A little surprised only 62 local people responded to a public consultation on plans to renew street drinking restrictions in Bath.
Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) were first introduced to reduce anti-social behaviour in 2017 by Bath & North East Somerset Council in response to concerns raised by residents.
Legally the orders must be reviewed every three years and residents consulted. A decision will be taken at a cabinet meeting on September 9th.
Reports to cabinet on a consultation initially held for 12 weeks from December 2020 on the restrictions for Bath – and Midsomer Norton – say that new orders for both towns should be put into place.
They also recommend that the Community Safety and Safeguarding Partnership regularly reviews the impact of the orders on equality, including the support and treatment available for people who misuse alcohol – including street drinkers.
The consultation was extended for a further month due to a low response rate, giving residents 16 weeks to have their say.
The consultation found that:
- From 62 replies received, 88% agreed that a PSPO to control drinking in Bath would be welcome, with 12% (7 people) not agreeing. 64% of respondents (40 people) have been affected by street drinking in the area, with 36% (22 people) not affected, representing a 7% increase on the 2017 consultation.
- Of those who agreed with a PSPO, links were made between street drinking and anti-social behaviour, threatening behaviour including violence and aggression, littering, street urination and vandalism.
- Of those who disagreed with a PSPO, key points were that the order as currently drafted is too restrictive or draconian, citing it could restrict consuming alcohol in a park as part of a picnic or other social gatherings. It was also felt that existing legislation is enough and that people would not abide by the PSPO.
For Midsomer Norton:
- From 16 replies received, 86% (14 people) agreed that a PSPO to control drinking in Midsomer Norton was a good idea, with 14% (2 people) disagreeing. 60% have been affected by street drinking in the area, with 40% not. In 2017 54% said that they had not been affected.
- Of those who agreed with the idea of a PSPO in Midsomer Norton, the majority felt it would reduce drunken noisy behaviour, which some respondents felt threatened by.
- Of the two people who disagreed, one person commented that existing powers should be enough.
Councillor Dine Romero, cabinet member for Children and Young People, Communities and Culture, said: “Thank you to everyone who took part in our consultation. The evidence gathered demonstrates that anti-social behaviour associated with alcohol consumption has had a detrimental effect on the quality of life of people in both Bath and Midsomer Norton. Residents should feel safe in enjoying their city or town centre without fear of being impacted by anti-social behaviour, so we will consider these reports carefully to determine whether the scope of the orders provide enough protection for the public.”
Anyone who breaches a Public Spaces Protection Order and refuses to stop drinking or to dispose of their alcohol when asked to by an authorised officer (for example, a Police Officer) faces a £100 fixed penalty or a fine of up to £500 if convicted of breaching the PSPO by a court.
You can read the reports going before cabinet, including the consultation responses, here