Colchester City Council has announced a series of measures to crack down on nuisance drivers at St Mary's car park.
The crackdown comes in response to complaints from residents about illegal racing, engine revving, and amplified music from vehicles.
The council has now established a taskforce with Essex Police to address the problem through a multi-agency partnership approach.
From tomorrow, 29th September, the entrance into St Mary's car park in Colchester will be closed overnight on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. Temporary Heras fencing will block the entrance to the site off Balkerne Hill, to only let vehicles out of the car park, and not in, after 10pm.
In addition, the council will be installing more CCTV cameras and noise sensors in the car park, along with increasing patrols by council and police officers. Enforcement action will also be taken against nuisance drivers, with warning letters and fixed penalty notices being issued.
Cllr David King, Leader of Colchester Council, said: “I am absolutely determined that we act now. Nuisance drivers at St Mary's car park have been making residents’ lives a misery for months.
“We will work with Essex police to use every power at our disposal to make St Mary's car park a safe place for everyone. We will close the entrance late at night. We will install new CCTV cameras and signage. We will use our security and know the police will themselves respond. We will take enforcement action and issue fines against those who continue to break the rules and encourage police seizure of vehicles for repeat offenders. Nuisance drivers and their behaviour will not be tolerated. It stops now.”
Cllr Natalie Sommers, Portfolio Holder for Communities, said: “I would like to thank residents for their patience and understanding as we work to tackle this problem. We arranged to meet with residents to get to the heart of their concerns and I hope this response following our meeting will start to resolve the problems caused by a small minority of inconsiderate drivers.”
The council is also working with Essex Police to enforce the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), which is in place across the city. The PSPO bans a range of anti-social behaviours, including illegal racing, engine revving, and amplified music from vehicles.
The council's crackdown on nuisance drivers comes as it marks the first anniversary, on 30 September, of the vehicular PSPO.
Cllr Sommers added: “The introduction of the vehicular PSPO last year has been a success in reducing anti-social behaviour in many parts of the city, with 50 warning letters and 13 Fixed Penalty Notices issued to individuals who have breached the rules. However, there is still more work to be done. That's why we are taking this tougher stance on nuisance drivers at St Mary’s.”
Inspector Jenna Mirrington-French, of Colchester’s community policing team, said: “This taskforce marks a continued joined-up approach between Essex Police and the council, to enforce the PSPO and take robust action against anyone causing issues at St Mary’s car park.
“The order, put in place a year ago, has never been about penalising law-abiding car enthusiasts.
“It is about disrupting the activity of those determined to drive dangerously and behave anti-socially.”
Anyone concerned about nuisance drivers is encouraged to report anti-social behaviour to the council or to the police on 101.
Page last reviewed: 28 September 2023