Crackdown on alcohol in West Dunbartonshire parks after summer troubles

Summer revellers at Balloch Park are facing tougher rules on alcohol in the park as West Dunbartonshire Council looks to crack down on public drinking.

Members of the Infrastructure Regeneration and Economic Development (IRED) committee agreed on Wednesday to back the terms of the new Management Rules which tighten restrictions on the possession of alcohol in all parks or open space across the local authority area.

The council has been made aware of alcohol-related disorder at their parks, especially in the summer months, and in particular within Balloch Park and has been working with Police Scotland to tackle this issue.

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Possessing an opened container of alcohol is already prohibited in local parks under existing byelaws.

The new management rules, which are still subject to consultation, will prohibit individuals being in possession of any alcohol if they have failed to remove it from the park or dispose of it on the request of a council official.

An individual carrying an unopened container of alcohol through the park on their way home, for example, would not have to dispose of this.

The rule however would also not be in place should the council give written permission for alcohol to be served in advance at events and an appropriate licence granted by the licensing department.

Speaking about the new rules, councillor Michelle McGinty said: “I welcome the changes to the bylaws.

“It has been a real concern from the police and the local community that when people are going into Balloch Park with maybe eight beers - the police were able to ask them to get rid of the open beer but had to let them carry on into the park with everything else that closed because they had no power to take that away.

“Both the police and the community were very frustrated as they knew they were going to drink in the park.

“They weren’t able to deal with any of the anti-social behaviour that was coming after the drink had been consumed. I think this has been taken on board and it has put something in place.

“Many families go to Balloch Park in the summer to enjoy the sunshine and enjoy our local amenity and a lot of it is being lost through anti social behaviour - it is an issue we have had for years and this will go some way to ensure that people policing the park have more significant powers than what they currently have.”

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