Welcoming retail reopening
Last month, following government guidance that non-essential shops could reopen this week, a Task Force was established, coordinated by us, supporting local retailers.
The Task Force includes economic development specialists alongside key business representatives such as the Epsom Business Improvement District (Go Epsom), the Ashley Centre and Epsom Square. By harnessing the combined experience of each partner, the group aim to ensure that the borough’s high streets and shopping parades are safe and welcoming places to shop and spend time.
“The challenge is likely to be felt most keenly by small and medium sized companies,” said Councillor Eber Kington, Chairman of the Strategy & Resources Committee at Epsom & Ewell Borough Council.
These companies don’t have the backing of large chains to help them through the legislation and government advice. We’re help to help and support them as they safely reopen.”
The Task Force is addressing the reopening in two distinct ongoing strands:
- What is needed in each place to help people keep safe and maintain effective physical distancing while shopping?
- The help and support businesses need to comply with national guidance, keeping themselves and their customers safe
A substantial amount of work has already been undertaken, with more planned over the coming weeks as an increasing number of retailers reopen their doors.
Councillor Kington continued: “Safely reopening our high streets is essential to the recovery of our local economy. Together, we will restore our borough’s creative, dynamic economy and use the lessons learned during this pandemic to recover stronger than ever before.”
One of the key partners in the Task Force is Karen Pengelly, Manager for the Business Improvement District in Epsom. She said: “We have already seen Epsom Market reopening, and will be using the lessons learned from that across the BID area.
“Sharing information and inspiration with retail areas throughout the borough is going to be key to successfully reopening our shops from next week. We are in this together and by working as one with the Task Force, we’ll be in the best position to help Epsom recover and thrive.”
As shops reopened this week, council staff were on hand in our main shopping areas. While within private property the measures taken were the responsibility of the retailer or building owner, we were monitoring social distancing to see how areas and practices could be improved if there were any issues in the public realm.
If you are a business and are hoping to reopen soon, please see the information business webpages - here
Preparing for opening time!
Our environmental health and licensing teams are supporting restaurants, pubs and bars to get their businesses back up and running, with latest government guidance suggests that this vital business sector may be able to reopen in early July.
During the lockdown, environmental health officers have been in contact with 80 of the borough’s registered food businesses. They have been providing food safety guidance as many of the businesses switched to providing takeaways and food deliveries. As well as adopting different hygiene practices, these businesses have had to introduce new measures to respond to the risk of the Covid-19.
Emergency food supplies – such as food parcels and meal deliveries – have also benefitted from the team’s food safety expertise. To date, council and voluntary groups have delivered over 8,000 meals and supplies to vulnerable people throughout the borough.
The licensing team has meanwhile been working remotely supporting licenced premises to ensure their various license requirements continue to be valid. They’ve also brought an entrepreneurial mind set to help businesses find ways to take advantage of the flexibility introduced during the pandemic, enabling some of them to continue to operate in different business models.
The team has also been highlighting the various grants available for small businesses and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant administered by the council.
Councillor Neil Dallen, Chair of the Environment and Safe Communities Committee, said “Our teams have been incredibly busy throughout the lockdown, investigating an increased number of food premises complaints and dealing with food and licensing related enquiries, as well as offering support to businesses in this difficult time.
“Now, as we move towards the new normal, we are keen to support the borough’s restaurants, pubs and bars and provide advice on how they can ensure they are Covid-secure, so that they are in the best position when they are able to reopen”.
The issues are legion
As more businesses reopen following the lockdown, we're highlighting to local businesses the risks of legionnaires disease.
If a building was closed for several months due to the Covid-19 lockdown, it is likely that the water system has had no throughput. This, combined with the recent warm weather, means that legionella bacteria may have grown in the system and could pose a serious risk to health.
Neil Dallen, Chair of the Environment and Safe Communities Committee said “The council’s environmental health team are advising local businesses how they can protect their staff, customers and the wider public.
“The warm conditions this spring created the ideal conditions for the growth of legionella bacteria in unused water pipes, taps, tanks and shower heads in closed buildings”.
For small buildings flushing the system may be enough to ensure safety, but for larger buildings some form of disinfection is needed and a longer time is required to carry out the treatment before the building is safe.
Businesses have a responsibility for managing health and safety risks in the workplace including exposure to the legionella bacteria.
