TWO YEARS’ NOISE NUISANCE LEADS TO CLOSURE ORDER ON SYLVAN ROAD FLAT
A COURT closure order which followed two years continuous noise nuisance has set a new precedent, says a Croydon council statement.
The continuous noise nuisance made life “unbearable” for a neighbour undergoing chemotherapy – and has ended with a three-month closure order on an Upper Norwood flat, the statement added.
“Croydon magistrates have ordered the Sylvan Road premises closed after hearing of failed attempts by council officers and police to bring about an amicable agreement between the landlord, tenants and neighbours.
“The court heard that in September 2013 the residents of a neighbouring flat made the first of a number of calls to the police, complaining about the level of noise coming from the flat.
“Failed attempts at mediation saw the police contact the council for assistance, leading to the signing of an agreement by all parties in February 2014.
“The agreement, however, was quickly breached and further complaints were made to the council, documenting continuing noise nuisance.
“In July 2014 two people took over the tenancy of the flat but the previous tenants made regular visits to the property and further noise was documented.
“The following winter one of the neighbours was diagnosed with cancer, undergoing intensive chemotherapy. “The tenants responded to a request to quieten the loud music, in order to give the neighbour much-needed respite.
“But when it appeared the neighbour had recovered, the noise resumed, leading to the issue of a noise-abatement notice in February 2015, along with arrests by police for harassment and obstruction.
“The following month, nearing breaking point, the neighbours approached the council, seeking effective intervention. “The history of continued nuisance led the council to decide to take formal action.
Repeated requests to meet the landlord and tenants were ignored. “Four days before a premises closure order hearing, the landlord told the council that notice to quit by 20 May had been served on the tenants.
“They failed to quit, and continued noise nuisance led to a further closure notice being served on 1 June. “The following day, the landlord claimed that new tenants had moved in – a claim refuted by the neighbours.
“Checks revealed that the new tenancy agreement was made out in the name of one of the tenants. “In court, that tenant confirmed that the new agreement was, in fact, hers, and that she had signed a tenancy for a further year.
“The landlord did not attend court, nor did he oppose the application” the council statement added.
Croydon’s cabinet member for communities, safety and justice, Cllr Mark Watson said: “This might not have been the usual type of premises-closure case, concerned with alcohol or drug abuse.
“This case was, from the outside, one of low-level nuisance. “But it was having such a devastating impact on the neighbours that flipping our focus, from behaviour to impact, meant seeing quite clearly that the test for the closure application could, in our opinion, be met.
“This case will set a new precedent in Croydon, showing victims and perpetrators of nuisance and antisocial behaviour that we will tackle the problem effectively, and where landlords decide not to intervene and assist in the prevention of nuisance and ASB, we may act independently and seek, where appropriate, all costs incurred by us.” (Source: Croydon council press release.)
STREET CHAMPIONS GET SUPPORT – hundreds contact council in Lambeth’s pilot scheme
A new network of champions is on a mission to improve Lambeth’s streets, say Lambeth council.
“Lambeth council’s Street Champions scheme aims to support people who want to improve the physical and social environment where they live” said a council spokesperson.
“Street Champions can do a whole range of things to help their community, whether it’s organising street parties, increasing greenery, encouraging others to recycle properly or even just introducing neighbours to foster a greater sense of community.
After a small pilot of the scheme in 140 randomly chosen roads saw nearly 500 people express their interest, Lambeth Street Champions is being rolled out across the whole borough.
It’s now open to everybody, whether you are renting, living in an estate or even a business owner.
Lambeth’s cabinet member for environment and sustainability Cllr Jennifer Brathwaite said: “We know there are some fantastic people out there, constantly looking at ways to help others and improve the environment for the wider community.
“We want to make it easier for those people by giving them the tools and support they need and hope that they will inspire others to do the same.
“The Street Champions scheme will give people the means to improve their own neighbourhood the way they see fit and build a wider network of people who want Lambeth to be a clean, safe and neighbourly place to live.”
