A WOMAN who pitched an illegal tent in the city centre has said she is running away from "unsafe" accommodation provided by the council.

Brighton and Hove City Council officials served the tent, which has been in Steine Gardens for 12 days, with a "no camping notice" last week.

Residents living nearby complained of an increase of people drinking heavily, shouting, arguing and urinating in the bushes since the tent was put up.

READ MORE: 'Weekend of parties' at park with illegal tent

The Argus visited the area on Wednesday after council officials, who originally could not find the tent, said those inside were not homeless.

A sign has been attached to a nearby tree. The sign, written by the occupant, claims she has been kicked and punched while living at Old Steine, which she described as "a meeting place for every sort of idiot".

The Argus:

The woman, who we have decided not to name, claims she is running away from the "unsafe" hotel accommodation in Eastbourne where she was"dumped" by the council last year.

"I had to come back here, I had to run," she said.

"The council have said I've now made myself intentionally homeless and they're not going to help me.

"I was put in Eastbourne since October, I was begging them to move me and I finally left about five weeks ago."

The council moved more than 130 people into Eastbourne hotels last year without telling the borough council there, according to the town's MP.

READ MORE: Old Steine Gardens tent in served with notice

Caroline Ansell voiced concerns in Parliament that these people "could not possibly be cared for at arm’s length".

As of November last year, three had died.

The woman living in the tent said: "I was moved from Brighton to Eastbourne and they put me in with gangsters and drug dealers, who were trying to put me on the game.

"The management there said this is not safe.

"When I left, I was originally on the Downs, but this is much safer. This is where I'm visible, this is where I'm safest."

The Argus:

Throughout the pandemic, anyone sleeping rough in the city – regardless of whether they have a local connection – is being offered emergency accommodation.

The woman said the council has not offered her any other support since she's been at the Old Steine.

However, since living at the tent in Brighton city centre, she said, she has been given support from residents - and even job offers.

But she also spoke of the problems she is experiencing as she appeals to the council to find her alternative accommodation.

She said: "I've also had my tent slashed and someone set fire to it, trying to burn me out. It's idiots from pubs and clubs.

"What I want is an answer and an explanation why I don't qualify for housing, even if it's only temporary.

"They've put everyone under one umbrella, we need to be treated as individuals."

The Argus:

Officials visited the site last Tuesday to speak to people following complaints. However, after a look around the green, they concluded it was no longer there and left the scene.

They later returned after it was pointed out the tent was still pitched among the trees at the bottom of the park.

The councils said people linked with the tent had engaged in antisocial behaviour in the area, which had been reported to the police.

According to people working nearby, a “constant flow” of drunken revellers used the area as a base for the noisy gatherings at “all hours of the day” over the weekend.

Community support officers arrived at the scene on Wednesday while The Argus was visiting with Conservative spokeswoman for housing, Councillor Mary Mears at noon.

We found people had gathered outside the fountain and were drinking alcohol. Rubbish, including a barbecue, had been left near the fountain.

The woman told us that she keeps the area around her tent clean and deters people from causing trouble in the area.

Cllr Mears, who spoke with the woman at the tent and those who had gathered, said: "There are two things in this situation.

"First of all, the impact this is having on the city - tents and behaviour issues really affect our economy, the business in the city, and puts people from coming.

The Argus:

"But there's a bigger issue around some of the people we've spoken to today. No way should she be in that tent, it is not safe and she's saying she's had one minute of contact with the council.

"This administration has taken all this government money for homeless and rough sleepers. They need to be dealing with the problem from the bottom up as many people clearly have mental health issues."

The city council said the woman has now been given alternative accommodation.

A spokesman said: "Our street outreach team have been in touch with the person occupying this tent since we became aware of the situation last week. The occupier has now been provided with accommodation.

“We have provided emergency accommodation for many vulnerable people throughout the pandemic and moved many on to more settled accommodation.

“Given how many people we are supporting, it can sometimes take time to link people to the correct support services and move them into more suitable accommodation.

“We do appreciate this can be difficult for people, and some have left accommodation without having a robust alternative and returned to the street.

“Our street outreach team work really hard to engage with everyone on the streets to help them get the support they need and, where we can, to get them off the streets in the longer term.”