New booking system at dump

Harrow Council has introduced a booking system at the town down in a bid to avoid long queues.

From Monday, June 29, residents can only dispose of rubbish at the recycling centre in Forward Drive if they have booked a slot.

The council said the new system has been introduced to prevent long waiting times and queues into the facility, which were affecting nearby homes and businesses.

It is open to Harrow residents only who must bring a valid ID and their booking confirmation with them.

Anyone who arrives without an appointment will be turned away, the council has warned.

As well as booking a slot, those wishing to offload junk at the dump have been told to sort their waste before they arrive.

Only six spaces will be available at any one time to enable social distancing.

You can book your slots online here.

Mosque withdraws application for call to prayer

Harrow Central Mosque has withdrawn its application to broadcast the call to prayer following significant easing of lockdown restrictions.

Mosque leaders had applied to Harrow Council for permission to broadcast the call to prayer every Friday for three months.

The move was part of a initiative designed to reach out to people of all faiths during the coronavirus pandemic in an effort to reduce isolation.

However, the plan to broadcast the call to prayer proved controversial with strong support for the idea in some quarters and fierce opposition in others.

The mosque has now formally withdrawn the application as the number of Covid-19 cases continue to fall and restrictions on people’s movements are lifted.

During lockdown the mosque has moved many of its activities – including worship and classes – online.

This has included participating in an online initiative alongside local churches and other organisations that has seen the call to prayer streamed live on Fridays at 6pm.

It will continue to take part in this project until it finishes at the end of June.

While some churches and other places of worship have started to re-open, mosque leaders said the building would remain closed for the moment.

In the withdrawal letter to Harrow Council, mosque general secretary Jahangeer Choudry said the nature of worship at the building made it hard to implement social distancing measures.

“The safety of our community is paramount to us and due to the congregational nature of worship in the mosque we will not be reopening and remain closed until further notice,” he wrote.

However, he stressed the organisation would continue providing a wide range of practical and emotional support for vulnerable local people of all faiths and backgrounds

Two new helplines are due to be launched in coming weeks to help more people access the mosque’s befriending and counselling services.

“We will continue to work closely with our partners, the council and other faith groups to continue the great work we are all doing to support residents during these difficult times,” said Mr Choudry.

Unprecedented level of interest in mosque application

Harrow Council has received more than 3,000 responses to a planning application from Harrow Central Mosque to broadcast the call to prayer during the Covid-19 crisis.

Mosque leaders have asked for permission to broadcast the call to prayer every Friday for three months.

They say the temporary move is designed to reach out to people of all faiths – and those with none – to help reduce isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the application has proved controversial with some residents unhappy about the level of noise and concerned it could lead to the call to prayer becoming a permanent fixture.

Harrow Council told HCRA there had been an “unprecedented level of interest” in the application and the authority had allocated additional resources to cope with the large volume of emails.

The application has received messages of support from people living far and wide including many who do not live in Harrow.

But some people living near the mosque have objected saying they don’t want their peace and quiet disturbed on a regular basis.

More than 10,000 people have so far signed a petition objecting to the plan.

Meanwhile there has been concern from some residents that their comments on the proposal have not been received, got lost or been removed from the council’s website.

Harrow Council’s planning team told HCRA it was currently receiving “hundreds of comments each day” and the council was not able to respond to each one individually.

However, the authority assured HCRA that all comments would be taken into account and published once they had been reviewed.

The plans – and comments on the application – can be viewed via Harrow Council’s website by typing in the application reference: P/1528/20

Please direct all comments to Harrow Council.

 

Mosque requests permission to broadcast call to prayer

Harrow Central Mosque has applied for planning permission to broadcast the call to prayer every Friday evening for three months.

The mosque said the temporary move was in response to the Covid-19 crisis and a way of reaching out to people of all faiths who are currently unable to pray or gather together.

When planning permission for the mosque on the corner of Rosslyn Crescent and Station Road was granted this was on the condition that “no music or any other amplified sound” could be heard by residents living near the mosque.

However, mosque leaders have asked for a temporary lifting of this restriction during the coronavirus pandemic.

If the plan is agreed by Harrow Council the call to prayer – or Adhan – will be broadcast from eight speakers at 6pm every Friday night for three months.

However, the planning application asks for flexibility to extend this beyond three months should “the pandemic and circumstances justify it”.

The planning application states that the call to prayer will last no longer than three to five minutes.

Meanwhile, the wording will be tweaked to call on people to pray where they are at home rather than coming to the mosque.

Mosque leaders said the initiative was designed to “provide a spiritually uplifting experience to the whole community”.

“The initiative is to reinforce Harrow’s legacy of strong community ties and for all faiths to come together,” said the application document.

The aim was to “lift the community’s spirits and to address the strong sense of isolation felt by many of our community in these difficult times” and was for “people of all religions or of none”.

However, some residents have expressed concern about the noise and that the move could pave the way for a permanent call to prayer.

Residents are being invited to comment on the plans via Harrow Council’s website.

The plans can be viewed by typing in the application reference: P/1528/20

NB: We have decided to disable the comment function on this topic due to the volume of comments received and the fact we are a tiny organisation staffed by volunteers and not qualified to moderate the content. Please make comments on the planning application itself or email them to the planning department.

