Order prohibiting ‘car cruising’ in Crawley to be extended

Councillors have recommended that a Public Space Protection Order set up to prohibit car cruising in Crawley be extended for three years.

The order, which was put in place in December 2018 is due to expire in March.

During a meeting of the cabinet on Wednesday (February 2),Michael Jones, cabinet member for public protection, said that, while it had been ‘effective’ in Tilgate, there were still issues in West Green, Manor Royal and Maidenbower.

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Mr Jones said “Road safety, pedestrian safety and noise nuisance are all serious issues relating to this activity.”

Car cruise activity and anti-social driving have been reported in the Sainsbury’s car park (Google Maps - Street View)

He told the meeting that the council had persuaded Sainsbury’s, in Crawley Avenue, to install traffic calming speed bumps and was working with the police to ‘discourage’ the cruisers.

In addition, there were plans to use mobile CCTV and numberplate recognition equipment to tackle this and other issues relating to antisocial behaviour and crime.

Mr Jones added: “There continues to be a need for this order.

“We do have groups who are putting on organised events so this is an ongoing issue.

“This behaviour is totally unacceptable and renewing this order will send a clear message to the perpetrators.”

A report to the meeting said the gatherings involved anything from two or three cars up to as many as 50.

Data from Sussex Police showed that, between March 2019 and October 2021, 146 incidents relating to car cruise activity and anti-social driving had been reported – 116 in the Sainsbury’s car park.

Some 131 incidents had also been reported to the council.

The council has sent out 83 letters to drivers warning them that they were in breach of the Public Space Protection Order.

Conservative leader Duncan Crow said: “I welcome that some Fixed Penalty Notices have now been issued.

“I think that may well be a game changer.

“A letter in the post may not otherwise be much of a deterrent but word will get round once fines are being levied.”

Peter Lamb, leader of the council, agreed.

He said: “I’m always in favour of fining people as soon as we can – there’s no point in having a rule and not enforcing it.”

The cabinet’s recommendation to extend the order and approve the use of £100 Fixed Penalty Notices for those who breach it will be considered during a meeting of the full council later this month.