The multi-storey car parks in Fareham Town Centre will be secured overnight following complaints from shoppers who feel intimidated by rough sleepers and drug users.
Osborn Road Car Park and the main Shopping Centre car park will close overnight from 1 December. Ahead of this Fareham Shopping Centre Car Park (off Civic Way) will be closed for a few days from 20 November whilst external shutters are fitted and a Security team will patrol overnight in Osborn Road Car Park from 19 November. It is anticipated the Shopping Centre car park will reopen by 24 November.
Extra beds are being funded by Fareham Borough Council and Gosport Borough Council throughout the winter months at Two Saints homeless hostel to encourage those sleeping rough to take up the specialist help that is available at the hostel.
Cleaners have had to clear away needles, bodily fluids and human excreta from public walkways and stairwells at these two car parks and shoppers have reported feeling scared, outraged, frightened or intimidated by rough sleepers and drug users.
Fareham Street Aid, which was launched this year and is a platform for agencies working together to help vulnerable people off the streets, is encouraging shoppers not to give money or goods to rough sleepers but to specialist organisations instead.
Every single rough sleeper in Fareham has been offered support by Fareham Street Aid and a new poster campaign is now underway to urge people to stop giving money to rough sleepers in the hope they will turn to experts for help.
Executive Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Councillor Seán Woodward, said: "The extra winter beds are a valuable resource at this time of the year. We would encourage rough sleepers to take advantage of this extra help and the specialist provision offered at Two Saints. Nobody needs to sleep rough in Fareham.
"We have to respond to the needs of our shoppers to keep them using their high street and have an obligation to businesses to keep trade coming into the town. This measure protects the public and offers help to vulnerable people in need."
However, Osborn Road Car Park and the main Shopping Centre car parks will open Monday to Saturday 7.30am to 6.30pm and 9am to 4.30pm on Sunday. Osborn Road car park will be open for users of Ferneham Hall on event nights.
New signs have also been produced and will be updated daily to ensure car park users are kept fully informed.
For more information about the work of Fareham Street Aid please have a look at the website www.farehamstreetaid.org.uk .
For further information contact:
The Communications Team, Tel: 01329 824310 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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