Bylaw stopping spitting is backed

Coun John McHale.

Coun John McHale.

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COUNCILLORS have supported plans to outlaw spitting on Doncaster’s streets.

Elected mayor Peter Davies wants the problem to be punished as a criminal offence, and now a panel of councillors have supported the plan.

Doncaster Council’s democratic services committee unanimously voted in support of the action in a bid to stamp out the “nasty habit” in the borough altogether.

The council must submit a proposal for a bylaw to the Secretary of State including evidence of where the problem is and how it plans to tackle it.

The exact punishments people could face have not been decided yet but breaking other bylaws in the borough can lead to culprits receiving a £400 fine.

Roger Harvey, assistant director of legal and democratic services, told Tuesday’s meeting that a number of agencies had been contacted to find out how big the problem was. He said there were 31 cases of spitting following a day of observation.

The committee has called for a public consultation with residents to find out where the hotspot areas are and wants to launch a dedicated webpage and use social media to explain about the bylaw if it is put into place.

Mr Harvey said 1,200 responses were needed to make the consultation valid and the bylaw could not be put into action until after May’s election.

Coun John McHale told the meeting: “It is a nasty habit, when we can see people spitting on the street it gives off a terrible image.

“If we can get the message out there that we have a bylaw and we will enforce it and tag it on to the enforcer’s duties that the conduct is not acceptable, it sends out a clear message.”

Councillors Patricia Schofield and Bill Mordue supported the motion originally announced by Mr Davies last year, but raised concerns that the advertising campaign about the bylaw would cost more than £7,000.

They also questioned if the authority’s enforcement team had enough resources with the council facing millions of pounds of cuts.

It was agreed at the meeting that the council should reduce the cost of advertising the bylaw while ensuring residents would still received detailed information.