Tuk tuks are a sight more likely seen negotiating the streets of India and South East Asia, but one could soon be spotted tracing the Romans’ footsteps as it transports visitors on tours of Chester.

The fate of Deva Tuk Tuk’s request for one of its three-wheel motorised vehicles to be licensed as a specialist private hire vehicle will be decided when it goes before Cheshire West and Chester Council’s licensing committee.

The Saughall-based company has been offering the automatic rickshaws – which can legally travel on UK roads at speeds of up to 40mph – for hire as chauffeur-driven wedding transport since its inception in 2014.

City sights tours vision

Now it wants to offer pre-arranged tours of city sights for tourists and residents alike, which would require licensing under private hire legislation.

But a council officer has recommended refusal in a report to members of the licensing committee, as ‘three-wheeled vehicles do not offer the same levels of safety and comfort required by all other licensed vehicles’.

Officer's concerns

Peter Willett, licensing team leader, wrote: “Though officers can appreciate that any hirers would understand the type and the novelty nature of the Tuk Tuk this does not remove the council’s responsibility to ensure that any vehicle it licences is safe and comfortable for its passengers.

Mr Willett added: “Officers’ main concerns are how this vehicle type would cope on fast or busy roads with its limited performance; stability issues due to the three wheel design; the low level of impact protection and the omission of routinely fitted safety features such as air bags, pre-tensioned or three point seat belts, crumple zones, etc.”

Whether or not Chester will join the likes of such authorities as Blackpool and Brighton in licensing Tuk Tuks will be determined when the committee meets at 10am on Tuesday (January 19).