Premier Inn and police want 3m fence to stop butane-addicted beggar
- Credit: Archant © 2007
Police are backing a bid by a hotel for a security fence to stop anti-social behaviour in one of Norwich city centre’s streets - particularly to deter a beggar described by officers as “a daily drain on resources”.
Premier Inn has lodged plans with Norwich City Council for a security fence outside the Hotel Nelson in Prince of Wales Road.
The hotel chain wants a three-metre high fence, between the columns outside the empty shop which used to be Mattressman.
Documents submitted to City Hall by Premier Inn’s agent Walsingham Planning said: “The proposed fencing is now considered an absolute necessity by Norfolk police on law enforcement, health and safety grounds.
“The sheltered area under the upper floors is repeatedly being used for anti-social behaviour and criminal activity, particularly by one individual who, despite now having a criminal behaviour order against him restricting where he can go, continues to revisit the application site.
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“With Prince of Wales Road being a key pedestrian route from the station into the city centre, the current situation is leaving visitors with an unpleasant first impression.”
Backing the application, PC James Chard, from Norfolk police, said police were called to “persistent anti-social behaviour in the area”. He said: “This individual has a butane gas addiction, and despite having a home, he has taken up residence outside this retail unit on a daily basis, as if to be street homeless.
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“This location is passed by commuters and visitors to the city centre who use the train station as a means of transport, and their generosity, assuming incorrectly that he is street homeless, appears to be part of the appeal to him.”
He said the man had been arrested and appeared in courts numerous times. A criminal behaviour order has been imposed to stop him entering the inner ring road, begging and consuming butane gas in public places.
But PC Chard said the man was likely to ignore it.
He said: “This is a daily drain on police resources, and it is my belief that denying and deterring this individual from being in this location, until such time as the retail unit becomes populated and a regular presence puts the individual off being there, is the best and safest means available.”
The city council will make a decision in due course.