A LINE could literally be drawn around the town centre to let anyone who crosses it know they will have to behave.

Oliver Donachie told councillors the line could be painted on the ground to denote the Public Space Protection Order that is in force in the centre, so that everybody knew it was there.

The Conservative cabinet member for place and economy was facing questions from members of the borough council’s scrutiny committee.

Deputy chairman Emma Faramarzi said: “I want to know more about enforcement of the PSPO in the town centre.

"I’m the chair of the economy scrutiny committee and this is always coming up.

“The PSPO was brought in to make the town centre a better place to visit, and also to offer help to people who are on the streets in the centre.

"But nothing seems to have been done about that in the three years since it was brought in.”

Another councillor, Steve Allsopp, added that he had spoken to a trader in the town centre.

“He said the signs were far too small," said Coun Allsopp.

"There are people on cycles riding fast through the centre, and they literally going too fast to see the notices.

"And they’re going too fast to be stopped.

“He told me about Southampton town centre where they have something similar with much bigger notices.”

Coun Donachie agreed with Coun Allsop about the size of the notices – which are stuck on lampposts, and locations such as the door of the central library.

The 7in x 5in orange notices tell people about the PSPO and lists forbidden activities.

He said: “The signage is legal. That’s all I can say about that, but it isn’t enough, I agree.

“It might be that we paint a pink or a yellow line on the ground around the PSPO area so that everyone knows as you cross it that you’re in the area, and certain standards of behaviour are expected of them.”

Coun Allsopp said: “There will be an initial impact of that, as there will be publicity about it - the trick will be to make that impact sustainable, so when the publicity dies down, people are still making the changes to their behaviour.”

Coun Donachie told Coun Faramarzi that officers would be trained to be able to enforce the rules, but they would also be able to offer help and advice to rough sleepers and the homeless.

He said: “This is not about moving them on – it’s about offering help.

"And for others, we want to persuade them to change their behaviours in the centre for the benefit of everyone.”