Byelaw extension sent for approval

A NEW extended byelaw banning the consumption of alcohol in areas of Montrose is set to be implemented by Angus Council if members give proposals the go-ahead today (Thursday).

Councillors will be asked at a full council meeting to approve a set of new byelaws which will effectively ban the public consumption of alcohol in the centre of each burgh in the county. The draft prohibition orders were accepted by councillors last December before being put out for consultation with Tayside Police and the Procurators Fiscal for Angus. Members also agreed that, barring any objections, the draft would be submitted to the Scottish Government.

In his report, corporate services director Colin McMahon said that neither the police or the fiscal have raised any objections to the proposals although the Scottish Government’s law reform division had suggested slight amendments.

He said: “Once the byelaws have been made, they will be advertised and copies made available for inspection by the public at various council offices and on the council’s website.

“Assuming that there are no objections, the signed copy must be sent to the Scottish Ministers for confirmation at the expiry of the objection period.”

In February last year Angus Council’s licensing board abandoned a discussion about extending or introducing byelaws banning public drinking in designated zones in all of the county’s burghs. It was claimed that, during their consultation phase which began in June 2009, councillors had misunderstood the legislation’s aim and applied it to tackle underage drinking.

The byelaws were introduced in Montrose in 2000 to deter adults from moving between pubs and clubs with glasses and bottles, as well as to tackle outdoor gatherings of “problem drinkers”. They applied to the whole of the town centre and Mid Links areas but have now been amended to include the sports centre and Railway Place/Erskine Place/Commerce Street areas.

Local councillor Paul Valentine said the amendments are a “sensible” addition to the prohibition area.

He said: “This isn’t about tackling underage drinking and we’ve met with the police and the owners of local establishments who also put forward their views. I’m certain we didn’t have great problems as the pub owners are very good at making sure they didn’t allow people into the streets with glasses, bottles or cans and this is about reinforcing that.”