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Poole and Bournemouth Homeless Decisions Condemned

by Gerry Lynch last modified 05 Feb, 2018 05:14 PM

Bishop and Diocesan figure criticise Poole exclusion zone and Bournemouth bench bars

Poole and Bournemouth Homeless Decisions Condemned

Photo (C): Benjamin Brock, used under Creative Commons 3.0.

Dorset’s resident Bishop has criticised Poole Borough Council for seeming to ignore local responses to a proposal to impose draconian restrictions on rough sleepers in the town.

Meanwhile, another Diocesan figure has criticised Bournemouth Borough Council for installing metal bars on benches to stop people sleeping on them.

The Bishop of Sherborne, the Rt Revd Karen Gorham, said, “I am disappointed that Poole Borough Council seems to have ignored all that people have said in the consultation on its proposed Public Space Protection Order for Poole Town Centre, and even more deeply disappointed that they seem to have tried to slip this decision out beyond public notice.

“I know that many local people and charities highlighted the vulnerability of the increasing number of homeless in the town in responding to the consultation. This decision makes homeless people even more vulnerable by a limit to the number of hours rough sleepers can bed down for the night.”

Colin Brady, Social Justice Programme Manager for the Diocese, said,  “As well as the decision to press ahead with the PSPO against opposition from local people in Poole, in Bournemouth over the past few days we have seen alterations to public space to create a hostile environment for homeless people. This will anger many local people.

“Neither of these approaches will make anyone safe, get anyone off the streets, help anyone into making a new life for themselves. With local government reorganisation on the cards, these two councils should work together now to create solutions rather than new problems for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

“Charities and local churches provide amazing services to care for people living on our streets and support them into new lives. We need a strategic conversation about how local authorities can be part of that partnership rather than exacerbating the problem.”

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