Security tries to close down Manchester homeless camp

The group moved to the side of the road after being evicted from a bigger site which has now been fenced off
The group moved to the side of the road after being evicted from a bigger site which has now been fenced off
Natalie Bloomer By

Security and bailiffs moved on to the Manchester homeless camp on Oxford Road this morning, as they acted out a possession order from Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).

"It's all gone, the camp has been destroyed," Jen Wu, a member of the camp told Politics.co.uk this morning.

"They've thrown people's possessions - their sleeping bags and their tents, into a truck and taken them away. It's vile."

The group says that Ryan McPhee, who set up the camp, was dragged away by police and arrested for breaching the peace.


This is the second time the camp, which has become known as The Ark, has been removed by MMU.

Last month a bigger site, which had a sofa, a kitchen area, cleaning products and a generator allowing the homeless people to watch television, was also dismantled and security fences put up around the area.

However, the group simply moved to the other side of the fences and set up a camp alongside the road. They say they feel safer sleeping together in tents rather than on park benches or shop doorways.

The action to remove the camp has been taken despite a letter signed by academics at the university urging MMU bosses to reconsider their response to the homeless camp and calling on them to provide support to homeless people rather than evicting them.

As the eviction took place, a number of students from the university gathered at the site to protest against the action.

"It is disappointing that the MMU have chosen to enforce the possession order." Simon Pook the solicitor for some of the camp said.

"I understand The Ark had sought to negotiate an exit plan, but this was rejected by the MMU. The approach taken by the foootballers Mr Neville and Mr Giggs recently demonstrates there are alternatives to eviction."

A spokesperson for the MMU said: “Following last week’s court action, we took possession of the land adjacent to John Dalton, which had been occupied for a number of weeks. Throughout this period, we have worked closely with Manchester City Council’s homelessness team to support genuine cases of homelessness.

“This morning, all members of the camps were given adequate time to remove their personal possessions, and larger items have been safely secured for retrieval within seven days. We will continue our work with both the Council and related charities in the City."

 

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