Ban on swimming in Somerset marina dropped as council says they’re not ‘fun cops’

Plans to ban jumping and swimming in Portishead Marina have been scrapped – amid fears council bosses will be seen as the ‘fun police’. North Somerset Council had considered introducing a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to prevent people from swimming in the town’s marina.

This decision follows concerns about security. In the past, the city’s RNLI has written to local schools warning them of the dangers of jumping into the marina in hot weather.

The marina is privately owned by Quay Marinas, but some of the areas around the water are owned by North Somerset Council. The PSPO is said to have banned swimming and jumping in the water, with anyone caught risking a £75 fine.

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A series of new PSPOs were approved by North Somerset Council last month and are due to come into force in early June. But the ban on jumping into the marina has been lifted – for now.

North Somerset Council Executive Member for Place Setting and the Economy, Councilor Mark Canniford, said: ‘We have put the introduction of a PSPO at Portishead Marina on the back burner for now. The council does not want to be seen as the fun police and we do not want to introduce unnecessary regulations.

“Jumping and swimming in the marina can however be dangerous and once inside it can often be difficult to get out. We want to make sure people know the dangers of jumping into the water.

“We don’t want to be judged as spoilsports, but we want to make sure people are safe. We will hold further discussions with the local community and Portishead City Council on the matter before making a final decision. .”

Other new PSPO orders have been approved, however. The new ordinances include a district-wide ordinance banning aggressive begging and prohibiting unauthorized camping, fires and barbecues in downtown areas, parks and open spaces.

PSPOs also include dog control orders to encourage responsible dog ownership. Dogs will now only be allowed in Broadcroft Playground, Claverham if they are on a leash and on the public footpath.

All dogs must be kept on a leash on Hutton Moor playgrounds. Dogs must be kept on a leash and off the sports fields at Worle Recreation Ground.

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The council conducted a four-week consultation on the new and amended PSPOs with the majority of respondents in favor of their introduction. “We listened to what residents and businesses told us about issues in their cities and towns that impact people’s quality of life,” said Councilor Mike Bell, deputy head of council and executive member of the regulatory services.

“As a result, we are introducing a number of new ordinances which will enable us and the police to deal more effectively with a wider range of anti-social behavior issues, making our public spaces more welcoming, safe and clean. Applying these orders in a proportionate, fair and consistent manner will benefit our local communities and help make North Somerset a better place to live, work and visit.”

PSPOs were first introduced by the council in 2017. They are enforced by designated council staff, police officers and police community support officers (PCSOs) and external contractors authorized by the council.

Anyone breaching a PSPO could receive a written warning, restorative justice, a £75 fixed penalty notice or, in some cases, face prosecution. More information about the PSPOs can be found on the council’s website at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/pspo.

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