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Residents want action over anti-social revving and music in Hampton car park

Residents are supporting a county-wide injunction to try to stop anti-social driving behaviour in two Hampton car parks.
Hampton C

The car parks at Vivacity Leisure Centre and Costa are often filled with drivers in the evening and night, and those living nearby say that loud music and revving engines is making their life a misery.

They report that as many as 20 cars may be involved and leave a trail of litter behind. 

The area, as with several others in the city, has been blighted by anti-social driving on roads and private car parks such as these for several years - and now the police and Peterborough City Council are applying for a civil injunction which would give them greater powers in dealing with the menace.

Injunctions are broad tools which can ban people participating, promoting or organising 'cruise' events, but this also could cover associated activities, including sounding horns or playing music as to cause a public nuisance.

The matter has not been helped by the fact that  barriers installed to the car park at the beginning of the year have since been damaged and are awaiting repair.  
Peterborough Matters spoke to one resident who lives nearby, who has been keeping track of the issues for four years - since he moved in - and nothing so far has been done, despite his and many others' complaints.

He said: "It's obviously a local crowd. The police say that not enough people ring in, but there are people in this area who are in their 90s - they don't want to be getting out of bed when they're old and frail and reporting this.

"If I was able to I would delete the section of my council tax that goes to the police, but I can't do that. There is just no police work here - they say it isn't a priority. 

"It's a playground, a load of idiots just lining up there revving. Some of them are there for five, six hours until midnight, and elderly people should not have to put up with it. Even during the lockdown it was bad.

"It's just getting to the point where we wonder why we should bother complaining - it's gone cold as far as the police are concerned. Even if they just came in occasionally it would be something."

Last week a man who took a “drift car” with a plethora of dangerous faults to a car meet lost his licence for a year following a hearing at Peterborough Magistrates Court.

Nathan Ballard, 26, of Wrangle, Boston, attended a planned car meet in Peterborough, that ended up at Vivacity Gym car park, in Hampton, on December 12, 2020.

Orton, Woodston and Fletton have also raised concerns of anti-social car meets in the past, with Stapledon Road a particular hotspot.

In Hampton in the past two years dispersal orders and temporary barriers have been installed as the country came in and out of lockdowns, but the residents say the problem has persisted. 

With that in mind a petition has been put together by PC Ben Warner of Peterborough's Southern Neighbourhood Team and signed by dozens of local residents, which they hope to present to the High Court.

It states: "This behaviour is a weekly issue and often occurs at the weekend (at its worst), but can be during the week and during the day. The main issue is the loud noise of the vehicle's stereo system, the racing, drifting, doughnuting - as this causes such a noise that residents cannot sleep, and has caused the windows themselves to vibrate.

"As you can imagine this level of behaviour frightens the residents, causes them to be anxious and unable to sleep, which in turn affects their health physically, emotionally and psychologically."

Cambridgeshire Constabulary's new area commander for policing in Peterborough and Fenland Supt Neil Billany addressed the issue in his first interview with PM, and the possibility of a PSPO (Public Space Protection Order). 

But he said: "Stevenage did that a couple of years ago, bringing in a whole town injunction order around car cruising. That's something being looked at, as some legalities came out of that, with the local authority. It's something we're exploring, but [the drivers] are quite a transient group, and a difficult one to police.

"We're looking at barriers, speed bumps and the like, but it needs to be balanced because there are businesses that may be damaged such as fast food establishments."

On the Hampton incidents, Inspector Jim Stevenson, from south Peterborough's Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We are aware of reports of antisocial behaviour in car parks in the Hampton area of Peterborough and have been working hard with the council and landowners alike to secure the car park and prevent the behaviour occurring in the first place, while our neighbourhood teams continue to carry out patrols in the area.

“We take all reports of crime and disorder very seriously and all reports are assessed for their severity and the potential vulnerability of victims. This allows us to prioritise calls and direct resources to those incidents graded most serious. Although every crime is important to us we must prioritise the most serious offences.

“I would like to encourage all residents of Peterborough to keep reporting incidents which concern them, so that we can properly assess the issues which are troubling the local community most. This can be done via our website at www.cambs.police.uk.”