CLOSURE ORDER GRANTED ON WOMAN’S HOME
Croydon magistrates have granted an Anti-Social Behaviour Premises Closure Order on the woman’s home in Milton Road after hearing that for almost two and a half years it had been the scene of violence, shouted threats to kill, drug taking, drinking, foul and abusive language, out-of-control dogs and excessive noise.
The order prevents anybody entering the premises for three months.
Witnesses catalogued a series of incidents, many of which were attended by police, that made life a misery, cost them nights’ sleep and on occasion left them so stressed they were unable to go to work.
One neighbour said: “When I first met her, it seemed as though she was a quiet person and kept herself to herself. “This soon became a distant memory as she started having visitors to her property at all hours of the night.
“On a number of occasions we were disturbed by noise from both her and visitors getting drunk and taking drugs. “I know this because, on many occasions, they would have arguments about who took what drugs and people would swear at her when they were leaving the property.”
Other neighbours described violent arguments, at all hours of the day and night, between the woman and her male partner both inside the house and in the road outside. One such argument ended with the male being arrested and taken away in a police van.
The pair had a tempestuous relationship that saw him issued with a non-molestation order, preventing him contacting her and entering Milton Road.
In April of last year, the woman signed an acceptable behaviour contract and was warned that breaches of the contract could result in further action against her.
Over a series of interviews by council officers she was warned about her behaviour and that of others visiting her home. On each occasion she insisted that she would deal with the problems.
Notices of seeking possession of the property were served on her in January and March of this year but incidents between the woman and the man continued, causing further distress to neighbours.
Cllr Mark Watson, cabinet member for safety and justice, said: “This is a truly horrendous case which made life little short of a misery for the woman’s neighbours.
“As a responsible landlord with a duty of care to all its tenants, Croydon council simply will not stand for such awful and sustained antisocial behaviour.
“People should be aware that we will act in such cases and, if there is no evidence of improved behaviour, will seek the ultimate sanction of seeking possession of the property.” (Source: Croydon council press release)
NEW SOCIAL CARE DEAL TO INCORPORATE LONDON LIVING WAGE – STAFF TO GET MINIMUM £8.80 AN HOUR
Changes to how Croydon council commissions social care providers will ensure they pay their staff the London Living Wage for new contracts, say Croydon council.
The council said in a statement it is to launch an integrated framework agreement which brings together community-based social care services.
“A total of 58 providers have been appointed to cover areas including housing support; personal care; home care; and children’s support and care.
“As part of the new administration’s commitment for the council to become a fully-accredited London Living Wage employer, providers taking on new contracts will pay their staff at least £8.80/hour.
“The objective of the integrated framework agreement is to ensure that people can live more independently and remain in their own home by bringing together services.
“The integrated framework will support the council in securing a more consistent approach to quality, at an affordable price, across all types of community based provision.
“A key objective is to reward good quality providers that deliver the personal outcomes which service users want to achieve.
“Providers who are successful in this will receive more business from the council.”
Cllr Louisa Woodley, cabinet member for people and communities, said: “The integrated framework agreement will bring together all community based social care services under a single arrangement, providing the council with a more coherent approach to commissioning services in future.
“Crucially, this will enable people to live more independently and remain in their own home.
“It also sees the fulfilment of our commitment for the council to become a London Living Wage employer, with 58 of our providers signing up.” (Source: Croydon council press release)
CROYDON DEMANDS A FAIRER SHARE FROM GOVERNMENT
Faced with having to make £100m in savings by 2018 following government cuts, the council has launched a “Fair Share for Croydon” campaign demanding greater freedoms and devolution of powers from Whitehall to local authorities.
To better meet the needs of residents, the campaign will lobby Whitehall for a fairer share of funding to ensure the council can continue providing a quality public service which also tackles deprivation and inequalities in the borough.
Croydon said in a statement it currently receives disproportionately less funding than other authorities with similar characteristics that are facing the same issues, such as those in inner London.
