A new Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) covering Rochdale town centre is set to come into force after councillors agreed to introduce the measure, which is intended to help create a welcoming environment for shoppers, visitors and businesses.
Following over a month of consultation with Greater Manchester Police, groups who work with the most vulnerable people in our communities, local businesses, town centre management and Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) the PSPO will give the council (supported by police) new powers to tackle specific issues.
These are –
Control of commercial or charity collection or soliciting of money in the street
Consumption of alcohol in the street
Driving/using a car in an antisocial manner
Obstructing the highway or loitering
Use of skateboards, bicycles and scooters (not mobility scooters) in certain areas
Begging on the street
Most consultation respondents, including all businesses who took part, backed the move. The comments of those who opposed it have been taken into consideration.
The council already works with a number of other organisations to provide support for vulnerable households, including direct support for people at risk of homelessness and rough sleeping.
The council also backs the Big Change initiative, which aims to stop people giving money to people on the street and donate to local organisations dealing with the issues associated with begging instead.
Councillor Neil Emmott, the council’s cabinet member for housing and environment, said: “We are committed to creating a town centre residents can be proud of, somewhere welcoming that they want to visit, spend time in and shop comfortably. Whilst within the town centre, the experience can often be ruined by a small number of people adopting anti-social or thoughtless behaviour.”