Published: 16:59, 17 September 2020
| Updated: 14:43, 21 September 2020
Council bosses are proposing to extend powers to tackle anti-social behaviour hot spots in Gravesend town centre.
Gravesham council plans to control the consumption of alcohol in the area through a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO).
It is consulting on a variation to conditions in an existing PSPO that was implemented in October 2017 and to extend it for another three years.
This, it says, will allow it to address issues of anti-social behaviour and improve community safety in the town centre.
If reapproved, it would run from Clifton Marine Parade to Milton, reaching as far southward as Leith Park Road, near Windmill Hill.
The ban prevents people from consuming alcohol in public spaces in the areas identified other than in pubs and licensed venues.
Those who breach the order will be told to stop drinking and handover any alcohol in open containers.
If a person is spotted by an officer drinking in the same area within a reasonable time after they have been warned they can be fined.
The council added where "as a consequence of Covid-19" arrangements have been made to extend the area ordinarily available to the public in which to consume alcohol the order will not be enforced.
PSPOs are banning orders prohibiting certain activities such as drinking in public and dog fouling.
Introduced in 2014, they sit among a range of tools at a council's disposal to help tackle anti-social behaviour at a local level. However, they are not intended to regulate the night-time economy or prevent young people from seeing their friends.
Use of PSPOs by local authorities in England has at times been controversial and Gravesham council came under fire for its use of the powers to tackle rough sleeping in 2016.
It led human rights group Liberty to brand the authority's ban on anyone "lying down or sleeping in the open air" unlawful.
Gravesham council announced its new anti-social behaviour strategy (ASB) shortly before the lockdown.
It follows a recent survey of more than 400 Gravesham residents, in which an overwhelming majority (40%) said ASB was their main concern.
The authority believes if the ban is not be extended the consumption of alcohol in the area is likely to have a detrimental effect.
Leader of Gravesham council Cllr John Burden said: “The wellbeing of our residents comes first and this public space protection order gives the council and the police the necessary powers to deter and tackle anti-social behaviour, as well as prevent the consumption of alcohol, in the area which can become a problem for residents and have a detrimental effect on their lives.”
The council would like people's views on the current PSPO via a questionnaire by midnight on September 27.
Questions should be emailed to email@example.com or call Gravesham’s Community Safety Unit on 01474 337328.