WITH reference to J Davis’ letter concerning Hotham Park (Observer, May 24) I am a ‘vagrant’ as you would term it, and feel I ought to respond.
By their very nature, ‘vagrants’ do not stay in one place: they wander. In my case, I am often to be seen around Sussex, Hampshire and Dorset and am well-known in all of these places to be a generally harmless eccentric.
I don’t claim benefits, and support myself by doing odd jobs, frequently very inexpensively. I’m available for hire, by the way.
You may occasionally see me in Hotham Park or on the High Street waiting for buses. I’m the one with two large bags who you will often see picking up litter. Please feel free to say hello, I don’t bite.
Litter is dropped by all manner of people, and given that ‘vagrants’ represent a very small proportion of the population it follows that most of it cannot be attributable to them.
As for ‘vagrants’ being directed from Littlehampton to Bognor, this is simply not the case. Indeed, they would normally be directed to Chichester or Worthing where there is a support structure for them. An exception is the extreme cold weather shelter in Bognor, but this only opens a few nights a year.
I think that what the writer is commenting on is a group of (presumably under-employed) people using the park as a gathering place. While they may be a public nuisance, they aren’t truly ‘vagrants’ although they seem to cause considerable offence.
The question is, what to do with them since they are just using (and not necessarily abusing) a public facility.
There is an alcohol restriction in Bognor – perhaps a couple of extra police patrols and confiscations might help the problem? And let us not forget that these people used to congregate in the recently-demolished beach shelter at the Eastern end of the promenade – effectively, the council appear to have just moved the problem on rather than deal with it.
Does anyone have any further ideas on how to deal with this problem?