Young drivers causing mayhem in Newcastle

Young drivers causing mayhem in Newcastle

22 June 2022

CONTINUING anti-social behaviour problems in Newcastle linked to young drivers causing mayhem was one of the issues to top the agenda during a recent meeting with police in the town.

There is increasing concern about some drivers meeting in Donard Park and racing around the area before heading off along the Shimna Road and on to Castlewellan before returning to the resort.

Police were joined by representatives from a number of agencies during the recent meeting which was organised by Mournes councillor Laura Devlin.

She revealed that young drivers are meeting in Donard Park with the time and date communicated to them via social media. She also revealed that in addition to the anti-social behaviour issues, some drivers are believed to be committing road traffic offences.

“The recent meeting was arranged to discuss the challenges that exist within Newcastle in terms of anti-social behaviour, road traffic offences and general congestion issues due to increased visitor numbers,” Cllr Devlin explained.

“We have major issues in Donard Park and the residents who live in this part of the town have been badly affected.”

Cllr Devlin said pre-planned car meets in the sprawling car park are organised via social media and attract hundreds of people from across the province.

“Many of those who attend abide by the law, but a number are not,” she said. “They are speeding around Donard Park, racing up the Shimna Road towards Castlewellan and back again.

“This is not only very noisy, but is reckless and I really worry that a pedestrian will end up getting badly injured. Police need to be present, carry out speed checks and prosecute those in the wrong.”

Cllr Devlin said many drivers who visit Newcastle over the weekend “do laps of the town” — particularly in the evening — with the sounding of car horns and their general activity causing additional issues for people, especially those residents living in the Folds and Autism Initiatives buildings just off Donard Park.

The local councillor also revealed that the increase in visitors to the resort at this time of year, in tandem with work at the park to create a new overspill area, has resulted in a reduced number of spaces in the main car park.

Cllr Devlin said work on the overflow car park is due to be completed before the July public holidays and that while the new overspill will help, it will not fulfil all Newcastle’s parking requirements.

“I have met with Newry, Mourne and Down Council management and we are investigating the provision of a park and ride facility for the summer months,” the Mournes councillor revealed. “This is more sustainable and would relieve some of the congestion in the town.”

Cllr Devlin confirmed that as a result of last week’s meeting, police will continue with regular patrolling and additional operations within Donard Park and the Shimna Road area.

She added: “Those breaking the law need to be apprehended. The same applies to those loitering and causing havoc in our beautiful new Downs Road play 

park. Police also need to be more visible here as local residents continue to be affected. 

“I continue to appeal to people to report issues of concern to police which they can do so via phone but it can also very quickly done online.”

Cllr Devlin said it is vital that police receive the reports which allows elected members to lobby for further resources. 

”Everyone deserves to live in peace and without fear,” she added.

Anyone who has concerns about any issue is asked to contact police on the non-emergency 101 number.

Information about those involved in anti-social behaviour or other offences can be passed anonymously using the confidential Crimestoppers number 0800 555111.