Five areas set to impose drink bans

COMMUNITY leaders are being asked to approve new restrictions on drinking in streets, parks and play areas to stop anti-social behaviour in five east Suffolk towns and villages.

COMMUNITY leaders are being asked to approve new restrictions on drinking in streets, parks and play areas to stop anti-social behaviour in five east Suffolk towns and villages.

The new rules will affect Kesgrave, Martlesham, Martlesham Heath, Rushmere St Andrew and Framlingham, and will cost £6,000 for publicity and new signs.

It will give police powers to deal with drinking, including asking people to stop, hand over their alcohol to be poured away, and arrest anyone who does not comply - with fines of up to £500.

Councillors have stressed in other towns where the new rules have been brought in - including Felixstowe and Woodbridge - people drinking, for example sharing a bottle of wine with a picnic in a park, will not be breaking any rules unless they act in an irresponsible or inappropriate manner.

Suffolk Coastal District Council's cabinet has been asked to approve the new rules on June 5 and it is hoped they will come into force in time for the summer.

There have been no objections from the public.

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Cabinet member Sherrie Green said the aim was to make the communities a “more friendly and welcoming environment and to improve the quality of life” of people living in the areas.

Police found certain areas in each community had experienced alcohol-related problems and over a number of years had developed a reputation for disorderly and intimidating behaviour caused by the excessive consumption of alcohol.

Mrs Green said: “It must be noted though that, while the police can take measures to deal with underage drinking, there has been little legislation to prevent problems associated with those over 18 years of age who consume alcohol in a public place.

“Suffolk Constabulary report there have been numerous occasions when there has been a large gathering of people consuming alcohol, in the parks and open spaces in these parishes at evenings and weekends, which has resulted in many members of the public being afraid to use these facilities.

“However the problem is not confined solely to these times and there have been regular reports of people drinking alcohol in this area in the daytime.”

In Kesgrave the area covered will include the community centre, churchyard and cemetery, recreation grounds and open spaces, and many roads; at Martlesham, the community centre and common land near the Tesco store; and at Rushmere the golf course.

Will the new powers work? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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