06:02PM, Thursday 21 April 2016
Complaints about users of a homeless shelter publicly urinating and dropping syringes has prompted frustrated residents to start a petition calling for it to be relocated.
The petition, which will be submitted to Slough Borough Council, has been signed by the majority of residents of Burlington Avenue and Burlington Road.
It calls for the homeless centre at Serena Hall to be relocated to a non-residential area.
The demands have resulted from residents’ frustration at anti-social behaviour and littering by users of the centre.
Run by charity Slough Homeless Our Concern (SHOC), Serena Hall provides care for rough sleepers and people with other problems, including mental health and alcohol issues.
Residents, who have been documenting the ongoing issue on community website ‘Streetlife’, were supportive of SHOC’s work but complained of frequent bad behaviour outside the centre’s opening hours.
Zac Hussain, 40, of Burlington Avenue, who started the petition, told the Express: “Those involved go into Serena Hall and when they leave there’s an off-licence on Burlington Road.
“They get intoxicated in the car park and if anyone walks past they get a mouthful.”
He added one of the residents in Burlington Avenue installed a high security fence because syringes and used condoms were thrown into his garden.
Mr Hussain added: “Nobody wants one of their kids picking up a syringe or a used condom. That’s what we’re up against.”
CEO of SHOC, Steve Hedley, said: "We appreciate residents' concern for homeless people and we share their concerns about the service’s positioning, particularly its proximity to families.”
Mr Hedley added SHOC had requested Thames Valley Police to make the area a dispersal zone, to prevent people from hanging around the area, but the force had rejected this request.
Mr Hedley added: “We’ve always welcomed comments from local residents and would welcome direct contact from anyone with any concerns."
A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: “Over the last year, we have worked to ensure policies and procedures are in place by SHOC to minimise anti-social behaviour.
“Whilst this has been largely successful, we are aware of recent issues and a review is under way.”
A Slough Borough Council spokesman said that they were aware of the ongoing issues and have been working with SHOC for some time to find a solution.
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