“Yet it has seen an influx of less affluent households moving from inner London to the borough, as a result of spiralling housing costs and the government’s welfare reforms.
“The increased demand this has brought with it has heaped further pressure on health, education and social services in Croydon, without the right amount of funding to enable these to be efficiently delivered.
“The council is therefore asking central government for an increase in funding, and devolution of powers which would place Croydon in a far stronger position to support residents and tackle inequalities.”
The ‘Fair Share for Croydon’ campaign calls on Whitehall to devolve key powers to councils, including:-
• Freedom and funding to support young people through a further education, employment and skills service; to set up employment and welfare programmes instead of universal credit; to challenge all local underperforming schools
• Powers to set levels of council tax and business rates; to set charges for all council services, e.g. planning fees
• Joint commissioning of health and social care services; reinvesting VAT on fast food and soft drink sales in tackling child obesity; reinvesting duty on tobacco and alcohol to tackle harm caused by smoking and excessive drinking
• Ability to increase borrowing to build more affordable homes
• Freedom to give incentives to developers to speed up housing and business developments
• Controlling proportion of fuel duty to repair local roads
Due to the formula used by government to allocate funding to local authorities, which doesn’t keep pace with rapidly changing demographics, Croydon’s share fell by £10.6m in 2013/14.
Meanwhile inner London boroughs, despite seeing significant reductions in deprivation, collectively made a net gain of £236m.
Neighbouring areas such as Kingston, Merton, Sutton, Bromley and Richmond – which Croydon say are all significantly less deprived than Croydon – together gained £39.7m during the same period.
And as the current system is fixed until 2020/21, Croydon is set to lose a further £47m.
In addition, there are major concerns over other significant shortfalls in funding, such as:-
• Funding for additional school places
• Cost of supporting migrants not eligible for public funds
• Local housing allowance rates set against private rent levels, which is resulting in increasing levels of homelessness
• Funding for Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group to better meet health needs of residents
Council leader Cllr Tony Newman said “It’s high time Whitehall woke up to the ticking time bomb facing local authorities and the massive funding shortfall that will only widen inequalities and deepen deprivation in boroughs such as Croydon.
“We have to make £100m of savings in the next three years, which will have a huge impact on the services the council provides.
“Unless central government grants us the powers and the funding we need, then we face a very uncertain future where the level and quality of service the council provides is seriously undermined.
“We are the ones on the ground who know best the problems we are facing and how we can tackle them. “Therefore we urge ministers to listen to us and act now before it is too late.” (Source: Croydon council press release)
WHAT WOULD YOU ASK THE LEADER ABOUT YOUR BOROUGH?
That’s the question Southwark council is putting to its residents.
The council is asking anyone who lives or works, or is interested in Southwark to suggest a question about their local council for the leader, Cllr Peter John, to respond to.
“Maybe you want to know what the future for the borough’s children might look like in terms of schools and nurseries, perhaps care for older people or how our parks are managed are more your area of interest, or maybe you want answers about how Southwark is addressing the housing crisis?” says a Southwark statement.
“All questions are welcome. “The council will look at any suggestion and is open to whatever people want to directly ask the leader of the council on the night.”
The free event will be taking place on the evening of 22 October at City Hall, the home of the Greater London Authority in SE1, in the main debating chamber overlooking the Thames and Tower Bridge. Further details and timings will be announced soon.
Jumoké Fashola, award-winning radio and television broadcaster, famed jazz singer and Southwark resident will chair the debate and keep the questions and answers moving in “what promises to be a lively, exciting and challenging evening” say Southwark.
Cllr John said, “I don’t ever want the council’s leadership to be faceless or unaccountable in any way so I invite people’s questions, thoughts and opinions in order for us to be held to account publicly.
“I hope that by opening this forum to everyone that it will help to close the distance between residents and those responsible for delivering the services we provide for them. “Let’s face it, everyone likes to be listened to and I can’t wait to hear people’s questions.”
