DEMAND AN END TO POVERTY THIS GENERAL ELECTION
TAKE ACTION
Housing

'Hostile architecture' appears outside hospital where rough sleepers' tents were destroyed

The spot where rough sleepers were removed and their tents destroyed in viral Camden video has now been replaced with “hostile architecture” according to frontline grassroots group Streets Kitchen

Rough sleepers' tents were removed and destroyed in Camden

Around 10 tents were removed in the November 10 incident. Fencing and red barriers has been erected in the tents' place. Image: Streets Kitchen

The grassroots outreach group who filmed a viral video of rough sleepers’ tents being destroyed in Camden have accused the hospital of placing “hostile architecture” in its place.

Streets Kitchen’s video showing refuse workers throwing rough sleepers’ tents into a bin lorry near the entrance to the University College London Hospital in Camden on 10 November sparked major uproar – and was shared more than 8,000 times on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Change a Big Issue vendor’s life this Christmas by purchasing a Winter Support Kit. You’ll receive four copies of the magazine and create a brighter future for our vendors through Christmas and beyond

Workers at Streets Kitchen told Big Issue they replaced the tents and belongings of the people caught up in the incident before they also held a public meeting in Camden to discuss solutions to the issue.

It’s unlikely one of the proposed solutions was to install hostile architecture. But that’s what looks to have replaced tents in the spot where rough sleepers were staying before being moved on by Camden Council, the hospital and the police.

Streets Kitchen photos shared with Big Issue show railings and red-coloured fencing blocking off the spot.

Streets Kitchen said: “This rather obscene hostile architecture is currently being erected right now by the hospital where people tried to take refuge from the elements. How is this any better?”

A UCLH spokesperson said the decision was made to remove rough sleepers following “public health concerns”.

“There were 10 tents outside the University College Hospital Grafton Way Building, a specialist centre for cancer patients whose immune systems are compromised, which meant there were health and safety issues we felt we could not ignore, including an unauthorised entry into our hospital wards,” they said.

“UCLH is deeply committed to improving the health and wellbeing of homeless people and we provide a number of services for this vulnerable group. We do acknowledge the challenges, however, of balancing the welfare of homeless people around our sites with ensuring the safety of our patients and staff.”

The Met Police told The Big Issue the hospital’s security team requested the assistance of police to remove rough sleepers, who had been living in the spot for up to nine months, due to “concerns for patient welfare”.

People experiencing homelessness in the area were informed of the intention to clear the site earlier in the week before a dispersal order was issued under Section 35 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act.

A Met Police spokesperson added: “Police had also received reports of drug use and drug dealing, urination and defecation and of patients and staff being intimated or verbally abused by some of those begging and sleeping rough at the location.”

Camden Council apologised after an investigation uncovered “operational involvement” in the incident.

Councillor Adam Harrison, deputy leader of Camden Council, said: “What happened was unacceptable and doesn’t reflect the values we hold as a council.  We will make sure this is clear and understood at every level of the organisation.”

The incident reached the attention of London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who was asked about it at Mayor’s Question Time. He said he was “appalled” by the footage and that police were “looking into what happened to make sure it doesn’t happen again in our great city”.

The 10 November incident came just days after former home secretary Suella Braverman controversially attempted to crackdown on charities supporting rough sleepers with tents and described street homelessness as a “lifestyle choice”.

Do you have a story to tell or opinions to share about this? We want to hear from you. Get in touch and tell us more.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
'All my stuff is ruined now': Renter speaks out after home flooded with faeces and sewage
Privste renter Decoda Smith
RENTING

'All my stuff is ruined now': Renter speaks out after home flooded with faeces and sewage

Council charges Grenfell residents cleaning fee for memorial to victims: 'Who would think this was fair?'
Grenfell memorial
Grenfell

Council charges Grenfell residents cleaning fee for memorial to victims: 'Who would think this was fair?'

Labour manifesto's 'vague' plans on homelessness unpicked: 'Next to nothing for those on the margins'
Labour leader Keir Starmer
General election 2024

Labour manifesto's 'vague' plans on homelessness unpicked: 'Next to nothing for those on the margins'

Seven years after Grenfell Tower fire: Residents fear they'll die before seeing justice
Grenfell

Seven years after Grenfell Tower fire: Residents fear they'll die before seeing justice

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know