BUSINESSES are confused as to why a family-sized tent on their street has not been moved.

The tent in Duke Street is the abode of lovebirds Kieran Spiteri, 34, and Bernice Howley, 41, who have been living there for more than three months.

The couple rely on the generosity of shops in the street who provide them with hot chocolate, a place to wash, toilets, and electricity.

But some businesses are not happy with the street’s newest residents.

Helly Parker has owned a shop in Duke Street for more than 30 years.

She said: “Why are they allowing a tent on the street and why is nobody helping them?

“It’s affecting business and people do not want to come to a city where every corner you’re tripping over homeless people.”

Mrs Parker said that because of the tent, and other issues on the street, she is now refusing to pay her council tax in protest.

She said: “Why aren’t the council doing anything about this?”

Another business owner, who did not want to be named, said: “There is no reason for the council to allow a tent to be in the middle of the street.

“It is simply not good enough

“They’re screaming and shouting at each other over the phone, they have a mirror, they have a sofa.

“In the sunny days they take the sofa out into the middle of the street and drink and get a sun tan.

“I’m not sympathetic at all.

“It’s one thing to be homeless but it is quite another thing to have a tent pitched in the street.”

The couple said they are thankful to be provided with amenities by shop owner Shawn Zhang who gives them drinks, a place to wash, toilets, and charge for their battery packs.

Mr Zhang said he is sympathetic to the situation of the couple but wishes more would be done to help rough sleepers in the city. He added: “Some of our customers are complaining that it’s not good for the street or the city when it looks like this.

“We are sympathetic but we hope someone can help.

“It’s not proper situation for them or for the neighbourhood.

A spokeswoman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: “Sleeping in tents is not safe or healthy for people.

“We do all we can to advise on better alternatives.

“We do sometimes remove tents, particularly where we have reports of antisocial behaviour, but we follow a clear set of guidelines that have been agreed with the police, St Mungo’s and other agencies.”