Published: July 6, 2011
New alcohol ban to be introduced in all public areas of Burnham

All public areas across the whole of Burnham-On-Sea, Highbridge, Berrow and Brean could soon be designated 'no drinking zones' under controversial plans being put forward by Sedgemoor District Council.

The alcohol ban for all public places has been proposed by the council in a bid to reduce anti-social behaviour and give police more power to seize alcohol.

If approved, the scheme will cover the whole of Burnham, Berrow, Brean and Burnham Without (to the west of the railway line) plus Highbridge (excluding Walrow and the Isleport Industrial estate). It will not include holiday parks, campsites or business premises.

The plans have this week attracted mixed reactions from town councillors during their meeting on Monday (July 4th).

Cllr Phil Harvey said: "I have concerns about the blanket nature of the proposed designation order. I find it difficult to believe that there is evidence that public disorder caused by alcohol can be linked to such a very large area."

But Cllr Peter Burridge-Clayton responded: "I completely disagree. We need a broad brush like this to properly deal with problems like those on the Rosewood Estate where youths with cases of drink move through the whole town, causing anti-social behaviour as they go."

Cllr Ken Smout said that such a ban would only be successful if it is fully enforceable, adding: "A blanket ban of this size does seem extreme."

He also questioned the costs of introducing the wider scheme, and asked who would pay for the additional warning signs that would need to be installed.

A vote on the proposals took place and ten town councillors voted in favour of the new blanket ban, while just five were against.

Several Designated Drinking Orders have been in place in parts of Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge since 2005 at known trouble spots, including Winchester Road playing fields, Manor Gardens, Rosewood Park playing fields, The Esplanade, Jubilee Gardens, Southwell Gardens and Apex Park.

Police have the power to ask for alcohol to be handed over if people are believed to be causing trouble. If they refuse, they can be arrested and face fines of up to £500.

The orders - which are being introduced under Sections 12-15 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 - do not apply to premises licensed to sell alcohol or locations where temporary event notices for the sale of alcohol have been granted.

Sedgemoor's public consultation period on the new proposals runs until this Friday (July 8th). The council's community safety team leader, Kirsty Blackwell, is leading the plans.


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