A council has tried to forcibly evict a group of homeless people from the centre of Leeds by taking them to court. The Labour-controlled city authority also wanted an injunction to stop them living anywhere else. But the council has come under heavy criticism, because the people are not on private property, but sleeping in tents, in public spaces.
The court, however, has granted the group of around 60 homeless people six weeks on another site in the city, and ordered Leeds city council to ensure that the people are accommodated in this time.
A battle of statistics
Leeds “Tent City“, as it is known, was originally set up on 21 September outside the city’s art gallery. It consists of salvaged tents and sleeping bags from Leeds’ summer music festival. When it moved to its second site in Park Square, which is home to many of the city’s law firms, the council stepped in with court action. But today’s ruling will see it move again, to the former site of the international swimming pool.
Leeds Homeless Action Group (LHAG), who have organised the Tent City, claim they are providing a safe space for the city’s homeless, as well as protesting against the lack of action by the council to tackle homelessness. It is continuously staffed by volunteers, who distribute donated clothing, food and hot drinks to homeless people sleeping in the tents.