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Agent removes gates from branch entrance after negative publicity

Whitstable estate agency Harvey Richards & West says decision to erect gate was 'last resort' after problems with homeless young man.

Nigel Lewis

An estate agent in Kent has removed gates it erected outside the company’s branch to prevent a homeless man and his dog sleeping in its doorway and apologised for any offence caused.

Whitstable firm Harvey Richards & West erected the spiked gates after the homeless man began using the space to sleep in overnight, but a deluge of local and national newspaper coverage on Friday, as well as negative local social media commentary is thought to have led to the company’s change of heart.

The agency has issued a statement saying that it regretted any offence caused by putting up the gate late last week and that it was a ‘last resort’ action and that with the benefit of hindsight it has now removed the gate.

“As a small independent business which operates outside of normal working hours, sometimes up until 7pm or 8 pm, staff have been having trouble accessing the office late in the evening,” it says.

“We have had a few conversations with the young man explaining this but unfortunately the office access remained an issue.”

The company says clients phoned the agency to report mess outside the branch at weekends and also anti-social behaviour.

“This has been an extremely difficult issue to handle especially at this time of year and HRW hope he is found accommodation soon and can categorically state that we did not intend to cause him or anyone else offence or upset so profoundly apologise,” the company says.

December 16, 2019

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