West Bridgford rough sleeper plans: Petition bid to stop 'cruel' council

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Man sleeping roughImage source, Oli Scarff/Getty Images
Image caption,
Rushcliffe Borough Council says rough sleepers have been "causing a nuisance"

A petition has been signed by over 2,000 people protesting against "cruel and heartless" plans to fine rough sleepers in an affluent suburb.

Rushcliffe Borough Council said rough sleepers had been "causing a nuisance" in West Bridgford, a suburb of Nottingham.

Kevin Sanders said his wife Paula had set up the petition as she was "incensed" by the plans.

Other councils have backtracked on similar proposals following campaigns.

'Worth a try'

Mr Sanders said he and his wife "found it abhorrent" that the council was thinking of introducing a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO).

Rushcliffe Borough Council said the fixed penalties were a "last resort".

If people fail to pay the initial £100 fixed penalty notices they can be prosecuted, with the maximum fine being £1,000.

"There was a very, very similar petition in Hackney and it actually stopped the law coming into place," Mr Sanders told BBC Radio Nottingham.

"I know a lot of people kind of look down on petitions and think you're not going to get anywhere but in this case there is precedent.

"So it is worth a try either way."

Another petition, also set up by someone from Nottingham, has attracted over 200 signatures.

Image source, OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images
Image caption,
West Bridgford is home to international cricket ground Trent Bridge

The PSPO will be used to control street drinking and rough sleeping across a large area of West Bridgford and a small area of neighbouring Edwalton.

But Mr Sanders does not believe it should even be introduced as he does not consider rough sleeping to be "as anti-social" as things like vandalism.

Councillors have approved the plans, which they say are due to come into force "shortly".

David Banks, from the borough council, said: "The Public Spaces Protection Order has been brought in to help tackle anti-social behaviours associated with street drinking and rough sleeping which have been causing a nuisance in public spaces in West Bridgford."

Image caption,
West Bridgford is a leafy suburb south of Nottingham and the River Trent