Anti-social driving problems in Eastbourne ‘affecting residents’ lives and draining police resources’

Eastbourne councillors have backed calls to tackle noisy cars and anti-social driving.

Monday, 22nd November 2021, 11:35 am
Speed indicator sign

On Wednesday (November 17), Eastbourne Borough Council unanimously backed a motion calling for action to reduce anti-social driving within the borough by working with Sussex Police and others.

Before making its decision, the council also heard from resident Barbara Granger about the impact of such driving, particularly noise, was having.

The motion, put forward by Conservative councillor Jane Lamb (Meads), also called on the council to look into what preventative measures it could take, such as Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) banning nuisance driving within specific areas of the town.

Cllr Lamb said: “The problem of anti-social driving is increasing nationally and locally exponentially, with increased complaints of speeding, noisy vehicles, poor driving, racing and illegal manoeuvres. 

She added: “As our speaker said, this has a detrimental effect on the lives of many of our residents and is also a drain on police resources, which are already stretched. 

“PSPO breaches can be seen as crimes, are reportable to insurers and can be followed up much more easily.  

“An area along the seafront and up to Beachy Head is very badly affected. Parts of Wealden and the National Park are included. A PSPO would be in the Eastbourne area only, but the neighbouring authorities would be informed.

“It [would not] include Eastbourne Borough Council approved activities, protests, carnivals or emergency vehicles, so I call on members to support our local police and our residents in supporting this motion.” 

The motion gained cross-party support with a number of councillors on both political groups highlighting issues with antisocial driving and speeding within their own wards.

These included Liberal Democrat council leader David Tutt, who said: “This is of an issue which is of great concern to members of the council on both sides of the chamber and is also of great concern to many residents, who are concerned about the speed of traffic and indeed the anti-social way some people chose to drive their vehicles within our borough. 

“I regularly discuss this issue with police and it is an issue that is frequently picked up at the Joint Action Group the council has with police and other statutory agencies.”

Cllr Tutt went on to say creating a new PSPO would require the council to be satisfied that two conditions were met: that the behaviour was having a detrimental effect and that the behaviour is likely to continue. 

He said he believed these conditions would be met and as a result his group would be supporting the motion.

In light of this, Conservative group leader Robert Smart called on the council’s cabinet to make the introduction of a PSPO a priority.

While the motion received unanimous support, there were some words of caution around what would be in the council’s power to achieve and its ability to effectively enforce such a PSPO given its limited resources.

Others argued for greater action by other authorities as well. For example, several councillors argued that measures such as speed cameras or lower speed limits would have a greater impact on anti-social driving, but that these would require action by East Sussex County Council.