PSPO Targets Van Dwellers And Overnight Parking

A handful of Councils across the country is unlawfully using Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO) to target van dwellers and overnight parking.

If this was left unchallenged it would have resulted in the introduction of similar PSPOs across the country.

To prevent this I challenged two such PSPOs at Leeming Bar (Hambleton District Council) and Rother District Council. As a result, neither has issued a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) although neither PSPO has been revoked. In essence, both are being used to intimidate motorists.

I support anyone who parks “overnight” and “sleep” in both locations as there can be no breach of the PSPO. I have personally done this on numerous occasions in both locations to directly challenge both Councils.

  • Leeming Bar

In Leeming Bar the PSPO is unlawful because:

  1. The Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) bans remaining in vehicles “overnight”. As remaining in vehicles is not anti-social behaviour this is a misuse of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. This is confirmed by both the  Thames Valley Police and  Metropolitan Police
  2. As the PSPO prevents drivers remaining in vehicles this prevents motorists including local residents driving their vehicles “overnight” as it is impossible, and in breach of legislation, to drive a vehicle without remaining in it. This means residents living off Low Street; business owners on Leeming Bar Industrial Estate: caravaneers on Pembroke Caravan site and truckers at Coneygarth Truck Stop cannot drive their vehicles to any of these places between the hours of 19.00 and 07.00. The PSPO has unlawfully closed the roads.
  3. The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 – 65 – 1 states “A public spaces protection order may not restrict the public right of way over a highway.” The PSPO does just that and thus breaches the legislation.
  4. The signage for the PSPO is in breach of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 (TSRGD 2016) as the signage is not permitted signage. 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“. The PSPO is clearly a prohibition and as such the signage breaches the TSRGD 2016.
  5. In addition the Traffic Signs Manual – Chapter 1 states:“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.” and “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.” This confirms that the signage is an obstruction and as the North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) is the Highways Authority they must remove the signage from the Highway.

As NYCC and North Yorkshire Police supported the introduction of the PSPO I am currently in the process of complaints against them both for supporting that which is unlawful.

  • Rother District Council

Rother District Council has introduced a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) stating:

“No persons, will sleep or deposit any materials used or intended to be used as bedding in any public places with the Restricted Area identified in Map 1”

The Rother PSPO is unlawful because:

  1. The Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) bans the sleeping or depositing any materials used or intended to be used as bedding in any public places. As this is not anti-social behaviour this is a misuse of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. This is confirmed by both the  Thames Valley Police and  Metropolitan Police
  2. Overnight is not defined.
  3. The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 – 65 – 1 states “A public spaces protection order may not restrict the public right of way over a highway.” The PSPO does just that and thus breaches the legislation.
  4. The signage for the PSPO is in breach of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 (TSRGD 2016) as the signage is not permitted signage. 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“. The PSPO is clearly a prohibition and as such the signage breaches the TSRGD 2016.
  5. In addition the Traffic Signs Manual – Chapter 1 states:“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.” and “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.” This confirms that the signage is an obstruction and as the East Sussex County Council is the Highways Authority they must remove the signage from the Highway.

As it is likely that ESCC and Sussex Police have supported the introduction of the PSPO I have submitted a Freedom Of Information request to Rother District Council for copies of any submission either and/or both made to the required consultation for the PSPO.

If either and/or both have supported the introduction of the PSPO I will register a formal complaint against either and/or both for supporting that which is unlawful.

Further Information

For further information please click on the two links below.

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