The debate about whether Audlem should be an 'Alcohol Free Zone'

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The proposal to make Audlem an 'Alcohol Free Zone' was discussed in some detail at this week's Community Action Meeting. It was clear there was some confusion as to what impact this would have and the purpose of introducing a zone in Audlem. PC Ken Maple has investigated further and explains as follows:

"Firstly, the zones are designated by the Local Authority and not by the police. The police provide evidence to support the setting up of the zones. Parish Councils must be consulted as must local licensees and any owner-occupiers of land affected. There is no intention that the provisions of the Act should lead to a comprehensive ban on drinking in the open air."

"It will not be an offence to drink alcohol in a designated public place, but failure to comply with an officer's requirements in respect of public drinking or surrender of alcohol, without reasonable excuse, will be an arrestable offence. It's clear then that the intention is to deal with Anti-Social drinking, and the provisions will be used only to deal with situations of disorder or nuisance."

The comments already posted on the Forum discussion on Audlem Online indicate there are concerns and more were raised at the Community Action Meeting. These included:

"Why has Audlem been chosen, as there are fewer problems here compared with the likes of Crewe and Nantwich?"

"Won't this put people off coming to what is a tourist destination?"

"Won't it affect business in the pubs or at events like the Music & Arts Festival and Proms on the Park?"

"Isn't the name 'Alcohol Free Zone' completely misleading if it's only designed to stop anti-social drinking? The trouble is people will naturally misunderstand what it means."

"If the only thing an Exclusion Zone does is give the police an extra power to deal with anti-social drinking, why not make the whole country an Alcohol Exclusion Zone by giving the police the power to confiscate alcohol if they have good reason?"

PC Ken Maple said at the meeting it was important people's views were made known and that the Parish Council made representations to Crewe & Nantwich Borough Council, who had put forward the proposal. It was, he said, better to put these views forward now as it's easier to have a proposed zone stopped than to try to have one removed later.

There is a Vote Poll on this issue running on Audlem Online and you can express your views, and read other people's thoughts, by clicking on 'Forum' on the top horizontal bar and then selecting the topic.