Tesco have recently installed rows of solid steel studs at their Piccadilly Circus store (SW1Y 4LR).
I mean — it goes without saying — the unsightly mess of a few bits of cardboard lying out front in the morning would really hinder my shopping experience. (Not).
It's apparent this is a rather cowardly attempt in an ongoing effort to keep the homeless at bay. Personally — I find it pretty disgusting and rather outrageous.
Tesco have installed these unforgiving solid steel studs outside one of their stores. A store that is closed nightly. A store with superb CCTV coverage — so they can spy on them sleeping if they wish. You know — to make sure they're not getting up to no good like stealing leftover bits of cardboard to be used as bedding or rummaging through bins for food.
As the window ledges are elevated from the cold street and sheltered from the rain, it made for the perfect spot for members of London's ever-growing homeless community. Hence its popularity.
Shamelessly installing steel studs and reducing the spots our homeless have to set down for the night isn't solving the problem — it's just moving it elsewhere. And for this, Tesco should bite the bullet and be ashamed of themselves.
This is the same Tesco store that in 2010, was doing its bit by collecting food for the homeless and cutting down on food waste. Every Little Helps right?
A more responsible approach from Tesco would have been to inform Westminster Council of their concerns or to have just picked up the phone and let the great team down at StreetLink know about the ongoing 'problem' — rather than treating our homeless in the same way we treat pigeons.
@jpfpreston Sorry what are the spikes for?— Tesco (@Tesco) October 17, 2013
These Anti homeless studs are like the spikes they use to keep pigeons off buildings. The destitute now considered vermin.— David Wells (@dagwells) June 7, 2014
The concept and use of of "anti-homeless floor spikes" absolutely breaks my heart.— Jack Palmer (@jackpalmer88) June 7, 2014
Please help me in the attempt to make Tesco feel some shame by emailing them directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) and asking for a full explanation as to why they have been installed, the thought process behind making the decision to implement these studs and what they did beforehand to help put the rough sleepers in touch with the authorities.
It's important we protest about these draconian spikes now - before they become widespread. It's easier to make a stand early on and demand a ban, rather than acting on the topic later - when it'll be harder to bring people round and more costly for companies to remove these things. Please share this event and make sure you bring the following on the day:
- homemade banner with a message of your choice
- a blanket or sleeping bag to use as a prop
- a bottle of water as it's going to be a hot one
- something that'll make a little noise (like a triangle, a whistle, a drum or a foghorn)