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Meeting to find solution to rough sleeper outside Deal Town Hall

By Eleanor Perkins

A rough sleeper who is preventing closure of the new £16,000 town hall railings at night will be the focus of an emergency meeting.

The authorities including Deal Town Council, Dover District Council, Kent County Council and the police are expected to meet on Tuesday to find a solution to help the man, believed to be in his 70s.

It comes after another week of him occupying the bench within the Undercroft outside the hall and reportedly using the area to toilet.

A resident who has been helping the man says something must be done
A resident who has been helping the man says something must be done

A spokesman for DDC said: “We are aware of this person and are working with all relevant partner agencies to explore a way forward.”

The town council forked out thousands of pounds of tax payer’s money to pay for the new gates and railings to stop revellers misusing the area as a toilet at night. But since their installation two weeks ago, staff have been unable to close them because the man has stayed put.

Deal Town Council confirmed specialist cleaners continue to be brought in three times a week on market days - Wednesday, Friday and Saturday - to ensure the area is suitable to sell food.

This week, they were also drafted in on a fourth occasion because of the poor state and smell of the area.

The new railings cost £16,000 (1353472)
The new railings cost £16,000 (1353472)

It is thought the man has been offered accommodation before but it was not in Deal.

A member of the public who has been helping him, and didn’t want to be named, said: “They’ve got to do something for him.

“Sending him out of the area won’t work, he will just keep coming back.

“He is very vulnerable and painfully thin. Imagine if it was your father or relative.”

Cllr Mike Eddy is furious
Cllr Mike Eddy is furious

Labour councillor Mike Eddy said: “I’m furious. The people of Deal have been let down by Dover District Council who are the housing authority and Kent County Council’s social services who have a legal duty to provide this man with appropriate care.

“Why haven’t they sorted something out already?

“It is impacting on the council using this space for the public.

“It’s about time those at the top of DDC and KCC sorted this problem.”

Conservative councillor Bob Frost said: “Deal Town Council have had the best part of a year to sort this out and have failed miserably.”

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