THE final approval has been given for tough powers to crack down on anti-social behaviour in Blackburn town centre.

In August the Lancashire Telegraph revealed they were to be beefed up with new bans on begging and going to the toilet in public.

The area will also be extended to cover the adjoining Townsmoor Retail Park.

The existing Public Space Protection Order was one of the first in the country that banned public drinking, taking drugs, including legal highs, in the open and littering.

Blackburn with Darwen Council’s adult services and prevention boss Mustafa Ali Desai has now signed off the process to extend and renew it, adding measures to tackle begging, and urinating and defecating in public spaces.

Plans to include the reckless use of skateboards, bikes and scooters have been dropped after feedback from a widespread consultation.

The original order – introduced after the completion of major improvements to the town centre, including the £34million Cathedral Quarter, new bus station and clergy court – lasted three years and has now been replaced following the executive member decision.

It gives police and council officers powers to seize ‘intoxicating substances’ and disperse rowdy groups backed by fixed penalty notices of up to £100 with fines of up to £1,000 at the magistrates court.

The previous area stretched from Barbara Castle Way down the Leeds-Liverpool Canal behind the railway station and back up Freckleton Street, Byron Street and Montague Street. The new one includes Townsmoor Retail Park.

Cllr Desai said: “The process has been completed, to include consultation on draft prohibitions as per the statutory process.

“The final prohibitions are supported by partner agencies and the wider public consulted as part of the process.

“The order will support the work of the constabulary, the council and partners in tackling current and future challenges in Blackburn Town Centre to include Townsmoor.”

New signage will cost the council £600.

The new toughened-up order has been backed by the council Conservative group and the Blackburn Business Improvement District.

The police will be the primary body responsible the application and enforcement of the conditions of the new PSPO.