Wednesday 17th September 2014
News Feeds:
12
Sep
2014

Waste4Fuel dump 2We are continuing to work with London Fire Brigade (LFB) at the Waste4Fuel (W4F) site to reduce the immediate risk of a significant fire and improve access for firefighting purposes.

Acumen are continuing to remove and re-profile the main waste pile which is reducing any smouldering or steam coming from the Western and Southern boundaries of the site. So far approximately 1,600 tonnes of waste have been removed from the site. We estimate that this work will continue for a further 2 weeks.

Additionally, on 9 September 2014 we served a revocation notice for the Environmental Permit on W4F under Regulation 22 of the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010. The revocation of the permit takes effect on 8 October 2014, subject to any appeal being lodged by W4F.

In the meantime please contact us on 03708 506 506 if you have any questions during office hours. You can report environmental incidents at any time on 0800 807060.

 
11
Sep
2014

Lloyds bank fundAs part of the Helping Britain Prosper Plan, the Lloyds Bank Community Fund has shortlisted three community groups in Orpington for an award.  This is part of their commitment to bringing communities closer together to help them thrive. 

Earlier this year, Lloyds customers, the wider public and staff were able to nominate local good causes to invite them to apply to the Community Fund this year. Over 8,300 groups were nominated.  Nearly 600 Lloyds Banking Group colleagues worked together to assess the applications and decide the final shortlist.

1,400 good causes in 350 communities across England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are set to benefit from the Community Fund this year with awards of up to £3,000, depending upon the number of votes received.

The three community groups shortlisted in Orpington are Petts Wood PlaygroupZinnia Community Enterprise and The Maypole Project.  

A public vote will run until 10 October 2014.  

Jo urges his constituents to vote for these excellent causes here

 
11
Sep
2014

Waste4Fuel dumpThe three MPs are calling on the Environment Agency to take urgent steps to clear the site

The MPs for Orpington, Old Bexley and Sidcup, and Bromley have joined forces in the fight against the rubbish mountain at Waste4Fuel in Orpington.

James Brokenshire, Bob Neill and Jo Johnson have pressed for the Environment Agency to take urgent steps to see that the rubbish mountain at Waste4Fuel is removed as soon as possible.

The call from the local MPs came during a meeting with Environment Secretary Liz Truss. The meeting was to discuss the site in Sevenoaks way. The abandoned site is thought to still have 15,000 tonnes of waste.

All three called on the Environment Agency to take further action to remove the mountain of waste left on the site after it was abandoned by Waste4Fuel.

The MPs asked the Secretary of State to consider imposing tougher financial obligations on firms wishing to apply for a licence to operate a waste transfer site like Waste4Fuel. Under their proposal, firms would have to stump up cash for a security bond in advance. This could then be used to pay for the clearance of the site and other clean up obligations should they fail to comply with their licence.

The Secretary of State agreed to raise the MPs' concerns with the chief executive of the Environment Agency and ask that all options to resolve the situation be considered. She also said she would examine what further changes to the law may be needed.

Commenting in a joint statement, the three MPs said: "We welcome the positive response from the Secretary of State to the continuing concerns of local residents. It is simply unacceptable for the local community to be left with what amounts to a legalised fly tip on their doorsteps when an operator like Waste4Fuel does a midnight flit. We welcome the commitment to press the Environment Agency to consider all options to address the current problem and consider changes to waste regulations.

"It cannot be right that firms can cash in on waste dumped on their sites and then seemingly walk away scot free from the problems they have created. Obligating those seeking a licence to take out security bonds would help reduce this risk and ensure that those operating these sites foot the bill when things go wrong.

"There are serious questions which still need to be answered by the Environment Agency as to why they allowed things to go on this long and get this bad. We will continue to press for the site to be cleared as quickly as possible and those responsible for this serious problem to be held to account."

To read the original story, click here

 
05
Sep
2014

mayorAn Orpington project has been awarded £10,000 from the Mayor of London's volunteering programme.

