New public order planned for Bury St Edmunds to tackle boy racers
- Credit: Archant
Plans to curb boy racers around a Bury St Edmunds estate are in the pipeline after nearly five years of turmoil for locals.
West Suffolk Council is launching a public consultation from January 18 that will run for six weeks on plans to create a new public space protection order (PSPO) for the Moreton Hall estate - an order that will give police and the council more power to crackdown on gatherings of motorists late at night.
According to locals, the issue was first raised in 2016, with revving of engines and cars racing late at night in the early hours of the morning.
The council introduced a PSPO for boy racers in the town centre in 2019, but it is understood that while that measure has displaced them from the town centre, they have instead congregated around Moreton Hall.
Ward councillor Trevor Beckwith told Thursday night's scrutiny committee meeting that attempts in the past to get a PSPO there resulted in work to pursue an injunction because "it required less consultation and was easier to implement".
But Mr Beckwith said assurances were given as it got to the court stage that persuaded the council to reconsider.
"To say the community was not pleased would be understating the reaction," he said.
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"Residents are fed up with it. Moreton Hall remains a good place to live and it is not a hotbed of crime.
"But as the issue has dragged on for six years I urge the cabinet to take all measures necessary to get it addressed. It appears we are heading down the right route."
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Responses to the public consultation will be collated and presented to the council's cabinet in March for a decision.
Mr Beckwith said the problem had seen those congregating place lookouts for police activity, and motorists from elsewhere in the district such as Haverhill had also joined in.
Councillor Diane Hind who lives in the area said: "I do know lots of people in Moreton Hall who have been really disturbed by this, and when it occurs late in the evening and the early hours of the next morning, it's very disturbing. I think it is great something like this is coming."
However, concerns were raised over how much the powers are actually enforced. Haverhill councillors Tony Brown and Margaret Marks said a street drinking PSPO in the town was not always enforced, prompting people to feel like it was "window dressing" the problem.
Cabinet member for communities and families, Robert Everitt, said: "PSPOs have been, and are, used quite effectively in lots of areas where there have been problems with boy racers in the town centre in Bury.
"Where fixed notices were issued they certainly dissipated.
"Probably [Moreton Hall] is on the receiving end of the group that used to meet in the middle of Bury to moved up to Moreton Hall.
"We will never stop some of these issues no matter what we have, they will move on. The trick is to be as firm as we possibly can be using the tools in the toolbox, which is the PSPO, and keep hitting them hard with fixed penalty fines."