Proposed consultation for a Green Spaces Public Spaces Protection Order
We want to protect our green spaces
On 8 February, Elmbridge Cabinet agreed to protect our green spaces, as it approved a report on a consultation for a Green Spaces Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in Elmbridge.
We can be rightly proud of our green spaces in Elmbridge. From places to play, to places to walk and chat with friends, to places to teach your child to ride a bike, they are essential to our physical and mental wellbeing.
We want to further protect our green spaces from:
1. The risk of wildfires
The increasing availability of portable fire pits and barbeques has led to an increased risk of wildfires, which have become more of a risk as we have seen less rainfall during the summer months.
2. Overnight camping along the river
Our open spaces adjacent to the river have been more popular than ever among picnickers, swimmers, paddleboarders and fishermen. Albany Reach, Thames Ditton has also been popular with fishermen who often camp for an extended period without the necessary toilet or other facilities, and it is this presence that is cited as the source of the nuisance behaviour.
3. Unauthorised moorings along the river
We have been working with partners and District Enforcement to seek a long-term solution to unauthorised moorings in the borough. Where boats are moored without permission on Elmbridge land but are unregistered these are still very challenging to move on.
What is a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO)?
PSPOs are intended to deal with a particular nuisance or problem in a particular area where the behaviour is detrimental to the local community’s quality of life, by imposing conditions on the use of that area.
These can apply to everyone who uses that area or can be specifically structured to apply only to certain groups or categories of person, at different times or in specified circumstances. We are responsible for making a PSPO and we also have enforcement powers, along with Surrey Police and other agencies as delegated by Elmbridge Borough Council’s Chief Executive.
We will look to start the consultation on 21 February and run it for four weeks. We want to ensure all residents have the opportunity to take part in the survey, which will be made available on our website, social media and emailed directly to residents and partner agencies. There will also be posters around our green spaces with details on the consultation.
We are also very aware that any PSPO may impact some vulnerable, homeless people and we will work with our partner Rentstart to ensure those impacted are supported.
This proposed Green Spaces PSPO does not cover the use of green spaces by commercial dog owners. At this time there is no national licensing scheme for dog walking, or legislation to limit the number of dogs one handler can manage. Should sufficient evidence be provided, we will consult the community on extending this PSPO to cover dog related anti-social behaviour. If you have a dog related issue to report on Elmbridge open spaces, please visit our website.
Our green spaces are truly an asset for Elmbridge. In considering a PSPO to protect those spaces, we want to ensure we can all enjoy them safely and that due respect and care for other green space users is considered by all.
Cllr Janet Turner, Portfolio Holder for Culture, Leisure and Environment
Watch the Cabinet webcast.
Read the Cabinet report