Menacing street drinkers in Mitcham town centre could be given their marching orders soon after plans emerged this week to set up a controlled drinking zone (CDZ).
Following years of lobbying from residents calling for a CDZ, like one that has operated in Wimbledon town centre since 2006, Merton Council has announced it will begin a formal consultation ahead of its implementation.
At this week's full council meeting at the Civic Centre in Morden, cabinet member for community safety Edith Macauley recommended the consultation starts immediately.
Pressure for a CDZ has grown in recent years, with residents describing Friday nights in Fair Green as “mayhem” as groups of youths stand in the street drinking alcohol.
Councillor Peter Walker, who represents Figge’s Marsh, launched a petition in support of the CPZ and said: “There’s a huge problem around there.
”We had lots of people come to the meeting saying they feel totally intimidated.
"Every night they are out there and it’s just not pleasant at all.”
But, even as recently as in March, residents were told in a public meeting that it would not be “cost effective” to put in a CDZ, which gives police the power to confiscate alcohol and issue a maximum fine of £500.
Last month, Coun Macauley did not say the council planned to introduce a CDZ and said that evidence was needed to support its introduction.
But her report to Wednesday night’s meeting said: “It is currently envisaged that the establishment of a CDZ in Mitcham town centre can be met from existing resources.
“Its enforcement will be by the police.
“If any additional costs are identified during the implementation process, appropriate sources of funding, which could include virement [a transfer of funds from one budget to another] will need to be identified.”