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Red-faced mayor attempts to pull antisocial behaviour bylaws from agenda

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: March 19, 2014

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Bristol mayor George Ferguson tried to make an embarrassing retreat by attempting to pull plans for a controversial barbecue and tree climbing ban for Bristol parks off the agenda.

Yesterday morning as controversy raged about the proposed ban, the mayor tweeted he had "dropped the ball" over the move to fine those who breached dozens of new bylaws £500.

He told BBC Radio Bristol he hadn't had the chance to study the report containing the new rules for 207 parks because he had been away.

Mr Ferguson, who has been at the MIPIM property conference in Cannes in the South of France, said he was pulling the item off the agenda for last night's meeting of the council and referring it for further scrutiny because he did not want to stop the public enjoying open spaces.

But last night it was unclear if the mayor had the power to change the agenda for the meeting without putting it to the vote.

In a statement last night Mr Ferguson said: "There is no leader of any city more supportive of children's play and recreation. I have not been fully engaged in this bylaw process so have asked for the report to be withdrawn from the agenda in order to allow further consideration.

"The aim behind the bylaws is to give the authority power to intervene where there is a clear case of antisocial behaviour. There is absolutely no intent stop people from pursuing activities that they have traditionally enjoyed."

The report contained a recommendation from officials that councillors approve dozens of suggested bylaws which ban a wide range of activities from climbing trees, lighting barbecues and skateboarding or playing ball games in an annoying way.

Supporters say they are needed to tackle antisocial behaviour, but critics say it is waging war on young people and those who do not have a garden.

Dr Mark Wright led the calls for the document to be amended because he says the rules are "a massive over-reaction" to a problem which could be better managed by education and common sense.

The Liberal Democrat believes it will cause conflict.

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  • StanStill  |  March 19 2014, 1:21PM

    Poor old Red Trousers, brain, gear, mouth comes to mind. The man is a first class Clown, with little idea about anything, except riding a bicycle, and wearing red trousers.