Concerns about the new Public Space Protection Orders
See the following from the Mail Online of 4th September
PUBLISHED: 00:00, 4 September 2014 | UPDATED: 10:29, 4 September 2014
Now drivers face £100 fine if they park too near to a school
- The orders were intended to clamp down on anti-social behaviour
- So called PSPOs were used for behaviour like spitting and begging
- But councils are now planning to roll them out to ‘nuisance parking’, ball games in public car parks and even ‘inappropriate dress’
- Parents could be banned from parking near their children’s school and fined up to £100 if they disobey.
From next month, town halls will be given sweeping powers to outlaw any activity which may have a ‘detrimental effect’ on the quality of local life.
Ministers insist so-called public spaces protection orders (PSPOs) are intended to clamp down on anti-social behaviour, such as spitting and aggressive begging.
But the rules have been so widely drawn that councils are planning to apply them to ‘nuisance parking’, ball games in public car parks and even ‘inappropriate dress’.
Anyone flouting the order will be liable for an on-the-spot fine, normally between £70 and £100, from a police officer, PCSO, council worker or security guard employed by the town hall. Refusing to pay will be a criminal offence that can land the person in court.
The Manifesto Club think-tank asked a string of council enforcement teams how they plan to use the legislation. Examples included prohibiting parking outside schools.
Streets close to the entrance would be made ‘no parking’ areas for non-residents at drop-off and pick- up times. A zone would most likely be designated after complaints from nearby residents.
The think-tank said it had been told parking in front of a home with a ‘for sale’ sign may be banned, as well as busking, begging, skateboarding and ball games. Councils are also considering restricting when ‘chuggers’ – charity collectors – can operate in town centres.
Authorities in areas popular for stag and hen parties told researchers they may use the powers to outlaw ‘inappropriate dress’. The British Nudist Society said it was concerned about bans on beaches.
Josie Appleton, Manifesto Club director, said: ‘The possibilities for the use of these powers are endless … PSPOs amount to a blank cheque for councils to ban anything that is unusual or unpopular, or with which officials disagree.’
Lib Dem peer Timothy Clement-Jones, who hopes to get busking exempted from PSPOs, said he feared they would be used in a ‘heavy-handed’ way.
He added: ‘These are very wide-ranging powers and it is vital that it is made very clear to local authorities that they should have proper grounds for invoking them.’
PSPOs replace three existing powers: gating orders to close alleys used for anti-social behaviour; designated public place orders confiscating alcohol; and dog control orders that ban dogs or require them to be on leads.
But the new legislation, in force from October 20, can regulate any activities in public spaces which the local authority believes have a ‘detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality’ – or is likely to do so.
The Manifesto Club said while the scope of the orders is similar to that of bylaws, they can be obtained much more easily. Bylaws must go through a democratic process and be sanctioned by the secretary of state, while PSPOs are made in a summary manner by councils.
A Manifesto Club report warns the range of activities that could be deemed detrimental is ‘extremely broad’, adding: ‘One person’s favourite busker could be another person’s awful racket.’
Once an order is imposed, any appeal to the High Court must be made within six weeks.
Crime prevention minister Norman Baker said the Home Office wanted the orders to tackle anti-social behaviour rather than parking and that councils had been given this advice.
See the new Home Office Guidance on the PSPO’s