Drinking and drug-taking on Freeman Street 'a problem' for fed-up traders
DRINKING, drug-taking, sex workers and daylight robbery ... is this making the Freeman Street area a no-go zone?
Fed-up traders, who say their customers feel intimidated and are being deterred from using shops and businesses down there, have called for a ban on drinking in public places around there
Others are angry that the investment in regenerating Freeman Street is a fraction of the amount being spent in Top Town.
Some have been filmed taking and selling drugs in public. One woman was seen burning a substance with a child next to her.
Traders were also concerned when a man was robbed outside the Post Office cash point in August and suffered head injuries
As well as a ban on drinking in public, they want to see a curb on the sale of cheap booze from stores down there.
They say groups of drinkers hanging around street corners and outside shops selling alcohol is commonplace, and while not apportioning blame, said they felt charities such as Harbour Place could do more to curb the antisocial behaviour of its clients.
One businessman said: "We are not getting at Harbour Place. It is their clientele. It is a magnet. There was a fight last month and they locked them out.
"Most days you have about 10 to 20 people sitting across the road drinking from beer cans. When you are trying to regenerate the area and then look at the reality, it is a defeat before you have even started.
"These centres do a wonderful job. If it was policed correctly and they asked the clients to move on it would help. But no one seems to take responsibility."
Harbour Place project co-ordinator Dave Carlile said for every ten people standing outside the charity premises there are more than 50 per day who get the support they need and a meal.
He said: "I agree with the traders, it is a massive problem. I disagree with them when they say we are not interested. We tell traders that if there is a problem they should ring the police.