Off-roaders now banned from The Desert after council decision

Photo of a land in Sherwood Forest known as The Desert
The Desert in Sherwood Forest

Councillors in Mansfield have unanimously approved a ban on using off-road vehicles and motorcycles on publicly accessible land in the area known locally as The Desert.

The renewal of Mansfield District Council’s Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) was recommended for approval at last night’s Full Council meeting by Cllr Marion Bradshaw, Portfolio Holder for Safer Communities, Housing and Wellbeing, following her delegated decision earlier this month.

The new order – valid from 2022 to 2025 –  grants council officers and the police the ability to fine or prosecute people if they are committing several wide-reaching offences.

These include drinking alcohol or begging in public places, failing to clear up dog fouling, and cycling through pedestrianised areas in the town centre at certain times.

It also allows groups to be dispersed if they are causing (or are likely to cause) nuisance, alarm, harassment or distress to any other person in the town centre.

Cllr Bradshaw said after the meeting last night: “The behaviour of off-roaders at The Desert has been raised by residents as a cause for concern for some time, and the landowners and police are fully supportive of the council's proposals in the new PSPO.

“We are working with Newark and Sherwood District Council, who are responsible for part of the land, to see if we can take a united approach on tackling the off-roader problem.

"The council works closely with our partners to assess the use of PSPO offences and their current relevance, and to actively consider and consult with the public if changes are needed.

"It is just one of the many tools in our armoury giving the council and police powers to ensure persistent crime and anti-social behaviour issues are tackled more effectively.

“As well as being an obvious danger to people on foot, these vehicles also cause much danger and disturbance to the wildlife in the area. Now, with the approval of this order, it can be given a chance to flourish.”

The approval follows a six-week extensive public consultation on the new proposed order in June. The consultation showed that the vast majority of people supported all of the proposed measures.

The new PSPO includes 10 by-laws, nine of which are the same as those of the 2019 to 2022 PSPO.

Inspector Kylie Davies, Nottinghamshire Police district commander for Mansfield, said: “People who drive and ride off-road vehicles illegally in our parks and other green spaces are not only a nuisance; they are also a considerable danger to other members of the public and to themselves.

“There are many things we already do to tackle this selfish and antisocial behaviour, including seizing bikes when people are behaving in an antisocial away.

“This new protection order will make it easier for us to do this by giving us the power to order riders away from the area – regardless of how they are behaving. If people don’t comply then we will seize their bikes.

“Our off road team will maintain a regular presence in the area in the coming weeks and months to enforce the law and gather evidence against those who continue to ride illegally.”

Anyone who fails to meet the requirements of the order or comply with a request from a police officer, a police community support officer (PCSO) or an authorised council officer could receive a £100 fixed penalty notice or be prosecuted.

For more informations about the PSPO, visit the Community Safety web pages (link opens in new window).

Published: September 21st 2022