PEOPLE drinking alcohol on the streets of Llanelli could be hit with a fine, under a new protection order.
It would mean people being issued with a fixed penalty notice of up to £100, or being arrested, if they fail to stop drinking in the town centre or hand over alcohol when asked to by police.
The public spaces protection order was approved by Carmarthenshire Council chiefs after it emerged that a previous order wasn’t formally enacted due to an oversight.
The town centre areas covered by the new order include the Elli, Tyisha and Glanymor wards.
The original order was approved by the executive board and full council at the end of 2012 and was renamed in 2017 after a change in the law.
But a report before the executive board on September 7 said it had recently become clear that the original order could not be located, and that there was no record of it being sealed.
It added: “On that basis, we believe that the arrangements to seal and make the order were not properly completed in 2013 due to an administrative oversight.”
The report said there was strong local support for the order targeting anti-social drinking, and that police also felt it was a proportionate response.
Speaking at the executive board meeting, Cllr Cefin Campbell said: “Basically, it gives the police freedom to ask people not to drink on the streets, and issue them with a fixed penalty notice if they don’t comply.”
Discussions are also taking place about giving council officers the additional powers.
The order will be in place for three years and reviewed regularly, and will not apply to licensed premises and clubs where the sale of alcohol is authorised.
Signs will be installed ensuring the public are aware of the order and the area covered.
A consultation about the measure raised the question of whether street drinking in Llanelli town centre could be displaced as a result.
Cafe managers and employees said they backed the new order.
“It definitely sounds like a good idea,” said Aaron Davies, of Avo Cafe Bar, Market Street.
“You don’t want to to see drunk people walking the streets – it’s not a good look.”
Angharad Davies, the manager of Verve Cafe, Cowell Street, agreed.
She said: “You get a lot of alcoholics walking up the streets, stumbling.”
But she claimed people under the influence of drugs, or alcohol and drugs – some of whom collapsed – was more of an issue.
“They use our chairs to get themselves up,” she said. “Lots of my customers get scared.”
Told about the new order, the manager of The Coffee Pot, Great Western Crescent, said: “It would be great. You get people walking around with bottles, and some families are scared of them.”
Mandy Jenkins, manager of Ymlaen Llanelli (the Llanelli BID business improvement district) , said town and city centres across the UK had issues with street drinking.
She welcomed the new public protection order.
“It’s really, really good news,” she said. “We’ve had a few incidents of anti-social behaviour related to drinking, and businesses tell us that anti-social behaviour is a real concern for them.”