By Marc Rath
A CITY councillor believes it “may prove to be necessary” to introduce an alcohol ban in St Andrew’s Park to curb anti-social behaviour.
Jon Rogers, ward councillor for Ashley, says the measure needs to be considered if problems in the park persist.
Several incidents of anti-social behaviour have been reported since residents and police attended a meeting last month to discuss how to tackle the problems.
At the meeting, people living near the park complained that hundreds of young people had been descending on the open space in the warm weather, playing loud music, urinating in gardens and leaving dozens of bags of rubbish behind.
Residents also complained about an unlicensed bar selling alcohol, drug-taking, drunken behaviour and revellers sleeping in vans parked up by the side of the park.
Since the meeting on April 13, the Evening Post has learned that revellers have continued to urinate in neighbours’ front gardens, teenagers have been found sleeping in a children’s play area over night and residents have been disturbed by amplified music.
Of a possible alcohol ban, Liberal Democrat Mr Rogers said: “It’s one option but certainly not the first thing to do.
“But it may prove to be necessary. I’m certainly not an enthusiast of a ban but I’m a realist and unless the behaviour improves it needs to be considered.
“It already happens in many of the parks around the city but whether it’s the right solution for St Andrew’s Park, I don’t know.
“There are mixed views in the community about it.”
Martin Weitz, spokesman for Friends of St Andrew’s Park, said many residents were keen on an alcohol ban being introduced.
He said: “Since the meeting there has been a hardening in attitude from local people because repeated incidents have occurred.
“St Andrew’s Park is the only park which allows alcohol – the Downs doesn’t and Castle Park doesn’t. It’s an anomaly that St Andrew’s Park has had this laissez faire attitude.”
John Mayne, chairman of the friends group, said he had not noticed any increase in police patrols in the park since the meeting was held last month.
He said: “I’ve seen police vans driving past the park but not in the evenings or at weekends.”
Another meeting about the problems in the park will be held at St Bartholomew’s Church in Maurice Road at 7.30pm on June 8.