Recycling centre reopens

Harrow Recycling Centre is to reopen on Monday but there are new rules about who is allowed to go on certain days.

Harrow Council announced the centre in Forward Drive would open its doors seven days a week from May 18.

But for a few weeks a temporary system will be in place that means people from different parts of Harrow can only go on set days.

Under the new system people from HCRA households in HA1 can go to the dump on Mondays.

People from other Harrow postal zones have their own days while Sundays are reserved for keyworkers only.

There will be staff at the entrance to the centre checking people’s ID and paperwork.

Residents have been told to bring a valid UK driving licence, council tax statement or a utility bill and a staff pass, letter or other ID if they are a keyworker.

Only cars will be allowed to come to the site with just the driver allowed out of the vehicle to dispose of waste.

For more information click here.

Garden waste collections resume

Collections of garden waste will start again later this month, Harrow Council has confirmed.

The paid-for scheme had been temporarily suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic but will get going again from May 11.

The council has said it will refund residents for the collections that were missed.

Brown bins for garden waste are collected every two weeks so for some residents the service may resume during the week starting May 18.

You can check your collection date on the council’s website here.

The council reminded residents to ensure their garden waste scheme sticker was stuck to their brown bin where refuse collectors could see it.

If you haven’t yet received your sticker you can order it from here.

Garden waste collection suspended

Collections of garden waste have been suspended but household, food and recycling waste will continue to be collected as normal during the coronavirus crisis, Harrow Council has said.

The council announced the garden waste collection was suspended until further notice with the last collection taking place on April 3.

The authority said it hoped to be able to re-start the paid-for green waste service at the beginning of May when it would try and make up for missed collections..

Residents will only be able to get a refund if the council cancels the service entirely, the council said.

Meanwhile collections of household rubbish from green wheelie bins, recycling from blue wheelie bins and food waste from food waste caddies would continue.

Residents can check when their next bin collection will be here.

Harrow Recycling Centre is currently closed as are phone lines for waste services.

Residents warned about coronavirus scams

Residents have been warned to looked out for coronavirus scams run by unscrupulous criminals attempting to take advantage of the current crisis.

National Trading Standards said it was aware of a number of different scams being used to trick people out of money online, on the phone or in person.

The body warned people to be wary of anyone offering miracle cures or vaccines for coronavirus, or offering home-testing kits, which are currently not available to buy.

It also urged people to be cautious about those offering home cleaning services or offering to collect medication and food and asking for money upfront.

Meanwhile there are new phone apps that claim to provide updates on the virus but then lock your phone and demand a ransom.

National Trading Standards’ scams team urged people to only purchase good from legitimate retailers and not to give their bank card or PIN number to strangers.

They should be wary of anyone attempting to pressure them into accepting a service and always ask to see ID if someone claims to represent a charity.

When online people should use trusted websites and should type in web addresses rather than simply clicking on links in emails.

For more information and free online training on how to protect yourself and others from scams go to www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk

Appeal for volunteers to help out during coronavirus crisis

Harrow Council is appealing for volunteers to sign up and help the local authority support residents during the coronavirus crisis.

Volunteers may be drafted in to help in a number of ways that could include delivering leaflets and providing information to neighbours on sources of help.

They may also be asked to deliver essential supplies to vulnerable residents or staff control centres.

Harrow Council said it was keen to get suggestions on other ways volunteers might be able to help.

Anyone who is interested – and fit and well enough to provide help – can sign up here.

The council stressed it would not expect or ask people to do any activity that would put them at risk.

As part of its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Harrow Council has said it is taking steps to reduce Council Tax for those on low incomes.

It will also be setting up a Coronavirus Hardship Scheme for those experiencing “exceptional hardship” such as those who have lost their jobs and incomes.

The council has set up a dedicated webpage to provide information on support for residents and businesses, service closures and volunteering at harrow.gov.uk/coronavirus

Council leader Graham Henson has warned the outbreak will “significantly impact services”.

“Our priority is to ensure that the council targets the resources it has to help those most at risk in our communities and to continue delivering vital front line services in the coming weeks – and months,” he said.

“We are working closely with our partners, GPs, community leaders, businesses and the voluntary sector to ensure the most in need are supported in the best way possible.”

He said it was vital people followed government advice on self-isolating and social distancing.

“It’s also important that we look out for our friends and neighbours – please give a helping hand where it’s needed,” he added.

Residents must take ID to the tip

Harrow residents have been told they must take valid ID to the dump in order to dispose of their rubbish.

The move is part of a crackdown on people from outside the borough using the town’s waste disposal services.

Harrow Council said the waste and recycling centre at Forward Drive had seen an increase in the number of people coming to the tip with no proof they lived in Harrow.

There has also been a rise in businesses masquerading as residents in order to avoid paying fees.

Harrow residents have been advised to bring a valid photo ID and proof of address with them when going to the dump – preferably a driving licence.

Those coming from outside the borough must pay a £25 fee.

All van drivers are also charged to use the dump.

Click here for more information.