Consultations have launched on a pioneering scheme to make the centre of Taunton a safer place for people to enjoy.
Taunton Deane Borough Council is considering introducing a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) that would effectively outlaw the use of “intoxicating substances” – alcohol and so-called legal highs – in public.
This would replace the existing “no Drinking” order that applies to certain areas of Taunton – and be far broader, covering the town centre and areas around Priorswood Road, through to Toneway and Blackbrook Way.
The move has been made possible thanks to changes in legislation that allows local councils to place an order where persistent activities are having a detrimental effect on the quality of life for people in the community.
Lincoln City Council is introducing a PSPO to cover its city centre and Taunton Deane Borough Council is preparing follow suit.
The Lincoln scheme attracted an overwhelming response in favour of the proposal with 97% of respondents in support of the initiative.
The Taunton order would contain the following prohibition: “Person(s) within this area will not ingest, inhale, inject, smoke or otherwise use intoxicating substances.
“Intoxicating substances is given the following definition (which includes alcohol and what are commonly referred to as ‘legal highs’): Substances with the capacity to stimulate or depress the central nervous system.”
The restrictions on alcohol would not apply to pavement cafes or to licensed premises.
Anyone in breach of the order would be committing a criminal offence and could receive a Fixed Penalty Notice or face a fine in court. Police and council enforcement officers would have the power to demand the surrender of the intoxicating substances.
The Borough Council works closely with police to ensure the county town remains a safe and welcoming place for residents and visitors and fully supported the police action in respect of a shop selling legal highs.
The consultations started today (Thursday 2 April) and run until April 30. People can respond by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to: Scott Weetch, Taunton Deane Borough Council, The Deane House, Belvedere Road, Taunton TA1 1HE.