The Maypole Project, which helps support children with disabilities and complex illnesses, and their families, is to receive the grant from Team London. The money will go towards recruiting volunteers to help young people to engage in more sports activities.

Team London was set up by Boris Johnson in 2011 to provide small grants to increase volunteering opportunities across London for young people.  So far, £813,500 has been given to support 152 projects and fund almost 12,000 volunteers.

Mr Johnson said: "It is fantastic that increasing numbers of young people are willing to give their time to build stronger communities and improve the capital by volunteering at brilliant projects."

Veronica Wadley, the mayor's senior volunteering advisor, said: "A key mission for Team London is to boost volunteering in local communities and the Small Grants scheme enables us to do this whilst increasing the number of young Londoners getting involved."

To learn more about the Mayor's volunteering programme, click here

To read the original story, click here

 
02
Sep
2014

super-fast-broadbandIn Westminster last week, Jo met with managers from BT, alongside local councillors and campaigners, to express his deep frustration at the lack of high-speed broadband in rural areas of the Orpington constituency. Already this year, he has written to Ed Vaizey MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Cllr Stephen Carr, Leader of Bromley Council, as well as to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to bring the problem to their attention.  Jo reiterated his commitment to the roll out of superfast broadband and pressed BT for faster progress.  

Jo said: "It is unacceptable that there are areas within the M25 that still have to endure slow speeds.  I would strongly urge residents in areas such as Downe and Pratts Bottom to click on the links below and help us build a case for immediate action."  

To see what service is available to you over the bt Openreach network, click here

To register your interest in bringing broadband to your area, click here

 

 

 
04
Aug
2014

Allied Bakeries 2Jo spoke with the Chief Executive of Association of British Foods and met with site managers of Allied Bakeries in Orpington to urgently discuss the news that the factory, the second largest employer in the constituency, plans to stop baking, putting up to 170 jobs at risk.  The site will continue to support distribution and employ over 200 people.  There will be a full consultation and discussions with unions before any final decision is made.

Jo said: "In my meetings and discussions today with the Chief Executive of Association of British Foods and site managers of Allied Bakeries in Orpington, I sought the most robust assurances that all people affected be given appropriate opportunities elsewhere in the company.  We also need a proper explanation of why Allied, which has been baking here since 1938, cannot meet its corporate objectives through restructuring elsewhere in the company.  The consultation must be a proper one that gives real answers to these questions.  In the meantime, my deepest sympathies are with the hardworking employees affected by this disappointing news."

Photo: Jo outside Allied Bakeries Orpington factory earlier today

 
04
Aug
2014

Allied BakeriesAn Orpington bakery that has stood since 1938 could bake its last loaf of bread.  News Shopper has been told Allied Bakeries, heralded as a 'local institution' and said to be the town's second largest employer, is proposing to cut up to 170 jobs, with a full consultation now underway.

At 4pm today (August 4) staff members were to be told the news as parent company ABF Grain Products Ltd looks to takes action following a decline in sales.

Just hours before Jo Johnson MP met with site managers at the Cray Avenue factory and had also discussed the decision with the chief executive of the Association of British Foods.

Mr Johnson told News Shopper it is "disappointing news" and "a difficult day for the company", but said he has been told employees would all be offered alternative roles.

The MP said: "My heart goes out to everyone affected.  "There is to be a big consultation and it's happening up and down the country. There's been a decline in the market.  The important thing is we all work together."

Allied Bakeries, which produces popular brands such as Kingsmill and Sunblest, seems to be reacting to research that shows that Britons are buying fewer sliced supermarket loaves than ever.  Although the move could mark the end of baking in Orpington, the site would continue to operate as a distribution and logistics centre, News Shopper understands.

Mr Johnson said he was told the site could continue to employ over 200 people.  Following discussions, he added: "I sought the most robust assurances that all people affected be given appropriate opportunities elsewhere in the company.

"We also need a proper explanation of why Allied Bakeries, which has been baking here since 1938, cannot meet its corporate objectives through restructuring elsewhere in the company.  The consultation must be a proper one that gives real answers to these questions.  In the meantime, my deepest sympathies are with the hardworking employees affected by this disappointing news."

