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Barbecue ban at beaches and parks proposed by Canterbury City Council

Barbecues and beer bottles could be banned from beaches and parks across a Kent district – with on-the-spot fines being dished out to rule-breakers.

Bosses at Canterbury City Council are considering introducing a raft of stringent Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) to crack down on nuisance behaviour which "makes people's lives a misery".

Cooking food on Whitstable and Herne Bay beaches could be banned
Cooking food on Whitstable and Herne Bay beaches could be banned

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They want to prevent beach-goers from lighting barbecues and taking glass bottles on to council-owned land across Herne Bay and Whitstable.

The barbecue ban would also be enforced across the council's open spaces such as Duncan Down and Canterbury's Kingsmead Field.

The unveiling of the authority's controversial proposals comes after the level of litter on beaches in Whitstable piled up in recent weeks, with glass bottles and rubbish left strewn across the seafront.

Cllr Ashley Clark, one of the driving forces behind drawing up the council's plans, says the use of bottles and barbecues has long caused misery.

Cllr Ashley Clark
Cllr Ashley Clark

"This behaviour is wrecking our district for the people who live here and we need to nip it in the bud," he said.

"People are totally fed-up with this sort of thing. Barbecues are problematic as they are just left discarded and people and pets can tread on them.

"They've damaged groynes at the beach and benches and bins in parks have been destroyed by idiots who have left them there.

"They are a nuisance and we need to be able control how they can be used."

The PSPO proposals are set to go out to consultation at the end of the week and be decided upon later in the year.

Members of the public are being urged to have their say on the plans and to suggest other activities that should potentially be banned.

"It's all about balance," Cllr Clark said. "We want people to enjoy themselves but in a responsible way.

"It might not necessarily be a blanket ban across all beaches and open spaces as we need to be sensible. We want to know what the public think.

"There are many alternatives to taking glass onto the beach - drink can be decanted into something else. No one wants to stop people having fun but glass bottles have been chucked on beaches for years and it needs to end."

If the bans are rubber-stamped, the PSPOs give enforcement officers and police power to dish out on-the-spot fixed penalty notices to those breaking the rules.

Litter strewn across the seafront at Whitstable last month. Picture: Brandon Cordery
Litter strewn across the seafront at Whitstable last month. Picture: Brandon Cordery

Council leader Rob Thomas said: “PSPOs can be a valuable tool in our fight against nuisance behaviour which can make people who suffer from its effects absolutely miserable or simply furious because they end up spending the time and effort clearing after someone else’s excess and selfishness.

“They can also help us to protect the wildlife that lives its life on our land like ducks living on the river in the Westgate Gardens from people using catapults.

“We have a completely open mind on whether we need to extend the scope of our PSPOs or pare them back and, if councillors agree to this consultation, we genuinely want to hear what people think.

“Of course, there may also be problems we have not addressed and we want to hear about those too.”

The council is also considering introducing other measures to be covered by a PSPO.

They include banning nitrous oxide canisters from council-controlled land, flying a drone near a beach or park unless qualified, taking an air weapon or catapult to a park, and attempting to trap or snare wildlife.

People can comment on the consultation via the council's website from Friday and need to respond by August 30.

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