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July 2013

The magazine for tenants and leaseholders brought to you by Hammersmith & Fulham Council

INSIDE

n Get on your bike! Top names in world cycling ready to tackle our streets on Sunday, August 4 – but it means big disruptions to traffic as many roads are shut or will be busy

GREEN WITH ENVY?

SEE PAGE 17

l Flora Gardens estate resident Conor Withero checks out the new flowers which were planted on the Hammersmith estate as part of the council’s efforts to improve the area. Full story on pages 20-21

n A cap, restricting the amount of benefits payable to households to £500 a week will be introduced in August. Are you prepared? SEE PAGES 4-5

Switch to paying your rent by direct debit and win £500

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ouncil tenants who make the switch and pay their rent by direct debit could win £500! With major changes to the benefit system on the horizon, H&F Council has launched a brand new campaign to encourage its 12,000 tenants to take the

Have your say!

easy option of paying their rent by Direct Debit. Tenants who make the switch will be entered into a prize draw, with one lucky person winning £500. Several other tenants will also receive smaller cash prizes. Direct debit payments mean that there is far less chance that tenants will

fall into arrears as rental payments are paid directly to the council at the end of the month. It also means that the council is able to maximise its rental income, with the money spent on housing maintenance and ensuring that rents remain competitive. Story continues on page 2

n An incredible 5,000 local people have now asked H&F Council to help them find low cost homes to buy in the borough. Find out more SEE PAGES 6-7 n Garden parties are all the rage in White City and Fulham – and we’ve got loads of pictures! SEE PAGES 18-19

To share stories about your estate or neighbourhood, please email press.office@lbhf.gov.uk


WELCOME your home magazine by Cllr Andrew Johnson, H&F cabinet member for housing

Cap is coming so read carefully Dear residents,

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elcome to the June edition of Your Home Magazine, the last magazine before the benefit cap is introduced in August. As I am sure you already know, the national cap will restrict the amount of benefits payable to households to a maximum of £500 a week. This council supports the Government’s work to reduce the enormous amount of money that is handed-out in the form of benefit payments. Staggeringly, in London alone, we are spending more money on benefits than the country’s entire defence budget! This is unsustainable and clearly needs to change. I firmly believe that £500 a week, or £26,000 per year, should be enough for most families to get by on but it does mean that those tenants in receipt of benefits will need to budget appropriately to ensure they have enough money to pay the rent at the end of the month. I fully understand that the cap, coupled with the introduction of Universal

Credit later in the year, is causing some on track to have helped 900 people concern amongst our residents. into homeownership by the end of the However, there are ways that we can year through various schemes that see help. First of all, I would personally like people buying homes at great prices. to encourage our tenants to sign up to Right to Buy is increasingly popular in pay your rent by Direct Debit. This will the borough and in this magazine, one reduce the chance of you falling into lucky White City resident tell us how it arrears as your rent will be automatically felt to finally get the keys to her own deducted from your bank account home. The Right to Buy discount on payment day. is now £100,000. Secondly, you can also In the meantime, Pinnacle contact the ROOF team at Housing Ltd is on target Avonmore Library and to take over a range of Neighbourhood Centre services next month. I firmly beli who offer free advice It is now nearly two eve that and training to help years since the council £500, or £2 6 people to understand abolished the Arms per year, sh ,000 ould how to manage their Length Management be enough finances. Organisation, H&F Homes fo r most familie This magazine and this partnership is the s to is crammed full of next crucial step to provide get by on information on benefit the housing service you truly changes so make sure you deserve. read it carefully. By bringing Pinnacle on board we will Away from the benefit changes, be able to save you millions of pounds there is also plenty of coverage in and drive up standards. this magazine about the work we Finally, we have recently responded are doing at the Town Hall to help to a number of concerns that people into homeownership. leaseholders raised at the recent With property prices so eyeleaseholder conference about value-forwateringly high, and the average money. deposit needed to buy a house now This council is committed to more than £50,000, I realise that many minimise leaseholder charges through of you will have resigned yourself to the good planning, prioritisation and fact that you may never be able implementation. to buy a home in this This coupled with savings generated borough. from our partnership with Pinnacle will But that may ensure that our leaseholders receive the not necessarily be very best deal possible. the case – as you I hope you enjoy the summer and will read in this make the most of any sunshine this edition, we are summer.

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Switch to direct debit for chance to win £500 Continued from front page The benefits system is to be overhauled in August as the Government looks to claw back some of the tens of billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money that is handed out each year. The changes will mean that the maximum amount of benefit that any household can claim in a single month will be £500. From October, council tenants in receipt of housing 2 | Your Home Magazine

benefit will also have their benefit paid directly into their bank accounts, rather than to the council as part of the Universal Credit Scheme. This will mean a huge change in the way that tenants in receipt of housing benefit, around 60 per cent of all council tenants in the borough, have to manage their finances. This is because it places responsibility to pay the rent firmly on the shoulders of tenants and means that the

tenant will need to manage their finances sensibly to ensure they can afford their rent at the end of the month. Council tenants in H&F pay some of the lowest social rents in inner London, vastly below market rates. The weekly rent for a council one bed flat is £87.19, only 26 per cent of the average private rent for a similar property in the borough of £335.31. The weekly rent due on a five bedroom house is

£149.51 – just 11 per cent of the private sector equivalent. Tenants that switch to direct debit or already pay by direct debit will be entered automatically into the prize draw. Tenants who fall into rental arrears face the risk of eviction. To sign up to direct debit call 020 8753 4645 to speak to a member of the council’s rental income team. You can read more about the forthcoming benefit changes on pages 4-5.

To get regular email alerts from H&F Council – sign up at www.lbhf.gov.uk/newsalerts


CASE STUDY

I downsized to a smaller flat that is lovely – and cheaper!

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ammersmith & Fulham Council is once again encouraging people who live in social housing that is too big for their needs to downsize. Changes that were introduced to the benefits system in April have seen tenants with one spare room or more lose some of their housing benefit. One of the best ways to avoid being hit in the pocket is to speak to the council about downsizing. Not only will moving to a smaller home save you money, it will also free up much needed homes for families who really need the space. The council believes that it is absolutely crucial that the extortionate amount of money spent nationally on benefits is reduced if the country is to get back onto an even financial keel. Under the new government regulations, working age social housing tenants assessed as having one extra bedroom in their home will see their housing benefit reduced by 14 per cent. Those with two or more spare bedrooms will receive 25 per cent less. Cllr Andrew Johnson, cabinet member for housing, said: “It is completely unfair for social housing tenants to receive a large taxpayer subsidy to live in oversized homes while hard working residents renting in the private sector, or paying a hefty mortgage, pay through Margaret Jones the nose and can only dream of moved from a twoaffording a spare room.” bedroom home to The council insists that the a one-bedroom new government rules need to home in Fulham be applied fairly and has set up when she didn’t a housing payment scheme for need the space exceptional cases. For example, if a spare room has been turned into a sensory room for a disabled child. If you are currently under-occupying and would like to downsize your home call 020 8753 5326 or 020 8753 4829.

To share stories about your estate or neighbourhood – email press.office@lbhf.gov.uk

MARGARET JONES

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argaret Jones was living alone in a Victorian two bedroom property on Moore Park Roa Fulham. She has recently downsiz d, and is now living nearby in the ed Swanbank Court sheltered housing scheme. As she is a pensioner, she would not have seen a reduction in her housing benefit for having a spare room – however, her case proves that it is poss to downsize and lead a happier life. ible She said: “My old property was far too large for what I needed. It got very cold inside and the ceilings were very high In fact, I had to get onto a stepladder . to reach half way up a window. It was very expensive to heat and it felt like I was throwing money down the drain. “I went to a downsizing event and was told about Swanbank Court. I fell love with the place straight away. The in best thing about it here is that I have some support but am able to retain my independence. It really is a lovely plac e to live in. It is very pretty and it is wonderf ul to be able to live by the river. “There are beautiful gardens here and the parks are very close by.”

