Fenland Council admits 'serious community concern' over Wisbech street drinking but says there is no 'quick fix' to resolving it

PUBLISHED: 16:30 31 August 2017 | UPDATED: 11:49 01 September 2017

Street drinkers out in Wisbech on Wednesday - part of a problem that a petition with 1,800 signatures is aiming to curb.

Street drinkers out in Wisbech on Wednesday - part of a problem that a petition with 1,800 signatures is aiming to curb.

Archant

Fenland Council admitted there is "serious community concern" in Wisbech regarding street drinking.

A council spokesman said: “There is no quick fix but we are steadily making headway to provide support to street drinkers and to the local community.”

The statement came in a week when over 1,800 people signed a petition calling for a ban on street drinking in Wisbech.

Councillor David Oliver, Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, said: “We do acknowledge there is a lot of community concern about street drinking in Wisbech.

“We have been working really hard with partners over the last 18 months to put proactive measures in place to ensure people are able to feel safe and enjoy Wisbech.”

Cllr Oliver, until earlier this year also leader of Wisbech Town Council, will be presenting a report on the recent Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) to cabinet on September 14. The council believes it will form part of a wider action plan to continue to help to tackle the issue.

The council spokesman said “proactive steps” had been taken over the issue of street drinking through the work over the past 18 months undertaken by the community safety partnership and health and well being partnership.

He said recent success has included a successful bid to Government to become a local alcohol action area, one of only 33 locations in the country. This will help reduce sales of alcohol to people who are drunk and reduce wider alcohol related anti-social behaviour.

“We are currently collating feedback on a recent consultation for the proposal to create Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) to ban alcohol consumption in specific areas suffering from alcohol misuse.

“We are really pleased with the response from the community.”

The spokesman said the council and its partners had introduced street drinking patrols and enforcements.

There were also other initiatives including:

Recovery walks from the Inclusion Adult Substance Misuse Treatment Service (contact 0300 555 0101)

Recruiting a dedicated outreach worker to engage street drinkers through funding secured from central government.

Local Alcohol Action Area Programme implementation

Implementation of the Cumulative Impact Zone for the town which makes it harder to get a licence to sell alcohol (this has led to a number of refusals)

The spokesman added: “Associated issues are also being tackled through a partnership approach such as tackling homelessness and rough sleeping, and the condition and management of private rented homes.

Councillor David Oliver, Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, said: “We do acknowledge there is a lot of community concern about street drinking in Wisbech and we have been working really hard with partners over the last 18 months to put proactive measures in place to ensure people are able to feel safe and enjoy Wisbech.

Cllr Oliver said: “We are pleased that so many people took part in the Public Spaces Protection Orders consultation and the responses are helping to continue to shape future proposals in Wisbech to bring forward more activity to alleviate this issue.

“This work all links to the positive improvements we are making with partners and the community through Wisbech 2020.”

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