Consultation on Town Centre Public Space Protection Order launched

Date: 
Thursday, 14 February, 2019
Number: 
19-18

Harlow Council is set to introduce a public space protection order (PSPO) to target antisocial behaviour in the Town Centre and make it a safer place to visit and work in.

The Council is carrying out final consultation with residents and businesses on the PSPO which covers Harlow Town Centre, which would prohibit dangerous cycling, alcohol consumption outside of licensed premises and antisocial ball games within the area. The Town Centre PSPO would be the first of its kind in the town.

The plans for the Order follow a Cabinet meeting in July 2018 which agreed to consult with the public. The report included evidence gathered from consultation with residents and businesses in the Town Centre in January 2018 and incidents reported to the police, Harvey Centre and Water Gardens. The evidence gathered highlighted public concerns about the effects and risks to safety that antisocial behaviour has on the Town Centre and those who live and work there.

The issues that came up the most during the previous consultation period were dangerous cycling, antisocial behaviour and litter (both of which are covered by existing powers that we have) and alcohol consumption/drug use, with nearly 74% of respondents stating that they felt the Town Centre was affected by these problems on a daily basis.

The PSPO would make any of the activities mentioned in the order an offence which is punishable by law; anyone breaching the order can be fined or prosecuted. If the PSPO is introduced it will be put in place for three years, after which time its impact will be reviewed and we will decide on any extension or changes that should be made. The order will be enforced by the Council Community Safety Team and Essex Police.

Councillor Eugenie Harvey, Portfolio Holder for Community Wellbeing, said:

“This is an important piece of work that we hope will have a significant and positive impact on the daily lives of local shoppers, visitors and businesses in the town centre. The PSPO is targeted at the minority of people who cause trouble and misery to others either through riding bikes dangerously and at people, drinking alcohol or kicking balls at people or property.

“We know that the issues that this PSPO covers are not all that affect the Town Centre. We work closely with the police to tackle the issues that affect our residents and business owners in Harlow; whilst the police and our own Community Safety Officers carry out patrols, and the police can, for example, put dispersal orders in place to deal with issues surrounding large groups of people gathering, there are other more regular daily problems that this PSPO will cover.

“We’ve gone out and spoken to those who use and work in the Town Centre in order to target the problems that matter most to them and this PSPO will respond to those concerns.”

You can read more about the PSPO proposals and submit your questions to us at www.harlow.gov.uk/pspo

The consultation runs until Thursday 28 February.