‘BEDLAM’ FLAT GETS SHUT DOWN BY COUNCIL
A nuisance tenant who nearly burnt down his flat after he passed out drunk while frying chicken is set to be booted out of his council property.
A closure order was granted for the tenant’s home in Miles Court, Cuthbert Road, Croydon, after magistrates were told it was a persistent source of antisocial behaviour.
Neighbours reported how the male tenant would invite “street drinkers” back and that they were regularly subjected to a tirade of abuse whenever confronted.
The problems peaked last month when there was a serious fire at the property causing considerable smoke damage to the kitchen after the man passed out drunk while frying chicken.
One of the witnesses, an 83-year-old woman who is wheelchair bound, told the court how the noise caused her serious health concerns, and that on two occasions she had to be rushed to hospital to be resuscitated.
Another witness said the man and his mates would cause “bedlam” and described the sleepless nights he suffered as “total purgatory”.
A three month closure order was made by Croydon magistrates court on Wednesday, 20 August, during which time the council will seek to evict the man permanently and repossess the property.
The order means nobody can enter the property for the next three months.
Cllr Mark Watson, cabinet member for safety and justice, said: “This tenant’s neighbours have been through hell. “The suffering they had to put up with was completely unacceptable, and nobody should have to tolerate this kind of behaviour.
“They should be applauded for having the bravery to testify in court, which enabled the council to secure this result.
“It now means peace and order can be restored, and serves as a warning to others who engage in antisocial behaviour, that we will come down hard on you and see that you’re removed from your home.” (Source: Croydon council press release)
BEKO RECALLS GAS COOKERS IN IMPORTANT SAFETY WARNING
Beko is still seeking some older models (manufactured prior to 2009) of Beko, Flavel and Leisure gas cookers that can produce potentially fatal levels of carbon monoxide.
The potentially fatal levels of carbon monoxide can occur if used incorrectly with the grill door closed.
Check to see if you’re gas cooker is:
A Beko, Flavel or Leisure model
Has a separate oven and grill
Serial number begins 03,04,05,06,07,08
If your cooker has all three of the above features you need to urgently call 0800 917 2018 or go to http://www.beko.co.uk/ for more information. (Source: Southwark council press release)
ALERT RESIDENT WARNS OF SHAM TRADING STANDARDS OFFICERS
Rogue traders claiming to be from Croydon council’s trading standards team are operating in the south of the borough with the aim of ripping off unsuspecting householders.
Residents are warned to be wary of callers to their front door by men who, on the face of things, sound and appear entirely credible, stating that they are from the trading standards department, said a council spokesman.
“They claim to be working in the area, carrying out visual inspections of the guttering and drainage fittings on houses, and advising residents that they feel work is required to their property.
“But trading standards officers would never cold call in this way and do not carry out inspections of this kind.”
It is not known how many people have been approached by the scammers, nor how many have fallen for the sham advice and offered the work to the company recommended by the cold callers.
One resident in Whyteleafe was sufficiently concerned to alert the Kenley Safer Neighbourhoods Team after politely declining their offer.
Cllr Mark Watson, cabinet member for safety and justice, said: “This is a worrying development, one that’s designed to prey on the trusting nature of some of our older, or more vulnerable, residents.
“At the moment, we know they’re operating in the south of the borough, but all residents should be on their guard.
“The fraudsters’ line of patter is quite believable and they try to convince householders that their property could be at risk unless work is carried out immediately.
“The Whyteleafe resident’s reaction was exactly the right thing to do – ask to see identification and check that it’s genuine, firmly but politely say ‘no’, don’t let them into the house, and then alert the police.
“A quick telephone call could result in the fraudsters being picked up while they’re still in the area.” (Source: Croydon council press release)
BE A BRIGHT SPARK – GET YOUR APPLIANCE TESTED
Electric blankets, kettles, irons, table lamps and other small appliances will once again be under the spotlight when Croydon council’s trading standards team holds its annual free testing event for borough residents.
And such has been the success and popularity of previous testing days, this year’s event has been extended to cover two days, offering a local testing centre to residents of the north and the south of the borough.
