Have your say on anti-social behaviour in Hastings and St Leonards

Hastings Town Centre.
Hastings Town Centre.

Hastings Borough Council is consulting on changes to the town’s Anti-Social Behaviour Public Space Protection Order (PSPO).

PSPOs are made under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. The current ASB PSPO came into force on June 12, 2017, after a public consultation process.

The council is now undertaking a four-week consultation seeking views on modifications to the current ASB PSPO.

The council proposes extending the prohibition on general anti-social behaviour to cover the whole borough. It currently applies within a large specified area of the borough covering much of Central St Leonards, the town centre, the Old Town, and much of the seafront. It prohibits shouting, swearing, screaming, or acting in a manner causing annoyance, harassment, alarm, or distress to any person. It is also proposed the definition used in this prohibition is amended to include “nuisance, or annoyance, or alarm, or distress or harassment”.

The council is also proposing the prohibition on consuming alcohol in specified public spaces is extended to cover a wider area.

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A council spokesman said: “This currently applies within four relatively small specified areas of the borough within Central St Leonards, the town centre, and the Old Town. It prohibits the consumption of alcohol in these specified public spaces unless it is purchased from a licensed premises and consumed at the licensed premises.

“This prohibition was primarily introduced to deal with ASB associated with street drinkers. It has resulted in some displacement of this ASB causing nuisance, annoyance, alarm, distress and harassment to residents, businesses and visitors to these areas.

“We are therefore proposing to expand the alcohol prohibition to cover a wider area to address the displacement.”

Part of the PSPO also refers to the prohibition on overnight sleeping in vehicles, which currently only applies to Cinque Ports Way as there was a lot of serious ASB associated with people sleeping in vehicles such as cars, vans and caravans in this area in 2015 and 2016, according to the council. The consultation proposes extending this to cover other problem areas.

The council spokesman added: “Since the ASB PSPO came into force in 2017 ASB associated with people sleeping in vehicles and temporary structures such as tents in other areas of the borough has increased. Examples include caravans in Sea Road and more recently also Napier Road, and tents in many of the council’s public parks and open spaces and the beach/seafront and some churchyards.

“We are therefore proposing to extend the prohibition on sleeping overnight in vehicles to cover the other areas where this has become a problem, and to also clarify the definition to include all types of vehicle including caravans, and also temporary structures such as tents.”

The consultation runs from now until 4pm on Friday, May 10. Go to https://www.hastings.gov.uk/my_council/consultations/proposed-asb-pspo/ for details.

To have your say on these proposals, send feedback to consultation@hastings.gov.uk or alternatively, you can send your feedback via post to Community Safety, Hastings Borough Council, Muriel Matters House, Breeds Place, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 3UY.

Hard copies of the consultation documents can be accessed at the Council’s Contact Centre and the Tourist Information Centre. At both of these centres there are the IT facilities and support necessary for the submission of views to consultation@hastings.gov.uk.