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Coronavirus: Havering Council reduces nonessential services in compliance with government recommendations

PUBLISHED: 17:00 20 March 2020

Havering Town Hall

Havering Town Hall

Archant

While Havering Council is working to ensure emergency plans are in place to keep vital frontline services running, a reduction in nonessential services is taking place in light of the pandemic. Find here the latest changes, as of March 20, and follow the new Living in Havering email bulletin to stay at to date with coronavirus council updates and changes.

Council meetings

Council, cabinet and committees have been suspended with immediate effect for a period of six weeks. All mayoral engagements have been postponed until further notice and a full review of all decisions that are due to be made has been undertaken and necessary day-to-day decisions will continue.

Libraries

Collier Row, South Hornchurch and Harold Wood libraries have closed until further notice due to staff shortages. Rainham Library will close at 4pm on Thursdays. Hornchurch Library will close at 5pm on Thursdays and Fridays. A fines amnesty has been introduced, which means there will be no charges for overdue materials for the time being. The library web pages are also available, providing online access to audiobooks, eBooks, magazines and more.

Housing

The Farnham Road office is now closed until further notice and the Public Advice and Service Centre (PASC) remains open for members of the public to access a range of local services in one place. The PASC is in the Liberty Shopping Centre, 20-26 The Liberty, Romford, RM1 3RL. Lifts and stairs to the PASC are via the walkway between H&M and Next shops, opposite the public toilets.

Fostering

Information sessions have been postponed and the council is looking into ways it can deliver its scheduled sessions online.

Business rates and support

The chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by Covid-19.

This includes a package of measures to support businesses including a statutory sick pay relief package for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England, small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5million for SMEs through the British Business Bank, a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme. More information can be found of the government website.

Planning

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The council plans to continue the duty planner service but with telephone appointments only. All face to face appointments have been cancelled and current appointments will be re-booked.

Appointments can be booked for advice (for householders and small businesses) on 01708 433100 and will be available Monday, Wednesday and Fridays between 9.30am and 11.30am.

Registrars

The number of visitors attending appointments will be reduced until further notice. During this period no children should attend appointments. For birth registration, a maximum of two people (one person if you are married to the mother) is allowed. For death registration, private citizenship and notice of marriage only one person must attend. For re-registration, maximum of two people (one person if you are married to the mother).

No visitors are allowed at wedding ceremonies or functions. Book via email: ceremonies@havering.gov.uk

Reduced copy certificate service

There currently is a reduced copy certificate service. The council is unable to guarantee the 24-hour fast track service. The collection service is also unavailable.

Garden and bulky waste

Due to staff shortages, Serco will not be collecting garden or bulky waste and the council is attempting to contact bulky waste customers.

Culture and sport

Havering Music School is now suspended and Fairkytes Arts Centre will not open beyond close of business March 19 until further notice. The preschool on the Fairkytes site will remain open today, March 20, in line with government guidance on schools and Havering Council’s arts and sports events and activities programmes are cancelled until further notice.

School closures

Schools in Havering and across the UK will close as part of the government’s response to curb the spread of coronavirus, From Friday, March 20 schools will be closed until further notice but will remain open to children of key workers and vulnerable children. The government web site has the full policy on school.

In-year admissions applications

Havering School Admissions Team has taken the decision to stop accepting In-Year applications. It will continue to monitor the situation closely and as soon as it is possible to reopen the application process we will do so.


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