Dear Editor, The controversy over the homeless facility proposed by the Jesus Army [in the Jewellery Quarter] is about more than the location of the current planned site.
It raises some important questions over how the rich and powerful in the city treat the disadvantaged. While the Jewellery Quarter may or may not be the ideal location, and the Jesus Army is not everyone’s cup of tea, they have at least risen to the challenge. Their critics in the Jewellery Quarter sound like classic nimbys. Not in my back yard is never an appropriate response to any problem.
I am looking for constructive responses from the critics and so far cannot see any. If they don’t think the current proposal is acceptable, and it is for the planning authority to make a decision in the usual way, what are their alternatives? The Jewellery Quarter is certainly special and the St Paul’s Square worth preserving.
But the problems of the homeless and disadvantaged are real and growing. So what alternatives do the critics propose?
There is a real sense that affluent people drive into the city centre, make money, and drive out again ignoring people who do not have their wealth and power.
A couple of years ago the problems of the homeless looked as though they would gain the attention of the civic elite, but they dropped off the agenda again.
The Jesus Army would not be my preferred solution, but like the Salvation Army in the 1880s they are looking to problems the respectable and affluent wish to ignore.
Critics should put up an alternative solution or accept they are simply being selfish.