Advice can be sought in the first instance through the webpages of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) - www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires
High Street North ahead of schedule
The team working on the High Street paving north of the Market Place put on a spurt of speed in preparation of shops and businesses opening earlier this week.
Together with Surrey County Council, this is a joint project to renovate the footway which was necessary as the paving was reaching the end of its life.
Councillor Eber Kington, Chairman of the Strategy & Resources Committee, stated “Retail needs all the help it can get at present and our priority is to ensure that access to the shops is not impeded by the paving work on the footway.
“Fortunately a lot of hard work combined with the good weather and lower than normal footfall has meant the team is ahead of schedule. After this week the remaining work, including the installation of benches and cycle stands, will be undertaken overnight”.
New bus shelters and the installation of real time passenger information will now take place later in the summer due to the necessary components being unavailable as planned due to their manufacture being delayed during the lockdown.
Both councils are also worked together on the arrangements both in Epsom and in Ewell to meet the requirement for temporary wider footways to allow for social distancing and queuing outside of shops.
Car park charges
To support our retailers as the large number reopened on Monday, car parks charges were reintroduced in our shoppers car parks.
Councillor Neil Dallen, Chair of the Environment and Safe Communities Committee said “Our car park charges support local retailers, ensuring that there is a good turnaround of spaces for visitors and shoppers. We also need to discourage London bound commuters leaving their cars in our retail car parks all day, effectively blocking their use for those using local businesses.
“Public health and safety is a priority and we have taken steps to allow for social distancing within the car parks. We advise people to follow the social distancing guidelines at all times and make use of the convenient cash free and contactless payment methods available".
Charges for the majority of council car parks were suspended at the start of April to allow people over the past two months to make essential journeys and ensure there was free parking available for key workers.
Free parking will continue to be available to NHS staff, care workers and NHS volunteer responders involved in the Covid-19 response in the council’s pay and display car parks. A key worker parking pass, which can be issued by their employer, will allow them to park for free when a permit is displayed within their vehicle.
Local authorities have to cover their costs in relation to car parks. Maintenance, management and long-term investment in the quality of car park is important. Car parks also attract business rates set at government levels, which must be paid.
The decision to reintroduce the charges is in line with national guidance and is consistent with the approach taken by other councils that suspended payment within the county.
Councillor Dallen added: "Parking charges are an important source of revenue for the council. Income from parking charges goes towards the upkeep of car parks, the introduction of more efficient and user friendly payment methods as well as new safety measures for car park users.
“Like many organisations, our funding has been severely affected by Covid-19 and we are working hard to ensure we have the resources to continue to provide the essential services on which our communities rely”.
What the Dickens?
This year is the 150th anniversary of the death of Charles Dickens. In June 1851, Dickens describes a visit to Epsom for the Derby which he visited many times in the 1850s.
A straggling street, an undue proportion of inns, a large pond, a pump, and a magnificent brick clock case, make up— with a few more
touches not necessary to be given here—the picture of the metropolis of English racing and the fountain of Epsom salts.
For three hundred and sixty-four days in the year a cannon-ball might be fired from one end of Epsom to the other without endangering human life. On the three hundred and sixty-fifth, or Derby Day, a population surges and rolls, and scrambles through the place, that may be counted in millions.
Epsom during the races, and Epsom at any other time, are things as unlike as the Desert of Sahara and the interior of the Palace of Glass in Hyde Park.
A railway takes us, in less than an hour, from London Bridge to the capital of the racing world, close to the abode of its great man, who is — need we add!—(Henry Dorling) the Clerk of the Epsom Course.
We are presented to the official. He kindly conducts us to the Downs, to show how the horses are temporarily stabled; to initiate us into some of the mysteries of the " field; " to reveal to us, in fact, the private life of the race-horse.
Well, to be sure, there never was such a Derby Day, as this present Derby Day!
Never, to be sure, were there so many carriages, so many fours, so many twos, so many ones, so many horsemen, so many people who
have come down by " rail," so many fine ladies in so many broughams, so many of Fortnum and Mason's hampers, so much ice and champagne!
If I were on the turf, and had a horse to enter for the Derby, I would call that horse Fortnum and Mason, convinced that with that name he would beat the field. Public opinion would bring him in somehow.
