City centre issues
Posted on Tuesday 7th May 2019
Newport City Council is fully aware of issues with rough sleepers and beggars in the city centre.
It is a national problem and is not something that the council can deal with on its own so it works with partners, including Gwent Police and homeless charities. to address these issues.
Councillor Debbie Wilcox, leader of the council, said: "We do appreciate that their behaviour can be challenging but these are complicated issues that are not unique to Newport and, sadly, homelessness is on the rise across the UK and there are no easy answers.
"However, we certainly have not been sitting back and doing nothing. A range of work is being carried out in the city centre.
"We are have to try and strike a balance between dealing firmly with those who are being abusive or threatening - and any criminal behaviour should be reported immediately to the police - and those in genuine need and desperation.
"To try and tackle the anti-social issues, the council introduced a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) for the city centre which particularly focussed on aggressive begging and drinking. Gwent Police told full council last week that one person was jailed after repeatedly breaching the order.
"However, the reasons why people beg and sleep rough are complex. Forcing people to move on would not make the problems disappear; it would just transfer them to another location.
"There are a number of services available to help them, and Eden Gate now run a year-round night shelter, but these are dependent on people engaging with council staff or the charities."
The council, together with the private and third sectors, have invested heavily in the city centre to make it more vibrant and viable and there are more projects underway or in the pipeline so we have a stake in making it a safe and welcoming environment.
At the beginning of July, the council will take over the legal responsibility for car parking enforcement and cracking down on illegal parking in the city centre will be one of the priorities.
The council will consider the petition when it is received.
For more information about homelessness services visit www.newport.gov.uk/homelessness;
civil parking enforcement www.newport.gov.uk/cpe; for the PSPO www.newport.gov.uk/pspo