Today's meeting of the full council was the venue for a fairly large protest by Newquay residents who are concerned about the number of drink related incidents in the town and the subsequent damage to their reputation.
It was a very good natured protest by a group who are right to be concerned. They are asking for better enforcement of licencing laws and more action from the Council on the problem. Local Lib Dem councillor Geoff Brown asked a question of the administration and the Council Leader proudly announced that more than £5000 had been spent last year and claimed that drunken incidents had fallen by 45%. I think everyone present could tell from the reaction of the Newquay residents that this was both not enough and probably not true. To be fair to Cllr Robertson, when Geoff asked a follow up question demanding better action, he responded well, acknowledging that more needed to be done and promising to look at all options.
Whilst we would all like to think that parents would be responsible when caring for their children it is incredible to hear some of the stories that come out of Newquay at this time of year. Many young people come to the resort after they finish their GCSEs. At this age, they are clearly too young to go to pubs and many clubs lay on special under 18s events. The resort is doing its bit - there is both daytime and night-time activity for younger visitors. But far too many parents are happy to drive them down to the town and dump them with a bootful of booze. Many have been turned away from responsible camp-sites but I suspect many more have slipped through the net.
I welcome the fact that Newquay is the venue of choice for many young people. We don't want to stop their ability to have fun. But making sure that licensing laws are applied properly is clearly a pre-requisite, and not having parents abandoning them with enough booze to float a battleship is another.