NEWPORT’S Market Arcade will be closed off at night to tackle anti-social behaviour after complaints about drug-dealing, property damage, graffiti and noise.

The city council has agreed to introduce a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) which will see the arcade gated off between 8pm and 7am, seven days a week.

Anyone found in breach of the PSPO – which will last three years but can be reviewed at any time – could be fined between £100 and £1,000 depending on the severity of the criminal offence.

At a full council meeting on Tuesday, councillor Ray Truman said the proposal was supported in a public consultation.

Councillor Truman said it was “timely” for the council to introduce the order, following reports of anti-social behaviour and “general mayhem” in the arcade.

The move was also backed by Conservative councillor, David Fouweather, who said it was vital the council supported businesses in the arcade.

“If people behaved responsibly we would not have to do this,” Cllr Fouweather said.

“The simple fact is some people, or certain individuals, can’t behave themselves.

“We as a council have a duty to ensure that local businesses can run free from the threat of anti-social behaviour.”

Newport Independent Party councillor Janet Cleverly also supported the proposal, saying the people of Newport should not be made prone to the anti-social behaviour which takes place there.

The council says the move will also support the planned £1.1 million refurbishment of the arcade, which has fallen into disrepair in recent years.

The restoration will be funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) after the council’s grant application was accepted last year.

Opened as Fennell’s Arcade in 1869, it was well-used until shopping habits changed and Newport’s retail centre shifted, particularly with the arrival of the Kingsway Centre in 1968.

The arcade’s tenants, who will receive keyed or push pad entry to their properties when the gates close, will pay a service charge towards an appointed agency which will be tasked with maintaining and operating the gates.

But there is scope for traders to eventually take over responsibility for the gates if “credible proposals” are approved by the council and other partners of the scheme.