Page last updated at 06:50 GMT, Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Homeless man's roundabout protest

Nigel Walker
Nigel Walker has been camped on the busy roundabout for the last week

A homeless man has set up camp on a roundabout on a main road, to highlight what he claims is a lack of help.

Scaffolder Nigel Walker, 48, has been living in a tent on the approach to Pembroke Dock for the past week.

He says he lost the house he lived in with his mother when she died last year and has been "hitting his head against a wall" trying to find a home since.

Pembrokeshire Council said he was not a "priority need" but that he could appeal although he had not done so.

Mr Walker said: "Either they find me a home or I'll drop dead here.

"I'm not going until they speak to me. Even if they got in touch with me it would be something."

He said after his mother died he was forced to leave the house she had owned and had fallen on hard times.

'Big taxes'

"They won't even put me a hostel - I was told I'm in the 'gold band' but still not priority enough.

"What have I got to do? Become an alcoholic, a drug addict, a prisoner or what?

"What makes me eligible to get a home?

Nigel Walker
I'm not Richard Branson but I can say I've got my own island
Nigel Walker

"I've been in high paid jobs all my life. I've paid big taxes and National Insurance and yet they can't find me a home.

"I'm just hitting my head against a brick wall."

Mr Walker said although it was noisy camping on the main route into town and for traffic crossing the Cleddau Bridge he had chosen the roundabout to highlight his case.

"I'm not Richard Branson but I can say I've got my own island," he joked.

He said police officers had spoken to him and asked him not to make a mess or a nuisance of himself but had been "good as gold."

Drivers passing have been hooting their horns in support and Mr Walker said he had been helped by friends and well wishers.

The roundabout is used by motorists entering Pembroke Dock and also using the Cleddau bridge.

"The church down the road and some of their parishioners have been brilliant," said Mr Walker.

"Yesterday a charity shop from Neyland brought me some warm clothes.

"People have been fantastic. That little bit of support helps."

Households waiting

In a statement Pembrokeshire council said Mr Walker went on the housing register in May 2008 and made a homelessness application at the same time.

"He was assessed by a housing officer in June and it was deemed that under the Homelessness Act 2002 he did not have a priority need.

"Mr Walker had a right to review the decision but appears not to have done so."

It said demand for council houses in the county far exceeded supply and there were 4,600 households waiting for accommodation.

It said since April 2008 it had 700 homeless applications.

"As a result we encourage people to seek accommodation in the private sector and have schemes in place to assist people - particularly high priority cases - to do so."

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SEE ALSO
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10 Dec 08 |  North East Wales

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