Your Home Magazine | 3


It’s time to plan your finances t i f e be n s e G n cha

Changes to the benefits system will mean that those in receipt of benefits will need to make sure that they budget appropriately and have enough money at the end of the month to pay the rent

4 | Your Home Magazine

To get regular email alerts from H&F Council – sign up at www.lbhf.gov.uk/newsalerts


Major changes to the benefit system are almost upon us. H&F Council wants to make sure that residents currently in receipt of benefits understand the changes and plan now and think carefully about how they manage their finances. Here we explain what is happening.

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he changes are being introduced in order to reduce the country’s astronomical benefits bill during the age of austerity. In the last year approximately £23billion was spent on Housing Benefit alone.

what is the benefits cap?

A cap, restricting the total amount of benefits payable to households to £500 a week will be introduced in H&F from August 12. It will be rolled-out during the following four weeks so some residents in receipt of benefits will not notice any difference until the middle of September. If you’re already getting benefits and could be affected by the cap you should have already been contacted by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or Jobcentre Plus. They’ll tell you directly what will happen to your benefits. It’s important to understand that if you secure a job for 16 hours or more per week, you will be exempt from the cap. You can get help with looking for work from Jobcentre Plus (contact 020 8210 8221), Work Programme or Work Choice advisers. You can also get help from the council’s Work Zone recruitment facility (contact 020 8753 4695). What is included? The cap will apply to the total amount that the people in your household get from the following benefits: ● Bereavement Allowance ● Carer’s Allowance ● Child Benefit ● Child Tax Credit ● Employment and Support Allowance (unless you get the support component) ● Guardian’s Allowance ● Housing Benefit ● Incapacity Benefit ● Income Support ● Jobseeker’s Allowance ● Maternity Allowance ● Severe Disablement Allowance ● Widowed Parent’s Allowance (or Widowed Mother’s Allowance or Widows Pension you started getting before 9 April 2001)

How much is the benefit cap? The level of the cap will be: ● £500 a week for couples (with or without children living with them) ● £500 a week for single parents whose children live with them ● £350 a week for single adults who don’t have children, or whose children don’t live with them Who won’t be affected? You won’t be affected by the benefit cap if anyone in your household qualifies for Working Tax Credit or gets any of the following benefits: ● Disability Living Allowance ● Personal Independence Payment ● Attendance Allowance ● Industrial Injuries Benefits (and equivalent payments as part of a war disablement pension or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme) ● Employment and Support Allowance, if you get the support component ● War Widow’s or War Widower’s Pension

The differences between Universal Credit and the current system The main differences between Universal Credit and the current welfare system are: ● Universal Credit will be available to people who are in work and on a low income, as well as to those who are out of work ● most people will apply online and manage their claim through an online account ● Universal Credit will be responsive – as people on low incomes move in and out of work, they’ll get ongoing support, giving people more incentive to take temporary jobs ● most claimants on low incomes will still be paid Universal Credit when they first start a new job or increase their parttime hours ● claimants will receive just one monthly payment, paid into a bank account in the same way as a monthly salary ● support with housing costs will go direct to the claimant as part of their monthly payment

the Universal credit system

The changes do not end with the benefit cap. From October 2013 Universal Credit will be Just the job introduced in the borough. Universal Credit will see Universal Credit will those in receipt of benefits be responsive: as have their money paid directly people on low incomes into their bank accounts, rather move in and out of than to the council. This will work they will get mean a huge change in the way ongoing support that tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit pay their rent. Around 60 per cent of council tenants in H&F have to manage their finances, as the money will no longer be paid directly to landlords. The responsibility to pay the rent will be the tenant’s – they’ll need to make sure that they budget appropriately and have enough money at the end of the month to pay the rent. Universal Credit will replace: ● income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance ● income-related Employment and Support Allowance ● Income Support ● Child Tax Credits ● Working Tax Credits ● Housing Benefit

To share stories about your estate or neighbourhood – email press.office@lbhf.gov.uk

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HOME TRUTHS H

&F Council’s house-building revolution is set to gather pace with the construction of 100 cut price homes over the next four years. Stretched first-time buyers are currently being forced out of the market as they need to stump up record deposits averaging more than £50,000 on their dream home. However, the council has stepped into the breach and is now building homes on its own land. The borough has the fourthhighest house prices in the UK and currently, there is a lack of housing for the middle market. On the flip side, 31 per cent of homes in the borough are social rented – more than many other parts in London. The council now has 5,000 people on its low-cost-homeownership register who are looking to purchase a home in the borough. Through this scheme, the council hopes to make homeownership a reality for hard-working residents by selling properties to them well below the market rate. The council intends to build several hundred new homes on council land over the next five to ten years through this scheme and the joint venture with a private sector partner (see pages 10-11). The council is building its affordable homes by converting underused undercrofts, bin stores, pramsheds and garages on council estate land.

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Above, Claire Ansbro and her new home in Becklow Gardens

The first property built in this way, at Becklow Gardens, Shepherds Bush, was recently sold to a 30-year-old hospital worker Claire Ansbro. She has spent her entire life living with her parents on the estate and has now been able to buy her own place locally. Shortly after, the second home next door was sold to a local train driver. Planning permission has recently been granted for the next five sites. The council will also be building homes using innovative methods of construction that sees the properties made off site before being winched into position in a matter of days. This will ensure that disruption is kept to a minimum. A home built in this way already exists in the borough. The threebedroom ‘Rational House’ at Biscay Road, Hammersmith took just 11 days to erect last year. The property has now been sold after receiving a great deal of interest on the market. Further homes are set to be built on the Spring Vale Estate in Brook Green, subject to planning permission. The council has promised to work very closely with local residents ahead of any construction and will hold various consultation events so that residents can come and talk to council experts face-to-face.

To get regular email alerts from H&F Council – sign up at www.lbhf.gov.uk/newsalerts


Need help on how to keep track of your finances? Then meet Clarissa!

ROOF financial expert Clarissa Stoneham is here to help local residents

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orried about paying the rent once the benefit changes are introduced? Not sure about how to budget your finances each month? Then why not contact the ROOF team at the Hammersmith & Fulham Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)? ROOF, which stands for ‘Renters Owners Occupiers and Families’ is a council-funded scheme that aims to prevent homelessness by helping people to understand how to manage their finances. It also provides free information and advice on all housing matters in the borough. From August, benefit changes will mean that the maximum amount of benefit that any household can claim in a single month will be £500. Then from October, those in receipt of benefits will also have the money paid directly into their bank.

