A CRACKDOWN on illegal encampments to stop sites being repeatedly used and to target those responsible is being taken to the courts by Croydon council.
“Last year our officers had to deal with 83 unauthorised encampments,
which in some cases required bailiffs being brought in to assist, at a cost
to the taxpayer of more than £128,000” said Croydon council in a statement.
Currently the council issues notices and bylaws to remove trespassers,
but it is felt further action needs to be taken to prevent sites being
“This will see the council apply to the courts for an injunction to stop
those responsible for repeated illegal encampments on land owned by the
council or that forms part of the public highway.
“As injunctions can be granted indefinitely, this will provide the council
with a longer term solution to the problem.
“There is also the possibility this could be used on private land
encampments, subject to the owner’s consent” added the council statement..
Cllr Simon Hoar, cabinet member for community safety and public
protection, said: “Illegal encampments are a blight on the borough.
“They cause anti-social behaviour, damage property and leave litter.
“They also take up officer time and are costly to the taxpayer given the
clean up expenses involved.
“Not only will this policy enable us to continue dealing with unauthorised
encampments quickly and robustly, but it will offer a longer term solution
to stop particular sites being repeatedly used.” (Source: Croydon council press release)
LAMBETH PROPOSES CONTROLS ON TAKE AWAYS, BARS AND BETTING SHOPS
Lambeth council are asking residents whether they agree with its bold plans to limit takeaways, payday lenders and betting shops.
Under Lambeth’s proposals, when considering new applications:
• New takeaways would be refused within 400m of any school outside a town centre.
• No more than a quarter of town centre shops should be bars, pubs or restaurants outside of Waterloo and Vaxuhall (which are part of central London)
• All the powers available to the council would be used to limit the number of betting shops, money-lenders or pawn brokers opening in town centres.
Lambeth Cllr Pete Robbins said: “These are bold plans to battle childhood obesity and manage our night-time economy. “People are concerned about the number of betting shops, money lenders and pawnbrokers on our high streets.”
“We’ve little room for manoeuvre over limiting payday money lenders because of national planning law, so we are joining other local authorities in calling on the Government to give us greater powers to work with residents to deliver the high streets they want and in the meantime, will use the limited power we do have to the fullest effect.”
Of the five A-class planning categories (A1-5), betting shops, pawnbrokers and payday loan shops are classed as A2, as are banks and building societies.
Under planning law, no permission is required to change within the A2 classification eg if a bank closes, a payday shop can open.
In general, a change of use to a lower A class does not require permission. However, a change of use to a pub or bar (A4) always requires permission.
The Draft Local Plan proposes refusing permission for requests A1 (shops) to A2 where this would result in too many A2 units in one area.
Residents are invited to comment on the Local Plan proposals in a number of ways:
Via the council’s website at www.lambeth.gov.uk/localplan
The draft plan is available at any Lambeth library, Lambeth town hall and at the ground floor of Phoenix House, where planning officers will be on hand to answer questions on Tuesdays between 2pm and 5pm.
Civic, friends and residents groups can invite council officers to speak at their meetings.
For more information, residents can call 020 7926 1212 or email [email protected] or visit www.lambeth.gov.uk/localplan (Source: Lambeth council press release)
SCAM PHONE CALLS – BE ON YOUR GUARD
BEWARE OF a new ‘call holding’ phone scam that’s the warning from Bromley safer Partnership.
How the scam works:
A victim is telephoned by a person alleging to be someone of authority – from the police, bank, Serious Fraud Office, for example. The caller says
there is a problem with the recipient’s bank account and their bank card must be collected.
If the caller cannot convince the victim, they are told to hang up and call a genuine number – such as 999 or the
telephone number on the rear of their bank card. However, the bogus caller
keeps the telephone line open and so the call goes straight back to the
fraudster who then deals with any subsequent call, convincing the victim
of their authenticity.
The victim willingly reveals their bank details and PIN. Often an unwitting
courier or taxi driver is sent to collect the victim’s card. The fraudster then
empties the bank account.
Don’t get caught out – warn family,
friends and neighbours. (Source: Bromley Safer Partnership newsletter
‘Safer Bromley News Spring 2013’)
CASH PAYMENTS ON BUSES FACE AXE
Cash payments made on London buses are to be phased out later this year by Transport for London, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.
Passengers will no longer be able to pay cash to the driver directly. They will have to have bought a ticket before they board or have enough credit on their Oyster card.
