A GROUP OF TRAVELLERS thrown out of the borough could face tougher sanctions if they return to the same site, say Croydon council.
A total of 15 caravans were moved on by council officers from Lloyd Park, Croydon, on Thursday July 4th.
“As well as being abusive and threatening to council staff, they had been causing damage to the sites they occupied and leaving behind heaps of rubbish” said a council spokesman..
“The extent of this was revealed by the £25,000 clean-up costs required after they stayed at Croydon Athletic Football Ground near Mayfield Road.
“After last week’s eviction, which was also attended by police, they left the borough.”
A new ‘memorandum of understanding’ is now being drawn up between police and the council which could see travellers face arrest if they return to the same location, under powers known as a section 61 notice.
In April the council announced it would apply to the courts to take out an injunction against groups responsible for repeated illegal encampments.
But whereas seeking an injunction would require evidence to be collated and presented to a court, the section 61 powers offer a ‘quick fix’ solution that can take immediate effect, say Croydon.
Cllr Simon Hoar, cabinet member for community safety and public protection, said: “These travellers were a particularly nasty group, who were threatening and abusive. “Thursday’s operation sends out a clear message that we will not tolerate this type of behaviour in Croydon.
“The pictures illustrate only too well the amount of mess and destruction they unleashed on one of the borough’s green spaces. “In partnership with police, we are taking a hard-line approach to illegal encampments such as these, and these additional powers will enable us to take tough action where necessary.”
Superintendent Rob Atkin, Deputy Croydon police borough commander, said: “We will be working closely with local partners and the council to ensure we’re using the full range of powers available to us all to tackle any illegal encampments on the borough. “Any groups that continue with this behaviour can expect to be dealt with robustly.”
Last year council 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.
Already this year there have been 37 encampments with the majority in parks and on the public highway or council-owned land.
If your batch code is different to 130309, then your kettle is not affected and you can continue to use it safely.
A CRYSTAL PALACE ward councillor has asked what Bromley council’s powers are over a Skunkworks UK shop which has opened on Anerley Road.
Cllr Tom Papworth (Lib Dem) asked what powers council committees have to regulate the activities of shops selling drug paraphernalia and/or legal highs in the borough.
Cllr Tim Stevens, portfolio holder for public protection and safety said: “Current drugs laws do not provide an effective means to effectively tackle the supply of new psychoactive substances (NPS). “Whilst the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 gives powers to police to take action this will only be the case where the NPS contains a controlled substance.
“There are a range of consumer protection laws that might be considered in an effort to tackle NPS. “For example there are a number of offences under the Consumer Protection Regulations 2006 which could be considered, one of which is the omission of important information which the average consumer needs to make a transactional decision.
“An example of an omission which could breach the CPRs could be a failure to state that a product could be damaging to human health. “But in order to circumvent this potential offence, suppliers have provided a clear statement that a product is “plant feeder-not for human consumption”.
“You could also argue that the average consumer in this case, namely a substance abuser, would not normally need that information to make the transactional decision. “In reality, the CPRs and the General Product Safety Regulations (GPSRs) are not going to solve this problem.
“Investigations into the supply of NPS indicate retailers and suppliers are going to extreme lengths to provide test certificates to show products are “legal” or that adequate labelling is used to circumvent legislation in the event they become the subject of interest by trading standards.
“At present there are no licensing laws which would allow the local authority to apply restrictions on the activities of these shops and neither are there any planning laws.”
In a supplementary question Cllr Papworth stated that this was what he had expected to hear, that the Council’s powers were nigh on zero. He asked, in view of the fact that Skunkworks had recently opened a shop in Anerley, what action the portfolio holder and his colleagues had taken to liaise with other organisations active in the borough that might be able to have some impact on whether this shop could trade and to make sure that it did not encourage anti-social behaviour in the area.
Cllr Stevens responded that trading standards were monitoring these shops in Anerley and in High Street, Orpington. Cllr Tony Owen, chairman of the council’s general purposes and licensing committee had been making representations to Jo Johnson, Conservative MP for Orpington, and had asked him to raise this in Parliament. Cllr Stevens hoped that a change in the law could be made so that it was easier to control what these shops were selling and to stop them selling what the Council considered to be harmful drugs.
Cllr Papworth, in a post on Virtual Norwood, says: “As I thought, Bromley council has very little power in respect of this business. “However, I have spoken with the local police and they are monitoring it to make sure that there is no criminality or anti-social behaviour resulting from its operation.”
SKUNKWORKS UK’S WEBSITE, which is accessible to over 18’s only says:
Welcome to the UK’s premier one-stop shop for lifestyle accessories, smoking paraphernalia and adult fun!
