Don’t ban our Friday nights – that’s the message from landau owners as a review of the famous horse-drawn carriages was approved by Blackpool Council’s executive.
Seven recommendations including tougher driving tests for drivers have been agreed after being put forward as part of a review following a serious accident in October 2014 when a horse bolted.
Following the meeting, carriage operators who addressed councillors on the night, said they were happy with the recommendations but insisted they must be allowed to continue to trade on Friday nights during the Illuminations.
They are already banned from working on Saturday nights during the lights due to the busy traffic conditions.
The issue will be looked at as part of a health and safety review which is among the recommendations.
Landau and cinderella carriage operator Ella Sinderson said: “We will work with the council on the new tests and we understand things do need reviewing every now and again.
“However there is going to be a risk assessment carried out which includes looking at Friday nights during the Illuminations.
“But there have not been any accidents on Friday nights, and we know there are big events like the Switch-on and the Fireworks Championships but that is why we only select horses which are suitable to work on busy nights like this.
“If we cannot work Fridays, many weekend visitors will miss out on a carriage ride through the Lights and be disappointed. We already have to tell them we can’t take them on a Saturday night.
“It would also be finanically difficult for operators without the Friday night.
“We care for our animals 12 months of the year, but the season is only six months.
“But we will work with the council and we are already holding our own meetings.”
Coun Peter Hunter, who chaired the scrutiny into the laundaus, said: “All we are doing is a series of risk assessments regarding the operation of the landaus with particular reference to Friday nights during the Illuminations.
“There are no pre-conceived ideas about Friday nights but we have to carry out risk assessments and we wouldn’t be a responsible authority if we didn’t do that. The landaus have operated on Blackpool Promenade ever since I can remember and I do see a good future for them.
“We want to work with the industry to preserve this and at the same time make it as safe as possible. The incident that did happen could have been a fatality, so we have to look at it.”
In October 2014 a serious incident took place after a horse was startled and subsequently bolted down the Promenade.
The carriage in question collided with members of the public on the Promenade and a six-year-old boy broke his collar bone broken as a result.