Peterborough City Council (PCC) has a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in place that breaches legislation. The PSPO has been fraudulently used to take £154,903 from Peterborough residents and visitors.
In 2017, 2018 and 2019 PCC issued 3,576 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) to cyclists breaching the PSPO banning them from the town centre during the day on the National Cycle Network 12.
The PSPO banning cycling is unlawful as:
- It breaches the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 – 65 – 1 which states “A public spaces protection order may not restrict the public right of way over a highway.”
- The signage for the PSPO is in breach of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 as the signage is not permitted? This is supported by the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 – 64 – 1 which states: “In this Act “traffic sign” means any object or device (whether fixed or portable) for conveying, to traffic on roads or any specified class of traffic, warnings, information, requirements, restrictions or prohibitions of any description“
- It is in breach of the Traffic Signs Manual – Chapter 1 – 3.3.1. “The erection of an unauthorised sign in the highway is an obstruction and the possible consequences of erecting or permitting the erection of obstructions can be severe. Those responsible could lay themselves open to a claim for damages, for example if an obstruction is the cause of an accident or an injury in a collision.”
- It Breaches the Traffic Signs Manual – Chapter 1 – 3.4.1.” Traffic signs in use on the highway must either be prescribed by TSRGD as amended, or be specially authorised by the national authority. Signs that are neither prescribed nor authorised are obstructions on the highway and must be removed.”
Fraud Act 2006
Page 55 of the Anti-social behaviour powers – Statutory guidance for frontline professionals confirms:
“A person does not commit an offence by failing to comply with a prohibition or requirement that the council did not have power to include in a Public Spaces Protection Order.”
Consequently, to issue a FPN would be a breach of the Fraud Act 2006. This is a serious breach of the Fraud Act given that £154,903 has unlawfully been taken over just three years.
Referred To Gillian Beasley
Given the seriousness of the situation, I have referred the case to Gillian Beasley, Chief Executive Peterborough City Council to address.