Further Covid advice and information for TRAs and residents

Dear TRA committee member

I hope this finds you well and safe.

Thank you for your continued efforts to help your local community at this difficult time.

If you need detailed information on what the council is doing and support available please visit www.southwark.gov.uk/coronavirus the pages are updated regularly.

The Letter to residents March 2020 is being posted to all residents in the coming days as the council realises that not everyone has access to information on line. I hope you find it helpful.

Kind regards

Michael Scorer, Strategic Director of Housing and Modernisation

‘Your NHS Needs You’ – NHS call for volunteer army

 

NHS VOLUNTEER

RESPONDERS

NHS Volunteer Responders has been set up to support the NHS during the COVID-19 outbreak. To do this we need an ‘army’ of volunteers who can support the 1.5m people in England who are at most risk from the virus to stay well. Our doctors, nurses and other professionals will be able to refer people in to NHS Volunteer Responders and be confident that they have been matched with a reliable, named volunteer.

You can help by signing up for one or more of the tasks listed below. Once you have registered and checks are complete you will be provided a log-in to the GoodSAM Responder app. Switch the app to ‘on duty’, and you’ll see live and local volunteer tasks to pick from nearby.

This programme enables volunteers to provide care or to help a vulnerable person, which is permitted under the new rules announced by the Government on 23rd March 2020. Volunteers may be asked to show the active task they are responding to if asked.

Volunteers must be 18 or over, and fit and well with no symptoms. Those in higher-risk groups (including those over 70, those who are pregnant or with underlying medical conditions) will be able to offer support by telephone.

Your safety is our priority. The majority of tasks can be undertaken while social distancing and volunteers will receive guidance through our ‘getting started pack’. If you do become ill you can pause your volunteering.

Patient transport drivers will require an enhanced DBS check and will receive guidance to do this role safely, also included within the ‘getting started pack’.

JOIN US TODAY

Here are the ways you can support:

Community Response volunteer: This role involves collecting shopping, medication or other essential supplies for someone who is self-isolating, and delivering these supplies to their home.

Patient Transport volunteer: This role supports the NHS by providing transport to patients who are medically fit for discharge, and ensuring that they are settled safely back in to their home.

NHS Transport volunteer: This role involves transporting equipment, supplies and/or medication between NHS services and sites, it may also involve assisting pharmacies with medication delivery.

Check-in and Chat volunteer: This role provides short-term telephone support to individuals who are at risk of loneliness as a consequence of self-isolation.

JOIN US TODAY

COVID-19: an update for residents (26 March)

Cllr Peter John OBE

Dear resident,

As I’m sure you are aware, the UK has been on ‘lockdown’ since midnight on Monday. While I know this creates many challenges for everyone in their everyday lives, it is absolutely vital that we all follow government guidance on this in order to save lives and protect the NHS.

This means we must only leave our homes for one of four reasons:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with a member of your household only
  • Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • Travelling to and from work, but only where you absolutely cannot work from home.

We have made good and quick progress on developing our new community hub that will support vulnerable residents, and especially those who the NHS has identified as needing to take extra care (known as the shielding programme). Our priority will be to work with voluntary and community groups to help those who are unable to rely on friends and family. We will make sure they receive the food, essential supplies, medicines and social contact they need. You can find out more at www.southwark.gov.uk/covidsupport

I want to pay tribute to the many hardworking and dedicated Southwark Council staff who are working to keep vital services going in order to protect our most vulnerable residents. We are ensuring these critical services are adequately resourced whilst closing down some areas of the council’s normal work which cannot carry on under the current conditions.

I would ask for your continued patience and understanding as we work through the changes we need to make to our services to redirect staff to key services like adult social care. We will keep you updated about these changes through these newsletters, our website, and other communications.

In this newsletter you will find some key information about council services and support available to residents and businesses. You can also check our website for regular updates at www.southwark.gov.uk/coronavirus


Financial support for residents

  • We are taking action locally to provide financial protection to those in our communities who are most in need. We have supplemented our Southwark emergency support scheme (SESS) budget of £650k per year with an additional emergency fund of £1.5m.
  • We have suspended all debt recovery actions related to council tax and business rates and are looking at how we can help residents who are struggling financially.
  • We also have information and support if you’re struggling with rent payments.

Financial support for businesses

35% Campaign update – Council to remove remaining shopping centre traders using CPO powers

Council to remove remaining shopping centre traders using CPO powers

Mar 23, 2020 12:00 am

Council to approve compulsory purchase of shopping centre traders and buy LCC/shopping centre sites -In an extraordinary move Southwark Council is poised to ‘buy’ both the Elephant and Castle shopping centre and the London College of Communication from current owners, developer Delancey and the University of the Arts London (UAL). It is also excercising Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) powers over the shopping centre site, on behalf of Delancey’s British Virgin Islands registered offshore subsidiary1.

