Newark Town Council has voted in favour of an alcohol ban at Sherwood Avenue Play Park
A proposal to introduce a pilot scheme outlawing alcohol at a Newark town centre park was agreed by Newark Town Council.
An alcohol ban at Sherwood Avenue Play Park was discussed at a meeting of the Council’s finance and general purposes committee on Thursday night, where the members voted unanimously in favour of the ban.
The ban would be voluntary so street drinkers would have to take it upon themselves not to consume alcohol on the park.
The move is in response to concerns over antisocial behaviour that includes rowdiness, smashed glass and urinating and defecating in the park.
If successful over the next 12 months, the voluntary ban could be extended to other sites in Newark.
Sherwood Avenue is a small park by Newark College that has some formal open space with benches and flower beds and also a skatepark with ramp.
In his report to committee, the town clerk, Alan Mellor, wrote: “The park often has people openly drinking alcohol in the grounds, which can be intimidating to people using the park legitimately, and these people are perceived to abuse the area by urinating and defecating in the bushes, breaking glass bottles and being rowdy.
“They are regarded by many as being a bad influence on the younger people using the facilities legitimately.”
The park is currently covered by a Designated Public Places Order.
However, these have now been replaced by Public Space Protection Orders under the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
These new orders require that any person who is drinking alcohol alcohol and is causing, or likely to cause, a nuisance or antisocial behaviour, must, at an authorised officer’s request, leave the area covered by the order.
They must also hand over any open alcohol to be tipped away and stop drinking.
Failure to comply is an offence for which a fixed penalty notice of £75 will be issued by a district council community protection officer or police. Non-payment can result in a fine of up to £1,000.
At present, Sherwood Avenue does not have a formal alcohol ban in place.
There are no-alcohol signs, however, these are non-enforceable.
Mr Mellor wrote: “A voluntary ban should be regarded as an educational tool that can be used by any of the relevant agencies to try and stop people ever considering taking alcohol onto the site in a similar way to the voluntary smoking ban on play parks introduced by Newark and Sherwood District Council a few years ago.
“This ban will give powers to both the police and the community protection officers to deal with people who either bring alcohol onto the site or behave in a manner that is considered to be antisocial in nature.
“If the project is approved, it will be reviewed in 12 months’ time and a report brought back to committee.
“If the pilot project proves successful in stopping people bringing alcohol onto the site members will be asked to consider introducing the same ban on other sites in the town.”
More by this authorDan Churcher