AN MP and homeless charities have blasted the council after they failed to open a night shelter on time “for the second year running”.

Green MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas said it is “deeply concerning” that Brighton and Hove City Council have delayed opening the night shelter in the Brighton Centre when winter is fast approaching.

She said: “The end of this month is far too late for people forced to sleep on our streets through these cold winter nights”.

The council had agreed earlier in the year that the night shelter would open from November 2 until March 20 2019, and Caroline Lucas said she was “ shocked by the lack of response” from it leading up to its planned opening date.

She said: “The council has a responsibility to direct government funding to target rough sleeping, and I’ve been disappointed by how evasive they’ve been in providing answers to basic questions on this.

“The Government is now directing more funding to local authorities to target rough sleeping and the council does have a responsibility to direct this where it’s needed most. With winter upon us, surely rough sleeping should be a priority?

It was recently reported that at least 449 people have died while homeless in the UK in the past year, including 15 people in Brighton.

Ms Lucas said: “If the council faces barriers getting the night shelter up and running, then this should be clearly communicated. And, if service pressures are behind the £30 million of Housing Revenue Account borrowing that the council could use, then we need to know”.

Jim Deans of Sussex Homeless Support, said in light of the recent figures detailing high numbers of deaths among the homeless community, the council’s delay in opening the shelter is “ludicrous”. He added the lack of contact from the council about the night shelter has been “frustrating”.

A spokeswoman at the council said: “During the summer we invited organisations to apply to manage the night shelter from November 2 until March 20, but unfortunately no applications were made because of the limited capacity of providers to run a temporary winter service.

“We’re disappointed not to be able to open the night shelter as early as we’d hoped but we’re working closely with partners to build on the provision already in place and pleased that Brighton Housing Trust will run the shelter from November 24.”