Wiltshire

Safety fears scupper Chippenham's 'soap box derby'

Soap box derby

A "soap box derby" was called off hours before the start of the race amid safety concerns.

Competitors were due to drive their creations down the hill of Market Street in Chippenham at 12:00 BST but it was cancelled at about 07:30.

Organiser Kathryn Crosweller said insurance conditions for the "high risk" event were complex, and predicted heavy rain had led to the decision.

It would have been the third year of the event.

Last year about 30 teams took part.

Many people vented their fury at the decision on social media, though some supported the move.

DannyB described it as "a very poor decision and made on very poor intel. Embarrassing for the whole town".

Posting on Facebook, Andy Battisson and Geoff Bridgman both agreed "the health and safety card" had been overplayed.

Others tweeted weather forecasts for the town which showed an 8% chance of rain at the time.

Image caption Thousands have packed the streets of Chippenham in previous years

Ms Crosweller said while there were vehicle checks and regulations around kart building, participants did not need an MOT certificate or insurance.

"The risk is far, far greater with a race of this type than normal events or motoring, and therefore more caution is demanded by health and safety, insurance and public protection standards.

"We appreciate the enthusiasm of everyone who spent time building their karts, and we are working with our suppliers and local authorities to reschedule the date later in the year."

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