Is a new sheltered seating in Helston causing an increase of homeless people in the town centre?

This was the suggestion made at the last meeting of the town council, in a debate over the condition of the shelter next to the Grylls Monument.

The covered metal area, which features a Flora Day design around its walls, only opened in May, but since there have been reports of some anti-social behaviour in that area and now a concern over its cleanliness.

As a result, councillor Ronnie Williams claimed: “While we have the shelter we’ll always have problems. We have had shelters both sides in the past, by the monument, in the park – we got visited by ‘gentlemen of the road’.

“We went through a period recent of never having a shelter anywhere; never had this problem.

“We have got a lovely shelter now and we’re visited by these sort of people. Where do they come from? What time do they arrive?

“Whilst they have got cover we’ll have these sort of problems. It’s other people’s problems we’re ending up with.”

Councillor Mike Thomas said he had asked someone using the shelter these questions and said: “His response was it was mainly people from Helston. I don’t doubt there are people from outside the town, but in his report the majority of people that use the shelter are local ones.”

The discussion came after councillor Mr Thomas questioned whether there was a structured cleaning plan for the shelter.

“I feel it’s something that should be visited perhaps more regularly than we are doing. It seems people are leaving detritus marks on the floor. It isn’t looking as nice as it should be,” he said.

“I noticed some of the wood has been burnt as well, which is a bit of a worry.”

He suggested that when the town council was able to employ two extra maintenance workers next spring, they could be a more visible presence in that area.

“And I would urge [council] members to visit this shelter so it’s known we are in the area,” he added.

“It’s a superb shelter and I think we need to keep it as clean as possible.”

Town clerk Chris Dawson said the council’s existing grounds maintenance worker Ian Moore already visited the shelter two or three times a week, but people using it were not always inclined to move very quickly.

He confirmed that this area would become part of the council’s general maintenance programme when the area was transferred into the ownership of the town council by Cornwall Council.

Councillor Miles Kenchington said the shelter needed to be part of the town’s action on anti-social behaviour, saying: “It’s part of the problem we’ve got in the town.”