Draconian measures slammed
Charities have criticised plans to install railings outside the National Records of Scotland (NRS) building in Edinburgh to deter homeless people as "inhumane."
The metal railings are often used to deter homeless people as well as anti-social beahaviour.
West Register House on Charlotte Square, an A-listed building, has had problems with people using needles, drinking and defecating in its alcoves.
However it is perceived homeless people are the source of the problem leading Edinburgh Council to take action.
Richard Roncero founder of the homeless charity Steps to Hope, wants the safety of the homeless to be considered. He says the area is somewhere that homeless people feel less at risk due to CCTV.
He said: “My initial thought when I heard about the planning application was that we are limiting the safe places where homeless people can sleep even more.
“Nobody would want rough sleepers on their premises, but it’s important to remember that we are talking about people who have no homes.
“When you are living on the street it all comes down to survival and safety and people have to go where they feel least at risk.”
Kate Campbell, an Edinburgh councillor and convener on housing and homelessness, said there were only around 10 rough sleepers in the city.
However a spokesperson for Shelter questioned that if this is the case why such draconian measures were being taken.
A Shelter spokesman said: “It is difficult to understand why on the one hand there is apparently such a big problem of rough sleepers that would warrant such draconian and inhumane action by the authorities, while on the other hand we are told rough sleeping is not a problem and only 10 people are to blame.
“Making it more dangerous for people on the streets will only make it harder to put them on the path to housing that they need.”
A spokesman for NRS said: “There has been a number of incidents of anti-social behaviour at West Register House over a number of years.
“NRS has worked with Police Scotland to manage these incidents. Our priority is the safety of building users and the protection of this listed building.”