LAMBETH TO RAISE MILLIONS FROM DEVELOPERS WITH COMMUNITY LEVY / LANDLORD AND LETTING AGENT FINED £3,000 EACH FOLLOWING FLAT FIRE / LAND OWNER FINED £1,100 FOR BURNING CONTROLLED WASTE / BROTHERS FOUND GUILTY OF STORING ILLEGAL TOBACCO
LAMBETH TO RAISE MILLIONS FROM DEVELOPERS WITH COMMUNITY LEVY
Lambeth council says it could raise £32.5 million over the next five years from a new charge on developments that came into force on October 1st.
The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) allows local authorities to raise funds towards infrastructure from some new developments in a similar way to how Section 106 system currently works.
Lambeth’s CIL will apply to a range of new developments, over 100 square metres or creating a new dwelling, which is granted planning permission after 1st October.
Major new infrastructure is needed in Lambeth over the next few years and this money will go some way to paying for it, say Lambeth.
The scale of CIL charges has been developed following a lengthy consultation process and varies according to the type of development and its location. Social housing, developments by charities and self-build homes are exempt.
Cllr Jack Hopkins cabinet member for growth and jobs, said; “ Lambeth is attracting investment on a large scale and the new CIL will help us manage growth so that everyone in the borough benefits from the spoils of development.
“We will continue to work with our partners and the GLA to close funding gaps so Lambeth continues to be a truly sustainable place to live and work.
“It’s absolutely vital that ambition is matched by opportunity and the Lambeth CIL is an important part of making sure that happens.” (Source: Lambeth council press release)
LANDLORD AND LETTING AGENT FINED £3,000 EACH FOLLOWING FLAT FIRE
A landlord and a letting agent have been hit with heavy fines for failing to license their property after a fire broke out.
The owner and the letting agent, both of Thornton Heath, were each ordered to pay £3,000 after being found guilty at Croydon magistrates’ court of failing to license a house in multiple occupation (HMO).
Seven people had to be led to safety by fire crews following a blaze at the flat in January, as well as five others from the neighbouring property.
An inspection by council housing enforcement officers found there were five people living in the flat at the time of the fire, all of whom paid £150 per month to the letting agent.
“But the letting agent did not have an HMO licence, which is required by law when there are more than three unrelated people renting a property” said Croydon council in a statement.
“Following a previous inspection in 2012, the owner agreed to empty the unlicensed flat after it was found to be in use as an HMO.
“Yet he since let it out to the letting agent, who in turn rented it out as an HMO despite the warnings given by the council.
“In addition to the fines, both defendants were made to pay £2,500 in court costs.”
Cllr Alison Butler, cabinet member for homes and regeneration, said: “It was a miracle that nobody was seriously injured or killed in this fire.
“This case goes to show the potential dangers of an unregulated private rental sector, which is why we are consulting over proposals to introduce a landlord licensing scheme which will give protection to private tenants from rogue landlords.
“I’d also like to praise the London Fire Brigade, who notified us immediately about the fire and provided evidence in court.”
Norbury fire station manager Bob Penny said: “Landlords have a clear duty under the law to ensure that the people renting their premises are living in a safe environment.
“We work closely with the council to ensure that they are not ignoring those responsibilities and this fine should send a clear message to landlords about the consequences of not taking those responsibilities seriously.
“I’d also like to commend our firefighters who attended the original fire and helped to support the council’s prosecution by giving evidence during the court case.” (Source: Croydon council press release)
LAND OWNER FINED £1,100 FOR BURNING CONTROLLED WASTE….
The owner of land in Biggin Hill has been found guilty of burning controlled waste consisting of demolition materials and demolition timbers.
The prosecution at Bromley magistrates court followed an incident last December when police closed Salt Box Hill for safety reasons when smoke from the fire mixed with fog.
The council’s public protection team subsequently investigated the circumstances when the fire had been extinguished by the London Fire Brigade and the land owner was told to pay a total of £3210.
The landowner appeared at court represented by counsel and pleaded not guilty on his own behalf and that of his company to the unlawful disposal of controlled waste by burning on land off Salt Box Hill, Biggin Hill on 10th December 2013.
A Bromley council statement said despite acknowledging that demolition timbers were burnt on the site and that he had on occasion taken waste from his company’s demolition sites for the purposes of burning, the landowner claimed that there was no fire on the date in which three London Fire Brigade appliances attended his property and implied that the use of fire hoses on the pile of ashes caused a fire to reignite.
“The magistrates did not find sufficient evidence to link the matter to the company” said the council statement. “But they did find the landowner guilty of the offence as he had by his own admission brought controlled waste onto the site and burnt it.
“Taking into account the facts of the case, problems with smoke mixing with fog on the highway on that date and a prior conviction against the firm for a similar offence, he was fined £1,100 plus £110 victim surcharge and was ordered to pay £2,000 towards the council’s costs.”
Bromley’s executive councillor for environment Cllr Colin Smith said: “Waste needs to be disposed of properly and residents and businesses need to know that they cannot take illegal short cuts such as burning the waste without risking prosecution.
“This was a serious matter that compromised road safety as well as breaching the waste disposal laws which are obviously there for a purpose.”
Cllr Tim Stevens, executive councillor for public protection said, “Our thanks goes to the London Fire Brigade and the Biggin Hill crew in particular who both attended the scene and made the situation safe and for the vital evidence they provided too.”
Note: Section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 makes it an offence to submit controlled waste to any operation that is not carried out in accordance with an environmental permit and also makes it an offence to treat, keep or dispose of controlled waste in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health.
The penalties for offences under this section include up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £50,000.
Controlled wastes include any household, commercial, or industrial waste which is subject to an Environmental Permit when disposed or treated, and includes demolition timber.
In short, only green waste grown on the site of a bonfire may be burnt, however those responsible must ensure that smoke from green waste bonfires does not cause a nuisance to neighboring properties. (Source: Bromley council press release)
BROTHERS FOUND GUILTY OF STORING ILLEGAL TOBACCO
Two brothers have been found guilty and fined for storing illegal tobacco on their premises at Lee Green. The tobacco was estimated to offer £11,550 of profit if sold.
The premises had been inspected in March by trading standards officers and a tobacco detection dog team.
17,000 illegal Polish and Russian cigarettes were found along with a small amount of pouches containing illegal hand rolling tobacco. It was estimated that if sold, the tobacco would give a profit of around £11,550.
The manager and his brother, who owns the shop, pleaded guilty at Bromley magistrates to keeping illegal tobacco on the shop premises and were fined £880 each. A forfeiture and destruction order was granted for the items seized.
Lewisham council says it has joined forces with five other south east London boroughs against the sale of illegal tobacco after a survey of 1,700 smokers found that an estimated 114 million illegal cigarettes, with a street value of £22m, were sold annually in the local area.
“They are successfully locating illegal tobacco and taking action against those who sell it.
“As a signatory of the local government declaration on tobacco control, the council is determined to do all it can to prevent the sale and use of illicit tobacco to protect all our residents.”
If residents are aware of anyone selling cheap tobacco or cigarettes, they can report it anonymously to Crimestoppers. If you would like to stop smoking, free and friendly advice is available fromSmokefree Lewisham. (Source: Lewisham council press release)