Report of the Portfolio Holder for Community Protection
The Board considered the report of the Portfolio Holder for Community Protection seeking approval to introduce a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) following formal consultation within the City Centre.
It was highlighted that the PSPO will have a number of processes built into it to protect vulnerable people within the City Centre, signing posting to services, helping those sleeping rough to find safe accommodation and ensuring that action taken is proportionate. It was stressed that the idea of free matter, the giving or receiving of food/drink/clothing, would not be considered a breach of the PSPO.
Guidance on exercising the powers will be distributed to professionals as well as the wider media to ensure that a full understanding of the order is in place.
The behaviours this PSPO sets out to tackle include:
· Obstruction to free access to and egress from buildings, and obstruction to fire escapes and emergency exits
· Unauthorised requests in the restricted area
· Unlicensed Big Issue vending and vending from unauthorised pitches causing adverse impact on sales from legitimately authorised vendors
· Busking/Street entertainments that cause disturbance by excessive noise levels, and/or amplification, and by inappropriate location of busking
· Distribution of free matter
· Mobile Advertising
· Public Urination/Defecation
· Use and possession of Psychoactive Substances
(1) Note the evidence gathered, and the results of the formal consultation on the proposal to introduce a PSPO to tackle behaviours in Nottingham City Centre;
(2) Authorise the Director of Legal and Governance and/or Head of Legal and Governance to make the PSPO in the form indicated in the Proposed PSPO as attached at appendix 1 of the report published with the agenda, to last for a period of three years from the date that it comes into force, being satisfied that the test in section 59 of the 2014 Act is met, and having regards to the Rights of Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Assembly and the other Human Rights issues raised by the consultation;
(3) Authorise the Director of Community Protection to carry out the necessary publication and arrange for appropriate signage to be erected in accordance with legislative requirements;
(4) Note the draft guidance document contained within appendix 2 as published with the agenda.
Reasons for decision
The Council is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the activities prohibited and or restricted by the Proposed PSPO carried on in a public place within the Council’s area:
i) have had a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality of the Restricted Area or that it is likely that the activities will be carried on in public place within that area and that they will have such an effect, and
ii) that the effect/likely effect of the activities is or is likely to be of a persistent or continuing nature, and
iii) that these activities are unreasonable, and
iv) justify the restrictions and prohibitions imposed by the Proposed PSPO.
Having undertaken formal consultation on the terms of the first draft PSPO, and having made amendments to the terms to address concerns raised in response to that consultation it is considered that the proposed PSPO as shown in Appendix 1 of the report published with the agenda, is a reasonable and proportionate means of addressing the behaviours identified.
The test in S59 of the 2014 Act is considered met in respect of the behaviours that it is proposed will be restricted or prohibited. There has been particular regard to rights of freedom of expression and rights of freedom to assembly.
Other Options Considered
The other option considered was not implementing the PSPO. This was rejected as it felt that not implementing the PSPO would lead to the continuation of the activities causing detriment to those living in, working in, or visiting the City Centre.