Prince of Wales Road calls for support amid queuing 'chaos'
- Credit: Casey Cooper-Fiske
Families and business owners in Prince of Wales Road have called for more cops after a spike in closing-time chaos since lockdown ended.
It comes after police urged clubbers to pre-plan their journey home, with taxi companies facing a driver shortage, which has led to drinkers packing the streets ate as they tussle for a cab home.
Just last week three people were stabbed in a 20-person brawl on the street, while a barman at the Premier Inn hotel at the bottom of the road was attacked after England's Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy.
Tenna Koon, who runs the Mallie News shop on the road said more police were needed in the early hours, when she said she has seen packs of people in the street fighting.
Ms Koon said: "First lots of noise starts at around midnight when there is a small number of police on the streets, but after 4am when they all come out of the clubs next door there is no police.
"We need more police, I don't know about higher up the road maybe there is some there, but in the middle where we are there is no one.
"Sometimes there is so many people that not only are they all inside drinking but they all spill outside and by the closing time they are packing out the street shouting and fighting and causing trouble."
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Richard Chisnell, the owner of Sherbet Lemon in Prince of Wales Road, which has only been open for a matter of weeks said he had not had any issues in his bar and that customers had been behaving well, but added he was aware of the street's reputation.
He said: "I think the problem is that there's nowhere else in the city for people to go. When everyone gets thrown out at 4am it doesn't matter where in the city you are, you have to head there for a taxi.
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"It's not like other cities where buses, trams or trains run later. Your only option is a taxi or walking.
"I get the impression it's often people getting aggressive when they get into taxis as opposed to on the street, because that's where the police presence is."
One woman, who runs a cafe on the street and did not wish to be named, said she had started closing earlier after hearing of trouble from neighbours.
She said: "I have heard of people waiting five hours for a taxi, it's a new crowd and things have changed, it's the people who turned 18 during lockdown and are now coming out and making up for lost time.
"It seems quite dangerous, we're closing a couple of hours early to dodge the closing time because the clubs just can't cope, but ideally we'd like to open later.
"We'll play it by ear and if we hear things start to calm down then we'll think about going later."
At the top of the street Jasmine Perera at Greek supermarket, Demos Continental, said she had heard of some issues on the street but said most clubbers near her shop had been good natured.
Ms Perera said: "It's very busy and noisy but most of it has been good natured, we open until 3am and haven't seen too much trouble.
"But I will say that last Saturday we saw a lot of queues when closing the shop, people were all across the street."
One local who would not be named said they hardly leave the house after 5pm due to "threatening" groups of drunk people.
She said: "We stay in after 5pm as it's just chaos, but we see all the bottles, cans and chicken bones on the path the morning after.
"After the stabbing we woke up and saw a pool of blood outside, something's got to be done."