£1 million ‘trailblazer’ grant for Sutton, Kingston and Merton councils to radically rethink homeless prevention

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Sutton, Kingston and Merton and councils have teamed up to secure £1 million in government funding to help households avoid crisis and prevent people from becoming homeless.

The three local authorities have applied under a new government scheme to become ‘homelessness prevention trailblazers’, committing to go further and faster with housing reform and to support more people to avoid a homelessness crisis.

Interest in the Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG) scheme was high, with only 28 out of a 122 bids successful. Sutton, Kingston and Merton collectively bid for a total of £1,004,790 to develop a range of new, innovative approaches that will radically reshape the way homeless prevention is delivered in partnership with the voluntary sector.

Central to the bid’s success is the backing of homeless charity SPEAR, who will provide early interventions across all three boroughs.

Councillor Jayne McCoy, Chair of the Housing, Economy and Business Committee at Sutton Council, said:

“Homelessness affects individuals and families in communities across the country. In Sutton we are taking a proactive approach to help tackle this issue. This Trailblazers funding from the DCLG will help us work more closely with households at risk of homelessness. This will result in fewer families needing housing in expensive, imperfect, temporary accommodation. I look forward to working with our partners in Kingston and Merton to help address homelessness across our region.”

Councillor Cathy Roberts, Portfolio Holder for Housing at Kingston Council, said:

“This is a significant amount of funding coming our way from central government. It presents us with an enormous opportunity to deliver better outcomes for homeless people in our boroughs. The funding requires us to think and work differently, and to be more proactive in preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place. The circumstances that result in a person becoming homeless vary widely. Faced with a housing crisis, locally and nationally, we cannot afford to miss opportunities to help people stay in their homes.”

Merton Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Environment and Housing, Councillor Martin Whelton, said:

“The Homelessness Reduction Bill means all councils will have to make changes in this area. Homelessness is a highly complex issue and we welcome the funding to help us look at ways in which we can help prevent people from becoming homeless if they are at risk of losing their home. As trailblazers, we can be instrumental in the way homelessness prevention is delivered in the future, across England.”

A summary of successful bids can be found online at www.gov.uk

Update on Sutton Council’s Parks, Cemeteries and Grounds Maintenance

150803 carsh parkThe following is a statement the councillors have recently received from Mary Morrissey, Strategic Director of Environment, Housing and Regeneration at Sutton Council.

“I am pleased to report that the contract with idverde to provide parks, cemeteries and grounds maintenance services on behalf of Merton and Sutton Councils has now been signed. idverde will formally take on responsibility for delivering these services from Wednesday 1 February 2017.  Over the last few months, the Council (through the South London Waste Partnership) has been fine tuning the details of the new contract with idverdeidverde has been meeting with Friends of Parks Groups in the borough to help identify priorities and reassure Friends Groups that they can continue to play a key role in their parks going forward.  idverde is an award-winning horticultural specialist with 100 years of experience under its belt. I have no doubt that they will continue to provide a very high quality of service for local residents at a reduced cost to the council.” 

 

Sutton 2031: Draft Local Plan published and Carshalton & Clockhouse Local Committee of 17th January 2017

Sutton 2031: Draft Local Plan

Click this image to open the Draft Local Plan document in a new browser window. The Local Plan is a key planning document that sets out the vision for the development of the borough up to 2031.

It focuses on the key issues that Sutton faces, and identifies development needs and the strategy and opportunities for addressing them. It provides detailed policies against which the Council will determine planning applications for development proposals.

Between Monday 9 January 2017 and Friday 24 February 2017 the council is consulting on this Draft Local Plan.

Cllr Jayne McCoy, Chair of the Housing Economy & Business Committee at Sutton Council, said:

“Sutton Council has just launched its Draft Local Plan and put it out for a final round of consultation. The plan seeks to preserve all that residents love and value about the borough and also meet the demands of housing, schools and transport that we know we’re going to need in future. This document captures our ambitions to promote future prosperity in the borough. Please take a few minutes to look over the plan and complete the short consultation. It’s really important we get the views of as many Sutton residents as possible as we strive to build a better borough for all.”

To get the full details of the Draft Local Plan on the Sutton Council website, click here

To go straight to the Draft Local Plan document click here, and to go straight to the Draft Local Plan consultation page click here.

Hamish, Jill and Chris by the new Welcome to Carshalton sign in West Street

Hamish, Jill and Chris by the new Welcome to Carshalton sign in West Street

Cllr. Hamish Pollock chair of Carshalton & Clockhouse local committee said:

“We have this item on our Agenda for our meeting tomorrow 17th January 2017 starting at 7.30pm at 42 Fryston Avenue, Coulsdon on the Clockhouse Estate. All are welcome to attend and take part in the discussions.”

