Leeds City Council plans to bring in orders that would ban open-air street parties and public drinking in areas of the city with big student populations.
The orders would also make it an offence to dump rubbish in the street and fail to manage household waste bins.
As the Yorkshire Evening Post reports, the council plans to issue Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs), which are among the measures introduced by the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
According to the report, the issues residents had to contend with included a 12-hour student party in the Headingley district in May and a large event in the Hyde Park area in June that was eventually broken up by police.
Details of the proposed PSPOs, which replace existing orders, are available on the Leeds city council website here. I have given further detail on some of the provisions later in this article.
PSPOs can target a wide range of anti-social behaviours. Another example, from Manchester City Council, is available here. (This one is not specifically student-related.)
The orders last for a maximum of three years, renewable if necessary. Failure to comply with an order can result in a Fixed Penalty Notice of up to £100, or a maximum fine of £1,000 if a case is prosecuted in court.
Are PSPOs being used in Bristol? Yes—see this web page on the Bristol City Council site. Examples include restrictions on fly-tipping, drug use and other nuisances in a rear lane off Cranbrook Road and a ban on public drinking in parts of Kingsdown and Stokes Croft. (Both links contain maps showing where the PSPO applies.)
Barrister Kuljit Bhogal, of London-based Cornerstone Barristers, has recently co-authored a report “Public spaces protection orders: what have we learned?” in the Journal of Housing Law, looking at key issues in the drafting of PSPOs, as clarified by recent case law.
The key limitation of PSPOs is that, as the name implies, they apply only to activities in a public place such as the street, parks or other open space. The legislation can be found here—see Section 59.
Here is more detail on the proposed order for North West Leeds. The source document is here.
The proposed PSPO bans street parties with amplified music or other noise that are likely to have a detrimental effect on the quality of life of people "in the locality". People must also not consume alcohol, have an open container of alcohol, or use "psychoactive substances" in the restricted area.
A further provision states that "Person(s) within the ‘restricted area’ will not: be [sic] in groups of two or more and engage in anti-social behaviour likely to cause alarm, harassment or distress to any other person in a public space." This provision seems potentially to cover a broad range of behaviour, although it is somewhat restricted in scope by the final phrase. "In a public space" appears to imply that the people suffering the distress would themselves have to be in open space, rather than "in the locality" as stated earlier.
The provisions dealing with waste management allocate responsibility not just to occupants of properties but also, where properties are let, to owners and agents:
"9. This section of the Order applies to all persons in a position to control residential premises (referred to as “the relevant person”) located within the specified area, (all such premises referred to hereafter as “relevant premises”). For the purposes of this order relevant person means any person residing in, whether permanently or temporarily, by legal right or simple occupation, at [sic] any premises situated in the specified area, and also any owner or managing agent of any premises let on a periodically [sic] tenancy and situated within the specified area.
"10. Each relevant person is required to ensure that all household waste stored at relevant premises and / or presented or to be presented for collection from relevant premises shall be contained in receptacles and not be situated outside the boundary of the relevant premises other than after 6pm the night before collection is due, and returned inside the boundary of the relevant premises no later than 9pm on the day of collection.
"11. Each relevant person shall have an equal and separate responsibility in relation to the requirement at (6) [sic*] above, whether physically present at the relevant premises at the relevant time or not."
* I think that's supposed to mean 10.