Doncaster Council has launched a consultation with residents and businesses on a proposed Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) for Doncaster town centre.
The aim of the proposed PSPO is to address a number of concerns relating to begging and anti-social behaviour in the town centre. It is part of a wide-ranging programme of measures which offers support services for vulnerable people in need, whilst clamping down on those who choose to engage in anti-social behaviour. The new measures have the backing of South Yorkshire Police and are also considered vital in order to support local businesses, ensuring that people are not deterred from visiting the town centre.
The proposed PSPO would address a number of shortcomings in existing legislation, by preventing people from requesting money and donations, loitering around cash machines and returning to the town centre within 24 hours if they have been asked to leave due to their behaviour. People would not be allowed to hang around in groups of three or more causing harassment and nuisance. Alcohol would need to be consumed in licensed premises. It would also help tackle problems around drug use and sleeping in public spaces.
At the same time, the council and its public service partners are continuing to provide support to people who find themselves homeless, rough sleeping and begging, encouraging them to access support and services helping them to break the cycle of behaviour and vulnerability they can be locked into.
A new multi-agency Complex Lives Alliance has been set up with partners. This alliance has a front line team helping those who need it and want it with appropriate accommodation and support for issues like addiction, mental health and finance.
Councillor Rachael Blake, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “Unfortunately, across the country we have seen more and more people sleeping rough and begging. We are absolutely committed to prioritising this issue in Doncaster and providing vulnerable people with the support they need.
“This Public Spaces Protection Order is designed to address issues caused by those who refuse to get the available support or see begging as a way of life which spoils the enjoyment for people visiting the town centre and affects business.
“Together with the ongoing support, implementation of this proposed Public Spaces Protection Order would help remove barriers so people engage with services and are offered positive routes out of their situation.”
Councillor Chris McGuinness, Cabinet Member for Communities, Voluntary Sector and Environment, said: “The suggested prohibitions have been developed following engagement with residents, visitors, local business and public services about the issues they currently face. These include concerns about the welfare of vulnerable people, the need to feel safe and the physical look and condition of the town centre.”
Councillors Nigel Ball, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure and Culture, said: "The 'austerity' burden placed on local authorities from central government cuts coupled with sometimes punitive welfare reform has and is hitting the people of Doncaster hard.
“This is why, nationally, we have seen a massive increase in Foodbank usage and homelessness. We see more and more people who lead sometimes chaotic lives facing the brunt end of these cuts. This new initiative is enabling us to provide effective, holistic action and support to take place which benefits vulnerable people, residents and visitors to Doncaster."
The council is inviting residents and businesses to comment on the town centre PSPO.
To view the details of the proposed PSPO and leave feedback please go to: www.doncaster.gov.uk/towncentrePSPO
Paper copies are also available in Doncaster Central Library, the Civic Office in Waterdale and the Tourist Information Centre on the High Street.
The consultation runs until Tuesday 26 September 2017.
Following the consultation, a report on the Town Centre PSPO will go to the Mayor and Cabinet for their consideration in the autumn.
- Category: Crime, anti-social behaviour & nuisance