Nicholl welcomes commitment to reinstall bench slats

Alliance Councillor Kate Nicholl has welcomed a commitment to reinstall bench slats at an area used by homeless people.

The bench slats in Jubilee Gardens were removed last week. The area is used by many homeless people to socialise. Following pressure from Councillors including Ms Nicholl, they will now be reinstalled over the Christmas period, with the issue to be looked at again by the Council’s People and Communities Committee in the new year.

“The decision to remove the bench slats was taken by Council officers, without input from the Councillors. I have been liaising with Council since then and gave the opinion the benches should be reinstated immediately unless inter-agency experts advised otherwise.

“Of course the Council must tackle anti-social behaviour but unfortunately, there were aspects of this issue handled poorly by them. That is unfortunate, as there is much excellent work being done by them and others, especially over the winter period.

“Homelessness is an incredibly complex matter, so reducing the debate to being about individual benches is not helpful. Many homeless people go to Jubilee Square to socialise and while some may have substance abuse issues, many don’t and instead just go because other people are there and they feel safe. We must work closely with the relevant agencies and ensure decisions are made with are sensitive and effective for everyone.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *