ASB powers used against motorist meet-ups

Colchester Council is planning a ‘public spaces protection order’ banning car enthusiasts from gathering in a retail park after 6pm.

This comes after gatherings of hundreds of cars, organised by the East Essex Cruisers. Yet significantly, when police visited previous gatherings, they found that people were ‘not doing anything much’; they were looking at each other’s cars, some revving their engines or playing music on the car radio. The only offence was the sale of burgers from vans without a licence.

Yet under the new law it will become a crime to enter Turner Rise retail park after 6pm, except for the express purpose of using the retail facilities. According to the council’s draft law, it will be an offence to still be in the carpark after 20 minutes after ‘leaving the retail outlet or restaurant’.

Here we see how business, police and councils are collaborating to shut down activities in public spaces. Car meets may not be to everyone’s taste, but if these individuals are ‘not doing very much’ then they should be left in peace. It has reached the point where any unauthorised, spontaneous activity in public is becoming criminalised.

You can respond to the consultation here…

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