We’re not criminals, say Kettering skaters

The Public Spaces Protection Order would cover Market Place in Kettering
The Public Spaces Protection Order would cover Market Place in Kettering
  • Council wants to stop nuisance skateboarding along with street drinking and begging
  • Hundreds sign petition against the order
  • Call for consultation on PSPO to be put on hold

More than 800 people have signed a petition calling for a council to reconsider plans to tackle the problem of anti-social skateboarding in the town centre.

An open letter has also been sent to Kettering Council about its proposed public spaces protection order (PSPO) for certain parts of Kettering.

Consultation on the proposal ended on Friday, but comments can still be submitted following a high level of feedback about the order, which is designed to stop individuals or groups committing anti-social behaviour in public spaces.

A PSPO can cover multiple restrictions, so one order can prohibit activities such as the drinking of alcohol and begging. Enforcement can be undertaken by council officers and other groups the council may designate, such as police officers and PCSOs.

It is proposed that the order will cover the town centre and adjacent residential areas to the north and east.

The open letter states: “Skateboarding is not a crime. Yet Kettering Borough Council seems to think differently with a proposal of making it and many other activities illegal, and banning them from the town centre.

“Most of the categories on the public spaces protection order have long been part of daily life in Kettering and we cannot understand why they would need to become a criminal offence when there are already established laws that cover problems which cause genuine harm to society.”

The letter is asking the council to put the proposed PSPO on hold and and to have more consultation with the public and skate community regarding the specific issues it wants to address.

A spokesman for Kettering Council said: “A formal consultation on the proposed public space protection order commenced in February 2015. This followed a report considered in public at the council’s executive committee.

“Although the formal consultation period finished on Friday, April 24, the council will continue to receive and consider feedback on the proposals. There has been a high level of feedback gained from the consultation and a decision on the contents of the order will not be made until July 2015 at the earliest. This meeting will be held in public.”