Dive in and choose from our amazing selection of products including Pipes, Bongs, Skins, Scales, Books, Tins, Grinders, Vapourisers, Stash, Ashtrays, Rolling Machines, Rolling Accessories, Lighters, Books, Incense, Candles, Clothing, Aromas & much much more…
‘CRIME PREVENTION MAGAZINE’ “RIPPING OFF SMALL TRADERS”
A MANCHESTER firm ripping off traders to the tune of hundreds of pounds has come to the attention of Croydon council’s trading standards department.
Officers are warning local businesses to treat with extreme caution any advances from a company called MJP Design, based at 24 St Margaret’s Road, New Moston, Manchester.
“The trading standards team has learned that callers from MJP contact small businesses and offer advertising in what they refer to as a crime-prevention magazine” say Croydon council. “Enquiries by the team have revealed that the magazine does not exist and is, in fact, a scam.
“To date, officers are aware of one Croydon firm that has been contacted by MJP, though firms from other parts of the country are known to have been conned.
“In the Croydon case, MJP invoiced the firm for £299, which the firm refused to pay. “Since refusal, the firm has received phoned demands from callers claiming to be solicitors acting on behalf of MJP, and pressuring the firm for full payment. “No contact details of the alleged law firm are given.
“Letters written by the council’s team to MJP have been returned, marked “Not at this address”; emails have bounced back; and numerous phone calls have resulted in a male offering assurance of a return call from the manager. “No such return call has been received, though the council’s team remains keen to speak to a representative of the company.
Cllr Simon Hoar, cabinet member for community safety, said: “This is a scam that crops up every so often, and, sadly, there are always companies that are taken in by the offer of cheap advertising in what they’re told is a magazine with a guaranteed distribution to a targeted, and potentially lucrative, audience.
“It’s known that some companies have been conned on this occasion, although we’re not aware that any Croydon firms have been.
“I’d urge any local business approached by this company to contact our trading standards team. “Also, anybody approached by a firm purporting to sell advertising in a magazine that the customer hasn’t heard of, should proceed with the utmost care, and not part with any money until they’re certain the approach is bona fide.”
To report any suspicious offers of advertising, call Croydon trading standards on 020 8407 1311 or email [email protected]
uk (Source: Croydon council press release)
BOARDING RAMPS AT 19 MORE UNDERGROUND STATIONS
BOARDING RAMPS to improve accessibility at 19 stations will be installed by the end of this summer, the Transport for London commissioner has announced.
London Assembly Labour group transport spokeswoman Val Shawcross (London Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark said: “Inaccessible transport stops disabled and elderly people getting around London so the installation of ramps at more London Underground stations is very welcome. “The ramps proved to be a great success during the Paralympic Games and I have long campaigned to have them extended across the entire underground network. “That needs to be a priority for the Mayor and Transport for London.
“It’s deplorable that one in 10 Londoners are excluded from public transport in London because of accessibility issues. “Ultimately, accessibility should be a priority across the entire transport network so the elderly, disabled and parents with buggies have the same travel opportunities that other Londoners have.”
Boarding ramps were installed at 16 London Underground stations last summer for the Olympic and Paralympic Games and were retained long-term after proving to be successful.
Step-free platforms with level access on to the train now make up 76 per cent (149 out of 195) of all platforms.
- Boarding ramps are currently in use at 16 stations: Hammersmith (H&C), King’s Cross St. Pancras, West Ham, Westminster, Southfields, Wimbledon, Earl’s Court, Fulham Broadway, Stratford, Woodford, Oxford Circus, Queen’s Park, Edgware, Morden, Finchley Central and Stockwell
- Over the summer, they will be introduced at the following stations: Caledonian Road, East Ham, Elm Park, Epping, Farringdon, Hainault, Hillingdon, Hounslow East, Kew Gardens, Mile End, Richmond, Rickmansworth, Roding Valley, South Woodford, Theydon Bois, Upney, Uxbridge, West Finchley and Wood Lane
- At some stations factors such as the historic design of the platforms and track – particularly where there is a step down from the platform to the train – mean that boarding ramps are not an appropriate solution. TfL is continuing to investigate solutions in these cases
- Your Accessible Transport Network is published at tfl.gov.uk/mobility (Sources: London Assembly Labour group press release, Transport for London press release)
NEW HOUSING FORUMS FOR TENANTS TO HAVE THEIR SAY
COUNCIL TENANTS AND LEASEHOLDERS are being invited to meet their housing officers at a series of quarterly open meetings where they can share ideas or discuss any concerns.
The housing services forums will take place quarterly with separate events for residents in the north and south of the borough. Meetings will be informal and mainly consist of open discussions and question and answer sessions.
The first meeting for the north area housing services forum took place on Wednesday July 10th and for the south area on Wednesday July 24th.
A drop in surgery will take place before the meetings, where residents can discuss any personal issues related to housing, such as repairs to their own property, or issues with their rent.
Both meetings will be held at the town hall from 7pm to 9pm, with the surgery at 6pm.
Cllr Dudley Mead, cabinet member for housing, said: “Our new housing forums will be a great chance for tenants and leaseholders to come together and tell the council about any housing issues they are having.
