WEST NORWOOD HEALTH AND LEISURE CENTRE SET TO OPEN / HIGH-STRENGTH BEERS AND CIDERS GOING FROM CROYDON SHELVES – OTHER AREAS SET TO FOLLOW? / FREE CYCLE RIDES AIM TO IMPROVE SKILLS / PHARMACY SERVICES IN BROMLEY – HAVE YOUR SAY / WALKING BACK TO HEALTHINESS / BUMPER GOLD MEDAL HAUL ALMOST GIVES CROYDON YOUTH GAMES TITLE / PARK SCOOPS £4.9 MILLION LOTTERY WIN / FINDING ALTERNATIVES TO B&Bs FOR HOMELESS FAMILIES / GETTING TOUGH ON EMPTY PROPERTIES / YOUNG VOLUNTEERS WANTED FOR SUMMER READING CHALLENGE / MAYOR PURCHASES WATER CANNON BEFORE LICENCE GRANTED / RAID NETS 45,000 FAKE DVDS / FISHER FC RETURNING TO BERMONDSEY
WEST NORWOOD HEALTH AND LEISURE CENTRE SET TO OPEN
A brand new leisure centre that incorporates a GP surgery, dental school and council service centre will open by the end of thi month, say Lambeth council.
The £14.2 million West Norwood health and leisure centre in Devane Way – including a 25 metre swimming pool, fitness suite with more than 100 work stations and dance studio – will officially open to the public on Monday July 28th along with an outdoor playground for children.
The GP and dental surgeries are due to open in August, with students starting work in the dental school in September. There is also space in the centre available for hire by residents and community groups.
The leisure centre is a joint project by Lambeth council, Kings Health Partners and Lambeth clinical commissioning group.
Cllr Jane Edbrooke, Lambeth council cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “We are thrilled to announce the opening of our third new leisure centre for Lambeth and it’s fantastic news that the centre is open in time for the summer.
“We listened to what people wanted and needed in West Norwood and have worked hard with our health partners, leisure centre providers and building contractors to get this impressive and vitally important facility open.
“The centre is all about making it easier for people to manage their health and wellbeing.
“With all these services in one place it’s a real hub for local residents; parents will be able to visit their GP while their kids have a swimming lesson and people can get a quick dental check-up or a new parking permit from the council’s customer service centre before using the gym.”
The swimming pool will initially open with reduced hours – from 12pm to 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 3pm at the weekend for the first two weeks – and swimming lessons will start from Friday August 1.
Gym opening times will be 6.30am to 10pm during the week and 8am to 6pm at weekends. Group exercise classes will being on Monday August 4 but can be booked from opening day on July 28.
The Maurice Wohl dental academy – part of Kings College London dental institute – and the Knights Hill GP surgery will be moving into the building from their current premises from mid-August. (Source: Lambeth council press release)
HIGH-STRENGTH BEERS AND CIDERS GOING FROM CROYDON SHELVES – OTHER AREAS SET TO FOLLOW?
Cheap, high-strength beer and cider will disappear from the shelves of Croydon town-centre off-licences as traders get behind a scheme that will help improve public health and combat antisocial behaviour.
And if the initiative proves a success, it could be rolled out to other parts of the borough, say Croydon council.
“At a meeting earlier this year retailers, the council and police gave strong support to the voluntary initiative. Traders taking part in the scheme have been sent a poster to display in their windows showing their support for the initiative” said a spokesman.
“It was originally piloted in Ipswich town centre, where police and traders saw a significant reduction in crime and antisocial behaviour, trade improved for many of those taking part, and people felt safer.
“Croydon recently became a local alcohol action area, which sees the council, police and partners working together to reduce alcohol-related crime and health problems, and this scheme will help tackle those issues.
“And as a ‘Heart Town’ Croydon is working to beat heart disease and reduce risk factors such as drinking too much alcohol” the spokesman added.
