A CONTROVERSIAL ban on rough sleeping in Poole town centre was given the go-ahead despite the majority of people disagreeing with the measure when asked.

PSPO Consultation 2017 - PSPO Consultation 2017 - Quantitative Report FINAL V1.pdf

The results of a consultation on a new Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) held last year were only published yesterday – the same day the order came into force.

Rough sleeping, as well as begging for money, food and drink is now prohibited in the town centre, Poole Quay, Poole Park, Sterte and Tatnam.

Anyone caught breaking the order, which also covers drinking alcohol and being verbally abusive and the possession, supply or use of drugs, could face a fine of up to £1,000.

According to the consultation report, those who responded disagreed most with the measure against rough sleeping, although the majority felt it was the biggest problem in the town centre.

The results show 166 out of 279 people (59%) answered ‘no’ when asked if they agreed with banning rough sleeping in car parks and doorways.

Although half of respondents agreed with the measure to ban begging, only 45 per cent supported a separate measure against sitting/loitering to beg for money.

The most supported measures were those against illegal substances and legal highs and drinking alcohol. The majority of respondents felt street drinking and drunkenness was a problem in the town centre.

As reported in the Daily Echo yesterday, opposition councillor Mike Brooke said he was “appalled” that a decision to introduce the PSPO was made “behind closed doors” by a delegated officer.

“It’s an abrogation of responsibility by the portfolio holder. The proposal should have been debated at committee and then full council before any decision made," he said.

The Daily Echo has asked the Borough of Poole why the consultation results have only just been published, despite the fact the report was written in November 2017.