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Public Spaces Protection Orders


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What is a PSPO?

Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) were introduced in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 to allow local authorities some flexibility in protecting public spaces from persistent anti-social or unwelcome behaviour.

Following extensive consultation the Borough Council has introduced a number of PSPOs to address a variety of behaviours.

The PSPOs we have introduced take into account, as far as possible, the feedback we received from residents during consultation periods in 2017 and 2021.

In respect of the orders that seek to address anti-social behaviour associated with begging and rough sleeping there is no desire to fine people who are already in difficult circumstances. The Council wants to engage with people with the intention of directly supporting them or signposting them to other available services more appropriate to their individual circumstances.

What does a PSPO mean for me?

Most people won’t be affected by the introduction of PSPOs as they are specifically targeted to address unwanted behaviour caused by a minority of residents, often persistent, or visitors to our town or borough.

Details follow and you can also read (or listen) to the various committee meetings where PSPOs were presented to members. Links to committee meeting and additional documentation are provided below.

Alcohol control

Drinking alcohol in public is prohibited in Tunbridge Wells town centre, St John’s Park, Grosvenor and Hilbert Park, London Road (Southborough), Ridgewaye Playing Fields, and on and around Sherwood Lake.

The orders do not restrict the consumption of alcohol where the premises or its curtilage (a beer garden or pavement seating area) is licensed for the supply of alcohol. There are also limitations where a temporary event notice has been given under Part 5 of the Licensing Act 2003.

Anti-social behaviour associated with begging or rough sleeping

In Tunbridge Wells town centre, a PSPO prohibits begging and/or rough sleeping where there is associated anti-social behaviour or where the person is not engaging with support services.

Amplified music

Also within Tunbridge Wells town centre, when amplified music is being played (busking) we may ask that performances cease if the Council receives a complaint about it and then deems the volume to be causing an unreasonable disturbance.

Dog fouling – increased penalties

If you’re a dog owner or dog walker you need to know that the penalty for dog fouling has increased to £100. You can avoid this penalty by ensuring you carry enough bags to pick up after your dog when you’re out for a walk and making sure you use them!

Dog control – dogs on leads or prohibited

We already ask that if you are in a council park your dog is kept under control at all times. Now, PSPOs at St Mark’s Recreation Ground and the Neville Ground specify that you must keep your dog(s) on a lead at all times.

Similarly, from May, 2022 (date to be confirmed) you must also keep your dog on a lead in the formal area of Dunorlan Park. There is an area called The Meadows where dogs can be taken for unrestricted exercise. Maps identifying both locations are available at Dunorlan Park and in the order linked to below.

Dogs are also prohibited from fenced children’s play areas located within our parks. There is signage to this effect on or near play area access points.

These dog control orders do not apply to a person in control of a working assistance dog which has been trained to assist that person who has a disability.

Sherwood Lake

From May, 2022 (date to be confirmed) to prevent unreasonable disturbance to nearby residents and other users of the lake fishing is prohibited on the south and western sides of the lake between 7pm and 7am.

As mentioned above, alcohol consumption is also prohibited on and around the lake at all times of the day and night.

St John’s Park

From May, 2022 (date to be confirmed) to prevent unreasonable disturbance to nearby residents there will be a curfew on the park between the hours of 11pm and 5am.

As mentioned above, alcohol consumption is already prohibited in St John’s Park at all times of the day and night.

Multi-storey car parks

From May, 2022 (date to be confirmed) to help reduce anti-social behaviour in multi-storey car parks in Tunbridge Wells town centre an order will prohibit loitering or unauthorised games or activities, such as skateboarding and BMXing.

This order does not apply to rough sleeping.

Penalties

The penalty for failing to comply with a PSPO (excluding alcohol control) may be a fine on conviction, not exceeding £1,000. A Fixed Penalty Notice of up to £100 may be used as an alternative to prosecution.

While it is not an offence to drink alcohol in a controlled drinking zone, it is an offence to fail to comply with a request to cease drinking or surrender alcohol. This is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 2 (£500) on the standard scale. If alcohol is confiscated, it can be disposed of by the person who confiscates it.

If you refuse to give up alcohol when asked to do so by a police officer or police community support officer you could be arrested.

Related information

For more information, locations, maps and the complete wording of the orders please follow the links below:

PSPO Permission for public consultation and three-year renewal of several 2018 orders

Cabinet Advisory Board on 9th June, 2021 and Cabinet on 24th June, 2021:

Communities and Economic Development Cabinet Advisory Board - Wednesday, 9th June, 2021 6.30 pm

Cabinet - Thursday, 24th June, 2021 10.30 am

Three-month extension of two 2018 PSPOs while consultation responses are collated

Cabinet Advisory Board on 8th September, 2021 and Cabinet on 23rd September, 2021:

Cabinet - Thursday, 23rd September, 2021 10.30 am

Communities and Economic Development Cabinet Advisory Board - Wednesday, 8th September, 2021 6.30 pm

Consultation results, variation of Southborough order and approval of dogs on leads at Dunorlan Park and The Nevill Ground

Cabinet Advisory Board on 17th November, 2021 and Cabinet on 2nd December, 2021:

Communities and Economic Development Cabinet Advisory Board - Wednesday, 17th November, 2021 6.30 pm

Cabinet - Thursday, 2nd December, 2021 10.30 am

Approval of other measures to address anti-social behaviour

Cabinet Advisory Board on 30th March, 2022 and Cabinet on 14th April, 2022:

Communities and Economic Development Cabinet Advisory Board - Wednesday, 30th March, 2022 6.30 pm

Cabinet - Thursday, 14th April, 2022 10.30 am