Windsor council 'expected to drop plan' to fine rough sleepers, claims campaigner

. Credit: .

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead is expected to drop plans to issue rough sleepers with fines if they refuse to engage with services, a campaigner has claimed.

A petition of more than 280,000 signatures was handed to council leader Simon Dudley on Thursday asking the council to drop plans to clear homeless people from the streets ahead of the royal wedding in May.

Mr Dudley came under fierce criticism last month after he remarked that the number of rough sleepers would put Windsor in a "sadly unfavourable light" when it hosts Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding.

The Prince and Ms Markle are due to tie the knot at Windsor Castle on May 19.

The embattled council leader survived a vote of no confidence, and now the council is preparing a consultation to try and get the borough's 14 or so long-term rough sleepers off the streets.

Proposals include increasing the support available to those sleeping rough, with a 56-day window to get them into accommodation and support services for issues such as addiction and mental health.

Initial plans said that those who refused to engage would then be issued with a Community Protection Notice requiring them to engage with services or face a fine of up to £100.

On Thursday Holly Fishwick, a charity communications manager, presented Mr Dudley with her petition titled "Stop Windsor Council Removing Rough Sleepers" which has attracted 281,090 signatures on the website.

Following her meeting with Mr Dudley, Ms Fishwick claimed that the council had now rolled back on its plans to issue fines.

She said the council had reconsidered following the public outcry the plan caused when the proposal for the Rough Sleeping and Anti-Social Behaviour report was published on Monday.

Simon Dudley was unavailable for comment.