Installation of anti-homelessness bars angers UK artist

The offending bench.
The offending bench. Photo credit: Facebook/Stuart Semple

A UK artist is launching a tirade against "hostile design", after discovering bars installed to deter homeless people from sleeping on benches in the town centre.

Stuart Semple discovered the benches in Bournemouth, a seaside resort town on the southern coast of England.

He shared a photo of the bench to his nearly 10,000 followers on Facebook, calling the retrofitted bench a "design crime".

"Big shout out to Bournemouth council for their latest Design Crime," he wrote.

"This latest piece of hostile design is being retrofitted on all the benches to prevent homeless sleepers. They'll be stealing homeless people's sleeping bags next... oh wait, they already are."

He then invited anyone as disgusted as he was by the bars to watch this space, as he has plans for a campaign against them.

Commenters appeared to support Mr Semple and said the bars were a waste of money.

"They should spend the money on helping the homeless, rather than the cost of fitting these useless pieces of metal," one commenter said.

"That's really bad," another said. "If they can't help them, they could at least let them sleep off the floor."

A spokesperson for the Bournemouth Council told The Mirror that the bars were installed due to locals' complaints and it already provided a wide range of services for rough sleepers.

"We need to maintain a careful balance between our responsibility to the public, to ensure that amenities are available to them, and our duty of care to vulnerable members of our community, including people rough sleeping."

"Changes were made to a small number of benches in very specific locations several months ago, following numerous complaints by members of the public and local traders."


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