Advert hand-outs could be targeted

PUBLISHED: 07:42 12 June 2005 | UPDATED: 05:54 02 March 2010

FLY-leafletters handing out adverts for nightclubs and other events could be targeted in a new clampdown in Ipswich town centre.

New laws give councils the power to licence – or even ban – people handing out leaflets if they are believed to be causing litter problems.

FLY-leafletters handing out adverts for nightclubs and other events could be targeted in a new clampdown in Ipswich town centre.

New laws give councils the power to licence – or even ban – people handing out leaflets if they are believed to be causing litter problems.

That could be used in the Westgate Street/Tavern Street area of the town centre where flyers are distributed advertising events at the town's nightclubs.

They cause problems because the flyers are often dropped by shoppers as soon as they are pushed into their hands – causing a serious litter problem in the town centre.

Under the terms of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act, which come into force next week, councils now have power to clampdown on those causing litter problems.

But Ipswich council is unlikely to start implementing the act until its provisions have been discussed at an executive meeting at the end of September.

But that does mean there could be a Christmas clampdown.

Ipswich council communities spokesman Paul West said there were problems with litter in the town centre and the new act could be a useful weapon.

"We could move to a system where we licence these leafletters – or we could even ban them altogether if the rubbish continues to mount," he said.

Liquid and Zest are the nightclubs most frequently seen leafletting in the town.

Kerpal Baines from Zest said leafletting was the company's main source of advertising and managed to bring people to his club.

"This is very important to us – and we do pay rates. I am sure the council will talk this through with us before they take draconian action.

"Leisure is very important to the town – and if we cannot advertise we might as well go away."

The new law also gives councils to close off alleyways if people believe they are being used as shortcuts or ratruns for those involved in anti-social behaviour.

Mr West said: "There are areas of town, like Stoke Park, where this is a problem. Local residents have asked if the path could be closed off or have a gate put in it.

"That is something we are now able to do – and will be considering if problems continue."

Another aspect of the law that the council could implement is a ban on people selling cars from the roadside – or repairing vehicles on the road as part of a business.

Mr West said: "There are an increasing number of vehicles you see parked on the roadside and marked for sale – that's something we want to deal with."

SOME sections of the new act came into force this week, while other parts are expected to come into law over the next few months.

The act is wide-ranging, tackling a number of areas that are seen as anti-social – and are aimed at improving the quality of life for people.

It gives councils more powers to use fixed penalties as an alternative to prosecuting people for minor offences – giving them the right to set their own penalties.

Abandoned vehicles can be removed from streets immediately, and the new act makes dropping litter anywhere an offence.

Councils are to be given extra powers to tackle businesses that generate litter – and there will be extra powers for councils to force landowners to clear litter from their land.

There are to be increased penalties for fly-tipping – and gives councils extra powers to deal with noise nuisance, including burglar alarms.

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