A wet area ‘could help’ alcoholics

ALCOHOLICS could benefit from the creation of a safely managed, designated drinking area, a Skegness town councillor believes.

Coun Mark Anderson questioned Inspector Terry Ball about the possibility of creating a ‘wet house’ for alcohol dependents at a Skegness Town Council meeting on Wednesday.

He said: “People can become alcohol dependent through stress or family issues.

“We’ve seen a massive increase in mental health issues because people are finding themselves in difficult circumstances and are turning to substances and alcohol.

“We are talking about people who are mentally ill and need help.”

A wet area is a public space in which drinking is permitted but monitored by agencies to provide a safe environment for people with alcohol problems.

Inspector Ball explained that in many cases those people were not homeless, as is commonly assumed, but lived relatively normal lives despite their heavy alcohol usage.

A similar suggestion had been raised with East Lindsey District Council in 2007 but according to Coun Anderson it had been discounted due to there being insufficient numbers of alcoholics to warrant it.

Following the economic downturn in which Skegness has climbed the indices of deprivation, Coun Anderson believes the number of alcohol dependent people in the town will also have increased.

Inspector Ball, though supportive of the suggestion in principle, raised some concerns that he felt would make the proposal unlikely to progress.

He said: “There’s a lot of mountains to climb before we get a wet area - we need a lot of staff and there are also insurance issues regarding the duty of care - what if we found someone dead in that area?

“We also need to make decisions about where we would want a wet area to be - what business would like a wet area next to them?”