Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Soup ban remains despite rough sleeping U-turn

Westminster council has backed down on plans to ban rough sleeping in part of the borough, but is pressing ahead with restrictions on soup runs.

The council has announced it is no longer seeking a bye law that would ban rough sleeping in part of Victoria after consulting on the proposals.

On soup runs, it said it will seek a solution with providers, but if none can be found will continue to seek government backing for the section of its proposed bye law that would ban the practice.

The council wants to limit the distribution of free food and drink to homeless people on Westminster Cathedral Piazza. Options being considered alongside an outright ban include limiting the times at which soup runs can operate, or linking them more closely to outreach services.

The proposed ban on soup runs has promoted demonstrations, but some homelessness charities have backed the plan.

Westminster said it received almost 450 responses to its consultation. The rough sleeping element of its proposals received little support, but reaction to the soup run plan was more mixed.

Daniel Astaire, cabinet member for society, families and adult services at Westminster, said: ‘I hope that we can now harness that strength of feeling on both sides of this debate, and put our collective energies towards a solution we can all be satisfied with.’

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