Nottingham

Nottingham City Council accused of trying to 'ban homelessness'

Homeless person Image copyright PA
Image caption The city council said it has increased its long-term commitment to provide a dedicated outreach team to help homeless people

A human rights group has accused Nottingham City Council of attempting to "ban homelessness".

Liberty claims a new Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) will mean people are forbidden from giving food to rough sleepers.

Lara ten Caten from the group said the PSPO, which is under consultation, suggests homeless people obstructing doorways could be fined.

However, the council has denied targeting the homeless.

It said the PSPO will be used instead to tackle businesses and charities distributing nuisance leaflets and flyers.

The authority said it was looking to manage anti-social behaviour within a "restricted zone" in the city centre.

One part of the council's PSPO concerns "distributing free matter to a person or persons not known", which Ms Caten claimed would prevent "kindness".

Image caption Four council posters put up in 2016 were banned by the Advertising Standards Authority

She said: "What Nottingham council is trying to do is to ban homelessness. They are trying to ban people from obstructing any building.

"Why are they trying to forbid people from giving things to people? They have very, very broad conditions."

A council spokesman said: "It seems Liberty have leapt to the conclusion that we intend to use this PSPO like some other councils to target the homeless - we can assure them that's not the case."

The council previously came under fire for anti-begging posters which "demonised" the homeless and were banned by the Advertising Standards Authority.

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