Landau probe after rise in complaints

Safety key:  Francesca and Susie Bebbington with their gold Cinderella landau carriage

Safety key: Francesca and Susie Bebbington with their gold Cinderella landau carriage

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It is one of the resort’s great traditions – but a rise in complaints about landau drivers has sparked a review by Blackpool Council.

Councillors and members of its licensing team will meet today to discuss the concerns after a series of issues this year, including one incident in October when a horse bolted down the Promenade, leaving a six-year-old boy with a broken collar bone.

Sharon Davies, head of licensing, said: “Over the last 12 months there has been an increase in the number of complaints about the amount of horse droppings on the Promenade, and about carriage drivers driving down the middle of the road and going through red lights.

“There has also been an increase in the number of queries concerning the welfare of the horses while on the Promenade.”

In October, a shocked family told The Gazette of their terror after a runaway horse dragged them for a mile-and-a-half along Blackpool Promenade in an out-of-control landau.

Peter Thornhill, 64, was in the carriage with his wife and three young grandchildren when the horse became startled.

Two other young children – one of them in a pram – were knocked over by the horse after it bolted along the Prom.

It was only after a brave bystander managed to grab hold of the reins and regain control that the wild ride was brought to a sudden end.

The review is expected to discuss the incidents, as well as suggest safety improvements to the council’s scrutiny committee.

Susie Bebbington, a landau owner in Blackpool for close to 40 years, welcomed the meeting.

She said: “A lot of it is down to young idiots abusing the system, going through red lights and making illegal moves. I just hope people will respect the rules of the road.

“If you drive a car you would stop at a red light – why not in a landau?

“The council needs to do this – it cannot be allowing drivers to do their own thing.

“Something must be done about the idiot drivers.

“Safety is key. The incident in October was unfortunate, but the owner had the horse 15 years without a problem. Hopefully, bad drivers will get more than a slap on the wrist.”

The public protection committee will meet at Blackpool Town Hall from 11am today.