“We are informing and educating people about the impending welfare changes, along with other related financial capability subjects such as energy efficiency, savings and borrowing so that residents have the information and skills they need to seek solutions to the problems they face.” ROOF also provide training on monthly budgeting, opening a bank account and to know the difference between a priority and non-priority debt, and work with council housing officers and housing associations to ensure tenants get the right information. In 2012-13, ROOF set up 37 information points in and across H&F, including the Masbro Centre, H&F Mind, London Skills Academy and various children’s centres. Cllr Andrew Johnson, cabinet member for housing, said: “These welfare changes are crucial if the country is to get back onto an even financial keel. In fact, London’s This means that sensible £36bn benefits bill is now bigger budgeting will be crucial if tenants than the UK’s whole defence budget! are to keep on top of the rent. Services such as ROOF provide crucial information and education to help ROOF’s team of community residents gain the confidence volunteer trainers are on and competence to manage hand to explain the changes their money and household and inform people on how budgets.” to make the most of their money regardless of their ROOF is based at financial circumstances. Hammersmith & Fulham We are inform CAB at Avonmore Library in Clarissa Stoneham, and educatin g and Neighbourhood g ROOF’s financial people about Centre on North End capability manager, the impendin Crescent. All citizens’ g said: “We exist to welfare chang advice services are es support renter’s independent, impartial, owner’s, occupiers and confidential and free. families to keep a roof over their head. For more information or if you would like to volunteer to work “The main objective of ROOF is with ROOF call, 020 3137 6294 or to assist householders to max their email: roof@hfcab.org.uk money and understand how to prioritise expenditure in order to Also available at Facebook at: maintain their homes and stay in a www.facebook.com/ROOFHFCAB secure tenancy. and Twitter @ROOFHFCAB

To share stories about your estate or neighbourhood – email press.office@lbhf.gov.uk

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Your Home Magazine | 7


Selam Misghina is delighted that the raised discount available with Right to Buy enabled her to own her White City home

Right to Buy just got easier! Further changes to the Right to Buy scheme have been announced – potentially helping hundreds of tenants in the borough to purchase their council home.

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he Government has recently said that forthcoming changes will mean that tenants will only need to live in their property for three years rather than five years before becoming eligible for the scheme. Over the last 18 months, the Right to Buy scheme has undergone a radical transformation. First of all, the Government raised the discount from £16,000 to £75,000. Then following advice from Hammersmith & Fulham Council, the maximum discount was raised further, this time to £100,000. Since the scheme was reinvigorated last year, 16 H&F tenants have bought their council home with another 20 awaiting completion. 8 | Your Home Magazine

Bank worker Selam Misghina was a tenant on the White City Estate for six years until she realised her homeownership dreams through the Right to Buy scheme. She said: “Right to Buy is a fantastic scheme and without it there is absolutely no way that I would ever have been able to purchase my home. I have been looking to get on the property ladder since 2006 but with prices the way they are in London, I never thought it would be possible.

“When the discount was extended I contacted the council. They told me that I was eligible for a £75,000 discount on my home and I could not believe it.”

To get regular email alerts from H&F Council – sign up at www.lbhf.gov.uk/newsalerts


Plans to build 200 homes T

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We be proper lieve in a ty own democ ing r your owacy and ownin n g h om you a g reater s e gives ta your co mmunitke in y

“When the discount was extended I got in contact with the council straight away. They told me that I was eligible for a £75,000 discount on my home and I could not believe it. Owning my home is the best thing that has ever happened to me in my life and I would certainly recommend Right to Buy to other tenants.” Cllr Andrew Johnson, cabinet member for housing said: “It really is heart-warming to hear stories such as Selam’s. We believe in a property owning democracy and owning your own home gives you a greater stake in your community, a greater stake in your own future prosperity and more choice. “The Government is making it easier and easier for tenants to buy their council homes so if you think that you are eligible for the scheme, contact the council today.” If you would like advice about Right to Buy in Hammersmith & Fulham, please email the council’s Home Buy team at h&fhome-buy@lbhf.gov.uk

hree private sector developers are vying to join forces with Hammersmith & Fulham Council in one of the most ambitious housing and regeneration projects of its kind. The council is looking to form a 15-year joint venture with a private sector partner and in the first phase build more than 200 homes on council land over the next five years. The council has initially identified two development opportunities comprising residential sites which are in its ownership in Fulham – Watermeadow Court Estate and Edith Summerskill House. H&F has the fourth highest property prices in the UK which means that getting on the housing ladder is virtually impossible for many people. Less than two per cent of the borough’s housing are ‘intermediate’ low cost homes to buy. A proportion of the redeveloped homes will be sold at a discounted market rate, to help people to take their first steps onto the housing ladder. Five developers returned submissions at the ‘invitation to negotiate’ stage. The council has now shortlisted three bidders who have been invited to continue to the final tender stage of the procurement. Final tenders are due in early August. The three bidders are The Berkeley Group Plc, Barratt London and Stanhope Plc. Cllr Nicholas Botterill, leader of H&F Council, said: “London is in the midst of its greatest housing crisis for half a century, with house prices doubling in

To share stories about your estate or neighbourhood – email press.office@lbhf.gov.uk

the last ten years. This means that it is simply impossible for most hard working Londoners on middle-incomes to buy their own homes. “At present low cost homes to buy in this borough are like gold dust but we want to change that and instead create a Borough of housing opportunity where decent, hard-working local residents can fulfil their housing dreams and purchase a property for a reasonable price.” By working with a private developer through a joint venture, the council will be able to retain greater control over what the land is used for and make its housing assets work much harder. The council will also receive a share of the development profits. The proceeds will be ploughed back into similar schemes, estate improvements and reducing the council’s £200 million of housing debt. Edith Summerskill House on the Clem Attlee Estate is an empty, 18-storey, former council block. The building is in need of more than £6million pounds worth of improvements to bring it up to standard and the council does not believe it to be in the best interests of the taxpayer to carry out the work. Redevelopment of the site will may involve retaining the concrete frame or possibly demolition and rebuild. Watermeadow Court in South Fulham currently comprises 80 residential units over three storeys. The homes have been emptied by the council as they were not fit for purpose, with many families living in cramped conditions. Watermeadow Court Estate (left ) and Edith Summerskill House (inset) have been indentified as development opportunities

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Helping housingladder dreams to become a reality A

n incredible 5,000 local people have now asked H&F Council to help them find low cost homes to buy in the borough. H&F has the fourth highest house prices in Britain and with the average deposit needed to buy a home now well in excess of £50,000, getting onto the housing ladder is out of reach for most people. So, in steps the council’s Home Buy team, a one-stop-shop dedicated to getting local residents onto the housing ladder. The Home Buy team is on track to have helped 900 families into low cost home ownership by the end of the financial year through a variety of innovative schemes.

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Now, to take account of the huge demand for home ownership, the council has formally revised the priority for allocating low-cost housing to people who are on its Home Buy register. Top priority will be given to existing

The H&F Home Buy team is on track to have helped 900 families into low cost home ownership by the end of the financial year through a variety of innovative schemes.

council and housing association tenants, followed by members of the armed forces, police officers and those who live or work in the borough. In the meantime, the council has also completely overhauled its social housing allocations policy and is only allowing those with a five year local connection to the borough, a combined salary of less than £40,200, or those who are actually eligible for social housing onto its housing register. The new rules mean that there are now approximately 1,100 people on the brand new social housing register, down from over 10,000 on the previous register. Cllr Andrew Johnson, cabinet member

To get regular email alerts from H&F Council – sign up at www.lbhf.gov.uk/newsalerts


for housing, said: “ Our register for low cost homeownership is now nearly five times greater than that for social housing. There is an insatiable appetite from people in this borough to get onto the housing ladder and this council is determined to do all it can to help residents on low to medium incomes to achieve their housing dreams.

“We have now set up our own housing company in order to meet the huge demand for low cost homes. We are now building our own homes for the first time in 30 years.”

