CALLS for a ‘wet room’ to be reintroduced in Chester are to be considered as plans for a similar facility in Wrexham have been rejected.
Chester Aid to the Homeless (CATH) provided alcohol dependents with an area to drink in safety at the Harold Tomlins Centre in Grosvenor Street for more than 10 years.
But the service was axed in November when the charity lost its £600,000 contract with Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) and it has since been claimed the number of people drinking on the streets has increased.
Cllr Samantha Dixon, who represents the city centre, said drinkers were now using subways and the Rows.
She has urged the council to bring back the ‘wet room’ to keep the city centre safe and welcoming.
“It provides street drinkers with a safe place to drink and keeps them from harm,” she said in her motion to be discussed by CWaC’s executive on Wednesday.
“It means that street drinkers are less likely to be involved in crime either as a victim or a perpetrator, thereby helping to improve the policing environment.
“And it removes street drinkers from the city centre streets thereby creating a safe and welcoming environment for Chester’s residents, traders and visitors.”
But the council has already said it does not believe Chester should have a ‘wet room’.
North Wales Police and Wrexham Council had been urged by councillors and shopkeepers to follow the example in Chester.
Police from Wrexham visited the Harold Tomlins Centre when it was in operation but decided there was no place in Wrexham for such a facility.
Town centre inspector Mark Williams said: “We thought that trying to get it up and running would be very difficult.
“We debated about whether it was ethical or appropriate to provide somewhere for alcoholics to drink.”
“The problem has been resolved to a certain extent anyway, but there is always going to be issues.”
Police in Wrexham are using other powers to tackle drinking, such as the Violent Crime Reduction Act.