Vote to throw out booze bylaws defeated

Several Borders towns will see drinking alcohol in public banned after councillors voted to approve proposed bylaws, despite concerns.

There is no great support for such bylaws, with the council only getting a response from 0.1 per cent of the adult population when it consulted on the matter.

The lack of support from local people and community groups prompted council leader David Parker to move that councillors take no action at a meeting of the full council last Thursday,

“It’s unsafe for us to take forward this proposal at this time,” he said. “The evidence is not there and the case hasn’t been made.”

Councillor Catriona Bhatia also felt the issue should be dropped, adding: “This is a solution looking for a problem.”

However, fellow executive member Michael Cook disagreed.

“When it comes to the communities they know what they want,” said Mr Cook.

Some communities don’t support this, but Eyemouth Community Council is very much in favour of it. It is a much needed tool in the community.”

Councillor Parker’s proposals to drop the introduction of bylaws restricting drinking in public places was defeated by just one vote .

Bids from other councillors to have Jedburgh and Galashiels removed from the list of communities to be covered also failed.

Jedburgh was included in the list to address the issue of town centre street drinking  associated  with  the  sheriff  court,  but  local  councillor  Jim Brown  told  fellow  members: “I haven’t  seen  any support for this in Jedburgh. 

“I would like Jedburgh to be removed.”

Councillor Sandy Scott also expressed “unease” about the bylaws.

Galashiels councillors were split on their town’s inclusion in the list to have the bylaws introduced, with Councillor Bill Herd supporting it and councillors John Mitchell and Bill White opposing it.

Legislation prohibiting the consumption of alcohol in designated places in Galashiels, Hawick, Jedburgh, Newtown St Boswells, Coldingham and Eyemouth will now be drawn up.

A statutory consultation period will then commence, before the Scottish Government will have the final say on the introduction of the bylaws.

Exclusions in the bylaws will include principal festival days and Hogmanay.