Hoon headache on Foreshore, Kooragang

POLICE want parking restrictions in Wharf Road, Newcastle East, to stop car hoons congregating and causing trouble.

If the problem continues unchecked, locking up The Foreshore might be considered to try to stop antisocial behaviour.

Kooragang Island is also a growing trouble spot, but because roads there are privately owned, police are powerless to act.

Sergeant Steve Rudd, of Newcastle City Police highway patrol, said Thursday nights were a problem, with about 140 people congregating at the Newcastle Foreshore and about 100 at Kooragang along Greenleaf Road.

Friday and Saturday nights were also fast becoming troublesome.

Sergeant Rudd said it was people’s actions and antisocial behaviour, rather than the vehicles they were driving, that was the concern.

‘‘It’s more of a public order issue than it is a car hoon,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s just that they happen to drive hotted up cars to get there.’’

Taking over footpaths and drinking in alcohol-free zones were among the problems.

Police want Newcastle City Council to make Wharf Road, between Watt Street and Nobbys Road, a no-stopping zone from 9pm, or possibly as early as 7pm.

Restrictions presently start at 11pm.

Sergeant Rudd said this would allow officers to take enforcement action, while freeing the road for public use.

Without such action, harsher measures, such as closing the road, might be considered.

Sergeant Rudd said gates the council installed at the Bar Beach car park, which are locked after dark, reduced residents’ complaints about car hoons.

The council said the gates had reduced antisocial activity there at night.

However, it is not considering measures in Wharf Road.

Transport and traffic co-ordinator Jocelyn Cardona said antisocial behaviour occurred only on a few nights a week.

Changing the restricted parking area time from 11pm to 9pm would affect public use of Horseshoe and Nobbys beaches and patronage of nearby hotels, she said.

The council installed traffic control gates at each end of Wharf Road for police to use in an emergency when traffic built up.

‘‘This is very effective for police to control traffic,’’ Ms Cardona said.

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