TOWN hall chiefs have insisted that Bolton residents are being given their say before action is taken to tackle yobs in the borough.

The authority has responded after a national thinktank claimed Bolton Council officers were restricting access to public space.

In 2014, the Government introduced public space protection orders (PSPOs), which allow local councils to restrict access to a spot if persistent activities being carried out there has a detrimental effect on the quality of life of residents and traders.

The orders have hit the headlines in recent weeks after Salford Council was criticised for introducing a ban on people using foul and abusive language in public in the Salford Quays area of the city.

Anyone breaching the rules is committing a criminal offence and could face prosecution.

Bolton Council has used the powers twice.

In January 2015, officers put up barriers in Huntingdon Walk, Halliwell, and did the same in Cawdor Court, Farnworth, six months later.

In both cases, the council said the barriers would be in place for three years and were aimed at putting a stop to anti-social behaviour.

The barriers have received a mixed response from residents in both areas.

Dawn Jeanine, aged 43, of Cawdor Court said: “They put them up because there used to be drug dealers hanging around but they all moved on about two years ago.

“I think the gates look terrible, it has caused issues for older people who have to take their bins much further and it is also cutting kids off each other on the estate.”

For 64-year-old Ali Adam, who lives in Huntingdon Walk, the new gates the council put up next to his house were a start — but he says they need to go further.

He said: “I am pleased that they did something but the young people who come here to cause trouble and make noise late into the night are still doing it.

“Anti-social behaviour is a really serious problem for lots of the residents around here and we need the police and council to do more to help us.”

Civil rights organisation the Manifesto Club has criticised PSPOs and has criticised Bolton Council for passing the orders after "collaboration between two officers" suggesting there was no public consultation.

A spokesman said: “PSPOs are 'blank cheque' powers, which allow a simple council official to ban activities in public spaces within a matter of days, after a brief consultation with the police.

"New offences that criminalise young people merely for congregating in a group neither improves their politeness nor does it increase their respect for criminal law and authority figures."

A Bolton Council spokesman said: "Since 2014, we have brought in two PSPOs, which have placed restrictions on the highway, in order to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.

"In both cases, we have consulted with the police, the Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd, emergency services, those with an interest in maintaining public rights of way and where relevant, local residents and local businesses, before we introduced the orders."