By Cam Lucadou-Wells
No one should have to live with this.
On first blush, the lush, spacious suburban parkland at the end of Prospect Hill Road’s eastern cul-de-sac in Narre Warren looks idyllic.
Instead, it has been a magnet for years of hooning hell.
Loud nights of burnouts, stolen-car fires, drug-deals and “doof” music as well as piles of shredded tyres, syringes, graffiti and vandalism have plagued fed-up residents.
On at least two occasions, out-of-control cars have crashed through terrified neighbours’ fences.
Virginia’s daughter was in the kitchen when a car smashed through the back fence. The car’s occupants simply drove away.
“When they come into the court, I close my eyes and I just hope they stay in their circle,” Virginia said.
“It’s worse when it rains. That’s when I hold my breath.
“You just hope for the best.”
The hooning noise shakes their windows, her partner Andrew adds.
“There’s up to 20 of them. It’s not like you can go outside and say: ‘Can you keep the noise down.’”
He’s seen monkey bikes race across the park-freeway footbridge at about 60-80 km/h, dinking passengers without helmets.
The playground area and sports field are scarred with tyre ‘crop-circles’ from monkey bikes and cars.
A neighbour said his children were unable to play sport due to the tracks furrowed into the turf.
The end of the street – sometimes lit by a single lamp often broken by vandals – is inhabited by litter and dragmarks.
Recently, a pile of 10 shredded tyres were dumped after a night of tyre-squealing.
A neighbour described a car parked against the light-post. Its wheels were left spinning until the car caught fire.
“When there’s 20 of them out there, it’s not like we can go out there and tell them to be quiet.”
Unbelievably, the park’s footbridge – which crosses the Monash Freeway – has been mounted by a car that drove up a steep side embankment and buckled the bridge’s hand railing.
Michael Presta, a long-suffering resident, is leading an online petition for a partial closure of the road to deter the lawless groups.
He and his neighbours want bollards installed to stop hoons getting access to the area. None of the residents use the dead-end for parking anyway, Mr Presta said.
The problems started when the freeway cut through Prospect Hill Road a decade ago, creating the dead-end and surrounding park.
“When the police are hanging around, it stops. But then it always comes back,” Mr Presta said.
“We’re just sick of it.”
Rod Macdonald stated on the survey that a facelift was needed for “such a big area with massive potential”.
“The council is letting it go to waste and then wonders why there is a hoon influence.
“If it looks rundown, it’s natural to attract unsociable behaviour.”
A senior officer at Narre Warren police station, who did not wish to be named, urged residents to continue calling police when trouble strikes.
“We can’t guarantee we can get there every time but it highlights and concentrates an area for us to patrol.”
It was one of several areas regularly patrolled by local police as a “known area” for vehicle dumping and traffic offences, the officer said.
Casey Council did not respond by deadline.