SERVICE CHANGES DUR TO COVID-19 AND INFORMATION IN DETAIL

To find out more detailed information about any service changes please click on the relevant box below.

Anti-Social Behaviour

Our ASB Officers are still working with partner agencies to tackle Anti-Social Behaviour but it may not be possible to use the full range of tools available at this time (for example home visits and installation of mobile CCTV equipment).

What you can do

If you are experiencing problems with anti-social behaviour you can report this to Boston Borough Council in a number of ways:

If you want to report a non-urgent incident to Lincolnshire Police, you can call their non-emergency number 101, or complete an online reporting form.  Visit their contact us page for further details.

Boston Crematorium and Cemetery

 

H.M.Government has announced that with effect from 17th May 2021 every funeral venue has to make a decision on what is appropriate and manageable whilst maintaining social distancing of mourners within the chapel. The chapel at Boston Crematorium can accommodate up to 39 mourners, whilst complying with current social distancing guidance. Face coverings must be worn whilst inside the chapel. This will apply to all mourners attending funeral services at Boston Crematorium.

In order to keep everyone safe, the advice is that the number of mourners attending should be kept as low as possible in every case. Sadly, this means that families will need to make difficult decisions as to who will be able to attend a funeral, as we will not be able to admit any more into the chapel, and the doors will be closed during the funeral service. Additional Mourners should still not gather outside at the front of the crematorium, outside of the cemetery gates, or along the approach route as potentially this can result in a large gathering, which is contrary to the gradual easing measures being put in place. External speakers will not be operational during these restrictions. We hope to be able to ease restrictions further after 21st June depending on H.M.Government announcements.

The Government has issued advice regarding the management of funeral services, this can be found here.

Funeral services can be live streamed (at the request of the Next of Kin only) and viewed via a secure link if desired, and this will be available on demand for 7 days. It is important to note that you need to obtain permission from the family of the Deceased to view live streams.

We are very sorry to have to introduce these measures, but this is necessary to protect everyone, and is in line with Government requirements and advice issued by the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities.

We are also taking the following measures to reduce the risk of infection:

  • Mourners are asked not to touch the coffin to avoid the risk of cross infection.
  • We have removed the hymn books because the guidance states that singing during a funeral service should be avoided, as it is a potential way to spread the virus. Favourite hymns or other pieces of music may still be played for mourners to sit and listen to.
  • We will be sanitising between services, door handles, seats, lectern, toilets and other surfaces.
  • Hand washing facilities with soap and hot water are available in the toilets.

Track and Trace requirements

Each family will be asked by their Funeral Director to supply a list of expected mourners with their contact telephone number or email address. This must be submitted in advance of the funeral service, and will only be used in the event of someone later testing positive for COVID 19, when all of their contacts need to be traced for isolation purposes.

We want to reassure you that we will take every possible action to ensure that your service will be as safe from the Coronavirus as possible.

The Book of Remembrance room is now open to the public, but it can also be viewed at: https://boston.bookofremembrance.uk/ 

The office and public reception area is currently closed to the public, but contact can be made by telephoning 01205 314200 or emailing crematorium@boston.gov.uk

Boston Guildhall Museum

In line with the Governments public statement Boston Guildhall Museum remains closed. 

We are contactable for museum, wedding or private hire enquiries via email Guildhall@boston.gov.uk 

Boston Market

From Wednesday 14th April Boston Market will re-open with all traders invited back to stand. Please read more at www.mybostonuk.com/boston-market-ready-to-re-open-to-all-traders

Remember: Hands – Face – Space, at all times

 

Building Control

Boston Borough Council Building Control is taking a number of appropriate steps to protect staff, customers and stakeholders from the threat posed by Covid-19. Having reviewed our business practices, we consider site inspections are essential and therefore we will continue to provide this service on a case by case basis* until further notice. Please note that we are no longer facilitating face-to-face meetings at our office or attending external meetings, however we remain contactable by the usual methods, i.e. telephone and e-mail.