Cllr Mark Watson, cabinet member for safety and justice, said: “Saying no to super-strength cheap booze sales, supports our efforts to tackle the binge-drinking culture and to help people who are struggling with this addiction.
“It will also help us to combat the crime, disorder and antisocial behaviour associated with these sales.”
In a letter to traders, Cllr Watson thanked them for their support, saying that recent police visits to the town centre already showed a reduction in the availability of high-strength products that are the cause for concern.
It is hoped that if the initiative in the town centre proves a success, it will be rolled out to other parts of the borough. (Source: Croydon council press release)
FREE CYCLE RIDES AIM TO IMPROVE SKILLS
Cyclists across Bromley borough are invited to take advantage of a series of free rides this summer and sign up to a local Sky Ride.
The popular Sky Ride events give cyclists of all levels the opportunity to enjoy their ride in a safe environment, whilst experiencing the local area on two wheels, say Bromley.
Trained British cycling ride leaders are on hand to guide cyclists through the rides, helping them to improve their cycling skills along the way. The rides were kick-started with the steady paced “High Elms Flyer” taking cyclists through scenic vistas in the south of the borough.
Bromley council transport strategy officer Steven Heeley says: ““These Sunday rides are great way to explore our borough as well as offering the added health benefits of cycling.
“The leaders are on hand to encourage and advise riders on their techniques and style, ensuring everyone gets the most out of their cycling experience.”
There are rides for all abilities – varying in distance and difficulty – ranging from easy going spins around picturesque parts of the borough, through to ‘steady’ and ‘challenging’ rides for those seeking a little more adventure.
Cyclists can choose to take part in any number of the planned rides in the borough:
Cator Park Cruise – Sunday 27 July (Steady)
Ride Around Crystal Palace Park – Sunday 24 August (Easygoing)
Bend it Round Beckenham – Sunday 31 August (Steady)
Norman Park Dash – Sunday 14 September (Easygoing)
Four Parks of Bromley – Sunday 28 September (Challenging)
High Elms Flyer – Sunday 12 October (Steady)
The cycling levels are explained as follows:
“EASYGOING”: suitable for anyone looking to get back into riding a bike again
“STEADY”: suitable for people who are fairly confident on their bikes and are ready to broaden their horizons
“CHALLENGING”: suitable for people who are fairly fit
For residents that want to get expert cycle tuition, the council offers all year round training. If residents wish to learn about cycle maintenance in more detail they can sign up to a comprehensive one day course go to www.bromley.gov.uk/roadsafety. (Source: Bromley council press release)
WALKING BACK TO HEALTHINESS
VOLUNTEERS are being sought to help lead formal and informal ‘Walking for Health’ walks across the borough. These are free of charge and led by fully trained leaders.
If you’re interested in knowing more about becoming a leader and walking your way to a healthier lifestyle you can find out about attending a free training day taking place on 24 July and 18 November in Hayes or to book your place contact Bromley Healthcare on 020 8315 8937.
Cllr Peter Fortune, Chairman of the health and wellbeing board, says: “This is just one of the ways we are working hand in hand with our health partners to actively support our residents have a healthier lifestyle.
“Walking is free and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier.
“Regular walking can also reduce the risk of things like heart disease and type two diabetes. “And research also tells us volunteering doesn’t only make you feel good it does you good and can lead to improved mental health and living a longer healthier life.” (Source: Bromley council press release)
BUMPER GOLD MEDAL HAUL ALMOST GIVES CROYDON YOUTH GAMES TITLE
Seven golds and a recent win in the disability ParaGames events almost secured Croydon the overall 2014 Balfour Beatty London Youth Games Jubilee trophy – but Wandsworth set a new points record and pipped them into the runners up place for the second year running.
Croydon council’s sports and physical activities team work every year with young athletes and their coaches to try and achieve victory in what is the largest youth sporting event in Europe. Teams compete across over 30 sports, with events taking place over a nine-month season.
