Decision Maker: Cabinet (Resources) Panel
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
To seek a decision that applying to renewing and vary the Black Country Car Cruising Injunction (Covering the areas of Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell and Dudley) for three years beyond its date of expiry (February 2021) is in the Council's best interests.
The intention to make a key decision on the report ‘Renewal of Black Country Car Cruising Injunction (2021)’ at the meeting was not publicised in advance as required by the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012. The decision was urgent and could not be reasonably delayed for the following reasons:
1. A decision to consider whether the proposed renewal of the Black Country Car Cruising Injunction (and proposed variation) is in the interests of the City of Wolverhampton and the decision whether to authorise the Cabinet Member for Governance and Director of Governance to authorise the issue of proceedings for renewal and variation of the Injunction thereafter, must be made on 11 November 2020. Thus, if a decision is made to pursue an application to renew (and variation) of the Injunction, the Director and Councillor’s authorisation for issuing proceedings needs to be given by the end of November 2020.
2. The Black Country Car Cruising Injunction expired at 23:59 on 31 January 2021. Any application to Court must be issued by no later than early December 2020. Issuing proceedings after this date risks the Court being unable to list a hearing prior to 31 January 2021 due to the inevitable disruption of the Christmas period and the pressure on the Courts owing to the backlog of cases resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. There is a risk, therefore, that if a decision is made that renewal (and variation) of the injunction is in the Council’s interest and such application not issued by early December 2020, the Council and its Black Country Partners (Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall Councils) would lose the protection of the Black Country Car Cruising Injunction due to the expiry of said Injunction. At the time of writing, control of this is in the Council’s gift.
In light of the above consent had been obtained for the key decision to be made at the meeting under the General Exception provisions.
Councillor Paul Brookfield presented the report on the proposal to make an application to renew the Black Country Car Cruising Injunction with a variation to include spectators at a car cruise, for a further three years until 31 January 2024. Since its introduction in 2015 the injunction had been very successful in tackling the problems of car cruising, significantly improving road safety, the lives of residents and improved the prospects of businesses in former hotspot areas as a consequence. If granted, the renewal and variation to the injunction would mean that is was consistent with both Birmingham City Council’s and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council’s anti-car cruising injunction. It would make enforcement of the injunctions across the West Midlands region easier for the West Midlands Police to administer.
1. That it be approved that an application to the High Court inviting the Court to renew the Black Country Car Cruising Injunction (granted 1 December 2014, effective from 2 February 2015 and expired 1 February 2018; renewed 9 January 2018 until 1 February 2021) for a further three years until 23:59 hours on 31 January 2024 is in the interests of the City of Wolverhampton Council area.
2. That the making of an application to the High Court inviting the Court to vary the terms of said injunction such that a prohibition be included the effect of which would be that those actively spectating at a car cruise event are deemed to be participating in a car cruise and thus in breach of the injunction be approved. This would bring the Black Country Car Cruising Injunction in line with the car cruising injunctions covering the Birmingham and Solihull areas.
3. That authority be delegated to the Cabinet Member for Governance in consultation with the Director of Governance to execute Individual Executive Decision Notices to the effect that:
a. The City of Wolverhampton Council (“the Council”) enters an agreement pursuant to sections 101 and 111 of the Local Government Act 1972 with the Borough Councils of Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall, for the Council to lead a project and conduct litigation with the aim of inviting the High Court to extend the injunction for a further three years from its expiry (i.e. until 23:59 hours on 31 January 2021); and for each of Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall to repay the Council one quarter of the Council’s legal costs and disbursements in making such application to the Court; and
b. When the Director of Governance and the Cabinet Member for Governance are satisfied as to the quality and cogency of the evidence in support of the intended application, the Council’s Legal Services Department be authorised to issue an application to Court inviting the Court to vary (extend) the injunction for a further three years from its expiry.
4. That it be noted that an application to Court every three years inviting the Court to extend the injunction for a further three years or inviting the Court to grant the injunction in perpetuity is not feasible. Therefore, on a medium term/long-term basis, as car cruising is a national issue, the Council would explore the option of leading a project in cooperation with the West Midlands Combined Authority, West Midlands Police Force to lobby Parliament to address the nuisance of car cruising through legislation. Separate papers would be received in due course in this regard.
Report author: Joanne Mason
Publication date: 12/11/2020
Date of decision: 11/11/2020
Decided at meeting: 11/11/2020 - Cabinet (Resources) Panel
Effective from: 18/11/2020