“The two meetings this month are the first in a series of quarterly events, and we hope to see as many people come along as possible.”
If you are not sure which forum to attend, or would like further details, call 020 8726 6100 and ask to speak to the resident involvement team or visit www.croydon.gov.uk (Source: Croydon council press release)
LANDLORD FINED FOR FAILING TO CARRY OUT NECESSARY REPAIRS
Landlords who failed to carry out necessary repair work to a house they rented to a mother and her children were fined £1000 and ordered to pay £922 plus £100 victim surcharge in costs at Bromley Magistrates’ Court on 19 June 2013.
Afzal Ahmed and Rashma Ahmed did not carry out the required work to their property in Mosul Way, Bromley which resulted in Bromley council having to issue an improvement notice detailing several defects and deficiencies which needed addressing. Mr and Mrs Ahmed were fined for failure to comply with the council’s notice after submitting a guilty plea.
Executive member for public protection and safety Cllr. Tim Stevens said: “We want to make absolutely sure that tenants are safe in homes they rent from private landlords and so we will take firm action to make sure the landlords meet their statutory duty to ensure their properties are in a reasonable condition. “In this case, the landlords did not comply with our improvement notice and so we had no choice but to take them to court. “I hope this will serve as a warning to others who attempt to flout the law in this way.” (Source: Bromley council press release)
HELPING HAND FOR GROWING BUSINESSES
A NEW SCHEME aimed at encouraging expanding companies to relocate to retail or office premises in the centre of Croydon, South End and London Road has been launched by Croydon council.
Firms with up to 250 members of staff are invited to apply for business rates discounts of up to 65 pc in the first year with eligible businesses moving into premises with an annual rateable value of £12,000 or above standing to save tens of thousands of pounds until March 2015, said a Croydon council spokesman.
“Worth a total of £1.14m, the scheme is being funded by the Mayor of London’s £23m regeneration funding for Croydon, and will allow eligible businesses to offset one of the big fixed costs of running a shop or office – and the sooner they join the scheme, the more they can save.
“The initiative aims to encourage businesses that are expanding, but struggling to find affordable commercial space. Central Croydon offers good-quality offices and retail premises.
“The town’s attractions to young businesses include fast transport connections to London and the south-east, good-value homes and a mix of retail outlets and cultural activities.
Among the early successful applicants are financial software specialist Inalytics, and financial stock plan administrator Solium, both of which, coincidentally have moved to Lansdowne Road – though to separate premises. Solium relocated to Corinthian House from Bromley with a staff of 10. That figure has increased to 15, many of them local people, and the company is looking to grow it further.”
Office manager Rand Tomter said: “The company’s been in the UK for a year and was looking for a permanent home to allow it to expand. “Croydon seemed to be an interesting, up-and-coming area with lots of construction and regeneration work going on. “It also has terrific transport links, which is important as we do a lot of business in the City.”
“Inalytics moved across the town centre from its previous location in High Street. Chief operating officer Pete Doyle said the offer of a rates reduction came at just the right time as the company was in the middle of an expansion programme.
“Over the past 15 months we’ve taken on an extra seven people; there are now 20 of us working here, and most are either from Croydon or a little further out,” Pete said “We heard about the business rates relief scheme at about the time we were thinking of looking for larger offices. “We applied, our business plan was approved and we were found to be eligible – I believe we were one of the first.”
Cllr Vidhi Mohan, cabinet member for economic development, said: “It’s gratifying to see that businesses are realising the benefits of setting up shop in central Croydon.
“The town centre has so much to offer in terms of trading opportunities, staff recruitment, great transport links, shopping and much more. “Now, with the incentive of business rates relief on top of all that, Croydon is proving very attractive for companies that are beginning to see the first shoots of economic recovery and are confident they can grow their business.”
Businesses wanting to find out more should contact [email protected] (Source: Croydon council press release)
BUSINESSMAN PROSECUTED FOR REFUSING TO PROVIDE INFORMATION
A Bromley businessman received a heavy fine at Bromley magistrates court on for his failure to assist council investigators.
The businessman was found guilty of failing to respond to a section 16 notice under the Local Government (miscellaneous provisions) Act and was fined £1,000, £120 victim surcharge and ordered to pay £853 in costs to the Council.
The notice was served in order to trace everyone with financial interests in a business property, so that the council could investigate a noise nuisance associated with the property. Despite many opportunities and reminders, the businessman failed to provide the requested information.
Bromley council’s public protection division brought the prosecution for the failure of the business to comply with the notice and the case was held in the man’s absence following multiple previous court hearings which he had not attended.
Cllr Tim Stevens, executive member for public protection and safety said: “Where businesses fail to respond to statutory notices and therefore obstruct necessary investigations, the council will use the full range of powers available to ensure that a satisfactory conclusion can be achieved.” (Source: Bromley council press release)