Someone’s been having a ‘churn up’!

Despite interventions from the cops, the issue of quad and scrambler bikers encroaching on spaces used by walkers isn’t going away any time soon. This is a report in the local media about the most recent action taken by the cops: Increase in bike nuisance as borough police chief calls on residents to keep reporting. This is what we’ve previously written about the issue: Contested spaces…

We regularly take a walk over the newly created park on the western fringes of Stanford-le-Hope. Just to the south of the park, there’s a former sand and gravel pit which is used by the bikers. Before the park was created, as well as using the former pit, the bikers would also use the long concrete road leading up from Walton’s Hall Road, past the gas pumping station at the top of the track before turning round into the very southern part of what was an abandoned golf course. When the park was created a few years ago, it was seen by a number of bikers as encroaching into their ‘territory’, hence the frequent breaches of the fence between the former pit they use and the park so they can use what they regard as their full ‘circuit’.

It has been noted by the cops that during the series of lockdowns and tiered restrictions we’ve been enduring for almost a year, there’s been an increase in the number of quad and scrambler bikers out and about across Thurrock. As regular walkers, we’ve certainly noticed an increase in their activities! We reckon that’s down to people feeling increasingly cooped up and needing to get out to let off some steam. We’ve also noticed an increase in the number of walkers out and about in the fields and marshes around Stanford-le-Hope on their once a day permitted ‘exercise’ walks. That’s down to travel restrictions making people use and value what they can walk/cycle to on their doorstep. It’s also down to people needing to get out in the open and reconnect with nature in some way to preserve what’s left of their mental health in these stressful times.

Walkers wanting some quiet contemplation of nature or some exercise for their dogs on the one hand and on the other, quad and scrambler bikers wanting to let off steam are never going to be able to share the same space without tensions. Lockdowns and tiered restrictions are causing divisions between those who fervently support them and those of us who think they’re a disproportionate sledgehammer to crack a nut solution to the problem. The last thing we want are any more tensions and divisions to contend with but sadly, we have that with the walkers vs the bikers.

As we’ve mentioned before, the cops can intervene as many times as they like but the issue will not go away. Scrambler biking has been a part of what goes on in Thurrock for decades. Quad biking is now becoming more established. Would it not be better to find a fixed location for these activities to take place while leaving the rest of the open spaces in Thurrock for the walkers? Would it not be better to move away from what could well become a confrontational situation by negotiating as a community a way that all of us – walkers, quad and scrambler bikers – can pursue our respective activities to our hearts’ content without getting in each other’s faces? Just a suggestion…

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