“We believe in a property owning democracy and owning your own home gives you a greater stake in your community, a greater stake in your own future prosperity and more choice. It is a natural aspiration to want to own your own home but unfortunately that is a distant dream for many Londoners. As the Borough of housing H&F Home opportunity, we have now set up our Buy’s Samantha own housing company in order to Grant discusses meet the huge demand for low cost the scheme with homes. This means that we are now local residents building our own homes for the first time in 30 years, with 500 set to be built in the next ten years.” Examples of Home Buy schemes Plenty of options – H&F plus the criteria you need for getting Home Buy can help you get onto the council’s Home Buy register are shown to the right. your foot on the ladder in a

number of ways

MEL’s sTory

Discount Market sale

Finally, a home of our own! team and they have been fantastic. ● Mel Sahiti and his wife Brunilda are “We are due to complete on our about to purchase the home of their property at Chelsea Reach by the end dreams at Chelsea Reach in Fulham. of the year and are so excited The couple, both teachers, are in about finally owning a place a position to buy the property after of our own. Without the receiving a discount off the discount there is absolutely market price of the home. no way that we would Mel, 41, said: “We ever be able to buy a have been renting our The Ho me Buy team h home in the borough. housing association a s helpful been really “The Home Buy property at Heathstan a team has been really Road, Shepherds Bush, that we nd we know a helpful and we know for the last six years a wond re getting erful de that we are getting and have actually been al a wonderful deal on looking to buy a home of the property. our own for about “The prices are so high ten years. around here but because we have “Unfortunately, buying a got the discount we are able to move home around here has always been to a really nice area with great schools far too expensive for us. However, we for our children.” contacted the council’s Home Buy

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This is where a new build property is purchased at a discounted price, usually around 30 per cent. This is possible because when the development was negotiated with the council, this discount was stipulated to try to help people get onto the property ladder.

shareD ownership This allows first time buyers on low and middle incomes to part buy and part rent their home. Residents can buy as little as 25 per cent of a new home and build up the percentage they own over time, until they own it outright.

right to Buy This allows council tenants to receive a maximum discount of £100,000 on the cost of their home.

interMeDiate rent These are homes typically let out by a housing association at below market rent, allowing tenants to save for a deposit.

What’s the criteria? In order to get onto the council’s Home Buy register, applicants have to be living or working in the borough and one of the following: ● A household income of up to £66,000pa ● A council tenant or housing association tenant ● A member of the Armed Services ● A Police officer ● First time buyer For more details, call 020 8753 6464 or email h&fHome-Buy@lbhf.gov.uk

To share stories about your estate or neighbourhood – email press.office@lbhf.gov.uk

Your Home Magazine | 11


Adult learning and skills service

learn to manage your BENEFITS and MONEY

The way you claim your benefits is changing. Are you ready? Get the skills you need to make your benefit claim online.


ict OnLine Basics 3 day course: Monday, Thursday and Friday. 9.30am-12.00 noon This three day course will cover the basic skills you need to start using a computer and by the end of the course you will know how to apply for benefits online. Learn to use a mouse and keyboard, how to email, some basic word processing and how to search for information and stay safe online.

money matters 3 day course: Monday, Thursday and Friday. 12.30-3.30pm Manage your money and budget – this three day course will help you to understand financial matters that are relevant to you and to take control of your money on a day-to-day basis. It will also help you to plan a budget for your personal use.

C FI OUR T CLA S ES IMANT FOR

We also offer over 400 part time day and evening courses to help residents improve their skills and increase career opportunities. Many are free for those on benefits. For more information call 0845 839 7912 or visit www.hfals.co.uk

F BENEREE

These courses start weekly (term time only), please call 020 8753 6252 for the latest dates. Classes take place at: Adult Community & Learning Centre (next to Canberra Primary School) Australia Road White City W12 7PT

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Don’t miss out – call 020 8753 6252 to book your place now!


CRACKING DOWN ON The Operation Breeze team was out in force. Clockwise from left, PC Wilson with a cash machine skimming device that was found; PC Andy Weaver on patrol with drug-sniffing dog Henry; PCSO Griffith keeps an eye out; and PC Lee Feichtlbauer and estate warden Shahed Aboo patrol the Edward Woods Estate

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suspected drug dealer was arrested during a police and council blitz on crime and antisocial behaviour in Shepherds Bush and White City. Operation Breeze saw 70 police and council officers carrying out a variety of crime-busting initiatives in May. Officers were deployed across 12 locations, each with a different objective or problem to tackle ranging from dog marking to detecting drugs and littering patrols. Thirty people were stopped and searched by the Police drugs dogs unit at Shepherds Bush Underground station and one man was arrested for possession of cannabis with intent to supply. Six other people had small quantities of cannabis confiscated and two further arrests were made for fare evasion and immigration offences. A knife detector was also used at the same location and in total, 52 people were stopped and searched throughout the day.

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The council’s licensing team visited a number of off-licences and seized 200 illegal tobacco cones that could have been used for the consumption of drugs. Council officers in charge of keeping the borough clean were also out in force as part of the council’s new ‘Big Clean Up’ campaign.

They issued a total of 36 fixed penalty notices for littering offences. In addition over 100 people visited a crime prevention stall and were given various different types of crime prevention advice and equipment for free. There were also car crime patrols in key hotspot areas with 24 people advised and a weapons sweep of Australia Road and White City Close – but nothing was found.

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CRIME IS A BREEZE

Words> Jon Weisgard Pictures> Leigh Quinnell

Fraudster busted after applying for council house 112 times – after council learned she owned a home

Cllr Greg Smith, H&F Council’s deputy leader, said: “Initiatives like this show how committed the council and police are to making the streets of the borough safer. “Operation Breeze not only acts as a highly-visible deterrent to criminals but also reassures law-abiding residents that we are here to protect them.” PS Ross Martyn, said: “The operation was a huge success the results speak for themselves. The police and council can work to tackle joint problems efficiently together.” The Parks Police team was busy at a stall in Hammersmith Park, chipping eight dogs so they can be returned to their owners if they are lost or stolen. Most of those chipped on the

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Operation Breeze acts a highly-visible deterrent to criminals but also reassures law-abiding residents that we are here to protect them

day were ‘bull’ breeds such as the Staffordshire bull terrier, which are a target for thieves and make up around one in five stolen dogs. PC Kelly Goddard said: “An operation like this is brilliant – it gives people a chance to meet us and understand what we’re doing, and if it can get results then it’s fantastic. “It costs a lot of money to deal with stray dogs and keep them in kennels. We can check if the dog is chipped, and then just take it straight back to the owner.”

l A woman who applied for a council home more than 100 times without telling the council that she owned a house in Hounslow has been found guilty of fraud. Feamidha Kazi, 29, was accepted onto H&F Council’s social housing register in 2008 on the basis that she was living with her parents in an overcrowded council home at Mackenzie Close on the White City Estate. But the cheat failed to declare a change in her circumstances one year later when she bought a home in Cobham Road, Hounslow. This meant that she was no longer eligible for housing. She bid for council properties on 112 separate occasions, while at the same time having the nerve to rent out her Hounslow home to private tenants. At one stage, Kazi was told to fill in a fresh

housing application form but lied on the paperwork about not owning any property Kazi, was invited to attend an interview with H&F Council’s corporate anti-fraud service on three occasions, but declined. She pleaded not guilty at Hammersmith Magistrates Court and was instead found guilty of two fraud offences at Southwark Crown Court on April 12. She was sentenced to 180 hours of community service Cllr Andrew Johnson, said: “I am appalled that this fraudster had the temerity to try and deprive someone in genuine need of a council home, by failing to tell the council that she had bought a house and was taking a rental income from it. “We want to use our limited stock to give residents with a local connection, making a positive contribution a place to live, not for people who try to cheat the system.”

