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Coronavirus: Council services updates

teal bullet Hampshire Helpline 

0333 370 4000  Available seven days a week, from 9am-5pm, for vulnerable people who do not have support from families, friends or their local community, and who need urgent assistance with practical issues.  

teal bullet Latest Government information:  (LINK) 

teal bullet Latest NHS information and advice: (LINK) 

See updates below, or go to sections:

teal bullet Community support, Hampshire helpline

teal bullet Waste, recycling, and environment

teal bullet Rents, Benefits and Council Tax

teal bullet Housing, housing maintenance and homelessness

teal bullet Support for businesses

teal bullet Planning, Building Control, Environmental Health and Protection

teal bullet Car parks, public facilities, health & leisure

teal bullet Contacting the Council and keeping up to date

    Stay alert

    We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:

    • stay at home as much as possible
    • work from home if you can
    • limit contact with other people
    • keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
    • wash your hands regularly

    Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

    Read more about what you can and cannot do:

    teal bullet Keep up to date

    Sign up to get residents emails, with information about how our services are changing as we respond to the Coronavirus crisis. new window 


    Friday 5 June: Face coverings on public transport

    Wearing face coverings on public transport will be mandatory in England from Monday 15 June. 

    • The new guidance refers to face coverings which can be made at home - not  surgical masks needed by health professionals.
    • Exemptions will be made for very young children, the disabled and those with breathing difficulties. 
    • You can be refused travel if you don't comply and could be fined. 

    Read full details, including advice on making your own face covering:

    More advice on how to travel safely locally is at

    Friday 5 June: Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline

    Covid-19 is having a significant impact on many LGBT+ people, with lockdown family tensions, isolation and domestic abuse being some of the amplified issues. If you are in need, the Switchboard LGBT+ helpline can offer support during this time. Call 0300 330 0630 or visit for more information.

    Thursday 4 June: Public toilets

    We are opening our public toilet facilities when it is safe to do so for each individual site. The latest information on which facilities are open is available at:

    As there are more people travelling to enjoy the area we are finding additional pressures on our car parks, litter bins and public facilities.
    Please be considerate when you're out and about:

    • Park only in designated parking areas, not on verges or blocking access for emergency vehicles.
    • If bins are full, take your rubbish home with you. Uncontained waste, even by the bins, is classed as flytipping. We're emptying the bins more often at busy times.
    • Please check the facilities available before you travel and follow the advice to ensure social distancing and hygiene for your safety and that of others.  

    Thursday 4 June 2020: Test and Trace

    Last week the government launched the NHS test and trace service.

    The NHS test and trace service:

    • ensures anyone who develops coronavirus symptoms can be tested quickly
    • allows asymptomatic testing for NHS staff, social care staff and care home residents
    • helps trace people who've had close contact recently with anyone who has tested positive
    • notifies people who may be at risk of having contracted the virus and lets them know if they need to self-isolate

    You can find out more about the test and trace service on the NHS website; including how to get tested if you develop symptoms, what to do if you test positive for coronavirus and what to do if you are contacted by a Test and Trace worker because you may have come into contact with someone who has recently tested positive for the virus:

    The government website has information about how the NHS Test and Trace service works: and further guidance about what to do if you are contacted because you are a contact of a person who has tested positive for coronavirus:

    Tuesday 2 June 2020: New guidance on public spaces and exercise

    Under new government guidance from 1 June, you can now leave your home to exercise and spend time outdoors in England for recreation with groups of up to six people from outside your household.

    To stay safe, you must:

    • keep at least two metres apart from anyone not from your household at all times
    • take hygiene precautions when you are outside, take hand sanitiser in case there are no handwashing facilities, and wash your hands as soon you get home
    • not go out if you have symptoms.

