Bid to bar new off-licences in Boston to cut booze-fuelled problems


People could be banned from opening new off-licences in Boston as part of plans to tackle booze-fuelled problems in the town.

The borough council is being encouraged by MP Mark Simmonds to use tough powers to restrict where shops can open after a meeting to discuss Boston’s anti-social behaviour in Parliament.

The meeting saw Mr Simmonds and police and crime commissioner Alan Hardwick ask Home Office crime minister Norman Baker for support.

Both Mr Simmonds and Mr Hardwick believe the accessibility of alcohol at all hours of the day is one of the main contributing factors to anti-social behaviour.

Mr Baker explained action could be taken to restrict the number of licensed premises in a designated area, both on trade and off trade.

The minister assured Mr Simmonds that with a ‘Cumulative Impact Policy’, the council can stop licensed premises opening in the town centre.

It can also designate areas as ‘alcohol free’ – meaning it can bring in a form of street drinking ban as demanded by the public in a recent council consultation.

Mr Hardwick offered the backing of officers to enforce new rules.

The minister and his officials also explained the new laws which will come into effect in the autumn. The Public Spaces Protection Order, replaces the old Designated Public Places Order and allow the authorities to target specific locations where there are problems - such as Boston Library.

Mr Simmonds said: “I am pleased with the outcome of this meeting. The minister was clear that action can be taken to tackle anti-social behaviour in our town and stated that laws already exist to protect communities from this type of behaviour and offered to arrange a meeting between Boston Borough Council representatives and the Home Office team so that they could properly understand the measures they can implement.

“I asked the minister to put Lincolnshire Police in touch with other police forces who are facing similar situations so that they can share best practise.

“It is clear that with a cohesive and cross departmental effort we can tackle this behaviour. I am calling on Boston Borough Council to use the powers that they have and ensure that the people of Boston are no longer subject to this type of behaviour.”