MULTI-STOREY car parks will be closed overnight following complaints of rough sleepers and drug users – but the decision has been met with mixed reactions.
Fareham Borough Council will secure the multi-storey car parks with external shutters in the town centre after shoppers have reported feeling intimidated by rough sleepers and drug users.
Cleaners have had to clear away needles, bodily fluids and human excreta from public walkways and stairwells.
But resident Rachel Clark has been left horrified by the news.
The 48-year-old said: ‘I walked past with my daughter and we saw the shutters being put in and we were absolutely horrified.
‘It is incredibly sad that it has led to this and the homeless are being pushed out of the only place they go which is very upsetting.’
Fareham Shopping Centre Car Park (off Civic Way) will be closed for a few days from November 20 whilst external shutters are fitted and a security team will patrol overnight in Osborn Road Car Park from November 19.
It is anticipated the Shopping Centre car park will reopen by November 24.
Jenny Fletcher said: ‘Sean Woodward is conflating the problem of drug users and homeless people. They are two different problems and need two separate solutions.’
Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Councillor Seán Woodward, said: ‘We have to responded to the needs of our shoppers to keep them using their high street and have an obligation to businesses to keep trade coming into the town.’
Extra beds are set to be funded by Fareham Borough Council and Gosport Borough Council throughout the winter months at Two Saints homeless hostel to encourage those sleeping rough to take up specialist help.
Cllr Woodward added: ‘The extra winter beds are a valuable resource at this time of the year. We would encourage rough sleepers to take advantage of this extra help and the specialist provision offered at Two Saints.’
Robyn Kirk was previously homeless in Gosport and thinks the car park closure is a good idea.
She added: ‘Giving them an alternative place to go means they can get help and stops drug use in the town centre.’
Osborn Road Car Park and the main Shopping Centre car parks will be open Monday to Saturday 7.30am to 6.30pm and 9am to 4.30pm on Sunday from December 1.
Osborn Road car park will be open for users of Ferneham Hall on event nights.