    Read the full government guidance at

    • Before travelling please check what facilities are available and plan accordingly, many are still closed for your safety. 
    • When out and about please be considerate to other people and your local environment. Take your rubbish home to keep the area clean and safe.
    • If you are visiting the Forest follow the New Forest code to protect the Forest and the animals, and don't light fires or BBQs anywhere in the Forest.
    • If you are visiting the coast follow the beach safety advice from the RNLI

    Tuesday 2 June 2020: Pre-booking system for HWRCs

    Hampshire County Council will be establishing a pre-booking system from mid-June for residents to access Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) to manage demand and reduce queuing traffic. Read more at

    Monday 1 June 2020: Discretionary Grants Fund for businesses open for applications

    Our new discretionary grant fund is open for applications now to support small and micro businesses affected by the Coronavirus. The grants are aimed at those businesses that have not qualified for previous government support. Eligible businesses can apply to us until 12 June. Get full details of the grants available and how to apply at

    Monday 1 June 2020: Charges apply in town and village car parks

    We are reintroducing car parking charges in Town and village car parks from today. For more information see

    Free parking passes for NHS workers

    As part of a national scheme, NHS staff members, health or social care workers, or NHS Volunteer Responders can get a parking pass from their NHS employer. This will entitle them to free parking, while on duty, in local authority owned off-street car parks and on-street bays during the COVID-19 emergency response period. NFDC does not issue these passes, please ask your employer.

    Although the national scheme does not extend to non-NHS key workers, discounted parking is available at our car parks by purchasing a parking clock from as little as £25 per year.

    Parking clocks can be bought online at 

    • Customers with first quarter long stay parking clocks (January - March) can use them throughout June. 
    • New second quarter long stay clocks for the remaining 30 days of the quarter (April - June) can be purchased for £12.
    • Those who bought a second quarter clock before lockdown will be able to claim a discount on a third quarter clock when they are released for sale towards the end of June. Details will follow at that time.
    • Refunds will not be given on annual long stay £120 clocks, but this will be taken into consideration at the renewal date.

    We remind anyone using our car parks to consider carefully the need for their journey and to continue social distancing and good hand washing.

    Public toilets 

    Most of our public toilets remain closed. We are reopening toilet facilities when it is safe to do so at each particular location. See toilet facilities currently open at 

    Thursday 28 May 2020: Council Tenants rent payment plans

    Please continue to pay your rent on your council property if your circumstances have not changed. If you are experiencing financial difficulties contact (or call 02380 285 222 option 2 if you have no access to email) and talk to your Tenancy Account Officer about a plan for your rent account. We have been able to work with many tenants to create a sustainable plan to maintain their rent account. If you have not felt able to contact the team then please be assured that it is our aim to work with you, and please get in touch.

    Tuesday 26 May 2020: Reopening of retail

    Yesterday evening (25 May) the Prime Minister set out a timeline for retail to reopen from 1st June and further guidance has been published for how to operate safely to protect staff and customers. 

    Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1 June, as soon as they are able to meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect shoppers and workers. As with garden centres, the risk of transmission of the virus is lower in these outdoor and more open spaces. Car showrooms often have significant outdoor space and it is generally easier to apply social distancing.

    All other non-essential retail including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, will be expected to be able to reopen from 15 June if the Government's five tests are met and they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines, giving them three weeks to prepare.

    Thursday 21 May 2020: Be Forest Friendly - no BBQs or fires in the Forest

    There is a severe fire warning currently in place across the New Forest National Park. No barbecues are allowed and people are asked to please take extra care.

    If you are out and about in the Forest, follow the New Forest Park Authority's New Forest Code:

    • Keep your distance from the animals, don't feed or touch them
    • Take home dog waste and litter
    • No fires or disposable BBQs
    • Keep dogs under control. Don't let dogs approach or chase any animals.
    • Park only in car parks - check which ones are open at
    • No wild camping
    • Help wildlife by keeping to the main tracks
    • Drive with care - animals on the road
    • Stick to the cycle tracks

    Note that many facilities, including public toilets, remain closed.
    We urge you to continue staying at home as much as possible, to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, and if outside follow all the guidance available.


    teal bullet Community support

    Hampshire Helpline

    A helpline is now available to provide information and advice, as well as practical support to frail or vulnerable Hampshire residents. The Coronavirus Hampshire Helpline (Hantshelp4vulnerable) can be contacted on

    0333 370 4000

    The helpline is available seven days a week, from 9am-5pm, and is for vulnerable people who do not have support from families, friends or their local community, and who need urgent assistance with practical issues.