* For example, if there is any possibility of vulnerable groups being in the vicinity. These inspections will be deferred until such time as it can be deemed safe to carry them out.

Our service follows the current government guidance for “Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) – people working in, visiting or delivering to other people’s homes”.

Building Control site inspections

During the Coronavirus pandemic, where we deem it safe to do so, Building Control site inspections will continue to be carried out as far as is practicable. Below is the list of inspections that we consider (taking all risks into account) can be safely carried out in the open air. Other inspections may be carried out in person, virtually (such as submission of photographs) or postponed till such a time as is safe to do so. Please note that service delivery will be reviewed regularly, such as following any changes to government guidance.

As part of the inspection booking process the following questions will be asked:-

For the health, safety and wellbeing of you, your builder and our staff please answer the following questions openly and honestly:

  1. Are you and everyone else at the property clear of Covid-19 symptoms (new continuous cough, high temperature, a loss of or change to sense of small or taste) at present? IF NO = NO INSPECTION
  2. Are you or anyone at the address in self-isolation due to symptoms of Covid-19? IF YES = NO INSPECTION
  3. Are you or anyone at the address currently “shielding” (they will have received a letter from the NHS if shielding applies to them)? IF YES = NO INSPECTION
  4. Social distancing of 2 metres between all people in the property and officers is required at all times. To achieve this we are requesting that all residents remain in a separate room/s or outside away from the officer during the inspection and to avoid halls and corridors where the officer will need to enter and leave the property. Are you able to commit to this throughout the inspection? IF NO = NO INSPECTION

Please note – If this is not strictly adhered to and there are any actions, threats or breaches of social distancing guidelines which are perceived to present a risk to either party the officer may stop the visit / inspection and leave the property until the issue is able to be resolved.

IMPORTANT NOTE TO THE OCCUPIER – By allowing the officer to enter your property you are confirming your responses to the questions and agreeing to the above requirements.

As above, if any of the above answers are unsatisfactory then then a physical on-site inspection will not be carried out. Where it is possible a virtual inspection will be carried out if practical to do so, or the inspection will be deferred until a later date.

Any on-site inspections that can continue to be carried out safely at private residences, commercial sites and housing sites will be and these include:-

  • Commencement/ foundation excavations
  • Foundation concrete (where possible in conjunction with other inspections)
  • DPC (where possible in conjunction with other inspections)
  • Oversite concrete (where possible in conjunction with other inspections)
  • Foul drainage (where possible in conjunction with other inspections)
  • Floor joist (in most cases and where possible in conjunction with other inspections)
  • Structural steelwork (in most cases and where possible in conjunction with other inspections)
  • Roof prior to closure (in most cases and where possible in conjunction with other inspections)
  • Pre-plaster/ first fix (ideally where the property is unoccupied and an unaccompanied inspection is possible)
  • Occupancy (ideally where the property is unoccupied and an unaccompanied inspection is possible)
  • Completion (ideally where the property is unoccupied and an unaccompanied inspection is possible)

The above inspections would entail very little contact with equipment/ materials on site and so long as “social distancing guidance” with people on site can be observed, and any internal areas are well ventilated with doors open etc., the risk to all will be limited. Please note that we request that a maximum of one occupant is in attendance during any internal inspections.

Where necessary, inspections may be carried out virtually, such as by provision of photographic evidence and these include:-

  • Those inspections listed above (excluding completions) that are not able to be safely carried out in person.

Please note that we reserve the right to cancel any on-site inspection that has been previously booked, or curtail any inspection where it is deemed (for either party) it is not safe to continue.

 

Business Rates

*** New Changes to Business Rates – budget and post budget announcements ***

Retail Relief
It was announced in the budget that Retail Relief will continue until 30 June 2021 at 100%. From 1 July 2021 this will change to 66% until 31 March 2022. Revised bills will be sent out in June 2021.

Restart Grants
The Government announced in the budget that Restart Grants will become available to qualifying businesses from April 2021.

