Bulwell street ‘plagued by unruly young people’ is first of its kind to be given a Public Spaces Protection Order

NHUD Pic of Merchant Street, Bulwell
NHUD Pic of Merchant Street, Bulwell

A Bulwell street plagued by unruly young people must not be regarded as a place where no-one wants to live, a councillor has stressed.

The Merchant Street area is set to become the first of its kind in the whole country to come under a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) as part of the 2014 Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act.

A report to Nottingham City Council’s Bulwell and Bulwell Forest Area Committee says problems are exclusively caused by groups of up to 20 youngsters congregating in the area and behaving in an ‘unreasonable’ manner.

A survey of people living on the street found that some felt intimidated. A number said they wanted to leave and it was claimed that one had already moved away after being assaulted.

But the committee chair, Coun Eunice Campbell, emphasised that the PSPO should not mean Merchant Street being given an unfair image and labelled the worst in Britain.

Coun Jackie Morris, who is Lord Mayor of Nottingham, said Merchant Street had been ‘one of the best in Bulwell’. She thought the PSPO would be a positive step towards residents being able to live in peace there again.

Debbie Beal, of Nottinghamshire Police, told a meeting of the committee that the anti-social behaviour had included street furniture being used as climbing frames, with trees at the top of the street now reduced to an ‘atrocious state’.

Young people verbally abused residents, knocked on doors, played loud music, fired BB guns in the street and played ball games which could damage houses. They also threw bottles and other objects, sometimes at houses, and eggs at windows.

There was also sometimes blatant drug use and during a ‘ward walk’ a pungent smell of cannabis was noticeable, the meeting was told.

The committee agreed to the council’s head of legal services making the PSPO to last for three years. This will mean that ‘two or more persons are prohibited in the restricted area where one or more of the said group causes harassment, alarm or distress to any other person’. The order will apply if initial warnings are ignored.

Anyone breaching the PSPO will face a fixed-penalty fine of £100.