LUKE MARSDEN: my hopes that Wigan won't go the same way as London and be overrun by homeless
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Going to London used to be a treat but those days are long gone.
Back in 2009, shortly after my stint in the UK’s most famous house, I lived my superstar lifestyle in Shepherds Bush, just as Europe’s largest shopping centre, Westfield was being built.
In that year, when things that were due to be built, they got built but, alas, this is another thing that doesn’t happen anymore (a similar story in Wigan).
Fast-forward to 2023, London is going to the dogs. Not only are there half-built eyesores all over the place but it is rapidly becoming a sanctuary city.
This is probably another novel concept imported from America only, unlike Hallowe’en, it is all tricks and no treats. San Francisco used to be stunning. Now it’s overrun by homeless camps and crime and our capital is heading the exact same way I fear.
During my two-day business trip, I lost count of the times I was asked for money and, in a new twist, begging is now regular on the Underground.
A woman was approaching commuters for cash, saying she had little English but did have a perfectly written English sign explaining she needed money for clothes.
I pointed out to her most people on the Underground won’t have cash: she’d be as well getting a contactless card reader and people could then tap away their guilt.
I assume Mayor Sadiq Khan’s plan is to try to fix this problem if re-elected because it is spreading fast and how long before our very own town ends up like our beloved London?
I’ve written in previously about concerns for the rise in homelessness in Wigan and I think I can speak for all Wiganers when I say this is something we’d much prefer isn’t imported from down south. We’ve got more than enough problems to deal with without needing to carry around guilt money.