Following a recent consultation Ashford Borough Council has introduced a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for Conningbrook Lakes, pictured above.

The PSPO encompasses an area including and surrounding the main lake and aims to reduce anti-social behaviour.

PSPOs allow councils to tackle anti-social behaviour which takes place in a specific, geographical area (as opposed to criminal behaviour orders and injunctions which are directed at individuals). A PSPO covers particular activities, meaning that anyone carrying them out in an area under one of these orders can be prosecuted or issued with a £100 fixed penalty notice.

Under the Conningbrook Lakes PSPO all dogs must be kept on leads. As much of the park is designated for nature conservation and grazing unleashed dogs can disturb wildlife and pose a threat to livestock. This measure is also to protect dogs as, although measures are in place to prevent natural toxic algae blooms in the water, they can still occur and be a potential risk.

No public swimming or boating is allowed unless it is part of organised water sports activities and classes. These are all held under supervision by qualified and accredited instructors who can manage the users and ensure those taking part are aware of and can avoid the lakes’ natural hazards. Anyone wishing to find out more about and participate in any organised water sports and activities can get in touch with Freedom Leisure.

Fishing is restricted to members of Mid Kent Fisheries and day tickets for fishing are not available. Those interested in membership should get in touch with Mid Kent Fisheries.

At present, fires or barbecues are not permitted however there are plans to create designated areas within the park, outside of those set aside for nature conservation.

Signage will be installed to highlight the prohibited activities.

Cllr. Peter Feacey, portfolio holder for Community Safety said: “A PSPO gives the council and the police the power to deal with these type of activities immediately and on the ground.

“Often, such incidents may simply require us to point out that this behaviour is unacceptable but, when they become persistent, both council officers and the police will be able to take enforcement action.

“Green spaces, like Conningbrook Lakes, are so important for our wildlife and, in protecting them we also enable them to remain an attractive, welcoming place for residents and visitors too.”

Find out more about Public Spaces Protection Orders – https://www.ashford.gov.uk/your-community/community-safety/anti-social-behaviour-asb/public-spaces-protection-order/

By Ed

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