A ban on the consumption of alcohol in public spaces in Durham, which came into place in 2019, will expire this summer. Durham County Council has set up a consultation on whether it should remain in place.
Currently, a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) means that alcohol can be confiscated from those drinking within the specified city boundaries. The proposal would see this ban continuing until 30th June 2025.
PSPOs are put in place to ensure that people can use public spaces safely, away from anti-social behaviour; the Council have the power to make these Orders under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. The area covered by the current PSPO does not include any of the hill colleges, as the boundary line runs along Stockton Road and Quarryheads Lane.
The same consultation includes a proposed PSPO to ban “aggressive begging” within these boundaries. The Council explains that this measure would bring the City of Durham in line with other towns and cities in the region; Middlesborough, Sunderland and Gateshead have already introduced PSPOs to tackle forms of begging.
The Council has expressed concerns that “aggressive begging” is increasing in Durham and contributing to antisocial behaviour.
Councillor John Shuttleworth, the Cabinet member for rural communities and highways, said: “Durham is a beautiful city and everyone who lives, works, studies in and visits Durham should feel safe and welcomed.
“Anti-social behaviour, such as drinking alcohol in public spaces and aggressive begging can have a significant impact on those in the city and that’s why it is important that we take on board a wide range of views by launching a consultation.
“PSPOs are effective tools in tackling persistent and ongoing matters. By extending the current PSPO and introducing measures to tackle the aggressive, intimidating or threatening behaviours that can sometimes be used whilst begging, would act as a deterrent to those who are considering travelling to the city centre to beg.”
The six-week consultation on the matters launched on Friday 18th March and will run until 5pm on Friday 29th April.
Image: Beatrice Law