Obstruction to public footway

There is a proliferation of restaurants in Horsham town centre where their businesses have been allowed to extend onto the public right of way so as to obstruct the footpath/pavement.

I am told by one of the offenders that they are allowed to place tables and chairs outside their premises. I was not told by whom!

Surely this situation is in conflict with common law, disability discrimination legislation, and health and safety legislation.

For example, in common law, street trading has to be licensed. One is not allowed to obstruct a public right of way permanently or semi-permanently without permission of the local authority.

Business premises cannot encroach onto a public pavement in such a way as to impair the rightful access of the general public.

Disability discrimination legislation is breached if the right of way enjoyed by public access is impaired in any way to that which has been previously accessed by the general public.

Interpreted as obstruction for wheelchairs, invalids walking aids, blind persons who use a sounding stick, etc.

Health and safety legislation could also be breached as parents would have to push baby carriages into the roadway.

There is also a danger that the obstacles placed around the tables and chairs further extend beyond the area so used.

I pose this problem for comment by anyone else who is concerned about this menace.

G. ETHERIDGE

Worthing Road, Southwater