Car cruisers could be fined up to £1,000 under a new move being considered to crackdown on huge groups of anti-social drivers.
But residents who have seen their lives blighted by events involving up to 1,000 cars at a time face a wait of at least three months if Milton Keynes Council decides to switch on the extra powers.
Milton Keynes Council is proposing to introduce a Public Space Protection Order in the city, which could lead to so called car cruisers being handed penalty notices of up to £100 each, or even £1,000 if they are prosecuted.
Car cruisers, who often meet at the drop of a hat in groups of 1,000, have been accused of racing, causing noise and nuisance, and even driving cars through pedestrian underpasses.
Cllr Hannah O’Neill, the council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, is due to decide on Tuesday, May 28, whether to use her delegated powers to put the issue out for public consultation. If she agrees to do that, the consulation period will last for 12 weeks.
In a briefing paper prepared in advance of Cllr O’Neil’s official decision date, council officers say there have been regular car cruise events in Milton Keynes which can attract more than 1,000 cars. The activity has grown both nationally and locally, the report says.
The events, which are pre-planned, usually on social media, result in “complaints of associated anti-social behaviour from residents including excessive noise and dangerous driving activities.”
This consultation is intended to gain public opinion on whether Milton Keynes council should introduce a borough wide Public Space Protection Order to tackle the anti-social use of vehicles, which will allow this particular form of anti-social behaviour to be more effectively controlled.
The outcome of the consultation will be reported to the cabinet for consideration.
The report to Cllr O’Neil goes on to say that MK is a prime location for car cruises because of its road network and because it is close to the M1.
“There were several notable weekend events throughout the summer of 2018, which led to numerous complaints from local residents concerning excessive vehicle noise, racing on the public highway, drifting, doughnuts and burnouts, where drivers spin wheels to create smoke and noise."
“There has been a significant impact on local residents and businesses evidenced by the volume of calls as well as individual community impact statements."
“Community safety is a major concern as participants of these car cruise events have, on occasions, taken it upon themselves to close a road to facilitate racing, and large crowds gather to watch events in close proximity. There have also been episodes where cars have been driven through pedestrian underpasses.”
The consultation will welcome comments from supporters and objectors to a PSPO.
“To obtain a balanced view, the consultation will be widely publicised to ensure maximum participation of those potentially affected and those who participate in the events” says the report.
If a PSPO is agreed the police and council officers will be able to issue fixed penalty notices of up to £100 or a fine of up to £1,000 if they are prosecuted, as long as the council creates the correct signs.