Manchester

Manchester homeless camps banned from city centre

Homeless protest outside justice centre
Image caption Demonstrators gathered outside Manchester Civil Justice Centre

A Manchester City Council application for an injunction to stop the setting up of homeless camps in the city centre has been granted.

Demonstrators have moved around several sites since April to highlight a crisis in temporary housing.

The council's lawyer told the court "trespass, highways and planning laws" were the grounds for the case.

The cost to the council in terms of additional policing, security and legal costs has exceeded £100,000, he added.

Ahead of the hearing, tents were set up and a banner reading "The homeless resistance" was hung outside Manchester Civil Justice Centre.

'Grave and serious'

Protesters said they hoped to be offered "permanent, suitable accommodation".

Some had earlier refused temporary accommodation offered by the council because they said it was "not suitable" and they felt unsafe.

The council said it had engaged with the protestors and had offered them support, but it could not accept anti-social behaviour and disruption to residents and businesses.

Councillor Nigel Murphy added the exclusion order was "designed to prevent the recurrence of camps and not targeted at individual rough sleepers".

He said the council would work with police and court bailiffs to "regain possession" of areas taken over by camps in St Ann's Square and Castlefield as soon as possible.

John Clegg, from Unison's community branch, said there was a lack of social housing in Manchester.

He added: "There is a large amount of money for building private flats, more hotels are going up all the time, but there are no plans to build any social housing. That's wrong. That's absolutely wrong."

"In our view an injunction is a form of gating, and sending out a message that poor people are not wanted and should not be coming in to the city centre."

Image caption Demonstrators had earlier rallied outside the court
Image caption Protesters began sleeping in tents in the city centre in April
Image caption Protestors moved their camp from St Peter's Square to St Ann's Square in May after an eviction was carried out
Image caption Resistant protesters demonstrated against an eviction order in May and covered their faces

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