Street drinker problems in Erdington getting worse, councillors and police say

Claims made as a recently opened shop applies for an alcohol licence

Erdington High Street from Google maps

Street drinkers in Erdington are causing increasing problems in the area despite a public spaces protection order which has been in place for four years, a council meeting heard.

A Birmingham City Council licencing committee was told that street drinkers had threatened to rape a woman.

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They were also told that the “unpleasant aggressive” street drinkers which congregate around Erdington High Street were also the cause of physical assaults, verbal abuse, thefts, intimidating behaviour, foul language and littering.

The issues have prompted police and Erdington ward councillor Gareth Moore to strongly oppose an application to sell Romanian alcohol products at La Casa Boierului, in York Road.

Marian Dura who recently opened the store said he would be diligent and responsible in upholding licensing objectives.

He added he was aware of problems in the area but said he couldn’t be blamed for that.

A public spaces protection order was in place up until 2018 and a new one is currently being consulted on. The area also used to be in a cumulative impact zone but that was no longer in effect.

Police and Erdington ward councillor Gareth Moore said they strongly opposed La Casa being awarded a premises licence at a council licensing sub committee meeting on Wednesday (December 8).

La Casa Boierului,

What did Cllr Moore say in his own words?

Cllr Moore said: “It is noticeable during conversations we have with West Midlands Police, Erdington BID and residents of the increasing problem of the street drinkers.

“They particularly congregate down the Six Ways end of the High Street, which York Street is just off. They literally sit around the corner on the benches.

“Anyone who has been to Erdington will have seen these street drinkers. They are there pretty much all the time, they sit there from early morning to early evening drinking, sitting on benches.

“It is particularly unpleasant. Quite often they are aggressive, they will shout, they will swear, we have a lot of complaints from families with young children who are unhappy with what their young children have sadly had to listen to as well as the inappropriate behaviour that’s taking place.

“While some of that is on the lower end of public nuisance, very serious allegations have been made towards people who work on the High Street.

“We’ve given an example. The BID were very concerned about that when the allegation was made.

“Quite frankly, I don’t see how this premises will not contribute to the problem given all the others have done.

“Street drinkers will go to these premises and the others. They’re not stupid they know what to do to obtain the alcohol.

“There’s about 14 off licences alone in the vicinity of this premises. That’s not including pubs.”

What did the police say about the street drinkers in Erdington?

PC Innayah Aziz, of West Midlands Police, said: “For over five years there has been a long-term street drinking problem on Erdington High Street and individuals/groups highly intoxicated. As a result the local community fear for their safety.

“Those under the influence of alcohol are intimidating and aggressive, particularly when gathered in groups becoming physically and verbally violent towards members of the public.

“Subsequently, the area has a low footfall in attracting people to the area, fears and concerns continue to be raised regarding this serious problem.”

What did  La Casa Boierului owner Mr Dura say?

Mr Dura said: “This is a new business and I offer a wide range of food items for my customers and I want to add some alcohol to this range.

“I will always show my diligence in my operation and I will always act in a very responsible manner.

“I will always make sure I follow all my rules and that Challenge 25 is always in use. I’m aware of the problems in the area and will make sure no single cans are sold.

“There may be other neighbouring premises which cause anti-social behaviour but I cannot be blamed for the problems with their premises.

“I have asked for reasonable hours and I will always manage the shop with very strict rules.”

Committee members are considering the application and will issue a decision in the coming days.

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