By-law bid to stamp out drink menace

PUBLISHED: 12:00 22 October 2011

Archant

POLICE could get greater powers to tackle antisocial behaviour in parts of a Somerset town after a councillor demanded new by-laws be introduced.

Axbridge town councillor Pauline Ham says young people gathering at Furlong Place, a green space in the town, is a major problem for residents.

Youths gather there at night, drinking alcohol and dropping litter.

She said people should be banned from using the park between dusk and dawn and the gates locked.

People who park in the car park and shine their headlights into the grass at night would be deterred if the gates were locked, she said.

She suggested an alcohol-free zone should be set up around Furlong Place which would give the police powers to tackle both over-18 and underage drinkers.

She urged the council to consider the people who use it - and put their needs first.

She said: “We have young footballers down there and the grass is often covered in broken bottles. It is annoying and dangerous.”

But she stressed that it was important to ensure people using the fields to take a short-cut home would not be persecuted.

Axbridge Town Mayor Barry Hamblin said: “Antisocial behaviour on the Furlong is one of our top three priorities. But in my opinion, by-laws are a bit of a sledgehammer.”

The council will approach Sedgemoor District Council to ask if its existing by-law can be modified to include parts of Axbridge.

Cllr Ham said: “I want the residents of Axbridge to know we are trying very hard to do something about it. I urge residents to report incidents so we have good evidence to try to stop this behaviour taking place.”

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