Council to review park bench removal

Benches at Jubilee Square, at the junction of Victoria Street and High Street were removed. Picture by Mal McCann

BELFAST City Council will today host a meeting to review its decision to remove benches used by rough sleepers.

The council is coming under pressure to reinstall the benches from elected representatives.

They were taken from Jubilee Square last week as part of "general improvements" aimed at reducing "potential for anti-social behaviour". Only the concrete slabs remain in place.

The move followed complaints to the council from businesses and public about anti-social behaviour and crowds gathering in the area. The small square stands at the junction of Victoria Street and High Street.

The council will today host a meeting that will be attended by organisations including the PSNI, Housing Executive and bodies representing the homeless.

"Belfast City Council takes the issue of homelessness seriously and is in constant contact with our city partners to tackle this complex issue," a spokeswoman said.

"We are convening an inter-agency meeting with key stakeholders from the statutory and voluntary sectors to see what more can be done and to review and assess the current status of services and resources being provided.

"This is in the context of the severe weather, the forthcoming Christmas period and to address the issue in the longer term."

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