Council bosses insist that they are not trying to be the ‘fun police’ and seem positive an agreement to allow bikers to gather regularly on Bancroft Gardens can be reached with a review of byelaws covering the area.
Last week members of the Regulatory Committee met to discuss a new set of draft proposals governing the Bancroft Gardens, Recreation Grounds and the Tramway Bridge, covering everything from the use of drones and model aircraft, to cycling and outdoor games.
The review was carried out following a complaint about motorcycles parking at the Bancroft from a member of the public.
When the issue was discussed at Cabinet in November, members were generally in favour of members of the Stratford Bikers group meeting at the site, but agreed that the byelaws governing the land, which date back to 1910, were outdated and needed revising.
Those historic laws included extensive sections on driving sheep, and technically outlawed mobility scooters from the area.
A new set of rules has now been drafted, setting out what behaviour is permitted.
They include the banning of motor vehicles and motorcycles, except with consent from the council, prohibiting the use of drones, climbing tree or fences, playing golf, archery or playing cricket using a cricket ball (except in a designated area).
The draft review had sought to ban yarn bombing and anything which may pollute the waterway, though during discussion on Friday, it was revealed that such activities are probably already covered by existing legislation.
Tony Perks, Head of Technical and Community Services, said: “We’re conscious of becoming the fun police so the balance we’re trying to strike is all about allowing people to enjoy themselves, but not to ruin the enjoyment of others.
He added: “The motorcycle club have been very co-operative with us and they’re well organised so it’s feasible that we could come to an arrangement to allow them to have a regular event that they police.”
Cllr John Feilding said: “It would be good to have some kind of compromise with the motorcycle club, they bring people into the town, people come down just to look at them, so I think it’s important.”
During the meeting Cllr Anne Parry suggested that the new byelaws could be extended to cover the council’s other public open spaces in the district.
It was agreed that this may be possible, but it would be appropriate to roll out the byelaws on the Recreation Ground, Bancroft Gardens and Tramway Bridge, before imposing the rules at other locations.
Members agreed that the draft rules should proceed to a regulatory impact assessment, the next stage towards formally adopting the byelaws