Fears Tunstall town drink ban will drive drunks to housing estate
FAMILIES fear a town centre crackdown on alcohol will shift problems of drink-fuelled disorder to their estate.
Police were yesterday given new powers to tackle problems with drinking in public in areas of Tunstall.
But the town's Hoskins estate, which is home to almost 800 families, will not be covered by the Alcohol Restriction Zone (ARZ), despite 43 residents asking for it to be included.
Terry Cope, Greenfields Tunstall Residents' Association chairman, described the decision as "unfair".
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The 60-year-old, who lives on the estate, said: "A lot of people are worried this is only going to move the problems from the town centre to our estate.
"It's the only area of town the zone will not apply to. They should have done a blanket ban on the whole town."
The ARZ will come into force as soon as signs advertising the order are put up and will cover the town centre, nearby terrace streets, Tunstall Park and the Bankeyfields estate.
Figures show there were 219 incidents of alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour in Tunstall town centre in the 12 months to the end of January.
Incidents have included assaults, thefts, drunks carrying knives and hurling abuse at passers-by and shopkeepers.
But police say there were only three incidents of alcohol-related disorder on the Hoskins estate in the same period, which was not enough for the zone to be extended.
Speaking at Stoke-on-Trent City Council's licensing and general purposes committee, Sergeant Paul Clarke, who covers Tunstall, said: "We have done a lot of research and the statistics don't support the necessity to widen the zone.
"We will continue to monitor the situation and if the problems disperse we can look at widening the zone."
"We will be able to sustain extra policing of the zone for the first four weeks after the order is introduced, but after that we will have to go back to normal policing levels to enforce it."
The ARZ will give police greater powers to confiscate drink and arrest people who are causing problems.
Residents had earlier presented a 829-signature petition to the city council in support of the plans.
Independent councillor Lee Wanger, who represents Tunstall, said: "I've noticed a large increase in anti-social drinking in Tunstall and this has started to cause problems to businesses.
"We want Tunstall to be a nice place to come shopping and this order will give police a new weapon in their arsenal."
Bill McDonald, chairman of Tunstall Chamber of Trade, below left, said: "We are getting a very bad reputation outside of the area and need some support to help bring things back in line."