Chesterfield town centre alcohol and begging ban could be extended

Chesterfield residents are being urged to have their say on plans to extend orders banning booze, begging and drug-taking in the town centre.

Wednesday, 4th November 2020, 12:30 pm

Two Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO) are currently in place to cover Chesterfield town centre after being introduced in December 2017.

One order forbids the consumption of alcohol in the restricted area and the other prohibits various forms of nuisance behaviour, including drug-taking and rough sleeping on the streets.

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Chesterfield Borough Council wants to extend a ban on alcohol and begging in Chesterfield town centre.

Chesterfield Borough Council has now launched a consultation on extending the orders.

PSPOs see the council, police and other partners, including the community safety partnership and Pathways, work together to address issues such as homelessness, rough sleeping, begging and anti-social behaviour.

Opposition councillors described the orders as a ‘regrettable necessity’.

Paul Holmes, leader of Chesterfield Liberal Democrats, said: “The powers within them must be used as a last resort when all other approaches and offers of help have been tried.

"But anti-social behaviour, criminal begging and open substance abuse simply cannot be allowed to make the town centre a hostile place for local residents, traders and shoppers.”

The orders also ban tents and other temporary structures; anyone causing nuisance, alarm, harassment or distress; loitering and begging; urination and defecation and intoxicating substances.

Failure to comply with the orders is an offence and either fines or fixed penalty notices can be issued.

“Earlier this year, during the first lockdown, we saw just how much could be done to help rough sleepers,” Coun Holmes added.

"Government money enabled local councils, working together, to provide help and accomodation for everyone living on the street.

"A longer term support programme has now been established, jointly funded and supported by local councils and Government money.

"Some individuals however, rejected all and repeated offers of help and continued to congregate in sometimes disruptive small groups in and around the town centre.

"Others, causing problems in the town centre, are not homeless but prefer 'street life’.

“Drug and alcohol dependency and mental health issues can all be factors in such behaviour and extra support workers have recently been recruited.

“These orders provide a much needed backstop to help safeguard the general public and when necessary deal with behaviour which badly affects other people.”

To comment on the extension plans, email [email protected] by November 16.

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