Spending a penny in Shepherds Bush cost Earls Court man a bundle of cash l A man who urinated outside someone’s house in Shepherds Bush has become the first person in Hammersmith & Fulham to be convicted of the offence at court. Martin Thane was spotted by one of H&F Council’s neighbourhood wardens urinating against the wall of a house at Frithville Gardens just after 8pm on May 24, 2012. Thane, of Eardley Crescent, Earls Court, was issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £80 – but he refused to pay it and the council chose to prosecute via the courts. At Hammersmith Magistrates Court on May 7, Thane was convicted of littering offences under section 87(1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Thane failed to appear at court and was fined £80. He was ordered to pay the council’s costs of £100. He

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was also ordered to pay a victims’ surcharge of £15. This is the first time that urine has been classified as littering in the borough. It means that the council will be able to consider tackling other people who urinate in public through the courts, with the possibility that they will be hit with a stiffer penalty. Cllr Greg Smith said: “We have all heard of spending a penny but this has to be the most expensive pee in the history of the borough. “This council works tirelessly to make our borough clean, inviting and attractive. “We will not tolerate people like Thane treating our streets as a toilet and will continue to push the boundaries of the law to combat those who break the rules. I hope this sends out a strong message that those who urinate in public could be caught and will have to pay.”

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! T N A I G N E E R G Y L JOL l Shepherds Bush Green has officially re-opened as hundreds of local people celebrated the unveiling of the revamped park in style by enjoying the sounds of a jazz band and children’s funfair attractions. The Green, situated in the heart of Shepherds Bush, has undergone a remarkable transformation. Once perceived as shabby and unsafe, it now features two new state-of the-art playgrounds. These playgrounds have actually been in use for several months and have been hugely popular with numerous children. Paths have been resurfaced, with several being widened and new CCTV and lighting installed. The Grade II-listed war memorial has also been reset onto a new granite stepped plinth. A tree-lined boulevard has been created and street furniture and clutter has been removed. The vast majority of the Green has been open to the public since last October and the council has received plenty of positive feedback from users. However, a small section of the Green was closed following a catalogue of delays outside the council’s control. The £2.6m project is expected to come in on budget.

Music, ice cream and a Victorian fair ride were all part of the fun when Shepherds Bush Green was finally re-opened

Prepare for major traffic disruption on August 4 l The streets of Hammersmith & Fulham will play host to one of the largest charity fundraising cycle rides in the world this summer. More than 20,000 amateur cyclists are set to ride their bikes through the borough on Sunday, August 4, as part of the RideLondon-Surrey 100. The charity fundraising amateur race will be followed by a professional race, called the RideLondon-Surrey Classic, with 150 of the world’s best riders, including the likes of Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish. Just like last year’s Olympic cycling

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events, H&F Council is warning all residents to expect significant transport disruption throughout the day, with major roads and bridges closed to traffic. The amateur race will set-off from the Olympic Park from 6am before travelling through central London. The professional race will start from the same location from 12.30pm. The cyclists for both events will ride along the A4 and over the Hammersmith Flyover, before heading over Chiswick Bridge into Hounslow, Richmond upon Thames, and Kingston

upon Thames. The cyclists will then head into Surrey and return via Putney Bridge and New Kings Road, before finishing on the Mall. Despite the huge benefits of the event, H&F Council is warning that the races will lead to significant transport disruption across the entire borough. The council is also urging the race organisers to do everything they can to inform residents and minimise gridlock. For details, contact the race organisers on 020 7902 0212 or email: helpdesk@RideLondon.co.uk

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No evidence that council had ‘VIP’ list for Earls Court development plan

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New management for Fulham homes

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he management of a range of services on housing estates has today now been transferred to Pinnacle Housing Ltd. H&F Council agreed in April to outsource housing management in the south of the borough for the first time and estate services, comprising caretaking and cleaning, across the entire borough to the private contractor. The partnership will drive up standards and save the council more than £10million over the initial ten year life of the contract – more than of 20 per cent of the current budget. The housing management contract will see Pinnacle deliver tenancy management and enforcement of tenancy conditions, property viewing and dealing with antisocial behaviour where there is a breach of tenancy conditions. This contract covers the south of the borough only, with the north remaining in-house. More serious incidents of antisocial behaviour will be dealt with by the council’s safer communities team. The council has consulted on the changes with tenants and leaseholders and has received a generally positive response.

Cllr Andrew Johnson, H&F Council cabinet member for housing, said: “It is now nearly two years since the council abolished the Arms Length Management Organisation – H&F Homes – saving millions in the process. During that time we have made giant strides to drive up standards and get rid of unnecessary waste. “Teaming up with Pinnacle will see us harness the experience and expertise of the private sector to raise standards even further and achieve the best value-for-money deal possible for our tenants and leaseholders. “We welcome Pinnacle on board and long forward to a long and fruitful relationship.” Neil Euesden, Managing Director for Pinnacle PSG, said: “We are looking forward to working with H&F Council, and its residents, to deliver quality, resident-led services that will quickly lead to improvements in the housing services they receive. “Pinnacle PSG has a strong track record and experience in providing excellent services to local residents, as those in Hammersmith & Fulham will begin to see over this summer.”

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he Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has announced that it will not be investigating an allegation made against the former Leader of H&F Council, Stephen Greenhalgh. Allegations were made by one individual in September 2012 that the council had drawn up a so-called ‘early movers’ or ‘VIP’ list containing the names of residents of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates who had been promised new council homes if they signed their support for the Earls Court regeneration scheme. In February, an independent investigation by Deloittes found no evidence to support the accusation. The IPCC carried out an assessment of the complaint but has now said that there is no evidence that Mr Greenhalgh may have committed an offence. Stephen Greenhalgh stood down as leader of the council in May 2012 to become the Deputy Mayor of London for Police and Crime. The regeneration of Earls Court will inject billions of pounds worth of private investment into the area and create up to 9,500 jobs. It will also include 7,583 new homes, new shops, offices, leisure facilities, public open space, a new school, new transport links, healthcare centre and community centre. In the meantime, the council’s cabinet has approved a ‘Local Lettings Plan’ which will help it to allocate the types of homes according to the requirements of eligible tenants. The council will soon be letting estate residents know when building work on new homes is likely to start... and when why will be ready for people to move into. There are likely to be six stages of construction to ensure that people will only have to move when new homes are readyy to be occupied. The council is writing to residents individually to let them know if they are in the first phase or subsequent phases. For the 151 households in phase one, new homes will likley be ready by 2018. Your Home Magazine | 17


PARTY Clockwise from top, White City’s Batman Close; mum Joanna Wojciechowska and her kids Jakub and Mitilda get planting; Patrick Higginbotham looks for sprouts; Jessica Robinson from eco-charity Groundwork with Amanda Higginbortham and her grandson Kevin Flores; Caitlon Halliday checks out the flowers

BATMAN, CLOSE TY I WHITE C 2 W1

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TIMES ARTHUR HENDERSO & WILLIAMN BARNFIELD HOUSE, FULHAM SW6

Clockwise from top, Jonathan Silver and his son Oscar enjoy the party; Kirsten Salter keeps everyone fed and watered; Ella Chebib shows off the jewellery for sale; Leonardo Barbierato as Spiderman; and H&F Council’s deputy mayor Adronie Alford (with pooch Zeus) opens the new planted area by TRA chair Andy Robson and Groundwork staff

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l It was party time for residents in White City and Fulham as two estates turned over a new leaf with some impressive new gardens. The landscape improvements took place at Batman Close estate in White City, and Arthur Henderson and William Banfield houses in Fulham. The council worked closely with Groundwork London to revamp the communal grounds on the estates. Parties were held last month on both estates with activities including face painting, pot planting and children’s games.