The sessions will be held at:
Thursday, 9 October – Selsdon Centre for the Retired (located within Sainsbury’s), 130 Addington Road, Selsdon CR2 8LA
Friday, 10 October – 53-55 Parchmore Community Centre, Parchmore Road, Thornton Heath CR7 8LY
Each session will run from 9.30am to 4.30pm, with an appointments system to avoid long waiting times for residents.
As in previous years, the trading standards department will be offering a home collection service for residents who are elderly or housebound and might find it difficult to attend one of the sessions.
Last year’s event saw 57 per cent of the presented electric blankets fail safety tests, along with 54pc of the electric appliances offered for testing.
Cllr Hamida Ali, deputy cabinet member for safety and justice, said: “Last year’s event revealed a high number of failures, so it’s good that residents know that, despite appearances, their appliance could be unsafe, and are taking this great opportunity to have them tested free of charge.
“I’d urge anybody who has an appliance that’s a few years old, or that they’re unsure about, to take advantage of this service, book an appointment and get some invaluable peace of mind.”
Anybody interested in having an electric blanket or small appliance tested should contact the trading standards team to book an appointment. Residents unable to leave their home to attend these events can book a collection time.
To book, call Caroline Dawson on 020 8407 1310 or email [email protected]
Alternatively, call the trading standards team on 020 8407 1311 or email [email protected] (Source: Croydon council press release)
TAKE LEWISHAM COUNCIL’S BIG BUDGET CHALLENGE
Think you can manage the council’s budget? Lewisham council are giving their residents the opportunity to do just that using an online budget simulator.
The council is faced with finding further savings worth £85 million over the next three years in the face of reduced government funding – the equivalent of around £1 of every £3 spent from its net budget.
“While the Government is cutting the council’s budget by a third, Lewisham’s population is growing as quickly as anywhere in London, putting extra pressure on services like adult and children’s social care, school places, refuse collection and waste disposal” said a Lewisham council press release.
Google ‘Lewisham council news’ for further information.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS OFFERED MORE SUPPORT
Increased safety and support services are being offered to victims of domestic violence with the introduction of specialist support workers based at Windmill Road police station and Croydon University hospital.
From this autumn, an independent domestic violence advocate (Idva) will be based at the station to help high-risk victims and their children.
The council-funded support officer will be the main point of contact for victims, and will work with them from the point of the incident to assess their level of risk, discuss the range of options available to them and develop safety plans.
Cllr Mark Watson, cabinet member for safety and justice, said: “Domestic violence has a devastating impact on the lives of those who experience it, their families and friends.
“This is why we are working more closely with police colleagues to offer an immediate, on-site support service to victims, which increases their safety and improves their pathways to support.”
The move is included in the first phase of a development that aims to increase support services in key public sector organisations for victims of domestic and sexual violence.
Work is currently under way to recruit a specialist worker for Croydon University Hospital by the end of September.
Detective Chief Inspector Sian Thomas, who leads Croydon’s Community Safety Unit, said: “Having an Idva based here with our team will benefit victims of domestic abuse and it will also help my officers deal with what are often very delicate and complex cases.
“It means we can refer people there and then, and get them the support and advice they need at an early stage.”
If you are the victim of domestic violence, contact the Family Justice Centre on 020 8688 0100 and visitwww.croydon.gov.uk/community/dabuse/fjcentre (Source: Croydon council press release)
NEW ‘TICKET ONLY’ FIREWORKS NIGHT PLANNED BY LAMBETH
Lambeth Council’s hugely popular annual fireworks display will this year be a ticketed event held on Wednesday, November 5 at Brockwell Park.
Lambeth residents are being offered early access to discounted tickets so they get the best deal with children aged 16 and under getting free entry.
Cllr Jane Edbrooke, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “Our annual fireworks display is a big draw and I am delighted to have found a way to keep it going through this period of budgets cuts.
“This year it will be more of an event rather and just a fireworks display, with a bonfire for the first time, street style performers and themed areas for children to enjoy throughout the evening.
“Unlike many other London boroughs, we are delighted not to be charging children aged 16 and under.
