Life could get a lot tougher, and more expensive, for regular troublemakers in Spalding as town leaders consider bringing in sweeping new powers to tackle disorder.
Instant fines for street drinking, begging, cycling on pavements and dog fouling could be brought in under a Government act designed to give councils and police more powers to deal with persistent anti-social behaviour.
A Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for Spalding town centre was discussed at a South Holland District Council meeting on Tuesday to replace the town’s current Designated Public Place Order.
Should a PSPO be introduced, anyone suspected of persistently behaving in a way that has a “detrimental effect on the quality of life” of people in Spalding could face an on-the-spot fine of £100, or up to £1,000 if a case goes to court.
Coun Jack McLean, co-ordinator of environmental group Spotless Spalding and a member of the district council’s policy development panel which met on Tuesday, said: “The meeting was an excellent opportunity to discuss and debate a topic so close to the hearts of many of us.
“On April 12th, in preparation for the meeting, I opened up a much smaller line of consultation through my website (jackmclean.campaigningforyou.com) that has helped generate a small amount of additional data on issues, including cycling on the pavement, alcohol consumption and littering.
I don’t believe that a positive outcome in seeing (PSPOs) through will mean the end of all of these problems, but the opportunity to further address these issues starts with a strong consultationCoun Jack McLean of South Holland District Council and Spotless Spalding
“I plan to take this further by offering residents the same opportunity in my summer newsletter.
“But to the wider area, I would recommend any willing resident brings their own knowledge and experience to their district councillor’s attention.
“I don’t believe that a positive outcome in seeing this through will mean the end of all of these problems, but the opportunity to further address these issues starts with a strong consultation.”
PSPOs, introduced under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, allow councils to outlaw certain types of disorder in geographical areas, rather than by individuals as with anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs).
Boston Borough Council introduced PSPOs last April and, on Monday, a man seen persistently drinking in the town at least 13 times was given a 12-month conditional discharge after the man also admitted to breaching a community protection notice.
A report prepared for Tuesday’s South Holland District Council meeting said: “The council is aware of local concerns regarding some types of behaviour that occurs in and around Spalding town centre, including street drinking and associated anti-social behaviour.
“We are therefore reviewing the existing Designated Public Place Order and considering the new powers available through the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, specifically PSPOs.”
The area that would be covered by any PSPO brought in would include everywhere inside the borders of Albion Street, Double Street, Westlode Street, Swan Street, Winsover Road, St Thomas’s Road, Priory Road, Pinchbeck Road, West Elloe Avenue, Commercial Street and High Street.
The report continued: “The DPPO has been an effective tool in assisting the police to deal with alcohol-related incidents and issues.
“However, these orders will cease to be effective from October 2017 and the council has the option to let the current (DPPO) lapse or we can look to introduce a PSPO.”