Peterborough – This Broken City

Monday 27th February 2012
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

IAN DAVIES PETERBOROUGH SOUP KITCHEN: At the moment, with the economic situation as it is, there are more and more homeless people. In Peterborough, we have the third largest number of homeless in the UK, outside of London. .. In some ways we are part of the problem, because we offer food nearby.
KERRY DEVINE BBC: Sometimes you will see groups of people .. sat here, drinking. You walk back after work and there’s litter everywhere.
BRIAN PEARCE RAILWORLD: We did think about putting a picnic table here to encourage people to sit down here, because it’s so fabulous. But what happens when these people have been here, nothing but rubbish. It does your head in really. You go to the archways, and I can assure you you’ll find probably 200 empty bottles of cider, cans, we’ve got a real big drink problem.
KERRY DEVINE BBC: Peterborough Environment City Trust .. they have a litter pick here once a month.

FIONA RADIC GREEN PARTY: I’m not sure we should conflate the migration issue with the homeless issue. ┬áPeople are not uniquely immigrants who are homeless. We’ve got an increasing number of people who are homeless, wherever they’re coming from, and however long they’ve been here.
PAUL STAINTON BBC: But it does add to the problem.
FIONA RADIC GREEN PARTY: I’m not convinced. .. I think the problem is there anyway. Peterborough has apparently very high figures of homelessness. That doesn’t make sense, because we have empty accommodation. .. I live very near a block of flats which at one point was only one third occupied. So then you have to ask, well why aren’t people living in the accommodation. And I think there’s an element where people are actually opting right out of the system. They’ve had it. They’re seeing through the help agencies, to something which is broken as far as they’re concerned. And if that’s happening, then it doesn’t really matter where they’re from.
PAUL STAINTON: We did ask the Council to come on this morning and talk to us about what is happening down on the Embankment, and they sent us a statement. “We have visited the site in the past few weeks, and although there was evidence to suggest someone had been sleeping rough there, we don’t believe they are currently. We urge anyone who is aware of someone sleeping rough to contact the Council .. so that we can make contact with these people and help them.”