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Water bills to jump 25 per cent for tenants and leaseholders from Thames Tunnel sewer plan l The council’s 17,000 tenants and leaseholders are likely to see their water bills rise significantly from next year thanks to Thames Water’s controversial Thames Tunnel proposals. H&F Council has said that it will have no choice but to pass on exorbitant price increases in order to pay for a scheme that it describes as a ‘grandiose vanity project’ that is being driven by greed. And Thames Water bossed have now admitted that the Thames Tunnel scheme will eventually see bills rise by up to 25 per cent. Thames Water says the £4.2billion tunnel is necessary to prevent millions of litres of sewage being pumped into the river each year. But critics, including H&F Council, argue the plans are over complicated, over-priced and too disruptive given the cheaper and greener alternatives to cleaning up the river. H&F Council paid Thames Water almost £5m in 2012-13 to provide water to all of its homes. Under law these charges then have to be passed onto the

council’s tenants and leaseholders. However, in a letter to the council, Natalie Beckerman, Thames Water’s customer service director, admits: “I fully recognise that any increase in bills will be particularly unwelcome over the next few years. “The latest estimates for the impact of the project on bills would see a rise of up to 25 per cent (excluding inflation) by the early 2020s.” It is understood that the annual hike, which will cost an average of £80-£100 extra for most customers, will never fall back to current levels – even after building work for the 15 mile long tunnel is completed. Cllr Andrew Johnson, cabinet member for housing, said: “Our tenants and leaseholders will be horrified to know that they will be seeing their water bills increase from next year to pay for this misguided scheme. “This council has pulled out all of the stops to ensure that its rents and service charges are some of the most competitive in innerLondon so for Thames Water to hit residents with bigger bills is a real kick in the teeth.”

Thirty minutes of free wifi a day on the streets of the borough l Vast swathes of Hammersmith & Fulham are to undergo a digital revolution and receive free wifi coverage. H&F Council is set to sign a contract with communications company Arqiva to provide an H&F-branded wifi service. Registered users will get 30 minutes of free wifi a day and unlimited access to the council’s website at no cost to the taxpayer. The agreement will see Arqiva pay the council £500,000 for the use of lampposts to install the network. The council will also get a share of any income generated. The first part of the borough to benefit from the scheme will be Shepherds Bush which will receive free wifi by the end of 2013. Hammersmith will receive wifi soon after and Fulham by mid 2014. The deal will mean that anyone living or visiting the borough will be able to access wifi for free from 20 | Your Home Magazine

a wifi enabled device, such as a smartphone, tablet or PC. They will also gain unlimited free access to H&F branded ‘landing pages’, guiding users to the H&F website where they will be able to access council services. In addition, people in range of the network will be able to access all other internet sites for free for the first 30 minutes of use each day. There will be a flexible payas-you-go model without any commitment from users to spend after the first 30 minutes free has finished. The wifi contract is part of the council’s attempts to encourage residents to access and pay for its services via the council website: www.lbhf.gov.uk The new wifi will not work in residents’ homes. This means that residents should not cancel their contracts with their current internet providers.

GREEN WITH ENVY F

lora Gardens residents celebrated a raft of green improvements to their estate. Environmental charity Groundwork London has been working hard on the Hammersmith estate to make a number of important climate change adaptations. Having secured funding from Natural England, four of the large roofs covering residents’ sheds have been converted into green roofs. Green roofs absorb rain water, provide insulation and create habitats for wildlife as well as increasing the green space on the estate. By the end of the summer, it is expected that the green roofs will be displaying an array of beautiful plants and may even be attracting bees! Two rain gardens providing permeable surfaces for rain water, a mini green wall and lots of new wildflowers have also been installed. H&F Council is a long-standing supporter of green infrastructure solutions such as rain gardens and green roofs. IThe council believes that these green initiatives would provide a cheaper, greener and less-disruptive alternative to the £4.2billion Thames Tideway Tunnel that Thames Water intend to build (see top left). A large area of green space at the front of Flora Gardens has also been redeveloped. The space has been redesigned with a new planting scheme and knee rail, to prevent mopeds from using it and reduce dog fouling. A muddy area at the end of the space was also brought to life with two new raised beds. Residents celebrated these modifications in style with a special half-term launch party featuring face painting, craft activities and refreshments in May.

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Clockwise from top, Flora Gardens in Hammersmith goes green with help from Groundwork’s Claire Baldock; Conor Withero checks out flowers; Asiel, Omar and Sarah Osman enjoy the day; Giovanna Day gets planting; Kairan Cunningham waits for a green shoot; and Billye Farley tries her hand with flowers

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Repairs contract decision will not affect services for residents

l The decision to award a £177million repairs and maintenance contract to MITIE is subject to a legal challenge – although H&F Council has reassured tenants that there will be no disruption to their current service. Current contractor Willmott Dixon Partnership alleges that the council has not followed the regulations that set out how public authorities must award contracts. They argue that this has deprived them of their chance of being awarded the new contract. The council expects to save £20m over the ten year life of the new contract, representing an annual saving of more than 10 per cent.

Cllr Andrew Johnson, cabinet member for housing, said: “We are confident that the process which led to the council’s decision to award this contract to MITIE will be approved by the court. “In the meantime, tenants should be aware that their repairs will continue to be carried out and this legal process will not impact on the service they receive.” The council will continue to keep tenants updated about this legal challenge. Savings from the new contract with MITIE will help the council to pay off its £217m of housing debt, improve its existing stock and ensure that rents remain competitive.

Change the law to protect taxpayers from huge B&B bills

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rgent changes to the law are required to prevent councils from frittering away millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on overly expensive temporary accommodation. Hammersmith & Fulham Council has just revealed that it was forced to spend £859,863 to house families in temporary bed and breakfast (B&B) accommodation on a total of 365 occasions throughout 2012. While the use of B&Bs is on the increase across London, in 2003 the council had 624 households in B&Bs in March alone – four times the current figure. The main reason why the council has to place families in B&Bs is because of the housing market overall. The borough is the fourth most expensive place to live in the country and cost of renting is incredibly high because the borough is so popular. With a huge lack of appropriate housing in the private rented sector, the council is often faced with no choice but

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housing. Nevertheless, the council to seek out B&Bs for those in need of temporary accommodation. believes that the law needs to be changed to ensure that duty is Changes to the benefit system have balanced with fairness for hard-working also had an impact. Until recently, high levels of housing benefit have been paid taxpayers. to some households to keep them in Cllr Andrew Johnson, cabinet their tenancy – up to almost member for housing said: “In these £50,000 per year in some tough economic times, decent, hardcases in H&F. working taxpayers – many of whom are struggling themselves This was not to make ends meet– do not sustainable and not fair deserve to have to foot the rd to working households a h t n e c De rs e y a or the taxpayer. bill for the council being p x working taserve to forced to place large families e d The problem is t do no ill for who present themselves as particularly stark foot the bmporary in very expensive homeless te e when large families iv s expen tion temporary accommodation with lots of children accomoda in some of the most desirable present themselves as locations in West London. being homeless and need to be housed as they require “That is also why we will be seeking larger properties which are not only in to reduce the burden on the public very short supply in London but very purse by placing those people who do expensive for the taxpayer. not need to live in such expensive areas in places which are cheaper and offer The council accepts that it needs to help those people who are genuinely better value for those hard-working vulnerable and in need of temporary people who ultimately pay the bill.”

