Election of Councillors

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Epping Forest District

Election of Councillors

for the Electoral Wards listed below
Electoral Divisions Number of Councillors to be elected
Broadley Common, Epping Upland & Nazeing One
Buckhurst Hill West One
Chipping Ongar, Greensted and Marden Ash One
Epping Hemnall One
Epping Lindsey and Thornwood Common One
Grange Hill One
Hastingwood, Matching and Sheering Village One
Lambourne One
Lower Nazeing One
Lower Sheering One
North Weald Bassett One
Roydon One
Shelley One
Waltham Abbey High Beach One
Waltham Abbey Honey Lane One
Waltham Abbey North East One
Waltham Abbey Paternoster One
Waltham Abbey South West One
  1. Forms of nomination for District Elections may be obtained at Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, Essex, CM16 4BZ from the Returning Officer who will, at the request of an elector for any electoral area prepare a nomination paper for signature.
  2. Nomination papers must be delivered to the Returning Officer, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, Essex, CM16 4BZ on any day after the date of this notice but no later than NOON on Wednesday 4 April 2007.
  3. If any election is contested the poll will take place on Thursday 3 May 2007.
  4. Applications, amendments or cancellations of postal votes must reach the Electoral Registration Officer at Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, Essex, CM16 4BZ by 5pm on Wednesday 18 April 2007.
  5. Applications to vote by proxy at this election must reach the Electoral Registration Officer at Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, Essex, CM16 4BZ by 5pm on Wednesday 25 April 2007.
  6. Applications to vote by proxy at this election applied for on grounds of physical incapacity, where that physical incapacity occurred after 5pm on Wednesday 25 April 2007, must reach the Electoral Registration Officer at Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, Essex, CM16 4BZ by 5pm on Thursday 3 May 2007.

Dated Tuesday 27 March 2007

Ian Willett
Returning Officer

School Development will bring Sports Benefits to District

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Councillor Chris Whitbread, Leisure Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council has clarified the position for local sports pitch provision when St John`s School redevelopment takes place. He said:

On behalf of Epping Forest District Council, I would like to address concerns voiced by Epping Town Council about future provision of sports pitches when St John`s School is rebuilt.

The Town Council issued a press release suggesting that Ongar would be the main beneficiary from money received by the District Council for sports pitches when the current site of St John`s playing fields is redeveloped for housing to pay for the new school. While I do not begrudge Ongar any investment in its sport facilities, I want to make clear that Epping has by no means been ruled out of the potential benefits.

Essex County Council and the Diocese of Chelmsford, made it clear early on that it would not be possible to build a new school for Epping without subsidising the cost with some residential development of part of its playing fields.

The District Council was obviously concerned about the potential loss of the playing fields but it became clear that the new school could not go ahead without a degree of flexibility and compromise on all sides. In liaison with Sport England we therefore sought ways in which we could protect or enhance sports facilities, without preventing the new school going ahead.

Sport England (the National Organisation responsible for the development of Sport), one of the Statutory Consultees on the Planning Application, recognised this situation and approached the County Council to negotiate an undertaking that, in the event of the New School Project proceeding, a financial contribution would be made to compensate for the loss of some of the existing School Playing Fields and to increase opportunities in the area.

Sport England were aware of the District Council`s long-standing desire to increase community sports participation on the ex school playing fields, at the rear of Ongar Leisure Centre, which had lain largely unused and poorly maintained since the closure of Ongar Comprehensive School. Sport England considers this as a site with significant potential for improvement.

However, the District Council are anxious to ensure that any financial contribution for Sport emanating from the St John`s School redevelopment should be targeted to meet the greatest need and demand. Therefore, we specifically asked for the terms of the Section 106 Agreement to be expanded to allow for any financial contribution to be spent in any part of the District on this basis.

Myself and Officers from Leisure Services have met with the Town Council to explain our thinking, give assurances that no final decision has been reached and to advise that we have embarked on the preparation of a new Playing Pitch Strategy for the District. Following a nationally recognised methodology, the development of the Playing Pitch Strategy will be undertaken in consultation with all stakeholders to include Town and Parish Councils, Schools and Colleges and importantly voluntary sports clubs and organisations.

Due for completion in September 2007, the Playing Strategy will provide a fully objective basis on which to advise Sport England on the most appropriate allocation of any funding arising from the St John`s School Redevelopment Project. Clearly, if there is proven significant need in Epping, which outweighs demand elsewhere, this is where the investment could well be made.