Further information about the Restart Grants can be found in our Restart Grants page using the following link https://www.mybostonuk.com/restart-grant/

Car Parking

FREE parking in Boston with displayed ticket

Free 1 hour parking has been extended in all Boston Borough Council-owned car parks until 31st May 2021.

The 1 hour free parking is available with a free hour’s ticket either from the machine or virtual via MiPermit in the following car parks: Bargate Green, Custom House Quay, Cattle Market, Botolph Street, Doughty Quay, West End, St George’s Road, Artillery Row, Maud Street, Buoy Yard, Victoria Place, Staniland, George Street, Spayne Road and Tunnard Street.

For permit information and prices please visit: https://www.mybostonuk.com/town-centre/car-parks/

Council Tax Support

The government announced a national support fund to assist those in need of support with their council tax. The support available is for those most vulnerable where a claim for council tax support is already in place.

Those who are eligible for this payment will have received a new council tax bill for the financial year 2020/21, where a maximum of £150.00 award will have been made.

You do not need to apply for this, we have sent out revised bills. If you do not think you have been granted this or have any questions relating to this award please continue to contact the office by email in the first instance at Revs@boston.gov.uk or by telephone on 01205 314202.

Commercial Services

Commercial waste and recycling (trade) operating as normal

Economic Support

The Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) will be made available to eligible businesses in the District that are impacted directly by the four week National lockdown. In a similar way to the Small Business Grant/Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Funds which were delivered earlier this year, the grant will be available to rated operating businesses hereditaments (to qualify, a hereditament must be rated as of 05/11/20) that are required by law to close due to restrictions and will be eligible for the following grant payment:

  1. For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per four weeks;  
  2. For properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2,000 per four weeks;  
  3. For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per four weeks. 

The Government is also making provision for businesses that do not qualify for LRSG support, although the ‘discretionary’ element (the ‘Additional Restrictions Grant’) is unlikely to be available at this time.  Further updates will be provided once the scheme has been approved.

All eligible businesses/hereditaments will be required to make new applications – applications to previous schemes will not be considered for the new funds. We expect that eligible businesses will be able to make an application for LRSG funding in mid to late November, with payments following (10 working days after successful application submission). Please note: these timescales are not definitive and subject to change.

For more detailed information, please consult the Government guidance (opens new window) and we will publish updates on this page.

Environmental Health Services

We plan to resume the programme of programmed food hygiene inspections, using a revised approach that takes account of the governments advice on maintaining social distancing.

We will be working with other regulatory agencies in Boston to ensure that the reopening of businesses on 12 April, as a result of the easing of some lockdown restrictions, is carried out successfully and safely.

These arrangements are subject to change without notice if government restrictions are introduced.

Environmental Protection will continue to carry out inspections in terms of permitted activities and caravan site licences where such inspection can be carried out safely.

In terms of nuisance complaints regarding noise, odour, smoke etc. we will continue to respond to such matters however this service may be limited at times. For example we shall not at the current time be installing noise equipment within residential properties where we may have previously done so to investigate noise complaints.

 

 

Feedback and FOI

Please be advised that in response to customer Feedback (such as comments and complaints); requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act, the Council strives to respond in a timely manner. However due to the COVID-19 pandemic we may be slightly longer in responding and ask customers for patience and understanding.

Fraud prevention and advice

Don’t fall for it – that’s the advice from law enforcement agencies as scammers try to cash in on the Covid-19 pandemic.

They are calling on the public to be on their guard against fraud, particularly if asked to share their financial or personal information.

And they’re urging people to take three simple steps to protect themselves from fraudsters:

Stop: Take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information.

Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to ActionFraud by email or on 0300 123 2040.

