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Cause for celebration as world cup booze ban canned

Jan 31 2006

Paul Rhys

 

AN "INSANE" drinking ban that could have stopped footy fans celebrating during the World Cup has been nipped in the bud.

The proposal would have given police powers to confiscate booze from ANYONE drinking in the streets of Southwark.

It would have seen cold water thrown on people celebrating World Cup victories this summer during a tournament that has traditionally brought carnival scenes to our streets and parks.

Critics of the borough-wide ban said the move called time on attempts to get an alcohol ban in Camberwell, which has a decades-long street drinking problem.

The plan to make the entire borough of Southwark subject to a Designated Public Place Order (DPPO) was suggested by the council's Lib Dem leadership at a town hall meeting last week.

It came as opposition council-lors tried to push through a ban on street drinking in Camberwell.

The area has been plagued with intimidating groups of drunks for decades.

Residents say their streets are used as open lavatories, while mothers and pensioners are afraid to use Camberwell Green.

Defending the borough-wide proposal, council leader Nick Stanton said emerging problem areas like London Bridge would also benefit.

He argued a specific ban for Camberwell would simply drive drunks elsewhere.

He said: "We don't want to be sitting here in six months saying, 'Camberwell's okay, now we have a problem in Walworth and Peckham'."

But Tory deputy leader David Bradbury said the proposed move was "illiberal", adding: "It's taking a sledgehammer to what in Camberwell is a nut."

Labour councillor Ian Wingfield, who suggested the Camberwell ban, told the South London Press: "It's a case of killjoy council. The debate was meant to be about the problem in Camberwell. To broaden it to the whole borough is insane.

"Imagine England fans celebrating World Cup victories. The police can't be expected to run around taking cans off everyone."

The Lib Dems' proposal was defeated by 30 votes to 22 at the Assembly on Wednesday. The executive will now consider the Camberwell ban.

 

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