THE councillor responsible for the borough's public health and wellbeing insists the authority's approach to homelessness 'is working' after it came in for criticism.

New figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have revealed the number of rough sleepers recorded in the town in last year's autumn count totalled four.

Across England, 4,751 people were counted, or estimated, to be bedding down outside, with the figure including 1,137 in London.

It was up 15 per cent on the year before and more than double the number recorded in 2012.

During the latest count, four rough sleepers were recorded in Halton, nine in St Helens, 18 in Cheshire West and Chester, 21 in Cheshire East and 30 in Wigan.

But Warrington and Halton Green Party said it is 'disappointed' in the authority's approach 'at a time of austerity when homelessness is increasing at a significant rate'.

Deputy leader Lyndsay McAteer is also calling for funding for Room at the Inn homeless shelter to be 'guaranteed'.

She said: "Warrington Borough Council need to conduct a needs assessment to work out how the town can best support people who are homeless or sleeping rough."

Furthermore, the Greens are calling for the Housing First model to be implemented fully.

Ms McAteer added: "The starting point for Housing First is that it acknowledges that everyone has the right to a home.

"Many of the people who present as homeless have multiple complex needs.

"They are often dealing with severe trauma and a multitude of personal problems.

"It's only fair that they are given a chance through having somewhere to live where they can get help and specialist support."

However, Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, executive board member for public health and wellbeing, has responded.

She said: "In June 2017, Warrington launched its New Start programme that provides accommodation and support for adults who are rough sleeping and includes the principles behind the Housing First model.

"Our current approach is working as the levels of rough sleeping in Warrington are significantly below the national average and also much lower than neighbouring authorities due to the investment from the council and the efforts of council officers."

Anyone who believes that someone is sleeping rough is urged to contact the council by e-mailing, or by calling 246868.

Residents can also contact charity StreetLink by visiting, or calling 0300 500 0914.