The Section 106 Agreement allows for up to seven years for the sports Contribution to be spent. Given that the final permissions for the new School are somewhere off, there is time to consult and develop the most appropriate option for the benefit of our community. There is certainly no need to rush into any quick decisions.

As a member of Epping Town Council as well as the Portfolio Holder for Leisure at Epping Forest District Council, I have regard and responsibility not only to the District but also to the Town where I live. I hope residents will agree that the arrangements I have outlined are the most appropriate and equitable in the circumstances.


Recycling Project Brings Low Cost Furniture to District

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A pioneering non-profit furniture recycling project was launched by Epping Forest District Councillors recently. Based in Waltham Abbey, the Lighthouse Project will collect good quality clean furniture and household appliances from across the district. Residents on low income or on the lookout for a bargain will then be able to buy the recycled goods at low prices. Councillor Ms Syd Stavrou Portfolio Holder for Community Wellbeing and Councillor Mrs Janet Whitehouse, Vice Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, officially declared the new service open at the launch of the project in Waltham Abbey on Wednesday 21 February 2007.

Image of Ben Carman, Paul Sanders, Councillor Ms Syd Stavrou and Councillor Mrs Janet WhitehouseThe development of the new outlet at Epping Forest District Council`s depot in Town Mead, Waltham Abbey is an extension of the project from its main base in Brentwood. Brian Darwood, Project Manager for Lighthouse said: Our main aim is to help people on low incomes who struggle to afford shop prices. We collect a range of household goods people no longer want. Everything from electrical appliances like TVs, fridges, cookers and washing machines, all of which are tested before being resold, to beds tables, chairs, wardrobes and cabinets.

He continued: The benefits are many. Whether you are a young person setting up home for the first time or an older person living on a pension, we can help with all the basic necessities. We are also providing a valuable service for people who have household goods they no longer need. You might be downsizing to a smaller property and need to dispose of some furniture or you might have bought a new flat-panel TV and no longer need your old one. Many of the goods we take would otherwise end up in landfill, or worse fly-tipping. Taking these goods and recycling them with new owners benefits everyone.

Image of Paul Sanders, Margaret Murray, Ben Carman, Councillor Ms Syd Stavrou, Councillor Mrs Janet Whitehouse, Jacqui Foile, Sarah Norton and Nick Taylor

The scheme is funded via a grant from the Big Lottery Fund Community Recycling and Economic Development (CRED) Programme.

The new outlet is based at Epping Forest District Council`s Town Mead depot. Councillor Mrs Janet Whitehouse was concerned to see good furniture waiting to be collected by refuse collectors and asked the Council to investigate ways of recycling unwanted goods. In conjunction with Voluntary Action Epping Forest, council officers then learned of the work Lighthouse was doing in Brentwood. Councillor Ms Syd Stavrou was then instrumental in the development of the local service.

Councillor Stavrou said: Councillor Whitehouse and I were absolutely delighted to launch the project. I cannot understand why we have to live in a throw-away society when people struggle to afford even basic items such as a settee or chairs. I have been amazed by the high quality of the items Lighthouse are able to recycle for new owners and want to congratulate everyone involved.

The project has also provided a further spin-off benefit. There is a constant need for volunteers to collect and deliver goods as well as administering the warehouses. Jacqui Foile, Chief Officer of Voluntary Action Epping Forest said: Voluntary work for Lighthouse is an excellent way for unemployed people to hone their skills in preparation for getting a new job. Like many organisations, Lighthouse needs people who can spare some time and energy, but in return you can gain invaluable experience. It is a great bonus to add to your CV.

Lighthouse Furniture Project Ltd logoThe Lighthouse Project operates locally with the assistance of Voluntary Action Epping Forest and welcomes volunteers. It operates vans that not only collect household goods but will also deliver to new owners. Some discounts are available to people on means tested benefits. Currently viewing is by appointment on Wednesdays.


Civic Awards Reception 2007 continued

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Nominations for the
Epping Forest District Citizen of the Year 2007

1 Dorothy Comber

Dorothy Comber is one of the most active members of the community in Chigwell Row. Over many years she has supported local activities including the Brownies, Scouts and Chigwell Row Woods. She is a former Chairman of Chigwell Row Action Group and When proposals came forward for the new Chigwell Row Play Area, Dorothy was at the forefront of the development. When she learned about disused allotment land in the Parish, she immediately involved the Brownies in growing their own vegetables.

