Plea for public help to solve Bognor’s ‘drunken gardens’ problem

Kim Davis, centre, with supporters at the Sunken Gardens

Kim Davis, centre, with supporters at the Sunken Gardens

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Drinkers are asking people to ‘work with us, not against us’ as another campaign is launched to tackle the alcohol problem at the Hothampton Sunken Gardens.

The Bognor Community Gardeners, with Arun Parks support, illustrated the scale of the issue by collecting cans and bottles over a weekend.

Gardener Kim Davis expressed her belief no alcohol zone signs, police and business wardens are not deterring the drinkers, so she is asking the public for alternative ideas.

She said: “My answer is to create an area especially for them, I am not prejudiced against them but it needs to be properly managed, somewhere safe - somewhere they can get help.”

One drinker, who refused to be named, agreed but had concerns: “I want a place where kids won’t see me with a can to my lips. But I am not going to be put somewhere on the outskirts of town and be treated like a leper - it will draw trouble to it.”

The central location and proximity to a play area has heightened concern over the problem at Hothampton.

One mum, who was too afraid to be named, said: “I come here with my little girl and I am scared. They drink, they fight, they vomit and they go to the toilet here.

“I have called the police and they say they will come by, I have waited two hours before, and nothing happens so they think they can do it all and get away with it.

“It is horrible, I don’t want my children watching that.

“There is a playground here so children do see it, I know a lot of families locally that don’t come here.”

Installing CCV was also suggested, which could be monitored by appointed volunteers with radio access to the wardens and officers.

This was supported by town centre manager Toyubur Rahman, who echoed Ms Davis’ belief bans are not the answer.

He said: “By dispersing them you are just moving the problem on, it is not solving it.”

With current measures seemingly not working locals are being called upon to help solve the ongoing problem.

Do you have any suggestions?

If so email Laura.Cartledge@jpress.co.uk with the title ‘Sunken Gardens’ or write to Bognor Regis Observer, Place St Maur, Belmont Street, Bognor Regis, PO21 1BJ - FAO Laura Cartledge.

For the full report see this week’s Bognor Regis Observer.