Order will make town centre safer

Councillors - including at Blackpool Town Hall pictured - have been voting on proposals for a Lancashire Combined Authority
Councillors - including at Blackpool Town Hall pictured - have been voting on proposals for a Lancashire Combined Authority
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Town hall chiefs look set to approve new powers aimed at making Blackpool town centre and Promenade feel safer.

It comes after hundreds of people told the council they felt intimidated by yobbish behaviour including people drinking in the street and loitering around cash machines.

Now councillors are poised to approve a public space protection order for the town centre and Prom.

The move will ban activities such as selling ‘lucky charms’, selling magazines without permission, taking legal highs, and loitering with the intention of begging.

Another proposals is to prohibit people from engaging others in cards tricks or other activities for the purpose of gaining money.

Blackpool Council’s executive is being recommended to agree the implementation of the order when it meets on Monday.

Coun Ian Coleman, whose represents Talbot ward which includes the town centre, said: “Anything we can do to alleviate anti-social behaviour in the town centre has to be welcomed.

“At the moment there is investment coming into the town centre, for example with new restaurants opening, and so we want to send out the right message that the town centre is safe.

“The more people we can stop getting up to anti-social behaviour, the better is is for every resident of Blackpool and every visitor.”

The order can be enforced by police officers, authorised police community support officers, council officers and other designated groups, including officers under the community safety accreditation scheme.

The recommendation to approve the order follows a 12-week public consultation which attracted 1,062 responses.

Of those, 71 per cent cited people loitering around cash machines and shop entrances as being “a very or fairly big problem”, while 68 per cent had concerns about people drinking in the street, and 63 per cent had concerns about people selling joke books and magazines not for legitimate purposes.

Around half of respondents said they were fed up of being asked to buy ‘lucky charms’ or heather.

Once the order is adopted, anybody caught engaging in these activities would be committing a criminal offence and would be liable for a criminal record and a fixed penalty notice of £100.

Activities would be banned in the town centre, north of Chapel Street and south of Springfield Road. The eastern boundary of area would follow Central Drive, Albert Road, Adelaide Street, King Street George Street and Buchanan Street.

Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “We want to make sure everybody who comes in to the town centre can feel safe and doesn’t have to worry about being harassed, tricked or made to feel unsafe.

“These public spaces protection orders are the perfect opportunity to try and address some of those issues and I’m really grateful that the Blackpool public have got involved to tell us what they think we should include.”

A similar draft order relating to the town’s parks is also being considered by the council.