NUISANCE FLATS ‘CLOSED’ BY COUNCIL / THOUSANDS OF POUNDS SEIZED FROM ILLEGAL NIGHTCLUB AFTER COURT CASE / PRIMARY SCHOOL APPLICATIONS DEADLINE APPROACHING / THOUSANDS GET ADVICE FROM LAMBETH PILOT SCHEME / HUNDREDS STUB IT OUT FOR STOPTOBER /
NUISANCE FLATS ‘CLOSED’ BY COUNCIL
Two nuisance flats in Ashburton which were the cause of anti-social behaviour have been “shut down” by Croydon council.
Three-month closure orders have been granted by Croydon magistrates for two separate premises in Stroud Green, which are located in a seven-storey high-rise block of 28 flats.
“This followed a series of complaints from neighbours about the tenants shouting, fighting and swearing inside the properties and in communal areas” said a Croydon council spokesman.
“Residents reported groups arriving on a daily basis with carrier bags full of alcohol.
“Allegations were also made about drug use in connection with both homes” he added.
The closure orders mean nobody can enter the two properties for the next three months.
Cllr Mark Watson, cabinet member for safety and justice, said: “This council takes a zero tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour, and I am delighted that magistrates have seen it fit to grant closure orders on these properties.
“Neighbours who had to endure this unacceptable behaviour thanked officers personally as the flats were secured.
“They can now look forward to a peaceful and relaxing Christmas.” (Source: Croydon council press release.)
THOUSANDS OF POUNDS SEIZED FROM ILLEGAL NIGHTCLUB AFTER COURT CASE
An illegal nightclub owner whose business caused misery for the lives of people living in the Herne Hill area of Southwark, has been told he will have to hand over £171,000 of his unlawful proceeds.
Until it was successfully closed by Southwark xouncil in September 2013, the Hypnotic nightclub at 75-79 Norwood Road, Herne Hill was run without planning permission and in breach of a planning enforcement notice.
Southwark council’s planning enforcement team instigated criminal proceedings and the Inner London Crown Court secured a confiscation order of £171,000 in respect of the proceeds of crime. The man running the nightclub has now been given a period of three months in which to pay the money or he could face a two-year custodial sentence if he defaults in making the payment.
Cllr Mark Williams, Southwark’s cabinet member for regeneration, planning and transport, said: “When the nightclub was operating it was a significant disturbance to those living nearby and other traders trying to run legitimate businesses from nearby premises.
“It has taken a long while for the courts to process this matter but we can now confirm the confiscation order, which demonstrates that flagrantly breaching planning control will not go unpunished.
“The council will use the law to ensure that those who harm their local environment are appropriately penalised.” (Source: Southwark council press release)
PRIMARY SCHOOL APPLICATIONS DEADLINE APPROACHING
Parents have until 15 January to apply for primary school places in Croydon for children due to start in September 2015.
The places are for children who were born between 1 September 2010 and 31 August 2011.
All they need to do is log on to www.croydon.gov.uk/admissions and complete a simple application form.
It is important parents use ALL six options on the form, in case none of their preferred schools are available.
Applicants are also advised to include the most local school which uses distance as a selection criteria, even if it is in sixth place.
Children will always be offered the highest-ranked school with available space from their list, so putting in additional choices won’t reduce the chances of being offered one listed as a higher preference.
However, if only some of the six options are used, and none of these have spaces, an offer will be made from the places that are left after the first allocations round.
Parents should also check on each school’s admissions policy to make sure they do not put their child down for a school that would be unlikely to accept them.
Cllr Alisa Flemming, Croydon’s cabinet member for children, families and learning, said: “We are investing heavily in expanding existing schools and building new schools, so that every child in Croydon has a school place available to them.
“However some schools receive more applications than they have spaces for, which is why it’s really important parents use all six options on their form.
“We appreciate this is a stressful time for parents, but by following the guidance given, they are more likely to be allocated a place they are happy with for their child.” (Source: Croydon council press release.)
