GLOUCESTER Green in Oxford is in danger of becoming a no-go area, a leading city councillor has warned.

For months homeless people have been congregating in the square off George Street, sleeping in the doorways of empty shops and leaving their belongings there during the day.

READ MORE: Friday market trading in Gloucester Green but rough sleeper issue remains

Mary Clarkson, board member for culture and city centre, said a new ‘vision’ should be created for the area which hosts outdoor markets on Wednesday and Thursday.

READ AGAIN: Police arrest man and seize drugs and cash in Gloucester Green

Following the closure of Ex Mexicana chain restaurant, Combibos coffee shop and Fopp record store, rough sleepers have taken shelter in the shop doorways.

Oxford Mail:

Mrs Clarkson said city council officers were speaking with property company NewRiver in a bid to get the empty units filled as soon as possible.

READ AGAIN: Fopp Oxford closed despite HMV rescue package

She said: “We don’t want anywhere in the city to feel like a no-go area but I think there’s a danger of Gloucester Green starting to feel like that.

“There are people living in flats there and I’m not sure I would feel very safe at the moment if I lived there.

“It’s right next to George Street where the restaurants always seem to be busy so it’s got lots of potential.

“I think we need to talk to NewRiver about the possibilities and zone Gloucester Green in a particular way - possibly with independent shops or with food and drink. We need to decide what our vision is.”

Oxford Mail:

Mrs Clarkson added that council staff were working with homeless agencies to ensure that rough sleepers were directed to homeless shelters and support services.

READ MORE: Homeless sleep in doorways of former Gloucester Green restaurants

NewRiver said on its website: “This bustling square in the heart of Oxford already boasts a mix of national and local retailers, weekly markets, 100-space car park and sits adjacent to the city’s main bus terminal. NewRiver have plans to upgrade the public realm and restaurant offer.”

Oxford Mail:

A woman who is a friend of one man sleeping rough in Gloucester Green said: “I say good on him - he has been homeless for 20 years and passed from one hostel to another and still he is homeless.

READ AGAIN: Cash machines in ram raids won't be replaced

“We are told to go to councillors, to face our demons, do classes keep yourself and your room clean and you will get a flat and here we are 20 odd years later and we don’t have a flat.”