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No street drinkers in our back yard

Rodney St residents fear new unit will attract the wrong sort of Tennents

Written by . Published on June 3rd 2014.


No street drinkers in our back yard
 

PLANS to open a permanent city-centre base for street drinkers in the heart of Liverpool's upmarket Georgian Quarter were attacked today. 

Dr Emlyn Williams, chairman of the Rodney Street Association, said many residents and businesses in the area were against the “totally unrealistic” plan for the centre at 91 Roscoe Street, which backs onto Rodney Street. 

Lytton Strachey, HipsterLytton StracheyThe city council want the REST (Rehabilitation, Education, Support and Treatment) centre to be set up in a former NHS drugs dependency unit, located in a coach house behind 80 Rodney St - once the home of Bloomsbury Set cove Lytton Strachey.

Street drinkers will be allowed to consume alcoholic beverages on the premises to the rear, but at all times will be supervised and helped to change their lifestyles, the council says. 

The aim is to open the centre in the next few weeks, between  noon and 8pm, seven days a week during the summer, but there will be flexibility on opening times depending on the time of the year. 

Dr Williams told Liverpool Confidential: "Frankly it is short-sighted and of course totally unrealistic. 

"Our association recognises that Rodney Street has a long and illustrious involvement with the provision of health and social care – but it objects to this proposal.” 

 The association says other measures should be considered, such as not allowing off-licences to be open at all hours, and also banned from stocking and selling cheap, high-alcohol content beer, cider and fortified wine. 

"In Ipswich, with such a pattern of prohibition applied for more than a year, alcohol related misdemeanours and offending have been dramatically reduced. Centralisation is not the answer.” 

The council says the plan for Roscoe Street follows a successful pilot project in the summer of 2012 in a temporary location in Renshaw Street which identified the need for a permanent facility. 

But Dr Williams said: “Heavy drinking is a major problem in each and every locality and it is noteworthy that following on from  a “wet centre’ pilot in 2012-13, Merseyside Police reported that: 1. few of those in the pilot study were homeless.   2. many lived outside the city boundaries.   3. most came in to the city centre to obtain cheap, high alcohol content drinks and to supplement their income by begging both from Scousers and from an ever increasing number of tourists and visitors."   

The association says Merseyside Police should actively discourage begging and when necessary  seek the support of the courts. 

"It is acknowledged that street drinking is a problem comparable to that presented by an open wound or a running sore, but like them it needs a coordinated and properly evaluated pattern of treatment rather than being hidden behind a sticking plaster," said Dr Williams. 

Img_3340'Unrealistic': The centre backs onto this house on Rodney Street

A Liverpool City Council spokesman said: "The centre would allow health agencies to engage with street drinkers. It aims to support individuals and work with them, helping them, reduce their alcohol intake. It will also help them access other services such as housing and homeless support." 

Cllr Peter Brennan, mayoral lead for community safety, said: “Street drinkers are quite vulnerable people many of whom lead chaotic and disorganised lives, often because they have extremely difficult backgrounds. But, however harrowing their situation, it is recognised that they can pose a nuisance and can be intimidating to passers-by. 

 “If we just try to continue with the present policy of police enforcement it means that large amounts of police and health services’ time and resources are taken up on this issue and it does nothing to get to the root of the problem. 

“The proposed REST centre –which is in an area where street drinkers already gather - will give them access to health and other agencies who have the expertise over many years to help them turn their lives around. 

Img_3333
“The pilot facility resulted in fewer arrests and admissions to accident and emergency units and demonstrated a need for a more permanent indoor facility in a  location which uses a new approach over street drinkers." 

It is intended that, subject to all necessary consents being in place, the REST centre will be operational from the summer (ie very soon) which, the council says, is the peak time for street drinking. 

The council has held consultations with local residents and businesses and is staging a further public meeting at 6pm tonight (Tuesday, June 3) at the Liverpool Community College in Roscoe Street.  

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41 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Rodney StreetJune 3rd 2014.

