Call for Hartlepool outdoor drinking ban zones after '5,000 complaints' at Seaton Carew
Calls have been made for new rules to be put in place to prevent people from drinking in public places, after ‘thousands of complaints’ were received in Seaton Carew.
Councillors said they want to see the public spaces protection orders (PSPOs) be put in place at popular family sites in Hartlepool to help crackdown on the issue, which has led to reports of ‘residents urinating on garden walls’ in recent months.
Representatives for Seaton said they had ‘5,000 complaints’ over lockdown due to people drinking along the promenade after pubs were given permission to open for takeaway drinks.
Hartlepool Borough Council Neighbourhood Services Committee agreed to hold a consultation to see if any new PSPOs are required in Hartlepool, and would look at those to outlaw drinking in public spaces.
Cllr Leisa Smith, Seaton representative, said a ‘dangerous’ amount of litter is left by those drinking and it can be intimidating for families.
She said: “The amount of broken bottles and glasses that are on the beach from warm sunny days, it becomes quite dangerous.
“It can be quite intimidating for people who just want to walk along the prom.
“The more times that we tell people that they can’t drink in that area the more times the message will get through.
“Eventually they’ll just stop coming and drinking in Seaton and then we become a family-orientated place, rather than a place people will go to just sit in the sun and get absolutely trollied.”
Cllr Sue Little, also a Seaton representative, had raised concerns over people urinating in the street following bars reopening in Seaton for takeaway drinks as lockdown eased.
She said: “They used people’s garden walls to urinate up and they were exposing themselves walking across the road, which is absolutely appalling.
“Me and Leisa must have received about 5,000 complaints over the lockdown period.
“That was absolutely appalling what those residents had to put up with.”
Cllr Marjorie James added she would want such orders in place at family areas across the borough, such as parks.
She said: “All of those family areas where you would expect family with children to be on a regular basis, such as the promenade and the beach at Seaton, the beach at Headland, parks should be included.
“You don’t really want somebody sat knocking themselves sideways with alcohol or anything else right alongside families that are there to enjoy themselves.”
There are currently no legal restrictions in place in Hartlepool to prevent the consumption of alcohol in public areas.
Council officers noted a PSPO does not automatically create an offence of consuming alcohol in a designated area, but the offence occurs where the individual does not comply with a request to stop, or to hand over their alcohol, by an authorised officer.
However officers noted signs warning of a PSPO would act as a deterrent themselves, due to the risk of anyone drinking potentially having to hand over alcohol if called to.
The breach of a PSPO is a criminal offence but can be dealt with through the issue of a fixed penalty notice (£100).
The council and key partners will now consult to establish whether any alcohol related PSPOs are needed and if the evidence for such can be obtained and considered.