Council takes important decisions on animal welfare, anti-social behaviour and accessibility

PR2263/MF/YL - 03/02/2020

Mid Sussex District Council adopted a new Animal Welfare Policy, approved funds for accessibility improvements to the Council Chamber and agreed new powers to combat anti-social behaviour at a meeting of Full Council on Wednesday 29 January.

The Council has adopted a new Animal Welfare Policy to provide additional guidance to current and potential licence holders and the public about how animal licensing is administered in Mid Sussex.

Businesses that work with animals such as pet shops, dog breeders, animal boarding establishments and riding stables must be licensed by the council to ensure their animals are safe and well.

The Animal Welfare Policy sets out all the conditions local businesses must follow to protect the welfare of their animals, prevent the spread of infectious disease and ensure the suitability of the business owner. Inspections are carried out by the Council to confirm that standards are maintained and any complaints are thoroughly investigated.

Councillors agreed a £584,000 budget for essential improvement works to the Council Chamber and public gallery. The Council Chamber has not undergone any significant changes since it was built in the 1960s and requires a number of changes to improve accessibility for disabled people.

Plans include the installation of a lift to provide physically disabled people with access to the Council Chamber and public gallery. There will also be work to replace old and obsolete equipment including heating, air conditioning, an audio-visual system and the installation of hearing loops for people with hearing and visual impairments.

New measures were agreed to help combat the ongoing issue of car cruising and racing in Burgess Hill. Between November 2017 and June 2019 Police data shows over 140 incidents of anti-social driving in the town. Residents and local businesses have complained specifically about organised meets in town centre car parks that lead to anti-social behaviour including speeding, careless driving and excessive noise.

The Council approved a Car Cruising Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to provide simpler and more effective powers to deal with car related anti-social behaviour. The PSPO lasts for a period of three years and covers the whole town. Anti-social acts such as speeding or racing, performing stunts, causing a disturbance by sounding horns, revving engines or playing loud music and causing damage to property could now result in a Fixed Penalty of £100 under the new PSPO powers.

Councillor Jonathan Ash-Edwards, Leader of Mid Sussex District Council said:
“Animal welfare is an important issue and our new policy provides clear guidance for current and potential business owners about what is expected of an animal licence holder in Mid Sussex.

“Accessibility improvements to the Council Chamber and public viewing gallery are much needed, so it’s great to agree a budget for this important project and to improve our facilities for all the members of the public who come along to follow council meetings.

“Car cruising related anti-social behaviour is a nuisance and causes unnecessary disruption for many Burgess Hill residents. This new Public Space Protection Order responds to the concerns of residents and provides the Police with additional powers to tackle persistent offenders.”