CDC News

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Beware of new wave of fraudulent emails and phone calls

Action Fraud has issued national warnings about fraudsters who are pretending to be from local councils or the HMRC.

People are receiving cold calls and emails about a council tax overpayment from individuals who appear to work for a local council. The emails often contain phishing links, which direct the recipient to a website where they will be asked to provide personal data.

Action Fraud has also experienced an increase in the reporting of malicious calls, voicemails, text messages or emails to members of the public which appear to originate from HMRC.

The fraudsters state that as a result of their non-payment of tax or other duty, the victim is liable to prosecution or other legal proceedings such as repossession of belongings to settle the balance but can avoid this by arranging for payment to be made immediately by method such as bank transfer or by iTunes gift cards.

If the victim is hesitant or refuses to comply, the suspect makes a threat such as immediate arrest, bailiffs or – in cases where the victim appears to be of overseas origin – deportation.

Often, the period for which the tax is allegedly due is distant enough to guarantee the victim will have little, if any, paperwork or ability to verify the claims. Once the money is paid the suspects sever all contact.

What you need to do

Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information. Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and contact details), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Instead, contact the company directly using trusted methods such as a known email address or phone number.

Listen to your instincts. If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. No genuine organisation will ask you to pay taxes, bills or fees using iTunes Gift Cards, or any other type of voucher.

Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision. Under no circumstances would a genuine bank or some other trusted organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot.

Report Phishing attempts. If you receive a call, text or email of this nature and have not lost money, report this as a phishing attempt to Action Fraud

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Council backs ‘Ask for Angela’ campaign

Cotswold District Council is helping to promote a campaign that encourages people to ask for help discreetly when they are out on a date and feel unsafe.

The principle is simple – when you are in a bar or club that is signed up to the campaign and don’t feel secure with your date, you can approach a member of staff and they should recognise that you need assistance if you say:  “Is Angela in?”  This coded message should alert the establishment’s employees that they may need to step in to remove the person from harm, and call a taxi if necessary.

The initiative – which applies to males and females – stems from a successful campaign that originated in Lincolnshire.  Closer to home, it got off the ground when the Gloucester Licensed Victuallers Association teamed with Gloucestershire Rape and Sexual Assault Centre, Gloucestershire Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner to launch a scheme – and the number of bars and clubs taking part is growing continuously. With the Christmas season approaching, CDC is hoping to assist in spreading the word.

Cllr Stephen Hirst, the CDC Cabinet Member for Community Safety, says,

“As a member of the Community Safety Partnership, we support this scheme 100%.  For most people, going out on a date is a very pleasurable experience, but we must not forget that this is not always the case.  These days, many people arrange to see each other once they have established a relationship online, and this could lead to problems if a person turns out to be not what they seemed in the virtual world.  On other occasions, an established relationship may take a sudden turn for the worse and one of the parties could suddenly feel insecure.

“Creating a coded message request for assistance in these and other circumstances is a very smart move, and provides a useful ‘lifeboat’ when a rendezvous does not go as well as expected.”

 


CDC Press Release: Demolition proposal will create over 30 additional car parking spaces

Release date: 11 December 2018

Members of Cotswold District Council have today agreed to the proposed demolition of the Old Memorial Hospital building in Cirencester and the creation of an additional 33 car parking spaces in the centre of town.

The building, which is owned by the Council, is located on a site which includes the Sheep Street public car park.  At present the car park provides 80 spaces (including 2 bays for disabled users) and the proposed demolition project should increase this to 113 spaces (including 5 bays for disabled use).  Significantly, the other buildings on the site – cottages and the World War 2 air raid shelter – will remain intact.

Subject to planning permission being granted, the work would begin during the summer of 2019 with a view to making the new spaces available for use by the autumn.

The Council estimates that the cost of the demolition and subsequent car park works will be in the region of £682,000, and it is estimated that these costs will be recouped within ten years through the increase in parking revenue at the site.

Commenting on the plan, CDC Cabinet Member for the Cirencester Parking Project Cllr Mark MacKenzie-Charrington said,

“Cabinet first agreed this course of action back in April 2016, so the Council decision today should come as no surprise.  The Old Memorial Hospital building has been empty for almost six years and the average annual maintenance costs are increasing.  In fact, we believe that the net cost of maintaining the building’s structural stability is likely to be about £230,000 over the next ten years.

