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Coronavirus: Council services updates

Stay at home save lives image

(LINK) Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do


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

Latest NHS information and advice (LINK) 

Latest information from central government (LINK) 

British Sign Language (BSL) guides about Coronavirus from Sign Health: https://www.signhealth.org.uk/coronavirus/ 

Letter from the Prime Minister  Prime Minister Boris Johnson is writing to every UK household to urge them to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. Read the letter here (LINK) the letter will also include a leaflet which can be read here - adobe icon Stay at Home, Save Lives [226kb].(LINK)


Stay at home:

•    Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
•    If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
•    Do not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you don't have symptoms.
•    Wash your hands as soon as you get home


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.  newforest.gov.uk/artic.../19411/COVID-19-service-update-emailsOpens new window 


Latest...

Wednesday 8 April 2020: Stay away, stay safe, see you later

We're asking all visitors to please stay away from the New Forest for now and play their part in limiting the spread of Coronavirus.  Read more: http://newforest.gov.uk/article/19417

Wednesday 8 April 2020:  Councillors and 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.  The Government has now published Regulations relating to the conduct of local authority meetings.  We are reviewing these Regulations and will provide an update regarding future meetings in due course.

Wednesday 8 April 2020:  Staff retraining

"Staff not in their usual jobs are working where they are most needed so we can provide essential services. This makes me proud of what all in the public sector are doing to step up to the challenge"  Chief Exec, Bob Jackson   http://www.newforest.gov.uk/article/19416 


 

Tuesday 7 April 2020: Gas safety inspections at council homes 

These checks, and urgent repairs to council homes, are still being done for the safety and wellbeing of our tenants. We are following all the guidance on hygiene and social distancing. If you have a safety check appointment, please allow access, and always keep 2m (6ft) away. If you or anyone in the household has any Coronavirus symptoms, or are self-isolating, please call us on 02380 285040 to rearrange your appointment.  If you need to report an urgent repair, call 02380 285222

Tuesday 7 April 2020: Easter bank holidays refuse collections

With the tips (HWRCs) closed, and the suspension of our garden waste collections, if you are thinking of doing DIY or clearing your garden, please think about what you will do with the waste you create as it will not be accepted at the kerbside. Our glass, black and clear sack waste collections are planned to take place over the bank holiday weekend so please continue to present your waste on the usual day, but follow the advice at http://newforest.gov.uk/.../Coronavirus-Waste-recycling-and-e... about how to do this correctly. Thank you

Monday 6 April 2020: Do not take items to recycling banks

Leaving uncontained items at recycling bank sites is fly tipping and any overspill left won't be recycled as the contractor is no longer collecting. You can help by keeping your unwanted clothing and leaving your cardboard and other recyclables at the kerbside, we are still collecting every week. 

Monday 6 April 2020: Be considerate over bonfires

We continue to receive complaints of some residents burning their waste on bonfires. We would ask that residents be considerate to their neighbours and avoid having garden bonfires at this time. Smoke from bonfires, and log burners, can aggravate health issues for vulnerable residents, cause additional stress to those trying to enjoy their outside space, and the risk from uncontrolled fires could impact on an already stretched fire service.  We advise our residents to store their waste until it can be collected or composted.

Should frequent bonfires which impact on another property continue to occur, residents may wish to make a formal complaint 023 8028 5411 E&RAdministration@nfdc.gov.uk  The case will be registered and passed to an officer who will investigate the matter as appropriate. Residents are advised they may be requested to keep a record of the bonfires occurring and where possible provide an address of the source of the bonfires.


teal bullet Community support

http://www.newforest.gov.uk/article/19365/Coronavirus-Community-support-Hampshire-helpline

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

Appletree Careline community alarm service continues to operate 24/7 and has retrained some staff from other services to ensure continuity of the service.   New alarm installations will be fitted only where essential to facilitate a hospital discharge or prevent unnecessary hospital admissions. When visiting people's homes, we are taking all the necessary precautions around social distancing, self-isolation, and hand washing.  http://www.newforest.gov.uk/appletreecareline (LINK)

 

CCTV

Monitoring of the District's CCTV cameras remains unaffected.

 

Advice from Safer New Forest  http://www.safer.newforest.gov.uk/article/17293/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.  

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)

 

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 https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/covid19

 

Cemeteries and funeral services

Our cemeteries service is working closely with the area's funeral directors so that the rules around funeral attendance and social distancing at cemeteries can be followed.  

