The Cabinet Member with the Stronger Communities Portfolio introduced the report of the Group Director Services (previously circulated) highlighting the potential benefits from renewing the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in Darlington Town Centre.
The submitted report stated that in 2019 a PSPO was granted for Darlington Town Centre to assist in dealing with issues such as nuisance behaviour, begging and anti-social drinking; the order could only be introduced for a period of three years and expired in February 2022 after which it must be reviewed to consider whether to renew or not; the PSPO had been effectively used over the last three years, however there were still ongoing issues that needed to be addressed; and that the renewal of the PSPO could assist the Council, Police and partners in dealing with some of those issues. The PSPO could place restrictions on behaviour and should individuals breach those conditions, they could be liable to punishment by a fine of up to £1,000 (or £500 in the case of consumption of alcohol) or a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) of up to £100.
It was reported that only one response had been received to the public consultation; the issue of dealing with obstructions to public buildings included in the original order was not considered to be required and therefore proposed to be removed from the new order; the renewal of a PSPO potentially could have negative impacts on certain groups more than others; and that consideration had been given to better understand the potential impacts and the appropriate steps that needed to be taken to mitigate and ensure that the PSPO was used proportionately, reasonably and fairly.
Particular references were made at the meeting to the engagement of the 700 Club in the process and to the increase in the number of Fixed Penalty Notices issued in 2021/22. The Cabinet Member with the Stronger Communities Portfolio responded thereon.
RESOLVED – (a) That the consultation that had taken place and feedback received, as detailed in the submitted report, be noted.
(b) That the Public Space Protection Order for Darlington Town Centre, as set out in Appendix 2 of the submitted report, be approved, to enable it to be formally made. ?????