Proposal for the introduction of two new Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO) in Windsor, Maidenhead and Ascot to address dog fouling, dog control and cycling prohibition areas in Maidenhead and Windsor town centres
To consider the above report
Members considered the introduction of two new Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO) in Windsor, Maidenhead and Ascot to address dog fouling, dog control and cycling prohibition areas in Maidenhead and Windsor town centres.
Councillor Cannon explained that PSPOs were brought in as part of a government commitment to put victims at the centre of the approach to tackling anti-social behaviour, focusing on the impact behaviour could have on both communities and individuals, particularly on the most vulnerable.
The borough currently had two PSPOs in place. These PSPOs addressed the consumption of alcohol and restriction of a public right of way in Eton and were due to run until 28 November 2022. However, Community Wardens had received many reports in relation to dog fouling and out of control dogs. They haD also received a request from the Parks and Countryside Team seeking further control and supporting the need for a dog control element.
Community Wardens had witnessed many incidents of people cycling through pedestrianised zones and causing alarm and distress to residents. The borough had also received many requests from residents for the pedestrian zones to be upheld as pedestrian only use, and that cyclists be required to dismount and not cycle through these key pedestrian areas. Further incidents had been reported to Thames Valley Police. Existing legislation for cycling on the footpaths related to Highways and did not cover the areas mentioned in the PSPO. The proposals had been widely consulted on with the public and an EQIA had been completed on the council website.
Councillor Cannon explained that the two PSPO’s in the recommendation were:
· Public Space Protection Order (dog control and dog fouling) for Dog control (Borough wide). The requirement for a dog to be put on a lead at the direction of an authorised person. Dog fouling (Borough wide). An offence is committed when the person in charge of a dog fails to remove faeces deposited by the dog.
· Public Space Protection Order (Cycling). Specified pedestrianised zones. Cycling on the highway in pedestrianised zones of High Street, Maidenhead and the pedestrianised zone of Peascod Street, Windsor.
Both PSPOs would be enforced by the police and Community Wardens.
Councillor Davey commented that it was great that officers had sorted out the admin and put the law in place. As he understood it, they would be enforced by both the forces of light and dark. The good cops, the Community Wardens, decimated in recent financial reshuffle, would do their best. There had been a great story that week about an overgrown garden underlining their style problem solving and being considerate to residents. The District Enforcement Crime Officers were known for their not so light touch. He hoped that the manager of the team could be successful in coaching of the external team.
Councillor Baldwin commented that the proposals had originally been slated to come to a Sub Committee meeting on which he had been a panel member. He had therefore undertaken a lot of preparation. He had concerns about the scope of enforcement activity in north Maidenhead. There were a number of popular dog walking areas owned by the National Trust. He requested clarification on whether enforcement could take place on this land. Councillor Baldwin commented that there was an important cycling route north-south through Maidenhead town centre to access the railway station. There was a narrow gap on the route between West Street and Kings Street without any warning signs that the area was restricted. He was also concerned that cyclists would be asked to dismount and remount a number of times as different areas were included or not included in the PSPO. Councillor Baldwin commented that secure cycle parking had been relocated to the front of the station. It made sense to be able to continue the journey uninterrupted. The Nicholson’s Centre did not even allow cycles to be walked in the centre. He wanted to ensure that the cycle parking frames outside were to be retained.
Councillor Stimson welcomed the proposals. The cycling proposals were good, particularly in high footfall areas. However, as Councillor Clark had referenced earlier, there was a current review of sustainable travel taking place. The message on dog behaviour was a strong message and a very important one.
Councillor Knowles commented that he considered himself a responsible dog owner but unfortunately he had irresponsible dogs therefore he kept them on leads. Enforcement was welcomed. It was also a good idea to enforce on dog fouling. Some people left dog bags on trees therefore he hoped the scope would be wide enough to cover this issue. Once the scheme was embedded, he hoped it could be widened to other designated footpaths. He had some reservations on the involvement of District Enforcement but welcomed the involvement of Community Wardens.
Councillor Sharpe commented that the proposals were something that all could support, but he would welcome the scope being widened to include the south of the borough. The cycling proposals would need careful introduction to ensure the right controls were in the right place.
Councillor Singh commented that dog fouling was an issue in his ward however he felt a fine of £100 was quite high, particularly for cyclists. Clear demarcation was needed alongside a four-week education programme. Residents had raised concerns over District Enforcement about the fines raised and money escaping the borough. The Wardens were very capable and had a good relationship with residents. Any fines collected should be put back into council services.
Councillor W. Da Costa commented that it was never the dogs that were the problem, but there were a number of errant dog owners who did not pick up after their dogs therefore the proposals were welcomed. He asked what signage, education and engagement would be implemented. He supported the suggestion by Councillor Singh to reduce fines to £50; this level would be deterrent enough.
Councillor Bhangra commented that you could not blame the dog; tougher action was needed on owners.
Councillor Rayner commented that she was pleased that the dog fouling PSPO would be borough-wide. She highlighted that the fine reduced to £75 if paid within 10 days. The proposals showed the borough was listening to residents’ concerns.
Councillor Cannon commented that he did not believe he had referred to District Enforcement, he had mentioned the police and Community Wardens. Consideration would be given to whether District Enforcement were to be used, but if so it would be under the council policy of education before enforcement. Signage and publicity would take place and a policy of a warning for first offence. The fines had already been agreed in the fees and charges schedule. The proposals were not to persecute residents but change behaviour. Owners who allowed their dog to defecate and not clear up afterwards were a blight on society. Councillor Cannon reminded Members that it was already a police offence to cycle on the pavement. The PSPO would allow the Community Wardens and police to ensure people dismounted in pedestrianised areas. The PSPOs would be reviewed annually. It was confirmed that the PSPOs applied to the whole of the borough, including National Trust land open to the public.
It was proposed by Councillor Cannon, seconded by Councillor Rayner, and:
RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY:That Council consider the data collated from the PSPO consultation and the evidence collated over time, and approve the introduction of two new orders to be in place for a period of three years, as set out to address dog fouling and dog control and to prohibit cycling in the High Street, Maidenhead and Peascod Street, Windsor.