Funeral services in NFDC cemeteries are still permitted, but only immediate family should attend, and only where it is safe for them to do so in line with current government restrictions.

Interments for cremated remains and burials are expected to continue unless the Government advises otherwise. http://www.newforest.gov.uk/article/3659/Cemeteries-Service

 

teal bullet Waste, recycling, and environment

http://www.newforest.gov.uk/article/19366/Coronavirus-Waste-recycling-and-environment

Collecting household rubbish and recycling is a priority but there may be some adjustments to refuse collections in the coming days.  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

The Garden Waste Collection is suspended until further notice. http://www.newforest.gov.uk/gardenwaste

 

Bulky Waste

Bookings for bulky waste collections have been suspended until further notice. http://www.newforest.gov.uk/article/18587/Search?q=bulky+waste&go=Search

 

Glass recycling collections

Currently glass collections are still taking place. http://www.newforest.gov.uk/glass

 

Clinical waste collections

Both orange sacks and yellow sharps boxes are being collected as normal. http://www.newforest.gov.uk/article/7940/Healthcare-waste

 

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

http://www.newforest.gov.uk/article/7937/Fly-tipping

 

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 http://www.newforest.gov.uk/businesswaste

 

teal bullet Rents, Benefits and Council Tax

http://www.newforest.gov.uk/article/19378/Coronavirus-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.

Important changes to benefits from 1 April:
The Local Housing Allowance rates are increasing. We will update these soon and notify you. You can view the new rates at newforest.gov.uk/LHARates
Working Tax Credit is increasing by £20 per week. This will not affect the amount of Housing Benefit you get.

We are working on the Hardship fund payments and will provide an update on this soon.
Information and links have been added to the website on other benefits

 

teal bullet Housing, housing maintenance and homelessness

http://www.newforest.gov.uk/article/19368/Coronavirus-Housing-housing-maintenance-and-homelessness

Our Housing Services is continuing to provide key services to our tenants who require housing related assistance and we are prioritising essential work.

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 rents@nfdc.gov.uk (or calling 02380 285 222 option 2 if you have no access to email.)

 

Homelessness

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

We have accommodated all known rough sleepers who have accepted accommodation. 

 

Repairs and housing maintenance

Only essential repairs to council homes are being carried out; emergency repairs and work necessary to prevent danger to life or extensive damage to property, or if the problem will have an adverse effect on a medical need and urgent repairs that are essential to prevent undue inconvenience or further damage to property.

All non-essential work programmes (kitchens, bathrooms, windows, doors, roofs etc.) will cease until further notice. Housing maintenance 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.

All disabled adaptation works in private homes have now halted. We are continuing to respond to urgent property safety incidents or hazards in private rented properties.

 

Gas safety inspections

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

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: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/

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: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others

 

teal bullet Support for local businesses

http://www.newforest.gov.uk/article/19371/Coronavirus-Support-for-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.

We've contacted over 3,000 local businesses likely to be eligible for the Government's Business Rates Support Grant. So far we have received more than 2,100 online forms and we have paid over £24.6 million to local businesses.  The grants are available to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value up to £51,000, and any small business getting Small Business Rate Relief.  You can request your Business Rates Support Grant online at: www.newforest.gov.uk/Business-Support-Grants

 

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 eho.office@nfdc.gov.uk 

http://newforest.gov.uk/article/19385/Use-of-pubs-and-restaurants-as-food-takeaways-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak

 

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 http://newforest.gov.uk/coronavirusbusiness  

twitter.com/nfdcbizupdates

 

teal bullet Planning, Building Control, Environmental Health and Protection

http://www.newforest.gov.uk/article/19376/Coronavirus-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 http://newforest.gov.uk/planning

 

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.

 

Takeaways

Advice for consumers who may be using takeaway or food delivery services during this time has been produced and can be found at - Consumers Advice - Takeaway Food During the Coronavirus Outbreak.

 

Nuisance complaints

Complaints for alleged nuisance, including noise and bonfire, will be taken by e-mail, letter or telephone calls (we are not making visits unless deemed absolutely necessary) and we ask residents to be considerate to neighbours during this period and ensure their activities do not cause a nuisance.  We urge residents not to burn waste, including garden waste, due to the potential health and nuisance impact.

