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Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs)

A Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) is a power available under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. PSPOs can be used to protect the public from behaviour that is likely to have a harmful effect on the quality of life in the locality and is persistent and unreasonable or is likely to be.

An Order can be used to control certain activities in a specified area if two conditions are met:

  • that the activities have had, or are likely to have, a detrimental effect on those in the locality
  • that the effect is, or is likely to be, persistent and continuing nature and is or is likely to be such as to make those activities unreasonable and that restrictions are justified.

Behaviours a PSPO can control

PSPO replaced Gating Orders, Dog Control Orders and Designated Public Place Orders and can be used to control behaviours which are having, or are likely to have a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality.

Behaviours which can be controlled through restrictions or positive requirements within a PSPO can include:

  • controlling access over public land
  • the consumption of alcohol
  • dogs roaming freely and/or fouling
  • storage of household items or waste
  • storage of wheelie bins
  • aggressive behaviours linked to begging, street peddling or preaching

The above list is not exhaustive and restrictions or positive requirements will depend on the nature of the issue the PSPO is imposed to deal with.

Appeals

PSPOs can be challenged under S66 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 on the grounds that the local authority did not have the power either to make the Order or include particular prohibitions or requirements, or that proper processes had not been followed as prescribed by the legislation.

Challenges must be made to the High Court within six weeks of the Order being made, and by an individual who lives in, regularly works in or visits the restricted area.

Current PSPOs

West Northamptonshire Council, in exercise of its powers under Section 59, 64 and 72 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act 2014 (‘the Act’), hereby makes the following Order, which shall be known as the “West Northamptonshire Council Public Spaces Protection Order (Emporium Way) 2024”:
  1. This Order shall come into operation on 8 January 2024 and shall have effect for a period of 3 years thereafter, unless extended by further orders under the Council’s statutory powers or those of any successor Local Authority.
     
  2. This Order relates to Emporium Way, which connects the north of the Market Square to Greyfriars, Lady’s Lane and the Mayorhold car park in Northampton, as shown marked red on the attached plan (‘the Restricted Area’).
     
  3. The effect of this Order is to restrict the public right of way over the Restricted Area for 24 hours per day, 7 days per week and 52 weeks per year.
     
  4. Breach of this Order is a criminal offence, for which an offender is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale (£1000), under section 67 of the Act.
     
  5. A Constable or Authorised Person may issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (“FPN”) of not more than £100 to a person they reasonably believe has breached this Order, in accordance with section 68 of the Act, as an alternative to prosecution for an offence under section 67 of the Act if paid within 14 days of being issued.
     
  6. The alternative route for pedestrians between the Market Square to Greyfriars, Lady’s Lane and the Mayorhold car park is shown marked blue on the attached plan.
     
  7. Responsibility for the maintenance of any fences and gates will lie with West Northamptonshire Council of One Angel Square, Angel Street, Northampton, NN1 1ED.
     
  8. Police, Fire and Ambulance emergency services, statutory undertakers with equipment situated under, over, along or in the highway, Council Officers and other persons authorised by the Council, shall be exempt from the provisions of this Order. Business premises with their only or principle means of access adjacent to the highway shall also be exempt from the provisions of this Order during periods when the premises are
    normally used for business purposes.
     
  9. The Council is satisfied that the conditions set out in Sections 59, 64 and 72 of the Act have been satisfied and that it is in all the circumstances expedient to make this Order for the purposes of reducing anti-social behaviour and criminal offences taking place in the Restricted Area. The Council makes the Order because the anti-social behaviour has had a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality. The effect or likely effect of this is of a persistent or continuing nature such as to make this unreasonable and justifies the restrictions imposed by the Order.
     
  10. In consulting upon the prohibitions within this Order and upon making it, the Council has had particular regard to the rights of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly as set out in Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
     
  11. If any interested person desires to question the validity of this Order on the grounds that the Council had no power to make it or that any requirement of the Act has not been complied with in relation to this Order, he or she may apply to the High Court within the period of six weeks from the date on which this Order is made.

Name: Stuart Timmiss
Role: Executive Director Place and Economy
For and on behalf of West Northamptonshire Council
Dated: 3 January 2024

Map of Emporium Way PSPO area

West Northants Cabinet have approved a variation to the PSPO which now applies to the Northampton area of West Northamptonshire and also includes the requirement that dogs must be on leads at all times at Upton Country Park Phase 2 and also in Northampton Town Centre.

The PSPO was already in place across Daventry and South areas of West Northamptonshire and helps promote responsible dog ownership and now prohibits smoking in certain public spaces across the whole of West Northamptonshire.

The Order will come into effect from 3rd October 2023.

The requirements and restrictions of the variation to the Order are summarised as follows. 

