Zero-tolerance pledge is given on park sleepers

ROUGH sleepers who live in an Aldwick park are to be quickly evicted.

The pledge to keep West Park clear of those 
who want to use it as a home has been made by a senior Arun District Council member.

Cllr Terence Chapman, the council’s cabinet member for environmental services, said: “There is an agreement with the officers of the council that we will use eviction orders. These people are not homeless.

“Once we have got eviction orders for them, they generally move on.”

He said the council was also looking at the prospect of bringing in an Order in Council for its open spaces.

This provides a council with more sweeping powers to deal with those who want to camp on its parks and gardens.

But he told Bognor Regis Civic Society last Friday: “These orders do not cover all parks and open spaces. They have to be site-specific. They have to be taken on a place-by-place basis.”

He said he had agreed with Philippa Dart, the council’s assistant director whose responsibilities include parks, to evaluate the use of the orders. They could take two years to be achieved and needed the government’s backing.

“In the meantime, we will tend to stick to eviction orders. It’s a 
tried and tested method,” he said.

He said the choice of the park resulted from a dispersal order used by the police in central Bognor Regis to clear individuals causing a nuisance on its streets.

The matter had been raised at the meeting 
by Jan Malpas, the chairman of the Friends of West Park

She asked: “Can we have zero tolerance on these sleepers? We had two instances of them in the park recently.”