'With its palm trees, pleasure gardens and tea rooms the Devon resort of Torquay has long drawn thousands of visitors from around the country every year.
But one class of visitors proving to be decidedly unwelcome on the streets of the coastal town are the homeless, with retailers now accusing them of making the town look derelict and even blaming them for a fall in shop takings
So much so that one of Torquay's leading dignitaries has called for a charity dedicated to looking after the homeless to shut up shop and move elsewhere.
Susie Colley, who runs the town’s Chamber of Commerce, blames Humanity Torbay for a sharp increase in the number of rough sleepers in Torquay since it set up a soup kitchen there.
Ms Colley also blames the charity’s users for a fall in the takings in local shops, claiming that one shop has had to close its doors on two occasions because of rough sleepers "intimidating shoppers and the staff".
Ms Colley, a former nurse in London’s East End who is now the managing director of the private health care provider West Country Health Care, said: “I am sure Humanity Torbay’s motives are very laudable but their actions are increasing the problems in the town. To put it bluntly, unless something radical is done regarding the rough sleepers and begging, which is ongoing and is affecting these stores and impacting on their sales, they will close and that basically will be the end of Torquay.'
Read more: Torquay homeless charity accused of ruining town as shops blame it for decline in sales
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