TENDRING Council could provide a dedicated area for street drinkers as the authority explores ways to make Clacton an ‘enjoyable and welcoming’ place to visit.

The idea is one of several under consideration as the council looks to combat a problem with street drinking and anti-social behaviour.

Lynda McWilliams, councillor responsible for health, said limiting the visibility of street drinkers in the town centre is a priority for residents.

“My officers are also exploring whether it would be feasible to provide a designated area for street drinkers, which has worked in other areas,” she said.

“We are looking into this.”

The council is set to appoint an anti-social behaviour patrol officer, dedicated to patrolling Clacton town centre.

The officer would ideally work alongside Clacton’s PCSO to target criminal behaviour.

Mrs McWilliams said: “We do have officers that patrol in the town centre, accredited to issue fixed penalty notices where anti-social behaviour has been committed.

“However the primary role of these officers is to undertake enforcement on our off street car parks, I accept this can limit the effectiveness in tackling this behaviour in the town.

“It is hoped that funding will be available for this in the budget to allow us to have someone in post and up to speed by Easter next year.

“Initially this officer would be based in Clacton, but could be used to patrol other towns in the district.”

Mrs McWilliams praised the impact of Operation Spider, a summer crackdown on anti-social behaviour in Clacton funded by £20,000 of council and police cash.

As a result of the operation, which increased patrols across the town, cases of anti-social behaviour were down by 29 per cent when compared with the previous year.

The council could also use CCTV to target traders who sell alcohol to drunk customers.

"I’ve asked officers to look into the resources that would be required to use CCTV to produce evidence that would put in place suspensions or revoking of an alcohol license where that license is being breached,” said Mrs McWilliams.

"We all want Clacton to be an enjoyable and welcoming place to live in, and groups of street drinkers shouting, swearing and being generally unkempt does not enhance that."