Fears new curbs will ‘make it a crime to sit in the park with a picnic and bottle of wine’

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A public outcry has blown up over plans by Horsham District Council to crackdown on anti-social behaviour by bringing in new regulations.

Among activities which the council proposes to ban include drinking alcohol in public spaces, ‘parkour’ - a type of free-running, in the town centre - playing loud music and racing horse-drawn vehicles.

But many residents say that bans are not needed as such ‘anti-social behaviour’ is already covered by existing laws. And they queried how the new restrictions would be enforced.

The council is currently seeking public views on its proposals and many people have taken to social media to voice their opinions.

One man on the website streetlife.com said: “These powers will simply be used to harass young people and make it a crime to sit in the park with a picnic and a bottle of wine or hang about near Park Surgery jumping off low walls.”

Another said: “Horsham District Council does not explain how such orders will be enforced.

“We already have a drink exclusion order in Horsham town centre but it isn’t enforced.

“Anti-social drinking still occurs, for example, in the Remembrance Garden and even at the top of Causeway.”

Another queried: “Are these misdemeanors not covered by actual laws? - drunk and disorderly, criminal damage, dangerous driving, disturbance of the peace, dangerous dogs, and so on.

“Who decides what is ‘anti social behaviour’? Seems to me just another example of the trend to pre-emptive reaction - ‘You may not be behaving in a disorderly way (or damaging property, or whatever) yet but I’m going to arrest you just in case you do’.”

Horsham District Council says it has worked with the Community Safety Partnership to “identify specific ongoing unreasonable activities that have, or are likely to have, a harmful effect on the quality of life of the people who live, work in or visit the district.”

The public consultation goes on until June 13 and will be considered by the council on June 29.

To view and comment on the proposals visit www.snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=146419326831