A recent, wide-ranging operation responded to requests from residents by helping to make Southall safer and cleaner for all.
The six-month operation looked at almost every aspect of life in the town centre that might need improvement including food businesses, beauty salons, shops selling alcohol, illegal traders, fly-tipping, and anti-social behaviour.
By providing advice and support – and cracking down where it was needed – it was hoped the operation would improve the quality of life for people working and living in the town; and also raise awareness among businesses to help them avoid potential problems occurring in the future.
The council and its contractors worked with the police and immigration and customs teams on the operation, which consisted of seven joint projects in targeted parts of Southall.
By sharing information and working together, the various teams coordinated their efforts to provide advice to businesses; issue warnings or legal notices to those breaking rules; and tackle problems they uncovered.
‘IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF LIFE’
Councillor Ranjit Dheer, cabinet member for safety and community services, said: “Along with our own evidence coming through, we had a number of complaints from residents at ward forums and via other channels about a variety of problems in the town centre. Rather than the council’s various departments acting alone with their own issues individually it seemed to make far more sense for them all to combine forces with each other – and with our partners – to carry out a properly joined up operation that will help local people build some lasting improvements.”
Inspector Andrew Deane, of Ealing Police, said: “We have really listened to the local community in Southall, especially around their daily quality of life concerns such as persistent street drinking, drug dealing and associated anti-social behaviour. We recognise the impact that these issues have on communities and, as a result, we are working in partnership with Ealing Council to address them and improve the quality of life for all residents in Southall.”
‘WE NEED TO WORK LIKE THIS MORE’
Local trader Abdi Osman Farah said he was very pleased with the work the teams did – especially clearing up the fly-tipping in alleyways. He said: “The area before was very smelly, a lot of rubbish.
Now there is none. People used to say the area was a disgrace, the smell; it was not somewhere you would want to go. Now the area is much improved.
“The other business people in the area I know are all very supportive of this action, too. We need to work like this more in the future and encourage people to look after their area – we should think about the long term human effect, the effect on our children and our children’s children.
“Of course, some people I think will learn and will keep cleaning the area, some people will not and there will always be need for enforcement again. But they will learn eventually and, long term, I think we will see the area become much cleaner, without any litter.”
A taste of what the operation in Southall did
Four food shops were handed written warnings over their levels of food safety and hygiene – with return visits arranged to make sure they all comply.
Cockroaches were even discovered under a freezer in one shop. High strength alcohol was seized from shops not licensed to sell it – as were illegal cigarettes. And traders were warned over sales of fireworks.
Security advice around CCTV and cash tills was given to shopkeepers; and guidance was given to traders around how to deal with street drinkers.
In total, 10 beauty salons offering treatments that require a massage and special treatment licence were found to be operating without one. They were told to apply and given a warning.
Dozens of fixed penalty notices (or ‘fines’) were issued to people: 76 for littering; and 32 for illegal street trading.
Two arrests were made regarding illegal immigrants.
Meanwhile, 34 businesses were warned about the disposal of their commercial waste – with legal notices issued; a further two businesses were fined. Several alleys behind shops in a poor state of cleanliness were targeted and made the subject of legal orders.
Elsewhere, 14 homeowners were warned about not properly clearing rubbish from their land and the waste was cleared; two abandoned cars and an abandoned caravan were removed from the streets; two households were evicted from their social housing for persistent anti-social and disorderly behaviour; and illegal squatters were discovered.