Public booze ban lined up for town
DRINKERS will be fined up to £500 if they consume alcohol in playing fields, parks, car parks and streets in Woodbridge under new proposals.Areas of the town plagued by bad behaviour linked to alcohol are to be covered by a proposed ban and people flouting the new regulations will be arrested if they do not surrender their liquor.
By Richard Smith
DRINKERS will be fined up to £500 if they consume alcohol in playing fields, parks, car parks and streets in Woodbridge under new proposals.
Areas of the town plagued by bad behaviour linked to alcohol are to be covered by a proposed ban and people flouting the new regulations will be arrested if they do not surrender their liquor.
The ban is expected to cover the Budgen, Turban Centre and Hamblin Road car parks, Elmhurst Park, Kingston Fields and Fen Meadow, the Thoroughfare, Cumberland Street/Cross Corner, Seckford, Theatre and New Streets, plus the river wall from Eversons to the railway station.
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Between April and December 2003 there were 50 alcohol related offences recorded by the police in this area, along with a further 75 offences involving public disorder.
Around 60 signs would be erected warning people that they are in a designated area where if they continue to drink alcohol they risk being fined up to £500, and risk being arrested if they fail to surrender their intoxicating liquor.
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The Suffolk Coastal Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership and Woodbridge Town Council have joined up to tackle the problem of alcohol related incidents in the town.
Patricia O'Brien, chairman, said: ''An application for a designation order to restrict public drinking in Woodbridge town centre is being presented to the town council for approval. We can then proceed with tackling this problem.
''Our target is to give the local police the additional power they need to deal with drink-related incidents in the centre of Woodbridge. It is unacceptable that residents feel intimidated and the partnership wants to take action to stop this public nuisance.
''The aim of this designation order is to make Woodbridge town centre a more friendly and welcoming environment and to improve the quality of life of those living in and visiting the town. Banning drinking in public places will greatly assist the police in dealing with this anti-social problem.''
Mick Sears, town centre community police officer, said Woodbridge had developed a reputation for crimes as well as disorderly and intimidating behaviour that had been caused by the excessive drinking of alcohol.
The town is one of the five main hot spots for these types of incidents in the district, and similar orders are in the pipeline for Wickham Market and Leiston.
If the town council backs the proposals, there are a few stages to go through before the ban can be introduced, including consultation with residents and businesses, prior to seeking formal Government approval.