FRESH calls have been made to extend the city centre drinking ban to St John's in a bid to further deter street drinkers.

Residents want to see a current ban on street drinking in the city centre to also cover St John's in a bid to completely move antisocial drinkers out of the area.

The idea is that it would stop people congregating on the borders of where the ban currently applies and move them further from the city.

A public space protection order, that was first introduced in 2018, currently bans the drinking of alcohol in certain areas of Worcester including the city centre as well as Brickfields, Blackpole Industrial Estates, Gheluvelt Park, and several residential roads.

Cripplegate Park and St John's Church Yard are also covered by the ban, but residents who met at the Worcester Redeem Our Communities Conversation on Monday evening would like to see it further extended.

However, Labour and Co-operative Councillor for St John's, Richard Udall, said that he would be reluctant to see the drinking ban extended unless further enforcement resources were made available.

He said: "A ban already exists in parts of St John's, Cripplegate Park and St John's Church Yard are already covered by the street drinking ban.

"I would be concerned to extend the area of the ban unless we have the means and the ability to enforce it, otherwise it might become meaningless and could be largely ignored.

"However, I would be interested in seeing statistics and hearing local views about street drinking in St John's; if it is a concern for residents and local businesses, I would seek further and possibly more imaginative ways to tackle the problem.

"Often those with a drinking problem need help and support, this may be a better way of resolving the issue than simply pushing out drinking bans to a much wider area which may make it much more of a problem, difficult to enforce and more difficult to resolve."  

Cllr Udall has instead insisted that resources could be better focused on resolving the parking problem in St John's.

"The real pressing concern in St John's is parking enforcement, especially late at night when take away food establishments have delivery drivers waiting to take food to customers, they are often blocking pavements and causing an obstruction," he continued.

"This needs more enforcement and action and I am seeking ways to resolve the issue." 
An extension on the existing ban came into effect in August.

Worcester City Council’s communities committee agreed at a meeting on May 26 that the public space protection order would be extended for another three years.

Anyone violating the order may be asked to give up any booze on them and breaking the rules is a criminal offence that could result in a fixed penalty notice of up to £70 or, if prosecuted via a magistrate’s court, a maximum fine of £1,000.

West Mercia Police confirmed that as of August, there had yet to be any fines handed out.

The Worcester Redeem Our Communities Conversation brought together representatives from the police and emergency services, the council, charities, NHS, education, churches, businesses, and various faith-based groups to discuss the future of Worcester. 

They were given the opportunity to network and highlight local issues in focus groups and actively encouraged to suggest solutions, with a representative from each individual group then feeding back to the room on what they had discussed.