Among the scams already being investigated are:

  • Criminals targeting people trying to buy medical supplies online;
  • Sending emails offering fake medical support and scamming people who are vulnerable or increasingly isolated at home;
  • Making appeals for you to support bogus charities or those who are ill;
  • Online shopping scams where orders never arrive;
  • Fake testing kits being offered for sale;
  • Using Government branding to try and trick people, including reports of using HMRC branding to make fake offers of financial support through emails, phone calls and text messages.

Police expect a surge in phishing scams or calls claiming to be from government departments offering grants, tax rebates or compensation. To report offers of financial assistance from HMRC contact phishing@hmrc.gov.uk

Geoff Moulder Leisure Complex

Please visit www.mybostonuk.com/gmlc for updates


The FREE to join Facebook group for the community of Boston Borough  is still running with live fitness classes. 

Please follow this link https://www.facebook.com/groups/843448586167671/ – you must read and agree to the rules of the page and answer the question before you can be accepted into the group. Please note: you MUST click the link to join!

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Drivers and Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicles

Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer travel guidance for passengers

If you are travelling by taxi, aside from the driver, it is not permitted to share a taxi or private hire vehicle with someone from outside your household or your support bubble.

Even after you have received a vaccine, you should continue to apply safety measures when using taxis or private hire vehicles.

You must wear a face covering when using taxis or private hire vehicles. You will be breaking the law if you fail to do so and could be fined. A taxi driver or private hire vehicle operator will be entitled to refuse to accept you if you do not wear a face covering, unless you are exempt from this requirement.

You should stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre while wearing a face covering.

Follow the advice of the operator and 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.

For the full guidance, including the mandatory requirements for face coverings please see:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers

Temporary Protective Screens (TPS) for Licensing Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles

In light of the COVID-19 virus and the impact it is having on the hackney carriage and private hire trade, Boston Borough Council is working with the trade to assist licensed drivers to continue to work throughout the outbreak.

Where a request is received, the council will permit, as a temporary measure, the installation of a protective screen.  The screen must be fitted behind the driver and front passenger seat (in between the rear passenger compartment and the driver).

You must not order, purchase or fit a screen without prior approval from Boston Borough Council.

The protective screen:

  • Must not contravene any prevailing legal requirements;
  • Must only be fitted across the rear of both front seats of a vehicle, creating a partition between the front and rear seats; and
  • Must not affect the structure, integrity or manufacturer fitted safety provision of the vehicle whatsoever

Process to be followed when wishing to fit a Temporary Screen:

  • Provide details of the screen you wish to fit for consideration by the Taxi Licensing Section and await approval before ordering or purchasing;
  •  Provide the Local Authority with written approval from your insurer to install a TPS.
  •  Agree in writing to remove the TPS within a maximum of 21 days after the current social distancing restrictions relating to COVID-19 have been removed.

 We would refer all licensing hackney carriage and private hire vehicle proprietors, drivers and operators to the prevailing Government Guidance. At the time of publishing this guidance this was “Working Safely during COVID-19 in or from a vehicle” dated 11 May 2020.

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Licensing of new Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles.

Boston Borough Council has now recommenced granting new licences for Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles.

To ensure that this can be done with the minimum of risk to all parties the following process MUST be followed by applicants for a new vehicle licence.

  1. Applicants must submit their application, accompanying paperwork and fee either in hard copy via the council letter box or electronically.  If submitted electronically please telephone the council on 01205 314214 to arrange payment. Please send electronic applications to licensing@boston.gov.uk
  2. An MOT, less than 1 month old and undertaken at an MOT testing station within the Boston Borough Council area must be provided with new vehicle licence applications. In the case of a wheelchair accessible vehicle, IVAs are not currently being undertaken by the DVSA testing station so we are unable at present to licence wheelchair accessible vehicles.
  3. If a vehicle of the same make and model has not previously been licensed by the council, the applicant will be required to submit a video to licensing@boston.gov.uk showing that the measurements of the vehicle comply with our vehicle specification.  A copy of this specification can be found on our website at

           Hackney carriages https://www.mybostonuk.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Hackney_Carriage_Full_October_2017_v4.1.pdf

