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Council withdraws report on rough sleeping strategy

A homelessness support strategy which suggested fining rough sleepers for leaving their belongings in the street and aggressive begging has been withdrawn.

The Royal Borough’s cabinet had been due to discuss its ‘Rough Sleeping Support and Anti-Social Behaviour’ plan at a meeting next week.

It proposed introducing a public space protection order (PSPO) which would ban aggressive begging and leaving bedding unattended in public in Windsor, Ascot, Eton and Maidenhead town centres.

Failure to comply with the PSPO would see people fined £100 and faced with court action.

The council announced today (Wednesday) that the paper has been withdrawn for further consideration following feedback from the public and councillors.

A council spokesman said: “The further work will result in two papers to March cabinet to ensure there is no conflation of the council’s separate objectives of supporting rough sleepers and refreshing the approach to tackling anti-social behaviour.”

Cllr Lynne Jones (Independent, Old Windsor) said the two issues of rough sleeping and anti-social behaviour should not have been grouped together in the original strategy which was discussed at the council’s Crime and Disorder Overview and Scrutiny Panel last week.

She said: “It’s two completely different strategies and the rough sleeper aspect needs more work.

“I haven’t got a problem with issuing fines for anti-social behaviour in the town centre but if you’ve got people who are true rough sleepers the support needs to be there first.”

Murphy James, manager of the Windsor Homeless Project, added: “I think the main problem is the fact they brought this strategy to the Crime and Disorder Overview and Scrutiny Panel.

“There’s nothing criminal about rough sleeping.”

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