Sutton Community Fund grants news….

Eleven local groups will share over £45,000 from the latest round of Sutton Community Fund grants to help them provide services and activities for residents of Sutton into 2017 and beyond.

The Community Fund programme, financed by Sutton Council and administered by the Sutton Centre for the Voluntary Sector (Sutton CVS), supports projects that benefit Sutton residents, meet local priorities and help build community and developmental assets in the borough.

The list of fund recipients for 2017 is as follows:

Surrey Youth Focus £5000

Knots Art £4595

RACE £1680

Refugee & Migrant Network Sutton £2662

Riverside Community Association £1975

Riverside Community Association £5650

Sutton Mencap £5467

Carshalton Beeches Baptist Free Church £3200

Gary Mason Charity £3000

In Unity Ltd £5000

St Teresa’s Church £5000

Together We Create £3600

A full list of the awards and how they will be used is below.

David Hobday, CEO of Sutton Mencap, said:

“We would like to thank the Sutton Community Fund for its award of a grant to Sutton Mencap. This funding will enable us to continue to offer our very popular Breakaways service, which provides weekend activities for adults with a learning disability, whilst giving parents and family members a break from their caring responsibilities.

Having a local grants fund which understands the needs of local communities makes a huge difference for organisations like ours and the people we support. We are very grateful to Sutton Council for their support through the Sutton Community Fund.”

Hazel East, Session Leader at Knots Art, said:

“A grant from the Sutton Community Fund means that we can continue to provide fun and exciting sessions for girls with autism and social communication difficulties living in and around Sutton. For many girls that attend this is their only social interaction each week and it is vital that they have a safe space in which they can make friends with others who understand the difficulties that they face. We are hugely grateful for the support.”

Cllr Simon Wales, Deputy Leader of Sutton Council and Lead Member for Finance, Assets and the Voluntary Sector, said:

“We want to congratulate the local organisations that have been successful in their applications. There is a strong voluntary sector in Sutton and this funding will go towards securing the future of these local organisations and supporting them to deliver their invaluable work in our community.

“We’ll be working closely with our partners across the voluntary sector as we strive to deliver brilliant and cost-effective services for Sutton residents in the years to come. The Community Fund grants will help them to prepare for this challenge.”

Applications for Sutton Community Fund grants of between £300 and £1000 from the next round of funding are open until Monday 3 April 2017. You can find out more on the Sutton CVS website here, and Sutton CVS will be happy to answer questions you may have or offer assistance completing the application form.

Notes to editors

The Community Fund awarded the following seven applications full grant funding:

1. Focus Surrey
Charity number: N/A Company number: N/A

Amount allocated: £5,000

This project will help children with ASD improve their communication, social and play skills, provide a friendly, inclusive and sociable environment for parents/ carers and siblings and provide training for tutors and young volunteers.

2. Knots Art 
Charity number: N/A Company number: 8631074

Amount allocated: £4,590

Funding will support weekly social activity sessions specifically for girls with autism or social communication difficulties. Art, drama and games activities are tailored to support social interaction. They will also work closely with parents to find ways to explore issues relevant to the group.

3. RACE 
Charity number: XT36173 Company number: N/A

Amount allocated: £1,680

Funding allocated to support the sustainability of ongoing group exercise within the community for up to 12 people with cardiovascular disease.

4. Refugee & Migrant Network Sutton 
Charity number: 11050500 Company number: 08026961

Amount allocated: £2,662

Improving systems to allow more time giving advice to clients, reducing waiting times for clients and to improve monitoring of service performance.
5. Riverside Community Association Limited
Charity number: 1156422 Company number: 8555270

Amount allocated: £1,975

Funding allocated to help achieve the PQASSO quality standard Level 1, which will help the organisation run more effectively and efficiently.

6. Riverside Community Association Limited

Charity number: 1156422 Company number: 8555270

Amount allocated: £5,650

Funding will help them achieve the London Youth Quality Mark, Bronze Level: a leading quality standard for organisations working with young people in the voluntary sector. Organisations working in partnership under this bid include: My Time for Young Carers, The Springboard Project, In Unity UK and the Riverside Community Association.

