Pillgwenlly alcohol ban plan to cut disorder after trouble
Drinking alcohol in the street and people congregating in groups could be banned in a part of Newport recently blighted by large-scale disorder.
The council and police want to curb anti-social behaviour in Pillgwenlly, where youths recently targeted police with fireworks during a "riot".
Anyone caught breaching the order could face a fine or prosecution.
But some residents and traders have said they are sceptical about whether it will work.
Police in Pillgwenlly said the area has long been plagued by issues associated with the use and supply of drugs and street drinking at the former Kwik Save car park.
Insp Richie Blakemore said many residents felt intimidated by groups of youths who gather there and officers had been working with the council for the past year to draw up the Public Protection Spaces Order (PSPO) to try to reduce the problems.
"What we're hoping to achieve is to change people's cultural behaviour, changing opinions of the group," he said.
"They actually live here so they need to understand that it isn't an acceptable way to behave... and they will be subject to the powers within the order if we are successful in introducing them," he added.
Residents and shopkeepers said they would be in favour of a ban but are concerned about how it will be enforced.
John Price, 63, said it would be good to stop gangs loitering in the area because many people found them intimidating.
But florist Ann Barton said she did not believe officers would be able to effectively police the order.
The council said a PSPO banning drinking alcohol in Newport city centre brought in last year had resulted in a "huge" decrease in the amount of seizures by police.
A report found there were still problems, but the main issue was people "preloading" alcohol before going into nightclubs at night, rather than day-time drinking.
It concluded: "Whilst clearly more work needs to be done around compliance with the alcohol restriction, the introduction of the PSPO in the city centre has produced positive changes, with many of the issues that lead to its introduction, largely dwindling."
Councils have been able to use PSPOs since 2014 to ban activities they believe are having a "detrimental impact" on quality of life.
Some authorities in Wales have brought in several orders but the majority have not introduced any.
Examples of those already in place include:
- a ban on nuisance driving, congregating or drinking alcohol in car parks in Cwmbran, Torfaen
- an order in Wrexham town centre, Rhosddu park and cemetery to disperse anyone causing a nuisance, rough sleeping, drinking alcohol or taking drugs
- a ban on dogs in children's play areas in Carmarthenshire
- restrictions on jumping from the Pont y Pair bridge in Betws y Coed, Conwy, and swimming in the pool below
- an order banning loitering at bus stops in Caerphilly.
A spokesman for the Welsh Local Government Authority (WLGA) said the orders were not in widespread use.
"We have confidence that local authorities have due regard to all of the circumstances, when making decisions about using orders," he said.
"There is a balance and proportionality of resolution to be found, where the actions of a few may have a significant impact on the wellbeing of the wider community."