Chairman of Epping Forest District Council Mrs Ann Haigh2 Raymond Sears

Raymond Sears is a Waltham Abbey man through and through. As a schoolboy growing up in the 1940s his experiences on the home front and later while serving in the RAF developed his love of history. Raymond has put that love of history to great use. For many years he has been closely associated with the District Council Museum in Waltham Abbey. He was a warden for the museum and, following retirement from the retail trade, expanded his historical work into holding history workshops for students in local schools. He has been an active member of Waltham Abbey Historical Society and a volunteer supporting the Town`s Festival Week for more than 20 years. Throughout 2006, Raymond assisted Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mills with a special photographic exhibition and also supports the museum at North Weald Airfield.

3 Don Cramphorn

Don Cramphorn has raised some £340,000 over the past ten years for the annual Abseil Challenge Committee. Don is a long serving member of the Rotary Club of Harlow Tye, having served as Club President in 1993/1994 and as chairman of various committees. He is also a keen supporter of his local village hall in Matching. He has served as a member of the hall committee for more than 30 years and is always available when needed, whether dealing with booking enquiries, repairs, cleaning and maintenance and in emergencies even acting as caretaker. For many years he was also Treasurer. Recently, Don was a founder member of Matching Friendly Club. Based at the Village Hall, the club caters for senior members of the community. Don and his committee organise speakers, demonstrations and activities to suit all. Summer Lunch and Christmas Dinner provide special highlights.

4 Richard Morris

Richard Morris has been a Verderer for Epping Forest since 1997. His responsibility for the protection of the Forest stretches across the south of the District into Chingford and Waltham Forest. Additionally, Richard is a keen local historian, as a member and Secretary of Loughton and District Historical Society, and is also involved with the Forest Group of Historical Societies and various other Essex-based associations. Richard has researched no fewer than four books.

5 Brenda Rugeley

Pupils from St John`s Music SchoolBrenda Rugeley from Ongar was the brain-child of Youth Plus. Brenda has lived an amazingly full life, qualifying as a teacher and youth worker before taking further career changes to become a social worker in mental health and a registered psychotherapist. Brenda and her husband Frank have two children, Aiden and Amanda. Aiden has learning difficulties and on leaving school it became clear that a gap had appeared in his life. Brenda decided with the help of Amanda to try to do something about this by starting a small social group for similar people. To begin with, five or six people would meet at each other`s homes on a weekly basis. However, word soon spread and from these small beginnings Youth Plus emerged. Today Youth Plus has a membership of around 120 people. Brenda remains the lynch-pin of the Ongar-based group and she brings a very individual style of organisation. Youth Plus is no longer a group only for young people with learning difficulties. It is a rare environment where young people from all backgrounds come together and socialise. Brenda refuses to dictate or lead but instead mentors by example. She is patient and creates an atmosphere of inclusion, self-respect and confidence among the young people. She gives them the space to be themselves.

6 Joyce Kuhns

Joyce Kuhns from Loughton believes that keeping the special bond between parents and their children can be one of the most difficult challenges when marriages break down. Sometimes the only way to achieve this is by providing a safe and neutral environment in which to meet. That was the ambition of Joyce Kuhns fifteen years ago when she raised the idea at a meeting of the Mothers` Union. Today it is the Tower Room Contact Centre based at Loughton Methodist Church. Joyce carried out research, found the premises and with others contacted local solicitors. She persuaded people to become volunteers, organised toys and games and became a volunteer herself. Thanks in large part to her personal energy and commitment, the Tower Room Contact Centre has become a lifeline for families dealing with separation and divorce. Families are referred by the solicitors of the parents. The Centre is staffed by trained volunteers who are present with the families during the meetings. Impartiality and confidentiality are fundamental elements of the work. Joyce remains deeply committed to the Tower Contact Centre. In addition to her co-ordination role, Joyce works as a volunteer and willingly covers at short notice. She has often been known to walk from her home in Buckhurst Hill all the way to Loughton to ensure the Centre opens and families are not disappointed.

