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Time to act on Spalding's Bull and Monkie - vicar

A home-made shelter fastened to the back of Spalding's Bull and Monkie pub has sparked fears over the risk of injury to homeless people who may squat inside the derelict building.

Washing lines were first spotted on Thursday by a resident who alerted district councillor Angela Newton.

The Spalding Guardian visited the Bull and Monkie on Tuesday and found a man sleeping on a double mattress inside the shelter.

A home-made shelter and washing hanging out in the rain at the Bull and Monkie
A home-made shelter and washing hanging out in the rain at the Bull and Monkie

He did not understand English.

There were four washing lines - filled with men's clothing, cushions and bedding - and a yard brush among belongings beside a wall.

The Vicar of Spalding, the Rev John Bennett, said: “I haven’t seen him myself, but I did notice washing on a line recently. It seems very sad that someone is living in this way. I don’t know what help he has been offered, but I hope he can find something better soon.

"I am concerned about the risk of injury and danger of fire from people living through the winter in a derelict building.

"If it cannot be secured against occupation, I hope that the district council will ask the owners to make the site safe by knocking the Bull and Monkie down and clearing away what is left.”

A spokesperson for SHDC said: "We take the issue of rough sleeping and homelessness extremely seriously and always look to offer those affected comprehensive support and advice. Any incidents of rough sleeping can be reported to P3, Homeless Link or the council.

"We are aware of this gentleman and have referred him to the P3 street outreach team who have made contact with him to offer support. We'll be working closely with them over the coming days and weeks to try to bring the situation to a satisfactory conclusion for the best interests of the individual concerned."

Coun Newton told us: "I would have hoped the council would have immediately told the people they could not sleep there with obvious lack of sanitary facilities, unless they have access to the toilets in the building.

"So much for the sign at the front 'Pride in South Holland'."

* Around eight years ago SHDC tidied the eyesore site, blocking windows and doors with sheet metal, and putting up a huge metal fence along the front while leaving easy access from the side.

A "Pride in South Holland" sign was put up but that's now flat on the ground, the building is scarred with graffiti and fly-posters, and vegetation is growing through the tarmac.

Council portfolio holder Roger Gambba-Jones recently told Sutton Bridge Parish Council that the district hadn't recovered all of the taxpayers' money spent on the Bull and Monkie.

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