DIVIDED opinions over how to tackle antisocial behaviour in Amesbury are “killing the town”, as a group campaigning for quiet after midnight has sparked an enormous backlash from users of the town’s bars.

Formed in October, Amesbury Residents Committee (ARC) aims to reduce the licensing hours of Amesbury pubs and bars, while shedding light on early-morning antisocial behaviour.

ARC members have already raised their concerns with both the town and Wiltshire Council, Environmental Health and the police, with hopes to get their voices heard and drinking hours shortened. Members have also been recording incidents they have witnessed in the town at night, including too much noise, litter, smashed windows, and revellers vomiting and urinating in public.

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Committee member John Madeley said: “Our real concern is an increase in nightlife, and so we brought it down to licensing.

“When we first started the meetings and met the other residents, we just weren’t expecting others to have the same problems as us. We are now very conscious of the activity in the area and people are complaining like mad.”

The scheme has around 80 members and is backed by members of Amesbury Town Council, but has received retaliation from opposing residents on Facebook group, Amesbury Nightlife.

The page has been set up by staff from the New Inn, the Antrobus Hotel and The Bank, for residents who feel underrepresented to support the nighttime economy and express their views.

The group already has more than 1,000 members in favour of keeping the nightlife scene how it is, highlighting conflicted opinions across the town.

Owner of The Bank, Nathan Muirhead, said: “This problem is killing the town, I would shut [The Bank] at 12 if that’s what the majority wanted, but it needs to be accepted that this is a multi-purpose town centre so needs to be representative of what everyone wants. We are doing everything we can and well beyond, we shouldn’t need to monitor nightlife but we are conscious of our neighbours, we understand the issues and we want to help.”

John said the launch of the Facebook group is “a reaction, which in the long term shows good progress”, adding: “It’s not a battle, it’s a war.

“People want something to be done but there’s not much we can do at the moment so we just need to keep hitting the licensing.”

Deputy chairman of PubWatch and Amesbury town councillor, Damian Kuczera, said limiting venue hours would “cripple the town” and have a “knock-on effect” on other town amenities.

He added: “The ARC needs to focus on working directly with venues and the wider community to address any issues they have, rather than trying to impose draconian measures that are not only unachievable but also falsely putting in bad light what is a very important part of the town’s economy.”