Four patches of land in Plymouth are set to be the first to benefit from the Council’s new policy for dealing with unauthorised encampments.
The new policy was agreed by the Cabinet on Tuesday and looks at the way that Public Space Protection Orders can be used as part of the deterrent to unauthorised encampments.
These PSPOs, coupled with the development of temporary stopping spaces, will allow the Council to move unauthorised encampments much faster than is currently possible through pursuing eviction notices through the County Courts.
Whilst explaining the terms of the new policy to his Cabinet colleagues, Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cabinet member for Housing and Cooperative Development, announced that Central Park’s Love Field, Prince Rock playing fields and land at William Prance Road and Towerfield Drive will be the first sites earmarked for protection.
Chris said: “I’m really pleased that we can immediately act on this policy and start making a difference to residents who live near sites that are regularly occupied by unauthorised encampments.
“The way we have worked thus far has not been effective for anyone and has not protected local residents who face repeated unauthorised encampments. I look forward to consulting local residents on these PSPOs and taking that result to approval.”
These four sites have been chosen because, as per the terms of the policy, they have been occupied three or more times in the past 18 months.
PSPOs can only be issued by local authorities and replace the Designated Public Place Order and Gating Orders. They give the police and Local Authority additional powers to clamp down on certain anti-social behaviours.
Subject to the consultation responses, the terms of these PSPOs are likely to prohibit:
• Occupying any vehicle, caravan, tent or other structure
• Driving any vehicle on grass without lawful authority
• Littering or fly tipping
• Lighting and maintaining a fire
• Defecating or urinating
Failure to comply with these measures, or move to a temporary stopping space with 12 hours, will result in fixed penalty notices being issued. The nature of these FPNs will also be part of the PSPO consultation.
A six week consultation will now be arranged for each proposed site with residents encouraged to give their feedback.
Whilst the consultation is on-going, the Council will work to provide the temporary stopping spaces needed to make the PSPOs a success. A list of the proposed sites will be announced later this year and will each be subject to securing planning permission.