Tory councillor complains that council hasn’t ‘banned begging’ in city centre
Rhiannon James, local democracy reporter
A Tory councillor has complained that a council hasn’t banned begging in a city centre.
In a Newport City Council meeting held on Tuesday, November 23, a new Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) for the city centre was approved.
But Cllr Matthew Evans, leader of the Conservative group, said he “reluctantly” supported the new PSPO, but is unhappy that it does not include a “total ban on begging”.
He claimed that a ban on begging could give those who do it, the push to get help.
Cllr Evans, who represents Allt-yr-yn, said: “Does [begging] really help those with mental health and substance abuse problems? I think the answer is no.
“By giving them money you may as well give them a bottle of vodka or give them drugs directly. They need help and support and we are lucky to have numerous organisations here.”
The new PSPO will last three years and intends to address the issue of anti-social behaviour in the area. The council hope it will make Newport city centre a safer space for the public, and increase community cohesion and footfall.
In a Scrutiny Committee meeting held on September 23, the committee agreed there should not be a blanket ban on begging.
The new Public Spaces Protection Order includes the seven following restrictions:
- No drinking alcohol and must hand over sealed or unsealed alcoholic drinks if if told not to do so by an authorised officer.
- No “street trading” including charity pots to take place, unless in possession of a permit from the council.
- No begging in an aggressive manner, or within ten metres of a cash point.
- No acting in a manner that could cause harassment, alarm or distress to a member of the public.
- No taking, possessing, selling or supplying illegal substances.
- Dogs must be on a lead that is no more than 1.5 metres.
- Cyclists or users of E-scooters, E-bikes, skateboards and hoverboards must dismount if asked to do so by an authorised officer.
Leader of the Labour council, Jane Mudd, said the new PSPO was “an evidence-based proposal.”