“We also investigated the option of refurbishing the building for commercial use, but this would involve extensive and expensive works, including the removal of asbestos.  Moreover, it would take at least 17 years to recoup the estimated £1.83 million refurbishment costs and this would lengthen if some of the rental space was vacant during that period.

“All in all, we believe that demolition is the best option as it will deliver much needed parking spaces in the town centre, and I am sure that this will be much appreciated by many motorists and traders. I should also point out that, together with other plans, this would help mitigate the loss of parking if we gain planning approval for the development of a multi-storey car park at the Waterloo site, and also gives us the opportunity to look at longer term future development opportunities, including parking options.”

ENDS


CDC Press Release: New collection vehicles will expand our waste and recycling services

Release date: 11 December 2018

Members of Cotswold District Council have today agreed to procure new state-of-the-art collection vehicles which will come into service during the latter half of 2019.  The new fleet will enable the Council to collect a much wider range of items; this means that residents will be able to recycle used textiles, household batteries, electrical and electronic equipment, and Tetrapak cartons at the kerbside for the first time.  Additional service changes will be introduced, with the most noticeable being:  the separation of food waste from garden waste collections to produce better quality recycled products in line with county-wide practices; provision of bigger and more robust household food caddies and cardboard recycling sacks; and a cross-party proposal to reduce the cost of garden waste licences to accommodate a switch to fortnightly collections and a three month suspension of the service during winter months.

The Councillors noted that current waste and recycling collection vehicles in the Cotswolds are coming to the end of their operational life and voted to replace the fleet on the grounds that it was a very sound strategic decision.  Furthermore, they recognised that the newly procured vehicles will enable the introduction of an enhanced kerbside recycling service when they begin operations in the latter half of 2019.

The meeting also welcomed the proposed introduction of larger and more robust food caddies and cardboard recycling sacks, recognising the demand for these improvements during public consultations.

The councillors acknowledged that the change in garden waste collections from weekly to fortnightly – and the introduction of a three month suspension period during the winter months – was not ideal. However, this will offset the considerable cost of delivering this service which is currently heavily subsidised.  When this change comes into effect, the waste service provider will be able to deploy some of the garden waste crews to other collection rounds, reducing the reliance on agency staff at crunch periods.   Having this extra resource will also expedite catch-up collections at times when the service is disrupted due to adverse weather and other unforeseen delays.  To compensate for this reduction in service, the Council will review the cost of garden waste licences with a view to reducing the price.

Cllr Sue Coakley, CDC Cabinet Member for Environment, reflects on the Council’s decisions,

“The procurement of a new fleet of vehicles is an essential move at a time when the current ones are becoming increasingly expensive to maintain and there is an increasing risk of vehicle failure on the road.  I am delighted that the more technically advanced models will enable us to meet residents’ requirements for a better kerbside collection service and I look forward to seeing an increase in our recycling totals once the new fleet is up and running.  We consulted widely with the public and town, parish and district councillors earlier this year to get a better handle on customer needs, and I am very pleased that we are meeting so many of the priority requirements identified.  In particular, when we asked about ways to increase recycling rates, many people asked us to introduce kerbside recycling for textiles, batteries, small electrical and electronic items and Tetrapak cartons and it is good to know that we will be offering this service when the new fleet arrives.

“I regret that the frequency of the paid for garden waste collections will decline, but a reduction in cost should compensate for this decision to a certain extent.  I must emphasise that our garden waste service will continue to represent much better value for money compared with neighbouring authorities where it costs more than £40 for a fortnightly service.  I trust that many people will continue to subscribe – in fact, our consultation showed that over 70% of residents would still use it in the event of a reduction in frequency.

“More generally, I would like to thank everyone who contributed to our service review consultation – we received over 1300 responses from residents alone and they and the councillors we consulted made some excellent suggestions. Overall, the consultation highlighted the importance people attach to expanding our kerbside waste and recycling services so we can reduce the amount of waste and, in turn, help us keep down the cost of Council tax.”

 


CDC Press Release: Annual Rough Sleeper Estimate – Cotswold District

Release date: 7 December 2018

Each year between October and November in response to a request by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) all councils carry out a national count of rough sleepers in England.  They can do this by choosing to conduct a count or an intelligence-based estimate of the number of people sleeping rough on a typical night. This year rural districts in Gloucestershire decided to use the estimate model and complete an intelligence-based estimate of the number of people sleeping rough on a typical night.

