There are fears that a business park in Greenhithe used by street racers could see the same sort of horrific crash that left 15 people injured on the Medway City Estate last year.
Several cases of anti-social driving in the Crossways Boulevard area have been reported to police, with drivers using the Crossways Business Park and nearby roundabouts to race their cars and perform stunts and tricks.
Locals are concerned that such activities pose a major safety risk just a few months after seeing a group of youngsters left in hospital by the incident in Medway which had become an attractive track for boy racers.
One man, who lives in Charles Street, just over the road from Crossways Business Park, told the Messenger he could not understand the attitude of the “car enthusiasts”.
Fifty-year-old Russ, who did not want to share his surname, said: “If they’re going to do that sort of thing, they need to do it in a controlled environment. It’s private land, they’re trespassing, and they shouldn’t be in there.
“They do it from about 10.30pm and it can go on until two in the morning. If they love their cars so much, I can’t understand why they’d want to drive round and round and round, wrecking the tyres, and put them through such abuse.
“People who work there only need to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and you could be on the wrong end of it. We had a pedestrian killed at a crossing on Christmas Eve, then two nights later you’ve got these people doing this in the car park opposite.
“You can hear the noise but unless you go out there and see what it is, you don’t know what’s going on. You’re just waiting to hear a crash and a bang, and then wait to hear the sirens.”
The Christmas Eve crash was unrelated to the reports of antisocial driving, but the drifting has also reportedly taken place at nearby roundabouts, and Russ is worried that another tragedy could happen if it continues.
He and other residents have also had problems with noise caused by the drivers, with their engines and skidding tyres being heard as far away as Swanscombe. “When you’ve got a car screeching and you’re sitting in bed, you want to go to sleep and you can’t,” he said.
“You’ve got that going on at 2am and it interrupts your sleep and it has an affect on your life.”
Russ is one of more than 20 people to get in touch with Cllr Peter Harman, Kent County Councillor for Greenhithe, about the ongoing issues, and emails have also been sent to Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott.
Cllr Harman has subsequently met with police and officers from Dartford council and a meeting of Swanscombe and Greenhithe Town Council’s Anti-Social Behaviour & Crime Sub-Committee was due to discuss the matter this week.
“This issue is now being treated very seriously by Kent Police and Dartford council and a number of effective measures were agreed at the first meeting to combat these activities throughout the Swanscombe and Greenhithe areas,” said Cllr Harman.
“Some of these measures will be introduced immediately, others will take some time; but the aim of these is to stop antisocial vehicle use throughout the borough as soon as possible.”
A police spokesman added: “Officers regularly patrol the area and respond to incidents when they are reported, and are continuing to liaise with partners to identify further ways in which to deter those responsible. Anyone who wishes to report nuisance drivers can do so by calling 101.”