Wrexham council spends £30,000 on metal gates to stop homeless people camping outside its offices
- Wrexham County Borough Council spent the money to stop homeless camping
- A spokesperson said it was carried out following complaints from the public
- But homelessness charities have slammed the move calling it ‘stigmatising’
A council has been slammed after spending £30,000 on metal gates to stop homeless people camping outside its offices.
Wrexham County Borough Council (WCBC) was criticised after erecting the black metal gates at its Guildhall HQ and their nearby offices.
Council bosses said it was in response to complaints about anti-social behaviour from the public but homeless charity Shelter Cymru blasted the move and said the money should have been spent helping the homeless not stigmatising them.
A council has been slammed after spending £30,000 on metal gates to stop homeless people camping outside its offices. Wrexham County Borough Council (WCBC) was criticised after erecting the black metal gates at its Guildhall HQ and nearby offices
WCBC chief executive Ian Bancroft, said: ‘The issue of installing fencing was due to a specific problem of rough sleepers and was taken forward as a result of complaints from the public due to anti-social behaviour and the issue of risk to staff and public.
‘This work has been done alongside the actions taken to support individuals into sustainable housing solutions.’
A member of the public who supported the move said: ‘Its about time. They have put them there to stop the homeless sleeping there.
‘I have seen all kinds of mess outside the building including human faeces, it was disgusting. It looks a lot better now and I don’t have concerns about the cost, it had to be done.’
But a Shelter Cymru spokesman said: ‘Shelter Cymru believes that you cannot ‘design out homelessness ‘.
Council bosses said it was in response to complaints about anti-social behaviour from the public but homeless charity Shelter Cymru blasted the move and said the money should have been spent helping the homeless not stigmatising them
‘The use of hostile architecture in certain spaces chimes with a wider intolerance of people sleeping rough.
‘It sends a message to people who are vulnerable and in desperate situations that they are not wanted. At the most all it achieves is to push a visible issue out of sight.
‘We believe that everyone is entitled to a safe, secure and affordable home.
‘The resources spent on designing, installing and maintaining these barriers would be better spent on addressing the root causes of homelessness to prevent it from occurring in the first place; and ensuring that where it does occur, meaningful solutions are on offer.’
A spokesman for Wrexham Homeless said they were ‘shocked’ by the move.
‘Wouldn’t it be better spent tackling the issues instead of putting up gates.’ they said.
‘l am sure the £30,000 could be better spent By facing the issues and dealing with them in the correct manner.’
The spokesman added: ‘Other towns have done similar things and all it does is move the problem to another areas and make it very unsafe for vulnerable people exposing them to attacks.
‘Many street people are vulnerable and congregate in such areas because they are well lit and busy through the night.
‘Erecting gates will make these people even more vulnerable, removing shelter and a place of relative safety. It is very unfortunate that Wrexham council chooses to spend this amount of money in this way.
‘That could go towards some emergency accommodation or supporting street people in an empty building over the winter, of which Wrexham has many’.
Wrexham council has cut £62m since 2008 and reduced the workforce by more than 600 people and faces further budget cuts of between £5.5m to £7.2m in 2019/20. Meanwhile Wrexham is still struggling with a homeless problem.
In March this year (2019) North Wales Live reported how the region’s largest town, had the highest number of homeless deaths in Wales.
During summer this year, people living rough also spoke about the violence, stigma and the hardships they faced, in Wrexham.
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