Labour group transport spokesperson Val Shawcross questioned the safety of this decision, fearing passengers on night buses could find themselves stranded if their oyster card is lost or stolen.
Labour Group Transport spokesperson Val Shawcross, who is London Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark. said:“Being able to pay with cash on buses must continue as an emergency option for people who have lost their oyster cards and need to get home.
“It’s not safe to take this away from Londoners who might have no other choice and could find themselves stranded.
“It’s disgraceful that bus users are not given the same service as travellers on London Underground. “Bus passengers should be able to load online payments on to their Oyster cards when they tap onto a bus as customers on the London Underground are able to do.
“I call on the Mayor to reconsider this unwise decision and allow Londoners to continue with the flexibility they currently have with bus payments.” (Source: London Assembly Labour group press release)
ELECTRIC BIKES MAKE CYCLING EASY
Croydon has taken delivery of four electric bikes to give residents the chance to try cycling.
The bikes will be available for everyone but will help give older residents, people with disabilities and those who don’t feel fit enough or able to ride normal pedal bikes the opportunity to cycle.
The bikes are part of the council’s cycle training programme, which is open to anyone regardless of age or ability.
Road safety officers from the council collected the bikes from Cyclingmadeasy, Chipstead Valley Road, Coulsdon, on Monday and rode them to the cycle training base at the Arena in South Norwood.
The council works with cyclinginstructor.com to offer free one-to-one cycling lessons to people aged nine and above, who live, work or study in Croydon.
All ability levels are welcome and pedal cycles are also available to borrow.
Lessons are available seven days a week starting from home, the office or anywhere that is convenient.
Cllr Jason Perry, cabinet member for planning and regeneration, said: “Electric bikes are a great way for people to experience the joys of cycling; especially those who are elderly or feel they are not fit enough to cycle.
“This training programme is open to people of all ages and abilities, and will provide advice on staying safe and being confident while on the road.”
For more information or to book visit www.cyclinginstructor.com or call 0845 652 0421.
GARDEN WASTE COLLECTIONS START AGAIN
Free fortnightly garden waste collections have started up again in Croydon.
Changes to the service from last year mean that people can use any bags or sacks they like, as long as they are no bigger than the ones that can be bought from libraries for £1 each.
No free bags will be provided, but the council will now collect up to 10 sacks from every household each fortnight, an increase from the six-bag limit of last year.
To remind themselves which weeks their garden waste will be collected, people can enter their address on the ‘about your area’ part of the council website at www.croydon.gov.uk.
Residents are reminded to use the service only for grass, weeds, dead plants, leaves and small branches.
Everything else – including larger pieces of wood, plant pots, turf, food waste, soil and Japanese knotweed – must be disposed of separately.
Cllr Phil Thomas, cabinet member for highways and environmental services, said: “This is a popular service and we’re keen to make sure that green waste is collected separately so that it can be composted rather than sent to expensive and environmentally damaging landfill sites.” (Source: Croydon council press release)
CRUSHING VICTORY FOR COUNCIL AGAINST FLYTIPPERS
A van used by a serial-flytipper who plagued Croydon for over a year has been seized and destroyed by the council.
The transit van was spotted by a sharp-eyed council officer who recognised its registration number from an incident that had taken place a year earlier.
In the autumn of 2011 residents had reported the van and its numberplate after a disused builder’s yard in Martin Crescent, began to be used as an illegal dumping ground for mountains of rubbish.
The van and its registered keeper were untraceable at the time, and due to the scale of the problem the council eventually had to clear the privately owned land itself.
“In October last year it looked like the flytippers had returned, as the yard began to fill up with junk again. “This was noticed by one of the council’s environmental enforcement team, who also remembered the details of the vehicle that had been reported as having been previously involved” said a council spokesperson.
“The culprit had been careless enough to leave their van next to the waste they had been tipping, and this led to it being seized and impounded.
“As a result of further investigations the person believed to have been the owner of the vehicle at the time is now facing prosecution. “The van itself has been scrapped and crushed.”
Cllr Phil Thomas, cabinet member for highways and environmental services, said: “We have zero tolerance to flytipping, and anyone caught illegally dumping waste – be that a single bin bag by the side of a tree or a tipper-load dropped on the road – can expect to be caught and punished.
“Local people are fed up with this sort of behaviour, and we know we have their full support in issuing fines and seeking prosecutions whenever we have the evidence to back us up.”
(Source: Croydon council press release)