Homeless couple living in Birmingham bus stop on brink of demolition 'refuse to be separated'

The site is complete with cupboards, chairs, carpet, bins, bedding Credit: BPM Media

A homeless couple has turned a disused Birmingham bus stop into a temporary home, after refusing to be separated by the council.

The site in Selly Oak is complete with cupboards, chairs, carpet, bins and bedding, and there are even Super Mario Bros-themed makeshift curtains. Support charity Trident Reach said it was working with the couple to find "appropriate accommodation" - but said they had so far refused offers.

One of those living in the shelter said they would not accept a move where it meant they were forced to separate.

The stop is not in use and is due to be removed.

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) confirmed the process to knock down the shelter was "underway".

The demolition process will include disconnecting the power supply, securing road work permits and scheduling work with contractors.

Birmingham is in the grips of a housing crisis, with more than 23,000 households waiting for a property, including nearly 5,000 households who are homeless and living in temporary accommodation.

Businesses in the area claimed the bus stop being used as a home was attracting "anti-social behaviour" from large crowds gathering late at night.

One shopkeeper, who chose not to be named, said his livelihood was being affected.

He said: "I've complained to the council so many times, but nothing has been done so far.

"People are scared to visit my shop at night because of the crowds.

"Every night 20 to 25 people gather here. This is bothering my business.

"I'm paying £6,000 in business rates for the year and £20,000 in rent. It's a big problem for me - but what can I do?"

Another shopkeeper said: "It's a very sad situation, of course, but the anti-social behaviour is affecting us and our customers.

"Something needs to be done so they're given a proper place to stay.

"It's not fair to anyone what's happening at the moment. We need to find a solution that suits everyone."

Birmingham City Council confirmed the bus shelter on Bristol Road was no longer in use for passengers and "will be removed soon", but no date had been set.

A council spokesperson said: "Homeless support services have contacted the couple and made accommodation offers.

"The offers have not yet been taken up, but the offer of support and accommodation will continue to be there should they change their mind."

A spokesperson for Trident Reach said: “Our teams are aware of the couple and have been trying to work with them to find appropriate accommodation.

"Unfortunately they have declined accommodation as it is currently not in the area they would prefer.

"We will always work with people to encourage them into appropriate housing but unfortunately sometimes people do decline help.

"We will continue our daily checks on the couple and continue with offers of housing support and options for them."

Trident said staff worked "closely" with police, but was "unaware of any concerns regarding anti-social behaviour".

It said: "We would always encourage anyone concerned about someone sleeping rough to report their concerns to us using Streetlink."

A spokesperson for TfWM said: “All bus services have been consolidated at a neighbouring shelter so this one is no longer required and it has therefore been earmarked for removal.

"The process to remove the shelter is underway, including disconnecting the power supply, securing road work permits and scheduling the works with contractors.

"In the meantime, we're liaising with our partners including the police, council and local housing providers who are working to secure suitable long-term accommodation for the people involved.

"We thank the local community for their patience while the issue is resolved.”

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