Saturday, August 09, 2008

Pushing for Action on Enviro-Crime

A lot of the casework we do as councillors we can't talk about on the blog , but there are a few enforcement issues we've been working on for a while that have recently seen some progress.

Howson Road - skip hire lorries
It is over a year ago now since a resident first wrote anonymously to Darren about skip lorries being illegally parked at the end of Braxfield Road and in the forecourt of the council-owned garages on the corner of Braxfield/Howson Road. Sometimes there were as many as three vehicles parked there and the owner carried out repairs to them at evenings and weekends, disturbing the peace of neighbouring residents and making a mess of the road in the process.

Since then, I have chased this up on numerous occasions (well over a dozen times) with environmental enforcement, highways, housing/Pinnacle and the local police. Eventually the lock to the garages gate was changed and the owner of the skip hire lorries evicted from the garages, but he persisted in parking his lorries on the road and carrying out repairs. Finally, after repeated requests and a question to the deputy mayor, there have been more regular visits by parking enforcement and 3 fixed penalty notices were issued. Just over 3 weeks ago (maybe after the 3rd FPN?) the lorries disappeared, and haven't been back since. It's still early days, and the problem may yet come back, but for now residents are breathing a sigh of relief and enjoying the peace and quiet.

This kind of issue really highlights the need for housing, parking, environmental enforcement and the police to work together to solve it. My impression is that this didn't happen as effectively as it should have, hence it took so long to get anywhere, but hopefully we have finally made some headway on this.

Loampit Hill Salvage Yard
Ladywell Safer Neighbourhood Team and ourselves have both received complaints from residents about the salvage yard on Loampit Hill spreading its goods across the pavement, making it difficult for pedestrians to pass safely. Ute followed up on this with environmental enforcement and the owner of the business was given repeated warnings but failed to comply. However, Lewisham Council took him to court and a couple of weeks ago he was fined £2,000 plus £1,390 costs. Hopefully, the pavement will now be kept clear . . .

Mercy Terrace Fly-Tipping

Mercy Terrace is the road off Algernon Road that leads to the mini-industrial estate under Ladywell Road railway bridge. Again, a resident got in touch to complain about the fly-tipping on one site in the terrace. Environmental enforcement followed up on several occasions but the problem continued. Eventually, the Council took legal action against the owner of the land, for failure to comply with their obligation under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to secure it against fly tipping and should the fly tipping occur to clear the land.

This was due to go to court a couple of weeks ago, but in the end following negotiations between the Council and the legal representatives for the site owner, the owner accepted a formal caution and share of court costs. The owner has also agreed to erect a fence and regularly inspect the land to make sure it is clear. In return the Council dropped the court action and agreed to provide a 'no fly-tipping' sign for the land. The formal caution can be sited in court should the Council ever need to take action against the same individual for this offence in the future.

So maybe a result on this one too, though we will need to keep monitoring. I understand that the owner is ultimately keen to put flats on the site.

We will continue to follow up on other environmental enforcement issues in the ward and try to get action, though sometimes it can be a painstakingly-slow process. Ute is continuing to push for progress with the derelict shop on the corner of Tyrwhitt Road and Loampit Hill, while I am still pushing for enforcement action against the owners of Nightwatch (46 Ladywell Road). Also on the list are the garages on the corner of Malyons Road/Ladywell Road and the mews to the rear of the shops between Adelaide Ave and Margarets Road.

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