The Public Space Protection Order coming into force with regard to beggars and anti-social behaviour is, in my opinion, long overdue.

For the last 18 months, the town has been going downhill since the PCSOs were withdrawn and has virtually been policed by shopkeepers.

Working in the town as I do, it has become a daily ritual where when the sun comes up the cat and mouse begins.

I am not without compassion and the genuine homeless have my sympathy, but the vast majority of begging that goes on in the town is to feed drink and drug habits of people that are not homeless and goes unchallenged by the authorities.

The shopkeepers are having to clear out and clean up faeces, urine, blood etc and a host of unmentionables on a daily basis.

This looks disgusting to the visitors of this town and its embarrassing for the law-abiding and traders alike.

I fully acknowledge that is by no means a problem for Colchester alone.

So I give my whole-hearted support and applaud councillor Mike Lilley for attempting to tackle these issues.

Where I would however disagree with Mr Lilley is the complete A-board ban that also goes with this order.

These are very useful tools for business, and while I accept some people abuse the system by putting out more than one, and in the case of the a bar in Head Street, putting wooden structures so big I’m surprised they don’t need planning permission.

I feel a sensible middle ground is needed where one A-board per business with a limited size is allowed to sit next to the property, providing there is room on the path for a pushchair or wheelchair to pass safely.

The partially sighted should not have to navigate around these structures.

But they are far more at risk from moving objects at speed on the path like pushbikes, than a static A-board.

I would ask Mr Lilley to reconsider this aspect of the order.

D Chapman
Straight Road, Colchester