Criticism For Nottingham City Council's Open Spaces Plan

9 October 2018, 12:16


There's been criticism of a plan by Nottingham City Council which Liberal Democrats say will effectively ban giving a homeless person food or drink.

The City Council's been asking people to have their say on a Public Space Protection Order, which the authority says would stop people being approached in the street by businesses and charitable causes. 

But Liberal Democrat Tony Sutton is worried it could also mean people are stopped from giving acts of kindness.

He says they must be stopped: "If someone wants to give a homeless person a sandwich they shouldn't be penalised but that is what would happen here.

"Last year the council controversially made posters that were banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for their negative portrayal of homeless people. Now they seek to make homeless people all but invisible. It's shameful behaviour.

"Nottingham's Labour council seem to want to restrict as many freedoms as they can by stopping people from giving help. If you don't behave in a way Jon Collins approves of, he seems to want to stop you. Enough is enough. It's time people stood up to this authoritarian Labour regime that seeks to wag its finger at you and constantly tell you off."

"They care so little for those struggling with housing problems that at the same time as this proposal, they have just launched their own Tenants Tax where landlords who look after their tenants are unfairly penalised with a £780 levy, most of which will be passed on to tenants - the people who can afford it the least. They are heartless on homelessness and heartless on the causes of homelessness.

"Labour seem to be working hard to make renting unaffordable and then want to penalise those who can now only afford to live on the streets. This is a heartless council more interested in addressing the symptoms than the cause."

Councillor Toby Neal, Portfolio Holder for Community Protection at Nottingham City Council, said: "We're seeking to place restrictions around on-street commercial activity, not create issues for homeless people - the notion that fines would be issued for showing someone an 'act of kindness' is utter nonsense.

"We carried out extensive public consultation ahead of this proposed Public Spaces Protection Order, speaking to hundreds of Nottingham residents, visitors and workers. This clearly showed that people did not like being approached in the street by businesses and charity workers distributing commercial leaflets and promotional flyers, trying to sell them things, or sign them up to direct-debit payments.

"While many councils have reduced funding for homeless people, we have increased our long-term commitment to provide a dedicated outreach team and clear No Second Night Out policy.

"It may be that the order is amended in response to consultation - but it wouldn't be appropriate to preempt that at this stage."