7 Brian Herring

Brian Herring was nominated by his friends and associates at Home-Start Epping Forest. Home-Start is a local voluntary organisation committed to promoting the welfare of families with young children. It offers friendship, support and practical advice to families under stress with the aim of building confidence, self-esteem and parenting skills. Last year the group supported no fewer than 116 local families. Brian plays a crucial role in making this possible. Brian is both Treasurer and Company Secretary to Home-Start. He continually applies for grants to fund the work of Home-Start. He attends meetings as a representative of the organisation, carries out risk assessments, fire safety checks, general health and safety and the recruitment of new volunteers. His role is not just behind the scenes. Brian’s commitment is total. With such a role at Home-Start, it would not be surprising to find that Brian had little time for other commitments. However, this is far from the case. In fact Brian has many other interests. Since his own children were young 30 years ago, Brian has been involved with the Third Ongar Scout Group. He is also a religious man and supports the Children`s Holiday Club run by his Methodist Church. Brian also travels with the Three Valleys Singers, holding Nursing Home concerts and still finds time as an administrator and emergency driver for Ongar and Villages Voluntary Care. Described as kind, generous and friendly, Brian makes a fantastic contribution to the community.

8 Philip Nation

Philip Nation, who owns Wyziwyg, the sign writer and graphics shop in Epping is not just a local businessman. For more than 26 years Phil has been a Cub Scout Leader for the Fourth Epping Ash Pack. He is also heavily involved in the Parent Teacher Associations of Roding Valley High School. From 1978 to 1982 Phil was also a Firefighter and worked for the Conservators of Epping Forest for over 17 years. Philip`s nomination said Countless hundreds, probably thousands of young people have benefited from his years with Scouting.

Click here to view webcast – Citizen of the Year awards

Photograph of the Winners at the Epping Forest District Council Civic Awards 2007

Awards

Commendations

Dorothy Comber
Don Cramphorn
Joyce Kuhns

High Commendations

Raymond Sears
Richard Morris
Philip Nation

Each year the panel of judges struggles to find an outright winner from among the so many deserving nominees and this year has been particularly difficult.

After much debate and soul-searching, the Panel finally decided that the two remaining nominees could not be separated and the only fair way of resolving the dilemma was to make not one but two awards. For the first time, the Epping Forest District Council Citizen of the Year Award 2007 goes to the joint winners Brenda Rugeley and Brian Herring.

Joint winners of the Epping Forest District Council Citizen of the Year Award 2007 - Brenda Rugeley and Brian Herring

Click here to view webcast – Chairman of the Council Mrs Ann Haigh’s closing words

The evening raised £1,694.25 with proceeds going to Aim, Home-Start Epping Forest and First Responders.

Chairman of the Council Mrs Ann Haigh said “What a fantastic group of award winners we have this evening, it is a great honour and I am proud to be associated with such exceptional and terrific people.”

She added “When I think of our District, I visualise it as a wonderful patchwork quilt of different fabrics being our small market towns, villages and suburbs. Look closer and you see the detail – village greens, historic buildings, industry, and central to it all, Epping Forest sits as the great unifying jewel in our crown. The people are the real wealth of our District and over the last ten months or so I have been afforded the opportunity to meet many of them – the unsung heroes, whether professional people or friends and relations who give their time and energy voluntarily for their neighbours. As someone who knows and works with volunteers, I would like to say how much personal satisfaction people can receive from the pleasure of giving.”


Council Tax 2007 / 2008

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Epping Forest District Council has confirmed an increase in its Council Tax precept of 3.5 per cent to £139.50 per year for a Band D property. District Councillors also maintained their commitment to pegging further Council Tax precept rises to no more than the Retail Price Index of inflation for future years. Combining all elements, the total for an average Band D Council Tax Payer was set at £1,371.70 for 2007/8, an overall increase of 4.48 per cent.

    Broken down into its constituent parts the bill for an average Band D Council Taxpayer in Epping Forest District will be:

  • £1,003.95 to Essex County Council
  • £116.46 to Essex Police
  • £59.94 to Essex Fire Authority
  • £139.50 to Epping Forest District Council

An additional payment (depending on where you live) to the Town or Parish Council will range from £9.35 in Stapleford Abbotts to £88.06 in Waltham Abbey.

Pie chart image showing the percentage breakdown of the average Band D Council Tax for the Epping Forest District

Pie chart image showing the percentage breakdown of the average Band D Council Tax for the Epping Forest District

Note: the above pie chart showing the percentage breakdown figures of Essex County Council 75%, Epping Forest District Council 10%, Essex Police 9%, Essex Fire Authority 4%, Town or Parish Council 2% are based upon the average Band D property for the whole of the Epping Forest District. Theses figures will change depending on your property banding and your Town or Parish Council precept.
 