7. Sutton Mencap

Charity number: 1080514 Company number: 03915936

Amount allocated: £5,467

Funding allocated to continue the Breakaways in-house service for a year. The service consists of alternate Friday night and Saturday day time groups for mainly younger adults with a learning disability. This bid aims to improve mental health and wellbeing through tackling social isolation, improve mental health and wellbeing for carers and help people with a learning disability play a greater part in community life.
The Community Fund awarded the following five applications partial grant funding:
1. Carshalton Beeches Baptist Free Church

Charity number: 1130318 Company number: N/A

Amount allocated: £3,200

Funding allocated towards providing a ramp for disabled access.

2. Gary Mason Rhythmical Charitable Foundation

Charity number: 1140518 Company number: N/A

Amount allocated: £3,300

Funding allocated towards the costs of hand drumming therapy session facilitation.

3. In Unity Ltd

Charity number: N/A Company number: 07808693

Amount allocated: £5,000

Funding allocated to support the delivery of a youth project held at the Phoenix Centre

4. St Teresa’s Church
Charity number: 235468 Company number: N/A

Amount allocated: Up to £5,000

Funding allocated to develop an older people’s project aimed at alleviating isolation, increasing intergenerational work and improving life skills.

5. Together We Create

Charity number: 1140617 Company number: N/A

Amount allocated: £3,600

Funding allocated to help reduce anti-social behaviour, unite the Hamptons Community and improve parental engagement and support the development of family boundaries, so as to ensure that there is a long-term change in the area.

Planning News: Sutton Council’s Draft Local Plan due for consultation in January

sutton-council-logo-10_jpg_displayFollowing the Sutton 2031 consultation earlier this year the feedback has been reviewed and incorporated into a final draft that will go out for formal consultation this month i.e. in January. 

Please click on the draft local plan link below:

https://www.sutton.gov.uk/draftlocalplan

The Plan seeks to preserve and protect the borough’s character, green spaces and heritage, whilst appropriately responding to the demand to provide much needed extra housing for local residents. It demonstrates the council’s ambition to grow the borough and secure future prosperity, whilst preserving what makes Sutton special. It goes for a medium growth target, and aims to focus development in town and district centres so that the suburban areas are protected. 

In response to the feedback and evidence the plans for new Traveller sites have been dropped and instead the council believes it can meet its duties by expanding the existing site. Although this does encroach onto Greenbelt, it is the only greenbelt take that is proposed in the Plan with other proposals dropped. Metropolitan Open Land and other open spaces are protected with some additional green space protection added. 

Two additional secondary schools are required within the 15 year period of the Plan, one on the Sutton Hospital site and one on the Rosehill Park site. Sadly the Rosehill Park school footprint will reduce some open land available for the community, but having looked very hard, this was the only other site suitable and available for a secondary school. The site will still retain its MOL status to prevent its development for anything other than a school.

There are new policies intended to restrict the proliferation of hot food takeaways, protect pubs and ensure our district centres continue to flourish.

There is a Masterplan to stimulate new business and development in Sutton Town Centre, that has attracted a lot of developer interest and which the council is busy promoting and working on to ensure it delivers. Also forming part of the Local Plan is the London Cancer Hub development framework which seeks to ensure that our world class cancer diagnosis, treatment and drug discovery collaboration between the Royal Marsden and the Institute of Cancer Research has the space to maximise its potential and develop a campus worthy of its global acclaim, attracting investment and jobs to the borough.

The Local Plan will be presented at all the local committees between 9th January and 24th February so that residents can find out more, including how to feedback on the plan. The documents will also all be available on the council’s website.

Top Trading Standards tips to ensure a very merry Christmas

A view of Sutton High Street.

Support your local high street this festive season – but make sure you know your rights as a consumer!

With the winter holidays upon us, Trading Standards have put together some seasonal top tips to help ensure that it will be a truly happy Christmas all round:

1. By law, all goods must be of satisfactory quality, as they were described and fit for their intended purpose.  If not, provided you act quickly, you have the right to your money back or to ask for a replacement or a repair.

2. Remember that it is usually the purchaser of goods – and not the person who receives them as a gift – who has consumer rights if they turn out to be faulty.  However, shops may agree to sign over these rights to the person receiving the gift – ask the shop if they will give a ‘gift receipt’.

3. Check goods to make sure they work properly and are not damaged before you wrap them.  Keep packaging, instructions for use and any other information until you know that everything is all right.

4. Hang on to your receipts.  Traders are entitled to ask for some proof of purchase if you return faulty goods and it can make life a lot easier if you can prove when and where you bought them and how much you paid.

5. Your rights are the same wherever you buy goods – from a high street shop, a market trader, a street trader with a suitcase or from a temporary bargain shop.  However, your chances of returning goods diminish if there’s a possibility that traders may not be around after Christmas.

