Benches to go as council takes ‘hard line’ on anti-social behaviour in town centre

Town centre benches are being removed from the streets in a bid to clamp down on anti-social behaviour.

Tomorrow (Friday 11th) Hastings Borough Council (HBC) will be remove benches from outside Jempsons, that are currently seen as a hot-spot for anti-social behaviour and activity and are causing problems for the businesses in the town, their staff, visitors and residents. 

HBC says in the last six months the council has been stepping up its efforts to tackle anti-social behaviour. Wardens have been enforcing the council’s borough-wide Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO), prioritising the town centre and working closely with police. In that time they have issued 42 community protection written warnings and 22 full community protection notices, with 19 of these being specifically for drinking related offences.

Benches outside Jempsons are a a hot-spot for anti-social behaviour so will be removed.

The council is also waiting on a number of court proceedings, delayed due to the impact of Covid-19, including applications for Criminal Behaviour Orders for the worst street drinking offenders in town. 

Councillor Paul Barnett, lead councillor for urban environment and community safety, says: “There is a small anti-social minority who congregate on these benches in the town centre. They become abusive among themselves and to passers-by. It can seem very threatening and intimidating to staff, visitors and residents.

“I am really glad that we are taking this action and reclaiming this space with the removal of these benches. It is an action that sends a message: we won’t tolerate abusive anti-social behaviour in our town.

“This action is just the start. We anticipate a series of court cases soon and will continue to press for enforcement action against serious anti-social behaviour. We are increasing our staff presence in Wellington Place and will ensure that the public feel they can safely shop and enjoy the café culture there.

“However the council has only limited powers to deal with some aspects of anti-social behaviour, which is why it is so important that we continue to work closely with partners such as the police to tackle this issue, and that they continue to do what they can.”

Town centre manager John Bownas added: “Businesses in the town centre are being effectively blighted by this small group of anti-social individuals. While everyone has a right to use public spaces, the sort of behaviour we see almost daily from these drinkers isn’t something that shoppers ought to have to tolerate.

“It’s sad that this latest step has become necessary, as on the rare occasions when the drinkers are not around these benches get used by other members of the public. We hope that the authorities and support agencies can help the worst offenders change their ways so that the benches can be put back in the foreseeable future.”

Do you think the council is taking appropriate action? Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

8 thoughts on “Benches to go as council takes ‘hard line’ on anti-social behaviour in town centre


  2. No it won’t. They will just move somewhere else. Such as over priory meadow. Or Iceland. This cou cil need a shake up. Its not the benches that need moving it’s the alcholics/druggies that need to be moved on. All this is going to do is stop people such as elderly, disabled etc from sitting down. Why should we suffer because of them. It’s a total disgrace.

  3. Bloody stupid. All sectors of the community use or need these benches. Young children, pregnant mums, disabled, elderly, people enjoying the sun and sitting and chatting. Great plan by the council; hike up the parking charges astronomically and remove the benches that make the shoppers lives easier, and in many cases, actually facilitate shopping. 1st class strategy to turn the Hastings into a ghost town ?

  4. Really awful. Now it’s unsafe for older people to go inside cafes, the council remove safe outdoor seats where people with mobility problems could rest. This is an attack on older and disabled people as well as the homeless.

  5. I think its disgusting to take away benches
    Taking away the benches is not going to solve the problem
    Deal with the culprits whose causing this with a firm hand
    The council are penalizing the elderly and the disabled

  6. Removing benches doesn’t solve anything, it was done in St Leonard’s a few years ago and nothing changed. Those causing the problems just sat on steps etc.

  7. Words fail me here, though I will give it a try. If Councillors really think removing the benches will long term solve the problem then these Councillors are the people who should be removed. Firm Policing is the only way to get rid and stay rid of the lowlife who make others lives unpleasant.

  8. Here we have Cllr Barnett telling us this is a “small anti social minority.” Well if that is the case then why has the council had to go to this extreme and remove benches.
    I see the Town Manager bleating on about this small group tarnishing the area.
    so it must be a bigger problem and if only a small group where are the police. Or is there time too valuable to deal with a load of drunks.
    You get a crowd like this down on the seafront area along the Marine court area on fair weather days. Gluging away in the morning but nobody does anything about them.

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