 
01
Aug
2014

Waste4Fuel closureJo paid an unannounced visit to Waste4Fuel after learning that the operators had abandoned the site.

Jo said: "This is the end of the road for Waste4fuel. I'm glad that the site has been secured and no further waste is being allowed in. The clean-up begins now. It's been an appalling experience for local residents and they have my deepest sympathy for what they have been through these past months.  I look forward to a brighter future for Cornwall Drive and this part of the Cray Valley."

Photo: Jo inspects site earlier today.  Copyright: Keith Larby

 
01
Aug
2014

Saxon CentreOn Friday afternoon, Jo opened the new Age Concern minibus that will serve residents of the Saxon Day Centre behind Orpington High Street.  Jo toured the facilities and spoke at the official ceremony.

Afterwards, he said: "It was wonderful to meet so many jolly residents of this welcoming residential home.  I was honoured to open the minibus – and have a chance to sit in the driving seat.  It will offer greater opportunities to residents of the Saxon Day Centre and I am extraordinarily grateful to Age Concern for their contribution."

Sally Williams, the advertising and marketing trustee, said: "It was great to see Jo so enthusiastic about our Centre, and how we help to improve the lives of so many elderly residents in the Orpington area."

For more information on the Saxon Day Centre, click here

Photo: Jo welcomes new minibus with Saxon Day Centre residents.  Copyright: Keith Larby

 
01
Aug
2014

Cray River Project 2This afternoon, Jo toured the Cray River with WWF and Coca-Cola to inspect the progress of their joint river enhancement and habitat creation projects.  Coca Cola has a bottling plant in Sidcup, which employs 250 people and serves the London and South East area, and is teaming up with WWF to improve the whole catchment area.  Both organisations want to see water used more efficiently and the effects on the environment of its extraction minimised.

Jo said: "It was fabulous to see the Cray River restored to its former glory as an outstanding example of one of Britain's chalk rivers. The WWF team, Coca-Cola and all the friends of the Cray River have done a terrific job on behalf of the community."

David Nussbaum, Chief Executive of WWF-UK, said:  "It was a great pleasure to be able to walk with Jo Johnson along the River Cray in his constituency, and to talk to him about the importance of chalk-streams.  These are an almost uniquely English ecosystem – we have the majority of the 200 or so that exist globally."

"That's why WWF is working with Coca-Cola to protect and restore the River Cray and its diverse wildlife, and I was glad to be able to show Jo Johnson such a beautiful river, though one where we still have work to do to restore a full community of wildlife."

James Clark, Senior Manager for Public Affairs GB, Coca-Cola Enterprises said: "WWF-UK, Coca-Cola Great Britain, and Coca-Cola Enterprises have been working together to secure a thriving future for English rivers since 2012. One of our two exemplar projects focuses on the River Cray, near to our Sidcup manufacturing site, has seen volunteers from the local site help improve fish habitats on the river. We were delighted to join the visit to the Cray with Jo Johnson".

For more information on the Coca-Cola/ WWF partnership, click here and here

Cray Valley Project 2 – Jo with (L-R) Mark Saxon (Head of Public Affairs, Coca Cola GB); Ben Stafford (Head of Public Affairs, WWF-UK); Rose O'Neill (UK Freshwater Policy Manager, WWF-UK); David Nussbaum (Chief Executive, WWF-UK); James Clark (Senior Public Affairs Manager, Coca Cola Enterprises).  Copywrite: Keith Larby

 
31
Jul
2014

DrugsTwo men were arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply after a drugs bust in Orpington.

Police in Bromley have seized a large quantity of cannabis following a raid at an address in Saltwood Close on Friday (July 25).

Officers from the Orpington Safer Neighbourhoods Team found severeal bags containing what is believed to be cannabis, as well as other items such as snap bags and scales.

