Making our city centre a better place for everyone to enjoy

The City Council recently consulted on a proposed new “Public Space Protection Order” (PSPO), designed to help ensure that the city centre provides a safe, clean, vibrant and attractive environment for all.

Public Space Protection Orders give councils the ability to better manage their public spaces, so that we can promote the kind of city centre we want to see. The PSPO is intended to promote a vibrant, welcoming city centre by facilitating things like busking in appropriate locations and streamlining the offer provided by those giving food to those in need, for example by ensuring there is an offer available across the week, rather than several on the same day.

If you think about the Victoria Centre, security guards are able to manage the centre to ensure that visitors get the best possible experience without disturbance. The PSPO will give CPOs the ability to manage the city centre in a way that makes it a better place that we can all enjoy.

The PSPO is not about banning things. In fact, there are only 3 bans included, and they are for things I’m sure we can agree on- urinating and defecating in public, blocking entrances and exits and using psychoactive substances. Other activities are restricted so as to ensure that they can be managed for the good of the public as well as in the best interests of anyone undertaking those activities. It also strengthens powers to deal with acts of public indecency helping make our city centre a better destination for businesses, local residents and visitors.

The PSPO provides particular pitches for Big Issue sellers, will limit ‘chuggers’ and people giving out flyers without agreement from the council to do so and will promote respectful street entertainment that makes our city centre more vibrant.

At a time when the police presence in our city has diminished due to eight years of Government funding cuts, ensuring our Community Protection Officers are properly equipped with the powers to deal with the growing challenges is essential to maintain our city centre as an attractive public space for people to work, relax and enjoy.

The consultation closed last month and whilst the responses were overwhelmingly positive, we are taking any issues raised seriously and looking to address them in our final proposals. Submissions included those from Nottinghamshire Police, Big Issue, Nottingham Business Improvement District, local churches, the Big Issues, Musicians Union, Equity and local residents.