Politicians and an online petition are urging the owners of a luxury London building to remove metal studs embedded in the sidewalk nooks, which are seen as an attempt to keep homeless people from sleeping in building's recesses.
A petition on Change.org was created to challenge the property developer and “support the silent population.”
“We should be looking after our vulnerable population, not ostracizing them by moving them to places that are less intrusive to our lives, so that they are out of sight,” the petitioner wrote.
The petition has received more than 11,000 signatures, and will be delivered to Property Partners, the company that owns the building, and to London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Johnson has tweeted out a message urging the developer to remove the inch-high studs. "Spikes outside Southwark housing development to deter rough sleeping are ugly, self defeating & stupid," the message read.
Councilor Peter John, leader of Southwark Council, tweeted out: “All homeless people in Southwark should be treated with respect and compassion- not spikes. I hope they will be removed from Swk Br Rd.”
Not all citizens were against this metal studs.
Twitter user @asajoseph tweeted "How are they self-defeating? What else can private owners do to prevent invasion of their property?"
Tesco, the parent company of Property Partners, denied the studs were aimed at homeless people. In a statement to the Telegraph, the company said, The studs were put in place to try and stop people engaging in anti-social behaviour like smoking or drinking outside our store, which can be intimidating for our customers.”
According to Crisis, a national charity for homeless people in the U.K., more than 2,000 homeless people slept on the streets in England on any night during 2013. In 2012-2013, over 113,000 households applied to their local authority for homelessness assistance.