Peter’s site is the least worst option for street drinkers

IN a perfect world there would be no street drinkers.

There would be no prostitutes, no crime and everyone would love one another.

Sadly we don’t live in a perfect world and we have to accept that there are people who live chaotic lifestyles like this.

There are two ways of looking at this – one is to turn the other way and hope they’ll go away or at least engage in their unappealing activities somewhere else.

That’s the attitude far too many of us adopted to prostitution before Steve Wright’s murderous activities forced us to confront the issue.

I fully understand those who compare that attitude to the current stance on street drinking – and in particular the fact that the police and other bodies are allowing them to use the former Peter’s ice cream factory as a base.

If I lived near Grimwade Street I would not be happy about that – but wherever such a base was set up someone would object.

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And the more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that that site is probably about as good as you’ll get.

It is out of sight of the public. It is reasonably near the centre (and realistically you aren’t going to get street drinkers heading out to a remote corner of an industrial estate on the edge of town). And it has facilities that the drinkers want.

Ipswich Central has done much good for the town, but I really don’t accept their argument that it would be better to have the drinkers sitting outside the former Odeon cinema or outside St Matthew’s School because they are outside the “town centre” while the Peter’s site is in it.

And it must be good to have most of the street drinkers in one site so they can be found by the support workers when they need to.

Of course the whole situation needs to be closely monitored and it would be daft to regard it as anything other than an interim measure.

But for the time being, the Peter’s solution seems to be the best we can hope for in Ipswich