A BAN on activities from begging to riding bikes in Coventry city centre – backed up by fines – is set to be introduced.
The measure could also apply to skateboarding in pedestrian areas, unwanted busking or drinking alcohol – to bolster the previous no-alcohol zone.
Council leaders will consider at a cabinet meeting next Tuesday (November 29) whether a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) could reduce these and other types of ‘anti-social behaviour’.
The council’s priorities include trying to attract more people into the city centre, which has slipped outside the top 50 best performing town centres.
The council says the PSPOs would introduce a simpler and less bureaucratic way of acting against such activities.
Those responsible could receive a £100 fixed penalty notice, reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.
The orders could be applied to an even wider range of activities, or at certain times of the day.
Anyone not complying with the guidelines would be issued with a fixed penalty notice, rather than the authorities having to rely on lengthy and costly criminal proceedings. Notices could be issued by the police and council officers.
Leading Labour councillors will next Tuesday (November 29) decide whether to approve seeking the public’s views in a public consultation.
Anyone facing a fine who is in hardship could request an extended period to pay, a council statement says.
It adds: “Anyone who continues to beg and who cannot afford the fixed penalty notice will be put in touch with agencies who can help, including access to shelter or for any treatment they may need to combat addiction.”
Deputy cabinet member for policing and equalities, councillor Pervez Akhtar, said: “We know that these kinds of issues are faced in towns and cities across the country.
“Clearly we want to make sure we do what we can to help people who have genuinely fallen on hard times and we will ensure support is in place.
“But a Public Space Protection Order could reduce some of the issues that potentially put people off coming into the city centre and so we’ll be considering whether it should be introduced in Coventry.
“If we think it could help, we’ll be asking residents and businesses for their views.”
The public consultation would start on November 30 and close on January 15 next year.
Following consultation, recommendations will be taken back to the ruling cabinet of Labour councillors before a final decision is made.