NEW SEXUAL HEALTH POSTER CAMPAIGN TO LAUNCH
Did you know that you or your partner can have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) for years without knowing?
That’s the message of a new poster campaign being launched around Croydon borough this week.
The council is raising awareness that people could be carrying an STI without any symptoms, and encouraging them to get tested.
The posters, which run for two weeks from Tuesday, 12 August, come with a QR code which people can scan for more information.
Alternatively they can visit www.swish.nhs.uk, call 020 8401 3002 or speak to their GP for free confidential advice, and to get a sexual health test.
The campaign also carries the message that wearing a condom will help to protect people from STIs.
It warns people who have had sex without using a condom that they could have an STI, but that treatment will eliminate the risk of infecting others.
Treatment for those diagnosed with an STI is available at Croydon sexual health centre in London Road free of charge.
Cllr Louisa Woodley, cabinet member for people and communities, said: “It’s very easy for people to get tested and clearly we want more people to do so for their own sexual health and that of other people.
“But it’s also easy to think that you don’t need to get tested as you have no symptoms.
“This is the message we want to spread – you could have an STI without even knowing.
“Therefore it’s really important people have a test so they can be treated if they need to be.”
Notes to editors
Picture of poster attached
BENEFIT FRAUDSTERS RAN BUSINESS ON eBAY
A Bromley couple convicted of benefit fraud ran a business selling second hand clothes on eBay.
In January 2009 the woman, who had been in receipt of housing and council tax benefit since April 2002, notified Bromley that her partner was now living with her.
Following an anonymous allegation a fraud investigation began which revealed the couple had undeclared bank accounts with undeclared income from a business selling second hand clothes on eBay.
Considerable undeclared income was identified which affected their benefit claim and as a result they had been overpaid £9,493.18 in housing benefit for the period 5 January 2009 to 16 December 2013 and £1,721.17 in council tax benefit/support for the period 5 January 2009 to 1 April 2014.
After pleading guilty to the charges against them, both were each sentenced at Bromley magistrates court to a 12 month community order with 180 hours of unpaid work. They were ordered to pay £400 costs between them at the rate of £20 per fortnight.
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)
WITNESS REPORTS WOMAN DUMPING RUBBISH
A woman has been found guilty of fly tipping after a witness reported her to a council enforcement team.
She was spotted dumping bags of rubbish at the corner of Greyhound Lane and Rotherhill Avenue in Streatham in May by an eye-witness who provided a statement, which gave Lambeth council the necessary evidence to prosecute.
After pleading guilty to the offence the woman was given a conditional discharge for two years and ordered to pay £100 costs at Camberwell Green magistrates court.
The magistrate noted that: “People who dump rubbish cause additional cost to the taxpayer.”
Lambeth brought three other successful littering prosecutions at the court on the same day, which resulted in the imposition of fines and costs totalling £580.
Cllr Jane Edbrooke, Lambeth cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “Fly tipping is a crime that simply ruins the local environment and really upsets residents.
“It is often very difficult for us to prosecute fly tippers for lack of evidence but thanks to an eye witness contacting the council’s fly tipping enforcement team and the crime itself being caught on camera, we were able to take this particular perpetrator to court and get a conviction.
“If anybody witnesses fly tipping in the borough I’d encourage them to come forward and tell us so we can catch those responsible and reduce the rubbish dumped on our streets.”
To report fly-tipping in Lambeth visit http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/report-fly-tipping, call 020 926 9000 or e-mail [email protected] (Source: Lambeth council press release)
GARAGE OWNER’S £6,600 BILL FOR DUMPED TRADE WASTE
Dumping tyres and old car parts has cost a garage owner almost £7,000 following a prosecution by Croydon council.
The garage owner appeared before Croydon magistrates court and pleaded guilty to two offences under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. He was fined £1,600 and ordered to pay costs of more than £5,000.
The offences, which were clearly identified in photographic evidence, took place in July and August last year.
The court heard how the illegal tipping was twice caught on camera when quick-thinking local residents at Duppas Court, Waddon, took photographs after spotting trade waste being off-loaded from the man’s van into their bin shed on several previous occasions.
The pictures were passed on by former Croydon Cllr Tony Harris to the council’s environmental enforcement service for investigation.
The garage owner was identified as the registered owner of the van but when contacted by council environmental enforcement officers he initially claimed someone else had borrowed it. He later admitted that he had dumped the car parts himself.
He also admitted he knew the bins at Duppas Court were only for the use of residents for their normal household waste. By law, all businesses must pay to have their rubbish disposed of by a properly licensed company.
Cllr Stuart Collins, cabinet member for a clean and green Croydon, said: “This sentence proves it’s not worth trying to mess with Croydon.
“Our new campaign will bring more of these prosecutions to court far quicker as we gather evidence against the people who illegally dump their rubbish around the borough.
