At the Full Council meeting held on 19 April 2016, Cllr Pete Edwards presented a petition on behalf of business owners in Exeter.
The petition reads:
Petition to Exeter City Council & Devon County Council
from business owners in Exeter
Reason for this petition:
We are all as business owners being subjected to a significant loss of trade and financial income due to the presence of Gabriel House in Smythen Street, Exeter and the high levels of crime and anti-social behaviour associated with it.
Customers are regularly commenting that they feel uncomfortable, intimidated and unsafe visiting our local businesses and are quite disgusted by how the local area is being treated by the inhabitants of Gabriel House and the people associated with it.
We the undersigned petition the Councils or relevant authority to:
properly address the increasing problem of anti-social behaviour related to Gabriel House, which is blighting the West Quarter of the city centre, and costing our businesses dearly and threatening the health and safety of members of the public.
Gabriel House is without doubt not fit for purpose and is becoming a risk to the prosperity of the local area, and before long we will be holding the Councils responsible and demanding financial redress for loss of business.
We are all collectively paying business rates of hundreds of thousands of pounds to Exeter City Council, and in return for this we rightfully expect our streets to be kept clean, safe and for our businesses to be able to operate without additional unnecessary pressures in what is already a difficult economic climate.
We would like to put emphasis on the fact that we are not in any way ill-disposed towards genuinely homeless people in Exeter. What we are trying to get you to understand is that in these cases of anti-social behaviour, the culprits aren’t homeless people but are insteafd people who have decided to live a certain lifestyle on the streets, committing crime and not accepting help offered by the authorities.