Signing up to be a Street Champion couldn’t be easier, say Lambeth. “Residents just need to fill out the online form – and they can receive:
Advice and guidance on setting up community activities such as street parties and play streets;
Access to tools and equipment for cleaning and greening their street;
Opportunities to connect with fellow Street Champions on other streets;
Access to council knowledge and expertise;
The chance to increase their knowledge on subjects such as fundraising or horticulture;
Posters, stickers and letter templates
“Before the Street Champions scheme was rolled out borough-wide, the pilot scheme invited residents in 140 randomly selected roads to take part. “A staggering 470 people got in touch to show their interest.”
For more information and to sign up to be a Street Champion, please visit www.lambeth.gov.uk/become-a-street-champion, call 020 7926 3069 or e-mail [email protected] (Source: Lambeth council press release.)
NEW LAWS ON NIPS (NICOTINE INHALING PRODUCTS)
Shopkeepers could face fines of thousands of pounds, under new laws to be introduced this autumn, if they sell e-cigarettes to anybody aged under 18.
Croydon’s trading standards team, however, is reminding traders that its free Do you pass? training scheme can ensure that they and their staff are fully aware of the rules for the sale of age-restricted products, and what they can do to protect themselves and their business.
The new age restriction, coming into force on 1 October, will extend to all nicotine inhaling products (nips) and their component parts, such as replacement cartridges or refills containing nicotine.
The new laws also make a criminal offence the act of proxy purchasing – in which an adult buys tobacco or any nips product on behalf of a youngster under 18 years of age. Any adult caught making a proxy purchase will face a fixed penalty notice fine of £90.
As well as being prosecuted and fined, there could be further financial impacts on repeat offenders. They might also face either a restricted sales order or a restricted premises order, preventing them selling nips or tobacco for up to a year.
Croydon’s safety and justice cabinet member Cllr Mark Watson said: “This is an area in which unsuspecting traders – particularly small, independent businesses – could, without the appropriate training, easily fall foul of the law.
“They should bear in mind the fact that our trading standards team carries out regular test-purchasing operations, and anybody caught flouting the law could find themselves in court and thousands of pounds the poorer.
“I’d strongly recommend any small Croydon business to take advantage of the free ‘Do you pass?’ business training we offer. “It focuses on the prevention of illegal underage sales with emphasis on the requirements of the law, diligence and proxy sales.”
Do you pass? is an interactive course encouraging discussion between delegates on the issues they face when selling age-restricted products. The course ends with a short test, and successful candidates are awarded the fair trading award certificate.
The course is offered free of charge and is available only to Croydon-based businesses (SMEs). Booking enquiries can be made by calling 020 8407 1311. Please be aware spaces are limited.
(Source: Croydon council press release.)
£2.49 KNIFE SALE COSTS TOWN STORE THOUSANDS
A central Croydon store has been fined £3,400 after selling a knife to a person under the age of 18.
The store pleaded guilty to selling a knife to a person aged under 18 and was also ordered to pay costs of £1,840 and a victim surcharge of £120.
Croydon magistrates were told that trading standards’ offers of free staff training in relation to age-restricted goods sales had been ignored, and that, with the exception of a till prompt for staff, there were no warnings concerning the sale of age-restricted products visible in the shop.
The court heard that, as part of a test-purchasing exercise by the council’s trading standards team, a 14-year-old boy, with a 15-year-old girl, went into the shop on 30 October last year.
After selecting an eight-inch cook’s knife, priced £2.49, they presented it for payment at one of the store’s cash tills, where a sales person scanned it and several other items, without challenging the pair or enquiring their ages.
The duty manager, when approached by the trading standards officers, confirmed that an automatic till prompt displayed a warning to staff whenever age-restricted products were presented for payment.
The company later indicated that it was the responsibility of the store manager to train staff in relation to age-restricted products, and that no corporate checks are made to establish whether the training has been carried out. The company stated that, in contravention of company policy, the sales person appeared to have received no training on age-restricted products
The company did not instruct its shops on how or where to display knives and did not provide material relating to age-restricted goods to display in the shop to inform staff or customers.