    Community Alarms

    Our Appletree Careline community alarm service continues to operate 24/7 and has retrained some staff from other services to ensure we can carry on helping our 2,500 customers at the touch of a button.  



    Monitoring of the District's CCTV cameras remains unaffected.


    Advice from Safer New Forest (LINK)

    Safer New Forest is a partnership of public organisations working towards reducing crime and anti-social behaviour and to make the New Forest a safer place to live, work and visit.  

    Domestic abuse - If you are feeling unsafe at home or you're worried you may be putting others at risk during this difficult time, support is available by calling 03300 165 112 or by visiting the Hampshire County Council website (LINK)

    adobe icon Safer New Forest leaflet [168kb]


    Scams and anti-fraud

    Get the latest information on how to protect yourself from criminals using the Covid-19 pandemic to scam the public - don't become a victim at

    adobe icon Covid-19 Scam Awareness leaflet [287kb]

    Hampshire constabulary offer advice to make you aware of some of the more common scams:

    Email, text and phone call scams
    claiming to be from official organisations such as HMRC, World Health Organisation or NHS;

    • asking you for money, donations or to pay a fine
    • claiming you are owed money such as a tax refund, or
    • offering to sell you equipment such as face masks, infection lists, anti-virus kits or home COVID-19 testing kits.

    Doorstep scams:

    • unexpected callers offering services such as cleaning and decontamination services,
    • bogus healthcare workers offering to take your temperature or provide 'home-testing' for the virus, or
    • criminals offering to do your shopping.

    Always question unsolicited calls, texts or emails requesting your personal or financial information.
    To verify the company contact them directly using a known email or phone number.
    For advice on cybercrime, or to report suspicious emails, visit
    To keep up to date on latest advice sign up at national for notifications.

    Cemeteries and funeral services

    Our Cemeteries Service is working closely with the area's Funeral Directors to ensure Government guidance with social distancing during burial interments are practiced and adhered.  

    Following Government guidelines, we advise only close family members  and friends attend, and only when it is safe for them to do so whilst observing current government restrictions.

    Burial interments within our cemeteries will continue, however, interments for cremated remains have been temporarily suspended.

    We advise you speak with your Funeral Director for guidance  and direction; they are able to act on your behalf. Please consult our Registered Funeral Directors page for your chosen Funeral Director's contact. 

    Travel and transport

    The current government guidance advises staying at home as much as possible. If you do need to travel or use public transport you can find out more information about travelling safely and local transport options at


    teal bullet Waste, recycling, and environment

    Collecting household rubbish and recycling is a priority but there may be some temporary adjustments to refuse collections.  Residents are being asked to keep an eye on website announcements, and to share information with any family or friends who are unable to access the website. 


    Black and clear sack collections

    Please put sacks out for collection at the edge of your own property - do not stack-pile sacks with neighbours'. It's important you can identify your own sacks as, if refuse is not collected on the collection day, you will need to take yours back in.  (Our operatives may still stack-pile as part of their collection patterns)

    Refuse crews have been given guidance on how to maintain social distancing and adjustments are being made to the way we carry out the service to follow this in a safe way.  Residents are asked not to approach crews with questions and to keep to 2m distance.


    How to store rubbish if you are self-isolating Advice on how to store rubbish for anyone with confirmed or possible Coronavirus or self-isolating (COVID-19) is that personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put out for collection.


    Garden Waste

    As well as customers renewing, and payments for additional garden waste sacks, new customers are now able to subscribe to our garden waste collection service. The quickest way to join or renew is online. Read more and apply at: 


    Bulky Waste

    It is now possible to make a booking for a bulky waste collection. However, in order to keep our staff safe we have made some changes to the service, for example, at the moment we cannot accept soft furnished items. For more information


    Glass recycling collections

    Currently glass collections are still taking place.


    Clinical waste collections

    Both orange sacks and yellow sharps boxes are being collected as normal.


    Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs)

    HWRCs are operated by Hampshire County Council. Please visit their website for more information about accessing the sites during these times


    Additional black & clear sacks  

    We deliver to households twice a year but if you have run out of black or clear sacks you can buy more by calling our customer service team on 02380 285000. Payments can only be made by debit or credit card, sacks will be delivered to your home address within 7 days.

    Clear sacks - £2.00 per roll (36 sacks)

    Black sacks - £5.20 per roll (26 sacks)


    How you can help

    Residents can help us continue to collect waste by minimising what is put out for collection:

    • Hold on to unwanted items for the time being - house clearance waste, DIY materials and old clothes and toys
    • Garden waste - start a compost heap or add to a compost bin.
    • Reduce food waste - don't buy or cook more than you need, store or freeze leftovers, keep an eye on use by dates, compost what you can


    Recycling banks

    Recycling banks ('bring sites') and textiles banks are no longer being emptied. Visiting recycling bank sites is considered an unnecessary journey. Residents are advised to stay at home, present any recyclable materials at the kerbside and hold onto any unwanted textiles. 


    Fly tipping

    Police and Council officers are patrolling for fly tipping. Fly-tipping is a serious criminal offence for which you can be prosecuted. You may be fly tipping if you;

    • put rubbish, glass or other recyclables on the floor next to a full bin or recycling bank, or
    • leave a bag outside a closed charity shop, or
    • give your DIY and rubble to someone to dispose of who doesn't have a waste carriers license


    Clean streets and dog waste

    Our teams continue to clean streets and empty dog waste and litter bins in public areas, whilst also providing back up support to our crucial refuse teams. Residents are reminded that dog waste can be placed in any litter bin, so if dog waste bins are full are asked to use a different public litter bin or take the waste home with them.

    Business / trade waste

    Advice on any changes to services for our business waste customers is available at


    teal bullet Rents, Benefits and Council Tax

    Your council tax pays for essential services for all residents, so it is important that you continue to pay your council tax if your circumstances have not changed.

    Council Tax payments

    Residents struggling to pay their council tax due to loss of earnings or illness resulting from Coronavirus can seek financial assistance through our council tax reduction scheme. Flexible payment options are being offered to residents in difficulty. If you are contacting us to claim for a Council Tax reduction, please have your details and documents to hand so we can process your claim as quickly as possible.

    Working Tax Credit is increasing by £20 per week. This will not affect the amount of Housing Benefit you get. Information and links have been added to our website on other benefits


    Paying your rent

    Please continue to pay rent on your council property if your circumstances have not changed.  If you are concerned about making rent payments due to loss of earnings or illness please check out our advice here You can also seek advice by emailing the rents team (or calling 02380 285 222 option 2 if you have no access to email.) 


    teal bullet Housing, housing maintenance and homelessness

    Our Housing Services is continuing to provide key services to our tenants and those who require housing related assistance.

    Please note - no work will be carried out in a household which is isolating,  because one or more family members has symptoms or where a household individual has been advised to shield, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household.

    As part of their personal protective equipment (PPE), all our off- site staff have disposable gloves and hand sanitiser. Face coverings do not form part of our PPE. Wearing a face covering is optional and not required by law, within the workplace.

    Repairs and housing maintenance

    Routine repairs and capital work programmes (kitchens, bathrooms, windows, doors, roofs etc.) have now resumed alongside emergency and essential repairs.  We will carry out work where it is safe to do so and in agreement with tenants.  Our staff and contractors will be following social distancing guidance when visiting tenants' homes and will continue observing good hygiene standards in accordance with the national guidance.

    We are restarting work on existing cases of disabled adaptations in private homes, where it is safe to do so.

    Housing allocation and housing register

    We are now able to carry out property allocations and tenancy sign ups, as well as essential moves and moves on from temporary accommodation. Where possible, tenancy sign ups will be carried out digitally. Where this is not possible, measures are in place to ensure social distancing guidance is adhered to with the observance of good hygiene standards in accordance with the national guidance.

    To apply to the housing register click here to apply online and upload your proof documents. To contact the team email


    We are continuing to provide advice and assistance to households facing homelessness.

