Anti-social behaviour and street drinking is preventing people visiting Castleford town centre

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People in Castleford are still reluctant to visit the town centre because of street drinking and anti-social behaviour, a ward councillor for the area has said.

Coun Tony Wallis made the remarks during a debate about Wakefield district’s economic plan for the next five years.

A key part of the plan is to attract more businesses to the city centre and to the Five Towns by offering them support with things like employee training.

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But last year the police began issuing public spaces protection orders (PSPOs), in response to complaints from people in Castleford and Wakefield about nuisance drinkers acting aggressively.

The PSPOs can be used to ban individuals from certain activities, like drinking, and 127 have been handed out across the district since they were introduced.

Although hailed as a success, Coun Wallis said he feared public perception may stop entrepreneurs from setting up shop in the area.

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Speaking at an economic scrutiny meeting on Monday, he said: “Certainly within Castleford, I get people saying “we won’t go into the town centre”.

“On the other hand, we’re trying to get businesses from outside to come here. But to do that we’ve got to have a town centre where people want to go.

“For the businesses, it’s not just about the money they get, it’s about the atmosphere of a place and where the workers go for their lunch break.”

Clare Elliott, the council’s service director for economic growth, admitted the situation was “chicken and egg”.

But she said that the prospects for attracting new enterpises were good.

She said: “We’ve got a good reputation as a place to do business.

“We want to try and turn around town centres by getting in the right businesses.

“There’s a lot of work going on around diversifying the offers in the town and city centres, especially with the night time economy.”