A "LIVID" council leader has sent an angry message to the chief executive in a row over metal railings.

In an email to Geoff Raw, seen by The Argus, Brighton and Hove City Council leader Nancy Platts accused officers of failing to act on the instructions of elected councillors.

She is furious after metal fencing was put up at Duke’s Mound on Brighton seafront – at a cost of £9,000 to taxpayers – and said it must be removed “with immediate effect”.

The railings fenced off shelters where homeless people have been sleeping for years.

In the email, Labour Councillor Platts said: “I am livid that the erection of railings and boards was not discussed with the councillors responsible for housing and homelessness.

“I feel this demonstrates a lack of understanding of both our political position and the support for our ‘welfare first approach’ from the community.

“These actions are in direct contradiction to the compassionate approach towards the homeless community and our belief that having a home is a basic human right.”

The shelters were fenced off using “essential repair” money last Thursday.

It came after the council lead for homelessness, Councillor Nichole Brennan, pledged a “welfare first approach” to those sleeping in tents in the city.

Cllr Platts said the decision was “unacceptable” and constituted a “hostile environment” towards homeless people.

She added: “Please can you now ensure that all barriers, railings and boards are removed with immediate effect.”

Cllr Platts also criticised council officers for failing to act on instructions from Cllr Brennan and herself to open the council’s severe weather shelter (SWEP) every weekend.

Currently, it only opens when the Met Office forecasts a heatwave or “feels like” a temperature of zero degrees or lower.

She said: “Having discussed this matter with Cllrs Brennan and Williams, we are agreed that our solution is for SWEP to be open every night and St Patrick’s [night shelter] opened up so that everyone, including people with no local connection can have a bed in a warm, safe and dry environment every night.

“We are facing a cold, wet winter and no one wants to see people sleeping out in the elements when there are spare beds available and when shelter could be provided.

“We have now been talking about this for weeks and I am disappointed at the slow progress being made in resolving this matter.

“We started by asking for SWEP to be opened every weekend at least but this has still not materialised.

“With every night that goes by, vulnerable people sleeping on our streets are at risk.

“This has to stop now.”