Alcohol sales could be restricted at Harbourside at busy times

Discussions have taken place over potential alcohol sale restrictions during busy times at the Harbourside.

Last month mayor Marvin Rees said Bristol City Council had been talking to local supermarkets about restricting supply of alcohol at peak times, amid concerns over people relieving themselves in public.

Now a council spokesperson has given more detail about the discussions, saying: “We have worked with supermarkets around the sale of alcohol from their stores.

“Rather than using enforcement measures, local store managers will take a lead on decisions regarding the application of restrictions during times of concern.

“We continue to engage with the supermarkets around this issue, with more formal arrangements in place for specific events, such as the Harbour Festival.”

The Tesco stores at College Green and Millennium Promenade banned the sale of beer and cider boxes on the afternoon of February 27, after large groups gathered at the Harbourside prompted concerns of Covid breaches.

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Two toilet blocks have opened in the Harbourside this month, one at Hannover Quay and the other at Wapping Wharf.

Mr Rees spoke about the ongoing discussions over alcohol sales after Councillor Mark Wright, for Hotwells and Harbourside, raised concerns during a council meeting.

Mr Wright claimed “parts of the quayside transformed into an open sewer due to the lack of bin emptying and public toilets” in spring last year, causing “utter chaos”.

He asked the mayor if there would be adequate toilet provision for “the expected tens of thousands of people” visiting the Harbourside as the weather warmed and restrictions eased.

The mayor said: “A temporary serviced public toilet facility will be provided on each side of the harbour from April through to September. These will be robust container style units.”

He added: “Temporary fencing will again be put in place on the Harbour Inlet pontoons and the reed bed walkway opposite the SS Great Britain.

“Discussions are taking place with local supermarkets to restrict the supply of alcohol at peak times in the Harbourside area. We will be encouraging licensed premises that are open to make their toilet facilities available to the public.”

The facilities are screened off next to Brunel’s Buttery
(Image: Bristol City Council)

Bristol Live has reported on concerns over the cost of the new public toilets. A council contract said it would spend an estimated £133,633 on two toilet blocks at the Harbourside from early April until June 30.

Back in 2018, the council closed 18 public toilets across the city – to save £440,000 a year.

The council said the costs for the temporary facilities – one at Hannover Quay and the other at Wapping Wharf – included installation, equipment hire, fencing and Covid-safety measures.

They are being provided by Richmond Event Management, which also organises Bristol’s Harbour Festival and Balloon Fiesta.

Last month the Crohn’s & Colitis UK charity said an “unacceptable” lack of public toilets had left vulnerable people in Bristol reluctant to venture outside.

After the council closed 18 facilities in 2018, it encouraged businesses to allow free use of their toilets.

This Community Toilet Scheme (CTS) saw more than 100 businesses sign up, but many have been inaccessible during the coronavirus lockdown.

A Bristol City Council spokesperson said earlier this month: “Whilst public toilets remain open in parks across the city, the pandemic has meant many facilities available through our community toilet scheme have been unusable.

“As the city unlocks we’ll be asking businesses once again to make their toilets available and these additional sites at Hannover Quay and Wapping Wharf will provide extra options.

“They will initially be in place until the end of June however the situation will be kept under constant review and assessed further as the city gets busier.”

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