PSPO on 'handbrake turns' and 'aggressive stunts' at Pontefract Racecourse to be renewed

The PSPO was introduced in 2016.
The PSPO was introduced in 2016.

A crackdown on dangerous drivers performing handbrake turns and erratic stunts on and around Pontefract Park and Racecourse is set to be extended.

Since 2016, local police have had the power to dish out fines of up to £1,000 to any motorist driving "anti-socially" in the area.

Neighbours of the Racecourse complained of timed races and aggressive driving happening in the area, before the order was made.

Neighbours of the Racecourse complained of timed races and aggressive driving happening in the area, before the order was made.

It followed complaints from nearby residents and businesses that groups of drivers were congregating around the venue and staging races, performing "aggressive" manouevres and playing loud music late into the night.

But since a public space protection order (PSPO) was put in place three years ago, Wakefield Council says the number of incidents around Pontefract Park has fallen.

As a result, senior councillors are expected to lengthen the PSPO, which was due to expire on August 31 this year, to the summer of 2022.

The local authority, which held a consultation on the move earlier this summer, says there is "overwhelming" public support for the move.

A report going before the council's Cabinet next Tuesday says: "Prior to the introduction of the PSPO, for a number of years residents and local businesses neighbouring Pontefract Park and Racecourse have suffered from anti-social behaviour arising from individuals driving their motor vehicles at speed, erratically and dangerously.

"Individuals and associates were entering the park and racing their vehicles in particular along the road which leads to a turning circle at the entrance to Pontefract Racecourse.

"The location has been subject to drivers performing dangerous and aggressive vehicle stunts which are commonly known as handbrake turns, wheel burnouts and doughnuts.

"This activity spilled out onto the surrounding roads, and reports were received of ‘timed races’ of motor vehicles taking place.

"Since the PSPO was introduced there has been a significant reduction in anti-social behaviour.

"The activities that are currently prohibited are totally unreasonable and dangerous."

The order was the first of its kind introduced in the Wakefield district, after councils were given new powers to tackle different forms of anti-social behaviour in specific areas.

More widely, they've been used to cut down on street drinking in Wakefield city centre, as well as in Pontefract and Castleford.

Local Democracy Reporting Service