POLICE, business leaders and councillors have met to draw up a plan of action to stamp up drunken and rowdy behaviour in Spalding town centre.
The meeting at South Holland District Council yesterday was chaired by John Hayes, South Holland and The Deepings MP, who is leading our We’ve Had Enough campaign to improve Spalding’s streets.
Almost 700 people have returned coupons printed in the Guardian and Free Press supporting Mr Hayes’ five-point plan addressing continued anger over drunkenness, drug taking and anti-social behaviour blighting residents’ lives.
Those at the meeting included South Holland licensing committee chairman Coun Malcolm Chandler, Spalding and District Chamber of Commerce chairman Phil Scarlett, magistrate Richard Spinks and Insp Chris Davison of Spalding Neighbourhood Police team.
Mr Hayes said: “We all know Spalding extremely well and it’s a wonderful place, so I think it would be quite wrong to exaggerate the down side.
“There’s a real risk of exaggerating a problem without putting in the context of the positives.
“However, clearly we know we’ve got some challenges to face and I know it through my mailbag.
“The determination is to try to maintain and build the quality of life in our community and it’s absolutely vital that everyone involved in this works in consort.”
Items discussed at the meeting included problems with anti-social behaviour, on-street drinking, litter and graffiti that residents in Abbey Path, Double Street and other parts of the town have complained about.
Police and the district council have been working together since April to strengthen enforcement of the on-street drinking ban introduced in 2009.
Operation Trunk has resulted in 189 people being dealt with so far through alcohol seizures, arrests for public order offences and deportations.
District councillor Nick Worth, who attended the meeting as cabinet member for community safety, said: “Over the last two or three years, we’ve been working very closely together with the police, UK Border Agency and a number of other people to deal with these issues on a regular basis.
“If you had come to us 18 months ago, we would have held our hands up, but the issues we have now are pretty small compared to then.”
The council’s community development team met residents and traders during a street surgery in Abbey Path and surrounding streets on Tuesday where concerns raised included fly-tipping and groups of people hanging around on the street.
Coun Worth said: “The day was pretty positive, with the residents I spoke to more concerned about the rubbish issue which we can resolve by working with the private companies who own some of the land on Abbey Path.”