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Call for action against Dartford late-night motor meet

Hundreds of petrolheads have been accused of keeping residents awake at night by blasting loud music and revving their engines in a town centre car park.

Dad Matt Hammond, who lives in Spring Vale North, Dartford, says the Priory Centre car park near Sainsbury's has become a hotbed for car fanatics on a weekly basis.

'Boy racers' gathered at the Priory Centre car park

He claimed those involved, who start gathering from 7pm until after 10pm when the supermarket shuts, have also been breaking the law.

"Every Friday we are seeing up to 200 modified cars take over the car park," Mr Hammond told KentOnline.

"The local residents are having to endure the noise this causes, including, but not limited too, dangerous driving, excessive revving of engines, horns and backfiring.

"With many young children in close proximity this is totally unacceptable."

Residents have alerted police to several late night disturbances at the car park in Dartford but say nothing has been done
Residents have alerted police to several late night disturbances at the car park in Dartford but say nothing has been done

Ragit - the group responsible for the event - share details of their weekly "meets" and their passion for cars with fellow enthusiasts on social media.

They run events in various locations across Kent, including Manor Barn Farm in Southfleet, Gravesend.

Advertising details of the last event they posted: "Come out this Friday to show off what you have!!!!

"Location is live and we have a spot undercover if it does rain. Please use bins provided.

"Convoys can be set up through page."

There are regulations and signage for use of the car park, which the group says it abides by.

Dartford Town Cllr Richard Wells has raised concerns about the issue
Dartford Town Cllr Richard Wells has raised concerns about the issue

Mr Hammond says he and other neighbours have put in numerous complaints to the council, police and Sainsbury's, but these have largely fallen on deaf ears.

He has now taken the issue up with local councillors, including deputy leader of the Conservative group Chris Shippam, and Richard Wells (Con), who have been looking into the issue.

Mr Wells said they were aware of the complaints and had taken up residents' concerns with police and the parking authority, APCOA.

He said: "We have reported it to the council's community safety unit to see if they can pick out people on CCTV," he said.

"Our first priority is the residents. It is not nice to have cars skidding by - it is not the kind of environment we want."

Sainsbury's said it would be passing on details to its store management team for review, but added responsibility for the car park rested with the parking authority.

A police spokesman said: "We were called at around 8.30pm on Friday to reports of nuisance vehicles in a carpark in Instone Road, Dartford.

"Officers attended the scene and gave words of advice to those present. No criminal offences were reported."

Inspector Gavin Wade of the North Kent Community Safety Unit said: "We are continuing to work proactively with the owner of the carpark, the local council and the store to resolve these ongoing issues. My officers have spoken directly with the people involved to explain the effects of antisocial behaviour on others."

Read more: All the latest news from Dartford


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