“I would encourage residents to take advantage of our early bird offer for what I’m sure will be an exciting and fun event.”
The theme for the event is LIGHT and there will also be bars, food and craft stalls with details of more performers to follow. Brockwell Park has been chosen to host the event as it is both large enough and most easily managed in crowd and traffic terms.
By introducing ticketing for its fireworks night Lambeth council say they are making it a safer event.
“Last year the show attracted an estimated 100,000 people which the police and fire brigade have advised is too many to manage” said a Lambeth spokesperson.
“With pressures on the council budget, Lambeth needs help covering the bill for the hugely popular event. “It ended up costing the council about £95,000 last year.”
The November 5th event entry times will be from 5pm to 10pm
Tickets priced £6 and £7 will be on sale in advance from mid-September with the council expecting the event to sell out online. Visit www.lambeth.gov.uk/fireworksfor full information. (Source: Lambeth council press release)
DAWN SWOOP HITS FLY-TIPPERS IN THE POCKET
A 5.30 Monday morning visit by Croydon council’s environmental enforcement staff resulted in 15 fixed penalty fines being issued to fly-tippers who had left rubbish on Portland Road and Cherry Orchard Road.
Bags of waste were carefully searched for evidence of where they had come from and whenever sufficient proof was available an £80 fine – the largest fine permitted by current legislation – was issued..
“What was found was a mixture of commercial rubbish and household waste which had been thrown out onto the street many days before a collection was due” said a council spokesman.
“The seven-strong enforcement team also spoke to the managers of several early-opening businesses to check they had all the necessary contracts in place to properly dispose of their trade waste.”
Cllr Stuart Collins, cabinet member for a clean and green Croydon, said: “Local residents who were up early enough to see this highly visible patrol operation were quick to thank our team for their efforts.
“It only takes a small minority of careless or lazy people to spoil the environment for everyone – so our staff got a massive vote of thanks for taking the time to challenge anyone who they found not following the rules.
“Tackling fly-tipping is a huge priority for this council and wherever we can we are clamping down on anyone who we catch. “People will soon get the message not to mess with Croydon – it’s so much better to take pride in the place you live or work.”
Street cleaning staff from Veolia worked with the enforcement team to ensure the roads were left in a spotless condition for people going to work or taking their children to school on the first day of term.
Croydon say officers will be continuing to target these areas over coming weeks by speaking to all nearby businesses to ensure they are not dodging costs by illegally getting rid of their commercial waste. (Source: Croydon council press release)
PRIMARY SCHOOL PUPILS TO GET FREE FRUIT
Southwark council are rolling out its offer of free fruit for pupils aged 7-11, building on the existing scheme for infants so that every child who attends a local authority primary school gets fruit daily.
“The initiative is a part of the council’s plans to ensure that all children in Southwark get the best start in life possible by addressing their health and its link to their education” said a Southwark council spokeswoman.
“In the borough almost half of the local authority primary schools have already signed up, with more expected to join the scheme in the coming weeks, and all 73 primary schools are anticipated to have implemented the plans by the end of the academic year.”
Cllr Victoria Mills, cabinet member for children and schools said: “We all know that nutrition is a vital part of a child’s day at school.
“Our offer of free school meals over the last few years have been an important way of tackling the growing food poverty crisis and supporting parents who are finding it increasingly tough to make ends meet in our borough.
“This extension of a free fruit snack into the programme will, we hope, continue that work.”
The new scheme is part of the council’s universal free healthy school meals programme which means every child who attends a local authority primary school in Southwark is entitled to a free, hot meal every day – with uptake currently at around 92 pc (more than double the national average). (Source: Southwark council press release)
TECHNOLOGY AND LEARNING BOOST FOR SOUTHWARK LIBRARIES – THANKS TO THE SUN NEWSPAPER!
Southwark residents will now have access to the very latest in tablet technology and the latest news thanks to a gift to the council from News UK, publisher of The Times, Sunday Times and The Sun.
The company has donated a total of 88 Nexus and iPad tablets to local libraries to coincide with their move from Wapping to London Bridge where they have taken a lease for the next thirty years.
