New powers to tackle anti-social behaviour across Thanet will be introduced on Thursday, April 1.
Thanet District Council’s Cabinet has approved a new Beaches and Coast Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) following a public consultation which ran during January and February.
The PSPO will replace previous beach byelaws and it is hoped that the streamlined rules will be easier for people to understand and help protect Thanet’s coastline and award winning beaches.
Previous byelaws had differing levels of fines and did not include power to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs). Under the new order, council and police officers can now issue the fines of £100 to help deter and reduce anti-social behaviour.
A dedicated enforcement officer for the coast is being employed and the isle’s dog warden will have a greater presence on Thanet’s beaches.
A Coastal and Beach ‘Code of Practice’ was also approved which sets out rules for a range of activities around the coast and includes the council having the power to fine people for irresponsible water bike usage.
The Beaches and Coast PSPO prohibits:
- Parking/driving on the promenades or beaches without permission
- Cycling on the promenades between 10am and 6pm from 1 May to 30 September where localised signage requires you to dismount
- Bonfires, balloon and sky lantern releases on any council land
- BBQ’s on council land apart from on beaches after 6pm
- Horse riding on beaches or promenades between 9am and 7pm from 1 May to 30 September (or all year round at Pegwell Bay)
- Encampments (including tents, campervans, marquees, yurts etc) on beaches, promenades, clifftops, nearby green spaces, car parks and surrounding areas of the public realm without prior consent of the council,with the exception of sun shades.
- The use of personal powered watercraft (including jet skis) in a manner that poses a risk to the safety of people or wildlife
- The use of personal powered watercraft(including jet skis) in a manner that has the potential to cause harassment, alarm and distress to any other beach or coast users, or residents
- Preaching, lectures, music and entertainment or sporting events unless prior permission has been granted by the council
- Urination, defecation, spitting or littering
- Drinking alcohol in a public place, after being told not to
- Ingesting, inhaling, injecting, smoking or otherwise using drugs or substances reasonably believed to be psychoactive substances
- Possessing or releasing any canister containing compressed gas.
Gavin Waite, Corporate Director – Communities at Thanet District Council said: “We anticipate an even busier summer than in 2020 and this new Beaches and Coast PSPO is part of our extensive preparations to help ensure residents and visitors Respect, Protect and Enjoy our coastline.
“We listened to the concerns of our residents last year and have come up with a consistent and balanced approach to tackling anti-social behaviour and other undesirable activities.
“We are grateful to everyone who took part in the public consultation. We had 497 responses and the feedback received helped shape and inform the PSPO which will be in place for the next three years, after which time it will be reviewed.”
However, questions have been raised over whether there will be enough enforcement action to make the plans effective.
Barry Manners, from the Friends of Botany Bay and Kingsgate, said: “This is all flap and no propeller if there is no enforcement. It almost looks as though the council is trying to keep residents quiet by fobbing us off and hoping that once the summer is over it all goes quiet again.”
New signs detailing the restrictions will be installed along the coastline. An information leaflet is also being developed.
The Dog Public Spaces Protection Order is also being extended to cover:
Pegwell Bay, specifically the upper chalk shore to protect endangered wildlife.
Humans and dogs interfering with, trapping or attempting to trap or snare or disturb any wildlife on council owned land.
There will be no changes to the current restrictions on Westbrook Bay (dogs on lead between 10am and 6pm from 1 May to 30 September).
More information about the Public Spaces Protection Orders can be found online.