FENLANDER: New controls planned for stretch limos - consultation starts next week

STRETCH limousines and other vehicles such as former fire engines and ambulances that are often used to ferry people to and from special events may have to be licensed in future.

Fenland District Council is putting the proposal out for consultation next week following fears raised by some members of the public about potential dangers to passengers, particularly young people.

Concerns have been expressed about overcrowding, inadequate inspections and drivers who may have criminal convictions. As a result, FDC is seeking to bring such vehicles and their drivers under its private hire licensing regime.

But it says that if the proposals are adopted it will adopt a flexible approach and treat each individual case on its merits.

Details of the 12-week consultation will be published on April 11. It will run until July 4.

The demand for stretch limousines has been growing in Fenland. They are often used for social events such as college balls.

Councillor Kit Owen, FDC’s portfolio holder responsible for licensing, said: “These sort of vehicles are increasingly popular and add to the fun of special occasions. We understand that - we’re not killjoys and we will make every effort to enable people to go on using them.

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“But we have a duty to ensure public safety and we can’t ignore the potential dangers posed by the lack of proper controls.

“Our proposals are aimed mainly at stretch limousines but would also cover other kinds of vehicles that are commonly used.”

• To view the consultation document for proposed conditions for stretch limousines and special event vehicles and to get a response form, visit www.fenland.gov.uk/licensing or call in at any of the Fenland @ your service shops or at Fenland Hall in March.