Professor Green hits out at Bournemouth 'anti-homeless' benches

Media caption,
Bars were fitted to the benches to deter people from lying on them

Rapper Professor Green has joined criticism of bars fitted to public benches in Bournemouth to stop homeless people sleeping on them.

The musician, who has campaigned on homelessness, said it showed there was "nothing done to tackle problem, just something to make it more invisible".

Charity Crisis called the move "hostile architecture" and a "sad indictment".

Bournemouth Borough Council said it had received "numerous complaints" about benches being used by rough sleepers.

Image caption,
Stephen Manderson fronted a BBC Three documentary investigating youth homelessness

A photo of a bench in the town was posted online on Saturday by Bournemouth artist Stuart Semple, who called the benches a "design crime".

Pro Green, real name Stephen Manderson, posted the picture on Instagram.

"What's the message here? 'Hey you poor sods with no safety net ... Cause you won't have the 'comfort' of this bench to sleep on! Ha!'.

"Again, nothing done to tackle the problem, just something to make it more invisible so we can pretend it isn't happening."

Last year, the rapper fronted a BBC Three documentary investigating rising levels of youth homelessness,

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Matt Downie, from Crisis, described it as "hostile architecture".

"It is a sad indictment of how we treat the most vulnerable people in our society.

"Rather than perpetuating people's homelessness, we need to address the root causes of rough sleeping."

Loud music

The council said it had added the bars several months ago following complaints from traders and the public.

"The complaints related to a number of the benches being unavailable to members of the public... due to people lying on them during the daytime."

It added it provided 150 hostel beds for homeless people.

In June 2016, the authority said it had bought one-way train tickets for rough sleepers to help move them out the area and in 2015 the council played loud music to deter rough sleepers at Bournemouth coach station.

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