The Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) comes into effect tomorrow (Thursday)

Barnstaple Pannier Market will be shut at night for the first time this week as measures to protect it from anti-social behaviour come into effect.

The pannier market will be protected by a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) from Thursday, with owner North Devon Council (NDC) closing the doors each evening at 6pm and reopening them at 5am each morning.

New fire doors have been installed to close the connecting path from Market Street to Butchers Row.

NDC’s executive member for community safety, Councillor Pat Barker, said it was the council’s ‘only option’.

Market traders committee chairman Carolyn Read, pannier market manager Simon Curry, Councillor Pat Barker, PC Charlie Northcott, North Devon Council's Ellen Vernon, Town centre manager Hannah Harrington and market trader committee member Penny Norman.Market traders committee chairman Carolyn Read, pannier market manager Simon Curry, Councillor Pat Barker, PC Charlie Northcott, North Devon Council's Ellen Vernon, Town centre manager Hannah Harrington and market trader committee member Penny Norman.

“There has been a long history of anti-social behaviour in the market at night, with drinking, vandalism and intimidation becoming more and more frequent,” she said.

“This behaviour also spills out into the town and we have had lots of concerning reports from business on Butchers Row and Market Street.

“The decision to install new fire safety doors and keep the building locked at night was really our only option.”

The council began exploring the idea of a PSPO back in June 2016 to prevent ‘undesirable activities’.

Pannier Market traders committee member Penny Norman, chairman Carolyn Read and market manager Simon Curry with the new PSPOs.Pannier Market traders committee member Penny Norman, chairman Carolyn Read and market manager Simon Curry with the new PSPOs.

It said feedback from neighbouring businesses, market users and the public was ‘overwhelmingly supportive’ of the plans.

Chairman of the Pannier Market Traders Committee, Carolyn Read, said: “We’ve been waiting for this day for 20 years and all the traders are pleased with this decision.

“It means that the market will be secure and traders won’t have to come in and clean up a terrible mess every morning.

“We would like to thank Councillor Des Brailey and all those who have helped bring this to fruition.”

NDC’s economic development manager Ellen Vernon said the move was good news for traders after a rise in anti-social activity this winter.

“This winter has been worse than any of the previous winters, so clearly it’s a trend that’s escalating over time, all the more reason for us to get on with it and make sure the market is protected.

“It means good things for the traders. When they come in in the morning it means they’re not having to work around mess that’s been left from the night before, which may include vomit, drugs paraphernalia and broken glass.

“It’s just a much safer and nicer environment for everybody.”

The PSPO will not affect authorised evening events at the market, and now it is protected, the council hopes to make more use of it on evenings and weekends for events and community use.