Drinking ban on council-owned land considered

THE introduction of alcohol-free zones to clamp down on drunken yobs and booze fuelled vandalism will be discussed by Test Valley Borough Council today.

Lib Dem Alan Dowden has demanded a ban on drinking on council-owned land in Valley Park to beat the growing trend which is hitting taxpayers in the pocket.

He said teen boozing was damaging health and leading to antisocial behaviour, vandalism and littering.

He said: "The only way we are going to help in reducing this sort of behaviour is to introduce alcohol-free areas within all of the parkland and woodland areas that are controlled by Test Valley Borough Council.'' Cllr Dowden also wants to see a youth shelter at Knightwood Leisure Centre in Valley Park removed because it attracts yobs and has suffered repeated vandalism.

He admitted the idea of a shelter was good - to allow teenagers to meet and congregate.

But instead it had became a drinking den.

"Windows at the leisure centre are repeatedly the targets of the vandals and one weekend alone, windows were smashed at an estimated cost of around £1,200 and landscaping is constantly being damaged, costing council taxpayers unnecessary expenditure," he said. "Local residents then suffer after these drinking sessions at the shelter and in the woodland and parkland areas.'' Cllr Dowden's motion comes as the Daily Echo's Keep Kids Sober campaign is urging adults and parents - as the main source of alcohol for younger children - to take a more active and responsible role in teaching kids about the consequences of alcohol and to think before supplying them with drink.

Test Valley Council has already implemented an alcohol free zone in Andover, while Southampton recently made a citywide extension of its "Drinking Control Areas".

Those caught with drinking in public places can have their booze confiscated by council officials and face arrest and a possible fine.

To find out more about our Keep Kids Sober campaign or to download a poster visit www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/campaigns.

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