Police welcome new powers to tackle Pavilion Gardens disorder

The Pavilion Gardens Octagon and replacement marquee
The Pavilion Gardens Octagon and replacement marquee

The introduction of a new powers to clamp down on crime and anti-social behaviour in Buxton’s Pavilion Gardens is not aimed at demonising or alienating young people, local police have said.

High Peak Borough councillors have voted to bring in a new Public Spaces Protection Order at the request of the police to tackle disorder at the popular tourist spot.

The new order would prohibit the consumption of alcohol and the use of foul or abusive language, as well as smoking or riding bikes in enclosed spaces, and covers parts of the car park, bandstand and play areas.

Sergeant Dennis Murphy, of Buxton police, said: “We want the Pavilion Gardens to be a safe place for everyone to use, and in the summer and autumn of last year this wasn’t the case.

“We had several reports of vandalism; a bench ended up in the water and information boards were damaged. Groups of youths gathering gives an atmosphere of intimidation which we want to stamp out.”

The order was approved at a meeting of the council’s Executive on Thursday night and will be in place for three years.

Council leader Tony Ashton said: “If your personal property was being damaged you would do everything you could to stop it happening again, and that is all the council has done. The recent vandalism in the Gardens costs taxpayers money to fix and repair.

“When the acts of some people start impacting on others it is time to do something.”

The new order also contains greater powers for tackling other anti-social acts in the car park, such as drifting.

Sergeant Murphy said: “I accept that the youth provisions in this town are pitiful, but across the High Peak and Derbyshire austerity measures have hit savagely and we need to find a solution to keep young people safe and off the streets.

“However, hanging around in a car park or drinking alcohol is not the safest thing they can be doing, so we will be upholding the law and using the necessary and proportionate responses to stop this anti-social behaviour happening so everyone can stay safe.

“We are working with the council and are very pleased this order has been passed, but we are by no means out to demonise or alienate young people.”

Enforcement of the order would in large be carried out by the police, and anyone in breach of the new powers could be liable for a fine.

Sergeant Murphy added: “People need educating and advising about this new law. By the summer we expect the message to have spread and we will be robust in enforcing the order, which we have worked hard to secure for the safety of our young people and the community.”

A council spokesman said signs advertising the new order should be in place by the end of April.

The new order will prohibit

• Entering the covered, lower level of the Pavilion Gardens car park after closure

• Loitering in Pavilion Gardens car park or on the Don Redfern Memorial Bandstand and steps or in the toddler play area

• Riding a bicycle, smoking or taking a dog into the toddler play area

• Engaging in vehicle racing, ‘doughnutting’, drifting, wheel spinning or other forms of vehicle nuisance.

• Lighting, throwing or otherwise setting off fireworks

• Using foul or abusive language

• Consuming alcohol or being in the possession of alcohol in an unsealed container within Pavilion Gardens car park (upper and lower levels), the Don

Redfern Memorial Bandstand, or the toddler play area and adjacent swings

• Behaving in a manner that causes, or is likely to cause, alarm, distress or harassment to others.