CAR enthusiasts want to hold regular cruiser events on Southend seafront, claiming they would be good for the town.
An unauthorised meeting in Western Esplanade on Easter Sunday attracted police attention after complaints of antisocial parking. But organisers insist critics don’t fully understand the meetings.
Although the Easter event ultimately passed without incident, detractors say such meetings attract “boy racers” who drive dangerously at high speeds.
Several groups, including Essex Cruise Scene, were involved in bringing people to the last event. The original organisers called on groups not to meet in Southend because there was no council permission.
But the groups claimed by the time they found out, it was too late to get members to go anywhere else. Michael Dunthorne, 44, from Kent, the club’s coowner, said: “People at our events just want to show off their cars.
“They don’t want to be doing wheelspins or anything like that. We’re no trouble.
“We hold static meets where people, who’ve spent their hardearned money on their cars, can look at each other’s vehicles.
“We’re not boy racers. They race round the street, but we are static.
“There’s always going to be car clubs, same as pensioners’ clubs, bingo clubs –we’re no different.
“Some people parked illegally and got tickets, and so they should have. If the council allowed us to do it properly, we could have been more organised and spread out further along the front. I will continue trying to talk to Southend Council to let us meet. We’d like to do meets twice a year there.
“By having people visit, we’ll bring money into Southend to be spent in the town.” Tony Cox, Southend councillor responsible for public protection, waste and transport, said: “As long as it’s done in a controlled manner, is well organised and well marshalled.
I wouldn’t necessarily have a problem with it.”
But his cabinet colleague, Derek Jarvis, member for culture and tourism, questioned whether there was room on the seafront for large car meets and said he feared it could cause gridlock. He added: “I’m sceptical it would have any great advantage on days which are already extremely busy.”