01 September 2009>
A new order, which comes into effect on 17th September, will allow the police to close Blackwood High Street to traffic at night in a bid to tackle the ongoing problems caused by 'car cruisers' in the town centre.
Blackwood has become a hotspot over recent years for the so-called cruisers who gather in large numbers to drive through the town centre and congregate in car parks.
Caerphilly County Borough Council and Gwent Police are set to introduce an experimental evening road closure from 17th September for a period of 18 months. A review will be carried out after six months and should the experiment prove to be successful, then the council will consider making the order permanent.
Local partners and the community have welcomed the move.
Blackwood ward member Cllr Kevin Etheridge said, "Local residents and traders have been calling for something to be done to tackle this problem for a long time. We believe closing the road some evenings when appropriate is the best way to discourage this type of nuisance behaviour, which causes disruption and is dangerous for motorists and pedestrians alike."
Cabinet member for transportation and planning, Cllr Rob Gough said, "We want to ensure that access is maintained for those that need it, so are working closely with the police to ensure the closure is implemented effectively. Hopefully this move will deter the cruisers and we will begin to see positive improvements for the whole community once the arrangement is in place."
The order will be in effect during the hours of 7pm to 4am and prohibits the driving of vehicles along the High Street between its junctions with Bridge Street in the south and the access lane for Cwrt Glanhowy in the north, also for approximately 20 metres of Woodbine Road and approximately 40 metres of Pentwyn Road where they meet the High Street.
Blackwood Neighbourhood Inspector Kevin Childs said, "We do not want to unnecessarily inconvenience law abiding Blackwood vehicle users. We hope that the road closure will assist in deterring hundreds of car cruisers from across the UK causing anti-social behaviour and annoyance to the communities of Blackwood. We are also working closely with local businesses to prevent large groups from gathering in car parks.
"The road closure will be implemented from 7pm on Thursday nights initially and will only be closed on other nights, should the need arise. We will be working closely with the council to review its impact."
There will be exceptions during the closure so that access will be maintained for emergency service vehicles, buses, taxis, eligible residents and staff working in local establishments etc.
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