Seven business owners in Hastings have joined forces to call for immediate action over street drinkers.
For three years, businesses in Carlisle Parade and Robertson Terrace have been affected by anti-social behaviour.
Up to 20 people drink in the gardens and shelters in front of their properties on a daily basis, they say.
Siobhan Hanlon, lettings support for Coast Holiday Lets, which has two properties in Robertson Terrace, said issues included people fighting, urinating in doorways, dog fouling, evidence of drug use and bad language.
There have even been instances of people coming in and defecating in the corridors of the property, she said, or trying to sleep in the building.
She said: “Some of the things have been really hideous, really horrible broad daylight stuff.”
She said it was having a significant impact on businesses, with customers leaving bad online reviews because of the street drinkers.
Kevin Tomlin, who has owned Astral Lodge in Carlisle Parade for 18 years, said up to two thirds of his customers were foreign students – some as young as ten years old – and that it was ‘intimidating’ for them.
“People have said to me, ‘I would like to come back here if it wasn’t for them’,” he said.
Siobhan said the issue urgently needed addressing if the town was to remain attractive to tourists.
“This is the main route through Hastings, there are lots of families walking along with their kids,” she said. “It’s such a bad advert for Hastings.”
The business owners have suggested several possible solutions – such as more police patrols, boarding up the shelters or putting in place an exclusion zone.
They want to arrange a meeting with the borough council, police and street wardens as soon as possible to discuss the issue.
A spokesman from Hastings Borough Council confirmed it had received complaints about anti-social behaviour in this area and said: “We have already arranged for the police and the council’s wardens to carry out joint patrolling of these areas, and are looking into deploying a mobile CCTV unit to overlook the area.
“Our community safety manager John Whittington is also arranging a meeting to be attended by the lead complainants and the police and warden management, so we can ensure we fully understand their concerns.
“The area concerned is covered by the council’s existing Anti-social Behaviour Public Spaces Protection Order (ASB PSPO), and so there are a number of enforcement powers that the police and wardens can use to address the issues.
“The council and police will also be working closely with the Hastings Business Crime Reduction Partnership on these issues.”
Colin Fitzgerald, lead councillor for environmental services said: “Ultimately, this will require a multi-agency response that includes agencies from across the statutory and voluntary sectors.
“Hastings Borough Council has been recognised for such work by the police and crime commissioner previously and we will endeavour to continue work to bring agencies together going forwards to find mutually acceptable solutions.”
Town centre manager John Bownas confirmed that preparation work was underway for a new multi-agency approach to support the street community.
Inspector Aidan Cornwall, of the Hastings police prevention team, said: “ We are aware of business owners raising concerns about street drinking on Carlisle Parade and Robertson’s Terrace.
“Sussex Police work closely with the local authority, Business Crime Reduction Partnership and a number of support agencies to reduce the harm caused by those drinking in the streets.
“We are arranging to meet the business owners involved to discuss this problem with them and establish how it can best be resolved. “