Councillor John Knapman, Finance, Performance Management and Corporate Support Services Portfolio Holder presented the draft budget. He said: To an average Band D Council Tax Payer, the District Council element represents an increase of just £4.77 over last year. Epping Forest District Council continues to set one of the lowest precepts in Essex. Our commitment to keeping future increases below the RPI should ensure we continue to set one of the lowest if not the lowest precept for years to come.

Click here to view webcast of the presentation by Councillor John Knapman

Councillor Mrs Diana Collins, Leader of Epping Forest District Council commended the draft budget: She said: We have delivered on our promise to residents. Our new precept means an increase of just nine pence a week to an average Band D Council Tax Payer. With major investment proposed for the new refuse and recycling contract, free parking on Saturdays introduced into many Council pay and display car parks and no cuts in other services, I think that Councillor Knapman and the whole Council should be congratulated on bringing in the new budget.

Great Recycling Efforts Reap Rewards

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Trees for the UK - Trees for Africa logoThe great response from residents in the Epping Forest District to an appeal for them to recycle all their aluminium cans means that 48 native trees will be planted locally this winter.

This achievement was made possible when Epping Forest District Council registered to be part of a nationwide recycling appeal `Trees for Africa and the UK`, organised by not-for-profit organisation Alupro (Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation), which encouraged residents to recycle their aluminium through their kerbside collections and local bring sites.

One tree has been awarded for every tonne of aluminium recycled over an 18 month period, which has meant that trees such as English oak, Scots pine and silver birch will be planted in parks, gardens or woodlands in the District and across the UK.

Environmental Protection Portfolio Holder, Councillor Mrs Mary Sartin said: This is a great achievement and of huge benefit to our local environment thanks to our residents` recycling efforts. I hope that we all continue to recycle and I encourage everybody to get into the recycling habit.

The initiative has proved a big success, boosting aluminium recycling performance by a massive 32% to 65,818 tonnes. These results mean that 10,729 trees will be grown in the UK and 55,089 donated to Africa.

The Africa programme based in the Gabio Forest, Burkina Faso, West Africa will grow trees such as mango, cashew, baobob. The chosen trees will supply food and be used for medicinal purposes, and because the flowers encourage the production of honey, which is sold in local markets, will also generate much-needed income to the village communities. Recycling aluminium cans saves 95% of the energy it takes to make it from the raw material and with cans often back on the shelves in just six weeks, the energy savings quickly grow.

All the trees have been donated by Alupro members, Sims Metal www.sims-group.com.

For further information about the campaign please contact Alupro on 0845 7227722 or go to the website www.alupro.org.uk.


Epping Forest District Council to the Rescue

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Epping Forest District Council has today come to the rescue of the Women`s Royal Voluntary Service (WRVS) to help deliver meals on wheels in the current adverse weather conditions.

The Council`s Emergency Planning Officer Mike Tipping was contacted for help when the WRVS were concerned that their small vans would not be able to get through the snow in the more remote parts of the district.

Mike Tipping said: I was happy to be able to provide the Council`s Emergency Response Vehicle as well as the Land Rover from North Weald Airfield, in addition to trained drivers to ensure that this service could continue.

Mike went on to say: I also contacted our Emergency Planning colleagues at Essex County Council to put more vehicles on standby via the volunteers at the Essex Land Rover Club but in the event these were not required.

Councillor Syd Stavrou Portfolio Holder for Community Wellbeing said: I am delighted that the Council was able to respond to this request for help. Obviously the meals on wheels service is vital to the more vulnerable members of the community and it is crucial that they receive their meal. For many this could be the only contact they have during the day and so it is especially important that the vehicles get through.

Councillor Stavrou concluded: If this weather continues, we will carry on providing help in this way and I would like to assure meals on wheels recipients that we will do all we can to make sure their meal arrives.


Council Tax Proposals for 2007/8

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Council Tax growth pegged to inflation came under the spotlight when Cabinet proposals were scrutinised on Thursday 1 February 2007. Councillor Jon Whitehouse, gave feed back from the Financial and Performance Management Cabinet Committee and Performance Management Scrutiny Panel on the proposed budget for 2007/8 before members of Epping Forest District Council`s Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

The District Council element of the overall Council Tax is expected to remain at around 10 pence in every pound, if the draft budget is confirmed by the Cabinet and Full Council later this month.

