White flag raised with drive plan

PUBLISHED: 02:01 30 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:11 10 June 2010

Police and council surrender to seafront boy racers? Can I be so bold as to suggest the above as a more appropriate header to your page three article in last week's Journal about the proposed summer evening closure to car users of Queen's Drive spur in

Police and council surrender to seafront boy racers? Can I be so bold as to suggest the above as a more appropriate header to your page three article in last week's Journal about the proposed summer evening closure to car users of Queen's Drive spur in Exmouth? I am sure I am not the only resident of Exmouth to be surprised and very disillusioned at the apparent defeat of our local police and council, beaten outright by the boy racers who frequent the seafront race track during the evenings. Your article has Inspector Jez Capey leading the retreat, effectively waving the white flag to these miscreants, closely followed by the fleeing Dangerous Driving Reduction Action Group and petrified Devon County Council - not one hero among them. Inspector Capey claims the police have 'tried enforcement' to resolve this problem. Really? Can he tell us how many convictions his officers have secured for speeding, noisy exhausts, reckless driving and other traffic offences along Queen's Drive and the Esplanade? What action have police taken under the Anti Social Behaviour Act in this area? How does this situation sit with Devon County Council's anti-social behaviour policy that claims 'Nuisance and anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated by the council and will be tackled robustly'?I walk along the seafront most evenings and, yes, to their credit, the police are often in evidence but when they turn up in their high visibility police vehicles and reflective jackets the boy racers are, not surprisingly, nowhere to be seen! Have the police ever tried using covert patrols? Is it really too difficult for the authorities to impose a 10-mile-an-hour speed limit, traffic calming measures at short intervals and permanent speed and CCTV cameras along the entire seafront as a serious deterrent to this activity as opposed to this draconian and inappropriate proposal? Furthermore, I don't recall ever seeing Queen's Drive being "designated" under the terms of the Anti Social Behaviour Act to prevent disorder, and so I call into question whether everything that can be done has been done. So no, it is clear to me that the police and other associated agencies have certainly not tried everything to seriously address this problem. Why is that? Maybe because it's cheaper and easier to issue a traffic order and diminish the enjoyment and freedoms of law abiding citizens than it is to take the measures I have suggested. Whatever the reason, because of its unusual proximity to the unspoilt seafront, coastline and start of the Jurassic Coast, it provides relaxation and pleasure on a warm summer's evening to many elderly and disabled local people, tourists and others who have no choice but to drive there to enjoy this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so closing the road is not the solution. I, as a resident of Exmouth, would not have been aware of this proposal at all were it not for your article, because the council notices are wrapped around traffic signs in Queen's Drive spur, certainly unnoticeable and virtually unreadable. In addition, the statement of reasons published by the council refers simply to "concerns related to recurrent road safety and disorder problems associated with the Queen's Drive spur road at night". How on earth can a full and proper public consultation take place upon such generalised, unevidenced and unspecific reasons? Those grounds could refer to just about any road in the centre of Exmouth at night, so are we to expect the council to eventually close off the whole town?Isn't it ironic that many of your recent headlines have promoted the current council venture of an Exmouth Visitor Centre to propound Exmouth as the 'Gateway to the Jurassic Coast'? Some gateway if the gate is to be closed to vehicular traffic in the summer evenings !John Thorogood,Morton Road,Exmouth.

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