03:00PM, Friday 06 September 2019
A court order has handed Slough Borough Council new powers to tackle alleged anti-social behaviour at a town centre car park.
The council has secured a partial closure order for Herschel Car Park, in Herschel Street, which allows it to issue a notice and remove anyone who is not using the facilities for parking.
Anyone who refuses to go or returns after leaving can be arrested by police.
Rough sleepers are known to take shelter at Herschel Car Park and the council said it is responding to concerns about public safety.
Cllr Mohammed Nazir (Lab, Baylis and Stoke), cabinet member for housing and community safety, said: “It’s been something that people have been complaining about. If there’s a single lady or a female who is parking their car and people are loitering around it can be frightening.
“But we also want to make sure that people who are rough sleeping get sent to temporary accommodation as opposed to sleeping in cold car parks.”
A homelessness support worker in the town said the new measures, which will be in place for three months, will push rough sleepers to the outskirts of the town, leaving them at risk.
Shin Dother, founder and co-ordinator at Slough Outreach, said: “I feel like the new policy is ‘out of sight, out of mind’.
“This is pushing people out of the town as they have nowhere to go, which is why you end up with people camped down the Jubilee River.
“Ultimately, the council needs a 12-month night shelter so these people don’t have to be sleeping rough.”
The partial closure order also covers a private parking area in Victoria Street.
A Slough Borough Council spokeswoman said: “A partial closure order has been issued by the courts, for both car parks, which gives us the powers to issue a notice and remove anyone using the car park not for its purpose.
“If they return or refuse to leave then the police can then arrest them.
“Notices have been placed around the car park and give full details.
“It has been issued for three months and we may extend this if we have any further issues with anti-social behaviour.”
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