22 July, 2016

Community and business leaders welcome start of new controls on street drinking in Harrogate

Community and business leaders joined forces in one of Harrogate’s busiest shopping areas to welcome the introduction of new controls on street drinking.

Pictured from left to right are: Harrogate Borough Council Leader Coun Richard Cooper, manager of Harrogate Specsavers Michael Newton , Harrogate MP Andrew Jones and Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire Julia Mulligan.

Following a council decision last month, a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) is now approved for Harrogate town centre, including the inside of the bus and railway stations, Victoria Shopping centre and car park and Jubilee Multi Storey Car Park.

The order, which will be in place for 12 months, gives enforcement officers new powers to ask a person to stop drinking and ‘surrender’ their alcohol within Harrogate town centre. If the person refuses to hand over the alcohol, they can be given a fixed penalty notice of up to £100.

Enforcement signs will be installed shortly informing drinkers that they can be asked to refrain from drinking alcohol if asked to by the police or Police Community Support Officers. Harrogate Borough Council will be the prosecuting agency with North Yorkshire Police and British Transport Police the enforcement agencies.

Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, said: “This is a positive step forward in response to businesses and shoppers who have been telling me for some time that anti-social behaviour linked to street drinking has become a significant problem.

“It’s not right that the behaviour of the few should spoil things for the many so I’m pleased that this new initiative is now firmly under way. The police and the council are working collaboratively to make a difference in the town centre and I’m confident businesses, residents and visitors will see a benefit.”

Specsavers manager Michael Newton said: “Businesses have been concerned about the impact of street drinking for some time. We see the problem first hand in the seating area outside our store and it’s off-putting for shoppers and visitors alike so we’re pleased that stronger action can now be taken to tackle it.”

Harrogate MP Andrew Jones said: “Living locally, I see first hand the problems that anti social behaviour causes for traders and residents.  It seems like this is almost solely alcohol-fuelled and so cracking down on street drinking associated with aggressive and violent activity is an essential tool in the campaign to keep Harrogate the magnet it is for residents, visitors and conferences.”

Council Leader Coun Richard Cooper said:  “I represent the town centre as a County Councillor and problems on Beulah Street, Bower Street and Oxford Street have really come to the fore lately.  I chaired two packed public meetings where the police, traders and residents got together to discuss the problems they were encountering.  This initiative grew from these meeting and I am pleased that Harrogate Borough Council is playing its part helping everyone to enjoy our beautiful town centre.”

A PSPO order for Harrogate town centre is just one of the measures that the council, police and other support agencies have developed following concerns from businesses and the public about the anti-social behaviour linked to street drinking across the town. Other measures include working

with street drinkers to highlight treatment and support services and the police using additional powers such as dispersal notices. The council’s licensing tea have already completed checks on alcohol retailers to remind them of their licensing conditions.

The Public Space Protection Order will be reviewed after 12 months to check on its effectiveness.

Left to right are: Harrogate Council Leader Councillor Richard Cooper, manager of Harrogate Specsavers Michael Newton , Harrogate MP Andrew Jones and Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire Julia Mulligan.