Sudbury: Plea for car park peace

The car park which has been turned in to a 'race track' by young drivers

The car park which has been turned in to a 'race track' by young drivers - Credit: Contributed

Frustrated people living near a car park which boy racers have turned into a racing track have pleaded for help.

Several of those living near to Sudbury’s Station Road car park say they are at their “wits end” after dealing with the constant noise of screeching tyres, car horns and loud exhausts emanating from the site.

At a passionate meeting earlier this week, they told town councillors police had been called on numerous occasions but they fear their concerns are “falling on deaf ears”.

Last night, a police spokesman told the EADT they were aware of the concerns and were doing all they could to combat the problem.

Babergh District Council, which owns the car park, has warned persistent offenders they risk having their cars confiscated if they continue to create a disturbance.

Hyde Road resident Jill Garrett was in tears as she explained to the council that she had not had a full night’s sleep for months because of the level of noise.

She said: “These boys are driving vehicles that have been modified to increase their output and the problem is getting worse.

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“I work a 12 hour day and get no more than four hours sleep per night because of the constant noise – I am absolutely exhausted and at my wits end.”

Last year, the town experienced serious issues with youngsters congregating around edge of town superstores late at night. About £4,000 worth of CCTV equipment was installed at a roundabout near the Chilton Industrial estate where young drivers were spotted going the wrong way round the intersection. The council has also experienced problems with youths using the one-way system as a “race track”.

Council member Russell Smith said: “It seemed as though the CCTV had solved the problem in that area but it looks as if these same people have simply relocated to Station Road.

“Whatever we come up with must be a long term solution because we can’t afford to move them and relocate the problem to another part of town.”

His colleague John Sayers said: “Most of them are nice lads and are very proud of their cars – they just want somewhere to meet up. I think it’s only a very few of them that are causing trouble.”

Chris Fry, who heads up environment services at Babergh and Mid Suffolk District councils said they were aware Station Road car park was being misued “by a minority of its users”.

But according to Mr Fry, the problem is not unique to Sudbury. He said: “There have been similar issues in Stowmarket and we are working with the police to put a stop to such abuse of the car parks there as well.

“One option is to employ powers under Section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002, and those causing these disturbances should be aware that the police do have the power to seize or remove their vehicles if, once warned, they continue to cause alarm or distress to local residents.”

The council is already taking steps to install signs warning car park users in Sudbury of this power.

Mr Fry continued: “This has to be a last resort but the drivers causing these disturbances need to realise that they are endangering not just themselves but others as well and it cannot be allowed to continue.”

A police spokesman said the local safer neighbourhood team was aware of the “on-going problem” at the Station Road site. He added: “We have received a number of complaints of anti-social behaviour from residents and our officers regularly patrol the area during the evening.

“Unfortunately the car park is open 24-hours a day and we cannot be there at all times. However we do encourage residents to attend our priority setting meeting on July 18 at the Stevenson Centre between 6pm-7pm where this matter can be discussed further.”

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