Anyone who is in control of a dog in a public place must:

  • pick up after the dog immediately
  • have the appropriate means to pick up after that dog
  • prohibit dogs from entering the following: children’s play areas; schools when open and in use by pupils; skateparks; tennis courts; multi-use games areas (MUGAs) and bowling greens
  • keep the dog on a lead when in: Cemeteries; burial sites; graveyards; memorial gardens; allotments; car parks; sports grounds, fields and pitches, when in use for authorised sporting activity; land near the café area at Daventry Country Park; Northampton Town Centre; Land at Upton Country Park Phase 2 (land between Kislingbury and Upton) and near schools when open and in use by pupils
  • put the dog on a lead when requested to do so by an Authorised Person
  • restrict the number of dogs that can be walked by one person to a maximum of 4 dogs at any one time, unless they are a licensed boarder, breeder or dog day care provider whereby a maximum of 6 can be walked at any one time.    

In addition:

  • smoking of tobacco, tobacco related products, smokeless tobacco products including electronic cigarettes, herbal cigarettes or any illegal substances is prohibited in the following areas: Children’s play areas; land near schools when open and in use by pupils; skateparks; tennis courts; multi-use games areas (MUGAs) and bowling greens.  

A £100 fixed penalty notice (FPN) may be issued if you fail to comply with any of the requirements or restrictions contained within the varied PSPO.

View the Cabinet decision for the variation of the PSPO for Dog Control and Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places 2022 ( as varied September 2023) Item number 18.

Contact details

Email address: [email protected] 
Telephone: 01327 302260

Frequently asked questions about this PSPO

What is the aim of this Public Space Protection Order?

The PSPO aims to help ensure that all dog owners behave responsibly in areas that are enjoyed by many other users. It outlines requirements and restrictions to encourage responsible dog ownership and to ensure that shared spaces are usable and accessible for all of West Northamptonshire’s residents.

By prohibiting smoking in specific open spaces, it’s intended to help reduce littering of cigarettes and associated items in these areas, will help keep open spaces safer, cleaner and greener for all. It’s also intended to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke and make smoking less visible to children. The specified areas where smoking is prohibited - Children’s play areas; schools; skateparks; tennis courts; multi-use games areas (MUGAs) and bowling greens are all public places for residents to go to maintain and enjoy a healthy lifestyle which can be supported with the banning of smoking in these areas.

Why are you implementing a Public Space Protection Order for Dog Control and Prohibiting of Smoking?

It’s intended that this PSPO will encourage responsible dog ownership and discourage smoking and associated littering in specific open spaces. In turn, this will help make West Northamptonshire an even cleaner, greener, healthier and safer place in which to play, live, work or visit by:

  • reducing the number of dog fouling incidents across the area
  • reducing the number of dogs allowed to stray or be out of control and cause nuisance to people or other animals
  • prevent incidents to enable powers to request dogs are placed on leads when directed to do so by an authorised officer
  • making specific open spaces such as play areas, skate parks and MUGAs safer and welcoming for children to enjoy
  • improving the local community, environment, health and wellbeing for all
  • making smoking less visible to children and reduce the amount of smoking associated litter in specific areas

Who is authorised to enforce the PSPO?

An “Authorised Person” means an employee of the Council, or any employee of a partnership agency or contractor. This includes Kingdom LA Support and Northamptonshire Police Constables.

How will the PSPO be enforced?

Where a person breaches the PSPO, an authorised person will have a number of options open to them and will exercise discretion in how they handle any situation. Depending on the nature of the breach, the authorised officer can issue a verbal warning and require immediate cessation of the behaviour causing the breach of the PSPO.

A Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) of £100 may be issued if any of the PSPO conditions are breached. There is no discount for early or prompt payment. Failure to pay may lead to prosecution. Any enforcement action will be taken in line with our Enforcement policy.

When would you prosecute a dog owner rather than issue a Fixed Penalty Notice?

Prosecution might be appropriate for repeat offenders, or if the offence is so serious that it merits prosecution. For example: a dog owner that allows their dog to be dangerously out of control, despite being directed by an officer to put it on a lead, may risk prosecution, rather than being issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice. Failure to pay the Fixed Penalty Notice may also result in prosecution.

Any enforcement action will be taken in line with our Enforcement policy.

Where does the requirement to pick up after my dog apply?

The PSPO states that “any person who is in control of the dog at the time must remove the faeces from the land forthwith”

Land to which this Order applies includes all open space in the administrative area of the Council to which the public have access. This includes all roads, footpaths, pavements, alleyways and grass verges maintained at public expense as well as any bridleway or other public right of way over privately owned land and all parks and open spaces, including commons, grounds and wooded areas, owned, operated, managed or maintained by the Council or any Parish, Town or Community Council.

Where can I put my dog mess once I have picked it up?

