‘They wake us up every night – it’s an absolute nightmare’

Additional reporting by Charlotte Howard

The honking of male drivers into the early hours of the morning made living near the cinema a “complete nightmare”, angry residents said.

Drivers keep people awake every night by congregating in the bountiful car park behind Ashford’s Cineworld in Eureka Leisure Park.

Video taken by one of the residents captures the “horrendous” sound as the driver can be heard honking and the engine revving.

Neighbors terrified for fear of reprisal from yobs will only speak to KentOnline on condition of anonymity.

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“On Wednesday there may be a lot of revving, on Thursday they are honking continuously – it’s ridiculous,” said one Bockhanger resident.

“They make donuts no later than 1 or 2 in the morning. On Saturday I called the police at 3am after they played drum and bass music.

The group got together one evening in a car park
The car park is behind Pizza Hut and Cineworld in Eureka Leisure Park

“They have no respect – you can’t just go up to them and ask them to put it down after 11pm because they’re just about to start.

“I feel the police are turning a blind eye because it is private property. When I reported it, I felt like giving up because of the response.”

The site owner said car gatherings were banned – but neighbors said the measures being taken weren’t enough to stop them.

A couple who live in Bockhanger told KentOnline how the noise often woke their children.

“This is a complete nightmare and deeply disturbing, especially late at night into the early hours of the morning,” they said.

Tire marks left in the parking lot
Residents said as many as 30 cars gathered at the location

“This has kept us awake before and can wake our son up when his window is open, which then leads to tiredness the next day at work and school.

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“I think there needs to be a barrier to eradicate the problem. There should be no access to the car park after the cinema is closed for the night.”

Another resident agreed, saying the “unbelievably loud” music made it impossible to sleep.

“I don’t mind a little music, but not at 1.30am – especially now that our windows are open in the heat,” they said.

“Sometimes you can also hear them screaming. This is a bit annoying.

The car park is next to Ashford Cineworld

“Back in the house we heard nothing but in the bedroom we could hear it. When you’re trying to sleep, it’s not ideal.

“They might disappear for a while but then you’re woken up again by the noise. This is a complete distraction.”

Cllr Diccon Spain (Lab), who represents the Bockhanger ward at Ashford Borough Council, said residents were now afraid to walk near the parking lot, which is off Rutherford Road.

“People walking through this parking lot using the zig-zag pathway behind the cinema fearing for their own safety and that of their families, and fearing they could be seriously injured or killed,” he said.

“My understanding is that Eureka Park’s manager has informed the police beforehand and some enforcement has occurred in the past, but the fact that this issue appears to be continuing, and unresolved, tells me that we need more concerted and vigorous action by the police. to clear this up.”

Cllr Diccon Spain represents the Bockhanger ward for Labour

A police spokesman said officers understand the impact vehicle distraction is having on residents, and officers regularly issue warnings to drivers that their car could be impounded if driven in an anti-social manner.

“The Ashford neighborhood strike team is aware of a vehicle-related issue in the Rutherford Road area and will take action if necessary,” they said.

“In order to have the best information available to us, we urge residents to report incidents via the Kent Police website, or by calling 999 if a crime is in progress.”

Spain’s Diccon neighborhood council said pedestrians were being put off using the zig-zag lanes as drivers congregated in the parking lot

A spokesperson for Savills, the company that runs Eureka Leisure Park, said it was “aware of ongoing issues with car meetups at the site and throughout the wider Ashford area”.

They added: “We are actively working with local authorities to prevent such incidents from happening.

“We work hard to provide a safe and welcoming environment for our customers and the surrounding community.

“Meeting cars prohibited in Eureka Leisure Park.”

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