Since the incident the sales person had undertaken, and passed, training on age-restricted products.
Croydon’s cabinet member for communities, safety and justice, Cllr Mark Watson said: “The imposed fine, along with the fact that this is the second such prosecution for this store, heavily underlines the necessity for local traders to ensure that they and their staff have been properly trained in the matter of the sale of age-restricted products.”
THE SUN HELPS RECYCLING IN SOUTHWARK
The sun’s power will now play a direct role in recycling Southwark’s waste and saving energy -thanks to 2,500 solar panels installed on the roof of the Southwark integrated waste management facility, say the council.
“Once fully installed, the panels will represent one of the largest solar power installations in the capital.
“They will almost completely cover the roof of the IWMF, occupying a space equivalent to four football pitches and generating around 674 MWh of energy every year.
“That’s enough energy to power 220 UK homes and a similar carbon saving to taking Southwark’s entire waste collection fleet off the road for six months.
“The installation is a natural step forward for the IWMF, which already plays a vital role in reducing the impact that the borough’s waste has on the environment and is operated by Veolia in partnership with Southwark council.
“The facility not only sorts all of the borough’s recyclables but also treats black bag waste generated in the borough to create a fuel for energy recovery, which in turn is used to generate heating and hot water for Southwark homes.
“Solar panel electricity systems or solar photovoltaics (PV) capture the sun’s energy using photovoltaic cells. Fortunately these cells do not need direct sunlight to work, therefore in the UK where there are many cloudy days these cells will still be busy creating electricity.”
Anyone interested in seeing how the installation of the solar panels went and getting a bird’s eye look at the sun rising on the project can watch the time lapse installation video at www.youtube.com/user/VeoliaESUK. Those wishing to visit the facility in person should look out for details of the site’s open day at the end of September viawww.southwark.gov.uk/recycle
(Source: Southwark council press release)
NEW APPRENTICESHIPS AVAILABLE
New apprenticeship vacancies that will give young people in the borough f Lewisham more opportunities to earn as they learn are now available.
They range from teaching assistant to digital media, and chef to project assistant, with a variety of organisations including Lewisham Council, Rhubarb and Custard, Chartwells and London Urban Arts.
The apprenticeships are a mixture of on and off the job training. On the job, apprentices will gain key transferable skills including working in a team, communication and using new technology and equipment. Off the job, they will spend time working towards a recognised qualification.
The apprenticeships last for up to two years and apprentices will be supported by an experienced manager. Once the young people have completed their apprenticeship, they’ll be in a strong position to move into a permanent job.
To apply candidates need to:
be a Lewisham resident or a looked after child between 16 and 24
have English and Maths GCSE level A-C or equivalent ability
not have completed a higher level qualification
be eligible to work in the UK.
The closing date for applications is midnight on Sunday 21 June 2015.
Apprenticeship TeamCivic Suite
Tel: 020 8314 7621
Email: [email protected] (Source: Lewisham council press release.)
PHONE SURVEY WARNING
Lewisham trading standards are advising residents to be cautious after receiving a complaint from a resident about the trading practices of a male carrying out a phone survey.
The caller phoned a pensioner and claimed to be carrying out a survey. The call was taken by the partner of the pensioner who asked to take the survey.
During the call it was mentioned the pensioner had Alzheimer’s to which the caller suggested an alternative product to the medicine currently being used by the pensioner.
Residents are advised:
to be cautious with unknown callers
if in doubt hang up
before agreeing to buy any goods take time to reflect on the product(s) being offered and seek independent advice
to obtain written quotes from three different businesses when purchasing goods and services.
Find a trader at Trustmark or call 01344 666104, or Age UK business directory or call 0800 334 5056.
Contact: Trading StandardsTel: 020 8314 2288
Email: [email protected] (Source: Lewisham council press release.)