Council vetoes 'boy racer' event

PUBLISHED: 02:01 02 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:06 10 June 2010

FOUR outdoor events aimed at tackling the problem of 'boy racers' on the seafront were rejected by town councillors on Monday because of concerns about liability. The police, fire service, Devon County Council and the town council had jointly formed the D

FOUR outdoor events aimed at tackling the problem of 'boy racers' on the seafront were rejected by town councillors on Monday because of concerns about liability.The police, fire service, Devon County Council and the town council had jointly formed the Dangerous Drivers Reduction Action Group.The hope was to hold the four 'Street Meet' events in an EDDC car park - with police giving pointers on safe driving while firefighters would explain how they deal with accidents and the aftermath.It had been made clear that a new approach was needed because previous attempts to tackle the issue through traffic calming measures hadn't worked.But, at the Annual General Meeting, following lively debate, town councillors rejected the idea - because liability could fall on their shoulders.Police had told councillors that, because the event would be taking place in an EDDC car park, it would be beyond their jurisdiction. And if EDDC had given permission for a car park to be used, the town council as 'promoters' would have had to accept responsibility had something gone wrong. Mayor Joy Whipps said: "I am a little disappointed that this will not go ahead."I do think it would have been an opportunity and nothing ventured nothing gained."But I do sympathise with the concerns of the other councillors about liability, and concerns the town would be flooded with young drivers and the event would be advertised on the internet."Cllr Eileen Wragg said: "The principle to raise safety awareness among young people is to be applauded; dangerous driving is a matter for enforcement by the police. There is no question that, with four events planned throughout the summer, young drivers would be attracted to the town in their many hundreds as an approved venue. The police told us that last year they were able to prevent an invasion of 5,000 young drivers who were heading here, yet they were in support of the Street Meet, which would have stretched their resources considerably."The recommendation will now be considered by EDDC before a final decision is made.

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