Wokingham to meet offenders by car
Nuisance drivers taking part in ‘noisy’ car encounters could now be fined up to £1,000.
Wokingham Borough Council has passed a Protection of Public Spaces Order (PSPO), which aims to reduce the ‘misery’ felt by residents from the ‘use of vehicles with anti-social behaviour’ in car parks and the like public spaces.
The PSPO is giving officers new powers to issue fixed fine notices (PCNs) of up to £100, or a summary fine of up to £1,000, to those who fail to meet the conditions.
Signage totaling £2,000 will be put up in the areas so the order can be legally enforced.
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Environment, Sport and Recreation Executive Member Cllr Ian Shenton said the implementation is “necessary” due to the “volume of complaints” from residents.
“Typically, it is characterized by engine revs, wheelspin, aggressive driving, honking, backfiring and loud music. A lot of that happens quite late at night,” Cllr Shenton explained.
The “number and regularity” of the incidents were found to have had an “adverse effect on the quality of life” of nearby residents, which meets the statutory criterion for a PSPO.
Between January 2021 and January 2022, 82 incidents were reported to the council, mostly in the Carnival Hub car park, Mereoak Park & Ride near Three Mile Cross and supermarket car parks in the borough.
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The council set up a new crime prevention team in April designed to ‘provide a visible presence’ and crack down on anti-social behaviour, but Bulmershe and Whitegates ward representative Cllr Shirley Boyt said incidents are occurring. were still producing with “alarming regularity”.
The boroughs of Wokingham and Bracknell have both been plagued by motor encounter incidents of late, prompting interventions from residents, council and local MPs.
In January, angry residents protested against regular events at The Carnival Pool car park on Wellington Road, with Councilor Maria Gee saying children were hiding under their beds because the noise sounded like gunshots.
Wokingham Borough Council said cases had fallen following the installation of CCTV.
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Incidents at Sainsbury’s on Bagshot Road in Bracknell prompted an intervention in parliament by borough MP James Sunderland.
Mr Sunderland urged the supermarket to close its car park while the store was closed, after residents complained that up to 100 cars regularly turned up for ‘dangerous’ and ‘noisy’ car encounters.
A public consultation by Wokingham Borough Council on the proposed PSPO, carried out between June and July this year, found that 75% of respondents were in favor of its implementation.
The by-law was unanimously approved by council at the executive meeting on Thursday, September 29.