Residents in Redcar are being consulted over a move to ban so-called ‘car cruising’ in the Majuba area of the town.
Redcar and Cleveland Council is proposing making a public spaces protection order in a bid to clamp down on a long-standing problem involving boy racers who frequently meet to show and race souped-up cars, sometimes taking part in dangerous stunts.
The order would focus on the town’s Majuba Road car park and immediate surrounding area and mean that anyone in the designated zone engaged in such activity would immediately be committing an offence and required to pay a fixed penalty notice of £100 as an alternative to a potential conviction.
It also prevents spectators from watching, encouraging and assisting in a car cruising event and other behaviour said to cause alarm, harassment, distress, or nuisance, such as shouting and swearing, threatening or intimidating behaviour, dropping litter and urinating in public.
Figures show there has been a big increase in reported incidents in the Majuba area over the past three years, particularly since last summer.
Last year there were 53 separate reports of vehicles causing a nuisance, including racing, engine revving, cars being used to do ‘donut’ manoeuvres, beeping horns and playing loud music.
Matters came to a recent head on the weekend of July 3 and 4 when police authorised a dispersal order due to a number of incidents, including vehicles being driven dangerously, requiring anyone suspected of anti-social behaviour to leave the area and not return for up to 48 hours.
One local resident said: “We regularly hear lots of car horns on a night at around 11 o’clock or 12 o’clock, sometimes solidly beeping for ten or 15 minutes.
“Another massive annoyance is the revving of engines and very loud exhausts and the screeching of tyres.”
Coatham ward Councillor Carl Quartermain said he had received “numerous complaints” over the past five years regarding cruising, speeding and dangerous driving in the Majuba area.
Speed bumps to slow traffic down along Majuba Road were installed in January 2017, but while this had an impact it did not prevent continued car cruising and the associated noise and danger, Cllr Quartermain said.
Cllr Quartermain, who is the leader of the Labour group on the council, said he had requested stronger enforcement, along with speed detection measures on Majuba Road, Coatham Road and York Road, although these had been delayed.
He said: “I am determined to resolve these issues and will continue to pursue all measures that will lead to the end of these unsociable events regularly experienced by our residents and visitors for many a year.
“Hopefully [this is] the beginning of a real determination to make changes that will curtail this cultural delinquency, which shows no consideration for residents living in, or the holiday makers spending time in this part of Redcar.”
Council chiefs have written to more than 200 local residents and businesses informing them of the proposed order and posters have been put up on notice boards at the 307 space seafront car park as part of a six week long consultation exercise which will end on April 26.
Car park users along with members of the public affected are being encouraged to complete an online survey, which will be used to gather their views and comments.
Get the latest Teesside news straight to your inbox
We send a daily newsletter every day – plus breaking news alerts – on the latest news, up to the minute stories, latest information on coronavirus and the latest Middlesbrough FC football stories.
Just click on this link to our newsletter sign-up form and select which you’d like to receive.
The council said new powers resulting from the proposed order would allow it and other partners to gain an “additional enforcement tool” aimed at reducing crime and anti-social behaviour at Majuba car park in particular.
It said: “The proposed approach is likely to be more effective, timely and sustainable in the long run than existing enforcement approaches, such as the issuing of community protection notices by authorised council officers, the authorising of dispersal orders by the local police inspector and regular patrols by the police because it will result in offenders receiving an immediate sanction.”
A major new leisure development is being planned for the Coatham area which will include a new hotel and family restaurant, adventure golf and play area, and water sports facility.
As part of the scheme new car parking is being created on the former Coatham Bowl site.
A council spokesman added: “The proposed order does not preclude legitimate use by members of the public of the Majuba car park, the public highway or any place to which the public has access within this area, including any provision planned as part of the Coatham development.
“By designating the entire Coatham development area as a restricted area and not just the existing Majuba car park, the order will provide the council and its partners with the flexibility to address vehicle nuisance issues wherever they occur within the area.”
Subject to the consultation, the council would give 28 days notice of its intention to ban car cruising-related vehicle nuisance activities with the new powers being brought into force from July 1.
The public spaces protection order would be initially for 18 months and then reviewed thereafter to determine whether it is still required, needs to be renewed or extended, or whether it should also be varied to include other locations within the borough.
:: The online survey is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/S79ZDXB
Paper copies are also available from Redcar Library and Community Hub, Monday to Friday from 10am to 2pm.
Alternatively, contact prevention and partnership officerJulian Feakes on telephone (01642) 776 948 or e-mail any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org