Views sought from local people and businesses to restrict public right of way after hours

A public consultation starts tomorrow (Thursday) on proposals that could see Barnstaple Pannier Market closed at night-time.

North Devon Council, which owns the market, is asking for views on potentially putting a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in place.

This would restrict people from gathering in the market, by closing public access in the evenings and overnight.

Councillor Pat Barker said it was in response to anti-social behaviour incidents such as vandalism, arson and rough sleeping.

“However, as there is a public right of way, it is very difficult for us to address and prevent these cases,” she said.

“Now though, a new provision has been made in the law, called the Public Spaces Protection Order, which could help us restrict access when the market is not open.”

Barnstaple central ward member, Councillor Faye Webber, added: “As the local ward member, we’ve been trying to get a night-time market closure in place for many years.

“This is because we’ve been concerned at the issues anti-social behaviour causes and the impact it can have, not only on our own staff who set up the tables first thing in the mornings, but also to traders and shoppers, and the police and fire who are called out to deal with incidents.

“Of course, some people may have different views, so it’s important everyone takes part in the consultation, so all opinions can be considered.”

The deadline for responses is Thursday, October 6 and people can submit their views via www.northdevon.gov.uk.