A TOWN centre booze ban is set to get the go-ahead. The move comes after a public consultation in which no objections were raised against the proposal. The alcohol ban will cover Royston town centre and the nearby Priory Memorial Gardens. Once the ban is
A TOWN centre booze ban is set to get the go-ahead. The move comes after a public consultation in which no objections were raised against the proposal. The alcohol ban will cover Royston town centre and the nearby Priory Memorial Gardens. Once the ban is implemented, it will be an offence to publicly consume alcohol in the area unless in licensed premises. Councillor Bill Davidson, chairman of North Hertfordshire District Council's Royston area committee, said: "There have been no objections to the alcohol-free zone, so the process for implementing it is going ahead. "There are still various processes it must go through, including the district council and the police, but in theory it will be implemented." The ban is intended to curb anti-social behaviour and under-age drinking which have plagued the area. The move to create the ban came after residents complained of drunken yobbish behaviour in the area. In the space of less than a month, more than 400 alcohol cans and bottles had to be cleared from the Priory Memorial Gardens. Cllr Davidson said: "It's good news for Royston. The Priory Memorial Gardens and the surrounding areas have been fairly free of alcohol recently, and hopefully this will continue. "I hope it will also make life a bit quieter and easier for residents in the area." Currently, police only have the power to confiscate alcohol consumed by under-age drinkers, and they have no power to stop those over 18 drinking alcohol in public. The booze ban zone will give police the power to issue £50 fixed penalty notices to anyone consuming alcohol. Sgt Mike Wood of Royston police station said: "I would say this will issue us with an extra weapon in our armoury. "Hopefully, it will send a stronger message out to the youths, and once they realise it's hitting them in the pocket, that will be the end of the problem." The police and district council will now look at the best way to implement the alcohol-free zone. Councillors are expected to approve the booze ban at a meeting of the full council on February 9. Sgt Wood said, however, that there could be a delay in introducing the ban. "The paperwork has to be issued and signs have to be placed on lamp posts in the area, and it all has to be advertised as well." Royston's mayor Cllr Bill Prime said: "I'm fully behind this. "It's just a pity that it's had to come to this, but they've had plenty of warning, and people are entitled to use that part of town without fear. "People are entitled to go about their business in peace, and, hopefully, the alcohol-free zone will allow them to do so.