BUSINESSES in Newport have hit out at a decision to ban cyclists from the city centre from next month.

Yesterday, Gwent Police announced they would be enforcing a traffic order banning cyclists from 11 streets in the city centre after a string of incidents in which pedestrians felt at risk from groups of people cycling in an “anti-social manner”.

The ban will cover Bridge Street, Cambrian Street, Charles Street, Commercial Street, Corn Street, Griffin Street, High Street, Market Street, Skinner Street, Stow Hill and Upper Dock Street.

Offenders will be handed warning letters and officers will take their details. After this period, officers will begin issuing fixed penalties.

It is not yet known how long the ban will last for and is described as an “on-going project”.

Police said it applies all cyclists – not just those cycling anti-socially.

But some business owners have called the ban a “terrible” idea.

Paul Hawkins of Diverse Music in Charles Street said: “If this was April I think it would be an April Fools. How can you ban cyclists from the city centre?”

He added: “You can’t ban cyclists from the road. I do cycle to work occasionally, what would I have to do, dismount and then walk? It’s pointless.”

Jo Roberts of Cedar’s Café said: “We get people cycling on the pavements up here but that’s already illegal so I don’t think you need to put bans in place. You should be encouraging cycling.

“There’s lots of PCSOs and policing in the city centre and the rules are enough without having bans. You look towards more progressive cities and they always move towards facilitating cycling.”

But Mazlum Kara, owner of the Coffee Shop on Upper Dock Street, said: “There are too many cyclists, there are groups of young teenagers, maybe about aged 10 to 13.

“They congregate and scare people and in the school holidays you will see them more. And with the bus station next door to us, they hang around and they are anti-social. We will love the ban.”

Crime and disorder reduction officer Leanne Pole said: “The first part of this action is about educating the public, many who may be unaware it is an offence to cycle in the city centre of Newport.

“The area is extremely busy with pedestrians and for safety purposes we should be enforcing these measures.”

A spokeswoman for Gwent Police added: "Police are enforcing this under the traffic order made by Newport City council in 1998.

"The hours of this enforcement are between 11am and midnight."