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Local councillor says church should not serve hot food at food bank to avoid attracting 'street-attached' people

by Sophie Drew
John Savage banner.jpg - Banner image
Southampton City Council

A councillor in Southampton has suggested a new church avoid serving hot food in their foodbank so not to attract homeless people.

The new place of worship is being opened in a disused bingo hall in Shirley, and expects a 400-strong congregation.

As is the case with many churches up and down the country, the new Covenant Church planned to host a food bank.

A nearby church already offers a similar service, but local Labour councillor John Savage says the current service attracts “unpleasant activities” from “street-attached people”.

Cllr Savage is the representative for Portswood, the area within which the current food bank operates.

“Don’t get me wrong, my sensitivities are very much with the people here but also there is an impact for local businesses in the area,” he said.

“A lot of local businesses have suffered to some degree because people don’t want to shop there because of the anti-social behaviour.”

Despite initially stating that food banks are “very welcome,” he added: “There is an impact on local residents from that there is a lot of antisocial behaviour and things that go with that to do with local drug dealing.”

He went as far as to suggest that the planning panel make it a condition that Covenant Church does not offer hot food.

Despite further concerns about a lack of parking, planning permission has been granted and Covenant Church continues to prepare for their opening.

During an earlier stage of the planning process, the council received 26 letters in support of the new church building and only two against the plans. A supporting petition was signed by more than 80 people.

Premier Christian News has reached out to Southampton City Council for further comment.

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