15 September 2009>
To coincide with the closure of Blackwood High Street on Thursday nights, the Safer Caerphilly Community Safety Partnership and associated agencies is arranging a 'Big Screens and Mean Machines' event for car cruisers at Pontllanfraith House.
Car cruisers are invited to attend the council office car park at 6pm on Thursday 17th September, and will be led on a controlled drive down High Street at 6.40pm. The road will then close behind them for the first time at 7pm.
The drivers will be led back down to the council office car park, where a range of displays are arranged.
Attendees will be amongst the first see the full-length 30-minute 'COW' film, whose four-minute clip is currently a worldwide Internet phenomenon.
An Aston Martin DB9 and a Mitsubishi Eclipse used in the filming of the Fast the Furious will also be on display.
Police officers, council officials and fire officers will be using the event to explain a number of issues to the drivers. This includes the details of the road closure, issues with noise nuisance, illegal modifications, speeding and safe driving.
Blackwood Neighbourhood Inspector Kevin Childs, said: "Car cruising in Blackwood has been occurring for over 25 years, and it's time that residents were able to visit local stores on Thursdays, without being intimidated or stuck in traffic. We don't have any problems with drivers who look after and care for their cars, but we do strongly object to the behaviours that can often come along with car cruising. During a recent operation over five Thursday nights, we caught over 250 drivers speeding.
"We quite simply don't have the road infrastructures in this area to cope with the large influx of cars every Thursday night. Local businesses, such as ASDA, are also taking positive action to prevent large groups of cars gathering, acting in an anti-social manner and intimidating residents. We want to use this night to get across crucial road safety measures and very simply explain that car cruising is not welcome in the area."
Cabinet member for the environment, Cllr Lyn Ackerman said, "At its height, over 300 cars and 500 people were congregating in the town's car parks and driving up and down the High Street until the small hours, causing great disturbance and anti-social behaviour for local residents and businesses.
"We in no way wish to be 'kill-joys' to those who look after and take pride in their cars, but residents have put up with car cruising and the negative issues it often brings with it for long enough, and this event, combined with the road closure order which comes into force on the same evening, we hope will help us to allow local residents and businesses to enjoy quieter lives, which they are fully entitled to."
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