    If you are about to become homeless because you are losing your home or you are at risk of homelessness because you have been asked to leave your accommodation complete this form: Homelessness form . If you are homeless today, please submit the online form and call the team on 023 8028 5234

    Tenancy Management

    We continue to assist with tenancy related matters, such as ASB and neighbour disputes via the Housing Support Hub. With current social restrictions in place this has been a busy time for the team, and we will continue to work with all parties to assist and resolve matters, where we can. Social restrictions have impacted us all in many ways and we would urge all residents and neighbours to demonstrate awareness, tolerance and understanding at this difficult time.

    Mutual exchange

    We will be accepting and processing applications for mutual exchanges from Tuesday 26th May 2020. Initially this will only be applications for exchanges between NFDC to NFDC properties. Further updates will be provided shortly on properties provided by other registered social landlords as they resume their normal service delivery.

    Right to buy

    We are currently reviewing how best we can manage the application process to ensure our tenants are able to take up their Right to Buy within a reasonable timescale, while acting in accordance with government guidelines on social distancing.

    Please contact the team at or more information can be found at

    Gas safety inspections

    Landlords still have a duty to carry out annual gas safety inspections on private rented properties, whilst observing social distancing guidance. Advice for:

    Tenants, if your annual inspection is due, please allow access for this to happen. If you are self-isolating, please make your landlord aware of this, so that they can make appropriate arrangements for the inspection to be carried out at a suitable time once you have stopped self-isolation.  See latest government advice:

    Council tenants - please contact our gas team on (023) 8028 5040
    All other tenants please contact your own landlord

    Landlords, you are encouraged to arrange your annual gas safety checks as early as possible. In the event you are unable to gain access to the property, e.g., refusal of access due to tenants self-isolating, you will be expected to be able to demonstrate that you took reasonable steps to comply with the law. This will need to include records of communication with the tenant and details of your engineers attempts to gain access. You should seek to arrange the safety check as soon as all parties are available. For further information please follow the latest advice:

    Housing Standards visits

    Inspections of private properties can now take place, in line with safe systems of work and government guidelines.



    teal bullet Support for local businesses

    Business rates

    We have approved two new policies to support businesses from 1 April 2020. These are the expanded retail discount and nursery discount. Our Business Rates team is applying the new policies and where a business qualifies under the new policies, they will be sent a revised bill. There is no need for businesses to contact us about this.

    Businesses also need not apply for Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF. These will be paid directly to eligible businesses.

    To date (11 May 2020) we have paid out £38million in Business Support Grants to 3,147 businesses in the New Forest - but more than 400 eligible businesses in the district have yet to make their claim for the free funding. We urge all businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of up to £51,000, and those getting Small Business Rate Relief to apply for your Business Support Grant. You can request your Business Rates Support Grant online at: using the Business Rates Support Grant eform.

    Businesses operating as a takeaway

    Regulations have been relaxed to allow public houses and restaurants to temporarily operate as food takeaways. Whilst pubs and restaurants don't need to apply for planning permission to do this, they must notify the Local Planning Authority in writing. Support for food businesses considering offering take-away services is available from our Environmental Health team on 023 8028 5230 or


    Advice and webinars

    We are working with our partners to deliver a range of business support initiatives beyond the financial support available. This includes free advice, support and community webinars. Details of this support can be found at


    teal bullet Planning, Building Control, Environmental Health and Protection

    Planning applications

    We continue to process planning and tree work applications, though there will be no site visits that require going into properties that are inhabited. Planning applications can be submitted in the normal way, and electronic submissions are encouraged where possible.

    Advice on planning, trees, conservation and listed buildings continues to be available by phone or email. Please visit

    Building control

    Building Control continues to operate as normal, but internal inspections of buildings that are inhabited will not be carried out. This may impact on the issuing of completed certificates.