 

Animal welfare and home boarding for pets

Licensed home boarding establishments for pets can continue to operate during the Coronavirus outbreak, providing they maintain all social distancing guidelines.
This includes;

  • only accepting animals from key workers, those in a vulnerable group or people self-isolating who are unable to look after their pet themselves, and
  • following the advice to only leave the house for exercise once a day.

Our full advice for the operators of licensed home pet boarding businesses is here http://www.newforest.gov.uk/article/19393/Animal-Welfare-Advice-during-the-Coronavirus-Outbreak

Government advice for animal owners is at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-people-with-animals

 

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

http://www.newforest.gov.uk/article/19367/Coronavirus-Car-parks-public-facilities-health--leisure

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

 

Car parks

Our seafront car parks are closed to meet the Government's restrictions to reduce non-essential travel https://gov.uk/coronavirus

Town and village car parks will remain open for use in line with the current guidance and charges have currently been suspended to help the large number of volunteers in obtaining essential supplies for those who are self-isolating or are vulnerable people. 

Parking clock sales have been suspended. Although refunds will not be given for current parking clocks, we are looking at extending the expiration date of the Clocks depending upon the duration of this suspension. 

Notices have been placed in all our car parks. 

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.

 

Advice on access to local open spaces

The government's priority is to save lives and the best way to protect yourself and others from illness is to stay at home. If you are leaving your home and exercising once a day, stay local and use open spaces near to your home.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-guidance-on-access-to-green-spaces

 

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, refund scan be arranged

Customers with queries about refunds and payments can see more information at at: http://www.newforest.gov.uk/healthandleisure/article/19375/FAQs-related-to-current-closure 

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. Access it for free at https://watch.lesmillsondemand.com/at-home-workouts

The NHS Fitness Studio also offers a range of instructor-led exercise videos that count towards the recommended guidelines for weekly physical activities https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-fitness-studio/...

 

 

teal bullet Contacting the Council and keeping up to date

http://www.newforest.gov.uk/article/19377/Coronavirus-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: http://www.newforest.gov.uk/article/4512/Contact-us

 

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.  newforest.gov.uk/artic.../19411/COVID-19-service-update-emails 

 

Information offices

Observing the Government's rules about staying at home to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, all our offices are closed until further notice.

 

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.  The Government has now published Regulations relating to the conduct of local authority meetings.  We are reviewing these Regulations and will provide an update regarding future meetings in due course.

 

Cllr Barry Rickman, Leader's message, on COVID-19 response in the New Forest 30 March 2020:

"As we go into the second week of the more stringent national measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, I remain so proud of the people in our community.  I have been out in my local neighbourhood checking on my neighbours and getting shopping, and I have seen so many others doing the same.
"These offers of help and acts of kindness I know are a great comfort, and are happening all across our district.    

"I have also seen how technology is helping us keep in touch, with people learning IT skills they didn't even know they had.  I myself am thrilled to be able to stay in touch with my granddaughter Lilyrose who may not yet be two, but can video-chat like it's the norm.

"In continuing to focus on supporting our communities, we are reprioritising our staff and resources at NFDC to the essential services such as refuse collections and homelessness support.  This is not easy, as we face our own staffing challenges and the need to adapt to new tasks, and so I thank all our staff who are working tirelessly in support of this common aim.

"We have in the past week set up our local response hub to support our most vulnerable residents with food parcels, delivered in partnership with the voluntary sector, community groups and staff volunteers. 

"We are offering a range of flexible payment plans for council tax for those of you who are facing financial difficulty because of these new challenges, and we have information on a range of benefits and financial assistance we can advise on. 

"The district has one of the highest numbers of small business and self-employed people in the county and we are working hard to ensure they have access to the support and information they need. Our main focus has been on making sure business know about the help and support available from government. And, through the New Forest Business Partnership, we have organised our first online Virtual Support event, focusing on marketing in challenging times, with a plan to do more of these.

"If you can do so safely, please help us by sharing the key information we are adding to the web pages with people who are not online. And please check here regularly for updates as our services are likely to change over the coming days and weeks. 

"The best thing we can all do right now to look out for each other is to stay home and follow government advice.  Thank you for all you are doing to help prevent the spread of coronavirus and to help your friends, families, and neighbours."

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


 

Updates archive: http://www.newforest.gov.uk/article/19405/Coronavirus-previous-updates-archive

 

Updated: 9 Apr 2020
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