Free subscriptions to the award winning news, sport, analysis and comment of the Times and Sunday Times are included on every device.
“Over the last year Southwark libraries welcomed over two million visitors, a figure which is expected to increase as our libraries continue to benefit from investment” said a council spokesperson..
“The tablets will help the council in its vision to deliver a Fairer Future for all, which calls on everyone in the borough from residents, businesses and the voluntary sector to create new opportunities for individuals and communities to realise their potential.”
Ten Google Nexus 7 tablets are being given to eight Southwark libraries including Dulwich and
Each library will all also receive an iPad mounted on a specially made stand incorporating the famous Times and Sunday Times mastheads, and News UK’s News Academy logo, the company’s initiative to secure a sustainable future for journalism.
“The donation has been welcomed by Southwark council as it continues to develop its libraries, at a time when other local authorities have cut back” said a council statement..
“Libraries in Southwark are seen as vital community spaces where young and old can learn new skills, including becoming confident in the use of IT.
“A key part of the council’s vision is to encourage independence and also to make sure that people can access the many benefits and opportunities, educational, social and economic, of being online.”
News UK will officially open its News Building next to the Shard on the 16 September, and will be joined by their corporate cousins from Dow Jones and Harper Collins in the coming months.
Cllr Peter John, Leader of Southwark Council, said: “On behalf of the people of Southwark I’d like to thank News UK for their generous gift.
“Whilst other councils are closing down libraries, we are investing in and opening new state of the art facilities. “These devices will perfectly compliment our commitment to providing the best spaces for learning that are comparable with anywhere in London.
“This is a good example of how we are absolutely focused on growing strong relations with Southwark based businesses in order to maximise meaningful learning, skills and employment opportunities for local people, particularly the young and disadvantaged.” (Source: Southwark council press release)
RESIDENT GUILTY OF £68,289 BENEFIT FRAUD
A 65 year-old man from Keston narrowly escaped prison at Croydon crown court after pleading guilty to defrauding Bromley council and the DWP out of £68,289 over an eight year period.
Following receipt of anonymous information an investigation established that when he first made his claim for benefit he failed to notify he owned two additional properties that he rents out, had sold a property in Spain, had inherited more than £16,000.00, had two private pensions, and had more than £42,000 in premium bonds and more than £102,000 in a bank account.
He also put a property he bought in a relative’s name after receiving £600,000 from land he sold and took responsibility for the relative’s false claim to ESA based on ownership of the property. As well as having a criminal record he has to pay all the money back to Bromley council and the DWP.
The man admitted five offences under the Social Security Administration Act including dishonestly producing a relative’s claim for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
He was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment suspended for 18 months for each count to run concurrently and must observe a 6 month tagged curfew order between the hours of 10pm and 6am. He was ordered to pay within 6 months the statutory victim surcharge as well as £4664 in prosecution costs.
The fraud against Bromley Council amounted to £16,900 in council tax benefit from September 2005 to December 2013, while the fraud against the DWP related to Pension Credit amounts totalling £44,137 and a relative’s Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) totalling £7,252.
Anyone with information about a suspected benefit fraud should contact (in strict confidence) the Fraud Hotline on 0800 169 6975 or email [email protected] (Source: Bromley council press release)
LAMBETH’S CHIEF EXECUTIVE LEAVING
Derrick Anderson, CBE, Chief Executive of Lambeth council is stepping down at the end of the year.
“Derrick Anderson was appointed in 2006 to run the authority in what were then challenging and difficult times” said a Lambeth statement.
“Today, Lambeth is rated outstanding, in key services, and widely recognised for pioneering the cooperative council way of working with local people.”
The only black chief executive of a London local authority, Derrick Anderson was awarded a CBE for services to local government in 2003 and named Guardian Public Leader of the Year in 2012.
He said: “I’ve spent nearly nine years at Lambeth and I am extremely proud of what we; citizens, councillors and staff have achieved.
“Lambeth is a fantastic place to work and an even better place to live – I’ve a great fondness for the borough I call home. “This has been an extremely rewarding role but it is the right time for me to pursue my other passions.” (Source: Lambeth council press release).