COUNCILLORS have agreed to look at the idea of licensing electric three-wheeled bike in the same way as taxi cabs.

The move comes after Keswick-based Amy’s Care asked about charging people to use their proposed trishaw taxi service to provide vital extra income for the charity.

The organisation, which helps elderly people, has already trialled their use around Keswick free of charge.

However, the electrically-assisted tricycles would be classed as ‘hackney carriages’ when used commercially and would therefore have to be licensed.

Concerns were also raised by several Allerdale councillors that allowing one operator to set up shop in the town would open the “floodgates” for multiple companies to do the same.

They also expressed fears over road safety and congestion but agreed to vote the plans through to the next stage, which will see the launch of a public consultation.

Keswick councillor Allan Daniels said he was “very happy” for the bikes to operate in the park but did not feel they would be appropriate for the “crowded” roads of the popular tourist town.

Rebecca Dooley, director of Amy’s Care, told a licensing panel meeting that the idea had been set up initially to help isolated elderly people experience the “wind in in their hair, rather than being stuck inside”.

However, the charity now hopes to offer rides around the town to tourists for a fee that would help provide a cash boost for its charity’s work.

Under the plans, Amy’s Care would continue to provide a free trishaw service to locals experiencing difficulties getting to medical appointments, to the shops or banks. Mrs Dooley told the meeting that there are no wheelchair taxis in Keswick.

The meeting heard conditions for hackney carriage licenses were not tailored towards this type of vehicle and that alternatives would have to be put in place.

Before the idea can be rolled out, councillors would need to decide which rules and conditions should be attached following a full public consultation.

Founded in 2013, Amy’s Care provides day care, social clubs and holidays for elderly people in north Cumbria, especially those suffering from dementia.

The charity operates two days a week out of the Keswick Museum, catering for up to 13 people.

It has already used grant-funding to buy two trishaws, which have been imported from Denmark and are new to northern England. One can carry two passengers and the other can accommodate a wheelchair.