Harlow Council has agreed a plan to deal with the issue of street drinking in Harlow.
The issue of street drinking is one that has negatively affected the perception of the town centre and other areas within Harlow. It is a complex problem, which is often linked to social exclusion in respect of those who are drinking in the street, but also has an impact on the sense of security and wellbeing of those who use the town centre for work and leisure.
Actions, which were agreed at the last Licensing Committee meeting, are being put in place to complement existing legislation and aim to encourage licensees who sell alcohol to agree to a range of voluntary measures. These include ceasing the sale of low-cost, high-alcohol drinks in areas where problems with street drinking have been identified, ceasing single-can sales and marking up containers to show where they were bought.
The council's Licensing and Community Safety teams are working with Essex Police to identify premises connected with street drinking issues, to carry out checks on compliance with laws around the sale of alcohol to those who are drunk and minimum pricing requirements, and encourage them to agree to the proposals.
The plans will also complement the council’s Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), which is still in place and covers drinking outside in the town centre area.
As a last resort premises which continue to contribute to problems with street drinking could face extra licensing conditions being put in place.
Councillor Nick Churchill, chair of the Licensing Committee, said:
"I want to be able to offer help to those who are trapped in this cycle of street drinking and addiction. Before that can properly happen we, as a council, need to reverse the trend of non-compliance to licensing conditions already in place by some premises. I have asked that in the first instance we offer advice and support to get premises voluntarily agreeing to comply. But if premises refuse or fail not just themselves but our community and those directly affected by addiction I will not hesitate to have licensing officers refer them to a Licensing Sub-Committee to review their licence, and the conditions of that licence.”