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Row over charity car meet in Farnborough Asda car park

Row over charity car meet in Farnborough Asda car park

Published by Carol Musgrave at 6:00am 11th February 2019. (Updated at 9:47am 11th February 2019)

A row has flared up over a recent car charity rally in Farnborough.

Councillors have slammed the online group which arranged the event on January 13  - saying it caused significant noise and disruption for residents, as well as safety concerns..

And they have criticised Asda - claiming they did not take steps to stop the event from taking place in its car park.

The car meet was advertised online as a fundraiser for Cancer Research UK and the John Radcliffe Children's Hospital in Oxford.

Afterwards, councillors from Rushmoor Borough Council's Empress ward claimed that "noise and disturbance went on for much of the night, causing significant disruption for residents as well as huge safety concerns."

They say the online organisers encourage "irresponsible and noisy car meets amongst boy racers."

However, an organiser for the event told Eagle that there were strict rules in place against drifting, burnouts and excessive noise and that anything which took place outside was not part of the charity event.

They added that nothing "'inconsiderate and reckless" took place within the premises where the meet was held and that police were present.

It is understood more than £500 was raised for Cancer Research and the John Radcliffe children's hospital at the event aimed at showing "the outside world that the car scene isn't all bad and full of drama".

Footage posted online shows several cars drifting around the roundabout outside the entrance of the store's car park.

Hampshire Constabulary say they received complaints about noise on the night of January 13.

They say their police officers were at the event from 6pm till 10pm.

A police spokesperson told Eagle they were notified about the event a month before it was due to take place.

She said police then informed Asda's security staff at the store about the rally.

She said:

"We attended on the evening and spoke with the organisers.

"Following discussions, the organisers made the decision to end the event earlier than initially planned.

"This happened at 10pm and officers left.

"We received no further reports that evening." 

Empress councillors Marina Munro, Mike Smith and Gareth Lyon, together with local campaigner Adrian Newell, say they were contacted by dozens of "angry" local residents afterwards.

The councillors say Asda were aware of the event in advance, but did not try to prevent it. 

They say it is the second car meet in the Asda car park in six months and are concerned that Asda did not take action the first time round.

Police have confirmed that a similar event took place there around six months ago, when complaints were made of "loud exhaust noise as vehicles were leaving..." 

The councillors have demanded that such events are not repeated in the area.

Cllr Munro said:

"I am shocked, Asda were made aware a month in advance and that despite police warnings took no measures to prevent their car park being used in this manner.

"This event should not have taken place in an area which is surrounded by housing - residents and members of the public should not have to put up with having their evenings and nights terrorised in such a way and it's disgraceful that the event organiser advertised it in the manner of seeking charity donations."

In a statement Asda said:

“We are proud to be part of the Farnborough community and share the concerns of local residents in this matter.

"Asda did not give permission for this event to take place in our car park, but had we been given prior warning we have processes in place to contact the police and take appropriate measures to restrict access.

“We are discussing this matter with councillors and welcome any opportunity to hear from customers and local residents.”


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