           Private Hire Vehicles https://www.mybostonuk.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/PH_Full_October_2017_v4.1.pdf

  1. The applicant will be contacted by an officer of the council to make an appointment to present their vehicle at the carpark at the rear of the Municipal Buildings.
  2. On arrival at the appointed time, the applicant must ring the offices to confirm their arrival.
  3. If the vehicle is fitted with a meter, a video must be taken when you arrive at the council offices to evidence that the meter is correctly calibrated with the Hackney Carriage Tariffs.  The video must then be emailed to the council (Licensing@boston.gov.uk)
  4. The applicant or their representative will then fully open all of the vehicle doors and boot, ensuring that the fire extinguisher can be visually inspected.
  5. The applicant or their representative must then stand a minimum of 2m from the vehicle and await the officer attending to inspect the vehicle.
  6. The vehicle will then be visually inspected (condition of interior and exterior of the vehicle)
  7. The officer will return to the office to process the application in the usual way.
  8. Your licence and plate will be posted to you by Royal Mail, Second Class.

Please bear in mind Taxi Licensing Officers are currently only available at the Municipal Buildings one day per week so a same or next day service for licensing vehicles is not achievable.  Please ensure that you submit your application at the earliest opportunity so that we can book the vehicle in to be inspected on the next occasion that an officer is available.

Homeless/Rough Sleepers

Anyone who is actually homeless or threatened with homelessness should contact the housing team at Boston Borough Council via one of three ways:

Please leave as a minimum your name and contact details (both telephone/mobile and email if you have one).  A member of the housing team will then speak with you or contact you to progress your application.

Household Waste Recycling Centre (tips)

Visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/clickandtip for the latest information.

 
Housing Condition / Standards Complaints

If you are experiencing disrepair issues with your rented property, in the first instance please refer to the following webpage for advice and information https://www.mybostonuk.com/housing/my-home-tenant/disrepair-information-for-tenants/

If you have then completed a housing disrepair complaint form, depending on the seriousness of the complaint, we will then endeavour to resolve the matter between you and your landlord via phone/ email and photographs. Due to the ongoing pandemic currently visits and inspections are only being conducted in the most serious circumstances and only when Covid-19 Secure and other requirements are able to be met.      

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

If you live in an HMO, you and all the other residents should:

If you’re shielding because you have a high risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus, spend as little time as possible in the shared areas. Speak to your local council about finding new accommodation if you cannot effectively shield in your current home.

Please go to the Home page to find out which tier applies to Lincolnshire.

Meetings

We are still using virtual meetings when meetings are necessary.

Our Council Meetings are broadcast live on our YouTube Channel at https://www.mybostonuk.com/youtube

Planning Services

There continues to be minimal disruption to the Planning Service at this time. The majority of the team are working away from the office. Our key priority is processing applications from receipt -validation – assessment – decision and we are not currently experiencing major delays in these key tasks.

General enquiries and requests for information are being processed as normal and we aim to respond within our usual timescale of 21days.

Contact with the Planning Department may be limited and outside of our usual service standards. We will respond to any queries as soon as we can, we actively encourage people to contact us by email using the following: Planning@boston.gov.uk. Officers are responding to call-backs as soon as they are able. If you require a call-back, please provide your contact details.

Application submissions;
If you are intending to submit a new application, we would encourage you to use the Planning Portal’s comprehensive online submission and payment service. Please see our website for how to apply through the Planning Portal, along with our Local Validation checklists;

Applications made directly to the Council by email or post, could take longer to process. We encourage payment by debit/credit card via our Customer Services Team – 01205 314200; payments by cheque are discouraged.

Site Visits
Site visits are still being carried out as an integral part of the application assessment and in the majority of cases officers should be able to make an assessment without the need for interaction or entering buildings. These site visits are subject to restrictions in line with Government advice and risk assessment. You may be contacted and asked a series of questions before a site visit is undertaken. Where we cannot make contact, or it would not be safe or appropriate to undertake a visit, the case will be delayed until this is can be undertaken.

