Residents’ group seek to close ‘rough’ outdoor drinking den

Residents’ group seek to close ‘rough’ outdoor drinking den

18 November 2020

A DOWNPATRICK residents’ group is seeking help in its bid to close down an outdoor drinking den in the town.

The Steam Street Residents’ Association wants to fence off an area surrounding a NIE sub-station close to Dunleath Park.

The association says the area has become a magnet for teenage drinkers and anti-social behaviour.

The association is being supported by councillor Cadogan Enright and also says the police are backing the move.

Residents’ group chairperson John Gordon says the area around the sub-station has been an anti-social hot spot for many years and had resulted in assaults on local residents and windows being broken in houses.

Mr Gordon called on Newry, Mourne and Down Council, which owns the land, to take action.

“It is council land and we are expecting the council and the Downpatrick Policing Partnership to show the same efficiency as the Housing Executive did last year in solving a very similar problem,” he remarked.

Committee member Peter Smith said: “This situation has been going on too long. There was a time that the council had this fenced off years ago, but it was a weak fence and little deterrent to vandalism and intrusion.

“We need the Downpatrick Policing Partnership to step up here and work with the council to solve this problem.”

Councillor Enright said a move last year to fence off a nearby area, which was also an anti-social behaviour hot spot, had proved successful.

 “We had a huge success when we got PSNI support for fencing off a particularly bad anti-social and rough drinking hot spot near the Scout Hall,” he said.

“It had been the source of several assaults on local residents and attacks on property by the same group of older teens. These people are well known to the local community and the PSNI.

“With support from the Housing Executive we had the area fenced off. I got the residents’ association funding for 200 trees and we planted the whole area up. We have had no trouble since.”

Councillor Enright said the sub-station was broken into and used a store for drink, which he arranged for the police to confiscate.

“Stream Street Residents Association has the support of the PSNI in seeking to have this small area fenced off with access only for NIE Networks in the same way the area on the other side of the garages is fenced off for NI Water,” he remarked.

“Closing off rough drinking and anti-social hot spots like this is definitely part of the solution to driving this sort of behaviour off our streets.”

He added: “We are looking for an on-site meeting with the policing partnership and the council as this situation should have been sorted out last year when the Housing Executive stepped up and helped us with the problem near the Scout Hall.”