Residents' anger after 700 bikers bring 'noise and air pollution' to Hayling Island during weekly meet

THE head of a residents’ association has said people are considering ‘temporarily moving out of their homes’ on Thursday evenings after the latest weekly motorbike meet saw more than 700 bikers converge on the seafront.

By Neil Fatkin
Thursday, 27th August 2020, 5:50 pm
Updated Friday, 28th August 2020, 10:42 am
Chairwoman of the Hayling Island Residents Association, Anne Skennerton, has written to Havant Borough Council on behalf of residents to express concerns about the weekly Hayling Bike Meet. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

Hayling Island Residents Association chairwoman, Anne Skennerton, has written to Havant Borough Council to express residents’ concerns over the noise and air pollution caused as well as a ‘lack of social distancing’.

However, while the organiser of Hayling Island Bike Meet, Colin Stevens, 72, has apologised for the disruption caused by the unexpected volume of bikers he said the procession of motorcycles often gets a ‘positive response’ and highlighted the income the events have brought to the island.

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Havant Borough Council deputy leader, Cllr Gary Hughes, said it would be down to police to deal with any breaches of social distancing at then bike meets. Picture: Sarah Standing

Speaking to the BBC, Anne said: ‘The chief complaint is the intensity of the noise which can be heard by residents in their homes at least half a mile away.

‘What we have got now is a situation where residents have told me they are prepared to move out of their homes on a Thursday evening when the meets take place.

‘We have one road on and off the island and almost all the way along it are homes which may have only a small garden and so there is no way of escaping this noise.’

Colin said they had been taken by surprise by the number of bikers who had turned up which was far in excess of the ‘60 to 120 which usually take part’.

Hayling Island Picture: Shaun Roster /www.shaunroster.com

‘It has just really taken off and last week (Thursday August 20) we lost count. It was mayhem. People had travelled from all over and there were bikes everywhere – we just ran out of beach and road to put them on.

‘I can only apologise to people but I can take comfort from the fact that I’ve brought lots of revenue onto the island.’

However, Colin was adamant many of the island’s residents have enjoyed the weekly parade of motorbikes.

‘A lot of people – including non bikers – actually enjoy it. People come out of their homes and wave at the bikes and enjoy having us here,’ he said.

While there are only three further Hayling Island meets planned before the nights draw in, organisers have not said they plan to cancel the remaining events and at the time of reporting have not been told to do so by Havant Borough Council.

Commenting on the issue to the BBC, deputy leader, Cllr Gary Hughes said: ‘The police have visited the event and told us it’s well organised and friendly and it will be the police’s decision to take action over any breaches of social distancing.’

A statement from Hampshire Constabulary added: ‘We have received several complaints regarding speeding and anti-social behaviour linked to motorcycles in this area.

‘Over the last three weeks, the Roads Policing Unit and Hayling Neighbourhood Policing team have attended the bike meet and have engaged with the organisers.

‘We have discussed the complaints with the organisers and have given suitable advice on both social distancing and obstruction of the highway.

‘In addition, we will continue to liaise with Havant Borough Council on these matters and will monitor any further planned meets.’

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