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Plans to Remove Homeless People Before Harry & Meghan's Wedding ‘Withdrawn'

A controversial call to clear homeless people and rough sleepers from the streets of Windsor before the royal wedding caused public outcry last month. 

Now, the council behind it — the council for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead — has withdrawn a report into homelessness, which included a plan to fine rough sleepers up to £100 for anti-social behaviour. 

The paper further urged a ban on people leaving “bedding, belongings, personal effects, or any other material or paraphernalia” in public areas, according to the BBC

Take action: Help the Most Marginalised and Vulnerable Find Shelter

It also wanted to ban people from making “requests for money, including the placing of hats and containers” in the street.

It was due to go before the council’s cabinet next week, but it has now been pushed back to March because the council acknowledged that it needs “further work.” 

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Prince Harry and Meghan will be getting married in a chapel in Windsor Castle in May, and a huge influx of tourists to the area is expected.

In preparation for the wedding and the tourists, the council leader, Simon Dudley, released a letter directed to the commissioner of the Thames Police, asking for action to be taken to stop “aggressive begging and intimidation in Windsor.” 

Read more: Ahead of Royal Wedding, UK Official Calls for Homeless People to Be Forcefully Removed

“It is becoming increasingly concerning to see the quantities of bags and detritus that those begging are accumulating and leaving on our pavements,” he wrote. “The whole situation also presents a beautiful town in a sadly unfavourable light.” 

His letter acknowledged the government’s view that homelessness is “completely unacceptable in a caring compassionate community,” and referred to the work of several programmes in the area to support homeless people and people sleeping rough. 

Dudley said his comments had been misconstrued, according to the BBC.

The council’s plan will now be split into two, so rough sleeping and anti-social behaviour are dealt with separately, reported the BBC

Read more: Russell Brand Wants to Help Homeless as a Wedding Gift to Harry & Meghan

The council said in a statement that deferring the paper is to ensure “there is no conflation of the council’s separate objectives of supporting rough sleepers and refreshing the approach to tackling anti-social behaviour.”

Homelessness in Windsor and the surrounding area has become a high-profile issue in the run up to the wedding, with Russell Brand also launching a petition to get the royal couple a homeless shelter as a wedding gift. 

Now signed by more than 150,000 people, the petition is calling on neighbouring Slough Council for a “change of use” for a building in the town, to allow it to be converted into a shelter to be run by homeless charity Slough Homeless Our Concern (SHOC). 

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