AROUND 200 bikers held a peaceful protest in response to a traffic order which they say will end a decades-old tradition of meeting up on a section of The Groves in Chester.

Both motorcycle and scooter riders gathered on the stretch between the cafe and the suspension bridge yesterday (July 19) to raise awareness of the situation and inform people about their online petition.

A Facebook group entitled 'River Dee scooter and motorcyclists parking and meeting place' had said in advance to those attending to adhere to social distancing rules and to turn their bikes off and push them past the cafe towards the traditional meeting place.

The Chester City Police social media account posted that PCSOs and regulatory services had been to The Groves during the protest to 'discuss the changes' with those in attendance.

One biker told The Standard: "There must have been 200 scooter and motorcycle riders making a peaceful protest at the the new parking laws. And there are more to come."

Cheshire West and Chester Council confirmed last week that the traffic order which prohibits waiting any time on both sides of The Groves would come into effect next month after it received complaints.

The authority says it is illegal to travel on the stretch of road leading to the city's suspension bridge and "unfortunately many drivers have ignored this".

An online petition had been launched in a bid to overturn the traffic order which it argues will prevent the "tradition" of motorcycle and scooter riders meeting up.

Mark Andrews, who has set up the petition, says bikers have been gathering on the stretch between the cafe and the suspension bridge for decades.

So far the online petition has been supported by nearly 1,400 people.

Chester and District Standard:

It states: "Motorcycles and scooters have parked at The Groves since the 1950s. It has become a tradition enjoyed by Cestrians and tourists alike.

"Many of these riders are involved in local charities including the North West Air Ambulance, Easter egg runs to the Countess hospital and Teenage Cancer Trust and use the river site to meet, network and organise events.

"Over the years they have raised thousands of pounds and delivered vast amounts of Easter eggs and toys to sick children locally. Without this meeting place not only will The Groves lose a part of its heritage but there will be nowhere in the immediate area for bikes to park in any numbers making it very difficult to plan future events.

"These riders have supported local charities for years and now ask for your support to continue."

Councillor Karen Shore, deputy leader and cabinet member for environment, highways and strategic transport, said last week: "It is illegal to drive along the section of The Groves towards the Suspension Bridge, unfortunately many drivers have ignored this leading to complaints.

"Following discussions with local Members, Police and Parking services a permanent Traffic Regulation Order has been advertised with no objections.

"It was agreed that waiting restrictions will be added along this length of road and changes will be made to some of the existing limited waiting bays to be for motorcycles only on weekends and bank holidays to make provision for them to park.

"These changes will be put in place next month."

To view the petition click here.