Two businesses that regularly ignored covid restrictions have managed to avoid fines according to a Greenwich Council press release.
The release by the authority appears to want to present an image of taking firm action, yet details seem to show the opposite. It reveals a Woolwich and Plumstead business continued to ignore restrictions a number of times, and despite ignoring repeated warnings still avoid any fines.
According to Greenwich Council Yinka Cafe in Woolwich town centre continued to serve food for indoor customers despite repeated warnings, and a hair salon on Plumstead High Street continued to offer haircuts. They both received a “prohibition notice” which is a more formal warning – but doesn’t even necessarily mean closure.
It will raise questions as to how lax the authority have been in the area – despite Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich being in a dire situation at times when it even ran short of oxygen.
They authority have long appeared weak on enforcement in a whole range of areas. An illegal hotel even operated for a year in sight of their own Woolwich HQ.
Despite the need for social distancing and spending over £100,000 on plastic barriers they have continually failed to act against business blocking pavements space in the town from the very beginning of the pandemic.
A row of businesses on Woolwich New Road continually leave clutter and advertising hoardings outside shops – often blocking those in wheelchairs and the disabled – with action seemingly never taken. It’s a similar situation with parking in certain areas of the town centre not being enforced, with wardens passing by without ticketing.
Aside from parking staff, the council’s now privatised town centre wardens also don’t appear to be doing very much. Perhaps like their privatised traffic wardens in the authority, they can’t actually do much. With parking, the council outsourced enforcement in some areas, ignored government guidance in 2014 which took effect in 2016 and thus couldn’t obtain details of people preventing enforcement.
Planning isn’t much different, with a decision on a Plumstead home conversion revealing the owner built an illegal extension and operated without a license – yet was still recommended for approval as a House of Multiple Occupation in recent weeks. The extension was in place for more than four years. Even when fines have been issued for appalling overcrowding, the authority doesn’t use recent powers made available and instead issues small fines.