Residents dispute council’s alcohol abuse claims

The Mayor and his cabinet have been accused of doing “absolutely nothing” to tackle the problem of anti-social behaviour caused by alcohol abuse.

Jon Shapiro, who is vice chair of the Spitalfields Community Group, has attacked the cabinet for not tackling alcohol abuse in the Brick Lane and Whitechapel area. The comments come just a week after Tower Hamlets council claimed reports of on-street drinking in the borough had fallen by 75 per cent in the last year.

Mr Shapiro has criticised the cabinet for failing to implement a “saturation policy” to make it harder for shops to obtain licences to sell alcohol in areas with high rates of anti-social behaviour, even though council members agreed on the policy earlier this year.

He said: “It may be that complaints have indeed dropped by 75 per cent, but if so I suspect it’s because most residents feel complaining to Tower Hamlets council is a waste of time.

“The cabinet has done absolutely nothing about the saturation policy for six months.”

Tower Hamlets council maintained that its Enforcement Officers are having a positive impact on tackling the alcohol abuse, but acknowledged there is still work to be done.

A spokesman said: “We recognise that there is a need to maintain our focus on this issue particularly in the most affected areas such as Brick Lane and Whitechapel.

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“The Council is currently considering whether to consult on the need for a cumulative impact zone (saturation policy) in the Brick Lane area.”

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