New public protection order imposed to stamp out nuisance bikers and street drinkers

Date published: 20 March 2024

Rochdale Council’s cabinet has approved a Public Spaces Protection Order to ban off-road bikers and public drinkers which have been causing a nuisance across the borough.

The Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) was approved by Rochdale Council’s cabinet at a meeting on 19 March which would see drinking alcohol in public spaces and using mechanically propelled vehicles to cause trouble be banned. If anyone is caught breaching this three-year-long order they could find themselves in court or facing a £100 fine from the council.

This comes after a total of 326 reported incidents of off-road vehicles such as motorbikes, scooters and quad bikes causing a problem in the borough between January and December 2023.

Council papers revealed that the main problems caused by off-road bikes is the loud noises they cause as well as the continuing damage inflicted on public spaces. In some scenarios this has led to paths and parks not being available for public use due to damage.

Speaking at the cabinet meeting, Councillor Danny Meredith said: “I fully support this report. I have had issues with off-road bikes in the Balderstone area for a number of years now.”

Councillor Shah Wazir added that he has also seen similar issues in his own ward of Healey and welcomed the idea of a public order.

Greater Manchester Police data shared at the meeting showed that 79 incidents in relation to antisocial behaviour involving alcohol were recorded between January and December 2023. 

A report read: “A significantly large proportion of the incidents were recorded in Rochdale North. There are however still a significant number of incidents recorded across the other four townships, demonstrating the need for this order to be made borough wide. 

“The significant increase in reporting within Rochdale North is down to this area incorporating Rochdale town centre which holds a significantly larger night time economy.”

Before the item was approved unanimously by the cabinet, deputy leader Councillor Janet Emsley said: “It’s very important we put this through. We need to get a grip of this as other councils have already and we need to make sure we are covered.”

The meeting held at Number One Riverside, saw the cabinet also approve the Business Improvement District (BID) in Rochdale town centre staying on for another five years. This came after a poll from businesses which saw 82 per cent of voters being in favour of the BID renewal, and 94 per cent of votes in favour of the BID by rateable value.

The Rochdale BID is a business-led and business funded body formed to improve a local area. It collects a levy which is used to help try to boost the image of local businesses and the local economy.

Other business at the meeting saw the approval of the £1.8m of Department for Education funding for vital school repairs as well as the £327,431 of Additional Stop Smoking Funding as part of a government initiative. 

However, the approval of the second phase of the Castleton to Rochdale Active Travel Route was delayed as the cabinet decided to withdraw the item in order to pursue further consultation. The £9m cycle and walking scheme was set to be given the go ahead despite consultation showing residents were not convinced – but council bosses want more consultation, the meeting heard.

The Castleton to Rochdale Active Travel Route forms part of the second phase of the Bee Network plan for Greater Manchester and would continue the work that has already started in Castleton. Rochdale Council’s cabinet had been recommended by officers to approve the £9,143,800 from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund for the plan.

This phase of the plan aims to regenerate street spaces, create segregated cycle lanes and upgrade major junctions on the Manchester Road between Bolton Road and Drake Street.

This item will now have to wait for further discussion with local residents before it comes back to cabinet.

George Lythgoe, Local Democracy Reporter

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