Havering Council unveils plan to ban spitting and begging in town centre

Saphora Smith
Begging: Havering council have proposed to ban begging from Romford town centre: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Spitting and begging could be banned in a town centre under plans put forward by an east London council.

Havering Council launched a consultation on the plans in a drive to clamp down on anti-social behaviour in Romford.

The Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) could lead to a ban on spitting – including chewing gum – and chugging, as well as other offences such as public urination and street drinking.

Busking, outside designated areas, and begging would also be banned, as well as other “anti-social behaviour.”

Romford residents have been given a 28-day window to make their opinions known to the council.

The proposals regarding begging have been backed by homeless charity Thames Reach which has argued begging and homelessness are too often confused.

Spokesman Mike Nicholas told the Standard: “We agree with this proposal because the evidence is indisputable that the overwhelming majority of people begging on the streets of England spend their begging money on crack cocaine, heroin and super-strength alcoholic beers and ciders.

“Most people who beg have accommodation” he said, adding “giving to people who beg is not a benign act. It can have fatal consequences. We need to work with local authorities who are trying to act on the problem.”

But Mr Nicholas added: “If members of the public are concerned that someone is genuinely sleeping rough then they should get in touch with Street Link and members of our team will go out and investigate and offer the support that we can.”

Councillor Osman Dervish, Cabinet member for Community Safety, said: “The safety of our residents and visitors is vital to us.

“Romford Town Centre has been subject to a Drinks Banning Order since May 2004; however, this order is due to be phased-out and will be replaced by the proposed new and more all-encompassing PSPO.

“I encourage residents and businesses to send us their views."

The consultation will end on April 5.