Yesterday in Brighton and Hove Housing and Homelessness Campaigner Daniel Harris discovered newly installed benches next to the new Edward Street Quarter development.
Some might ask what is wrong with these benches, however Daniel Harris explained; "This new design is cleary deliberate to fend off and rough sleepers who want to bed down on a public bench for the night. I cannot believe the council could be so insensitive to the current crisis we face with rough sleeping in the city."
In Brighton and Hove campaigners say there are over 180 rough sleepers now and this is increasing every single year. These new benches come after other controversial meansures taken against the homeless, last year the council introduced Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO's) which canpaigners describe as ASBOs for the homeless.
Campaigner Daniel Harris said "I call on Geoff Raw to immedietly remove these benches and replace them with the benhces we have always had in Brighton and Hove. I am certain these are anti equality and do infact show the council are willing to even think about this rather than redirect this waste of money spent toi actually helping to house these rough sleepers.
Two of the ward councillors have responded on Twitter to this issue.
Hello, we have said we don't agree with installing arm rests on benches. We weren't aware of benches being installed around the old amex site.— Daniel Chapman (@Chapman_Dan) March 1, 2018
Please be assured we are urgently looking into this. I am not clear yet whether it is the council or the site developers who installed them. We can only imagine they were installed in good faith but we will of course seek to have them removed/replaced.— Karen Barford (@karenbarford) March 1, 2018
Then Councillor Clare Moonan responded with this tweet.
These are not Council benches and are not on Council land. We have no control over this private space. We do not have a policy of installing benches that are anti rough sleepers!! https://t.co/wmAtd2eS89— Cllr Clare Moonan (@CCmoonan) March 2, 2018
In an interesting development the new developers First Base responded on twitter with this tweet:
These were not installed by @FirstBaseUrban and we have no involvement in these in any way.— First Base (@FirstBaseUrban) March 2, 2018
The fact is locals in Brighton and Hove and doing absolutely everything out of the kindness of there hearts to help relieve the suffering of the homeless, we have the worst issue across the country and this is a kick in the
face to locals.
One said on a petition: "It’s completely wrong to prevent people, whether they’re homeless or not, lying down on these benches. If you won’t provide somewhere for homeless people to sleep what do you expect them to do?"
With local business concerned as well with these recent developments and anti-homele ss measures, Daniel set up a petition to have these benches removed. Over 3000 people have so far signed within 24 hours. You can sign the petition here.