Scarborough Car Cruising: Council set to extend ban on car meets after mixed response from residents
Scarborough Council will be asked to approve a three-year extension to a ban on car cruising events being held on the town’s seafront when it meets next month.
A consultation into the renewal of the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), which was adopted in 2018 following a number of incidents in past years, has just finished with almost 600 people responding to the authority.
Car cruising is where enthusiasts meet up in large numbers and travel to a set location to show off their vehicles. One of the largest events to come to Scarborough saw 500 cars descend on Marine Drive and Royal Albert Drive in the town’s North Bay.
Car cruises to Scarborough seafront had been a common sight in the town for many years but relations between the clubs and North Yorkshire Police and Scarborough Council soured in 2017 after £50,000 worth of damage was caused to Royal Albert Drive following an event.
The then newly resurfaced road was left shredded with melted rubber stuck to the tarmac near the Oasis Cafe after a driver “burnt out” their tyres, the driver was later prosecuted.
The following year the PSPO was brought in and cruises have since been banned.
Scarborough Council will meet on Monday, September 6 and will be asked to approve the three-year extension, which has been backed by North Yorkshire County Council, North Yorkshire Police and North Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
A report prepared for the council notes that 589 took part in the consultation.
It adds that the majority of responses were opposed to the order but that responses from people who live in the borough were more in favour of the PSPO being extended.
It states: “Overall the responses were evenly balanced with 50 per cent not in favour of the PSPO and 48 per cent in favour of the proposals.
“There were stronger levels of support for the PSPO in Whitby where the order was supported by 71 per cent of respondents. Responses were more evenly balanced from Scarborough and Filey with 50 per cent supporting the order.
“There was a clear majority of responses against the order from respondents outside of the borough with 79 per cent against.”
The PSPO was brought in following fears that the number of cars posed a risk to pedestrians and also that some participants were speeding and creating a disturbance through spinning tyres, revving engines and playing music.
The PSPO makes it an offence for a person to take part in, attend or even promote a car cruise, without a reasonable excuse.
Under the plans, Fixed Penalty Notices of £100 can be issued with fines of up to £1,000 also available to anyone breaking the order.
It means any driver in a group of two or more who is posing a risk to other road users, playing loud music or is deemed to be taking part in antisocial behaviour could fall foul of the legislation.
Planned events with written permission from the authorities can still take place.
In March last year, one thousand modified cars came to the seafront despite warnings from police not to do so after post advertising the meet-up circulated on social media the month prior.
Police and the council closed Marine Drive but cars moved on to other places in the area including Seamer Road, Morrisons in Eastfield, Filey Country Park and the Alpamare water park.
A number of drivers were given dispersal orders to leave the borough. There were also two arrests for drug driving, a driver who tried to outrun police in his car and seven speeding fines issued. A single-vehicle crash in Victoria Road was also attributed to the gathering.
The council report adds that concerns remain about the events taking place in the town.
It states: “This proposal is being considered because of the concerns raised about safety and antisocial behaviour at previous events. The events also require considerable police and council resources.
“Unlike other events, such as the Goldwings Parade, the ‘car cruises’ are not formally organised events and the council and the police have no control over the timing of events, nor the numbers that may attend.
“Events are not risk assessed and lack a formal ‘responsible body’ that can manage such events. In addition, no public liability insurance is in place.”
In recommending the council keep the PSPO for three more years the report concludes: “It is recognised that there is significant opposition to the PSPO.
“However, on balance it is considered that renewing the PSPO would be a reasonable response and remains a useful tool to discourage dangerous and antisocial activity, as part of a multi-agency, integrated response to tackling antisocial behaviour.”