Sheffield City Council have served notice on the people living in tents at Park Hill.
The notices which are dotted around the estate advise they must leave by 4pm on 1st January 2017.
It would appear the city council think that by moving a problem elsewhere it might go away. Most of us know that such an approach is not only negative but also an ineffective use of money and resources. Money and resources that could be better spent providing meaningful sustainable solutions.
The people living in tents are without homes and have nowhere else to go. Taking legal action against vulnerable people is not a solution to a growing crisis. A crisis which extends well beyond tent city and the boundaries the council have drawn as a red line on a map of Park Hill estate. Perhaps the red line on the map is symbolic of the red tape surrounding everything the council do or don’t do!
The tents at Park Hill are pitched in front of boarded up housing. Housing that is likely to remain empty for years. Perhaps a better solution might be to open a few of the flats as a winter shelter and support people back into settled accommodation. An eviction on the 1st January is not only heavy handed but is also unnecessary. The most obvious question is, what will an eviction achieve? The other questions raised by this notice are many. Not least those about the approach of Sheffield City Council. It is shocking that in 2016 people are living in tents outside empty usable housing!
The good folk of Sheffield have generally been supportive of the people living at tent city. Their compassionate approach to people living outside in the depths of winter has resulted in many donations of food, money, clothes, tents and other useful items. One local company even donated some portable toilets. To most of us that would seem like such a practical and meaningful donation. The toilets were being managed properly and cleaned regularly, right up until the point Sheffield City Council had them removed!
Earlier this year, in a very separate issue, we saw, how heavy handed tactics were used by the council to cut down trees. Where the council knocked on peoples doors at 5am and where elderly local residents were arrested. Money was spent in planning meetings and on hiring police and tow trucks! In 2016 the council no longer seem to be accountable to the people they are appointed to serve and it is becoming increasing unclear in whose interests they are acting?
Views of the empty housing at Park Hill in 2016 can be viewed on Little Bits of Sheffield HERE
There is a Facebook page with more information about what is happening at tent city HERE. A quick search on Google will take you to the many articles that have appeared in the local press and online.