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Residents on the up as 55 new lifts are ordered

Major spending plan will see 55 new lifts come to the borough, following on from the 15 that have been mordernised

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ith Hammersmith & Fulham Council operating an incredible 220 passenger lifts within its housing stock, it is a devil’s own job to ensure that they are all working efficiently. And the problem is exacerbated by the fact that more than half of the lifts are at least 25 years old and are approaching the end of their design life. That is why the council has announced a major spending programme of lift refurbishment across the borough. In the last year, the council modernised 15 lifts and over the next two years, the council intends to modernise (which effectively means replace) another 55 lifts. The vast majority of lifts in social housing blocks, including the older ones, remain reliable. However, there are a number where age and obsolescence is causing them to be increasingly unreliable, meaning that they break down more frequently than they should. For older lifts, if a replacement part is required it is often not readily available and needs to be custom-made. The 55 lifts will receive replacement main drive units, the existing control systems, lift cars and wiring. Cllr Andrew Johnson, H&F Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “We all know how unpleasant it can be to get stuck in a lift and while such instances are incredibly rare in our housing blocks, we want to act now before our lifts decide to pack up for good. “Replacing lifts is relatively time consuming and complex but we are determined to ensure that all our residents have access to modern, clean, safe and fully functioning lifts. “We realise that the repair work can

be reasonably disruptive to residents but we ask them to bear with us as we look to complete the work as quickly and efficiently and possible.” The programme will also see all lifts installed with electronic monitoring units (EMUs) and auto-diallers (intercoms). EMUs provide automatic and instant notification of lift breakdowns to receiving centres at the lift maintenance contractor’s and council offices, without the need for residents to call to advise that the lift has broken down. In addition they record events and activities relating to the performance of each lift which is a useful tool for diagnosing recurring faults and drawing up preventative planned maintenance programmes for lift improvements.

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Intercoms allow three-way communication between the lift motor room, the inside of the lift car and a 24 hour call-receiving centre, allowing residents who are trapped to alert the contractor directly. Currently a total of 137 lifts are fitted with EMUs and 47 with intercoms. The council will also be continuing to install CCTV in some of its lifts following a spate of incidents where people have chosen to use them as toilets. The council writes to all residents several months in advance of the works commencing and again shortly before the work begins. The council works hard to identify vulnerable residents in advance of the schemes starting and then assists them during the time of repairs.

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Never have a barbeque on your balcony With summer finally upon us, H&F Council is advising its residents to take the following precautions to prevent people from falling from windows or balconies. The majority of accidents result from children climbing up by using objects below an open window. l Move furniture such as beds and chairs away from windows to stop children climbing up and falling out. Consider installing window restrictors. l Keep younger children away from balconies unless you are with them. Never allow children to play in balconies unsupervised. l Keep balcony doors locked when not in use to make sure children are safe. Consider installing door restrictors. l Report any unsafe balconies to the councils Health & Safety Team. l Never have barbeques on your balconies. l Do not store any flammable items or excessive storage on your balconies. remember any items that fall over could seriously injure people below. While windows and balconies can be dangerous for children, it is also worth mentioning that they often serve as emergency escapes. All members of the family, young and old, should be able to operate the windows and balcony without the need for tools, keys, additional knowledge or excessive effort. For more information, contact: hrdhealthandsafety@ lbhf.gov.uk or call 020 8753 4151.

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Old Oak landlord fined for ‘squalid’ rental flat

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still living there. Prosecution proceedings rogue landlord who forced her were instigated and a subsequent visit in tenants to live in squalid conditions February 2013 even found new tenants has been fined £3,000. living there. Elizabeth Johnson, owner of Bronze The council therefore prosecuted Johnson Investments Limited, rented out a home for breaching the prohibition order. in Waldo Road, near Old Oak. Johnson failed to attend Hammersmith When an officer from the council Magistrates on Tuesday May 7. visited the property in January 2012 he found numerous serious In her absence, she was fined £3,000 hazards. and ordered to pay the Council’s costs of £1,298 and a victim’s surcharge These included inadequate of £15. heating, penetrating damp and dampness from Cllr Victoria Brocklebankmp condensation, dangerous We will cla n any cabinet member for Fowler, o electrics and poor fire safety. down hardthat is transport and technical services, landlord danger said: “This property was a Johnson, whose business en potential death-trap with its willing to of their is registered in Finchley Road, the lives ts tenants living in some quite Golders Green, north London, tenan dreadful conditions. refused to cooperate with the council and the home was “We will clamp down hard on any served with a prohibition order. landlord that is willing to endanger the lives of their tenants and ensure that they This meant that it was now illegal for the home to be lived in until the vital safety work face the consequences.” had been done. For more details on properties in multiple occupancy visit http://www.lbhf.gov.uk/ This did not deter the landlord from hell Directory/Housing/Multiple_occupancy_ and when the council returned in October homes/homepage.asp 2012 they discovered that the tenants were

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THE BIG CLEAN!

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en, women and children from White City joined H&F Council’s campaign to clear up the neighbourhood, filling four refuse sacks with litter in less than an hour. They led a Big Clean Up blitz of India Way last month, targeting a stretch of fencing and planting where rubbish had collected near Pope John RC Primary School and the Fatima Community Centre. Volunteer Sagal Osman, 37, a White City resident and project manager of local organisation Good Effort for Health and Wellbeing, said: “We wanted to be involved because White City is where we live, and want to see it looking cleaner. “We want to work with the council and tell them what we need, in lots of different

Clockwise from top, Anne Vaughan, Matthew Alfred, Clare Fuchs and Katy Lewis scour Wormholt Park; Richard Eaton on patrol; Gysbert Bos, Matthew Alfred, Patrick White, Maria Helena Scott, Leye Oladapo (back), Anne Vaughan and Katy Lewis (front); Mike Reeman plays the guitar; mum Anna Belle with Stanley Belle and Masie Asbridge; Leye with son Idris Oladapo Daglish

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ways – on things such as health, safety and littering in the area.” Fellow volunteer Maisalam Singh, 41, said: “Hopefully when people see us out here doing this, they will think about helping to keep the community tidy.” Council contractor Serco provided gloves, high visibility jackets, litter pickers and rubbish bags. The event was just one of many organised by borough residents and local groups, including litter picks in Wormholt Park, on the banks of the Thames in Hammersmith, Ravenscourt Park and Old Oak. For more details on the Big Clean Up, to organise an event and see photo galleries, visit: www.lbhf.gov.uk/ cleanup You can also email: cleaner. greener@lbhf.gov.uk with ‘Big Clean Up’ in the subject line. Your Home Magazine | 27


An evening of celebration for our H&F Heroes

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nsung community heroes and people with incredible talents were given the recognition they so richly deserved at a special reception last month. H&F Council launched the inaugural Agilisys H&F Heroes Awards in February. The campaign aimed to shine a light on the numerous people who put others before themselves or have a special talent that deserves to be celebrated. Residents were asked to nominate their heroes in five different categories and the council received almost 50 names in total, with the Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle focussing on different people each week. Winners were selected by a judging panel that met last month.

Winners and runners-up were presented with trophies, certificates and Westfield London vouchers at an awards ceremony in the Mayor’s Foyer. The first honour of the evening went to Bill Cox who won the charity worker category. Bill has been a familiar face to football-mad youngsters for 30 years thanks to his involvement with the Sunday morning children’s five-aside league at Lillie Road Rec. He is also involved with the Fulham Community Partnership Trust and is on the board of H&F Credit Union Limited. The evening took on a more sombre tone when Piotr Mickiewicz was posthumously awarded with a Heroes award in the crime fighter category (sponsored by the Fulham Broadway Shopping Centre).

Piotr, a street cleaner for council contractor Serco paid the ultimate sacrifice last August when he was stabbed as he heroically tried to stop a burglar fleeing the scene in Rylett Road, Shepherd’s Bush. Piotr’s wife Busie collected the trophy in front of his parents, Stanislaw and Jadwiga and former work colleagues. Latymer Upper School student Tara Thakkar won the Young Achiever award (sponsored by Specsavers Fulham). Tara is hugely active within the St John Ambulance cadet movement and has been named London’s cadet of the year for her first aid work and contribution to the community.

