Norwich skateboard ban could be scrapped after last minute rethink

There could be a rethink over a proposal to bring in a bylaw to ban skateboarders from parts of Norw

There could be a rethink over a proposal to bring in a bylaw to ban skateboarders from parts of Norwich, such as the Memorial Gardens. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

A proposed bylaw, which would have banned skateboarding from parts of the city centre, looks set to be scrapped - after an 11th hour rethink by council bosses.

Norwich City Council members were tomorrow night due to decide whether to bring in a bylaw to 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 bylaw was needed because of damage being caused to the war memorial and City Hall, which officers said was caused by skateboarders.

It was supported by veterans' groups, but the proposal proved controversial.

There was opposition from skaters, who accused the council of being heavy-handed.

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And the council has suggested a different approach.

Instead of a bylaw, City Hall officers are recommending the use of 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 antisocial behaviour in a public space.

And, at tomorrow's council meeting, officers are recommending that the option of a PSPO is consulted upon, with the intention of specifically protecting the war memorial and gardens from damage due to skateboarding.

The council says it wants to ask the skateboarding community to work together on resolving issues of inconsiderate activity, such as that which causes damage to buildings.

Keith Driver, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety, said: 'This is about taking joint responsibility for our city while also allowing people to enjoy it in the way in which they want.

'In this instance, a PSPO provides a more flexible way forward and one that will hopefully provide the balance needed on a topic that has generated such wide ranging opinions.

'At the heart of the process is the need to protect and engender respect for the war memorial and gardens to make sure that they are not subject to any further damage.'

The legislation on PSPOs came into effect at the end of October 2014.

Unlike a bylaw, the ultimate sanction would be a fixed penalty notice and not require a court appearance.

If council agrees to go ahead with a PSPO at full council, the next step would be a 12-week consultation period in which interested parties can comment on the proposed approach.

The council says revision is being submitted on the basis that if it does not prove to be effective, the situation will be revisited and, potentially, a more formal approach taken in the originally proposed area.

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