Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) has now introduced a controversial anti-social behaviour zone in the city centre.
Notices have been posted around the city centre concerning the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) which took effect from Monday (May 2).
The Labour-controlled council consulted on the proposals last summer in a bid to crack down on anti-social activities. But the authority was forced to water down the original draft following a back-lash.
Plans to fine rough sleepers and unauthorised buskers led to one of the biggest ever postbags for a consultation, sparking concerns from civil rights group Liberty and a protest led by campaigning comedian Mark Thomas.
Council cabinet members later dropped plans to criminalise rough sleepers, beggars, unauthorised buskers and bird feeders following the wave of opposition.
Senior councillors agreed only the following three activities should be banned and subject to on-the-spot fines of up to £100 in the city centre based on the consultation findings:
■ Using so-called ‘legal highs’
■ Drinking alcohol in public
■ Public urination/defecation
Cllr Nicole Meardon, the council’s cabinet member for children and families, insisted the whole exercise had been worthwhile despite the negative national publicity, a 16,000-strong petition and the dilution of the PSPO.
She said: “I think it’s really important to recognise that this consultation gave us a wealth of data and information about how people feel about the city of Chester – whether they feel safe at night or safe during the day, some of the other issues that were concerning them.
“Although these issues were taken out of the PSPO we still recognise that they are important issues and we felt they needed to be addressed by the council and our partners but in ways other than the PSPO.”
Examples include the council working with buskers to draw up a new code of conduct and a complex dependencies programme for vulnerable people with drug and alcohol addictions.
One sharp-eyed member of the public spotted that notices publicising the introduction of the PSPO contain a typographical error namely that the order is said to be under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 214 instead of 2014. CWaC says this does not affect the legality of the measure.