THOUSANDS GET ADVICE FROM LAMBETH PILOT SCHEME
In just three months between August and October, nearly 3000 people have been able to get advice through the pilot One Lambeth Advice service, run in partnership between Lambeth council and the Merton & Lambeth Citizens Advice Bureau (MLCAB).
The scheme is set to be expanded across the borough, making it easier for more people to get impartial and informed advice, said a council spokeswoman.
“The council and the existing advice agencies have been working together for months to develop the new One Lambeth Advice service which has a single Freephone number, website and email address.
“This reduces duplication costs, improves monitoring and provides greater access to a range of expert advice through Citizens Advice Bureaux, Lambeth Law Centre and other specialists and will actually provide 100 extra hours a week for casework, meaning people won’t have to wait so long to get advice.
“There will still be drop-in advice and information at Brixton, West Norwood, Kennington and Streatham so residents who are shy of using the internet or the phone can still get help.
“Lambeth council will additionally support Waterloo Action Centre and other advice agencies with funding to ensure that valuable evening legal advice surgeries, offered by local lawyers on a pro bono basis can continue.
“One Lambeth Advice will also see 20 new advice guides – volunteers who are trained and recruited by CAB – in other community venues like GP surgeries, libraries and children’s centres who’ll help residents use the One Lambeth Advice web site/internet and support them to access the web chat and phone line.”
Deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, Cllr Paul McGlone said: “Cuts to Legal Aid, changes to welfare, money worries and increased homelessness mean there’s growing demand for advice.
“Lambeth council have traditionally supported a range of advice services across the borough which have overlapped and been confusing and difficult to access. “We wanted to make changes so it’s easier for residents to find the advice they need and to reduce what we spend on duplicating services needlessly.
“It’s simply unacceptable to make residents queue up to get advice, with no guarantee of being seen, when we can provide the option of supporting them by phone and booking appointments for them to see a caseworker if they really need one, without them leaving the house.
“We couldn’t make this change without agencies being willing to work differently and to accept less funding in some cases but One Lambeth Advice will help more people, make advice easier and quicker to get and see us spending what we do have more efficiently.”
One Lambeth Advice website http://www.onelambethadvice.org.uk. To find out more about becoming an Advice Guide volunteer [email protected]
(Source: Lambeth council press release.)
HUNDREDS STUB IT OUT FOR STOPTOBER
The number of ex-smokers in Croydon rose by more than 1,300 as they took advantage of the support on offer during this year’s Stoptober event.
Led by the council’s public health team, the 28-day stop-smoking challenge, which ran during October, helped smokers young and old to kick the deadly habit and take the first steps toward a healthier life.
Across the month, the council’s stop-smoking specialists, Solutions 4 Health, were in the town centre offering information, advice and the chance for the 1,372* members of the public who pledged to take part and go smoke free.
Borough GP practices, pharmacies and Croydon University Hospital celebrated Stoptober and offered support to people who wanted to quit.
Helping smokers to get through the difficult challenge of quitting, this year’s campaign had a comedy theme and kicked off with a set from a stand-up comic and a humorous stage play in The Queen’s Gardens, encouraging smokers to swap their fags for gags.
The campaign is an important fixture in the council’s Heart Town programme, which aims to raise awareness of, and tackle, heart disease.
Cllr Louisa Woodley, cabinet member for people and communities, said: “We consider the annual Stoptober event one of the main priorities, helping to drive home the messages of our standing as a Heart Town.
“The high number of people that pledged to give up goes a long way toward showing that those messages are getting through.
“And people must remember that the support doesn’t stop with the end of the month. Help is at hand every step of the way to ensure quitters remain smoke-free.
“They can turn up, without the need of an appointment at the council’s free walk-in service at the Healthy Living Hub in the Central Library, Katharine Street, throughout the week to get advice, support and encouragement.
“And if you didn’t take part in Stoptober but want to give up smoking, we’d be delighted to hear from you.”
For help and advice in giving up smoking, call 0800 019 8570. (Source: Croydon council press release.)