A man, 30, and a 17-year-old boy were arrested at the scene, with the second suspect also arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods. Both have been bailed until late August.

Sergeant Nick McLaughlin said: "Drugs cause harm to local communities and we will continue to target people that are using, producing or supplying drugs in Orpington.

"The presence of drugs of any kind can lead to other problems of crime and antisocial behaviour in that area, so we'd encourage local residents to get in touch with us or contact Crimestoppers if they suspect drugs are being used or dealt in their local neighbourhood."

The team can be contacted on 020 8721 2729. Alternatively, Crimestoppers, which is an independent charity, can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.  

To read the original story, click here

 
22
Jul
2014

ICSJo has urged young people to follow the example of Orpington resident, Guy Brown, and sign up for the International Citizenship Service (ICS).

From March to June 2014, Guy was part of a team of volunteers on a community development project in Nicaragua through the ICS, which is funded by the Department for International Development (DFID).  Some of the work he did included constructing a classroom for a small school as well as promoting gender equality and environmental awareness with community events.

The ICS allows 18-25 year olds of any economic background in the UK to volunteer abroad.  Volunteers are given a means-tested fundraising target, usually of £800.  The programme aims to combat poverty oversees whilst increasing the participants' skills and confidence.

Guy said: "My experience and the help that I gave could not have happened without the funding given by DFID.  It would be great if more people in Orpington could know that the opportunity exists and how accessible it is."

Jo said: "I congratulate Guy on his service and for trying to raise awareness of this fantastic opportunity.  I strongly urge young Orpington residents to consider signing up."

For more information on the International Citizenship Service, click here

 
17
Jul
2014

Policy UnitMP for Orpington Jo Johnson has been promoted by the Prime Minister in this week's political reshuffle.

Mr Johnson was promoted to Minister of State in the Cabinet Office, while retaining his existing role as Head of the Downing Street Policy Unit.

He said:  "I am delighted to be Orpington's eyes and ears in No10 and to be able to work with David Cameron to help shape the policies that will meet our nation's long-term challenges."

It comes as the the PM David Cameron looks to rework his team in the lead up to next year's General Election.

To read the original story, click here

 
17
Jul
2014

Waste4Fuel 2The Environment Agency has today served an enforcement notice on Waste4Fuel to stop any further waste being brought into the Orpington site.

The new enforcement notice means that any person depositing waste at Waste4Fuel will be committing an offence and may face further action from the Environment Agency.

Failure to comply with the new enforcement notice will result in further regulatory action being taken. Several conditions within the new enforcement notice need to be met before further waste can be accepted at the site.

The Environment Agency is awaiting a written decision from the High Court after it dismissed the contempt of court case last week for failure to maintain fire breaks and store new waste separately at the site.

The High Court order required all combustible waste to be cleared from the site by 1 May 2014, and the Environment Agency will consider what action it should take once the reasons for the courts' decision on 1 July has been considered.

Andrew Pearce, Environment Agency Area Manager for Kent and South London, said: "This enforcement notice is another step towards the Environment Agency bringing the Waste4Fuel site back into compliance.

"The High Court Order we secured last year has not been complied with, and waste on site is slowly increasing. We understand the frustration of local residents and are doing everything within our power to bring the site back into compliance as soon as possible."

 
16
Jul
2014

Cameron and JoJo was promoted to Minister of State in the Cabinet Office in this week's reshuffle, while retaining his existing role as Head of the Downing Street Policy Unit.

Jo said:  "I am delighted to be Orpington's eyes and ears in No10 and to be able to work with David Cameron to help shape the policies that will meet our nation's long-term challenges."

 
02
Jul
2014

Cinema visitAt a "turning the Sod" ceremony on Monday 30th June, in Orpington, The Mayor of Bromley, Councillor Julian Bennington marked the start of a construction project that will incorporate a multi-screen cinema. He said -

"I am delighted to be here to "Turn the First Sod" on this exciting and important development in Orpington Town Centre. The 7 screen Multiplex cinema, 3 restaurants, a gym and 3 large retail units will improve the retail and leisure offer available in Orpington, deliver up to 200 new jobs, and make Orpington even more a town to visit"

Orpington has been without a cinema for more than 30 years. The Commodore Cinema opened in 1933, closed in 1982, and was later demolished. The brand new complex, including restaurants, shops, and a gym, is on the site of The Walnuts shopping centre. It will provide a much needed boost to the town centre's economy, attracting employment and investment into Orpington town centre.

