Future of Pinner Park Farm

Regarding the Farm public consultation  will take place at Harrow Arts Centre as follows:
25 June 1pm to 5.30pm
26 June 1pm to 9pm
27 June 1pm to 8pm

Pinner Park Farm, originally a Deer Park dating back to 1273/4 and initially owned by the Archbishop of Canterbury, belongs to Harrow Council.  It is currently leased from the Council on an agricultural lease and is used to raise beef cattle and as a location for a road surfacing business.
It was revealed at the AGM of the Pinner Association that the Council had engaged a property consultancy firm to advise on how to secure the long-term future of the Farm and had invited the Pinner Association and other local residents’ associations to a meeting to hear about this.   The firm advised that the listed farmhouse, and other important buildings in its curtilage are in a very poor condition and require considerable restoration.  These historically important buildings are surrounded by later farm buildings, said to be of little architectural merit.  It is therefore proposed that Harrow Council take back the farm and sell the parts currently built on for redevelopment as residential units.
The grade II listed farmhouse would be included in this redevelopment, but the older part of the house would be have to be retained by any developer, together with some of the other old buildings of architectural merit.  Any new houses would be designed to blend in with the older buildings.
The rest of land at the farm would be designated as a “Country Park” with full public access, and a visitor centre would be located on the farm with toilets and other visitor facilities.  The unusual rotunda building, built as a milking parlour when the farm was used as a dairy farm, would be retained and restored and would be used as a feature within the Country Park.The extent of the residential development and the features to be provided within the new Country Park are still under discussion.  Further public consultation events are to be held later this summer once the outline plans have been further developed.   The Pinner Association will be keeping closely in touch with these proposals.


Fraud Awareness

This Wednesday, 4th June the Metropolitan Police is holding a Courier Fraud Awareness Day.
Courier fraud is a sophisticated fraud where scammers telephone the victim purporting to be someone from their bank, the police or other law enforcement agency. They then dupe the person into revealing their PIN and handing over their credit or debit card to a courier or taxi driver, who may not know they are being used as part of the scam. The victim may be asked to ring the number on the back of their card, thereby further convincing the victim that the call is genuine, however the scammer keeps the line open so that the victim unknowingly talks to another member of the gang, posing as a bank employee.
More recently, fraudsters have pretended to be police officers, telephoning the victim and asking them to assist in a police investigation into a bank employee. The victim is requested to withdraw a large sum of cash from their bank and take it home, where it is then collected by a courier.
In the last year, the percentage of unsuccessful offences has increased to from 40% to 76% of all courier fraud calls reported to police. Officers believe this success is due to a combination of intensive efforts by Ofcom and the telecommunications industry to cut the amount of time taken to disconnect a call, and increased public awareness of the scam.
Despite these advances, police are warning people to be on their guard as criminals work ever harder to defraud their victims. 2556 courier fraud offences were reported to the MPS between April 2013 and March 2014 and the crime continues to evolve. Variations of the crime include:
– being told there is a corrupt member of staff within the bank and asking for help in identifying them. The victim is told to withdraw a large sum of money which will be ‘marked’, with the purpose of it being placed back into the banking system. A taxi driver is sent round to collect the cash.
As part of today’s Courier Fraud Awareness Day, officers are advising Londoners and particularly those who may be elderly or vulnerable to be aware of the following:
– Police and banks will never ask for your PIN or bank card
– Never give your PIN or bank card to anyone
– If you are contacted by someone who asks for these, hang up
– Use a different line to report the call to police on 101 or allow at least five minutes for the line to automatically clear
– Call 999 if the crime is in action.
A/DCI Gary Miles of The Metropolitan Police Service’s Specialist and Economic Crime Command, said:
“Much has been done in the last year to tackle courier fraud, but scammers are always looking for new ways of defrauding the elderly and vulnerable, and the crime continues to evolve. It is vital that people stay vigilant. Courier fraudsters put a huge amount of time and effort into being convincing because the pay-off is immense. This is a massive part of what makes them so successful. We want people to question even truly genuine sounding calls and, most importantly, remember police and banks will never ask for your PIN or bank card, so you should never give these away.”
Lynn Parker, Ofcom’s Director of Consumer Protection, said: “Ofcom is working closely with the police and the telecoms industry to help stamp out courier fraud.
“Over the last year, a number of telephone providers have made changes to their networks to cut the time a phone line remains open to a couple of seconds. This action has stopped fraudsters from being able to stay on the line to impersonate a victim’s bank or the police – a key feature of how this scam works. We have also been working to drive awareness among consumers to help them avoid falling victim to courier fraud.
“It’s very encouraging to see this work paying dividends, with more fraudsters being foiled in their attempts to scam people. But we’re fully aware that there’s more work to do to prevent courier fraud completely.  We are continuing our work in this area to ensure that the necessary technical changes are fully implemented across the telecoms sector as quickly as possible.”
Detective Chief Inspector Perry Stokes, Head of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit, said:
“Fraudsters can be extremely persuasive – do not be fooled. Your bank or the police will never call you to request your bank card or ask you to transfer money to another account. Anyone attempting to do so is a fraudster. If someone on the phone asks for it, hang up immediately. If you believe you have had one of these calls or know someone who has, get in contact with your bank straight away.”
Further initiatives taking place on the day include:
– Local police distributing the ‘Little Book of Big Scams’ in high street banks including Natwest, Barclays and Santander
– Officers giving presentations to local elderly residents and liaising with charities such as Age UK and Silver Line to advise how to avoid becoming a victim of courier fraud
– Officers manning fraud prevention stalls at transport and community hubs
– Follow-up visits to victims and visit potential victims
– Visits to cab and courier firms to advise on spotting courier fraudsters
– Attending the Southwark Pensioners’ Forum at Portcullis House with Simon Hughes MP

The Little Book of Big Scams can be downloaded here: http://www.met.police.uk/docs/little_book_scam.pdf

Great Railway Journeys

Just strolling in the Memorial Park one sunny Sunday afternoon, when we came across a small group filming for the Great Railway Journey series.  There was Mrs Marshall, the famous 19th Century cook, instructing Michael Portillo in the intricacies of  making cucumber ice cream, which we were invited to sample and very cooling it turned out to be.
IMG_2054All managed without the usual procession of buses, caravans and trailers normally associated with any TV filming in Pinner.