The projections represented a 3.5 percent increase in the District Council precept, increasing the annual cost of services to the Band D Tax Payer from £134.73 to £139.50. The total Continuing Services Budget would come in at just under £17 million.

While the District Council Tax precept is expected to remain low, District Councillor must wait to hear from Essex County Council, Essex Police, Essex Fire Service and Town and Parish Councils before the full Council Tax for 2007/8 becomes known.

With Essex County Council accounting for approximately three quarters of the overall Council Tax bill, District Councillors who are responsible for collection of the Tax are waiting with keen interest for news from County Hall. Bob Palmer, Head of Finance for Epping Forest District Council gave further updates on the Pension Fund and Housing Revenue Account elements from the draft budget. Very recently obtained government advice suggested some further alterations would be necessary before the budget was presented to Cabinet. Councillor Richard Morgan, Chairman of Overview and Scrutiny thanked Councillor Whitehouse and Mr Palmer for the report. He said The Council`s finances must come under close scrutiny. We have to be sure on behalf of our residents not only that we do all we can to keep the Council Tax down, but also that the money we raise is spent wisely.

Councillor Morgan will have an opportunity to feed back the views of Overview and Scrutiny to Cabinet on 5 February. Final decisions will not be taken until all Councillors meet and vote on the budget and District Council precept at the meeting of Full Council on 20 February.

Councillor Morgan also welcomed Lonica Vanclay, Local Commissioner for Children`s and Young Peoples Services and Gill Mann of West Essex PCT for a further update on the Epping Forest Children`s and Young Peoples Strategic Partnership (CYPSP).

    Lonica Vanclay outlined the objectives set for the CYPSP as follows:
  • Reduce obesity among children under 11 years of age
  • Reducing the number of teenage pregnancies for under 18`s
  • Improving children`s mental health and emotional well being
  • Reduce substance misuse and a range of `stay safe` initiatives concerning issues such as domestic violence, neglect and anti-social behaviour
  • Improve educational achievement, including young people with learning difficulties and disabilities
  • Reduce offending by young people and the number of deaths and injuries suffered by young people in road traffic accidents.

To view Overview and Scrutiny click here to follow the links from www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk to web-casting.


Celebration of Faith Civic Service

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Image of Epping Forest District Council Chairman Councillor Ann Haigh

Over 200 invited guests turned up to watch the second ‘Celebration of Faith’ Civic Service, held on Sunday 28 January 2007 at Theydon Bois village hall. The service was hosted by Epping Forest District Council Chairman Councillor Mrs Ann Haigh and introduced by the Reverend Canon Colin Travers. The service showed the diversity of religious groups based in the District and was made up of short presentations by the different faiths on the theme ‘Who is my Neighbour?’

The service was opened by Miss Kelly Williams, a Year 11 student from Davenant Foundation School, reading An Act of Commitment.

In a world scarred by the evils of war, racism, injustice and poverty,
we offer this joint Act of Commitment as we look to our shared future
    We commit ourselves, as people of many faiths, to work together, for the common good, uniting to build a better society, grounded in values and ideals we share:  

    community, personal integrity, a sense of right and wrong, learning, wisdom and love of truth,

    care and compassion, justice and peace, respect for one another, for the earth and its creatures.

    We commit ourselves, in a spirit of friendship and co-operation, to work together alongside all who share our values and ideals, to help bring about a better world now and for generations to come.

    Click here to view Act of Commitment webcast

Epping Forest District Council Chairman Councillor Mrs Ann Haigh began the service with an opening welcome followed by an introduction by the Civic Chaplain, Reverend Canon Colin Travers.

Click here to view Opening Welcome webcast       Click here to view Introduction webcast

Image of Professor Harbhajan SinghThe first presentation was by Professor Harbhajan Singh of the Sikh Faith with an emphasis on tolerance, social equality, interaction, sharing things with others and to render selfless service and humility.

Click here to view the Sikh Faith webcast

There was a presentation by the Jewish Faith which began with a reading in Hebrew by Student Rabbi Michael Foulds OBE followed by an adaptation of the well-known song ‘Down by the Riverside’ sung by children of the New Essex Masorti Synagogue Religion School.

Image of children of the New Essex Masorti Synagogue Religion School

Click here to view the Jewish Faith webcast

The Baha’i Faith’s presentation was read by Mrs Fiona Young, a story from the mid-1800s about a Persian woman called Tahirih who worked shoulder to shoulder with men.

