Gloucestershire

Cheltenham Festival: Council 'cannot book homeless into hotels'

Rough sleeper Image copyright PA
Image caption Stroud District Council said booking temporary accommodation in hotels during the Cheltenham Festival was a problem

Homeless people are being forced out of hotels in Gloucestershire to make room for punters during the Cheltenham Festival, a council has admitted.

Many hotels have been fully booked by racegoers and some put their prices up.

"Booking temporary accommodation for homeless households is a problem for us and some other councils", Stroud District Council said.

Volunteer Steve Gower, who supports the homeless in Gloucestershire, said councils should be "better prepared".

"Generally speaking, securing hotel rooms as temporary accommodation during very busy periods such as the National Hunt Festival is a problem for us and some other councils in Gloucestershire," a Stroud council spokesperson said.

"There is no way of knowing months in advance what accommodation we will need to provide and it is therefore not practicable to block book hotel rooms a long way in advance."

'Same as last year'

Mr Gower said one of the men he supports told him he had been moved to a hotel in Bristol because of the "horse racing".

He said: "The motel that he's currently in, in Gloucester, is fully booked, mainly due to the Gold Cup. I had a similar scenario last year, with someone who had the same issues.

"I thought, a year on, they might have learned their lessons by now - but obviously it doesn't seem to be that way.

"With all the will in the world, for a short stop, they're okay but surely in the long term, we've got to be thinking of permanent supported living for the people that come off the streets and especially their physical and mental health needs."

Stroud council said it was "working on a plan to secure a property to use as temporary accommodation for homeless households".

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