Do You Want A Controlled Drinking Zone?

CDZ: Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor

"It is ironic that we received the letter from Chris Lee informing all Merton Residents that Merton Council is consulting on making the whole of Merton a 'designated public place' 'due to reported alcohol related anti-social behaviour'.

Given that this department have presided over a lamentable lack of foresight to protect Merton's dwindling public houses from conversion into shops and flats and in the case of the Morden Tavern actually facilitating this change, failing to use the toothless Pub Protection Policy L16 with no public consultation of residents.

They now want to request an extension of their powers to deal with a problem they seem to have helped create. If you allow such a rapid drop in Public House provision in the borough is it any wonder that there is in an increase of drinking in public spaces.

Perhaps if this department had been more proactive in preventing public house closures and listened to what the residents of Merton wanted then they may have found this measure unnecessary."

St Helier Pub Group

Dear Editor

"I believe that existing legislation and CDZ provisions give the police adequate powers to confiscate alcohol from persons found drunk and disorderly or otherwise deemed likely to cause a breach of the peace/public nuisance in our borough. Giving the police any wider discretion to confiscate alcohol would seem disproportionate, and only likely to alienate some otherwise peaceful members of the community.

If there is concern about alcohol related anti-social behaviour, may I suggest that the Council should be less accommodating to new supermarket convenience stores applying to sell cheap alcohol for extended hours. Over the last 20 years about half the pubs in South Wimbledon, Mitcham and Morden have closed and instead we have a surfeit of shops selling bulk branded lagers, strong ciders and discounted spirits as loss leaders.

Indeed, at what was until last year the Grove Tavern, opposite South Wimbledon tube station, Tescos are now applying to sell alcohol from 6am until midnight. There's already a Tescos at the garage just up the Broadway and there's a new Sainsbury's in the old tile shop across the high street from the Grove. I don't see why you need to allow Tescos at the Grove to sell any alcohol at all. Forget about a borough-wide CDZ; just get a grip, please, on these vulture supermarket chains."

Geoff Strawbridge
Merton resident

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March 29, 2013