The rough sleeper estimate for Cotswold District Council’s took place on the night of Tuesday 13 November. This exercise was carried out in partnership with P3 charity and agencies who may have information on rough sleepers were also invited to take part. The estimate confirmed that there are five rough sleepers who are known to both the support agencies and the Council.

Cllr Stephen Hirst cabinet member for housing at Cotswold District Council said,

“CDC works closely with the outreach team throughout the year to provide solutions for rough sleepers,but we recognise that there are occasions when this is not always achievable. However on 3 December the Cabinet approved a proposal to refurbish a 7 bedroom property in Cirencester  to provide emergency accommodation for homeless people.  This will provide safe accommodation and allow the Housing Team to work more closely with individuals, assisting them to find more suitable settled accommodation.”

Schemes available to assist rough sleepers include the work of ACTion Glos which is a service provided by P3 in partnership with the Addiction Recovery Agency. This service is funded by ‘social impact bond’ funding made available by central Government as part of their 2016 Homelessness Prevention Programme and supports 126 individuals across Gloucestershire who are homeless, have multiple complex needs and face overlapping barriers to accessing and staying in accommodation. Since the service started, 88 individuals have been assisted into accommodation.

To refer anyone who might be homeless to the local rough sleeping outreach team provided by P3, please contact Streetlink via the app, www.streetlink.org.uk(opens in a new window) or call 0300 500 0914. Streetlink is a phone and web based service available to the public to enable them to alert Local Authorities about rough sleepers in their area. It is the first step someone can take to ensure rough sleepers are connected to local services and the support available to them.

Residents who have become homeless or are at risk of being made homeless can also get advice and support from Cotswold District Council’s Housing Options team on 01285 623000 or call 01452 614194 (out of office hours) or email at housing.advice@cotswold.gov.uk

ENDS


CDC Press Release: New emergency accommodation will be ‘game changer’ for homeless people

Release date: 5 December 2018

Members of Cotswold District Council’s Cabinet have agreed to provide emergency accommodation in Cirencester for homeless people who require a safe and temporary refuge within the District.

Meeting on 3 December, the Cabinet approved an expenditure of £35,000 to refurbish a seven-bedroom property in the town which is already owned by the Council.  Until recently the property was let to a housing association and used as single room accommodation with shared facilities.  The property also has an office and this will be used as work space for advisors to help meet the support needs of the temporary residents and assist them in moving to settled accommodation.

CDC Cabinet Member for Homelessness Cllr Stephen Hirst welcomed the decision to create the new emergency accommodation within the District,

“We are committed to the prevention of homelessness in the Cotswolds, but there are occasions when this is not always achievable.  We currently have very limited access to suitable emergency accommodation when the need arises, and we have had to resort to the use of motel rooms outside the District to fill this void.

“This has meant that homeless people from the Cotswolds have struggled to maintain local connections and good access to support networks, and they have often had no cooking facilities,  causing additional stress for them at a time when they were already at a low ebb.  It has also been more difficult to work with them to find suitable settled accommodation.

“Being able to invest in the provision of good emergency accommodation in Cirencester is great news.  This is a game changer for local homeless people and should expedite moving them into suitable homes.  The new accommodation will also prove to be a much cheaper option than motel rooms.”

ENDS


CDC Press Release: Why we are not pursuing a park and ride scheme for Cirencester

Release date: 3 December 2018

Cotswold District Council’s Cirencester Parking Project has concluded that a park and ride transport scheme for the town would generate increased traffic and pollution.  As a result, they will not be pursuing this as a sustainable parking option.

Chairman Cllr Mark Harris explains,

“Several people have suggested that Cirencester might benefit from a park and ride facility but specialists in this field have advised that in rural areas of Britain there are serious downsides to these schemes.  In particular, the emissions produced outweigh the emissions prevented because many motorists have to go out of their way to use park and ride sites.   Furthermore there are significant environmental issues in creating a carpark on what is likely to be a greenfield site.

“What this all means is that a small reduction in urban traffic is offset by the generation of extra traffic beyond town boundaries – and a marked overall increase in emissions.”

