Horse drawn carriage plans could fall at final hurdle

By Steve Hayes 22/03 Updated: 23/03 09:12

Buy photos » Horse-drawn carriages could become a common sight on the streets of Stratford if a new byelaw is introduced (s)

AMBITIOUS plans to offer horse drawn carriage tours through the town could fall at the final hurdle on a technicality.

Vickylee Cain, from Dorsington, near Bidford, wants to offer 20 minute tours of Stratford's historic town centre throughout the summer.

But after spending two years and thousands of pounds bringing together Vickylee's Carriage Company, Stratford District Council's licensing panel this week refused her a licence because there were no byelaws in place to regulate horse-drawn carriages in the town.

Ms Cain, the former manager of Mary Arden's Farm, purchased three horses and a carriage, gained permission from sites around the town to stop outside, and had planned to launch the new service on April 20.

She wants to charge around £15 a head for the tours, which would run from Thursday through to Sunday every week until the end of September, starting outside the Pen and Parchment pub. They would also run each day during school holidays and on special occasions such as bank holidays.

Ms Cain was not available for comment this week but councillor Peter Barnes, who has supported her, accused the council officers of dragging their heels with the result the project could now be under threat.

He said: "Everyone seems to be agreed this would be a great thing for the town and add a really great attraction, so for it to be threatened on a technicality like this is ridiculous.

"I don't understand why the officers couldn't have been working on a byelaw in readiness for the licensing hearing. All it requires is for the full council to agree it and the project could go ahead.

"Apparently it could now be much later in the year before this is possible by which time the summer will be over and it will be too late.

"Vickylee's worked so hard on the project and she has put together a very good case for it so it's very frustrating to have it snagged like this. I'd urge the officers to get moving on a byelaw so it can go-ahead."

The chairman of the licensing committee was not available for comment as we went to press.

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