In response to your recent email regarding resident concerns in and around the Maida Hill/piazza area, please find below an update on the work currently being undertaken across this department to address these issues.
We have a number of local teams working jointly to respond to concerns raised, including local City Inspectors, response teams working outside of core hours, Market City Inspectors, and the local Neighbourhood Problem solving Coordinator, Debbie Heath. These teams are in regular contact with the local Police teams and waste services.
Activities are controlled during market hours through :
- Controlled drinking signage and communication with street drinkers to encourage them to move away from the area voluntarily
- Market traders warned about using street drinkers for cheap labour
- Police intervention through verbal warnings, de-canning and Community Protection Notices
Whilst this has assisted with reducing daytime numbers, after the market closes it becomes an open space with seating which makes the location desirable for groups to congregate and drink. In terms of a forward strategy the removal of benches would assist, but it is recognised that this would disadvantage other residents.
I have now asked for a problem solving plan to be prepared and implemented, which will include a series of proactive measures to supplement what is already underway.
- The local police team will look to increase resources to facilitate more regular patrols to deal specifically with street drinking and associated behaviours.
- The City Inspectors will carry out ad-hoc inspections to disrupt activity, enforce litter offences if observed and monitor any anti-social behaviour reported – during day, evening and night time shifts.
- A letter will be distributed to local off-licences regarding the sale of high strength alcohol to those who are already intoxicated or known street drinkers. This will also include education and follow up work in respect of their licences where there has been a failure to comply.
- Contact will be established with outreach services to ensure that those who are vulnerable or have mental health issues are receiving the correct levels of support.
- All City Inspectors are being trained to issue Community Protection Notices (under the new ASB legislation) , and are being encouraged to issue formal warnings and notices for ASB linked to street drinking.
Waste and cleansing:
Waste and cleansing for the market traders has been reviewed already, and enforcement monitoring has been carried out frequently through the various teams. Enforcement action will continue where evidence can be found that links waste to a particular business or individual.
Action taken so far:
- The City Inspector for the market regularly monitors waste throughout the trading day. Enforcement action has been taken against a couple of local businesses found to be in breach of their duty of care. This has resulted in subsequent compliance and sign up to authorised waste carriers for legitimate waste disposal.
- The market waste bin has been changed to a lockable bin that can only be used by the market traders. Traders have also been reminded of their duty of care.
- A specific collection point is used for market traders waste in line with the Harrow Road collection time band. During monitoring, a City Inspector from the 24 hour team observed a local business dumping raw meat and cardboard with the market waste, the business has been reported for the offence and prosecution action is being pursued.
- City Inspectors (Residential) have been carrying out early morning sweeps over the past month in the Harrow Road area to tackle waste related breaches.
- City Inspectors (Residential) have been visiting local businesses to request evidence of waste transfer notes. Failure to provide the documentation will result in notices issued which can be followed up through penalties and/or prosecution action.
- City Inspectors (City Co-ordination) will carry out ad hoc enforcement operations to tackle any waste issues in the evening and during the night time (including Goldney Road)
- City Inspector (Markets) to continue daily monitoring/review of traders waste and others during market hours. Market recycling requirements will also be reviewed.
- Extension of the market – cleansing requirements will be reviewed in line with any increase in trader numbers.
The Environmental Health team carry out a number of checks before food traders are permitted to operate. The checks include the following:
- Trader operates in accordance with a written food safety policy (as required under The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013)
- Trained to at least CIEH Level 2: Food Safety in Catering or equivalent
- Unit structurally suitable, e.g. preparation surfaces, facilities for hand washing, canopy made of fire retardant material etc.
- Suitable storage facilities and refrigeration if required (cool boxes often sufficient)
- Gas and electrical inspection certificates if using electricity and/or gas equipment
Operators are also advised that the amount and type of cooking carried out on site must be such that it does not cause odour, smoke or fume nuisance to local residents, other traders or commercial premises in the area.
Once a trading licence is granted the traders are subject to regular inspections based on the Code of Practice under the Food Safety Act 1990. Inspections are also carried out following specific enquiries regarding a pitch or complaints.
Whilst owned by the City Council, the public conveniences are managed through a contractor. An inspection of the facilities has already been carried out and a report submitted to the contractor for immediate improvement.
I hope this goes some way to reassure you that regular operations are underway, and we are continuing to look at other approaches to manage the community’s concerns in relation to the market area.
Public Protection and Licensing
Westminster City Council