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Coronavirus: Impact on ESBC Services

Last updated 14:20: Tuesday 14th April

This page will post updates on East Staffordshire Borough Council services affected by the Coronavirus. Please see our dedicated page for business support and advice.

Brewhouse Arts Centre and Burton Town Hall

In accordance with COVID-19 restrictions the Brewhouse Arts Centre and the Civic Function Suite will remain closed.

Bulky Waste Collection

The Council will not collect any items from a property if any members of the household have symptoms of Covid-19.

Burton Market Hall

Following the Government’s roadmap announcement on Monday 5th April, non-essential retailers at Burton Market Hall will re-open from Monday 12th April.

The Outdoor Market will also welcome back non-essential retailers from Thursday 15th April 2021.

Council Tax - Hardship Fund

Council Tax payers who pay their council tax instalments over 10 months can contact us and we will extend their payments to 12 months in the financial year. Please call us on 01283 508030 or email council.tax@eaststaffsbc.gov.uk to extend your instalment payments.

Council Tax payers who receive Council Tax Reduction due to receiving low incomes will soon be entitled to a reduction in their Council Tax via the Hardship Fund recently announced by Government.

We collect Council Tax on behalf of Staffordshire County Council, Fire, Police and Parishes. It is vitally important that Council Tax payers continue to pay in accordance with the instalments shown on their bills so that local services can continue to be provided and vulnerable people in our society can be supported, especially during the current pandemic.

Customer Service Centres

The Customer Service Centre in Burton and Uttoxeter remain closed. All enquiries normally dealt with face to face are being managed by telephone, email, through the Council website or post.

Elections

The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Staffordshire County Council and Eton Park Ward by-elections are due to be held on Thursday 6th May 2021 during the hours of 7am and 10pm.

Greenhouse and Horticultural Centre

The Greenhouse and Horticultural Centre is closed in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions.

Leisure Centres

On Monday 12th April Meadowside and Uttoxeter Leisure Centres reopened for activities as per the latest Government Roadmap Guidance.

Shobnall Leisure Complex opened on Monday 29th March for outdoor activities

Licensing - Taxis

You should wear a face covering when using taxis or private hire vehicles. A taxi driver or private hire vehicle operator may be entitled to refuse to accept you if you do not wear a face covering.

The risk of transmission is small at 2 metres and where possible, you should maintain 2 metres distance.

If you cannot keep a 2 metre distance, reduce the risk to yourself and others by maintaining a 1 metre distance where possible, and taking suitable precautions.

Follow the advice of the driver. For example, you may be asked to sit in the back left-hand seat if travelling alone. You may want to check with your taxi or private hire operator before travelling if they have put any additional measures in place.

You should use contactless payment if possible, or find out if you can pay online in advance.

Be aware of the surfaces you touch. Be careful not to touch your face. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when coughing or sneezing.

When finishing your journey wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise your hands as soon as possible.

Only travel into, out of and within areas under local lockdown  if your travel is essential.

Parks and Open Spaces

All outdoor sports facilities, outdoor gym facilities, parks and children’s play areas are open in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions.

Planning

The Planning and Local Land Charges department are currently working off site. The preferred method of contact is via email at dcsupport@eaststaffsbc.gov.uk(link sends e-mail).

Planning Enforcement

Officers have considered our approach to planning enforcement. We will continue to acknowledge and investigate all formal complaints that are received in writing/e-mail (not anonymous). We would however request full details of the alleged breach of planning control with evidence using photographs of the building or details of the use eg. times/frequency a use is occurring,  further formal enforcement action is discretionary to the LPA.  Our current policy is to investigate all reported matters following a desktop triage process but it is recognised that we could change our policy to reduce what we investigate.  

It is acknowledged that there will be ongoing enforcement matters which we might need to tolerate for a temporary period because of the current situation - we should not force people to move or travel.  A pragmatic approach will be required.

A Written Ministerial Statement was published on Friday 13 March which urges local planning authorities to apply pragmatism to the enforcement of restrictions on food and other essential deliveries at this time. Local planning authorities should also use their discretion on the enforcement of other planning conditions which hinder the effective response to COVID-19.  

Furthermore, the government has relaxed planning regulations allowing cafes and restaurants to offer take-away facilities.

It is considered that we could reduce the complaints that are formally registered for a temporary period whilst we are dealing with the pandemic by not registering certain breaches for example:

  • Breaches of planning conditions relating to delivery times to essential businesses
  • Changes of use of cafes/restaurants to take-aways
  • Householder development (unless the person reporting demonstrates significant harm)
  • Breaches of construction traffic management plans (unless the person reporting demonstrates significant harm)
  • Adverts

 In other cases, please consider that there may be a delay in dealing with the matter.

Public Toilets

ESBC public toilets are now open.

Selective Licensing Scheme

East Staffordshire Borough Council has announced that it has paused its proposed Selective Licensing Scheme due to the coronavirus outbreak. The announcement follows guidance issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on 28th March that selective licensing schemes that are not yet in force should be paused.

A ten week consultation on the proposal was launched on 20th January 2020, in which people who are likely to be affected were encouraged to make representations on the proposal.

The consultation closed on 30th March 2020 and following government advice for selective licensing schemes that are not yet in force to be paused, a decision has been made to pause the proposal at this stage.

A meeting has been requested by Landlords who wish to speak to Leaders of the Council about the proposal, however due to restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 outbreak, the Council is unable to arrange this at the current time.

Councillor Bernard Peters, Deputy Leader for Regulatory Services and Community Support, said: “Having received Government guidance, the Council is now in a position to be able to pause the proposed Selected Licensing Scheme. This will give the Council the opportunity to meet with landlords once social distancing restrictions and have been lifted and the Selective Licensing Process can recommence. The date and location of this will be communicated once confirmed.

“Although the consultation period has ended, it has been confirmed that this meeting will be included with all the other consultation responses and representations made during the consultation period, to form a consultation response document. This will be in the form of a summary of responses received and will demonstrate how these have either been acted on or not, giving reasons, and will be made available to the local community.”

Stapenhill Cemetery

Due to the current Coronavirus pandemic we are dealing with an increased number of burials and sometimes multiple burials on the same day. The safety and welfare of our staff, contractors, mourners and public is paramount.  In order to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, Government guidelines have been published which impose additional restrictions.  In order for safe, efficient and dignified burials to take place the protocol below must be followed.

  1. All burials will be strictly restricted to a maximum of 30 mourners in accordance with Government guidelines.
  2. Where appropriate the lead person(s)/family member of the burial party will notify their contact details to the Council staff when a burial is booked, in order to manage the effective communication and control of mourners. The lead person must be present throughout the burial to liaise with the Council staff and deal with mourners.
  3. To reduce/eliminate car parking pressures on Elms Road, mourners are respectfully asked to please access the cemetery via the main entrance and use the Chapel car park.  Persons with mobility problems can drive to the burial site but this should be kept to a minimum due to the safe access and space required to undertake burial and plant movement.
  4. Due to the current inclement weather and increased burials, the cemetery ground is wet, soft and muddy.  Please avoid driving and parking on soft verges.
  5. Please park considerately and not block other vehicles and identified work areas for plant and equipment.
  6. Please co-operate with the Council staff in any unforeseen event.