Tackling antisocial behaviour fuelled by high strength beer and cider is the aim of an initiative proposed by Cambridge City Council.

The council’s Licensing Committee today approved a report recommending that discussions be held with other organisations about setting up a voluntary code for retailers on the sale of high strength beers and ciders.

The voluntary code would ask retailers to agree to stop stocking certain high strength alcohol products. In line with licensing law the scheme would not be compulsory.

Some residents have complained about drinkers on the street causing obstruction and creating an intimidating atmosphere for passers-by.

Cllr Jeremy Benstead, Chair of Licensing Committee, said: “We need to face up to the fact that often these freely available, high strength beers and ciders are consumed simply to get drunk.

“Too often this results in antisocial behaviour that blights areas of the city in a completely unacceptable way.

“Our proposal for a voluntary code would help to minimise the problem and its impact on traders. Similar schemes have brought benefits elsewhere and I am pleased that the committee has agreed to look at the proposal in greater depth.”

If it is developed, the voluntary code would work alongside other activities aimed at helping people who are dependent on alcohol to get treatment and support.

A pilot project to support people who drink on the streets to get out of alcohol dependency started recently. The council’s community safety team is one of a number of agencies involved.

Council officers will now initiate discussions about the potential voluntary code with other organisations and individuals including the Cambridgeshire Safety Partnership, police, county council, NHS, Drug and Alcohol Action Team, the council’s own community safety team, Cambac and city retailers.

A report will be presented to Strategy and Resources Committee and a final decision on the code will be taken by Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of the Council.

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