East Surrey residents are being urged to have their say on a proposal to introduce an alcohol controlled area in Merstham.

Reigate and Banstead Borough Council has put forward the proposal in partnership with Surrey Police in the wake of a string of complaints about the anti-social behaviour of people drinking in public there.

The controls, officially known as a Designated Public Places Order (DPPO), allow greater control over the drinking of alcohol in public, and increase police powers to deal with alcohol-related anti-social behaviour in the area.

A DPPO was introduced covering Redhill town centre in October 2007.

A borough council spokeswoman said the controls had been “vigorously enforced by Surrey Police” since then, and had led to a successful reduction in complaints about anti-social public drinking from traders, residents and shoppers.

Now the council has put forward the same plan for an area covering virtually the whole of South Merstham.

The DPPO would include the railway station, and such roads as London Road South to the junction with New Battlebridge Lane, and London Road North from the junction with Station Road North to the north side of the motorway bridge.

Covering some 80 roads, including some in Redhill, the area would generally be bounded by the M25 to the north, Mercers Country Park and Holmethorpe to the south, and extend east to just short of Coppice Lea, and west to the edge of Merstham, just beyond the A23 London Road South and North High Street.

Roads covered would include Taynton Drive, School Hill, Wyecliffe Gardens, Worsted Green and Huddleston Crescent.

A borough council spokeswoman said: “Surrey Police have received numerous complaints about the anti-social behaviour created by people drinking in public in the Merstham vicinity.

“The council is currently consulting residents about the introduction of an alcohol controlled area to tackle these problems.”

The area covered by a DPPO includes places where anti-social drinking or alcohol-related nuisance have been identified, and an outer zone to reduce the likelihood of problems being displaced into surrounding areas.

Signs showing the DPPO area are installed in all main locations.

While it is not an offence to consume alcohol within the area, DPPOs mean that police officers and police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) can ask people to stop drinking alcohol if they are causing a nuisance.

Officers can also confiscate alcohol and dispose of it, where appropriate. If someone continues to drink alcohol after being asked to stop, they are then committing an offence and may be liable to a £500 fine or arrest. But DPPOs exclude licensed premises and do not affect some gatherings, including, for example, peaceful family picnics.

A map showing the area proposed for the DPPO, along with a list of the roads that would be covered, can be viewed at the council's website at: www.reigate-banstead.gov.uk The council's consultation will run until Friday, August 2.

People wishing to comment should write to Debbie Stitt, Community Safety Manager, Town Hall, Castlefield Road, Reigate, RH2 0SH, or email: debbie.stitt@reigate-banstead.gov.uk