Calls to turn the clock back on pubs and clubs being able to serve alcohol are to be further investigated by licensing chiefs.
Hartlepool Borough Council’s Licensing Committee is to gather evidence on the pros and cons of introducing an Early Morning Restriction Order (EMRO).
A motion proposed by five councillors asking for an order to prevent pubs and clubs serving alcohol between 2am and 6am went to the latest Full Council meeting.
It was put forward by Councillor Paul Thompson and followed a petition started by Hartlepool resident Stephen Worthy.
The online petition has attracted over 700 signatures calling for an amendment to the existing licensing laws.
The council’s chief solicitor Peter Devlin said under the Licensing Act any request for an EMRO is automatically referred to the Licensing Committee for an evidence gathering exercise.
Mr Devlin said: “It is one of only two situations whereby council gets involved that’s to review and adopt the licensing policy but also to adopt if there is appropriate evidence available an Early Morning Restriction Order.
“The council are empowered to refer this item to the Licensing Committee calling evidence, ultimately for a report to come back to council for its consideration.”
Mr Worthy launched the petition on the change.org website in January in a bid to get town centre bars to revert to 2am closing compared to 4am currently.
He said the later hours had turned parts of the town centre into a ‘ghost town’ and increased violence.