6. Goods bought in a sale should perform the same as if they were priced normally.  Your rights are the same unless defects are brought to your attention before you buy or should have been obvious if you’d examined the goods.

7. Buy the right size and colour.  If there’s nothing wrong with the item and you simply made a mistake or changed your mind, then you have NO legal rights.  Some retailers do have goodwill policies allowing these returns, so ask before you buy and get them to write the details on the receipt.

8. Consider buying goods costing over £100 with a credit card – you may get extra protection from the card issuer.

9. Don’t make any spur-of-the-moment decisions to buy on credit.  Compare APRs, consider the total cost involved and how long you’ll have to pay – you don’t want to still be paying for this year’s gifts next Christmas.

10. Watch out for fake goods.  Be suspicious of cheap discs and tapes or designer clothes and perfumes.  Your loved one won’t thank you if their gift smells more like Canal No. 5 or if that DVD turns out to be a DUD!

If you need civil advice on how to deal with a complaint or enquiry, please contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06. The Citizens Advice consumer service provides free, confidential and impartial advice on consumer issues.

You can also use the internet to contact the Citizens Advice consumer service. Please visit www.adviceguide.org.uk where a wide range of consumer information and advice is available.

Councillor Jill Whitehead’s statement on 2015-16 One Planet Sutton progress

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Sutton Council has released its latest One Planet Sutton progress report. The report sets out the progress on the 32 priority targets the council is making to become a One Planet borough by 2025. Sutton has been a One Planet Borough since 2009.

Councillor Jill Whitehead, Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee at Sutton Council, said:

“One Planet Sutton is about creating a borough where everyone can lead happy and healthy lives. Adopting more sustainable lifestyles helps save money and also reduces our dependence on natural resources. We set ourselves 32 ambitious priority targets to help us achieve our aim of becoming a One Planet borough.”

“With the help of residents and partners we have made good progress towards the targets. Our recent notable achievements include reducing the council’s CO2 emissions, using less water and improving the condition of the River Wandle.”

“We have made good progress, but there is still more to do to achieve all our targets.  We are not resting on our laurels and have plans in place to meet these ambitious targets. I encourage residents to download and read a copy of our report to learn more.”

A link to this year’s One Planet Sutton report is available here: http://bit.ly/2hDVvIR

Statement on Secombe and Charles Cryer Theatres

Christmas Lights and Snow in Carshalton Village in times past

Christmas Lights and Snow in Carshalton Village in times past

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Following the recent marketing of the Secombe Centre and Charles Cryer Theatres Sutton Council has received a range of expressions of interest as buildings suitable for community use with commercial leases attached. The marketing of the theatres follows Sutton Theatre Trust, appointed in 2015 to run both venues as theatres, going into administration earlier this year. The council will be reviewing the proposals received in the New Year.

A spokesperson said:

“To help balance ever-tightening budgets in 2014/15 we took the difficult decision not to continue directly managing the Secombe Centre and Charles Cryer Theatres. Sutton Theatre Trust took took on the day to day management and promotion of the theatres and unfortunately the Trust also proved not to be viable.  We are now carefully reviewing expressions of interest we have received to be certain they are viable as we are no longer able to subsidise theatre provision or the buildings in question. The council remains committed to encouraging and enabling a diverse range of arts and cultural activity in the borough which will soon be set out in our cultural strategy.”

Parking fraudsters left feeling blue

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Sutton’s crackdown on Blue Badge fraudsters continues with seven more drivers convicted at Croydon Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, 29 November.

The seven drivers pleaded guilty to using Blue Badges to park in Sutton without the named Badge Holder present. Blue Badges are issued for the sole use of a named individual and are only valid when it is being used by, or for, the disabled person when that person is present. It is stated clearly on the Badge that misuse may constitute a criminal offence. They all pleaded guilty in Court.

Mr Edward McDonagh, aged 52, of Bullrush Close, Carshalton, was given a conditional discharge for 6 months, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £20 and £100 costs after he parked his Renault in a disabled bay at The Market, Rosehill on Thursday 6th October using a Badge that belonged to his son.

Miss Helen Weatherly, aged 41, of Papermill Close, Carshalton, was fined £80 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £30 and £100 costs after she parked her Nissan on a single yellow line in Lodge Place, Sutton, using a Badge that belonged to her son.

Miss Karen Bernard, aged 42, of Masters Close, Streatham, was fined £80 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £30 and £100 costs afer she parked her Vauxhall on a single yellow line in Elm Grove, Sutton, and displayed a Badge that belonged to her son.

