Council and police stop car enthusiasts’ meeting in Stafford

A Stafford car club founder who had the brakes put on his latest event said the group's gatherings are family-friendly and anti-social behaviour is not welcome.

The long stay Doxey Road car park In Stafford. Photo: Google Maps
The long stay Doxey Road car park In Stafford. Photo: Google Maps

Staffordshire Police had warned car enthusiasts not to attend a gathering near Sainsbury’s, which had been planned for last Sunday.

And Stafford Borough Council closed the Doxey Road car park from 4.30pm, only reopening it on Monday morning.

Earlier this month, more than 100 enthusiasts attended a gathering in the area, which sparked noise complaints and concerns about social distancing from Doxey Road residents and a community leader.

But George Locke, who started the Stance in The Street club and began running regular meetings at the Sainsbury’s car park 18 months ago, said the events attracted families and friends of all ages – and they met up to admire one another’s vehicles and talk about their shared interests rather than racing around or revving their engines.

He said he had been in contact with police to inform them when events were taking place

The static meetings were put on hold during the lockdown, but started up again in recent weeks. And Mr Locke, 35, said safety measures included hand sanitiser, masks, and making sure vehicles were spaced out to maintain social distancing.

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He added: “For some of the lads this is the only thing they have to go to. We promote family-friendly car meets with no revving, no drugs and no alcohol. All we want to do is park in a car park and chat to people

“When we were up and running I was contacted by police who informed me they were happy for me to carry on running the event. The only problem they had was after the events had finished at 9pm, people were staying behind – I said after 9pm I would clear the car park and some of our members stayed to pick up the rubbish.

“At the event where there were 100 cars we had one car revving its engine – I think that’s what started this off. I have never had any trouble with the police before the last event.”

A CPN (Community Protection Notice) was served on event organisers, warning them not to go ahead with last weekend’s event, Stafford Borough Council has said. The council warned motorists of the temporary car park closure on its website, social media and signs at the site.

A spokesman for Stafford Borough Council said: “We worked alongside the police to prevent an unauthorised gathering on the Doxey long stay car park at the weekend following concerns about potential noise and anti-social behaviour.

“Signs were placed on the site to say the car park was closed from 4.30pm on Sunday evening until 6am on Monday.”

Thanked

Superintendent Tom Chisholm, head of neighbourhood policing at Staffordshire Police, had urged car enthusiasts not to attend planned events in Stafford and Stoke on Trent at the weekend.

A Doxey Road resident thanked police, the local authorities and Stafford Borough councillor Tony Pearce, who represents the Doxey and Castletown ward, for their response at the weekend.

He said: “We have no objection to people enjoying themselves as long as they do not disturb other people. Some of the cars look amazing – but that car park isn’t an appropriate place for them to be meeting.

“There is a time and a place for everything – but it isn’t Doxey Road car park for what they are doing. There must be somewhere they can find where it is OK.”

Councillor Pearce said there had been numerous complaints from Castletown residents. He visited the car park earlier this month to see the latest event.

“After all the noise from the pile driving and other work associated with the Western Access Road, this is the last thing residents want,” he added.

“The numbers of vehicles involved were considerable and the noise unacceptable.

“I went across there after about 30 cars had left and there were still about 50 cars and around 100 young people – clearly not observing social distancing.”

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