“It’s now incredibly easy to report incidents like this one using the free MyCroydon smartphone app.
“Fly-tipping and avoiding trade waste costs really doesn’t pay in the long term – because once we catch people we will make sure they face the consequences in court.”
For more information on fly-tipping visit www.croydon.gov.uk/dontmess. (Source: Croydon council press release)
DIGITAL CHAMPIONS WANTED!
An estimated 50,000 people in the borough of Southwark lack internet skills like opening emails or searching online.
As digital technology advances, more and more services are moving online including job searches and applications – even applying for benefits requires the ability to set up an email address and access an electronic CV.
Now Southwark council is working with national charity Go ON UK and partners across the borough to establish what support is available in Southwark and set up a team of volunteer Digital Champions to help people get online.
Cllr Ian Wingfield, cabinet member for communities, employment and business, said: “Even if you don’t count the fact that the vast majority of jobs these days require some basic IT skills, the rest of the world is moving online – from doing your weekly shop to applying for jobs, services and even your benefits.
“We need to ensure all our residents have the skills to keep up with the digital revolution and stay socially included.
“This is why we are bringing together a range of partners and services who each offer support to get people online.
“We want to get them in a room and working together so we can establish what help is available, get people to access services and encourage organisations to apply for funding to remain sustainable.” (Source: Southwark council press release)
Southwark council told News From Crystal Palace: “We are at a very early stage with the work, the press release was issued just after an initial meeting with various partners to establish what services were already available and getting people on board.
The 821 affordable home building programme, funded by the Greater London Authority, is the second biggest in London for 2013/14.
It has also been confirmed that Croydon is to receive part of the Mayor of London’s £404 million allocation of funding to build affordable homes. A large part of this will support new housing association homes in the borough.
The Mayor’s housing covenant will see a total of 100 homes from 12 schemes in the borough built between 2016 and 2019.
The bigger developments will be in Shirley (35 homes), Thornton Heath (20 homes) and Coulsdon (12 homes).
Cllr Alison Butler, cabinet member for homes and regeneration, said: “We recognise that there is a housing crisis in London and that residents are finding it increasingly difficult to buy or rent.
“This new administration has pledged to deliver more affordable housing in Croydon, which is a major part of the regeneration we are set to see in the coming years.
“This latest programme of building will help to meet the huge demand for housing.”
Breakdown of affordable homes by ward
Addiscombe – 95
Broad Green – 158
Coulsdon East – 9
Coulsdon West – 56
Fairfield – 79
Kenley – 33
Norbury – 1
Purley – 30
Selhurst – 52
South Norwood – 15
Thornton Heath – 74
Upper Norwood – 114
Waddon – 51
West Thornton – 51
Woodside – 3 (Source: Croydon council press release)
SOUTHWARK TENANTS AND RESIDENTS SURVEY
Southwark council has been conducting its annual tenants and residents’ survey during July and it will continue through August.
“The aim of the survey is to interact with as many residents as possible and gather their opinions on a wide range of specific landlord services” said Southwark council in a statement.
A randomly selected sample of Southwark council and tenant managed organisation (TMO) tenants and leaseholders received a survey in the post in the last week in July.
Feedback from the survey will provide an up to date picture of how satisfied residents are with the Southwark’s housing services, and help inform decisions about future service development.
All completed surveys returned before the 29 August 2014 will be entered into a prize draw with a chance to win one of three £1,000 prizes.
If you are a Southwark council or TMO tenant or leaseholder and have not received a survey in the post but would like to take part, please contact Neal Richards on: 020 7525 4516 or via email: [email protected]
If you are eligible to take part you will be provided with a reference number and an online link where you can complete the survey. (Source: Southwark council press release)
LONDON ROAD FACELIFT WILL TRANSFORM WEST CROYDON
Work begins this month on a multi-million pound project to change the face of London Road in West Croydon.
More than £3.2m is being invested by the council to improve the street. This will involve tidying up shop fronts and building facades, widening and repaving footpaths, planting trees, and providing new seating and cycle parking.
The project will make the road more pedestrian-friendly and increase trade for local shops and businesses.
Work on shopfronts will start in August in Broad Green and move south towards West Croydon, whilst work on the road and pavements will start at West Croydon and move north.
Almost £600,000 of the budget will be spent supporting 40 local businesses to improve their shops and building frontages. This will include cleaning and repainting, new shop fronts, signs, awnings and security shutters, and the restoration of historic features.
Five of the new shopfronts have been created by graphic design students at Croydon College. They spent five months working with the retailers and developing proposals, supported by their tutor Vicki Parrott and Geraldine Holland from Jan Kattein Architects.
Once the first phase of improvements is complete if there are any remaining funds these will be offered to other businesses nearby. Everything is due to be finished by the summer of 2015.
In total, over £50million is being invested in Croydon through the ‘Connected Croydon’ programme.
