Drinking ban considered

A TOWN-centre drinking ban could soon be introduced in Woodbridge in a bid to clamp down on rowdy behaviour in the area.The Suffolk Coastal Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (SCCRDP) and Woodbridge town council have joined forces to tackle the growing problem of alcohol-related incidents in the town.

A TOWN-centre drinking ban could soon be introduced in Woodbridge in a bid to clamp down on rowdy behaviour in the area.

The Suffolk Coastal Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (SCCRDP) and Woodbridge town council have joined forces to tackle the growing problem of alcohol-related incidents in the town.

Patricia O' Brien, partnership 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.

"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 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."

Among the areas that would be covered by the proposed ban are the Budgen, Turban Centre and Hamblin Road car parks, Kingston Fields, Fen Meadow, The Thoroughfare, Cumberland Street, Cross Corner, Seckford Street, Theatre Street and New Street, as well as the river wall from Eversons to the railway station.

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Around 60 signs would be erected warning people they are in a designated area where if they continue to drink alcohol they risk being fined up to £500 and being arrested if they fail to surrender their drink.

The news will come as a relief to shopkeepers and residents in these areas who have been campaigning for something to be done for many months.

Between April and December 2003 there were 50 alcohol related offences recorded by the police in this area, and a further 75 public disorder offences.

Community police officer Mick Sears said he believes Woodbridge has developed a reputation for crimes and disorderly and intimidating behaviour that have been caused by the excessive drinking of alcohol.

Similar orders are in the pipeline for other drinking hotspots, including Wickham Market and Leiston.

If the town council backs the proposals, there will be a period of consultation with residents and business before formal Government approval is sought.

Do you think a ban is a good idea? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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