Have your say on anti-social crackdown

22 Nov 2021 12:22
Published by: Scott Callan

ADDITIONAL powers to clampdown on anti-social behaviour could be extended under new plans to make Bolton town centre a safer place.

A town centre Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) was introduced in 2019 with the backing of Bolton businesses, community groups and members of the public.

The original order is due to expire in early 2022 but Bolton Council is now holding a public consultation on proposals to extend it for a further three years.

Activities banned under the PSPO include street drinking, begging, unlicensed leafleting and cycling in pedestrianised areas.

A total of 88 fixed penalty notices have bene issued to those who repeatedly flout the rules.

The order covers the town centre and surrounding areas including the Market Place Shopping Centre, the retail park on Trinity Street, and up to Deane Road.

Hilary Fairclough, deputy council leader, said: "When the PSPO was first introduced, it had the backing from businesses who were concerned that a small minority were putting off shoppers and visitors from coming into the town centre.

"In the last three years we have used these extra powers to tackle the issues that matter most to Bolton residents including street drinking, drug use and begging.

"The council is committed to making the town centre more prosperous and vibrant and I hope the public wil lback our plans to extend these powers for another three years."

The consultation is available online and will run until December 13. A final proposal for the extended PSPO will take public feedback into account and will be considered before the end fo the year.

Under the current PSPO "all persons are prohibited from placing themselves in a position to beg or solicit money" in the town centre.

The council says many people "reasonably believe" those soliciting in the street are homeless and need money to access accommodation.

However, it says that since 2019, all individuals handed fixed penalty notices for begging in the town centre have been known to be the local authority and already have access to accommodation

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