Over 100,000 young Londoners compete in the games annually, and 15,000 attended the 2014 finals weekend at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.
Croydon’s team last lifted the champion’s trophy in 2012 and have come second four times in the last six years. The borough’s young ParaGames athletes have now taken the disability title for THREE consecutive years.
Including the ParaGames events, at which Croydon won in both swimming and athletics, the borough achieved more golds than any other borough, but on points were just beaten into second place.
Anyone who would like to take part in next year’s event can contact Pearl Sethna at [email protected] (Source: Croydon council press release)
PARK SCOOPS £4.9 MILLION LOTTERY WIN
A plan to restore many heritage features of Beckenham Place Park and make it more attractive to a wide range of local and regional visitors has received £4.9m from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery.
Restoration plans are likely to see the reinstatement of the original lake and an events space, say Lewisham council.
A Lewisham council statement says the funding will support a three-year project that will first see detailed plans for the park worked up and then around 18 months’ work on site meaning residents will be able to enjoy the new park in 2017.
Beckenham Place Park is almost 30 per cent bigger than Greenwich Park and contains four listed buildings – the mansion, Homesteads and gatehouses.
While the funding can be used for park-wide restoration works, gardens, visitor centres and recreational features, the council will be seeking other options to restore the Mansion House, which requires an estimated £3m.
The historic core of the park is currently dominated by a public golf course, which was once one of the busiest in the UK but is now used by an average of just 45 golfers a day. The council will consult current users of the park and the wider public as it develops more detailed plans for future use. (Source: Lewisham council press release)
FINDING ALTERNATIVES TO B&Bs FOR HOMELESS FAMILIES
Croydon council are set to increase its supply of short-term housing for homeless families with the acquisition of 189 flats.
Subject to cabinet approval on Monday July 14th, it will enter into separate 10 year leases of Concord house and Sycamore house in London Road, Croydon, which are undergoing refurbishment. The lease for Sycamore House includes the option of a break after five years.
A Croydon spokesman said: “It will mean that homeless families can live in self-contained accommodation with their own kitchen and bathrooms rather than costly and unsuitable bed and breakfasts.
“We estimate it will save more than £2 million over the duration of the leases but more importantly offers a far better option for families or individuals faced with becoming homeless.
“A recent survey of families in bed and breakfast accommodation in the borough found that nearly half are single parents with a single child, meaning these flats will be a better option than bed and breakfasts for short-term use” he added.
The 189 units comprise 149 purpose-built studios and 40 one bed flats. Eight of the flats in Concord House are designed for disabled use. The accommodation is expected to be available at the start of next year.
Cabinet member for homes and regeneration Cllr Alison Butler said: “Placing a family in shared bed and breakfast accommodation is never a favourable option, which is why we have to look at alternative ways of finding accommodation.
“By entering into these leases, it will enable us to provide a much better standard of short-term accommodation for families, which at the same time is less expensive for the Croydon taxpayer.
“In the long term, more affordable homes must be built and the council is taking all action possible to maximise affordable homes in the borough.” (Source: Croydon council press release)
GETTING TOUGH ON EMPTY PROPERTIES
TOUGH new measures to crack down on empty properties are being set down in a series of “tough” new priorities by Croydon council.
These include plans to make greater use of existing legislation such as compulsory purchase orders of empty homes, and using empty dwelling management orders to bring properties back into use.
Croydon will also negotiate buying empty properties and work with banks and building societies to repossess those homes in a poor condition.
Croydon are also looking to invest £1 million in empty property grants to encourage owners to refurbish and bring them back into use.
The maximum amount available will be £25,000 per property on the condition it is let to the council for a household in need of a home.
Cabinet member for homes and regeneration Cllr Alison Butler said: “This administration is making it a priority to target empty properties.
“It will help to address the shortage of housing available to families in need and help clean up the borough as part of our Don’t Mess With Croydon: Take Pride campaign.
