdays and similar celebrations.
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He doesn’t charge to use his rickshaw but is instead funded by adverts which are placed on the side of his rickshaw.
“Local businesses in Felixstowe have been really good,” said Ian.
Having previously applied to the council for a similar license last year Ian is sceptical about whether the a licensing scheme.
“The fees charged would have to reflect on the income,” said Ian.
Ian does believes there are benefits having the vehicle in tourist areas.
“Travelling by rickshaw gives people the opportunity with less mobility to enjoy Felixstowe, the beach and the prom.”
Suffolk Coastal Cabinet Member for Community Health, Cllr Steve Gallant is leading the consultation for Suffolk Coastal, he said: “The vehicles should be restricted to predetermined routes, notified to the Licensing Team, having been pre-agreed with the relevant Town Council rather than ply for hire on the ranks used by the hackney carriage vehicles.”
One area unlikely to take up the idea is Woodbridge after councillors slammed the plans in a town council meeting.
One councillor, Michael Dale, described the vehicles as “grotesque” whilst other councillors raised concerns about the noise that could be produced by the vehicles and whether there was a real need for them in the town.
The consultation will last until March 26 with a decision being taken on the schemes’ future at a licensing meeting in April.