You must have the appropriate means to pick up dog faeces deposited by your dog. It is recommended that you take out several bags with you so that if your dog decides to go to the toilet more than once, you are not without a bag.

Dispose of the bag correctly in either a dog waste or litter bin, or take it home and place it, suitably wrapped, in your own waste bin. Do not dump the bag in a hedge or hang it from a branch, this is littering. Littering is also an offence and you can receive a fine of £150.

I’ve bagged my dog’s poo but there is no dog poo bin around. What should I do?

Dog poo can be bagged and placed in any normal public bin – it does not have to go in a dog poo bin. If there are no bins available it can be taken home and put into a dustbin.

Why might I have to put my dog on a lead if a council officer or police officer tells me to?

Requiring dogs to be kept on leads in designated areas is likely to reduce the risk of dog fouling occurring and ensures dog walkers keep their dogs under control for the safety of yourself, your dog and the safety of others.

If an authorised officer considers a dog, or dogs, to be out of control, or causing alarm or stress, the owner of a dog will be instructed to put and keep a dog on a lead.

Why does the PSPO exclude dogs from children’s play areas, schools, skate parks, tennis courts, multi-use games areas (MUGA) and bowling greens?

Health

The exclusion of dogs from these sites is important in ensuring the health of users of these areas to ensure they remain a safe and welcoming environment.

Dog fouling can cause blindness from the disease toxocariasis, which is spread from animals to humans through infected dog foul.

Users of these areas should be able to enjoy them without the fear of treading in or coming into contact with dog faeces.

Safety

Users of these areas should be able to enjoy them without concern caused by dogs that may be out of control which could cause alarm, distress or injury.

I’m a professional dog walker, can I walk more than 4 dogs at any one time?

Four dogs is the maximum amount of dogs that can be walked at any one time.

More than four dogs can be walked on private land with permission from the landowner and at dog parks and secure dog walking fields across the area.

If you walk dogs as part of your job and are licenced under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 you can walk a maximum of 6 dogs at any one time.

What help and support is there for Professional Dog Walkers?

The Council acknowledges that Professional Dog Walkers operate in an unregulated industry. The council would strongly recommend following industry best practice and meet the requirements of the of the Animal Welfare Act 2006:

Joining of a professional dog walkers’ Trade Association and undertaking professional training is also advised:

Can more than 4 dogs be walked at any one time in West Northamptonshire?

No, four dogs is the maximum amount of dogs that can be walked at any one time in a public open space in West Northamptonshire.

More than four dogs can only be walked on private land with permission from the landowner or at dog parks and secure dog walking fields across the area.

Only canine professionals who are licensed by WNC for boarding, breeding and dog day care under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 are permitted to walk up to 6 dogs at any one time in West Northamptonshire.  

How can I check if a canine professional is licensed by WNC to provide boarding, breeding and dog day care services under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018?

You can check to see if the canine professional is licensed and also to see their Animal Welfare star rating.

How will I know when I need to put my dog on a lead in Northampton Town Centre, Upton Country Park Phase 2, Daventry Country Park Café, near school entrances and exits, graveyards, car parks, allotments and sports grounds, fields and pitches when in use for authorised sporting activity?

In most areas there will be signage to tell you when your dog must be on a lead. However, it is your responsibility to put your dog on a lead at these locations whether signage exists or not. The Council will provide lots of information and communications regarding the requirements. There is no defence for being ignorant of the requirements.

Why might I be told to put my dog on a lead?

Most dogs love being off the lead and in many circumstances – so long as your dog is safe and under control – that is absolutely fine. However, if an authorised officer has formed the opinion that a dog is causing danger or serious nuisance to other persons, their dogs, a bird or other animals the owner will be ordered to bring it under control on a lead.

I use an assistance dog – will the PSPO criteria apply to me?

Nothing applies to a person who is registered as a blind person on a register compiled under section 29 or the National Assistance Act 1948; or is deaf, in respect of a dog trained by Hearing Dogs for Deaf People (register charity number 293358) and upon which the person relies for assistance; or has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on the ability to carry out common day-to-day activities in respect of a dog trained by any current or future members of Assistance Dogs UK, or any other charity registered in the UK with a purpose of training assistance dogs and upon which the person relies for assistance. Has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities and in the reasonable opinion of the Council that person relies upon the assistance of the dog in connection with their disability.

When will the PSPO or Dog Control and Prohibition of Smoking be implemented?

The PSPO for Dog Control and Prohibition of Smoking is in force now across the whole of West Northamptonshire and will remain in place until October 2025 when it will be reviewed.

The PSPO will be supported by a communications campaign and signage to make those who live, work and enjoy the open spaces aware of the requirements of the Order.

Are other councils implementing similar PSPOs for dog control?

Yes, many other local government authorities have already implemented PSPOs for dog control, including neighbouring councils North Northamptonshire Council, Bedford Borough Council and Rugby Borough Council.