How can this be any worse than having Hannah's bar at the back of your house?

Mickeydrippin'June 3rd 2014.

Wherever a new bar, club or pub is proposed, there will always be objections from residents. It is human nature to complain about your individual "space" being contaminated by music and/or the sound of people enjoying themselves.

John BradleyJune 3rd 2014.

"Our association" has anyone ever identified anyone other the Williams as a member of this association? What is he a Dr of?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 5th 2014.

Dr Emlyn Williams Cons Rheumatologist in Liverpool

AnonymousJune 4th 2014.

I find it hard to believe that Dr Emlyn Williams actually exists.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Paul WardJune 4th 2014.

Ironically, he's described as a Rehabilitation Medicine specialist in one directory.

AnonymousJune 5th 2014.

Dr Emlyn Williams Cons Rheumatologist in Liverpool

AnonymousJune 5th 2014.

Oh, yes he does! You have access to a computer, and just a few key strokes away from finding out for yourself.

BennaJune 4th 2014.

He does exsist and I too am a resident of Rodney Street, though not part of the association. This is a ridiculous Idea..that it trying to be passed by the city council. Under the noses and without any respect for the residents or business owners...many people were not even informed..an utter disgrace!

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jayne MooreJune 4th 2014.

I agree with Benna - this is bonkers - while I understand its a City Centre which has lots of businesses in the area, it is a residential area and either side of the proposed site are private residences. Not only that I also see the piece about Lipa Free school opening round the corner so primary school kids will be neighbours. Larry and Liverpool confidential should be celebrated for highlighting this bonkers plan - I understand that the reality street drinking is a problem, but you can't just stick them in the back garden close to the Catherderal and hope for the best. Projects like Brink offer a real solution working with people to address the underlying issues.

AnonymousJune 4th 2014.

NIMBYs

2 Responses: Reply To This...
KeithJune 4th 2014.

Good name for a wine bar

Edward Chambré HardmanJune 4th 2014.

Rodney Street has been on the skids for years. I blame Hannah's Bar and buy-to-let landlords.

AnonymousJune 4th 2014.

Put to one side for a minute the local residents (though I acknowledge they are fully entitled to a view), look at the photo and across the road is the cathedral. This is on the tourist route, such a crazy idea. I am beginning to think the 'socialist' council does this on purpose to punish the 'snobs'. I try to feel sorry for street drinkers, but to be honest some of them can be quite nasty and intimidating 'when in drink'. If I was looking to buy a city centre house and I discovered such a drinking den on my doorstep I would quickly look elsewhere. The problem in Liverpool is the stranglehold that north-Liverpool centric Labour has on the whole city means there is effectively nobody to fight the opposite corner.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 5th 2014.

Socialist council? you're sure about that? if you're that drunk you could use this centre..

RichardJune 5th 2014.

But Rodney Street already has a Liverpool DART (Drug & Alcohol Recovery Team) - ok at the less salubrious end near Mount Pleasant but it's there. You also have Rodney House on Canning Street which is a specialist provider for people with mental health disorders and alcohol related problems and even the AddAction Centre on Roscoe Lane right behind Rodney Street. . I'd rather have somewhere for street-drinkers to be controlled and policed rather than have them around St Lukes/Berry Street. Pure NIMBYism

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Emma BJune 6th 2014.

I agree Richard. Better to have them here than inside St Luke's 'bombed out' church.

AnonymousJuly 5th 2014.

Hi Richard, they cant really be controlled or policed..they are free to come and go as they please..the police have already admitted they are a nusance..so why would that behaviour change in a different location. The police will not be there, and actually it will be run also by volunteers...I repeat volunteers...I just hope it doesnt kick off..

AnonymousJuly 5th 2014.

There will I think be staff from white chapel and basement, but they have been appealing for volunteers to work there, that tells me there is no money to fund this..and there is not proper staffing or support.

Dr. Alexander KordaJune 5th 2014.