Miss Nicola Burns of 145 Bishopsford Road, Morden, was fined £135 and ordered to pay victim surcharge of £30 and £125 costs after she parked her Vauxhall in a red route dual use Loading/Disabled Bay in Wrythe Lane, Carshalton, on Thursday 6th October using a Badge that belonged to her son.

Miss Roxanna Kishore-Bigord, aged 46, of Roffey Close, Purley, was fined £160 and orderd to a pay a victim surcharge of £30 and £200 costs after she parked her Ford on a single yellow line in Elm Grove, Sutton, on Thursday 6th October using a badge that belonged to her son.

Mrs Joanne Bellamore, aged 43, of Sandpiper Road, Sutton, was fined £80 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £30 and £100 costs after she parked her Volkswagen in a mandatory disabled bay in St Nicholas Way, Sutton, on Thursday 15th September using a Badge that belonged to her son.

Mrs Noha Aiqes, aged 33, of Middleton Road, Carshalton, was fined £80 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £30 and £100 costs after she parked her Ford on a single yellow line in Benhill Avenue, Sutton, using a Badge that belonged to her son.

Carshalton Central ward’s Cllr Jill Whitehead, who is the Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee at Sutton Council, said:

“While it may be tempting to use the Blue Badges of other people to want to park when they are not with them, people must not do so. Blue Badges must be used only by the people named on them and no-one else. Blue Badges are issued to help disabled people have convenient access to busy town centres. We have only a limited number of disabled parking bays in Sutton and it is important that they are reserved for people who are genuinely disabled.”

Police and Sutton Council Parking Services’ officers carry out regular joint patrols to stop misuse of the borough’s 500 disabled parking bays which are for residents who have permanent or severe mobility difficulties and want to park conveniently for the shops.

They use the borough’s CCTV system and body-worn cameras, which are designed to film images and sound when dealing with drivers, with the footage being used as evidence in Court.

The vast majority of Sutton’s 7,144 Blue Badge Holders use the Badges as they are intended. However, a small minority of drivers deliberately misuse the Blue Badge privilege.

Doorstep callers thwarted after attempt to con resident out of £6,000 for building repairs

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Sutton residents are being encouraged to be very wary of doorstep callers offering to do building repairs to their home.

The advice comes from Sutton Council’s Trading Standards team after an incident when two men called at the home of a West Sutton resident, claiming to be a surveyor and a builder.

The men told the elderly resident they worked for the agent of the unoccupied house next door. They said that water had been coming through the ceiling from the loft and had made the adjoining wall unstable and in need of urgent repair as it was in danger of collapsing. They offered to carry out immediate repairs to the wall, which included hiring a dehumidifier, for just under £6,000.

The elderly resident went to her bank in Sutton town centre and told staff she wanted to transfer £5,700 to another bank account. When challenged she said the transfer was for a family member, then admitted it was to builders who had cold called.

The men had told her to tell the bank the money was for a family member as it would be easier to obtain the money from the bank. However, bank staff did not permit the money transfer to go ahead.

Cllr Nick Emmerson, Lead Councillor of Trading Standards at Sutton Council, said:

“We commend the bank staff for their quick thinking in preventing a Sutton resident from making a large cash withdrawal that was completely out of character. Many elderly residents have lost money after tricksters have demanded money upfront for materials without carrying out any work, have greatly overcharged for straightforward repairs or have deliberately caused damage to argue that costly repairs are needed. Such opportunists are bad news for all our residents and are a blight on honest and hardworking traders, which is why the council has the Safer Sutton Trader Scheme.

“This list has been thoroughly vetted by Trading Standards and offers a range of professional tradespeople in the borough who are neither bogus builders nor unscrupulous opportunists. All of the businesses are checked by Trading Standards to ensure they are providing an assured service before they are listed and promoted by Sutton Council and the Met Police in Sutton.”

Sutton Council’s Safer Sutton Trader Scheme helps residents to avoid bogus builders and unscrupulous traders. To find an approved trader, please visit the Safer Sutton Trader Scheme website or call 020 8770 5070 for details.

If you are a trader wishing to join the Safer Sutton Trader Scheme, follow the Kingston & Sutton shared service on Twitter here, follow the #SaferSuttonTrader hashtag here, or call the Trading Standards team on 020 8770 5632.

The Citizens Advice website has advice about how to safeguard your interests when employing a contractor.

Sutton Trading Standards advises residents to obtain three quotes for any work they want carried out. The law requires that where you contract with a tradesperson in your home, you must be provided with a 14-day cooling off period. All reputable traders will provide you with these cancellation documents.