Look where I will—in some connexion with the carriages— made fast upon the top, or occupying the box, or tied up behind, or dangling below, or peeping out of window—I see Fortnum and Mason. And now, Heavens! all the hampers fly wide open, and the green Downs burst into a blossom of lobster-salad!
(Edited extracts from the weekly newsletter, Household Words, 7 June 1851)
Armed Forces Day
We will be raising the armed forces day flag within the borough this Monday for the week preceding national Armed Forces Day.
In doing so, the borough joins 10 Downing Street, Government departments, local authorities across the UK and others in showing our support for the service personnel of our armed forces.
Mayor of Epsom & Ewell, Councillor Humphrey Reynolds said “National Armed Forces Day is a chance to show support for the men and women who make up the armed forces community, from currently serving troops to service families, veterans and cadets.
"In honour of the bravery of our service personnel and recognising the vital work they carry out to ensure our security, we normally raise the Armed Forces Day Flag in a special ceremony in Epsom Market Place.
"A ceremony is not possible this year, but we are proud to raise the flag as part of synchronised flag raising ceremonies across the whole of the UK".
With physical events being cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the organisers of Armed Forces day have come up #SaluteOurForces. #SaluteOurForces is a simple way for anyone to pay tribute to the British Armed Forces community for their hard work, dedication and efforts to and keep us safe in the UK and across the globe. To join in, simply send a photo or video of yourself or your friends and colleagues saluting then either Tweet the image to @ArmedForcesDay using #SaluteOurForces or email the image to email@example.com.
Delivering the messages from us that you want and need through the channels that you use is a vital part of our engagement with our communities.
We need to make sure that we have the right information to support our communication decisions and activities. We also need to ensure that we direct our limited resources into activities that will have the greatest impact on the communities we serve.
To do this, we recently launched a communications survey, which ends shortly.
Questions cover a range of topics from how satisfied you are with council information and what you think about our website and our other methods of communication with you.
We are keen to understand what works well, so we can expand these, and what isn’t working as well as it should, so we can improve.
Please take a few minutes to take part in the survey, you input is greatly appreciated. Closes 3 July.
You can access the survey here:
Stay Scam Aware
Coronavirus-Related Scams - How To Protect Yourself
Criminals are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to try and get their hands on your money and personal information. To date, Action Fraud has received reports from 2,378 victims of Coronavirus-related scams, with the total losses reaching over £7 million.
How you can protect yourself from Coronavirus-related scams:
There are some simple steps you can take that will protect you from the most common Coronavirus-related scams. Here’s what need to do:
1 Watch out for scam messages
Your bank, or other official organisations, won’t ask you to share personal information over email or text. If you receive an email you’re not quite sure about, forward it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS): firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Shopping online
If you're making a purchase from a company or person you don't know and trust, carry out some research first, for example, by checking to see if others have used the site and what their experience was. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, other payment providers may not provide the same protection.
3 Unsolicited calls and browser pop-ups offering tech support
Never install any software, or grant remote access to your computer, as a result of a cold call. Remember, legitimate organisations would never contact you out of the blue to ask for financial details such as your PIN or full banking password.
NHS Test and Trace scams
The NHS Test and Trace service plays an important role in the fight against coronavirus and it’s vital the public have confidence and trust in the service. However, we understand the concerns people have about the opportunity for criminals to commit scams.
What you need to know:
Contact tracers will only call you from the number 0300 013 5000. Anyone who does not wish to talk over the phone can request the NHS Test and Trace service to send an email or text instead, inviting them to log into the web-based service.
All text or emails sent by NHS Test and Trace will ask people to sign into the contact tracing website and will provide you with a unique reference number. We would advise people to type the web address https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk directly into their browser, followed by the unique reference number given to you, rather than clicking on any link provided in the message.
The NHS Test and Trace service will never:
- ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to them (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
- ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product or any kind
- ask for any details about your bank account
- ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
- ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
- ask you to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else
- ask you to access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS
If you think you have been a victim of fraud, please report it to Action Fraud at https://www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040. If you live in Scotland, please report directly to Police Scotland by calling 101.
Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards
We’re all in this together and we need neighbours, family and friends to look out for vulnerable people who are being targeted by fraudsters. Find out how to prevent becoming a victim and how to order a doorstep caller pack from Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards at: https://bit.ly/DoorstepCallers
Spot it. Avoid it. Report it.
