Rough sleep­ers set up camp next to mo­tor­way


Kentish Express Ashford & District - - The Hump’s Been Shrunk - By Ai­dan Bar­low

Res­i­dents say a rough sleep­ers’ camp­site along­side the mo­tor­way re­sem­bles a minia­ture ver­sion of the Calais Jun­gle.

Tents have been seen in ar­eas of wood­land next to the mo­tor­way at Cradle­bridge Drive in Willes­bor­ough, with re­ports of other ram­shackle sites around the bor­ough.

Res­i­dent Ben Sharp was among those who spot­ted the camp, and fears for the safety of those liv­ing there and for mo­torists on the M20 as smoke from the camp­fires drifts across the car­riage­way.

He said: “It is quite trou­bling, when I first saw it I said it looked a bit like a mini jun­gle, and no one be­lieved me.

“There seem to be about five peo­ple liv­ing there, and I think there could also be chil­dren. It’s wor­ry­ing for the health and hy­giene side, as one area of the woods is strewn with toi­let pa­per, and there is a river which runs through where I think they use for wash­ing.

“I would like to see the coun­cil evict them and re­home them if that’s pos­si­ble, or be given a par­cel of land rather than just turf­ing them out onto the streets.”

The news of rough sleep­ers fol­lows the tragic death of 49-year-old Sean Brady, whose body was found in a car park un­der the Stour Cen­tre ear­lier this month.

But coun­cil bosses say they are aware of the group, and say out­reach work­ers are on the streets work­ing to help the home­less around the bor­ough.

A coun­cil spokesman said: “Home­less­ness preven­tion work is crit­i­cal not only for the re­silience of our own hous­ing stock but of course to the peo­ple con­cerned

“In th­ese spe­cific cases, the Porch­light out­reach worker is li­ais­ing with the peo­ple at the sites in ques­tion. The po­lice are also aware as there has been some re­ports of an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour.

“His­tor­i­cally, Ash­ford has not had a large num­ber of peo­ple sleep­ing rough and the coun­cil’s proac­tive range of mea­sures is key to that.

“Talk­ing to them can be the first step in them mak­ing pos­i­tive changes to their lives and mov­ing away from street home­less­ness for good.”

What do you think? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, Unit 4, Park Mall Shop­ping Cen­tre, Ash­ford..TN24 8RY or email ken­tish­ex­press@thek­m­group.

Pic­ture: Ben­jamin Sharp

The home­less camp on the M20

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