What are PSPOs?
Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) are draconian powers that allow councils to ban anything they judge to have a 'detrimental effect' on the 'quality of life' of an area.
PSPOs have been used for bans on innocent activities such as standing in groups, rough sleeping, begging, ball games, feeding the birds, or protesting.
A PSPO can be passed by a single council officer; it need not be approved by a court or by elected councillors.
What has the Manifesto Club done on PSPOs?
Over the past four years, the Manifesto Club has been at the forefront of challenging PSPOs (see our PSPO Campaign homepage).
We successfully won changes to the Home Office Statutory Guidance, which imposes stricter controls on how the powers can be used.
We responded to more than 50 PSPO consultations, and worked with dozens of local groups opposing PSPOs in their area, including: skateboarders, young people, rough sleepers, punt touts, charity collectors, dog walkers, sheep commoners, bird feeders, and pro-life protesters.
We carried out FOI research into the use of PSPO powers, creating the only national data that shows the ludicrous ways in which these powers have been used.
We have also helped dozens of people issued with Community Protection Notices - a power that is a close cousin of PSPOs, and is used to impose restrictions upon individuals (eg. banning them from begging or from entering certain areas).
Our campaign has been covered in hundreds of news items, including national broadsheets, tabloids, TV, radio, and local papers, helping to raise public awareness of the problem with these powers.
Why do we need funding now?
Our campaign has been very generously funded for the past four years by Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust. This funding will come to an end on 1 August.
Yet the battle is not won. Councils are still bringing in deeply unjust PSPOs, which violate the Statutory Guidance and bypass local democracy.
Councils are still issuing thousands of CPNs to people who have done nothing wrong and who cannot afford to defend themselves.
We want to carry on everything we have been doing over the past four years. Only, we want to take it one step further. Ultimately, we are seeking legislative change - to remove this dangerous legislation from our statute books, once and for all.
Any donations, large or small, will be very much appreciated. Please help this campaign in any way you can.
Testimonials for the Manifesto Club's Campaign Against PSPOs and CPNs
"I would like to thank you and express our deep appreciation for the Manifesto Club's support throughout the recent months in opposing the introduction of a PSPO to exclude sheep from the village of Bream. The District Councillor decided against this imposition by the narrowest of margins, the Chair’s vote. Without your support and the publicity generated for our campaign it would certainly have been impossible to achieve this outcome. We were very grateful for you coming to visit our locality and showing such interest. The work of the Manifesto Club is extremely important in supporting civil liberties in the UK and we wish you the best for the future and your campaign to repeal this legislation." Mick Holder, Secretary, Forest of Dean, Sheep Commoners Association
"The Manifesto Club raised the issue of the oppressive use by local authorities of PSPOs with me five years ago, and I was delighted to work with them on trying to do something about it. The Manifesto Club campaign was instrumental in getting the new Statutory Guidance, which limits the way in which these powers can be used. It is so important that the PSPO campaign continues, to carry on this good work and keep these powers in check." Tim Clement-Jones, Lib Dem peer
"We have lived in a small seaside village in Sussex for 26 years. Earlier this year, following four years of problems with the people who bought the property opposite us, we received a Community Protection Warning letter. This prevents us (amongst other things) from going near their property, that is from walking to and from the beach as we have done since we first lived here. We were shocked, distressed and did not know what to do. It was very difficult to find appropriate legal guidance or to find a solicitor to act on our behalf. Then we found The Manifesto Club. They understood our situation and realised the injustice of the letter we had received. Their support has proved invaluable." Sheila and Nigel, East Sussex
"I had a CPN issued for something I didn't do, but nobody was interested - the solicitors I called didn't want to help, and there is no legal aid. The council even sent my court summons to the wrong address, knowing I wouldn't turn up for the trial. The Manifesto Club gave me help and support. It is incredibly stressful having a CPN issued against you, and there is nowhere to turn. The Manifesto Club campaign is essential and very much needed." Joanne, 30, north-east England
"'Dog Walkers Alliance’ has been campaigning for six years against Instow Parish Council, who are trying to ban dogs on Instow Beach merely because a minority on this council hate dogs. This is a tidal estuary with signs all along the beach warning people not to swim at any time due to dangerous currents; the most polluted water in the whole of Europe; sewage discharge and farm run off; quicksand & boat moorings. IPC initially hoped to acquire a PSPO from North Devon Council to ban dogs, but failed. However, they are still trying to introduce a ban via the back door by maintaining the beach is ‘child friendly’, and attempting to minimise the seriousness of the water contamination. We are determined they will fail. We have had enormous help from Josie Appleton & the Manifesto Club. We must all stand together and fight these pernicious PSPO’s that restrict all our freedoms & support the Manifesto Club." Joanne Bell, Dog Walkers Alliance, North Devon