Demands to tackle illegal car meets at A10 retail park as residents ‘blighted’ by noise

Efforts underway to stop young drivers meeting at night to show-off their cars modified with exhausts that sound like gunfire, reports James Cracknell

Colosseum Retail Park and (inset) a YouTube video showing a car meet there
Colosseum Retail Park and (inset) a YouTube video showing a car meet there

Action to tackle illegal ‘car meets’ on the A10 is being demanded amid late-night noise pollution and speeding issues along the road that a local MP says are “blighting the lives of residents”.

Colosseum Retail Park in Southbury, beside the A10 dual carriageway, is one of the sites regularly being used as a meeting point for drivers late at night to show off their cars, usually modified with loud exhausts that can make sounds similar to gunfire.

The events feature young drivers skidding their cars around in circles or ‘doughnuts’ in the car park, before often racing each other along the A10. A recent video uploaded to YouTube shows one such event taking place.

Bush Hill Park councillor James Hockney recently submitted a petition to Transport for London calling for additional speed cameras along the A10 but says illegal car meets – particularly at Colosseum Retail Park – are also a significant menace and noise nuisance for local residents.

The Conservative councillor says there is a plan to install concrete blocks and bollards throughout the car park which would deter illegal activity at night, while still allowing shoppers to park during the day.

However, Cllr Hockney has been frustrated with delays to the plan being implemented in recent months. He told the Dispatch: “It is simply unacceptable that we still do not have measures in place to curtail the car meets and dangerous driving at this location. I have been very concerned about any delays to measures that will protect public safety.

“Certainly it looked like there would be action in June when control measures were due to be installed that month – clearly for whatever reason this did not happen. And then in July and August revised drawing plans were being produced.”

Colosseum Retail Park is due to be redeveloped for housing in the near future, with planning permission granted for 1,800 homes two years ago. However, it appears the development has stalled amid rising construction costs, and the only sign of progress has been the relocation of B&Q to nearby Enfield Retail Park. Dunelm, Buzz Bingo and KFC continue to trade there.

The retail park’s management is said to be supportive of the proposed measures to prevent illegal car meets, but Cllr Hockney has blamed KFC for delays to their implementation. He added:

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“I have been pressing on the need for action. The car park managing agents need to get the revised measures installed and hope that KFC have signed off on the works.

“To tackle the noise and speeding on the A10 and the car meets taking place in car parks and business parks across the borough means that there are many different organisations involved. All of whom need to play their part.”

Approached for comment, a KFC spokesperson said the fast-food chain is “always looking at ways to be a good neighbour” and that it was supporting changes to the car park “that will benefit the community […] but also ensure access to our restaurant isn’t made challenging for our team and loyal fans”.

The Metropolitan Police is planning its own series of measures to tackle the issue. A spokesperson said: “The North Area Command Unit is aware of concern among the local community regarding the noise and anti-social behaviour these noisy and illegal ‘events’ generate.

“Tackling them is a priority and officers have been developing a robust strategy to deal with the dangerous and reckless actions of those that have been attending these car meets.

“This includes utilising officers from a variety of MPS units, including roads and transport and safer neighbourhoods teams, as part of a dedicated operation deployed when police become aware of such events.

“There has been some good results to date, with usage of CCTV footage enabling officers to close the area off and order people to leave.

“Vehicles that have been observed committing offences are stopped and processed under Section 59 of the Police Reform Act.

“Officers will continue to act in this manner until the message is clear, it will not be tolerated and we will take cars from those who are irresponsible and risking the safety of others.

“The safety of our residents and legitimate/safe drivers is of paramount importance to us and we will continue to act in this way until the area is safe for our residents.”

Meanwhile, Enfield North MP Feryal Clark is arranging a meeting between stakeholders and residents on the wider issue of speeding along the A10. She said: “The problem of car racing along A10 and Mollison Avenue is blighting the lives of our residents. I continue to receive complaints about the misery this is causing.

“Residents deserve answers and action on this matter as soon as possible.

“I will work with residents and local police every step of the way to try and put a stop to this dangerous anti-social activity.

“I look forward to attending a meeting with those concerned in the coming weeks to discuss this matter further.”

An Enfield Council spokesperson added: “We are outraged that our residents are being blighted by this illegal activity in Enfield. The council has urged the Metropolitan Police and local Enfield neighbourhood policing team to tackle ‘car meets’.

“The council is also proactively working with landowners to make modifications to their car parks to prevent car stunts and other anti-social behaviour.

“The council currently has Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) in specific ‘hot spots’ which gives us and the police more powers to intervene, but over the coming months we will consult on a borough-wide PSPO to tackle this scourge wherever it takes place.”

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