Boozers facing ban from new £4m Jubilee Square in Leicester
A booze ban could be imposed on Leicester's new £4 million public plaza to prevent it becoming a "honey-pot" for drunks.
Critics of the Jubilee Square project to transform St Nicholas Place fear it could end up attracting street drinkers.
However city mayor Sir Peter Soulsby, who came up with the concept of replacing the existing car park with the plaza, said the area could be designated an alcohol control zone.
Many city centre streets already have a by-law to prevent drinking in public that is enforced by the police.
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Those who ignore the ban can be arrested or fined £80.
Sir Peter said: "That is something that could be considered. I would have to take some advice from the police."
The mayor wants the square to be used for picnics as well as other events and said it would be possible to lift any alcohol restrictions temporarily if needed.
He said he was determined the square would not become a "no-go zone at night".
It will be covered by CCTV, supervised by the council's team of city wardens.
Sir Peter insisted the square would be a place for the city to be proud of.
He said: "It is important we continue to invest in the city centre and make it as welcoming and attractive to visitors as we can."
One of the leading opponents is Callum McKeefery, who owns Rockerfellers bar on St Nicholas Place.
Mr McKeefery is collecting names on a petition to try to force a referendum on whether the mayor's post should be scrapped. He is angry that the car park, used by his customers, will go.
He said: "It will be a honeypot for anti-social behaviour, and that worries me.
"A well-used car park will be replaced by an area where drunks and troublemakers will hang out. I think it is inevitable.
"The mayor wants to create some fancy European-style square, but it won't work in Leicester. It will just be a mess with people getting hammered on cheap booze in the street. That won't be good for businesses."
A consultation is being carried out on detailed proposals for Jubilee Square, which were unveiled last week.
It lasts until Wednesday, December 19.
Liberal Democrat opposition councillor Nigel Porter said: "The proposed plans look predictably mediocre, which is very depressing when Sir Peter is splashing £4 million of taxpayers' cash.
"For that sort of money the people of Leicester deserve a public square that is visually appealing and imaginatively reflects the spirit of its surroundings."
The designs have, however, been welcomed by the Leicester Civic Society.
Chairman Stuart Bailey said: "We are very enthusiastic about it. The designs are impressive. It is uncluttered and it doesn't try to do too much."
To take part in the consultation, visit: http://citymayor.leicester.gov.uk/welcome/connecting-leicester/jubilee-square/