South Scotland

Public alcohol ban by-law bid gathers 'mixed' response in Borders

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A study into proposals for by-laws banning the consumption of alcohol in public places in the Borders has received a "mixed" response.

The local authority has been looking at the move for more than a decade.

The latest consultation got nearly 500 responses - 44% saying public drinking was not causing a problem.

However, 36% believed that it did and Scottish Borders Council is being advised to take forward the proposals to a second stage.

It would assess public opinion on whether a by-law should cover the whole region or possibly a pilot targeting the towns of Galashiels and Hawick.

Does alcohol in public places cause a problem in the Borders?

Responses to council consultation

Source: Scottish Borders Council

The local authority first resolved to try to tackle the issue in 2007.

A previous round of consultation was carried out in 2013/14 but a fresh assessment was agreed last year.

The results of that study are now ready to be presented to councillors although they will be told there is a "wide variety of views" on the matter.

A report said that a number of places were identified as having spots where public drinking was a problem.

Galashiels and Hawick attracted most comments with Kelso, Peebles and Selkirk also cited.

Could a drinking ban help prevent public nuisance?

Responses to council consultation

Source: Scottish Borders Council

Police said that weekend nights had the highest levels of alcohol-related anti-social behaviour.

They added that by-laws in other regions had helped to reduce violence and the Borders was the only council area which did not have them.

NHS Borders said that a ban could reduce the exposure of young people and children to alcohol.

It added that public drinking could "adversely affect the quality of life for residents and our communities".

A meeting of Scottish Borders Council will be asked to decide whether a second stage of consultation should go ahead and what areas it should cover.

A pilot project in Hawick and Galashiels is among the options being considered but a report has warned that could mean areas feeling "singled out" while other felt "left out".

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