Charity shop wants metal shutters to stop rough sleepers outside

The Brandon Trust claims to often find evidence of drink and drug use outside its shop in Cotham Hill

A charity shop off Whiteladies Road is introducing metal shutters in a bid to stop homeless people sleeping on the store’s porch.

The Brandon Trust says staff have experienced ‘ongoing issues with rough sleepers’, with evidence of drink and drug use often found at the front of its shop in Cotham Hill.

The charity for people with learning disabilities also says homeless people have been found sleeping on the porch when staff arrive to open in the morning.

The charity highlighted the issues to make a case in a planning application for a series of three shutters covering all sides of the store entrance. It also cited issues of fly-tipping and security.

Artist impression (right) of how the new shutters at Brandon Trust charity shop will look like - after concerns were raised over rough sleepers

This week, Bristol City Council gave planning permission to the trust for the electric shutters which will be painted white to match the surrounding shop frontage.

In its proposal, Petra Littlefair, from the charity, said: “Our charity shop has experienced issues with rough sleepers. We often find evidence of drink and drug use on site as well as damage to the property in the morning.

“On several occasions (in the past and again recently), there were homeless people sleeping in the porch when the staff arrived on the premises at 9am.”

The Brandon Trust says it has had problems with rough sleepers at its store in Cotham Hill

She also said people were leaving donations outside the shop when it was closed, which were sometimes slept on.

And she said the shutters would increase the security of the shop ‘since we now worry daily of being burgled’.

In Bristol, there were 68 rough sleepers counted during a spot check on one night between October and November last year, according to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data.

That was up from 50 the previous year.

Concerns have been raised about that number going up this year due to the rising cost of living and a lack of affordable housing in the city.

As a result, in March, Bristol City Council called for more Government support to tackle homelessness. The council said there were also more than 1,000 households in temporary accommodation in the city.