Victory for Manor Road residents in battle with ‘neighbours from hell’

Manor Road Car Park

Manor Road Car Park - Credit: Archant

Residents living near a Sidmouth car park say they are ‘looking forward to some peace and quiet’ after claiming victory in a 20-year battle to deter nuisance boy racers.

Owners of properties backing onto the Manor Road facility have long complained of revving engines, loud music and screeching tyres into the early hours.

And this week, district bosses heeded their calls for the site to be closed to cars at night – despite being advised to implement a less radical solution of speed bumps.

The car park is owned and operated by East Devon District Council (EDDC) and a report to its leadership had suggested installing the ‘traffic calming road humps’ to discourage drivers of lowered vehicles from entering.

But in a petition submitted to the authority earlier this year, more than 50 residents had pleaded for a lockable barrier on the entrance and ‘dragon’s teeth’ on the exit to allow cars to leave.

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Stating the case for a 9pm closure to EDDC’s cabinet on Wednesday, Redlands resident Sir Richard Gibbs said: “Speed bumps at entry and exit won’t stop souped-up cars from entry and exit and causing havoc once inside.

“How would you feel if you, or your elderly parents, had neighbours from hell, who for years allowed their land to attract revving cars, squealing tyres and booming music, at least two nights-a-week, but sometimes four or five, until the early hours?

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“You, the council, are seen by residents nearby as being such neighbours.”

The meeting heard that barrier systems at both Manor Road and Seaton’s Underfleet car park could be installed for an estimated £18,000.

Cabinet members raised concerns over the possible impact on tourists, the potential of drivers finding their way in to the car park despite the obstacles – and who would lock the barrier each night.

But a proposal to proceed with the night closure by Councillor Ian Thomas, seconded by EDDC leader Cllr Paul Diviani, was voted through.

Members agreed to be flexible with the 9pm closure when large events were being held in the town and during the summer.

Reacting to the decision, a spokesman for the Manor Road residents group said: “All the residents are delighted and we look forward to the work being done and having a bit of peace and quiet!

“It was nice to see democracy working in the end.”

Sidmouth’s police sergeant, Andy Squires, added: “I’m delighted that in this climate of budget cuts, EDDC have found it within themselves to go straight for the ultimate solution.”

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