Column: Interests of residents are paramount

New Year's Eve, West Street, Sheffield.
New Year's Eve, West Street, Sheffield.

There have been many letters to the Sheffield Telegraph about Treegate, complaining about the undemocratic action of the city council on Rustlings Road.

At SCCRAG our concern has been the opposite; lack of council action on an equally important aspect of city life - the proliferation of anti-social behaviour by what we refer to as ‘drugaholics’, particularly on West Street.

The council’s licensing committee keeps nodding through applications for off-licences selling cheap strong alcohol, despite local businesses and residents objecting that the actions of habitually intoxicated dropouts on West Street and Devonshire Green is causing all manner of anti-social behaviour and making lives and business intolerable.

Last June, when SCCRAG objected to a fifth West Street off-licence and pointed out the controls available we were assured by licensing that our request for a Cumulative Impact Policy, which can be used to limit outlets in these situations, would proceed immediately.

But when, later in the year, we asked about progress, our enquiries were ignored.

Now, with an application pending for a sixth off-licence on West Street, we are told there has been no further progress on the policy that could limit cheap, strong alcohol sales, cut the temptation of addicts to buy the stuff and make life easier for people living and working on the street.

Yet other cities have no problem in maintaining public order over anti-social behaviour.

And in April last year Southampton introduced Public Spaces Protection Orders to control street drinking and begging under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

So, in chopping down trees against the will of residents, we saw some rapid action.

But with demands from residents and businesses to stop the growth of alcohol outlets in an area already saturated with them, we cannot get a sensible policy enacted that everyone in the community supports.

Bizarre isn’t it - we ask them not to chop trees down and they ignore us; we ask them to adopt an alcohol control policy and they ignore us.

In whose interest is the council acting these days?