Report says anti-social activity at historic market hall has intensified over the last few years, reaching ‘unprecedented’ levels.

North Devon Council is taking steps to close Barnstaple Pannier Market during the night.

The council is planning to submit a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in order to put a stop ‘undesirable activities’ occurring in the Grade II building.

The market hall has long been a public right of way and is open all hours but the council says anti-social activity has intensified over the last few years, reaching ‘unprecedented’ levels.

The PSPO, which is due to be discussed at the council’s full council meeting on July 6, would see the pannier market become a ‘restricted area’ between the hours of 6pm and 5am, and therefore closed.

The report says: “As the building is accessible at all hours, there has been a long history of anti-social behaviour in the building overnight.

“Such behaviour has intensified over the last few years, with winter 2015/16 seeing an unprecedented level of anti-social activity.”

Instances of drug and alcohol consumption, vandalism, ball games, vomiting and urinating, and littering including needles and broken glass are noted as regular occurrences in the market hall.

A PSPO, which lasts for three years, is designed to enable local authorities to prevent or restrict behaviour which is having a negative effect on communal wellbeing.

A 12-week consultation is likely to follow the report to members.

The council made a similar proposal in July 2010, when they approached Devon County Council for a ‘gating order’ to be carried out between 6pm and 6am.

Those plans were shelved by North Devon’s executive committee the following month.

The Pannier Market is currently undergoing a ‘summer spruce up’, with repairs and redecorating being carried out on the building.

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