Early night for boy rac­ers

Car park lock­ing plan to tackle late-night men­ace

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Sa­man­tha Wil­liams saw­illiams@thek­m­group.co.uk @SamWil­liamsKM

Noisy and nui­sance driv­ers are keep­ing res­i­dents up at night by revving their en­gines and do­ing ‘dough­nuts’ in an Ash­ford car park.

The sound of screech­ing tyres, horns beep­ing and loud mu­sic are just some of the is­sues res­i­dents liv­ing close to the Stour Cen­tre, off Tan­nery Lane, are hav­ing to put up with.

The racket is cre­ated by tear­aways who de­scend on the cen­tre’s car park at night, and use it for their so­cial gath­er­ings.

The prob­lem is caus­ing havoc for those liv­ing in Mill Court, which lies just across the river and op­po­site the car park.

Now, fol­low­ing com­plaints from neigh­bours about the an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour, Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil (ABC) is bring­ing in new mea­sures to tackle the prob­lems.

From next month, the car park’s en­trance in Tan­nery Lane will be locked from 11.15pm, while the gates in Sta­tion Road will close at 9pm.

The car park will then re­open ev­ery morn­ing at 5am.

In ad­di­tion, ABC is con­sid­er­ing plac­ing a public spa­ces pro­tec­tion or­der (PSPO) on the site.

PSPOs spec­ify an area where ac­tiv­i­ties are tak­ing place that are or may likely be detri­men­tal to the lo­cal com­mu­nity’s qual­ity of life and can im­pose con­di­tions or re­stric­tions on peo­ple us­ing the area.

An coun­cil spokesman said the trou­ble in the car park has been hap­pen­ing for years.

He said: “The car park has been closed at night for more than five years as a re­sponse to anti-so­cial be­hav­iour as­so­ci­ated with peo­ple us­ing the car park late at night.

“The new clo­sure time of 11.15pm is 45 min­utes ear­lier, with one en­trance clos­ing at 9pm.

“The tri­alling of an ear­lier clo­sure is due to con­tin­ued re­ports of anti-so­cial be­hav­iour as­so­ci­ated with driv­ers of cars us­ing the area.”

Cur­rently the car park closes at mid­night and opens at 5am.

The spokesman added that the coun­cil has al­ready tried “a num­ber of ini­tia­tives to re­duce the prob­lems” and have even taken en­force­ment ac­tion, in­clud­ing writ­ing to the own­ers of the ve­hi­cles, is­su­ing Com­mu­nity Pro­tec­tion No­tice warn­ings and Sec­tion 59 no­tices, a warn­ing that will last 12 months.

He added: “Kent Po­lice, Kent Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice, T-cat, civil en­force­ment cf­fi­cers and the street pas­tors have all tried en­gag­ing with the car users, high­light­ing the prob­lems that are be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced by the res­i­dents of Mill Court.

“En­force­ment ac­tion has also been taken by Kent Po­lice and Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil.

“While these mea­sures have of­ten had a pos­i­tive im­pact, it is only for a short pe­riod of time.

“As well as tri­alling the ear­lier clo­sure we are work­ing with our com­mu­nity safety part­ners to see if a public spa­ces pro­tec­tion or­der would be ap­pro­pri­ate.”

The new clos­ing times will be tri­alled for four months, af­ter which there will be a re­view.

It will come into ef­fect on Wed­nes­day, Oc­to­ber 14.

For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.ash­ford.gov.uk/ash­ford­town-park­ing

What do you think? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford, TN24 8JR or email ken­tish­ex­press@thek­m­group.co.uk

Tyre tracks in Stour Cen­tre car


The view of Stour Cen­tre car park from Mill Court

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