Cllr Mark MacKenzie-Charrington, the CDC Cabinet Member overseeing parking in Cirencester, adds,

“We know that people continue to be concerned about the parking problem in Cirencester and we plan to meet the extra demand by erecting a multi-storey car park at the Waterloo site as soon as possible.  Latest estimates show that, subject to planning permission, work could start on site in early 2020 and could be completed within about one year. This is a more sustainable solution compared with park and ride, and I can assure residents near the Waterloo that we are committed to addressing concerns about issues such as environmental risks, traffic management and design impact.

“In the meantime, we are pleased that so many motorists are using the ‘free after 3 pm’ offer in the Brewery and Forum car parks to help spread demand.  We are also encouraging people to take up the free parking offer for weekends and public holidays at the staff car parks for Cotswold District Council (GL71PX) and St James’s Place (GL7 1 PX), especially during the busy Christmas period.”

“We continue to welcome feedback on our plans.  For updates on progress, please see  www.cotswold.gov.uk/parkingproject(opens in a new window) If you have any queries about the project please email parking@cotswold.gov.uk, call us on 01285 623000 or write to Parking Team, Cotswold District Council, Trinity Road, Cirencester, GL7 1PX.”

ENDS

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Please don’t place broken glass in your kerbside recycling box

Over the last few weeks, crew members working for Cotswold District Council’s waste service provider, Ubico Ltd, have sustained cuts when emptying recycling boxes containing broken glass.

This is a significant health and safety hazard and Ubico has instructed crews not to collect boxes when they see that they contain broken glass.  However, there may be times when the hazard is not apparent and we are urging the public to help avoid this risk.

Please follow these five simple steps to ensure that recycling is presented safely and considerately:

Step 1 – Use one black recycling box for paper and magazines. (If you only have room for one box – put the papers at one end and the glass at the other).

Step 2 – Use a second black recycling box for all glass bottles and jars – no broken glass please. (Order a second box if you need one).

Step 3 – Use the white recycling sack for tins/cans, aerosols, plastic bottles, food trays, yoghurt pots and other types of mixed rigid plastics.

Step 4 – Use the blue recycling sack for corrugated (brown coloured) cardboard or light (grey coloured) card.

Step 5 – Use the green caddy for food waste.

Residents with broken glass are advised to wrap it in newspaper and place it in the grey waste bin for collection.

 


Please go easy on cardboard recycling at the kerbside – or it will not be collected

Deliveries of large items purchased on-line, such as televisions, washing machines and furniture, can result in residents having to dispose of large amounts of cardboard packaging. Many people put out all of their cardboard on their scheduled recycling day even when they have an extra  large amount, and this can cause problems for crews working hard to complete their rounds.

To make sure everyone has the opportunity to have a reasonable amount of cardboard collected each fortnight, Cotswold District Council has instructed crews from its environmental services provider Ubico Ltd. that they should only collect the equivalent of four blue recycling bags of cardboard from each household.   In future, when larger amounts of cardboard are left at the kerbside for collection, the crews will affix a blue sticker to show that the limit has been exceeded.

Cllr Sue Coakley, CDC’s Cabinet Member for Environment, explains,

“Once the cardboard compartment on a recycling truck becomes full, the vehicle has to go back to the depot to off-load, even if the other material compartments on the vehicle are relatively empty.

This can lead to delays, potential missed collections and disruptions to services.

“To address this problem, we are asking residents to only present a maximum of four blue recycling bags of cardboard – or an equivalent volume of loose cardboard – for kerbside collection.  Please flatten boxes and cut up large sheets into pieces no larger than 1metre square, so that the material can fit through the slot on the vehicles.

“If people have a larger amount of cardboard to dispose of, we would recommend taking it to a local Household Recycling Centre.  The HRCs have cardboard skips that can cope with bigger sheets, larger boxes and greater amounts (provided the material is flattened). For those who cannot access an HRC easily, please try to lessen the load by storing any excess cardboard and putting it out for kerbside collection over a number of weeks.

“We would also recommend re-use whenever possible. As an example, allotment users or keen gardeners, are often very grateful for large sheets of cardboard, which they can use as a weed suppressing mat.  Sturdy boxes and packaging are also in demand by those moving house. You can advertise the materials on your local Freecycle or ‘Freegle’ internet group, community noticeboard or an equivalent group on Facebook.”


 

Cotswold Careline service celebrates providing peace of mind for 30 years

Cotswold Careline is celebrating 30 years of providing peace of mind for the local community through its 24-hour emergency monitoring service that assists with living an independent lifestyle.  The service offers support and reassurance to those that need it most, simply at the touch of a button.

