Homeless people already have it tough, often having only their clothes or a sleeping bag to protect them from the elements.

Now a local council is facing a backlash for planning to fine homeless people up to £1,000 ($1,324) for putting up a tent.

Homeless people's tents in a park in Berlin, Germany. Credit: PA

Under proposals being considered by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, rough sleepers will also face a fine if they are found hanging around in public toilets.

The proposed ban will cover the city centre of Stoke-on-Trent in the UK, two nearby parks and a neighboring retail park as the council looks to clamp down on anti-social behavior.

It's safe to say that the reception to the plans has been mixed, with charities slamming the proposals and businesses welcoming the move.

Homeless charity Help for the Homeless has warned that homeless people already face abuse and attacks on a regular basis, including being weed on.

"At least if they have a tent they can hide away safely and get out of the winter elements," said Help for the Homeless' founder, Jeannette Jackson. "They are human beings and have had bad enough lives already."

Under the new Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), the council plans to make it illegal for people to 'assemble, erect or use' a tent in any of the spaces named.

People will also be fined for drinking alcohol, persistent or aggressive begging, or hanging around in public toilets without going to the loo.

Those who fail to pay a £100 ($132) on-the-spot fine can be prosecuted and fined up to £1,000. Good luck trying to force a homeless person to pay that.

Traders in the city centre have welcomed the crackdown, saying they are grateful the council is tackling anti-social behaviour.

Jonathan Bellamy, chairman of the City Centre Partnership, said that in recent weeks he had personally witnessed two smashed bottles of vodka, a drunken woman damaging the front door of a building and a man weeing outside an empty shop at 2pm.

"Millions of pounds has been invested in the city centre in recent years by the council and private businesses and thousands of livelihoods depend on this vital piece of our local economy," Bellamy said. "That should not be undermined by the ill-disciplined, destructive behaviour of a few people."

A man walking his dogs in a public space like those targeted by PSPOs. Credit: PA

Stoke-on-Trent councillor Randy Conteh sought to reassure critics that rough sleepers "are not being directly targeted" by the order, saying that the council works hard to help turn around the lives of the homeless.

He stressed that the new order will help police and the council to deal with problems caused by only a "small minority" of people.

Local residents are currently being consulted on the proposed PSPO until December 15, with the public invited to suggest other conditions they believe should be imposed.

Source: Daily Mirror

Featured Image Credit: PA

Chris Ogden

Chris Ogden is a journalist at LADbible. He graduated from the University of East Anglia with degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing before completing his NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism. Chris has previously written for the independent culture magazine The Skinny, among other publications.

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