My view: Street drinkers making life a misery for residents. By Helen Smith

Streatham Guardian: Helen Smith Helen Smith

Streatham South is currently in the clutch of a group of street drinkers who are making life a misery for local residents and businesses. 

Becoming very drunk in public is never an attractive spectacle, but when you add in the vomit, urine, defecation, indecent exposure and fighting that have been witnessed recently by residents in Streatham Vale it really is beyond the pale. 

This is in no small part down to the flawed legislation surrounding licensing, which has created a culture where residents have no say as to where or how long premises can sell alcohol.

Streatham Vale and Greyhound Lane are a throng with off licenses, who keep applying to stay open for longer and I know from first hand experience that writing to object, even as part of a NHW or Safer Neighbourhood Panel, has no effect whatsoever and licenses are granted without thought for the damage it is doing to local communities. 

Recent police figures say it all – 80% of seizures in the whole borough occured in just two wards in Streatham: St Leonards and Streatham South.  The alcohol is so readily available at all hours and very obviously contributes to the street drinking endemic in our neighbourhood.

That’s why we are lobbying for a saturation zone, which will give much more say to local residents, re-balancing power so that local people can stop unwanted licensed premises from opening or extending their hours. 

This will hopefully mean our residents can go about their everyday lives without the blight of the anti-social drunks currently characterising our area.

Helen Smith
Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator in Streatham south and deputy chairwoman, Streatham South Safer Neighbourhood Ward Panel
Vice Chair, Streatham Festival

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