Please register your interest in attending as we expect this to be a very popular event. Email [email protected] to do so. You can also send in your questions beforehand to this same address or send questions via twitter using the hashtag #askpeterjohn to @lb_southwark. (Source: Southwark council press release)
PLANS TO DOUBLE AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN CROYDON
More affordable housing is set to be built as part of new residential developments in Croydon.
The council’s cabinet is being asked on Monday (15 September) to agree a report which will form the basis for all future housing plans.
The Croydon monitoring report will stipulate that there is a minimum requirement of 30 per cent affordable housing on sites of 10 or more units, which are outside central Croydon.
This will double the current level of 15pc, and will apply to all future planning applications, said a Croydon council statement.
In the last year, building work has already begun on more than 800 affordable homes in Croydon – one of the highest rates in London.
They will house more than 2,000 people when they are completed in the next 18 months.
Cllr Alison Butler, cabinet member for homes and regeneration, said: “It was a key pledge in our manifesto to increase the proportion of affordable housing in residential developments to a minimum of 30pc.
“We recognise that there is a housing crisis in Croydon and that residents are finding it increasingly difficult to rent or buy, which is why we this change in policy is of vital importance.”
(Source: Croydon council press release)
APPLICATIONS FOR SOUTHWARK’S CLEANER GREENER SAFER FUNDING NOW OPEN
Applications are now open for Southwark’s 2015/16 Cleaner Greener Safer (CGS) funding.
This year over £1,880,000 is available to individuals or community groups with innovative ideas to improve their areas to make their communities cleaner, greener or safer.
From new play opportunities and sports facilities, to community gardens and food growing projects, the programme has supported healthier lifestyles and helped revitalise communities.
Fencing and lighting projects have created safer environments and problem spaces prone to anti-social behaviour have been transformed with imaginative designs to enhance the areas.
Anyone can apply for a Cleaner Greener Safer grant either as an individual or a group, but you must live or work in the community council area where you are proposing the scheme.
Ideas for the CGS capital programme must demonstrate that they will make an area cleaner, greener or safer with a permanent, physical improvement and all projects are subject to permissions being granted, e.g. planning, listed building, Highway Authority etc.
Cllr Darren Merrill, cabinet member for environment, recycling, community safety and volunteering, said: “I’m delighted to be launching the Cleaner Greener Safer capital programme for 2015/16.
“Since 2003, a total of £30,393,000 has been awarded to 1,966 projects in Southwark with 1,585 now completed.
“It’s great that so many people care for their communities and want to make the areas they live and work in the best they can be. I am pleased we can continue to help them achieve this through this initiative.”
The closing date for entries is Friday 7 November 2014 and successful applications will be announced at community council meetings in January and February 2015.
To find out more information or to apply online, please visit http://www.southwark.gov.uk/cleanergreenersafer (Source: Southwark council press release)
COUNCIL BREAKS WITH 43 YEARS OF TRADITION TO MEET IN DEPTFORD
Lewisham council will hold its September meeting in Deptford Green school. It will be the first time the council has held a regular business meeting away from Catford since 1971 when the civic suite was opened.
“It marks the beginning of a series of occasional meetings in different parts of the borough and in different kinds of venues” said Lewisham council in a statement.
“It is a demonstration of councillors’ resolve to open themselves up to the scrutiny of the local community by making it easier for people in different parts of the borough to attend their meetings.
“And in a further change to normal business, the meeting will be preceded with an exchange of views between elected members of Lewisham Council, elected members of the Deptford Green school council and aspiring young Mayors of Lewisham.
“They will each talk about what it means to be elected and to have the honour and responsibility to represent their colleagues, peers and fellow citizens.”
Members of the public are invited to attend the meeting of Lewisham Council on Wednesday (17 September) at Deptford Green School. Proceedings start at 7.30pm with the formal business of Council from 8pm.
Deptford Green School is close to New Cross Gate Station and is served by buses 21, 47, 53, 136, 171, 172, 177, 225 and P5. There is free on street parking around the school. (Source: Lewisham council press release)