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Fenland Council issues statement acknowledging community’s concerns over street drinking in Wisbech

New government funding will help tackle street drinking culture in Wisbech.
New government funding will help tackle street drinking culture in Wisbech.

“We are being proactive” says Fenland District Council as petition calling for total ban on street drinking is Wisbech hits 1,940 signatures.

The petition launched less than a week ago by Jamie Cook has prompted Fenland District Council to issue a statement saying there is no “quick fix” but they are taking action.

A report and proposed next steps from the recent Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) consultation will be considered at Cabinet on September 14 and will form part of the wider action plan to continue to help tackle this issue.

The statement issued by a council spokesman this afternoon says: “Fenland District Council and its wider partners recognise that there is significant community concern in Wisbech around street drinking. It’s an issue the council, through the work of the Community Safety Partnership and Health and Well Being Partnership have taken proactive steps over the past 18 months to alleviate the issue in the town. There is no quick fix but we are steadily making headway to provide support to street drinkers and to the local community.

“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 and a report and proposed next steps from the consultation will be considered at Cabinet on September 14 and will form part of the wider action plan to tackle this issue through both enforcement and support to dependent drinkers.

Other initiatives the Council with its partners have introduced include;

• Street drinking patrols and enforcement

• 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)

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’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.

“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.”

Jamie’s petition has been accepted by the council and will be discussed at the full council meeting, which will follow cabinet at 4pm, and he will be representing the town with a five minute speech on the issue.

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