Bognor’s ‘drunken gardens’ causing ‘misery’ to residents

The Hothampton Sunken Gardens
The Hothampton Sunken Gardens

Frustrated residents living next to the Hothampton Sunken Gardens say their lives are being made a misery by constant anti-social behaviour.

They say drinking, fighting and shouting are daily occurrences at what have become known as Bognor’s ‘drunken gardens’.

However, community gardeners have again called for the drinkers to be helped by local community groups.

Allison Field and Andrew Blackman live in flats in Fitzleet overlooking the park.

Allison said: “Everyone here is so fed up.

“On Sunday night it was terrible; drinking, fighting, shouting. Then I opened my curtain on Monday morning at 8.15am and they were there again.

“The police are constantly round here but their hands are tied.

“It would be OK if they did it in quiet, but the drunker they get, the worse they get.

“Normal people won’t use the park because they’re scared, some of them use it as a toilet, even the girls.

“We all just want them to go away.”

Andrew added: “It did go quiet but since the weather’s picked up it’s got bad again.

“I have problems sleeping and it makes it a lot worse. It’s making our lives a misery.”

‘No alcohol zone’ signs in the gardens have had little effect, and Allison and Andrew said people were scared to use the nearby children’s park.

The Bognor Community Gardeners have submitted a proposal for Bognor’s parks to be peopled by the town’s community groups to help manage the problem.

Gardener Kim Davis said: “When I first started here five years ago I thought stopping them drinking was the answer. But it’s not that simple. “Alcohol addiction is an illness. If these people were in wheelchairs people would be falling over themselves to help them.

“We need more parks to be built in the regeneration and we’d like to see community groups based in them so they can help these people.”

One drinker who didn’t want to be named, said: “We don’t want to spoil anyone’s day, especially if they’ve got kids.

“We just want a place we can sit and have a quiet beer where we’re not being judged by people. I don’t see that’s wrong.”

Kim is calling for the local community to ‘think outside the box’ and come up with a solution, suggesting a ‘wet area’ where people could drink in a supervised area could provide the answer.

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