Nuisance drinkers who annoy local residents could have their booze confiscated and face a fine of up to £500, if a new rule is introduced in Newmarket.
More than a year after the issue was first raised by a resident, Forest Heath District Council has got round to organising a consultation asking residents what they think about giving police power to deal with problem drinkers, in specific areas close to the High Street, with the introduction of a Designated Public Place Order (DPPO).
The issue was also highlighted by Newmarket town councillor Joy Uney, who asked for the area including New Cut and Church Lane to become alcohol-free zones.
She told the town council back in November 2012 that she had seen people drinking cans of beer in the area in the morning and later on the same day – a sight she said was both “unpleasant and unsightly” and could leave people using the lane feeling intimidated.
Resident Jan Cohen, of Church Lane, also asked about the problem of “loitering drinkers”, particularly in New Cut, to be addressed.
“The presence of groups of drinkers loitering on walls throughout the day is unsightly and off-putting to residents and shoppers wishing to pass by,” she said.
District councillor Nigel Roman, who is responsible for licensing policy, said: “The order is not intended to lead to a comprehensive ban. We expect it to be used to prevent anti-social behaviour. We want the town centre to be an attractive, enjoyable place to visit at any time of the day and we want the public to tell us if they think this is a useful, additional tool for the police.”
The consultation runs until February 14 and questionnaires are available from the town’s memorial hall, police station, leisure centre and district council offices in The Guineas and online at www.forest-heath.gov.uk/DPPO.