Consultation over fines for anti-social behaviour on Norwich’s war memorial on ice until after election

Skateboarders in Norwich City centre. Photo: Steve Adams

Skateboarders in Norwich City centre. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

Consultation on powers to fine skateboarders and other people deemed to be behaving in an 'anti-social' way on Norwich's war memorial and Memorial Gardens has been put on ice until after the election.

Controversy was sparked last year when the Labour-controlled Norwich City Council cabinet recommended the authority should ring in a byelaw which would ban skateboarding, roller skating and scooters from certain areas, including the war memorial, the Memorial Gardens, Hay Hill and the area around City Hall.

The council said the byelaw was needed because of damage to the war memorial and City Hall, which officers said was caused by skateboarders.

But skateboarders said that claim was not backed by evidence and, after more than 6,600 people signed a petition against the byelaw, a u-turn saw the council pull away from introducing it at a meeting last November.

Instead, councillors agreed to consult on a new, and untried power, specifically to focus on the war memorial and the Memorial Gardens.

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That power is a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), which can be used to stop individuals committing anti-social behaviour in a public space.

Police, police community support officers and council officers would be able to issue notices, which carry fines of up to £100.

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Following that meeting, the council said 12 weeks of consultation would be carried out. But more than four months later it has yet to start.

And a City Hall spokeswoman confirmed the consultation will not happen until after the election. There are elections in 15 city council wards.

At a recent council meeting, Sandra Bogelein, Green councillor for Wensum ward, criticised the previous consultation process, although that was defended by Labour's Keith Driver, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety.

And he said: 'We are currently looking at whether a PSPO provides a more flexible way forward for protection of the war memorial and one that will hopefully provide the balance needed on a topic that has generated such wide ranging opinions.'

• What do you think? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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