12:12PM, Thursday 12 May 2016
The Royal Borough spent almost £12,000 evicting the Born SL6 homeless protest group from the lawn in front of the town hall and hiring security and a guard dog to make sure they did not return.
A Freedom of Information request, made by Vaughan Williams, of Lillibrooke Crescent, Woodlands Park, found the council spent £8,325, excluding VAT, on ‘external security costs’ for a guard dog and ‘manned guard’ for 24 hours after the eviction on Thursday, April 7.
The council claimed putting up the fencing which sprang up over-night around the town hall did not cost anything as it was already stored on site.
The protesters returned the following week and the council says total legal costs leading to their eventual eviction came to £3,515 – a final sum of £11,840.08.
Born SL6 campaigner Jason Verdaguer, said: “This is taxpayers’ money wasted. We want a place to live, nothing more.”
The group began its protest after the homeless shelter on King Street closed last month. It will not reopen until the end of the year.
Fellow homeless campaigner Ben Derriman said: “Couldn’t this money have been used to try to reopen the shelter or to open summer accommodation?”
The Royal Borough declined to comment when approached by the Advertiser.
Born SL6 camped in front of the town hall, calling for housing provision and highlighting what they claimed was the borough’s lack of awareness about the homeless situation in Maidenhead.
They were evicted by court order on Monday, April 18 and have since moved to Blackamoor Lane, north Maidenhead.
Earlier, on Thursday, April 7, fencing was put up around the town hall following the council’s first attempt to remove the protesters from the lawn.
Then-leader of the council Cllr David Burbage tweeted it was part of a clean-up operation.
New council leader Cllr Simon Dudley, who was cabinet member for finance at the time, said in an interview on Tuesday he did not authorise the spending and was not aware of it.
He will be joining the Brett Foundation’s charity sleep-out tomorrow (Friday) to highlight the plight of the homeless in the borough.
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