Millers Construction will deliver the 65,000 sq ft development anchored by a 7 screen Odeon cinema, scheduled for completion by spring 2015.
Fast expanding B&M, one of the leading variety retailers in the UK, has secured space in the development in line with its strategy to grow its store base in southern England.

Pure Gym, the national gym chain, will be making a substantial investment in the scheme, creating a new 24 hour gym of 14,300 sq ft.

The high quality new extension will deliver a combined retail and leisure complex to the heart of Orpington, regenerating the town centre and transforming it into a major mixed use destination.

Together with three restaurant units and a new public square, the development will offer a contemporary, modern environment to suit a wide range of retailer requirements.

Orpington will be strengthened by The Walnuts' new role as a community hub and retail/leisure destination, encouraging further development and investment in the surrounding area.

 
02
Jul
2014

Waste4Fuel 3Further to the court ruling earlier today, Jo said: "I am deeply disappointed at the ruling by the High Court to dismiss the Environment Agency's case against Waste4Fuel.  Residents, who have put up with this nauseating stench for far too long will demand answers and want action.  I await the details of the ruling, which I will be reading closely. 

"In the meantime, the EA, Bromley Council and I will not let up in the fight to shut the site down, and Bob Neill MP, James Brokenshire MP and I have sought an urgent meeting with the Prime Minister to resolve this issue once and for all."

 
23
Jun
2014

Cinema visit 2Jo visited the construction site of the new cinema and retail complex on Orpington High Street on Friday afternoon. Jo was shown around the area with representatives of Miller Developments, development managers of the project, and with Martin Price, Manager of the Walnuts Shopping Centre.

Jo was also given the opportunity to talk through the plans for the 65,000 sq ft development, which will include a 7-screen Odeon cinema, a 14,300 sq ft 24-hour Pure Gym, B&M Stores, as well as further shop units, three restaurant units and a new public square.

Jo said: 'It was thrilling to see the long-awaited regeneration of the Walnuts Shopping Centre underway.  It will give Orpington town centre a terrific boost and encourage other top-quality retailers to come to the High Street.  There is huge excitement about the return of a cinema to the heart of Orpington.  It was fantastic to have the chance to see the site at this early stage and I'll be keeping a close eye on progress.'

The site is due to be completed in Spring 2015.

Photo: Jo (L-R) with Andy Beavis, Miller Developments, and Martin Price, Manager of Walnuts Shopping Centre.  Copyright: Keith Larby

 
13
Jun
2014

Orpington station car parkOrpington Station car park is to be expanded in a £1.9 million project. The money will be used to build a new deck to the facility, which will create a further 142 spaces.

Work is set to go ahead next month and is expected to finish in December.

Orpington's MP Jo Johnson said: "It is fantastic news that work is due to start shortly on the car park at Orpington Station.

"While this will inevitably cause disruption in the short term, the end result will be one of great benefit to commuters, as well as to the local community."

The money was made available through the £100m Station Commercial Project Fund, made up of the Department for Transport, Network Rail, and the Association of Train Operating Companies.

To read the original story, click here

 
12
Jun
2014

Lloyds EnterpriseLloyds Bank is searching for Britain's best student and graduate entrepreneurial talent. The Enterprise Awards are open to entrepreneurs currently studying at universities across Britain or those who have graduated within the past five years and have been trading for more than one year. Applications are invited before 23 July 2014.

Jo says: 'I know there is a wealth of entrepreneurial talent in Orpington and would strongly encourage constituents to apply for this award, which offers fantastic mentoring opportunities.'

To learn more about the awards scheme, click here

 

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