Clearance Protocol

In response to a large number of unattended personal items being left around Weston Town Centre in shop doorways, North Somerset Council is introducing a new scheme.

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and Refuse Disposal (amenity) Act 1978, any items left unattended could be treated as an act of fly-tipping or littering, for which a person could be issued with a £75 fine or up to £2,500 if prosecuted.

However, North Somerset Council has taken a more pragmatic approach by introducing something called a clearance protocol.

Items considered as abandoned, soiled or hazardous

If belongings are not being cared for, perhaps they are strewn around in the street rather than placed together, or are placed against a bin, they will be treated as litter and disposed of.

Items that are soaked or considered as hazardous, such as drug paraphernalia or anything with bodily waste on it, will be removed and disposed of.

Unattended belongings

As part of this clearance protocol, a ‘Bag & Tag' scheme has been introduced that covers any belongings which do not appear abandoned and are not hazardous or soiled.

Where unattended items are left in the town centre, our Community Response Officer will note the time and location. If the items remain unattended after three hours, our Community Response Team will collect the items into sealed property bags, which will be sealed with a unique serial number.

The items will be retained for a maximum of 14 days in a secure location. If the items are not reclaimed in this period, they will be disposed of.

Private landowners

As rough sleepers often bed down in shop and office doorways, many town centre businesses encounter rough sleeping on a daily basis.

We all have a part to play in keeping Weston Town Centre safe and clean and it is the responsibility of the property owner to manage any persons and property on their land, including shop doorways.

North Somerset Council, together with a number of community services, provide support to businesses around rough sleeping. This includes:

  • speaking to rough sleepers and assessing the situation
  • advising businesses what their rights and responsibilities are
  • providing contact details for support services
  • reporting rough sleeper locations to the outreach team
  • liaising with the outreach team and Police as necessary
  • ongoing advice and support.

Where private land (which includes doorways) is persistently attracting anti-social behaviour or public health concerns, the council will do everything they can to support private landowners.

However, if after a reasonable period of time nothing is being done to rectify the matter, the council will take action against private landowners to ensure measures are taken to prevent the anti-social behaviour at the property from reoccurring.

We will not use our anti-social behaviour powers on somebody just because they are sleeping rough or are homeless.