Swindon Council is proposing to vary an order designed to curb anti-social behavior in the town centre. The current Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), which was introduced almost a year ago, focuses on issues such as keeping dogs on leads, begging, aggressive charity collecting and drinking in public. It also prohibits peddling or street trading, marking surfaces without the permission of the council, as well as skateboarding.
Following feedback from members of the public and local businesses and close monitoring of behaviour in the area, Swindon Borough Council have proposed a number of amendments to the existing order.
PSPOs were introduced as part of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 and are primarily aimed at changing and improving behaviour. Anyone caught breaching the order will be advised to stop their activity and, if they fail to do so, a fixed penalty notice may be issued. The fixed penalty is set at £100.
Following the success of the ‘warning and informing’ policy, it is proposed to slightly extend increase the area of the PSPO so it now covers Regent Circus, the public thoroughfares into the town centre from Swindon railway station and the area around Spring Gardens.
The proposed amendments to the order include allowing authorized events in the town centre to be exempt from the alcohol restriction in the PSPO, while it is also proposed to extend the skateboarding prohibition to include car parks and pedestrianized areas. Under the new restrictions dog owners would be required to keep their pets on a lead no longer than two metres in length and it is proposed to remove the restriction on peddling and street trading as the activities can be adequately dealt with by existing legislation and policy.
It is also proposed to remove the restrictions on marking surfaces/chalking and aggressive charity collecting as shoppers and businesses have reported there is no longer an issue with these activities.
The consultation opened on the 27th October and closes at 12pm on Thursday, 8 December. Members of the public can access the consultation by visiting: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SwindonPSPO
Labour Eastcott Councillor, Paul Dixon, said:
“I do encourage all residents who have an interest in the future of the Town Centre to respond to this consultation as it will have an impact on the character of the Town Centre. It is only be hearing your views that we can make the best decisions on the future of our high street.”