Published: 15:00, 22 July 2021
| Updated: 16:15, 22 July 2021
Lighting a barbecue and swigging booze from a bottle could be banned in more than 20 Kent beauty spots, a local authority has announced.
Under Canterbury City Council plans, on-the-spot fines of £100 could be issued to anyone taking part in the prohibited activities in Stour Parks – which includes Westgate Gardens and Hambrook Marshes – and Whitstable's Gorrell Valley.
Bosses also propose the lighting or fuelling of any open fire and the removal or disturbance of any wildlife to be included on the banned list.
The authority's enforcement kingpin, Cllr Ashley Clark, said: "These are award-winning areas that provide us with that vital link to nature that is critical to our mental and physical well being.
"As such they are essential to the overall quality of life in our district.
"Such valuable places need our protection and respect if we are to be able to enjoy them."
The crackdown is part of the city council's proposed new public space protection order (PSPO), which it says will help the police and enforcement officers in their fight against "behaviour that reduces people's quality of life".
If given the green light, the PSPO would give them the power to remove and dispose of items and issue on-the-spot fixed penalty notices of up to £100.
The authority wants the order to ban the use and dumping of barbecues in Stour Parks and Gorrell Valley greens.
And for glass bottles, there are two options.
The first is to prohibit visitors from littering, discarding or breaking them during jaunts, while the other is to ban people from being in possession of any glass bottle believed to contain alcohol, other than when sealed and in transit.
"PSPOs provide a useful framework and standard as to how we all would expect people to behave," Cllr Clark added.
"Ideally we seek to change behaviour and to prevent unfortunate things happening - that is why we have included an option to ban opened glass bottles with alcohol because of the problems we have experienced.
"It has absolutely nothing to do with raising money.
"But for those beyond education, sanctions apply giving the police, council enforcement officers and authorised persons the power to act."
The areas that form the Stour Parks stretch from Chartham through to the centre of Canterbury and beyond to Fordwich and Westbere Marshes.
Gorrell Valley, meanwhile, consists of the Gorrell Valley Nature Reserve, Duncan Down and Benacre Wood.
The city council has launched a public consultation into the proposed PSPO.
To read the draft order and comment on it, click here.
The full list of areas that would be affected by the PSPO is: Kingsmead Field, Vauxhall Field, Greyfriars Franciscan Gardens, Solley's Orchard, the Butterfly Garden, Millers Field, Guildhall Churchyard, Westgate Gardens, Whitehall Meadows Nature Reserve, Tannery Field, Bingley Island, Toddlers Cove (including the car park), Wincheap Meadow and Nature Reserve, Hambrook Marshes, the Great Stour Way between Canterbury and Chartham, footpath CB479 at Chartham, the cycle route linking Sturry Road Community Park to Fordwich, the footpaths either side of the River Stour from Fordwich to Westbere Marshes, Gorrell Valley Nature Reserve and amenity area, Duncan Down and Benacre Wood.