COMMENT: Some kind of compromise needs to be reached over homeless man in caravan
She just wanted to do a good deed for someone in need. Becky Catchpowle wasn't using her family's vintage caravan during the winter and it was just sat empty on her drive in Havant.
So, she thought, why not allow a homeless person to use it as shelter free of charge?
A kind gesture, you may think. But Havant Borough Council didn't agree.
Far from applauding her efforts to put a roof over the heads of a man in his 60s and his dog, it threatened the mother-of-two with court action and a fine of up to £5,000.
She received a letter stating that her use of the renovated 1960s caravan was in breach of planning law – despite it being parked on her driveway.
Heavy-handed? It certainly seems that way. So it's little wonder that Becky is digging her heels in and vowing to fight the council 'with everything that I have'. She says she refuses to be 'bullied'.
Apparently, the council sprang into action after a neighbour complained. But wasn't there a better way of approaching this matter than by firing off an officious letter to somebody who only ever had the best of intentions?
Becky said: 'I’m trying to do a good deed and help someone off the street and now I’m being threatened with a £5,000 fine. It’s absolutely outrageous. ‘It’s the council’s fault this man is homeless in the first place.
‘ They haven’t found him anywhere to live. ‘I’m letting him sleep for free while he waits. Now the council want to throw him back on the street.’
Whatever the ins and outs of this case, we really hope that some kind of compromise can be reached .
Because al though we understand that there are guidelines when dealing with homelessness, we can also see why Becky is so annoyed at her treatment when all she w as trying to do was be a good Samaritan.