As we have previously reported, we have an unwelcome guest in the borough.
The caterpillars of the Oak Processionary Moth (an invasive species) have tiny hairs which they shed and can cause severe skin irritation and respiratory health issues to both people and animals
They have distinctive nests and get their name as the caterpillars follow each other in long processions and feed on oak trees.
Please report any sightings to the Forestry Commission via its Tree Alert online portal. Alternatively, you can email email@example.com or call 0300 067 4442.
Do not touch the caterpillars or nest and keep pets and children away.
We are taping off affected trees and benches nearby. The pictures below were taken this week on Epsom Common. A typical nest can be seen at the base of the tree. When reported, nests are recorded by the Forestry Commission and destroyed by specialist operators.
For more information please see: https://gov.uk/government/news/public-urged-to-report-sightings-of-tree-pest-oak-processionary-moth
Be Tick Aware
When visiting the countryside, remember to be tick aware because they can cause diseases such as Lyme disease.
Remember to dress appropriately, walk on clearly defined paths, wear insect repellent and check yourself for ticks as you walk and when you get home.
For more information visit www.nhs.uk and www.gov.uk
Recycle it right
Are you confused about recycling? We all know it’s the right thing to do, but with so many items that can be recycled it’s not easy to remember the right way to do it.
That’s where the Surrey Recycles search tool and free app comes in. Simply enter your postcode and the item and you’ll get an instant answer on whether to reuse, recycle, compost or throw it away. It couldn’t be easier to use and sometimes you might even be surprised by the result.
Here are a few top tips on what to do with some items that often end up in the wrong bin:
- Clothes and home textiles – can be recycled but must be put in a small tied carrier bag and left for your collection or taken to a textiles recycling bank.
- Takeaway pizza boxes – can’t be recycled so need to go in the rubbish bin.
- Food waste – can be recycled but needs to go in your food waste caddy.
- Plastic film – can’t be recycled so needs to go in your rubbish bin.
- Takeaway coffee cups – can’t be recycled so need to go in the rubbish bin.
- Garden waste – can be recycled in a garden waste bin if you subscribe to a collection service, taken to a Community Recycling Centre or composted at home.
- Disposable nappies – can’t be recycled so need to go in the rubbish bin. Or why not try real nappies and halve your weekly rubbish?
- Polystyrene – can’t be recycled and needs to go in the rubbish bin.
Small changes can make a huge difference so why not visit https://www.surreyep.org.uk/what-to-do-with-an-item/ or download the free Surrey Recycles app today and become recycling-confident.
Don't forget, chemicals, paint-strippers, white spirit, petrol, batteries, laptops and mobile phone batteries are heat sources. Please don't dispose of these in household bins as these can cause fires in refuse trucks.
For a daily update and further information on recycling and waste collections in Epsom and Ewell please visit www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/recycling
For the latest updates and information on the Epsom Community Recycling Centre visit www.surreycc.go.uk/recycling
The Friends of Horton Country have organised a photography competition - theme: Horton Country Park local nature reserve. The competition closes on 30 September. For further details visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/EpsomLocalNatureReserve/
Please remember when you are outdoors, to follow the Countryside Code and government advice by staying alert and maintaining social distancing to keep everyone safe. For government guidance on accessing
green spaces safely, see: https://t.co/dIKn9cVo8e
Epsom Rotary Club donations
The local community has supported the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic in our area. But it is easy to forget that for many organisations and charities life still goes on as many people continue to depend on their help and support regardless of Covid-19 .
Epsom Rotary Club has recently put into practice the Rotary motto of 'Service before Self' by making donations to five local charities
- Action for A-T (Ataxia Telangiectasia)
Action for A-T provides support for research into this rare and complex medical condition. By doing so it provides hope for the future for sufferers
- Epsom & Ewell Foodbank
The Foodbank provides a vital service for local families and in 2019 they fed more than 5,300 people in the area and over 20,000 since 2012
- SCAMPPS (Striving for children’s additional medical, physical and personal support)
SCAMPPS supports families of children with complex and special needs, as well as raising awareness and promoting positive attitudes towards disability
- Home-Start in Epsom, Ewell and Banstead
Home-Start provides emotional, practical and early support to parents with at least one child under five years old who are facing the challenges and stresses of family life
Dyscover provides long-term support and opportunities to people with aphasia and their families. Aphasia is an impairment of language, affecting the production or comprehension of speech and the ability to read or write. It is always due to injury to the brain-most commonly from a stroke, particularly in older individuals.
