BRAINTREE town centre could turn into a huge public toilet if measures to tackle anti-social behaviour aren’t introduced, it is feared.

Excessive alcohol consumption, urinating and defecating in public view, and sightings of “sexual acts” in the town centre are among the complaints received by Braintree Council.

The council said it has also received reports of “flashing”, drug use, and racial abuse.

It hopes to stamp out anti-social behaviour for good by introducing measures which could allow on-the-spot fines and even prison sentences handed out to anyone acting inappropriately.

Members of the council’s cabinet have advanced plans to introduce a public spaces protection order (PSPO) in the town centre, which will now be voted on at a full council meeting.

PSPOs are designed to tackle a particular nuisance in a public space, where the bad behaviour is having a negative impact on the quality of life for those in that area.

Braintree and Witham Times: Hotspot - Victoria Square Car Park is an area of concern, the council saidHotspot - Victoria Square Car Park is an area of concern, the council said (Image: Google)

Mary Cunningham, the councillor responsible for building stronger communities, told councillors “a number of interventions” have already been delivered by the council and its partners.

“Whilst these have had some positive results, they have not solved the problem,” she said.

“This further step is not something that has been taken lightly.”

“The introduction of a PSPO for Braintree town centre will mean such behaviours will not be permitted in the town and breaching the PSPO without reasonable excuse is a criminal offence.”

Yeldham councillor Richard van Dulken hopes the measures will help “better class establishments” in the town to prosper.

He said: “If nothing is done to make the centre of Braintree a reasonably pleasant environment then these businesses are not going to thrive.

"I hope very much that something will come of this.”

Ms Cunningham visited the town centre with Essex Police last week and saw many of the issues police officers are facing “on a daily basis”.

Hatfield Peverel and Terling councillor Charley Dervish joined her colleague on the visit and said the proposed measures “will go a long way to aid and assist the police”.

The plans will be subject to a 28-day consultation if the majority of councillors vote to bring in the PSPO.