Stokes Croft street drinking needs “radical solution”

May 13, 2009

A community activist from Stokes Croft has attacked current police and council policy on street drinking as a “merry go round”.

Jamie Pike manages Hamilton House, one of the main buildings on Stokes Croft and the former Lloyds-Bowmaker building. He has called for an end to the current policy of moving alcoholics on, calling for a wider-reaching solution.

Avon and Somerset Police last week complained they were unable to move street drinkers on from the steps of Hamilton House because they were there with permission.

They said in a statement: “Concern has been expressed by people who live, work and commute through Stokes Croft regarding the street drinkers congregating on the steps of Hamilton House which is in a non drinking zone.

“Unfortunately the police have not been able to enforce the zone as this area is private land and they were there with permission.”

However, Jamie Pike has defended his policy, saying: “[The police] usually confiscate their alcohol and ask them to move. They tend to just wander up the street and sit down somewhere else and carry on drinking. It just moves the problem somewhere else.

“That was one of the reasons we said unless you are going to give them a better solution or find a real way to tackle this problem, just leave them there.”

He wants to see a ‘wet house’ in the area, where drinkers are allowed to drink but also have access to health and detoxification services if they want them. Most hostels do not allow alcoholics to drink, forcing them out on to the streets.

He said: “There are ideas in the pipeline but it’s a very slow-moving and ineffective beast, Bristol City Council. I don’t hold outmuch hope. The merry-go-round will continue in Stokes Croft.”

Original contacted Safer Bristol Partnership, the umbrella organisation for the police and council, but they declined to comment.

Coexist is holding a meeting with Safer Bristol Partnership next week to discuss solutions.

The front of Hamilton House will be boarded up next week while renovation work on the building takes place.

Audio: Martin Jones talks to Jamie Pike from Coexist



  1. […] then yesterday we had this from new blogger on the block, Jones the News, from Original FM : A community activist from Stokes Croft has attacked current police and council […]

  2. I had wondered whether the private property aspect was stymieing the execution of the (pointless, counter-productive, idiotic, hypocritical) no drinking zone. I’ve seen the police and the plastics harass the drinkers around Turbo Island (and got a lungful of gas for my troubles), but Hamilton House is treated like a safe haven.

    The Stokes Croft and subsequent St. Paul’s no drinking zones were pushed through with little or no actual consultation with local people. A few particularly vocal non-residents kicked up a stink here in St. Paul’s, and now responsible drinkers are criminalised by simply enjoying a can in their own street. The letters asking for opinions were supposed to be delivered by the police. They were not. (Or, at least, the residents’ letter wasn’t delivered, but the letter to local businesses was. Cue yuppifiers on Brunswick Square moaning about how unsightly a few ciderheads hanging around was. Cue drinking ban.)

    So it’s good to hear that Jamie Pike and Coexist are making a stand, good for them. And the point about a wet house is a good one too.

    Cheers for the report!

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