Ashfield Disrict Council gets tough with troublemakers

HOUSEHOLDERS and business owners have welcomed plans by Ashfield District Council to clamp down on troublemakers in the villages and towns across the district.

From Sunday, a new Designated Public Places Order for Ashfield will come into force which will help the police and the council’s Community Protection Officers (CPOs) tackle anti-social behaviour associated with alcohol in the areas highlighted on the map, pictured.

While it is not an offence to drink in these areas, officers will have the power to confiscate alcohol from people who are behaving in an anti-social way.

They will also be able to ask people to stop drinking in public places and to serve a fixed penalty notice.

If a person does not comply with a request to stop drinking, they could be fined up to £500 if they are convicted.

Stanton Hill is one of the areas included in the order and yesterday Trish Phillips, who runs the florist on High Street, said she was pleased action against problem drinkers would be taken.

She said: “I think that most people would welcome this. I would also like to see them clamping down on the people who are selling alcohol to underage kids.

“As the nights get lighter, it will all kick off again - but this (order) will be a very good thing.”

The new order has been created following a review of alcohol-related, anti-social behaviour in Ashfield - and residents across were asked for their views as part of a consultation which ended in January.

According to council chiefs, responses from the consultation suggested folk fully supported the order.

Coun Elizabeth Mays, who is chairman the authority’s Licensing and Registration Committee, said, “The council is working closely in partnership with the police to tackle anti-social behaviour.

“We are keen to ensure that all of the tools and powers available to tackle anti-social behaviour are fully utilised and that they are effective.

“Powers under the new Designated Public Places Order strike a balance between people’s right to drink in public areas in a responsible manner and the need for residents to feel safe and secure in the environment they live in.

“The council will continue to review levels of alcohol-related anti-social behaviour across the district and how effective the powers under the new order are in tackling this problem.

“Officers will continue to target hotspot locations across the district and the council will look at adding new areas to be covered by the order where problems of anti-social behaviour connected with drinking alcohol are identified.”

Her thoughts were echoed by George Slack, chairman of the Coxmoor Tenants’ and Residents’ Association in Kirkby, who said he welcomed the plans to stop people drinking on the estate.

A copy of the new order and area maps, with lists of streets covered by the order, is also available on the council’s website and can be viewed at all main council offices.