Equal Rights For George St Licencees & Customers

This petition aims to contest the newly implemented, thoroughly draconian byelaw (not "law"), that Hastings Borough Council with the support of the Police, has forced upon Licencees and Customers in George Street, Hastings with regard to drinking al-fresco at anytime, but particularly after 10pm. If you are not aware, and I am sure many of you are, no longer is it permitted to sit at a table outside the vast majority of licensed premises beyond 10pm. In fact tables are now routinely up-ended so as to make sitting at them impossible, and licencees are threatened with the removal of their licence and livelihood should they not adhere to this. Also if you wish to stand outside any of the licensed premises with a drink, at anytime day or night, then this is now illegal. The byelaw states that you must be sat at a table and if there is no free table, or if it is past 10pm and the tables are up-ended, then you simply must not leave the premises with your drink. Clearly with the new non-smoking laws this is nonsensical and adds to the discomfort of those who either wish to smoke and drink outside, or indeed those non-smokers who purely wish to drink outside. These things are routinely enforced by the Police, on foot and in their patrol cars and vans, or heavy handedly by \"Police\" Community Support Officers - until recently, comparitive strangers to the Old Town. The argument that is presented is that George Street is a residential area and thus due consideration must be given to the residents of George Street. This is nonsense! George Street never has been a residential area, it is a shopping street, and more than that it is perhaps the epicentre of the Old Town itself for tourism (something the Council is meant to be encouraging). There is not a single residence in George Street that is not above a shop, a restaurant or one of the licensed premises. In fact there can be no resident of George Street who has moved into the street without knowing full well that it is not, in any way, a residential street. So this argument does not hold water. It appears odd that Licensed premises in, say, Robertson Street are not treated in the same way. Yet these establishments are permitted to keep their tables outside of their premises until 3 or 4 o\'clock in the morning with all the noise and disturbances that this inevitably creates. Surely people live above the shops in Robertson Street Or perhaps the more sinister and real intention is for the authorities to manouvere people into the town centre so that everyone can be monitored by ever intrusive CCTV cameras and police officers standing outside Debenhams Put simply this petition is to return the rights of George Street Licencees and Customers to enjoy al-fresco, trouble free socialising until 11pm as has always been the case, without fear and hindrance, Sincerely, The Undersigned

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