Mansfield's local authority is being taken to court over using its powers to ban cycling in the town centre.
Campaign group Cycling UK, via its Cyclists’ Defence Fund (CDF), is now supporting six local cyclists in a legal challenge of Mansfield District Council’s (MDC) cycling ban in the
High Court proceedings were commenced against the Council on September 12 in what is believed to be the first appeal against a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) since the legislation creating these orders was passed in 2014.
MDC introduced this PSPO, which made it a criminal offence to cycle through parts of Mansfield town centre, on August 1. This cycle ban applies for 24 hours a day, even outside of trading hours and when the streets are deserted.
The PSPO was apparently introduced to address anti-social behaviour of a minority of people who cycled in the designated area, and Cycling Uk says it now impacts upon residents, considerate cyclists and disabled people who may use specially adapted cycles to visit the town centre.
The group said: "PSPOs have been described as a “busybody’s charter”. They allow Councils to declare a range of legal activities, such as cycling, busking or standing in groups of three or more, as illegal within geographically defined areas.
"Through the CDF, Cycling UK and the Council have agreed to continue discussions regarding the cycling ban pending the hearing of the appeal. Cycling UK’s CDF contends that the Council have exceeded their powers by using legislation designed to prevent anti-social behaviour to arbitrarily ban an otherwise legal activity."
Duncan Dollimore, spokesperson for the Cyclists’ Defence Fund, said: “Cycling UK is disappointed that we have reached such a stage where legal proceedings are necessary.
“How can the council have failed to account for people with disabilities who might use a cycle as a mobility aid or even those who commute to work within the defined area? Clearly a rethink from the Council is needed.
“If the Council was experiencing problems with a small number of inconsiderate people cycling, it would be far better to tackle that behaviour, which would benefit everyone, rather than impose a blanket ban on all cycling in the area at all times.”
Mansfield District Council Director of Communities Hayley Barsby said: "Mansfield District Council is aware that a legal challenge to the Public Spaces Protection Order in the district has been made by a representative of Cycling UK but we have not received official notification of this challenge from either the court or from Cycling UK. As such, we are not in a position to comment further on this at this stage."