“While thousands of families are on the council’s housing waiting list for a home, we will not tolerate empty home owners denying others a decent home to live in.
“Empty homes are also often run down and in a severe state of disrepair – an eyesore which other residents should not have to put up with.”
The council’s cabinet is set to approve the plans on Monday July 14th.
A Croydon council statement says: “A key part of the council’s ‘Don’t Mess With Croydon: Take Pride’ campaign to clean up the borough, the initiative includes stepping up efforts to identify and encourage owners to bring properties back into use, and a promotion campaign to raise awareness of the support available to empty home owners.
“There will be big improvements to the information available to empty property owners, via council communications such as the website and council tax letters, along with local media and advertising boards.
“A dedicated hotline will be set up as well as the opportunity to report empty homes using the My Croydon app.” (Source: Croydon council press release)
YOUNG VOLUNTEERS WANTED FOR SUMMER READING CHALLENGE
Young people aged 16 to 25 can become reading champions this year, offering support and helping with the Summer Reading Challenge.
Every year, thousands of families all over the country take part in the Summer Reading Challenge, run by the charity The Reading Agency. The aim of the challenge is to get children to read six books from their library during the summer holidays. The challenge runs until September 14th and this year’s theme is ‘Mythical Maze’.
This year, libraries are looking for young people who can give a few hours a week to help and support the Summer Reading Challenge, in return for a great experience to add to CVs, a reference if needed, a gold library card and other incentives.
The role of a reading champion is to:
help children to find books that they really want to read
help with displays and activities in the library
register children for the challenge
explain to children and their parents and carers how to take part
encourage children to discuss what they have been reading
give out rewards.
For more information please email [email protected] (Source: Lewisham council press release)
MAYOR PURCHASES WATER CANNON BEFORE LICENCE GRANTED
The Mayor of London has gone ahead with plans to purchase water cannon before the Home Secretary has made the official decision to license its use on the mainland UK, says GLA member Jenny Jones (Green party) who is deputy chair of the police and crime committee.
“Pre-empting the Home Secretary’s decision is rash and smacks of arrogance on the Mayor’s part, not to mention a possible waste of taxpayers’ money at a time when the Met is making huge cuts.
“It’s also ignoring the views of the vast majority of Londoners who don’t want water cannon. If the Mayor had actually taken the time to look his own consultation he would have seen 98 per cent of people opposed the plans for water cannon.
“We’ve been told by police chiefs that water cannon would have been useless in the riots and yet still the Mayor seems fixated on giving the police this weapon.
“It’s an indiscriminate military weapon that risks injuring and distressing innocent bystanders and making things worse rather than containing situations. “Water cannon have no place on the streets of London and I hope the Home Secretary sees sense.
“The Home Secretary has requested further detail in response to the interim medial statement provided by SACMILL (Scientific Advisory Committee on the medical implications of less-lethal weaponry).”
A MOPAC (Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime) decision notice from June 9th 2014 signed by the deputy mayor for policing and crime approves the purchase of three second-hand water cannon from the German Federal Police costing £218,205 in total.
Each cannon costs £30,435 and then the transportation, refitting and fixing to meet safety standards costs £42,300 for each cannon. (Source: Jenny Jones press release)
RAID NETS 45,000 FAKE DVDS
A counterfeit DVD business being run in Lewisham borough has been shut down resulting in one man jailed for a year and another sentenced to a community order, with both paying substantial costs.
A Lewisham man has been sentenced to 12 months imprisonment with costs to pay of £2,000 for his part in the counterfeiting of DVDs in the borough.
Another, from Wembley, was sentenced to a community order for 18 months with a requirement to do 180 hours unpaid work and costs of £3,000.
Lewisham council says that In October 2011 they were approached by FACT (The Federation Against Copyright Theft) with information that a Chinese male they knew to be involved in the manufacture and sale of counterfeit DVDs was using a storage facility in Forest Hill.
