Homeless People Have Set Up Camp In An Ely Park
A GROUP of homeless people have set up camp in an Ely park are turning the area into an eyesore, according to nearby residents. Pocket Park, situated off Cresswells Lane, has been used by the city s homeless population as a makeshift camp at various point
A GROUP of homeless people have set up camp in an Ely park are turning the area into an eyesore, according to nearby residents.
Pocket Park, situated off Cresswells Lane, has been used by the city's homeless population as a makeshift camp at various points throughout the last few months and nearby residents and dog walkers have become increasingly concerned.
Jill Constance, who regularly walks her dog at the park, told the Ely Standard: "I have arrived to walk my dog on some occasions and have been greeted with a torrent of abuse that has caused me to get back in my car and drive straight home.
"From what I can see homeless people have set up camp there and are dumping a lot of rubbish. They also use the area as a toilet which is not very nice for the residents and people who want to walk there."
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The park is due for a major redevelopment as it has been earmarked as part of East Cambridgeshire District Council's (ECDC) new country park scheme. Plans for a new play area, walkways, wooded areas and a visitor's centre are already in place.
Despite the plans for rejuvenating the area, Malcolm Green, who regularly walks his dog in the park, believes people sleeping rough will need to be moved on,
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"When the area was largely open ground it wasn't such an issue but if the council want to build a children's play park there it will have to move the rough sleepers off permanently because it could become unhygienic, he said.
"They are using the area as a toilet and a lot of dog walkers have found that their dogs have been getting sick shortly after visiting the park which would be even more dangerous if children are there.
"I also think the authorities need to look into why people have to sleep rough in the park and if they could be helped into better accommodation."
Jane Hollingworth, head of housing at ECDC, said: "We had previously received complaints about a group of people who had been sleeping in Pocket Park - they were moved to alternative accommodation and the area was cleared up. We have since had a further report of people staying in the park which we are now investigating.
Should this group be causing a nuisance they will be moved on."
According to the latest statistics for homelessness in the East of England, which cover the period of July-September 2009, some 1,890 people were recognised by local authorities as being owed a homelessness duty.
The statistics show that in East Cambridgeshire during that period, 16 people were recognised by ECDC as needing assistance. By comparison there were 38 people who were accepted in Cambridge and 21 in Fenland.
WHAT DO YOU THINK
Are you shocked that there people sleeping rough in Ely? Should they be moved on?