    Consumer advice - takeaways

    Advice for consumers who may be using takeaway or food delivery services during this time has been produced and can be found at

    Bonfires and noise nuisance: The law and enforcement powers for investigating alleged nuisance issues has not changed and activities such as garden bonfires or noise from building works have not been banned.  However, we are advising everyone to be sensitive during the current situation with more people staying at home and asking that they do not unreasonably disturb their neighbours and the wider community.  We take a staged approach to investigate any issues. To determine whether a statutory nuisance exists, we will consider several factors including the impact, frequency and duration of the alleged issue. We will ask the you to help us by providing a detailed diary of evidence. The Environmental Protection team continue to investigate nuisance issues from bonfires, odours and noise by communicating with the complainants and source of the issue via email, letter, telephone and where safe to do so, visits. 

    Contact: or call 02380 285411 


    Pest control

    The service is operating at a reduced level but will prioritise issues that have a public health impact. 


    teal bullet Car Parks, public facilities, Health & Leisure

    All our public facilities including public toilets and playgrounds are closed.


    Car parks

    Coastal /seafront car parks are open. We recommend you pay to park by cashless parking payment (Parking clock or RingGo payment). Those who cannot use cashless parking can still pay to park using coins. Our ticket machines will be cleansed routinely throughout the day by our staff.

    Town and village car parks remain open. From Monday 1 June we are reintroducing car parking charges. On-duty NHS and social care staff can continue to park for free with a pass from their employer as part of a national scheme. For more information see

    Parking clocks can be bought online at

    Those parked in an NFDC car park unable to move the car and exceed the parking duration for reasons associated with Coronavirus, this will be treated with sensitivity if you need to contact us about any Penalty Charge Notice you may have received.

    We remind anyone using our car parks to consider carefully the need for their journey and to continue social distancing and good hand washing.


    Health and Leisure

    Our Health & Leisure centres remain closed to the public.  Customers have been advised that all direct debit payments for memberships and swim lessons have been frozen until further notice and invoices will be amended for clubs and hirers once a date for reopening is known. Customers who paid for classes will be given a credit and for larger payments like children's parties, refunds can be arranged

    Customers with queries about refunds and payments can see more information at at: 

    Home fitness is available with online Les Mills Bodybalance, Bodycombat, and Bodypump classes, as well as Born to Move classes for 4-16 year olds.
    NEW LINK: The free 'at home workouts' link that we shared previously expires on 30 April 2020. 
    To continue accessing Les Mills on-demand content at home with 800 online home workouts, get your free* 60 day trial at new window
    * please be aware that by default a £7.95 payment will be taken at the end of your free trial unless you cancel before the 60 days expires)

    The NHS Fitness Studio also offers a range of instructor-led exercise videos that count towards the recommended guidelines for weekly physical activities



    teal bullet Contacting the Council and keeping up to date

    Contact us

    You can contact us by email, phone and web chat, as well as keep up to date on social media.  We are extremely busy prioritising essential work so please only contact us if the matter cannot wait.  You can find out ways to get in touch here:


    Keep up to date

    Sign up to get residents emails, with information about how our services, including refuse collections, are changing as we respond to the Coronavirus crisis. 


    Information offices

    All information offices, including Appletree Court, will remain closed. Our services can be accessed by website, email or telephone.

    We will be reviewing re-opening as the situation evolves and new guidance from government is issued, and when we are sure our customer sites can re-open safely.  


    Council meetings

    Our councillors continue to work within their communities to support the most vulnerable, maintaining the connection between these local communities, the voluntary sector and essential Council services. The day to day executive decisions of the Council continue to be taken by individual Cabinet Members in accordance with normal procedures. In line with Government guidance on gatherings, all NFDC public meetings have been cancelled until further notice. Following the publication of Regulations relating to the conduct of local authority meetings, the Council is holding essential meetings virtually in accordance with these new Regulations. Throughout May and June this is likely to include the Cabinet and a series of Planning Committees. Further updates on other meetings to be held virtually will be made in due course.

    Cabinet reviewed the authority's response to the Coronavirus at their meeting on 6 May 2020.  Each of the eight Portfolio Holders on our Cabinet  have reviewed actions for the areas they are responsible for, such as housing, environment, and the economy.


    We are regularly reviewing our services and providing updates on any impacts to services on our website and via our Facebook and Twitter accounts. 

    British Sign Language (BSL) guides about Coronavirus from Sign Health: 

    Updates archive:


    Updated: 5 Jun 2020
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