Bottom left: Adrian Seal, Bryan Chakowa and Kam Khambay present the Young Achiever award to Tara Thakkar; Centre: the Mayor with Bill Cox; Right: Kim Calera

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Left: The winners and runners-up proudly show off their awards; Right: Ralph Land with his X-Factor cup and certificate

The Entrepreneur award (sponsored by the Hammersmith Broadway Shopping Centre) was presented to Shepherds Bush model Kim Calera. Kim has turned her life around after finding herself homeless on the streets of Mumbai, India. She now runs a successful jewellery business and donates some of her profits to charity. Ralph Land walked away with the final award, in the X-Factor category (sponsored by Horton & Garton Estate Agents.) Ralph may by 84 years-old but that has not stopped him from raising a staggering £450,000 for the pancreatic cancer lab at Hammersmith Hospital. This included taking part in a 12,000ft skydive with his identical twin brother Frank. Hammersmith & Fulham Council leader, Cllr Nicholas Botterill, said: “The

Awards went to… Charity Worker

Winner: Bill Cox Runners up: Iwona Macalka and Rasheda Ginja Ashanti council received numerous nominations for local people who really are doing incredible things. “When we sat down to select the winners and runners-up last month, we were all genuinely taken aback by some of the things that people do purely because they want to put something back into the community. Steven Beard, Chief Executive of Agilisys, said: “I was immensely impressed with the breadth of achievements displayed by the nominees for these awards – making judging certainly difficult!” Award trophies were supplied by Sid’s of 70 Fulham Palace Road.

Crime Fighter

Winner: Piotr Mickiewicz Runners up: Keith Ealey and Lance & Sue Pierson

Young Achiever

Winner: Tara Thakkar Runners up: Fred Gill and Charlie Gregory

Entrepreneur

Winner: Kim Calera Runners up: Emily Goodall and Donna Bellamy

The X-Factor

Winner: Ralph Land Runners up: Isabella Hindley and Emma Hutchinson

Above: Piotr Mickiewicz’s family receive his posthumous award from Gary Blackledge, Fulham Broadway Shopping Centre manager (L) and Cllr Botterill (R); Right: White City estate resident Charlie Gregory was Young Achiever runner up

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! y a s r u o y e v a h Get involved &

LOCAL AREA FORUMS KEY DATES

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ut a date in your diaries for these forthcoming housing forums. The council is keen to improve the way that it engages with residents and has set up a resident involvement panel and a repairs working group to improve services and monitor standards.

There is still the opportunity for more panel members to join and contribute to this important work. If you would like to apply, we would be very interested to hear from you. You can email us at getinvolved@lbhf.gov.uk or call Daniel Miller or Shaun Dunleavy on 020 8753 6652. The council also consults with residents through borough and local area Forums. All tenants and leaseholders can attend these forums. The next quarterly borough forum meeting is on Tuesday, July 16, in the Small Hall in Hammersmith Town Hall. The session starts at 7pm. More localised issues are discussed at area forums. Issues discussed include local housing office and caretaking performance and updates on regeneration schemes in the area. Area forums are also held on a quarterly basis and are chaired by local ward councillors. Forthcoming sessions are:

Residents of the Flora Gardens estate in Hammersmith enjoy their new gardens at the unveiling celebrations

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area forums South Hammersmith Monday, 23 September, 6.30pm Queen Caroline Estate TRA Hall Local residents and residents associations invited to attend include: Ashcroft Square, Aspen Gardens, Charcroft Court, Charecroft Court, Edward Woods, Flora Gardens, Linacre Court, Queen Caroline, Riverside Gardens, Springvale, William Church, Lytton Estate and HAFNEP. Hammersmith North Tuesday, 10 September, 7.00pm Wood Lane Community Centre Local residents and residents associations invited to attend include: Becklow Gardens, Emlyn Gardens, Kelmscott Gardens, White City, Wood Lane, Woodmans Mews, Wormholt Estate, and HAFNEP. South Fulham Wednesday, September 18, 6.30pm Philpot Residents Hall, Philpot Square Local residents and residents associations invited to attend include: Arthur Henderson & William Banfield House, Barton House, Carnwath Road, Fulham Court, Jepson House, Lancaster Court, Philpot Square, Sulivan Court, Walham Green Court, and HAFNEP. Fulham North Tuesday, September 10, 7pm Clem Atlee Community Hall Local residents and residents associations invited to attend include: CARMRA, Da Palma Court, Fairburn House, Field Road, Gibbs Green, Maystar, Meadowbank Close, Robert Owen House, Sharnbrook House, Twynholm, Vereker Road, and HAFNEP.

AREA FORUMS NOTE Drop-in sessions take place half an hour before all area forum meetings. These provide an opportunity to discuss individual matters outside of the formal running of the meeting.

Sheltered Housing Forum The next Sheltered Housing Forum will take place at 1.30pm on Thursday September 5 and Thursday December 5 at Munden Street sheltered housing scheme, West Kensington, W14 0RH. The Sheltered Housing Forum is for nominated block representatives only and is not an open forum.

Leaseholder Forums Fulham North Tuesday, July 30, and Tuesday, October 1 Clem Attlee Tenantsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Hall, Rylston Road, SW6 Hammersmith North & South Hammersmith Monday, July 1, and Monday, October 28 Courtyard Room, Hammersmith Town Hall, King Street, W6 South Fulham Monday, July 15, and Monday, October 14 Lancaster Court Community Centre LEASEHOLD FORUMS NOTE Drop-in sessions for all the leasehold forums commence at 6.00-7.00pm, and the main meetings commence from 7.00-8.30pm. The next central leaseholders panel meeting will take place on Tuesday, September 3, in the Small Hall at Hammersmith Town Hall.

To get regular email alerts from H&F Council â&#x20AC;&#x201C; sign up at www.lbhf.gov.uk/newsalerts


DO YOU HAVE A WORKING SMOKE ALARM AT HOME? IF NOT YOU ARE FOUR TIMES MORE LIKELY TO DIE IF A FIRE STARTS IN YOUR HOME 226 people die each year in fires in their homes, caused by smoking materials, cooking, candles and other factors such as faulty electrical wiring or appliances. You can reduce the risk of fire in your home by following some simple fire safety steps.

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Fit smoke alarms on each level of your home.

Test your smoke alarms weekly. Never remove the batteries.

Put it out. Right out! Make sure you put cigarettes out properly and never smoke in bed.

Plan an escape route and make sure everyone knows it and where door and window keys are kept

Social Housing landlords have a responsibility to you and your home and must ensure that gas and electrical appliances they supply are safe and in good working order. Your landlord may also fit smoke alarms in shared accommodation and communal areas. Speak to your landlord if you have any questions or concerns. Contact your local Fire and Rescue Service for futher fire and safety information.

In the event of a fire

Get out, stay out and call 999 Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t attempt to tackle a fire yourself

www.facebook.com/firekills


Pay your rent by Direct Debit and leave the rest to us. Government changes mean that from October, tenants receiving Housing Benefit, will have their benefits paid directly into their bank account.

This means that you will need to pay your rent in full direct to the council. Make the change to Direct Debit now and never miss a payment.

Sign up to Direct Debit by calling the councilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rental income team on 020 8753 4645 Sign up now and enter into a

ÂŁ500 prize draw! Failure to pay the rent can result in eviction.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council


Your home magazine (July 2013)