The Echo had an editorial yesterday about Rayleigh Town Centre – and not in a good way:
REGULAR Friday and Saturday night street violence, which until recently disfigured most towns in Essex, is happily on the decline.
Yet flare-ups still occur, and one town that seems to be suffering in particular right now is Rayleigh.
Violence hit Rayleigh again this week, in the shape of a brawl involving around 20 people. The consequences were all too familiar ? hospitalisation, criminal damage, blood on the streets, intimidation of residents.
Yet, nasty though the episode was, it stands out because this sort of behaviour has become increasingly less familiar.
The night time scene is changing. Clubs are on the wane. So is binge drinking by young people.
This process is encapsulated at Basildon?s Festival leisure Park. Bas Vegas has been busy demolishing its nightclubs and replacing them with restaurants and an extended cinema facility.
However, while binge drinking may be on the decline, it is far from extinct.
Right now, Rayleigh seems to have become a favoured spot for it. The reasons are not entirely clear, but may have something to do with the higher than average proportion of pubs on its High Street.
Hopefully, it will not remain in this state for long. Methods that have worked in other towns can be brought to bear on Rayleigh.
They include a concentration of police resources, a ban on street drinking, and cooperation between pubs in banning offenders. This is one battle against anti-social behaviour that can, demonstrably, be won.
The Echo are right in what they say. A better police presence is needed. Though if there are problems at 4 am, that’s surely more of a nightclub problem than a pub problem!