Councillors are set approve the introduction of a public spaces protection order on the falls and Batts in Richmond after anti-social behaviour problems in the summer.
Richmondshire District Council looks set to ratify a Public Spaces Protection Order with loosely defined conditions for the Batts and falls areas of Richmond in an attempt to enable officials to stop crowds of young people intimidating and abusing residents, visitors and businesses.
If approved, anyone deemed to have contravened the order by a police or council officer faces a fixed penalty notice of £100.
A report to the authority’s Corporate Board proposes the order should ban anything “likely to cause harassment, obstruction or concern for safety to another person in a public place” and using foul or abusive language, although it does not define what language would not be permitted.
The proposed order also proposed to ban people from continuing to consume alcohol when required to stop doing so by any authorised officer, being under the influence of drugs, throwing objects which could cause nuisance, lighting fires or barbecues and the irresponsible depositing of waste.
The move follows crowds of young people, many reportedly from the North-East, acting antisocially at the beauty spots last summer, leading the council to staff the area with marshals alongside extra police as well as install closed circuit cameras.
A public consultation over the proposed order, which would last three years, saw at least 90 per cent of respondents agree that foul and abusive language, drug use and littering be included in the list of prohibitions from the area.
However, some of the proposed measures were less popular, with 19 per cent of the 570 respondents not supporting a ban on the consumption of alcohol or the lighting of fires and barbecues at the waterfalls.
Ahead of the meeting, Councillor Helen Grant, chair of the Richmondshire Community Safety Partnership, said the order had been designed to provide a means of controlling several antisocial activities.
When asked if the order featured a nunmber of conditions that should just be common sense, Richmond councillor Stuart Parsons said: “They may be common sense, but the order is a direct result of the behaviour that we witnessed last summer.
“Where in previous years there had been some misbehaviour, last summer saw an incredible amount of it. By including all of these elements it means interventions are possible, where last summer they were not. It made everybody’s life very difficult because nobody could understand why people were not intervening when in fact there was nothing in place to enable them to do so.”
Cllr Parsons said it would have been easy for the authority to put the issue to a side and put down last summer’s antisocial behaviour to unique circumstances.
He said: “We have to have measures in place so the relevant authorities can take action to prevent a reoccurrence of what happened last year. We saw a lot of people go wild when the first lockdown was eased and there are more and more people disobeying lockdown and tier restrictions.
“It’s likely that in the summer there will be an upsurge in people wanting to go wild and there’s no guarantee they will be able to get off to Ibiza to do so.”