Extension to time limit for commencement
The Business and Planning Act 2020 makes temporary modifications to The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 to enable certain planning permissions and listed building consents in England which have lapsed or are due to lapse during 2020 to be extended.

Where an unimplemented planning application which was due to lapse between 19 August 2020 and 31 December 2020 will automatically be extended to 1 May 2021; there is no further approval required.

All Listed Building Consents which expire between 23 March 2020 and 31 December 2020 will be extended to 1 May 2021. Listed Building Consents will not be subject to a requirement to obtain Additional Environmental Approval.

We are in the process of writing to developers who may benefit from this temporary extension.

Additional year to commence development on new planning approvals;
From 18th May 2020, all permissions where the legislation allows us to will now be granted with an additional year extension, thus allowing a four-year period within which to commence the consent for full applications and for outlines allowing an additional year for submission of Reserved Matters. The Council feels that this approach to extend the life of permissions we are issuing now may help in the longer term to aid recovery.

Where it is considered appropriate to impose longer or shorter time scales, we will still continue to do so, this will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

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New Legislation has been issued to permit Restaurants and cafes (Use Class A3), drinking establishments and drinking establishments with expanded food provision (Use Class A4) to temporarily provide takeaway food* for a temporary period until 23rd March 2022, without the need to apply for Planning Permission. There is a requirement to notify the Local Planning Authority of a change of use of this nature: for more information and to apply please see https://www.mybostonuk.com/hotfoodtakeaway/

Public Conveniences

Bargate Green and Lincoln Lane toilets are open Monday to Sunday from 8am to 4pm.

Central Park toilets remain closed until further notice.

Please note: all three of our toilet blocks have access to the disabled toilets for those using radar keys.

Reporting social distancing related issues

If you have any concerns about individuals not following social distancing rules please report to the Police on 101 where you concerns will be investigated  

Shop safely
  • Stay 2 metres away from other customers and staff.
    • Keep clear of people on the way to and from the shops, and when inside them as well, if possible.
    • Be patient and take your turn to access items in fridges and freezers. Some supermarkets are helping to do this by limiting the number of people who can be inside a shop at any given time. Please be patient.
    • When purchasing your shopping, try to keep your distance from shop workers as well.
    • With self-service checkouts and pin pads, you may have no choice but to come into contact with surfaces that have been handled by many people. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth until you have washed your hands.
  • Use delivery services where possible
    • The fewer people on the streets and in shops, the less chance there is for people to pass on coronavirus.
    • If you can get delivery services, this will reduce the amount of times you have to leave the house.
    • This will help slow, and ease, the peak of infections in the population that politicians and scientists worry will overwhelm health services.
Waste Services
 
Key Safety Lines
  • wash your hands, before and after handling your recycling bins or boxes
  • cloths, wipes and gloves or any other personal protective equipment (PPE) that you use for cleaning should be placed in your general waste bin
  • do not put tissues or any PPE such as face masks in your recycling bins or bags  – these items are not recyclable, people physically sort through your waste by hand, please respect their health and safety
  • if you have a wheelie bin, always disinfect your bin handles and lids before and after collection.
  • if you have a wheelie box/recycling box, always disinfect the handles and flaps before and after collection
  • taking these steps will help stop the spread of the virus to your waste collectors, your neighbours and to others. 

At this time we are asking any households where residents are self-isolating due to the Coronavirus outbreak to follow this advice when disposing of household waste.

Personal household waste
In line with the advice from Public Health England, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection, personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your green household waste bin (please avoid putting these in any of your recycling bins). Other household waste can be disposed of as normal.

By taking these actions you will help us to try and ensure that our staff remain safe and that we are able to continue providing the normal level of waste collection services for as long as possible.

If you have any questions about disposing of your waste please contact 01205 314200.

 

 

Re-Opening Of Our Economy

Business information and guidance when re-opening stores during Covid-19

Useful Links: