Since December 2021, the council has been working with homelessness and substance support services to try and help a growing number of people sleeping rough and misusing substances in the Whitgift underpass.
Despite extensive efforts to engage and support them into accommodation, the encampment has continued to grow, with tents, beds, chairs and other items blocking the pathway. Residents and businesses had also reported significant antisocial behaviour including drug abuse, threatening behaviour and people defecating on pavements.
Croydon Council has now coordinated partnership working with the police, Croydon BID, adult social care, homeless support and substance misuse services to tackle this issue.
On Thursday the council used highways powers to remove the tents, beds, chairs and other items blocking the path. Warning notices were served 48 hours prior to the operation.
Importantly everyone has been provided with a place to stay and local homelessness and addiction services are currently working with everyone who frequented the Whitgift underpass to understand and provide any further necessary support.
Jason Perry, Executive Mayor of Croydon, said: “I welcome the collaborative partnership work by Council staff, local support services, the police and Croydon BID to support some of our most vulnerable residents.
“Using enforcement powers is always a last resort, however, the antisocial behaviour around this encampment was having an unacceptable impact on people who live, work and shop in the area.
“We will continue to work with all our partners to ensure the people from the underpass are supported and provided with the help they need, and the underpass remains a clean, safe place in our town centre.”