Councillors extend PSPO targeting dog fouling, littering and illegal off-road biking in Mansfield

Mansfield's Old Town Hall
By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter

A legal public order designed to cut offences like anti-social behaviour and littering in Mansfield has been extended for another three years.

The Mansfield district has had a public spaces protection order (PSPO) in place since 2016, with the order designed to target and clamp down on anti-social behaviour.

It gives council officers and police the power to fine people if they are caught committing a number of wide-reaching offences.

For several years of the PSPO this has included a ban on street drinking and restrictions on cycling through parts of the town centre, as well as begging, public urination and dog fouling district-wide.

Other parts of the order include continued powers to move people on when being anti-social in public spaces, as well as preventing dogs from being let off leads in public parks and play areas.

These offences have been included in a district-wide PSPO since 2019, but now the authority has renewed its terms for a further three years and added a new offence to the list.

The new addition bans off-road vehicles from using a section of land near Oak Tree and Forest Town known as ‘The Desert’.

The land, near Eakring Road, is a popular path for hikers and dog walkers but has been plagued by longstanding problems with off-road vehicles and motorcyclists using its sandy terrain.

The Labour-led authority has said these motorists were ‘putting the safety of [residents] … at risk’ and, following a consultation earlier this year, found the majority of respondents were supportive of the move.

Now, following the full council meeting on Tuesday (September 20), the council has approved extending the order until 2025 with the new addition at ‘The Desert’.

Councillor Marion Bradshaw (Lab), the council’s portfolio holder for safer communities, presented the PSPO to councillors and said the new document “reflects the issues” faced by residents.

She said: “The aim of having a PSPO in place is to allow the law-abiding majority to go about their business as free as possible and to use public spaces safely.

“A new category [at The Desert] will address very longstanding safety concerns for local people, landowners, partners and stakeholders.

“It also helps to sustain the work of various wildlife and biodiversity conservation groups, and projects that protect the environment of the area.

“Working in partnership with the police, the PSPO has been a vital tool for the council in helping to deal with and enforce a wide range of issues that cause a nuisance to our local communities.”

Councillors unanimously supported extending the document, though some did raise concerns about how it will be enforced.

Cllr John Smart (Lab), who represents Ransom Wood, said: “It’s a fine document, but the problem we’ve got with all this is enforcing it.

“We’re very short on police, we’re short on wardens, and when talking about The Desert, there are about 18 ways you can get onto it. How on earth they are going to enforce that, I have no idea.”

But Cllr Paul Henshaw (Lab), who won the Oak Tree by-election last week, said he hopes the PSPO will “improve all areas” of the district and put issues with enforcing it down to Government cutbacks.

He said: “During my recent campaign in Oak Tree, one of the biggest problems indicated to me was the situation in regards to anti-social behaviour.

“When we pass this, it will go some way to alleviating the problems all estates get. In relation to policing it, yes we’ve got to make sure it works, but [local authorities and the police] have been cut back by 10 years of austerity.

“If we don’t do anything, we’ll be condemned for inactivity. We must support this and, hopefully, the situation will improve in all our areas.”

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