Anger over studs 'to stop homeless' outside Southwark flats

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Media captionBBC London's Nick Beake has been gauging reaction from residents

Thousands of people have signed a petition urging the mayor to remove studs that are meant to repel rough sleepers from a block of flats.

Residents at the private flats on Southwark Bridge Road, south London, say they appeared a few weeks ago after someone had been sleeping rough there.

The homelessness charity Crisis has called them brutal.

London Mayor Boris Johnson has called on the developer to remove the studs immediately.

Southwark Council said it was aware of the concerns and would look into any health and safety or planning issues.

'Ugly and stupid'

The company that manages the flats has not yet explained why they put them in.

The petition has been signed by more than 4,000 people.

The mayor's spokesman said: "The mayor believes these spikes are ugly, self defeating and stupid.

"Southwark Council are investigating, which is the right thing to do, but the mayor is clear: the developer should see sense and remove the spikes immediately.

"There are far better ways to tackle rough sleeping on London's streets."

'Wrong' message

Homeless charities say the studs, which are a few centimetres tall, are "inhumane".

Katharine Sacks-Jones from Crisis said: "For the last three years in London we've seen a 75% increase in rough sleeping because of a lack of affordable housing and cuts to benefits.

"They're the issues we need to tackle, not putting studs in the pavement, which will do nothing to help people out of homelessness."

One resident, Sandra Kyle, said: "The first time I saw someone lying here, I didn't like it as I didn't like having to walk by them - that sounds very selfish - but when I saw those studs, I thought what a good idea."

However her husband Trevor Kyle, who works in a nearby shelter, said: "A lot of them are my friends and it's almost harmful - if you lie on those you're going to get spiked and it sends out that message, which I think is wrong."

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