The CPO powers are needed because Delancey has failed to reach agreement with 11 of the remaining shopping centre traders who have secure tenancies and several other so-called third-party ‘interests’ including land owned by Transport for London and arches owned by Network Rail/Arches company. 2

The additional purchase of the shopping centre and LCC land is part of a legal manoeuvre, vesting ownership in a public body, that will override the rights of residents in surrounding homes whose daylight will be affected by the redevelopment of the two sites. A leasing arrangement will allow both sites to return to Delancey and UAL once the CPO process is complete. 3

Southwark say that both measures will ultimately result in no cost being incurred to itself (except for officer time plus a proportion of any public inquiry costs) with Delancey indemnifying all other costs, but no figures are provided in the three publicly available reports detailing the purchase arrangements and the indemnity agreement has not been made public. Decisions on both measures will be made at a video-call Cabinet meeting tomorrow – Tuesday, 24 March.

Will the scheme ever happen?

The main justification for the proposed measures is to ensure the success of the development. Council officers advise that if they are not adopted Delancey may meet delays and will not secure the ‘enormous funding’ the scheme requires and then the site could lie empty for years.

Despite this concern, officers are nonetheless so personally convinced that the development will ‘likely’ go ahead, that they are not requiring a guarantee from Delancey that it will proceed with the scheme after Southwark has cleared the site with its CPO powers. The CPO report says ‘it is not necessary to impose… an obligation to build the Scheme as the measures negotiated for inclusion in the indemnity agreement give the Council comfort that EC is likely to proceed with the Scheme.’ 4

The contrast between Southwark’s favourable treatment of Delancey, (a property developer rooted in offshore shell companies) and the neglectful manner it has treated traders who have made the Elephant their home is also laid bare. Under CPO legislation Southwark is required ‘to exercise its power…in a manner which, so far as practicable, secures that relevant occupiers of that land are provided with a suitable opportunity to obtain accommodation on the land in question.’ 5

This hasn’t happened; such relocation benefits as there are (eg the £634,700 relocation fund, the £200k New Home Bonus Fund) have been won by the traders and local campaigners and owe little to Southwark Council’s efforts. Even with these gains, 60 traders still have no new premises and those who do will be re-housed off-site, with only some (those in Castle Square) having the smallest possibility of ‘accommodation on the land in question’. Just last week the BBC ran a feature on the plight of the remaining traders.

Southwark has always had the power

By Southwark’s own account the scheme may well not go forward unless it exercises CPO powers, because Delancey is unwilling to bear the risk of the uncertainty created by its absence, given its ‘enormous capital investment in the Scheme’ and in addition ‘any prudent funder of the Scheme is also unlikely to fund the Scheme whilst that uncertainty persists’6

Southwark therefore has had a great deal of legitimate leverage. It was clear when Delancey first submitted its planning application for the shopping centre’s redevelopment back in 2016, that there was little intention of retaining resident traders in the new redevelopment. When Delancey described the traders as ‘benefiting from disproportionately low levels of rent’ and unlikely ‘to survive….over the longer term’7 Southwark should have made it clear then that any anticipated use of CPO powers would be dependent on fulfilling the requirement that ‘relevant occupiers’ ie the traders be given the opportunity to stay in the new development.

As it is, it looks as if Southwark intends to sacrifice trader’s interests, again, in favour of Delancey, just as it sacrificed those who depend on social rented housing, when it granted Delancey planning permission, without securing the minimum amount required by its own policies.

The coronavirus risk

Southwark’s attempts to indemnify itself against any mishaps in its CPO arrangements with Delancey includes, amongst other things, a requirement that there be a ‘reasonable prospect of the development of that area being delivered in a reasonable time frame’ 8.

Any sensible person, or local authority, must now see that this is unlikely, given the coronavirus crisis and it multi-dimensional impact. Southwark should at the very least defer consideration of exercising CPO powers and the purchase of the shopping centre and the LCC sites, on any terms. At the same time, Southwark should use its resources to maintain and improve support for the traders and insist that Delancey do the same, if it wishes to have the benefit of Southwark’s CPO powers at some time in the future.

Footnotes:

  1. According to Southwark, Delancey is not the developer, but rather the advisor to the so-called ‘Triangle Partnership’, which is a partnership between the Dutch pension fund APG; Qatari Diar and Door SLP (a joint venture involving Delancey’s DV4 offshore property fund). There are further partnerships within this Triangle, detailed in the Report: E&C CPO para 12. Southwark refer to the developer as Elephant & Castle Properties Co. Limited (“EC”) registered offshore in the BVI. We continue to refer to the developer by the commonly known name of ‘Delancey’. 
  2. See paras. 80, 59 Report: E&C CPO 
  3. See paras. 1,2 & 12 Report: E&C Property Rights 
  4. See para 76 Report: E&C CPO 
  5. See para 81 Report: E&C CPO 
  6. See para 57 Report: E&C CPO 
  7. See 8.7 Planning Statement 
  8. See para 74 Report: E&C CPO 

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