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'People have no idea how much we look forward to car meets'

Car meets have proven to be a point of concern for both Cambridgeshire Constabulary and Peterborough City Council across the past year; with the likes of Pleasure Fair Meadows Car Park and Vivacity Premier Fitness Car Park proving to be prime locations.
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Car meets have been going ahead across the city, including this one in July (photo: Shariqua Ahmed)

Measures were put in place to avoid Vivacity Premier Fitness being filled with cars while the gym was closed including temporary barriers being put in place, but the likes of Pleasure Fair Meadows Car Park has remained a prime spot. 

However, not all car meets have been a cause for concern, and car fanatics have declared that most people just want to see others who are as passionate about vehicles as they are. 

Concerns over car meets have been due to disruption and dangerous driving, but Will Evans, who helps to run car club Peterborough Fords, has said this is a small minority, and it is not encouraged nor accepted in their groups. 

Speaking to Peterborough Matters, Will said: "I help run one of the Car Clubs in Peterborough (Peterborough Fords). In the past we've planned to arrange meets to help raise money for local charities like the Hospice near Town Centre. This didn't actually go ahead in the end due to lack of volunteers unfortunately, but doing charity meets has always been something we've wanted to do!

"Myself and the other admins have always tried really hard to improve the image and reputation of the club, as unfortunately you always get people stereotyping about those who are interested in cars. We don't accept or encourage any antisocial driving - because from personal experience having helped run another club while I was at university, we had to shut down one of our meets because things got out of hand.

"It's another case of the minority ruining it for the majority, because most people are happy to just park up and switch their engines off, but you'll nearly always get a handful of people who crave the attention too much or are too easily persuaded to muck about.

"People take notice of this and articles circulate about dangerous driving and disruptive behaviour, but people have no idea how much we look forward to these events because they're an opportunity to meet like-minded people and talk about something we're passionate about!

"Especially after this pandemic, it's made me realise just how much I miss going to meets, taking photos and catching up with mates."

However, the concerns for car meets surrounding the small amount of people who take them further remain valid for Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire Constabulary.

A spokesperson for Peterborough City Council, said: "We are aware of concerns around non-approved car meets taking place in the city and are working with partner agencies to address these issues moving forward."

Some of these issues have been noted by the police as a need to address, however, Cambridgeshire Constabulary has stated that the car meets is an issue that will not go away easily. 

THS-Tyre-marks-on-surface-of-Pleasure-Fair-Meadow-Car-Park-7002Tyre marks have taken over Pleasure Fair Meadows Car Park . By Terry Harris

Speaking to Peterborough Matters, they added: "Peterborough has long been affected by car meets. It is an issue that is not going to go away easily, but needs to be managed by the local authority and police, in partnership with both the organisers and the land owners of which the meets occur on.

"To this end, the local authority has invited the Constabulary to sit on a Car Cruise Working Group, to carefully balance the rights of everyone involved, and work with partners on agreeable solutions.

"This will look at facilitation of legal meets, educating those that partake in and that are effected by the meets, and working to stop illegal meet ups that have a detrimental effect on local communities through environmental, educational, and legal processes.

"The last 12 months has provided a challenge with regards to managing the issues, as the organised car meets have not been able to go ahead, for which the police and local authority had developed working relationships with the organisers to minimise the effect on communities.

"Most participants have ceased their participation in such events, however some have met up, sometimes illegally in breach of Covid-19 regulations, and these are the meets we have been working to stop.

"During the past 12 months, we have also provided guidance and support to local businesses and councillors on physical preventions and evidence gathering opportunities that can be utilise din communities to help prevent the meets that may affect their constituents."