Rodney Street used to be known as 'The Harley Street of Liverpool' because of all the doctors' consulting rooms there. It seems reasonable that services for people with a requirement for medical services be located there and this would be less undesirable than another flat rented out to rowdy tenants.

7 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 5th 2014.

Must remember next time I see a wasted bum on the pavement with a begging bowl, "I say old chap, you seem to be in requirement of medical services"! Get real!!

Dr. Alexander KordaJune 5th 2014.

If you find a wasted bum on the pavement it would suggest that you are on the track of an untidy dissectionist who is careless with his homework. If you talk to such a cadaverous section you are in need of a consultant psychiatrist.

AnonymousJune 5th 2014.

I could have eaten a tin of alphabetti spaghetti and shat out a better quip than that Dr al. Do try.

Dr. Alexander KordaJune 17th 2014.

It's not me that proposes talking to a dissectred arse on the pavement though, is it?

AnonymousJune 17th 2014.

Excellent riposte doc, put me right in my place with another shaft of wisdom and wit. Dissectred? Now don't be getting all medical, we won't be able to keep up.

AnonymousJuly 5th 2014.

I must say Dr Alexander the 3 I saw today didnt really look like they would want to see a dr...one was asleep in a bus shelter and the other two were dancing/fighting..one had 2 black eyes...high as kites on diamond white ( they had the bottle)...lets get serious..these guys dont want to get treatment and they dont want to be herded up into a pen behind rodney st

AnonymousJuly 5th 2014.

Although if they need some laser hair removal or braces on the few teeth they have left..they'll be spoilt for choice on rodney st

Joy-Juice JimJune 5th 2014.

Hang on a moment! These people aren’t homeless and they come into town to get drunk and supplement their income? I’ve been doing it wrong all my adult life! I come into town, get drunk and spend all my money! Is there a way I can join this project?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 5th 2014.

correct Joy although we should have sympathy for them I think. most are in fact not homeless.and most certainly do not want treatment.

Emma BJune 6th 2014.

Only about 25 people live in Rodney St. Emlyn Williams must have the worst record of any objector in the city. He's in the Echo once a year objecting to something and they always receive approval. Presumably because he speaks for no-one but himself, his wife and two neighbours who his 'Association' consists of.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Dick Stuart-ClarkJune 17th 2014.

Well what can you expect - it's a lonely life for Conservatives in Liverpool.

Duncan WaringJune 17th 2014.

Did Dr. Williams really refer to us as "Scousers"?

AnonymousJune 21st 2014.

Good idea. So long as such a place is properly supervised. Often such people become lost forever,,without help and support. Not all homeless jobless penniless drinkers are out of control ..maybe they need help. people of all walks in life can drop out..turn to drink, particularly if they have no where to go for support and guidance.

8 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 21st 2014.

A penniless drinker? Hmmmm. Maybe it was a lifestyle choice for some?

John BradleyJune 21st 2014.

If they weren't penniless drinkers they be welcome with open arms, just up the road at Hannah's. The drinking is usually symptomatic not causal.

AnonymousJune 21st 2014.

They be welcome jb? Are you rehearsing for a panto role later in the year? Haaaar John lad!

AnonymousJune 23rd 2014.

This comment has been deemed inappropriate by editorial staff, and has been removed.

John BradleyJune 23rd 2014.

This comment has been deemed inappropriate by editorial staff, and has been removed.

AnonymousJuly 5th 2014.

yes thats it! just a little guidance and support and they'll be fine...back into society...Im sorry i just dont share your optimism..I feel sorry for these guys but dont think they can be gotten back into a normal way of life...

AnonymousJuly 5th 2014.

but maybe they do want hair removal..or teeth whitening...then they can take advantage of the many specialists on Rodney st...happy days!..see how ridiculous it sounds...just as mad as suggesting that these guys can be " treated" and rodney st is full of docters that can help...

John BradleyJuly 6th 2014.

They are nearly but not quite as difficult to treat as chronic NIMBY's who over use...

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