Alcohol ban proposed for town centres

Drinking alcohol could be banned in some south Essex town centres after reports of a rise in antisocial behaviour.

Basildon Borough Council is considering introducing restrictions for its parks and town centres which would prohibit the use of alcohol and illegal drugs, urination and defecation in public.

Failing to comply with the restrictions would be a criminal offence.

According to a council report, the borough has seen a 67 per cent rise in new anti-social behaviour cases in the last year.

It has also seen a 14 per cent increase in substance misuse, but only a slight increase in alcohol-related antisocial behaviour, with two new cases, the report continues.

A section read: “The council is committed to ensuring its town centres, parks and open spaces are safe and that it has the necessary tools and powers in place to deal with anti-social behaviour that may be experienced in those spaces, and for adequate resources to be in place to do so.”

The council is firstly considering a borough-wide Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), which would make failing to stop drinking alcohol when asked or failing to hand over a container of alcohol a crime, as well as urinating and defecating in public spaces and using illegal drugs.

But it could also introduce other orders for specific areas.

For example, drinking or having an open container of alcohol would be banned in Basildon and Pitsea town centres.

Additionally, use of a motor vehicle without reasonable excuse, including cars, bikes, lorries, and e-scooters, would be banned in a number of parks across the borough, including Barn Hall Recreation Ground, Gloucester Park and Wickford Memorial Park.

Pitsea town centre, Festival Leisure Park and Mayflower Retail Park would also see car cruising banned, the report continues.

The use of a pony and trap would be banned in Cranfield Park, Barn Hall Recreation Ground and Northlands Park, after residents reported confrontations with people using horses and carts to the council.

According to the report, Basildon town centre previously had a PSPO which banned drinking alcohol, but this lapsed in October 2020.

The council’s Enforcement and Public Order Committee will meet on December 8 to vote on the draft orders and whether to open them for public consultation.

New drafts informed by the consultation will then be brought back to the committee.

Charlie Ridler

Local Democracy Reporter