A scheme targeting drinkers who make an area “feel unsafe” by banning the sale of cheap, strong beer and cider has been welcomed by businesses and a leading alcohol charity.
Businesses in Cranbrook Road, Barkingside, say they have agreed to the measure as staff are regularly threatened when they refuse to sell alcohol to drunks.
Police say there are also regular fights and anti-social behaviour in the area associated with street drinkers.
The ban would only apply to beers and ciders which have 6.5 per cent alcohol or more and will not include any wines or spirits as these are not deemed to be associated with the problem.
Shopkeepers are allowed to sell exiting stock.
Jagwinder Singh, of Ilford Food and Wine in Cranbrook Road said: “We are happy to comply with police and council wishes as street drinking has become a problem in the area.
“But we are negotiating with the council over banned items, as some stouts are really popular and used for cooking.”
Councillor Ross Hatfull, cabinet member for community safety and enforcement, said the scheme was the easiest way to tackle the problem and homeless people with addiction problems will get support.
He added: “Having to fight through a group of street drinkers to get into a shop deters trade.
“Stepping over a passed out street drinker in a pool of vomit does not give a great impression of the area.
“When you add this in to the aggressive begging, the large crowds hanging around, the homelessness, and the drugs it is making Ilford feel a very unsafe place.
“The ban will cause groups like this to disperse and coupled with commissioned support workers and the housing department to secure these people accommodation, hopefully the problem will go away permanently.”
A Cumulative Impact Zone, which places strict conditions on the granting of new licences, has been established in the area.
Anyone who successfully applies for a license to sell alcohol will not be able to sell strong, cheap lagers.
Charity Alcohol Concern welcomed the scheme as easily accessible cheap alcohol causes widespread problems.
Chief executive Jackie Ballard said: “We strongly support campaigns like this being rolled out locally because it is essential to deal with the root of the problem - the availability of cheap, strong alcohol.
“These voluntary schemes are great, but we also need a firm commitment from the Government to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol - a policy which we know will cut crime and save lives.”
The initiative currently only includes small independent retailers.