A GREEN councillor has called for a review of Oxford City Council’s policy on cold weather provision for the homeless.

For a number of years the council has operated a Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP).

As part of the protocol staff work with local homelessness organisations to ensure there is provision of extra bed spaces for rough sleepers during the cold winter months.

A spokesman for the city council said the protocol had been developed with the city’s outreach team and providers of SWEP venues and was reviewed every year.

The protocol is enacted on a forecast by the Met Office that the temperature will fall to zero or below on three or more consecutive nights, with extra facilities being provided on the first night.

Green city councillor Craig Simmons said the protocol should be revised, so that it comes into effect when the temperature falls to zero or below for just one night.

Mr Simmons said: “I do think SWEP should be activated after just one night of freezing temperatures - it’s definitely time for a review.”

Paul Roberts, chief executive officer of Aspire Oxford, which works with the homeless, said: “If the temperature falls to zero or below for just one night it’s still very cold.

“You have to look at the demand for beds and how many can be made available.”

The council operates SWEP in consultation with key partners, in particular Homeless Oxfordshire, and St Mungo’s charity and has discretion to open on other nights when the forecast indicates cold weather. Temperatures will fall to -1C on Saturday.