Rough sleepers move onto Portsmouth roundabout

The Forest of Bere north of Wickham, part of the existing green belt between Fareham and Eastleigh. Picture: Dave Durell

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A SMALL group of rough sleepers have set up camp in the middle of a Portsmouth roundabout.

They moved onto Portsbridge Roundabout, by Cosham, over the last week.

James Gannon, 23, is one of those who have set upo camp under the A27 flyover.

James Gannon, 23, is one of those who have set upo camp under the A27 flyover.

Four tents have been set up underneath the A27 flyover.

Members of the group told The News they had started sleeping there because it felt ‘safer’ than living in the middle of the city.

One of the group, James Gannon, said he had been sleeping on the streets for about four and a half years since a family disagreement led him to leave home.

The 23-year-old, from Portsmouth, said: ‘I came down here about a week ago.

I feel a lot safer here that I did down in Portsmouth.

James Gannon

‘It is peaceful here because you don’t get that many people coming onto the roundabout.

‘You get left alone and you don’t have to worry about your stuff being nicked or someone attacking you at night.

‘I feel a lot safer here that I did down in Portsmouth.’

Charlie Wilson, 24, was made homeless about three months ago after she started inviting rough sleepers into her rented home in Portsmouth for food and showers.

After neighbours complained her landlord terminated her contract and left her without a home.

Before moving onto the roundabout Charlie spent time living in the Foxes Forest area by Hilsea Lines.

She said: ‘I was trying to help the homeless but my landlord didn’t agree with it.

‘The council are not going to help us and I don’t want to go to a homeless shelter.’

A recent report from homelessness charity Crisis claimed the number of people sleeping rough in the UK will quadruple by 2041, from 236,000 in 2016 to 575,000.

Portsmouth City Council previously said a homeless working group had been set up to meet the ‘changing needs’ of rough sleepers.

It is also hoping to run another winter shelter scheme later this year.

As The News reported earlier this week, churches in Portsmouth have announced they will open their doors to the homeless overnight this winter to help the rising number of rough sleepers.