Traditionally aimed at the elderly the service now provides support for those who find themselves in vulnerable situations such as recently being discharged from hospital , those with a disability or those who have been victims of domestic abuse.

Our professional, friendly and experienced team are available to offer guidance and advice and can visit you at home to discuss individual needs.  Over the next month, local leisure centres will house displays, with a wealth of information and free commemorative cotton shopping bags will be given away free so do pop along and find out more!

From humble beginnings 30 years ago, Cotswold Careline now keeps over 800 clients safe in and around the area.  A recent client said: “The service provided is invaluable in allowing Mum to live independently in her own home; it’s so reassuring to know that help is available at a push of a button.  The police-approved key safe also ensures there is a secure way for help to enter her home in an emergency”.

Deb Hughes, Operations Manager commented: “From an idea 30 years ago about how best to keep the elderly in our local community safe, the service has now grown and prospered and provides a vital link to keeping many vulnerable people safe by simply pressing a button”.

Cllr Stephen Hirst, Cabinet member for Health issues said: “This service has expanded to embrace anyone in the community who is vulnerable and needs added peace of mind.  As well as helping elderly residents, we can help people who have divorced and are suddenly living on their own; victims of crime; disabled people who want to live independently; people escaping domestic violence; and others who  are terminally ill”.

“Anyone who is interested in Careline, whether for themselves or a loved one, can call us for a free no-obligation appointment.  There is no pressure at all.  Our aim is to keep our community safe and provide them with reassurance and support to live their lives independently “.

For an informal chat about our service or to arrange a home visit please call a member of the Cotswold Careline team on 01594 810000 or email cotswoldcareline@fdean.gov.uk.

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Child Exploitation Awareness

Cotswold Community Safety Partnership has been working with Gloucestershire Constabulary and the Home Office to raise the issue surrounding Child Exploitation.  In Gloucestershire including the Cotswold District we are not immune from children from being exploited for whatever reason. Please see the information poster about what to look for.

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Accessing the Cotswold District Local Plan 2011-31

Following the adoption of the Cotswold District Local Plan (2011-31) on 3 August 2018 the District Council has published an online interactive version of the Local Plan on its website.

The interactive Local Plan can be accessed via the District Council’s Local Plan webpage:

www.cotswold.gov.uk/residents/planning-building/planning-policy/local-plan-2011-2031

The interactive Local Plan contains the same policies and supporting text that were adopted by the District Council. These are presented in online format and are supplemented with illustrations and an interactive policies map.

Users of the policies map can zoom into their area to see any land that is allocated for development; is protected for a particular use; or is covered by another policy designation. The policy layers can be switched on and off and different base maps can be applied, including aerial photography and Ordnance Survey.

It is also hoped that this new interactive tool will assist public involvement and policy presentation.

Members of the public can buy a hard copy of the Local Plan for £15 (not including postage and packing). Alternatively, they can download the PDF version of the Local Plan or view the interactive Local Plan for free.

Anyone wishing to purchase the Local Plan can do so by contacting the District Council’s Customer Services team on 01285 623551 or by visiting Cotswold District Council at:

  • Council Offices, Trinity Road, Cirencester, GL7 1PX; or
  • Moreton Area Centre, High Street, Moreton-in-Marsh, GL56 0AZ.

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CDC Press Release: Going away on holiday and worried about elderly relatives or friends?

“Grandma had a fall just before we were due to go on holiday. Knowing that alarm calls are monitored 24 hours a day enabled us to enjoy our stay.”

As many families prepare to take their well-earned annual summer vacation, their sense of anticipation can often be tinged with concern about elderly friends or relatives that they are leaving behind for a while.

With this in mind, Cotswold District Council is reminding local residents that the Cotswold Careline 24 hour emergency alarm service is available to provide the reassurance that they seek.

The service provides elderly and vulnerable people with round the clock access to a trained operator at the push of a button.  Users can access a professional, friendly and experienced team who are trained to assess a situation, reassure the individual and then call a nominated contact or emergency services if necessary.

The Cotswold Careline team is always happy to have an informal chat about the benefits of the service with potential clients and can even arrange a home visit – without any obligation – if required.

  • Contact Cotswold Careline on 01594 81000 or email cotswoldcareline@fdean.gov.u

More details are available on www.cotswoldcareline.co.uk(opens in a new window).

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