A COUNCILLOR is calling for a compassionate approach as homeless people are left on the streets when there are no severe weather warnings.

Cllr Bernie Attridge, of Connah’s Quay, has issued an urgent notice of motion on behalf of the Flintshire Independent Group to Flintshire Council requesting them to review the guidelines of the homeless shelter in Queensferry.

The shelter is currently only open when SWEP (Sever Weather Emergency Protocol) is activated – so when temperatures drop to freezing.

Cllr Attridge said: “We call upon Flintshire to urgently review the SWEP protocol following on from severe weather conditions, including a storm that placed us in high alert.

“Flintshire did not activate SWEP unlike all the neighbouring authorities, as it was not deemed cold enough according to the protocol.

“We ask that Flintshire uses its discretion in bad weather - not only when temperatures drop below 0. We must ensure that all avenues of communication are open and ensure that we reach out as much as possible.

“We need to be caring and compassionate with those who are much less fortunate in our county.”

Cllr Attridge said it is hoped this will be brought to council to be discussed in March.

He told the Leader that during the early hours of Thursday morning, SWEP was not activated but it was ‘freezing’ outside with ‘high winds and hailstones’.

The Connah’s Quay councillor added: “We’ve got another storm heading our way this weekend. I’m calling for urgent action. It really needs to be looked at. People are saying it could be 3 degrees but with the wind chill on top of that it’s freezing.

“At the end day I’m being contacted hourly by people raising concerns. I won’t give in until we get it sorted and I’m afraid to say, this wouldn’t be happening on my watch.

“If I was still the cabinet member, we wouldn’t be having this conversation because I would be insisting due to bad weather that common sense should prevail, and SWEP activated.”

Cllr Attridge said that in the 21st century it is ‘heart-breaking’ that Flintshire Council is taking the ‘strong line’ of when SWEP is activated instead of using ‘compassion and thought’, adding: “No member would want to see a member of their family out in this weather sleeping rough.”

The Leader previously reported that members of Connah’s Quay council heard at their monthly meeting that when SWEP was activated, the centre was being used.

It was heard that up to 12 people were using the centre to ‘full capacity’, however concerns were raised then that this was not enough.

Residents took to social media to express their concerns this week as SWEP was not activated in the poor weather conditions.

Lynne Chick said: “I think common sense is needed, it’s absolutely freezing outside, you would be called all sorts if you left a dog out in this, so how is it acceptable to leave a human out. Just seems a heartless approach.

“It's a matter close to my heart, I've a family member going through the same thing in Chester.

“I'm keen to start a support group for parents and siblings of drug addicts and homeless as there is no support for families and we are very much judged by those with no understanding.”

Cllr Nathan Jones, of Connah’s Quay added that ‘clarification’ would be welcome and despite needing to meet ‘certain weather conditions’, a ‘common-sense approach’ must be taken also.

Flintshire Council has been approached for a comment.