Cotswold DC - Plans to extend alcohol-free zone

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Cotswold DC - Plans to extend alcohol-free zone

Posted: 19/03/2007 14:38:45

Proposals to expand the successful alcohol-free zone in Cirencester have been given the green light by Cotswold District Councillors.

The Council joined forces with Cirencester Town Council and Gloucestershire Police to create the zone in 2005 in a bid to clamp down on anti-social behaviour.

It has proved such a success that complaints about reported incidents of such behaviour and public disorder have dropped by 27 per cent, while reports of ‘street drinking’ and ‘drunks’ have dropped by 82 per cent.

The zone currently covers an area from the Abbey Grounds in the north to St Michael’s Park in the south, and takes in Victoria Road, Watermoor Road, Ashcroft Road and streets in between.

The proposal is to extend it to cover Gloucester Street up to Abbey Way, Tetbury Road, Cranhams Lane, Somerford Road, Wilkinson Road, the Kingsmeadow roundabout and the ring road leading back to Abbey Way.

The aim of the alcohol-free zone is to deter groups of drinkers from causing disturbances - particularly in the Abbey Grounds – and to prevent daytime drinking on the streets. Between November 2003 and early September 2004, the police were called to 40 incidents in the Abbey Grounds alone.

Under the Criminal and Justice Police Act 2001, the District Council can make an order designating public places where it is an offence to drink alcohol after being requested not to do so by a police officer or a police community support officer.

An officer can also ask someone to surrender alcohol or open alcohol containers if he or she reasonably believes the person is, has been, or intends to drink alcohol in the banned area. Anyone breaking the order faces arrest and a fine of up to £500.

Cotswold District Council’s Community Safety Manager Les Haines said: “Since the alcohol-free zone was introduced in 2005, incidents of street drinking have been dramatically reduced. The stream of complaints about the Market Place, Abbey Grounds and Brewery Court has dried up. However, there have been a small number of incidents outside the zone and that is why we are proposing an extension.

“We are extremely pleased that this joint working with the Town Council and the Police is helping to prevent a small minority spoiling the enjoyment of the town for everybody else.

“We are all working hard to make Cirencester a better, more pleasant, place to live, work and visit. Anyone who flouts the ban can expect to face the consequences. We will not tolerate drunken behaviour on our streets.”

The District Council’s Cabinet has agreed to the proposals and further consultation will now take place with the Police, the Town Council and the licensees of premises affected.

The plans to extend the zone will be formally advertised in the local press and further signs advertising the zone will be put up before it comes into force.

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