Following an in-depth investigation by the council, officers found that a house in Wilshaw Street, Deptford, was being used for the manufacture of master copies of DVDs and a flat in New Cross Road being used for the general manufacture of discs and distribution of DVDs to street sellers. All of this is in addition to the storage unit in Forest Hill being used to store the covers.
All these premises were raided in March 2012 and the following items were retrieved:
Two computers used for making master copies
Six burning towers each capable of producing 12 counterfeit copies every 10 minutes (believed to be left running for approximately 14 hours per day with the capability of producing 6,048 discs each day)
45,000 counterfeit DVDs
120,000 DVD covers
Evidence of approximately two million DVD covers being delivered to the storage unit over the course of a year.
In her sentencing remarksJudge Downing stated these were serious offences and the legitimate producers and consumers of these items were entitled to have protection. The film industry would have incurred a loss of £6.50 per disc for every DVD these individuals sold.
A forfeiture and destruction order for all items seized was granted.
If you think you have been sold counterfeit goods, including DVDs, you can report the trader to Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06 or contact Trading Standards Tel: 020 8314 2288 or Email: [email protected] (Source: Lewisham council press release)
ELECTORAL REGISTRATION CHANGES
During July all Lewisham residents will receive a letter through the post telling them about the biggest change to the electoral registration system in nearly 100 years.
The Electoral Registration Officer will write to 200,000 people in Lewisham to explain that a new, more secure, system of Individual Electoral Registration is being introduced to replace the old Victorian system where the “head of household” registered everyone living in a property.
Now, each individual will be responsible for registering themselves.
A Lewisham council spokesperson said: “Many Lewisham residents will automatically move onto the new electoral register. “But some will need to take action to join or remain on it, which they will now also be able to do for the first time by registering quickly and easily online.”
For more information visit www.gov.uk/yourvotematters. If you do not receive a letter by the end of July contact Lewisham Electoral Services team on 020 8314 6086 or email [email protected] (Source: Lewisham council press release)
FISHER FC RETURNING TO BERMONDSEY
Southwark council’s plannning committee has agreed that the derelict former Surrey Docks stadium will make way for a new public park and a new astroturf football facility on Salter Road.
Approval for the new facility means Fisher FC can return to their home base in Rotherhithe, after moving to play at Dulwich Hamlet FC’s Champion Hill ground in 2006.
A Southwark council spokesperson said: “As well as the new football facility, the regeneration work will also make way for a brand new public park by Surrey Docks – an addition which is sure to please many local residents and community groups in the area.”
Cabinet member for public health, parks and leisure Cllr Barrie Hargrove said, “This is a great opportunity to be able to create a brand new public park for local residents and schools in the area, as well as a fantastic new football facility for the community and Fisher FC, a local grassroots football club who deserve to have a home of their own.
“Parks and sports facilities are such an important part of our borough – they are a place to bring communities together, and importantly encourage everyone to get more active.
“Providing opportunities to access sport and physical activity in particular, is paramount to the council’s strategy and overall Southwark’s participation is improving.
“Earlier this month an update on Sport England’s annual national survey revealed we were still placed above the national and London average – a trend we definitely want to continue to build on.
“We know there is still more to do, especially with many of our local children classed as obese or overweight, and almost 70 per cent of adults in the borough saying they want to increase their activity levels,
“New facilities at the site in Surrey Docks will be another of our steps towards addressing these issues and getting Southwark more active.”
Fisher FC chairman Ben Westmancott said, “I am absolutely delighted at the result. “Everyone who has contributed to getting us to this point should feel very proud.
“This is not the end of the journey however, and the work ramps up from here to make it happen. “Fisher FC are on our way back to the community where the club belongs.”Let’s celebrate this milestone but keep out eyes firmly fixed on our goal.” (Source: Southwark council press release)