March 9, 2023 1.00 pm This story is over 15 months old

Councillor calls on local MP as car meets ‘wreak havoc’ at Lincoln’s Carlton Centre

He said police are being limited by budgetary pressures

By Local Democracy Reporter

A Lincoln councillor has called on MP Karl McCartney to put an end to the “dangerous” and “illegal” behaviour stemming from the local car meet community.

In an open letter to the MP, Abbey Ward representative Martin Christopher raised concerns about how little had been done to help prevent this kind of behaviour.

A number of incidents at the city’s Carlton Centre last year led to police issuing a dispersal order forcing anti-social youths to move on from the area.

In January, barriers were put in place at the retail park to curb boy racers and stop car meets in the parking spaces near people’s homes.

However, while car enthusiasts no longer meet anywhere near as often, loud engine noises still plague the area.

Barriers were installed at the Carlton Centre to reduce noise to residents at night | Photo: Submitted

Councillor Christopher wrote: “In response to the very real concerns raised here by Mr Sawyer, I am also writing to you to express my own deep concerns about the ongoing dangerous, illegal and antisocial behaviour in the Lincolnshire car meet community along with he lack of options for Lincolnshire Police and other public officials to address this issue.

“As you may already know, many residents in our community in Lincoln are suffering from constant noise and pollution caused by reckless driving, racing and antisocial behaviour.

“This has been an ongoing issue for decades, and despite the efforts of concerned residents, local councillors, businesses and the Community Policing Team, it seems the core response is only to move them on and not to prevent it happening.”

He went on to reference how the cuts to police funding have impacted the matter as a number of PSCOs have been taken off the streets.

He added: “If these officials are not doing their job effectively, or limited by budgetary pressures, I am looking to you, as our MP, to voice the community’s concerns and demand action.

“What more can be done to tackle antisocial behaviour at car meets in public spaces? Some ideas include identifying specific venues, tougher penalties for illegal modifications and more result-based funding for police to use existing powers with greater zeal.

“This county has some of the worst public transportation links in the UK, making a car vital for young drivers, some of which may be impressionable and take more risks than experienced drivers.

“Education and tough action combined would work well here and should be able to sustain some of the cost through fines and perhaps funding opportunities.”

Councillor Martin Christopher is regularly forced to clean Greetwell Hollow | Photo: LDRS

In response, Mr McCartney said: “I am sorry to read your email and be reminded of the ongoing issues at the Carlton Centre.

“You will appreciate that I monitor the local news outlets and was aware of the recent developments regarding the barrier – I am sorry that this has not resolved the matter.”

He continued: “In 2021, the Department for Transport published the results of research into enforcement against excessive noise pollution from vehicles using acoustic cameras.

“This research has shown that the technology has the potential to identify excessively noisy vehicles, but that there are still difficulties in accurately measuring noise from individual vehicles in busier traffic conditions.

“Further research is being commissioned to address these challenges, which will include further roadside trials of selected technology.

“I hope this provides some reassurance to you that the Government takes the issue and impact of vehicle noise of health and wellbeing and the natural environment seriously.

“Regarding your specific complaint at the Carlton Centre, I would be happy to meet you onsite if you wish?

“We can then agree a course of action, which I suspect in the very first instance will involve me making contact with Lincolnshire Police.”

Due to other commitments, Councillor Christopher revealed that he was unable to make the meeting but will be sending members of team in his place.

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