A BASINGSTOKE councillor has criticised police’s decision to disrupt two planned car meet events in the town.

Cllr Tristan W Robinson said he would encourage the police to focus on real crime in Basingstoke such as county lines drugs, homicides and domestic abuse, rather than stopping those who meet friends and like-minded people around cars.

Saying the actions of a few should not prevent the whole meet from taking place, Cllr Robinson added that the car meet was planned away from residential homes.

The strong criticism comes after police said they are treating car meets in Basingstoke as a 'district priority'.

“People meeting with friends and like-minded people around cars is not an anti-social activity,” Cllr Robinson said.

“For years, our society has wrongly seen grassroots motorsports as a nuisance. In recent years, millions have been invested in sports and play facilities across Basingstoke and Deane. If kids are playing football in the road, the response is to build a football pitch or provide open space. If people want to play basketball, cricket, tennis or netball, sport and community development officers are commissioned at public expense to look at providing additional provision.

“Why is it that when people want to enjoy cars or motorcycles the police sees it as its job to shut it down? Where is the additional provision here?”

Hampshire Constabulary are urging residents to contact 101 if they become aware of planned events, saying they may be able to use dispersal orders to stop them from happening.

But Cllr Robinson said the areas of note stated by the police, including the Leisure Park and Daneshill Industrial Estate, are well away from residential homes and often empty during the evenings so in reality create minimal impact.

“Is it not better than these often young people are outside, with friends enjoying a safe pastime rather than on a street corner,” the Cllr asked.

“How else should we direct a passion for motorsport? We are all happy to cheer on British legends at F1 but without grassroots involvement, people meeting and sharing ideas, they may not be able to explore safe avenues into motorsport run by MSUK or the ACU.

“If there are driving standards concerns, that is a matter for roads safety on the public highway, and the police can enforce this without preventing the social gathering.

“The actions of a few should not prevent the whole meet from taking place. That would be like shutting down the Aquadrome because a swimmer broke the speed limit on the way in.”