Campaign to keep booze off play areas

Councillor Matthew Crow at the play area on Longfield Avenue

Councillor Matthew Crow at the play area on Longfield Avenue

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A campaign has been launched for alcohol to be banned from play parks and areas across Chorley borough.

Coun Matthew Crow is calling for the move after residents complained about youths hanging around play areas .

The Coppull councillor attended a consultation meeting about plans for a play area on Longfield Avenue in Coppull and says he was shocked by the response of local people.

Now, he is calling for a widespread ban to match restrictions in place in other wards.

He said: “I have found that a number of younger children and families are being put off using council maintained play provision by groups of, sometimes, older teenagers and young adults using play areas to consume alcohol.

“I feel that it should not be like that and people should not be intimidated by youngsters with alcohol.

“I believe that there are no foreseeable circumstances under which designated children’s play areas should be used for the consumption of alcohol.

“We are committed to targeting the worst affected areas.

“I am calling on the council to meet with Lancashire Constabulary representatives to discuss granting community police officers the additional local legislation needed to prevent the consumption of alcohol in these locations.

“In some cases this could include the creation of an alcohol free zone, granting authorities the discretionary ability to confiscate alcohol being consumed in children’s play areas.

“It is disappointing to see this problem has been left unchallenged by the current administration.

“I am committed to empowering local communities with the legislation they need to keep our play areas alcohol free zones and reserved for their intended use.”

Coun Eric Bell, who oversees community safety at Chorley Council, said: “If there is a problem with people drinking around play areas then if it is reported to us or the police we will look at what options are available to deal with it.

“The designated public places orders (DPPOs) are not a preventative measure and are put in place when there’s an established problem and other tactics have not been successful in tackling the issue.

“It’s important to stress that the DPPOs are not alcohol bans – they allow officers to take alcohol from people when requested to do so – and there is other legislation to deal with underage drinkers.

“To blanket every play area or recreation ground with a DPPO would be overkill and is not allowed in the legislation anyway.

“Like I say, if there is a problem in a particular area, let us know and we will look at the best way possible to sort it out.”