Council’s response to ‘tent city’ protest

Leeds, Leeds Star

Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities, said:

“We’ve been clear that no one has to sleep rough in Leeds as there is accommodation and support available and our priority remains providing vulnerable people with the help they need.

“We’d prefer the group to disband voluntarily, however, they clearly wish to continue their protest. Continually going to court to move people on is costly and unproductive as there are few, if any, locations in a city as diverse as Leeds where the camp wouldn’t cause some level of disruption to residents and businesses.

“Allowing the protesters to temporarily use the International Pool site for an interim six week period is not ideal but is the least worst option. As throughout this protest, we’re committed to engaging with the group so everyone that needs assistance gets it. The group have committed to working with agencies to ensure this happens.

“We don’t support the idea of a permanent tented city as is doesn’t resolve the issue or address the challenge of being able to engage with people who have a range of complicated problems that need various support and health services to help them to a better life.

“If, at the end of the six week period, everyone’s best endeavours haven’t resulted in the group disbanding voluntarily from the site, we’ll look at the legal options available to us as we have to balance the needs of the vulnerable alongside those of other residents and businesses in the city.”