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Rough sleepers given help as fence goes up in Stroud Green Road bridge

Islington council installing new LED lights under the bridge

15 March, 2019 — By Emily Finch

The bridge this week: pic credit Oliver Barun 

A FENCE preventing people from sleeping under the bridge in Stroud Green Road has gone up as work on replacing lighting began this week.

The stretch of road by Finsbury Park station has aroused controversy in recent weeks after Islington Council proposed to seek a court order banning rough sleeping there last month.

But it quickly U-turned on its plans after facing fierce criticism from street volunteers, who said the move could criminalise homeless men and women. The Town Hall has always said its priority is to ensure the safety of rough sleepers.

In a letter circulated to residents, the council said it was replacing the current lighting with “brighter, white LED lights to improve the appearance and increase feelings of safety”. Cycle lanes have also been closed during the work, due to last until the end of the month.

The letter says the council “will be helping the street population to move from the area under the bridge”. It adds: “Our outreach teams have been engaging with them on an ongoing basis over several months to offer support to move them into safe and secure accommodation and to notify them of the upcoming bridge works.

“All of those under the bridge have accommodation and day centres available to them. We will continue to provide outreach support in the lead- up and for the duration of the works and safely store any belongings for them.”

The Town Hall says it has helped house 34 people living under the bridge over the past two years.

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