Image of Mrs Fiona YoungImage of Mr Ram Sharma

Mr Ram Sharma spoke next for the Hindu Faith on the Hindu view of a community being one that is compassionate, involving and kind.

Click here to view the Baha’i Faith webcast       Click here to view the Hindu Faith webcast

Image of group from St Mary's ChurchThe Christian Faith was represented by a dramatic presentation ‘The Story of the Good Samaritan’ acted by a group from St Mary’s Church in Theydon Bois.

Click here to view the Christian Faith webcast

A collection in aid of the Chairman’s Charities: AIM (Action in Mental Health), Home-Start Epping Forest and Essex Ambulance First Responders was taken during the song ‘When I Needed a Neighbour’ and raised £395.68 which will be split equally between the charities.

The final presentation was read by Dr Mohammed Fahim and Dr Sonia Kandil for the Islamic Faith with a reading in Arabic from The Holy Qur’an.

Click here to view the Islamic Faith webcast

Reverend Canon Colin Travers reading Traditional Faith Quotations webcast

Image of Dr Sonia KandilCouncillor Mrs Ann Haigh read the Prayer for Queen and Country.

Click here to view the Prayer for Queen and Country webcast

Prayer candles were lit in turn by each Faith to represent a unity in Faith whilst a ‘Prayer for Justice’ was read out by the representatives of all the six faiths followed by some closing words from Councillor Mrs Ann Haigh.

Click here to view the Prayer for Justice and lighting of the prayer candles webcast

After the event Councillor Mrs Ann Haigh said: “I found all the presentations enlightening and thought provoking. I am pleased the service was such a success as it helps to promote dialogue, understanding and co-operation between religious communities in the Epping Forest District. The theme of the service ‘Who is my Neighbour?’ highlighted to me that we should focus on the similarities between religions instead of focusing on the differences.”

Mrs Haigh added: “I have received very many complimentary remarks from guests in attendance and I would like to thank all involved for their hard work that made the service a great success.”

Click here to view Closing Words by Councillor Ann Haigh webcast

Standards Committee Adjudication Hearing

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An Adjudication Sub-Committee of the Standards Committee of Epping Forest District Council met on 18 January to consider an allegation that District Councillor Malcolm Woollard breached the Member Code of Conduct when making remarks at a meeting of the District Development Control Committee on 7 March 2006.

The Standards Board for England received a complaint following a meeting of the District Development Control Committee on 7 March 2006 that considered a planning application submitted by Mrs B Curtis for the demolition of the existing `Coach House` and the erection of a new dwelling on the same footprint at The Coach House, Wyldwoods, Woodgreen Road, Waltham Abbey. Councillor Woollard was in attendance at the meeting as a substitute for another member who was unable to attend. It is alleged that when speaking about the planning application, Councillor Woollard made comments which Mrs Curtis considers made her sound dishonest.

On receipt of the complaint, the Standards Board referred the investigation to the Monitoring Officer for Epping Forest District Council. Mr Ian Willett Head of Research and Democratic Services and Monitoring Officer for Epping Forest District Council was engaged to conduct the investigation and report to the Adjudication Sub-Committee. Mr Willett concluded that Councillor Woollard had breached the duty of respect under paragraph 2(d) of the Council`s Code of Conduct and recommended that the apology to Mrs Curtis be given.

Dr Derek Hawes, Chairman of the Adjudication Sub-Committee acknowledged Councillor Woollard`s offer of apology for any offence that his comments may have given but agreed with the report findings that the comments made were inappropriate to the occasion and constitute a breach of the duty of respect but do not bring the Council or the office of Councillor into disrepute as his concerns were pertinent to the consideration of planning consent.

He said: Councillor Woollard did breach the Member Code of Conduct but his comments, while misguided, did not adversely impact on the final decision of the Council. However, he has crossed the thin dividing line between the usual familiarity between Committee Members and the measured approach which should be afforded to a member of the public. However, the failure in respect I believe was unintentional and the breach of the Code was not one which should attract a penalty in the upper range available.

In view of Councillor Woollard`s acknowledgement of his mistake and subsequent apology, the Adjudication Committee felt that no sanction was necessary.

Dr Hawes added: Although Councillor Woollard has not brought the District Council or the role of Councillor into disrepute on the basis of one comment, any elected member must be careful to ensure that an accumulation of small lapses of judgement does not have that effect in the long run.