THE borough council said it is aware of a homeless ‘camp’ that has been set up at the Top of Town.

Members of the public have alerted Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to the makeshift camp, which has been created in an undercover area outside a vacant building in Winchester Street, previously occupied by the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The camp includes sheets and blankets which have been used to create a sheltered area.

It is not known how many homeless people are using the shelter to sleep at night.

Hiro Fam, manager of Dragon Palace Chinese restaurant in Winchester Street, said he feels conflicted about the situation, explaining: “For me I really sympathise with the homeless people when it’s cold and I bring them food. But for potential customers they don’t want to come to our restaurant because it’s off putting.”

He added: “I think that the council needs to do something. All the major banks have moved out of the town and the rents are too high. How can we attract local businesses? No one want to walk down here.”

He believes more should be done to promote the history of the area, such as its link to the designer make Burberry, which opened its first shop at the Top of Town.

Kate Randall, housing and social inclusion service lead at the borough council, said: “Through our proactive homelessness work we were aware but also thank members of the public who have alerted our outreach team through StreetLink.”

Asked what was being done about the camp, she added: “Issues involving rough sleeping are complex and can be challenging to resolve and, while we cannot speak about individual cases, we would like to reassure people that the Social Inclusion Partnership brings together a wide range of advice, support and services to provide the appropriate support to help anyone rough sleeping in our borough to get off the streets and into stable accommodation.”