No doubt many people will be aware of the recent furore regarding the installation of anti-homeless bars on benches throughout the Country.
Most notably one of the local authorities who made their town centre benches homeless unfriendly had a change of heart and subsequently removed the ‘anti-homeless’ bars from benches after a public backlash.
But did you know that High Wycombe has had anti-homeless benches for years? Branded as ‘inhumane’ by some campaigners, benches with metal bars to stop homeless people sleeping on them have been part of daily life in Wycombe for a long while now.
Just look at the picture at the top of this blog. There’s no way a gentleman of the road could get a nights sleep on that bench with the metal bar dividing the bench down the middle.
Indeed as you can see from the close-up shot of the same bench (below) not only does the central bar prevent someone sleeping there but there is a large gap at the back of the bench meaning that any potential rough sleeper who did try to sleep there would simply roll off the back of the bench and end up on the pavement below.
If a young child was to lay on the bench pictured above there is a danger they would also roll off the back of the bench and injure themselves upon hitting the hard stone surface below.
Surely these benches are not only dangerous to the homeless but also to innocent young children who may lay down while perhaps their mother isn’t looking?
There are lots more of these benches throughout High Wycombe town centre, such as those in Church Street as shown below.
The new shopping centre is full of benches with anti-homeless features such as the bench pictured below.
From my quick inspection is seems that every bench in the new bus station is homeless unfriendly too.
However venture into the grounds of the Parish Church and the benches are most definitely homeless friendly.
Everyone is aware that High Wycombe has a problem with homelessness indeed the town has a number of notable support organisations set up to tackle the problem as well as a dedicated night shelter.
In other parts of the country anti-homeless benches were branded as ‘inhumane’ yet here in Wycombe we have had these benches for years and nobody is calling for their removal.
Perhaps the people of Wycombe are fed up with seeing the homeless hanging around the town centre and they approve of having such benches in the town? In which case surely more of the benches in the town centre should be converted to stop tramps dossing down on them for the night?
Maybe the local authority who removed the anti-homeless devices from their benches would like to sell them to us so Wycombe can make all the benches in the town homeless proof?
It surprises me there isn’t a backlash in High Wycombe with people calling for the many anti-homeless benches we have in the town to be removed.
What do you think?
My blogs are published every Tuesday and Friday evening around 8.00pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.