Town's booze bans to be lifted

OPEN-air drinking bans in Felixstowe are to be revised - with some of the restrictions removed.The 16 booze bans in the town have been in operation for a year and community leaders feel they are unnecessarily restricting in some places and confusing to residents and visitors in others.

OPEN-air drinking bans in Felixstowe are to be revised - with some of the restrictions removed.

The 16 booze bans in the town have been in operation for a year and community leaders feel they are unnecessarily restricting in some places and confusing to residents and visitors in others.

Now town councillors are asking Suffolk Coastal to take a fresh look at the restrictions, brought in to control anti-social drinking and deal with the impact of alcohol-fuelled behaviour.

In the designated areas police have the power to require someone whose behaviour is anti-social to stop drinking the alcohol and if requested hand over the drink. Failure to comply is an arrestable offence with a potential fine of up to £500.

Initially, people enjoying picnics on the beach and outside huts were told they would be able to enjoy a glass of wine or a beer as long as they behave.

But town councillor Mike Stokell said there had been confusion over this and whether people were still breaking the law simply by drinking in public.

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“Some of these orders in certain areas of the town are very restricting to holidaymakers and reasonably behaved people just having a drink. I don't think everyone is clear on how the rules work,” he said.

Chris Slemming, chairman of the general purposes committee, said: “It might seem to some people that we are being a bit soft and lax in our approach if we rescind some orders but we would not have been in that position if we had been better advised in the first place.

“However, we have met with the police to discuss the operation of the drinking bans and we want to work with them and a year on since their introduction is probably a good time to take a step back and have a fresh look at them.

“We could review them again in the future if changes and occur and new problems arise.”

What do you think of the drinks bans? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

FASTFACTS: Felixstowe's booze ban

Councillors agreed to now allow open-air drinking on the beach, prom and seafront except for the area around the pier, which is a troublespot where youngsters gather.

Restrictions will be removed at Old Felixstowe on the seafront but a new order brought in for Jacob's Ladder.

Gosford Way open space, Dellwood Avenue and Coronation Sports Grounds, and Adastral Close will have restrictions removed.

Restrictions will remain in Hamilton Road, Undercliff Road West and Ordnance roundabout, The Grove, Brackenbury Sports Centre, Allenby Park, Langer Park, Ranelagh and Manor Terrace car parks, cemetery, and High Road West and Walton.

OFFICIALS at Suffolk Coastal say the new powers to stop drinking are not yet in force - because of a blunder in making the orders.

The council discovered correct procedures had not been followed before the orders for Felixstowe, Leiston, Woodbridge, Kesgrave, Martlesham, Framlingham and Rushmere St Andrew, were granted and they need to be passed by full council.

“It will be another couple of weeks before these zones are fully functional again but I would emphasise that the police still have significant other powers to control any anti-social behaviour linked to drinking in public,” said council leader Ray Herring.

“This is clearly an unfortunate error, but we are taking immediate action to put it right as quickly as we can.

Next Thursday's meeting of the council will formally consider all the details of these orders and if it agrees them, as I am sure it will, this will mean the zones will be ready to be in place for the upcoming bank holiday weekend.”

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