Cllr Toni Letts, cabinet member for economic development, said: “We’re really seeing significant changes to the face of Croydon.
“Our high streets are hugely important to the prosperity of the borough and they say a huge amount about us.
“If we create inviting public spaces where people feel safe to shop and spend their leisure time we will change Croydon’s image and bring in even more much-needed investment.
“It’s our pledge to be ambitious for Croydon, and by driving forward this scheme we are showing we mean business.”
Connected Croydon is a jointly-funded project, managed by Croydon council, with support from Transport for London and an £18m contribution from the Mayor of London.
A Croydon council spokesperson said: “As with the work currently being done in south Croydon around the restaurant quarter there will be some disruption and occasional traffic controls in place, but the council and its contractors will be aiming to keep these to a minimum.”
Full details can be found at www.croydon.gov.uk/londonroad.
PECKHAM TOWN CENTRE GETS £1.6 m HERITAGE LOTTERY FUNDING
Southwark council has received a confirmed grant of £1.675m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to help restore Peckham town centre.
The money will be made available under the Heritage Lottery Fund Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) – a grants programme set up to provide much needed investment for communities to improve and regenerate the historic built environment for the benefit of local residents, workers and visitors.
The five year Peckham Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) scheme will see 44 of the most important historic buildings on Peckham High Street and Rye Lane shortlisted for a grant to repair damaged facades, reinstate lost historic features and install high quality traditional windows and shop fronts.
Owners will also be encouraged to bring vacant floor space in the upper floors back into use to support the local economy and provide much needed housing, said a Southwark council statement.
“The grant will also enable the council and its partners in the community to put in place a programme of complementary initiatives centred on the better knowledge and enjoyment of this important historic town centre” said a Southwark spokesperson.
“It aims to bring wider benefits to the community of Peckham with a unique set of complementary initiatives including traditional building skills, improved knowledge of the history of the area and a celebration of its heritage.
“The project will enable voluntary groups like Peckham Vision and the Peckham Society to help the council deliver among other things an education programme for local schools; a traditional building skills and apprenticeships initiative for young people; information and guidance about the historic town centre; and a ‘Celebrate Peckham’ programme.”
Sue Bowers, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for London said: “Investing lottery money to revitalise historic buildings at the heart of a community not only makes a place more attractive to live, visit and invest in, it also provides jobs and training opportunities for local people.
“We are delighted to make this award to Peckham as part of our on-going commitment to preserving London’s heritage.”
Cllr Mark Williams, cabinet member for transport, planning and regeneration, said: “I’m delighted that the council has been successful in securing a £1.675m grant for Peckham’s historic townscape.
“This demonstrates the council’s commitment to conservation-led regeneration for Peckham and complements the investment at Peckham Rye Station.
“Peckham town centre was rightly designated as a conservation area and this grant will help us preserve and enhance its historic character.” (Source: Southwark council press release)
CROYDON COULD BECOME HOME TO A MINI WHITEHALL
Ambitious proposals to create a new civil service hub in Croydon could become a reality after the government announced it is to consider relocating major offices to the town centre.
This comes as Croydon council has been chosen as one of 20 local authorities to become part of the government’s One Public Estate programme, a property sharing scheme between central and local government.
The council will receive funding and training from the Government Property Unit and Local Government Association to look at the feasibility of relocating the existing civil service presence in Croydon into modern offices as part of the regeneration of the town centre over the next five years.
Civil service estate in Croydon currently includes the Home Office contingent at Apollo House and Lunar House, and Land Registry on Bedford Park.
The ambitious “mini-Whitehall” plans would bring up to 10 local/central government services into one.
Sites under consideration for the hub include Ruskin Square, which has been derelict for 30 years, and West Croydon Interchange.
A Croydon council spokesperson said: “The government’s interest in the council’s proposals reflect the growing confidence in Croydon as a major office destination, after agents reported a 96 per cent increase in commercial occupation across the town centre last year.
“The hub has the potential to create significant economic growth and generate income from moving the existing civil service estate into fit for purpose, modern and efficient buildings.
“With the Westfield/Hammerson Partnership’s plans to redevelop the Whitgift Centre already in the pipeline, a new civil service hub would provide another huge boost to the regeneration of the town centre.
“It will create economic growth and generate income from the sale of the existing civil service estate. “The plans will bring job opportunities for Croydon residents as well as providing significant benefits to the SME business economy.”
Cllr Toni Letts, cabinet member for economic development, said: “We are on the brink of seeing massive regeneration in Croydon.
“We have future growth plans of Olympic-sized proportions which will see the creation of 16,500 more jobs, the building of 9,500 new homes, and the redevelopment of our retail centre by Westfield and Hammerson.
“These are really exciting times and these ambitious proposals for a civil service hub will only enhance Croydon’s reputation as a great place to work, live and visit.” (Source: Croydon council press release)