Is the PSPO for dog control and prohibition of smoking information published or advertised so people know about it?

Yes, we are letting people know about the PSPO through a range of communications including:

  • information available on West Northamptonshire Council’s website
  • a notice displayed in libraries or other Council buildings
  • press releases will be issued to the media
  • information will be published on West Northamptonshire Council’s social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter
  • signage will be placed on street lighting columns and other furniture in the area where the PSPO will impact including play areas, bowling greens, cemeteries etc.
  • information will be included in the new West Northamptonshire Council residents e-newsletter, Members and Parish briefing
  • Parish and Town Councils will be asked to share information with residents, clubs and organisations in their area

What if I have a question about the PSPO for dog control and prohibition of smoking in specific places that is not answered here?

Please get in touch explaining your query: either by email to [email protected] quoting ‘Public Space Protection Order for dog control and prohibition of smoking’ in the subject line or call 0300 126 7000 during office hours – Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

Other PSPOs currently in force in West Northamptonshire

Northampton

A Public Spaces Protection Order was made by Northampton Borough Council on 18 September 2020 and may be cited as the Northampton Borough Council Public Spaces Protection Order 2020 (“the Order”).

This Order was made by Northampton Borough Council under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 Section 59 (‘the Act’) and was for a duration of three years. It was varied on 25 March 2021. West Northamptonshire Council is the Successor Council to Northampton Borough Council for the purposes of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007

A copy of the Order can be viewed below.

By a decision made by the Executive Director Place and Economy on 15 September 2023 under delegated powers, in accordance with the Council’s Constitution and Scheme of Delegation, the Order is extended for a period of 16 weeks to 31 December 2023, unless further extended under the provisions of section 60 of the Act or varied or discharged under section 62.

In making this decision and in accordance with section 60 (2) of the Act, the Executive Director Place and Economy was satisfied on reasonable grounds that the extension was necessary to prevent

  1. Occurrence or re-occurrence after that time of the activities identified in the Order, or
  2. An increase in the frequency or seriousness of those activities after that time

Background

The public highway between Dunster Street and St Michael’s Road has been a hotspot for drug dealing, fly tipping and anti-social behaviour for many years.  In the past, several recommendations were made for gating this highway, most recently due to arson, whereby rubbish was set on fire in the alley. In 2020 it was proposed to use the Crime and Policing Act (2014) to gate the alleyway 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Gating the Highway

The Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) to gate the alleyway was approved by Cabinet on 20 January 2021 and planning permission granted 16 March 2021. 

Background

The public highway between Drapery and College Street has been a longstanding hotspot for crime and anti-social behaviour. Following the tragic death of a young man in the alley in 2019 it was proposed to use the Crime and Policing Act (2014) to gate the alleyway 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Gating the alley

The Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) to gate the alleyway was approved by Cabinet on 16 October 2019 and was brought into effect on 8 March 2021. 

The views of local residents and businesses were sought as part of a six-week consultation around the proposal to gate Northampton Town Centre alleyway, Francis Jetty. The consultation ran from 8 November to 19 December, 2022.

Francis Jetty is located off Bridge Street, Northampton, and provides a shortcut to Kingswell Street and nearby St Peters Way car park. However, for many years the jetty has attracted persistent illicit activities and anti-social behaviour such as drug dealing and sexual assault.

To tackle these behaviours, West Northamptonshire Council proposed making a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) to gate the public highway, using its powers under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

The plans have been approved meaning that Francis Jetty will be gated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with access to Kingswell Street still available via alternative routes.

The highway known as Marble Arch is an alleyway that connects Barrack Road and Ash Street and was originally gated using a PSPO in 2018 following persistent illegal activities and anti-social behaviour. Following consultation a renewal of this PSPO has been approved for another 3 years with the new order in force from 8 January 2024.

Daventry

A Public Spaces Protection Order was made by Daventry District Council on 1 November 2020 and may be cited as the Daventry Town Public Spaces Protection Order 2020 (“the Order”).

This Order was made by Daventry District Council under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 Section 59 (‘the Act’) and was for a duration of three years. West Northamptonshire Council is the Successor Council to Daventry District Council for the purposes of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007.

A copy of the Order can be viewed below.

By a decision made by the Executive Director Place and Economy on 31 October 2023 under delegated powers, in accordance with the Council’s Constitution and Scheme of Delegation, the Order is extended until 31December 2023, unless further extended under the provisions of section 60 of the Act or varied or discharged under section 62.

In making this decision and in accordance with section 60 (2) of the Act, the Executive Director Place and Economy was satisfied on reasonable grounds that the extension was necessary to prevent:

  1. Occurrence or re-occurrence after that time of the activities identified in the Order, or
  2. An increase in the frequency or seriousness of those activities after that time

Last updated 01 March 2024