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Town drink control

Nuisance boozing will continue to be banned in the Bognor Regis urban area.

 

Councillors have agreed unanimously to impose a new public spaces protection order on the coastline between Pagham and Elmer and north to North Bersted from April. It will replace the current order for three years and will also ban anti-social behaviour at all times.

 

An initial plan to ban cycling along the London Road precinct in Bognor Regis has been omitted from the order.

 

West Sussex County Council told Arun District Council cycling in the precinct from 9am-5pm was banned by a traffic regulation order enforceable by police.

 

a call from 325 people during a consultation to totally ban drinking alcohol in Bognor Regis town centre was rejected by Arun’s cabinet members.

 

They were told by Sussex Police’s Arun district commander, Chief Inspector John Carter, at their meeting on Monday it would be impractical to stop everyone drinking alcohol outside licensed areas.

 

“From a policing perspective, if we are to enforce that, we will have to enforce it on everyone,” he said.

 

It was also unnecessary to impose a blanket ban to combat street drinking caused by people who spent most of their lives in public spaces drinking followed by behaving anti-socially.

 

“Enforcement is just one of the tools you need. You can’t enforce your way out of that problem. The people you are talking about are addicted to alcohol. They just will not stop because it is poured down the drain in front of them.

 

“Those people are vulnerable in themselves, irrespective of their behaviour, and they need lots of support,” he said.

 

“It’s my professional view that, if you are going to enforce a ban, there must the required support mechanism in place. Otherwise, we will just be ferrying people to and from court.”

 

Police officers and certain council officers can enforce the order.

 

A total of 749 responses was received by Arun to its proposed order to replace the current three-year order which expires at the end of March. Of those, 657 people wanted an alcohol ban in both town centres, 536 had seen anti-social behaviour in those areas caused by drunkenness, and 700 wanted officers to be able to disperse people causing anti-social behaviour there.

 

Arun’s leader, Cllr Dr James Walsh (LD, Beach), said: “We would be unique in Sussex if we were to have an alcohol prohibition zone, even a limited size, in the town centres of Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, which may be difficult to enforce,” he said.

 

Cllr Matt Stanley (LD, Marine), the council’s cabinet member for technical services, said street drinking caused a lot of frustration. Street drinking is a multi-agency issue and there are a lot of things entwined in that,” he said. “Simply prohibiting it will not resolve it.”

 

Cllr Martin Lury (LD, Bersted) said he understood the concerns about street drinking but a ban was not the answer.

 

“It’s unlikely we will be able to enforce it. We will be making a mockery of the order if people see nothing is happening,” he said.

 

*A proposal to stop people camping in council parks, open spaces and foreshores was dropped. Home Office guidance says the orders should not target people for being rough sleepers.

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