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Businesses in Dover had enough over disturbances they claim are from a group of homeless people

Businesses in Dover have had enough of broken bottles and urine they claim are from a group of about 10 homeless people living in tents behind Market Square.

The group claims they are not responsible for the anti-social behaviour and they being blamed for the actions of others.

The businesses owners say people been using doorways as a toilet, smashing bottles and intimidating them.

Market Square, Dover
Market Square, Dover

This has been reported to the police and the district council but after five weeks, the number of tents is growing and the group has not been found a home.

La Salle Verte cafe, Bairstow Eves estate agents, The Best Kebab Shop and many other businesses have been affected.

One business owner who asked not to be named said: “We have to deal with rubbish, drinking and shouting.

“I think something should be done. It’s not nice for people coming into Dover.

Around eight tents have pitched up and a group of homeless people are causing a disturbance to businesses
Around eight tents have pitched up and a group of homeless people are causing a disturbance to businesses

“I have spoken to them in the tent and they say the alcohol is from people in the town, not from them.

“He has written a letter to Dover District Council asking for a house. DDC want tourists coming to the town but to see the tents and a lot of people drinking, I don’t think it’s right.”

Bairstow Eves estate agents has also experienced people urinating in the doorway of the firm and fears this will drive custom away.

One business owner, who asked not to be named, said she was scared of repercussions if she confronted the group, or contacted the police.

Graham, Rick and Karen in front of their tents.
Graham, Rick and Karen in front of their tents.

She said: “It’s not going to be long before it’s like Calais. There will hundreds of tents there. They are trespassing on private property but police say they can’t do anything as there is no criminal damage.”

Dover town councillor Peter Wallace has raised the issue with the district council, as the homeless site is on council-owned land.

Cllr Wallace said: “The people living in tents in the high street are living on council land so I feel we have a duty of care to both businesses who are in the high street, and the homeless people, that they deserve to be housed properly.

“It isn’t suitable for anyone to have people living in a tent. It is unhealthy for them and the businesses have reported they are having to clear up rubbish and urine. It’s not acceptable and the council have an obligation to act.

“I have been working with Cllr Pam Brivio and we have contacted local homeless charities and the council to help the people living in tents. It’s a difficult issue and we are working to have it resolved quickly.”

Police confirmed that these issues should be addressed to the council.

DDC spokesman Andy Steele said: “We are aware of this matter and are taking appropriate steps to address this unauthorised use of council land.

“If people are homeless or facing housing issues, they should contact the council by calling into one of our offices or calling the housing team on 01304 872265.”

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