A city-wide ban on ‘anti-homeless’ spikes has been called for after Selfridges removed them from outside their Exchange Square store last night.
Manchester Metropolitan University professor Cathy Urquhart – who launched a campaign against the spikes last week – explained that more needed to be done to help tackle homelessness in the city.
Mrs Urquhart, whose online petition gathered over 10,000 signatures, said she was ‘delighted’ with the outcome and that ‘common sense had prevailed’.
She told MM: “We are delighted to hear that Selfridges have decided to remove these spikes, but the homeless are still here.
“Common sense has prevailed, but it’s really important that Manchester City Council implement a city-wide ban on anti-homeless spikes and help individuals to do something about homelessness.
“We’d like to see the City Council reach out and talk to people about how they can help the homeless people we all pass every day of the week.”
Cathy praised Selfridges for the prompt removal of the spikes – just a week after she launched the campaign – but urged the company to restore their reputation by helping the homeless themselves.
The initial explanation given for installing the spikes was to discourage staff and members of the public from smoking outside the building, but she felt they were misguided with their views.
— Cathy Urquhart (@cathyurquhart) February 25, 2015
“We urge Selfridges Manchester to partner with homeless charities in the city, while looking for more positive solutions to smoking and litter outside their store,” she said.
“We are very grateful to Selfridges for taking prompt action on these spikes, listening to the concerns put forward by the public, and being serious about corporate social responsibility.
“The petition revealed a massive Mancunian concern about homelessness – it is something that folk are really ashamed of.”
Cathy said the campaign had raised concerns about homelessness in the city and that she had been touched by the public’s backing.
“I’ve been humbled, inspired and amazed by people’s support – humanity is wonderful,” she said.
“People have had lots of different ideas about how they wanted to protest – such as writing to their head office and not shopping there.
“A number of their customers will now be pleased that they can go back to shopping there.”
A spokesperson from Selfridges said: “As a business we value all feedback and it was certainly never our intention to cause any offence.
“As a business Selfridges cares a great deal about its local community – we employ over 1,500 team members in Manchester and as such are involved in a number of local and charitable initiatives.
‘We have reached out to those whom have expressed concern on this issue and the store manager at Selfridges Exchange has met with Councillor Pat Karney.
“We have now made the decision to remove the studs and look at alternative designs to address the issue of smoking and littering by the side entrance of the store.”