A petition carrying more than 1,200 names to ban street drinking in Castleford town centre has pushed Wakefield Council into taking swift action.
Police in the town posted a comment on Facebook about their lack of powers they had to stop drinking, prompting one fed-up resident to launch the online petition which attracted 400 signatures within the first 12 hours.
As a result, Wakefield Council met on Friday and has said it will be moving to impose a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), which, once in place means anyone caught drinking within the designated area can be fined up to £1,000.
Other immediate actions include temporarily increasing CCTV monitoring and removing some benches to discourage rough sleeping and stop people congregating.
Mother-of-one Abbi O’Donnell, who works in the town and started the petition welcomed the move.
She said: “I work in Castleford and every morning I have to step over sick and urine.
“There’s a big crowd of drunks, shouting and arguing with each other and squaring up to each other. There used to be the odd couple, but now there’s about 15 of them.
“Wakefield has a ban on street drinking and we want one. I think there will be a few people sign this petition, people are just sick of it.
“They want something to happen, it’s affecting the community and the businesses.
“People are avoiding town because it’s intimidating.
“I have a little girl and I really don’t want to take her there.”
Deputy leader of Wakefield Council, and Castleford ward councillor, Denise Jeffery said: “We are very proud of Castleford. It has a lovely town centre and is a great place to come for something to eat, drink and shop, but the actions of a few are spoiling it – and this will not be tolerated.
“We have invested significantly in Castleford to support the town’s regeneration and our local businesses.
“Work on Sagar Street, Aire Street, new shop fronts and the new market front, as well as the new Castleford Tigers-themed planters are just a few of the recent improvements that are helping to make Castleford an even nicer town to live or visit.”
Inspector Paul Sullivan of the Castleford Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “We are aware of this issue in Castleford and as a result I have increased patrols in the town centre from our available resources.”