Sell alcohol irresponsibly on Southend seafront and we will take away your licence, says council boss

With pubs closed during the lockdown there has been a spike in the number of people drinking heavily on Southend’s seafront.

Businesses selling booze are now being warned by Councillor Martin Terry, who oversees community safety, they must sell responsibility or face consequences.

At the beginning of the year the council introduced a Public Spaces Protection Order which gave officers the power to fine people who fail to stop drinking when asked.

But the problem is becoming so severe that Mr Terry said the council is looking to involve the police and may review the licences of some retailers.

“Due to the pubs being closed we are seeing more drinking on the beaches and we have discussed within our community safety teams that the level of enforcement needed combined with the amount of drinking means that it may be an issue the police have to deal with,” he said.

“Retailers on the seafront are supplying alcohol and something being looked at is if this gets out of control we will consider reviewing their licences.

“Shops can sell alcohol but if through the summer people become rowdy and aggressive we will take that further.”

The councillor said he believes some pubs which are meant to be closed have continued to serve people through a discreet takeaway service where people are “served alcohol in plastic cups so they can take it to the beach”.

He added that dealing with drinking issues on the seafront is linked to how the council handles the spread of coronavirus.

“Naturally when people are drunk, they forget things like social distancing and they let their guard down,” he said.

“We saw evidence of that with the VE-day street parties.

“The last thing we want to do is shut down the economy in Southend due to a second spike and on this issue, it is up to the business community to protect their businesses.”

Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter