Traders are concerned that rising numbers of people drinking on the streets of Brighton and Hove could put off visitors.

Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce is to hold a debate in association with The Argus on whether the night-time economy is tarnishing the city’s reputation.

It will take place in September at City College Brighton and Hove , in Pelham Street.

Julia Chanteray, president of the Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce, said: “Street drinking can be intimidating and it’s not something we want to see increasing. Brighton and Hove is actually one of the safest places to visit.

“The Business Improvement District has been very successful in dealing with antisocial behaviour in the North Laine area and I’d like see that kind of initiative rolled out across the city.”

Anne Martin, manager of the Palace Pier , said that street drinking was increasing in the area. She said: “We are asking hundreds of people a week to finish their drinks before coming onto the pier.

“The number is going up and it is not to do with it being August. It’s an all year thing. I see signs in the street telling people not to drink but I have never seen anyone stopped.

“When I leave here at 10pm there are always people drinking in the street, and it is not a nice atmosphere.”

David Sewell, chairman of North Laine Traders Association, said that the area around New Road had improved recently.

He said: “The Brighton Business Improvement District has beefed up security and that has helped. I feel sorry for the pier as it seems that people are moved on to other areas of the city rather than the problem being solved.”

Sgt Richard Siggs heads up the Sussex Police taskforce dedicated to tackling the problem of street drinking in Brighton and Hove.

He said: “Street drinking in Brighton, as in other large resorts, often increases in the summer months. We do pay close attention to the issue and will address any problems that arise.

“However it should be remembered that drinking in the street is not in itself an offence and that homeless or transient people are not the only people involved.

“Wherever there are problems of nuisance or crime caused by street drinking we will always respond and are keen to work with local businesses and individuals to help with local issues.”

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: “There is no ban on public drinking in Brighton and Hove. “However a designated public places order is in place to enable the police to confiscate alcohol from drinkers behaving in an antisocial way.”