A CAR club has hit out at criticism about its recent meeting in Stratford, saying their gathering at the Bishopton park and ride earlier this month was well organised and members behaved themselves.
The meeting of the All Mods Club attracted almost 400 cars and their owners.
The club, which formed around four years ago regularly holds meetings around Stratford in car parks at Waitrose, the Maybird Shopping Centre, and Sainsbury’s in Wellesbourne.
However, the meeting at the park and ride came in for criticism from district councillor Robert Vaudry (Cons, Bishopton), who claims he received a number of complaints from neighbouring residents. Cllr Vaudry said issues such as cars racing through nearby housing estates, loud music being played and firecrackers being set off, had all been reported to him.
But the club themselves, which has 4,700 members across the country, has been quick to dispute the claims after Cllr Vaudry criticised the event on his Facebook page.
Harry ‘All Mods’ Kay, who organises the meets, said: “Sunday was actually one of our smallest meets, sometimes we get up to 800 cars.
“The suggestion that there is a lack of organisation at these meets is insulting to me and the club. We have a team of 14 people who work very hard to make these events run smoothly.
“We always contact the police beforehand to let them know when and where we are meeting and are the only club in the country that does that, these meetings are fully legitimate.
“I live locally and we work hard not to cause disruption to residents. We hold these events away from houses, they begin at 6.30pm and end at 9pm, and afterwards we clean up any mess, everybody is usually gone by 10pm. We choose to hold these events on Sunday nights, especially in the supermarket car parks, because there are no shoppers about.
“The suggestion that cars are racing around local estates makes me laugh, I live on the closest one and there’s speed bumps everywhere. I believe people are making stuff up about Sunday’s meet, if people were doing donuts and racing about where is the evidence? I think the councillor has got a bee in his bonnet about it.
“We don’t actually need permission to be at the park and ride, there are no signs saying it is closed on a Sunday night. We know there’s always going to be opposition to us, I don’t know what people do outside of the meeting, but I was there on Sunday and I know people were well behaved.”
Harry said that the club had raised a considerable amount for charity over the past four years.
Club member, Michael Leach, added: “We are not out to make trouble, we meet up, talk to each other about the cars and share ideas. There are groups who race in Coventry but we’re not part of that.
“We are a group of car enthusiasts, we’re not boy racers. Events are well organised and you get families coming down too.”
The All Mods Club is already advertising meet-ups in Tesco car park on 12th March and 2nd April, and back at the park and ride on 26th March.
Explaining his concerns about the event Cllr Vaudry told the Herald: “I was at home at about 6.30pm when about eight people called me saying all hell’s breaking loose at the park and ride. They said cars were zooming up and down, fire crackers were going off and there was loud music.
“The district and county councils were not made aware that this event was taking place. The district council, the police, and the county council will look into whether this is an appropriate site for such an event, and if it is legal, does it cause a public nuisance. We’re going to take a sensible look at this, but if events like this are to continue they need to be managed properly.
“I think that if you were an elderly resident living nearby on Sunday night you could have legitimately felt terrified.”
A spokesperson from Warwickshire County Council, which runs the park and ride car park, said: “Warwickshire County Council are aware of the planned meeting on 26th March 2017 at Stratford Park and Ride.
“The organisers of this meet-up have not sought permission for this event, nor would permission be granted. The council and site management at the car park are currently exploring options to prevent any future meetings of this nature.
A spokesperson for Waitrose said: “We have been advised by the police to secure the car park because of the anti-social behaviour the meeting has attracted here and elsewhere in the past.”
Read Thursday’s letters page in the Herald for your views on the All Mods event.