Critics say spikes treat homeless ‘like pigeons’ as residents fear short ground spikes at doorway are to deter rough sleepers
Metal studs have been installed outside a block of flats in central London to deter rough sleepers.
The installation of the studs outside the flats on Southwark Bridge Road provoked widespread condemnation on Twitter with users claiming homeless people were being treated like vermin because similar metal spikes are used to deter pigeons.
Residents told the Telegraph that the studs were installed outside the flats in the last month to prevent homeless people from sleeping in the doorway.
A woman who lives in the block told the newspaper: “There was a homeless man asleep there about six weeks ago. Then about two weeks ago all of a sudden studs were put up outside. I presume it is to deter homeless people from sleeping there.”
A couple, who also asked to remain anonymous, added: “It’s because of the homeless. The spikes have only been there very recently, less than a month.”
Andrew Horton, 33, of Woking, Surrey, took the picture of the inch-long studs in as he walked to work on Wednesday. The photograph has since been widely shared on Twitter, provoking outrage.
Other Twitter users also posted a photograph of similar studs outside a Tesco in Regent Street.
David Wells said on Twitter: “These anti-homeless studs are like the spikes they use to keep pigeons off buildings. The destitute now considered vermin [sic].
Homelessness charities said metal studs had been used to deter rough sleepers for more than a decade.
Katharine Sacks-Jones, head of policy and campaigns at Crisis, said: “This is happening in a context where rough sleeping has gone up massively. Over the last three years rough sleeping has risen by 36% nationally and by 75% in London. More than 6,400 people slept rough in London last year.”
“The reason for that increase is the continuing economic downturn, the housing shortage, and cuts to benefits, particularly housing benefit.”