Left-wing anarchist group Fightback Nottingham have set up a new protest camp in a disused space of land on the Cliff Road. This has followed the eviction notice served to the group originally on Station Street.
Protesters at the site they will not move until the council open up empty buildings for them to stay in this winter.
Alex Lambert who is part of the Operation Safe Winter movement headed by the protest group explains why they have chosen to occupy this space.
Since this camp has been set up, residents of Cliff Road have complained of noise, antisocial behaviour, public urination and even the use of fireworks by protesters.
Some of the original homeless protesters have either been set up in a residence or offered some form of accommodation, but these have mainly been short term – one being a night’s stay in a hotel.
This has followed the announcement of Nottingham City Council’s ‘No second night out’ pledge which means no one will rough sleep on the city’s streets for more than one night.
The pledge is just one part of the Council’s strategy to deal with homelessness in the city.
The pledge commits agencies to:
- Support one point of contact for reporting rough sleepers
- Share learned good practice for rough sleepers with local partners and other councils
- Maintain outreach services across the city
- Ensure the right support is given at the right time
One homeless man, Colin MacDonald explained, “Over the years I’ve had a few periods of homelessness. I’ve been in the care system and stuff like that, so I’m very passionate about the cause.
“As soon as I heard about them down at Station Street I went down to support them”, he continued.
“The shelters offered by the council are not places that you want to be, I wouldn’t want to stay in one of them. You’re in a room with upwards of twenty to thirty people who could do anything to you.”
“There’s so many empty buildings in Nottingham that could be opened up, even if it is just for the winter”
Chaz Culley of Nottingham’s homeless charity Framework, partnered with the City Council, addressed some of these concerns.
“It is possible that some of what these people are saying is true. It’s extremely difficult for us to patrol all rooms where people are staying and especially when dealing with alcoholics and drug users, getting them to cooperate can be even harder.
He added, “We are here to support them, and we do that to the best of our ability offering them help when it comes to securing longer terms of residence outside of hostels and shelters”.
The Council have since applied for a second eviction notice to have the protesters removed from the site.