London's 'Cardboard City' - High Court orders eviction FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Mon, 20 Apr 1998 17:53:22 -0700 (PDT)


=46WD  Feb 23, 1998  BBC News UK

'CARBBOARD CITY' MEETS ITS WATERLOO



The original 'Cardboard City' in London is to be closed down after the High
Court granted an eviction order against its homeless residents.

The order will bring to an end a shanty-town community which has existed in
the shadow of Waterloo railway station for the last 15 years.

In the mid-1980s the site, beneath the pedestrian underpasses of the
Bullring roundabout, was home to up to 200 people sleeping rough in
cardboard boxes. It became a symbol of society's failure to eradicate
homelessness.

Now, fewer than 30 remain at the Bullring and they have been given 28 days
to leave.

The area is being redeveloped for the British Film Institute's =A320m giant
screen cinema.

Soon the whole site will be boarded up and an army of construction workers
will move in to complete the 500-seat Imax cinema.

Lambeth Council, which won the eviction notice, is offering a home to all
of Cardboard City's residents.

But Shaun Tomlinson, 30, who has lived at Waterloo for 10 years since he
quit the Army, says many people have tried to leave before but always
return.

He said: "It just doesn't work. You offer someone who has been living rough
the chance of a permanent home and then give them upwards of =A3500 to get
straight.

"They have no concept of a normal life and just spend the money on drink or
drugs. It might work if the people you are trying to rehabilitate are given
some counselling because most of them have no idea what it is like to
settle down and live in a flat."

Some of the rough-sleepers say they do not want to leave under any
circumstances.

However, Tony Truman, a spokesman for the charity for the homeless, St
Mungo's, said: "We are not sad to see the Bullring close - it has become
infamous as a symbol of homelessness in Britain in the past decades and we
do not believe anyone should be sleeping rough.

"The best thing we can do is to give the right kind of housing and support
to those living there so that they can get back into the community."

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