10/07/17: Councillors support new powers to tackle nuisance behaviour
Breckland councillors today endorsed new powers that will help tackle nuisance behaviour in Thetford. The proposals have also received overwhelming support from residents and local organisations.
Under new legislation the Council's current Designated Public Place Orders (more commonly known as alcohol exclusion zones) in all five market towns will automatically become Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) in October 2017. These new PSPOs are more flexible and can be used to place restrictions on a wider range of persistent anti-social behaviours.
Breckland Council has recently been consulting with representatives from Norfolk Constabulary and each of the five town councils to get their views about what additional powers are needed, and in which areas, and will produce tailored PSPOs for each town. Public consultations on the proposals will be held later in the year. The first consultation has already taken place, in Thetford, and the findings helped shape the new powers for the town endorsed by Cabinet today.
Paul Claussen, Breckland Council Executive Member for Place explained: "We are using the new powers to strengthen current restrictions and make all our town centres more welcome for the majority of law-abiding people. I'd like to thank all those who responded to the recent consultation in Thetford - we had excellent participation with 450 residents and organisations getting in touch to give their views. We've listened carefully and their feedback has helped shape the new powers so that they tackle the issues that really matter to Thetford residents."
The new Thetford PSPOs agreed today will prohibit urination and defecation in a public place (supported by 95%), and the use of a bicycle, skateboard or scooter in a pedestrianised zone (supported by 86%). Spitting in a public place was raised as a concern by a significant number of people, and it was agreed that this should be monitored with a view to adding it as a prohibited activity at a later date; the existing prohibition of alcohol consumption will remain. The area to be covered by the PSPO was also subject to consultation, and the agreed zone will cover the town centre.
Norfolk Constabulary and the Safer Thetford Action Group have also endorsed these proposals which will come into force in the near future.
Cllr Claussen continued: "Those living and working in our market towns have the best on-the-ground knowledge of what is happening there. They know where, when and what the ongoing problems are and we are keen to use their knowledge to develop PSPOs that will help address issues in our other four market towns. "
Following the Cabinet endorsement today, the report will be taken to 27 July Council for a final decision. Details of consultations to be held in the remaining market towns will be published shortly.