Fears 24-hour alcohol licence for Telford garage could fuel late-night car meets
Fears have been raised that granting a late-night refreshment and 24-hour alcohol licence to a garage will increase the problem of 'boy racers' holding car meetings in the area.
Telford & Wrekin Council is set to decide on a new premises licence for Asda Express in Hadley Park East next week.
Applicant Euro Garages Limited has asked for a late-night refreshment licence from 11pm until 5am, and a licence to sell alcohol 24 hours a day.
As part of the application, Euro Garages says that staff will receive additional training in the sale of alcohol, spirits will be displayed behind the counter and a CCTV system will be installed and maintained.
But Jonathan Phelps, anti-social behaviour officer for Telford & Wrekin Council, has objected to the scheme and said that in the last six to eight months the area has attracted a ‘noticeable amount’ of anti-social behaviour, specifically related to driving, with gatherings of up to 50 cars.
He said complaints logged about the area include one incident of ‘over 50 vehicles racing around the streets’.
Mr Phelps said the issues included ‘dangerous acts of driving on the highway and footpaths’ causing risks to other drivers and pedestrians.
He wrote that one incident included ‘racing three abreast’ down both sides of the carriageway and footpaths.
He added that cars have been seen driving at ‘excessive speed’ while entering and leaving the area of Hadley Park East, cornering at speed and performing “doughnut” skids around corners.
The objection said the issues have resulted in damage to street furniture belonging to Telford & Wrekin Council and Euro Garages.
“The residents and businesses have had considerable issues in terms of harassing and distressing behaviour, damage to property fencing and a considerable impact from littering by these groups,” added Mr Phelps.
“Members of said groups have threatened members of the public through intimidation and harassment.
“Meets have displayed no care for local residents through excessive loud and repetitive revving of engines and large deposits of litter from groups that visit the area.”
Police have conducted regular patrols during the summer period to help deter and monitor the behaviour and CCTV infrastructure has been installed.
Mr Phelps says that following the patrols, 16 Community Protection Notices were issued to registered keepers of vehicles ‘witnessed by officers detailing behaviours causing the detrimental effect to those local to the area’.
The notices restrict drivers from entering Hadley Park East unless they are purchasing services or goods from businesses.
The notices also say that for people visiting the area for those reasons, engines should not be ‘revved excessively when in motion’.
Failing to comply with a CPN can result in a £100 fixed penalty notice or prosecution.
“A drop in some of the issues has occurred following some intervention,” Mr Phelps added.
“The problems do still persist on occasion through the weekend in terms of gatherings becoming loud and boisterous in their behaviour. These incidents take place on the highway and also within the garage and parking areas within Hadley Park East.”
While Mr Phelps ‘understood’ that the complaints are relating to activity on the highway, he says groups attend Asda Express, which is requesting the license.
He added: “It is felt that if these groups that continue to visit this area are able to purchase alcohol, this could have a knock-on effect - either through increased risk to drink driving and its associated risk to road users and members of the public or others that form a part of the group becoming intoxicated and becoming more harassing in nature to local residents and businesses, not to mention that increased potential for littering that is having a blight on the local area and is impacting local businesses and their custom.”
Car meets have also been flagged up by guests of the Fallowfield Hotel in their Trip Advisor reviews.
Guests have complained about between 30 and 40 cars ‘blaring music and wheel spinning’ until between 2am and 3am.
The application has received objections from other residents who fear that the serving of late-night refreshments will result in ‘further disruption’ from ‘local car gangs’.
Telford & Wrekin Council’s licensing sub-committee will consider the application at a meeting on Tuesday.