BATH: Street drinking restrictions
Image: B&NES Council
Restrictions on street drinking to tackle antisocial behaviour in Bath and Midsomer Norton have been reimposed following widespread public support.
Bath & North East Somerset Council’s cabinet has reintroduced public spaces protection orders (PSPOs) which lapsed as they have to be reviewed every three years.
A report to the meeting on Thursday, September 9, said public consultation was initially held for 12 weeks from December 2020 into the orders which cover the city of Bath and parts of Midsomer Norton town centre.
The consultation had to be extended for another month because of a low response but eventually found that 88 per cent agreed a PSPO should be maintained in Bath and that two-thirds of residents had been affected by street drinking in the area.
For Midsomer Norton, 86 per cent agreed a PSPO was a good idea.
The orders do not necessarily ban street drinking but it is an offence not to cease drinking or surrender alcohol to a police officer when requested to do so, on the grounds that the person is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress, or crime or disorder.
Cabinet member for children and young people, communities and culture Cllr Dine Romero told the meeting: “The issue that this order seeks to address is that of street drinking and antisocial behaviour associated with this in all wards of Bath and Midsomer Norton.
“This is a new order to replace the one that expired in October 2020.
“As a new order, a full 12-week consultation was required. This determined that there was still significant public support from those who responded for this measure in both Bath and Midsomer Norton, including from Midsomer Norton Town Council and from local councillors.”
Cabinet member and Twerton ward Cllr Tim Ball said: “I am pleased and also relieved to second this report.
“This order is absolutely essential. My own ward is plagued by street drinkers in one location, our high street.
“It has made people not want to go out at night at all and at certain times of day.
“Only last night I happened to see a person being attended by an ambulance having consumed so much alcohol in the street they were rendered incapable.
“This frightens a lot of elderly people in the area and I’m sure there are other parts of Bath that have the same problem.
“The police are powerless to deal with the issues and cannot actually demand alcohol be disposed of.
“We need to get control back of our high streets and our places where people wish to gather properly and appropriately.
“I don’t mind someone having a drink in the park as long as it’s done in the right circumstances.
“Many of these people who gather in the street have homes as well. They don’t choose to use them. I wish they would.
“It would mean this order would not be needed if people behaved in a way that we expect the majority of the population to behave.”
Words: Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporter
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