December 22, 2020 4.10 pm This story is over 41 months old

Lincoln Cathedral porch fenced off to stop homeless people sheltering

Fire damage and human waste found there

By Local Democracy Reporter

The Galilee Porch at Lincoln Cathedral has been fenced off to prevent homeless people using the area for shelter.

The decision was made following a number of incidents, including fire damage to the area as a result of people sheltering at the porch.

A public notice had been put on the fence, along with a quote from Psalm 4:8 and a poster that reads “go and do thou likewise”, but these have since been removed.

A quote from Psalm 4:8, stating that God will keep us all safe, which has since been removed. | Photo: Jane Rushby

The call to fence off the area has come under criticism, with some accusing Lincoln Cathedral of not living up to their Christian values.

Lincoln Cathedral has said that human waste was being removed and damage was being reported regularly at Galilee Porch, so a decision had to be made.

Gates and fences have been installed to prevent people getting into the porch. | Photo: The Lincolnite

Will Harrison, chapter clerk of the cathedral, said: “The Cathedral has a long history of working with those in need of shelter and support, and we continue to work with individuals who find themselves in challenging circumstances, and with agencies which work with those in crisis.

“However, following a series of serious incidents, we had to reassess the situation which was found to be posing unacceptable risks to the public, to staff, to our choristers and to those sleeping in the porch, particularly during the long dark nights.

This sign was spotted on the fence, but has been taken down since. | Photo: Jane Rushby

“Our staff were daily removing human waste that was found on and around the Cathedral building. Not only is this a health risk for the public and those who shelter there, it was proving a hazard to staff who were tasked with cleaning the porch.

“We also found significant damage as a result of a fire in the Galilee Porch which posed serious danger to the individuals sheltering in the porch, and had the potential to cause devastating damage to the fabric of the building.

“In light of this, it was essential to act to ensure the safety of all those using the area and to protect the Cathedral from further damage.”

A crystal clear message, but it wasn’t long before it was taken down. | Photo: Jane Rushby

The cathedral has also urged anyone experiencing problems with homelessness to contact an organisation who can offer practical help.

These organisations include P3, the Nomad Centre, YMCA Lincolnshire and Shelter.