Scarborough Council has moved to regulate modified car cruises over fears that people could be killed – while an organiser calls it ‘discrimination’.
The council approved proposals for a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) that would fine anyone £100 who organised or attended an unauthorised cruise.
Modified cars driving and parking on the town’s Marine Drive and Royal Albert Drive in the North Bay have been a regular sight for many years.
However, that may now be at an end.
Councillors say they are acting following issues at previous events, including £50,000 of damage to the road surface caused by a driver burning tyres and noise complaints.
Councilleader Derek Bastiman told the Full Council meeting, held on Monday July 2, the events were “an accident waiting to happen”.
He added: “Many of you may have noticed concrete blocks have been placed outside the Open Air Theatre. That is at the advice of counter-terrorism professionals, due to it being at high risk of people driving in and killing people.
“Well, in my opinion, that is a low risk compared to what would happen if someone drove into people during one of these events near the Oasis Cafe and I won’t have that on the conscience of this council.”
The meeting was told the issue came to a head after organisers of the cruises refused to engage with council officers, while organiser of the Static Royals meets, Ryan Linley, insists he has always arranged with the council and police when meetings were held.
He said: “I’ve lost all heart in it. I was fighting tooth and nail for it.
“The broad spectrum of modified cars is huge – yes you get those with the big exhaust but you also get some people spending £100,000 to have the car tuned and bodywork done.”
Mr Linley added: “Cllr Sandra Turner was quoted saying ‘what we do not want to promote and what we do not accept, is the gathering of the amount of these types of vehicles that then take part in the rallies’.
“If I get everyone to bring an ordinary unmodified car down to have a meeting I’d happily do that, what difference does it make.
“Super cars will still be allowed down there and they still make a lot of noise.
“It’s discrimination because we own modified cars.
“It’s such a shame that we’re having to do this. We bring a hell of a lot of money in to the town, we wanted to work with the council to get it working and let the town benefit from it.”
The Static Royals group, which has been meeting in Scarborough for five years, is one of a number groups which had met in the town. At the group’s meet which took place in March, North Yorkshire Police and Scarborough Borough Council decided to close Marine Drive for public safety reasons after a large number of cars descended on the seafront.
Cllr Tom Fox added: “Some of this driving is dangerous.
“They are a law unto themselves. Sometimes to skin the cat you’ve got to have a weapon to club them with.
“It doesn’t preclude these events, it just makes them easier to manage.”
Cllr Roberta Swiers added: “If we just let this go on and someone was injured or killed then it would be on us. The safety aspect is absolutely crucial.”
Organiser of the Static Royals car cruise, Mr Linley, previously said that any trouble was not caused by members of his group and he wants the event to be policed to prevent that type of behaviour.
Now Mr Linley has confirmed the group will no longer be organising meets in Scarborough and will have businesses that want to work with them elsewhere.
He dismissed claims the event was an accident waiting to happen.
“Playing in the sea can be ridiculously dangerous, it can change in an instant – but does that mean we should stop people doing it?” said Mr Linley.
“No, we put measures in place like lifeguards and safety measure and education, why can’t we do something like that here.
“If you pay your road tax, insure your vehicle and make sure it’s roadworthy, then what right does any authority have to tell you where you can and cannot go.”
During an event in October last year, £50,000 worth of damage was caused to the surface of Royal Albert Drive.
Anthony Hopcraft, 24 of Maple Drive, Scarborough, was subsequently charged and convicted of dangerous driving and criminal damage.