ROUGH sleepers who pitched tents in a beauty spot have been offered temporary accommodation and will leave the park this week, a senior councillor has confirmed.

Billericay residents were shocked last week after two tents were set up by rough sleepers in Lake Meadows Park, with the council, police and street pastors reaching out to try and help the rough sleepers.

Now Andrew Schrader, councillor responsible for housing, has confirmed the couple have been offered temporary accommodation despite the pressures the council faces in finding homes.

He said: “Councillor Phil Turner reported it to officers and I understand officers have spoken with the couple and are working to move them out and have offered them temporary accommodation.

“Our options are so limited as we have a limited number of temporary housing spaces and the pair do not wish to be parted from each other and they are caring for a cat.

“Usually, we would be quicker to move them into temporary housing but we need to find a landlord that is accepting of animals and a lot of the time they are not.”

Tory councillor Phil Turner is confident the couple will have left and the situation will be resolved by tomorrow.

Mr Turner said: “Last Monday, I wrote to officers and was told that they have been down to the site and police have been there.

“The couple said they would be at the site until Easter, then moving and the council are watching the situation, they will be obliged to move off the land. This situation has been unsettling to the community and those with young kids are wishing for the return to normality.

“We have talked to the couple about temporary accommodation, which is an option, and we wish to be compassionate before reaching for the stick. We do try to understand the issues about why they have set up tents as this isn’t the norm.”

Mr Turner added that the council hopes to discourage this behaviour in future from people, as “it won’t be tolerated”.