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Newport City Council has decided against imposing a blanket ban on begging, despite 78% of residents backing the plans during a public consultation.

The consultation received 108 responses, but councillors have argued this number is not a good enough representation of the people of Newport’s views.

Respondents were asked if they would prefer to remove current restrictions on begging and have a blanket ban.

One resident responding to the question said: “Ban begging entirely. No one is destitute. We have charities to help those in need and a benefits system. There is no need for anyone to beg in our city. It is undesirable.”

Another resident said: “Whilst some begging is polite, there is also demanding and recrimination if refused. The scale of begging is out out hand with multiple requests on a single journey up Commercial Street, Bridge Street and High Street. The aggression increases as the day goes on.”

One resident, who opposed the blanket ban, responded: “People politely sitting and asking for spare change, away from cash points, is in no way intimidating and should not necessarily be tidied away to make local Conservative councillors happy.”

Cllr Matthew Evans, leader of the council’s Conservative group, called for a blanket ban prior to the consultation.

He said begging was a “big issue” and something that deterred people from going in to Newport city centre.

In a Scrutiny Committee meeting on Thursday September 23, Cllr Evans said: “The question is a bit ambiguous … but it is a significant number. If we have a consultation with people and we don’t listen, it does not look good.”

Newport City Council’s current Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) expired on August 23. This included a ban on aggressive begging and begging within ten metres of a cashpoint.

PSPOs are created to prevent antisocial behaviour in public spaces.

The new PSPO has now been approved by the council, with the decision to keep the current rules on begging part of this approval.

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