An end to boozy parties?

Party girls: New powers may target booze-fuelled stag and hen parties. Below - Coun Gillian Campbell
Party girls: New powers may target booze-fuelled stag and hen parties. Below - Coun Gillian Campbell
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New powers designed to tackle anti-social behaviour could be used to target booze-fuelled stag and hen parties in Blackpool town centre, it has been revealed.

Town hall bosses say they will consider how to make use of new public spaces protection orders (PSPOs) when they are introduced by the Government next month.

It comes as campaigners warned the wide-ranging powers could be used to target street drinking, busking or anti-social parking.

The report from civil liberties group Manifesto Club adds: “Towns frequented by hen and stag nights are considering PSPOs requiring that people be dressed properly.”

From October 20, councils will be able to make an order restricting activities that have “a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality”. While campaigners fear heavy-handed use of the orders could unfairly target vulnerable groups, including the homeless, there has been no indication how Blackpool Council would use them, if at all.

However, council chiefs stirred up controversy earlier this year by claiming rowdy stag and hen parties were damaging the resort.

Tourism boss Coun Graham Cain originally said “kiss me quick, stag and hens” should “go somewhere else”, before later clarifying that he only wanted to deter the more unruly groups.

Coun Gillian Campbell, Blackpool Council cabinet member for public safety and enforcement, said: “We’re aware of the legislation on Public Space Protection Orders and the executive will consider how they want to use them in the near future.

“Public Space Protection Orders are just one of the newly streamlined powers that we are being given to tackle anti- social behaviour and we will work closely with all ward councillors who feel that such an order would be relevant in their area.”

The wide-ranging powers could be used to clamp down on a range of nuisance behaviour.

Other possible uses suggested so far include banning the sale of so-called “legal highs”, stopping groups congregating in public spaces and restricting the number of charity collectors in town centres.

Breaching the orders would be a criminal offence.