Epsom Rotary Club have also been supporting staff at Epsom Hospital as they fight the coronavirus. They requested for help with the not so obvious things, like having somewhere to sit down when a break is needed or at the end of a shift.
A bench was duly purchased by Epsom Rotary Club and handed over to the hospital by Epsom Rotarians Ronnie (Veronica) Smith and Richard Deavin and was received by Sasha Phillips on behalf of Epsom Hospital. The picture shows Sasha, Ronnie and Richard at the handing over ceremony. The other photo shows just how useful the bench is proving to be with ambulance crew Lauren, Richard and Ben sitting very comfortably(by the way they are ambulance crew and so are allowed to associate)!
For more details about Epsom Rotary Club please see www.epsomrotary.uk
Showcase your gardening efforts
Showcase your gardening efforts during lockdown with Epsom Rotary's gardening competition. The competition closes on 31 July. For further details and to entry please visit the Epsom Rotary website: www.epsomrotary.uk
Warning about sudden increase in Courier Fraud
Police are reminding Surrey residents, especially the elderly, to stay on the alert for bogus phone calls and visitors after a sudden, sharp increase in courier fraud in the county.
Since 1 June the force has received 20 reports of this type of fraud, a crime which sees the suspect impersonate an official from the police or the victim’s bank.
The caller alleges that there has been unauthorised use of a debit or credit card, that someone has been arrested and that there is an investigation underway. They state that they need the resident’s help with the investigation and need their PIN and card details provided either over the phone, or handed to a courier who they will send. In four of the recent Surrey cases, a courier turned up at the victim’s home.
Luckily only six of the 20 recent attempts were successful, with a total loss of £58,705. The highest single loss is believed to be £22,000.
All the victims were over 60 with the majority being over 75. The oldest victim was 94 years old. Sixteen of the 20 victims targeted were female, with the vast majority living alone. In one unsuccessful case the victim’s husband had passed away just two weeks beforehand.
Local officers have responded to the reports and have provided support and, because we know fraud victims can be repeatedly targeted, advice about prevention.
PC Bernadette Lawrie BEM, the Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer for Surrey Police said:
“This is a heart-breaking crime that preys on the most vulnerable in our communities and often targets a generation who believe in helping the police and who want to do the right thing.
“It can leave victims feeling embarrassed, low in confidence and blaming themselves, which they absolutely mustn’t: the only people to blame are the immoral perpetrators of this crime.
"Remember - no police officer, or bank staff on the phone, will ever ask for your bank details, PIN or for cash. Don't give your details or cash to anyone in these circumstances. Hang up the phone straight away.”
Surrey Police’s top tips to help stop this type of fraud are:
- Act with care if you get an unsolicited phone call
- Never transfer funds into a new account on the instruction of an unexpected caller – even if they tell you the account is in your name
- Always check your phone line has properly disconnected before making another call – try calling a good friend first, wait five minutes or use a different phone
- Never share your PIN number or enter your PIN into a telephone
- Never withdraw money and hand it to a courier or a police officer
- Never give your bank cards to a courier or anyone who comes to your door
For further advice and information on preventing this type of fraud, see the Surrey Police website linked here: https://www.surrey.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/wsi/watch-schemes-initiatives/os/operation-signature/
Be Your Best
Be Your Best is Surrey’s weight management programme, aimed at parents of children aged 0-11.
Be Your Best can help all parents with online advice.
Families who might need an extra hand to manage their child’s weight can get further, personal support, plus learn more at sessions designed to help change long-held habits. To be part of the full programme, you need to have a child at primary school or resident in Surrey who is:
- above a healthy weight range and
- has a special educational need or
- has a long term disability or illness or
- comes from a family whose income is under £20,000 or receives benefits or
- is from a selected area of Surrey (within Epsom & Ewell this is the Ruxley and Court borough wards).
If your child is 12+, or they don’t meet the threshold to get onto the full programme you can still find lots of help on the Be Your Best Resources for Parents page. Here, you’ll find links to approved websites, videos and other tools that can help with things like healthy eating, free ways to be active with the kids, how to manage screen time vs sleep and much more