CDRP Crackdown On Mini Motorbikes In Waltham Abbey

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Epping Forest Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) is celebrating its success in cracking down on nuisance caused by mini motorbikes on the Ninefields Estate in Waltham Abbey.

The Partnership has implemented a number of key projects and initiatives over the last year, which have made a positive impact and considerably reduced the nuisance caused by these machines.

Simon Ford, the Council`s Crime and Disorder Reduction Co-Ordinator and Chair of the target group set up by the Partnership to deal with this issue said: Following concerns raised by residents and Councillors about the level of noise and nuisance caused by mini motorbikes in and around the Ninefields Estate, a multi-agency group was formed consisting of the Police, Council and Fire Service as well as Voluntary Action staff which began addressing the problems through a 15 point action plan.

Residents also took a proactive role. The Plan consisted of installing additional fencing, barriers and lockable gating. A number of Z gates were also erected along key routes to discourage riders. In addition, residents were given a hotline number to report motorcycle activity and were provided with a leaflet outlining the action the Police and Council could take against riders who caused harassment and nuisance. This included confiscation of motorbikes and warning letters being sent to parents.

The Police and Council carried out two joint operations during the year targeting offenders, with further operations planned if necessary. As a result of the initiative, a new Residents` Association has been formed which will be able to take forward concerns to the relevant agencies.

Simon Ford concluded: This has been a first class example of how agencies from both the voluntary and statutory sector, working in partnership with residents can take action to tackle a localised problem. What we have seen here is a commitment by all involved to tackle head on a problem that has affected many people`s lives on the estate. I am delighted with the results they have achieved and I thank everyone for their commitment. I would now encourage residents to channel any future problems to the new Residents` Association.

Anyone who would like to report any nuisance motorcycle on the Ninefields Estate should call the hotline number – 07715 771603 – quoting Operation Blandy.

Chairman Visits Summer Playscheme

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The Chairman of Epping Forest District Council Councillor Mrs Ann Haigh visited one of the playschemes organised by Community Development held at the Metropolitan Police Chigwell Sports Club on 11 August. The playschemes are for children aged between 5 to 11 and the themes have included all around the world, wild weather, healthy living and periods in history. This was part of the healthy living week and over 100 children attended on most days. The Chairman saw the children enjoying being active with the keep fit course, learning about exotic fruit, designing their own healthy menu and making 3-D fruit mobiles to take home.

Teams of children designed internal body parts posters and Councillor Mrs Haigh judged which she thought were the best and presented the winners with prizes.

Colin Pridige, General Manager for the Metropolitan Police Chigwell Sports Club presented the Chairman with a cheque for £400 from the Club to be used to buy more equipment for future Epping Forest Playschemes.

Councillor Mrs Haigh said: I am very pleased to accept this donation towards future playschemes on behalf of the Council and Community Development. Councillor Mrs Haigh added: I have thoroughly enjoyed my visits to the playschemes during the summer. They have generated a genuine feeling of fun and excitement among everyone taking part. In addition, whilst having a great time the children have acquired information about promoting healthy living that I know they will share at home.

Marathon Effort for James

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James and Sophie Lingfield with Julie Robinson - click to enlarge

A fitness consultant at Waltham Abbey pool raised £2,120 in the London Marathon to buy equipment for six year old James Lingfield, who has a severe muscle wasting disease.

Julie Robinson completed the 2006 London Marathon in 3 hours and 55 minutes, knocking 20 minutes off her time from the previous year when she raised £2,047.

Image of James and Sophie Lingfield - click to enlarge

 

The majority of the funds raised will be put towards a new walker which has swivel wheels and is very light and portable and has a flip down seat, which will replace the walker that was purchased last year which James has now outgrown. The rest of the money will go towards supportive splints, night splints and a course of therapeutic horse riding lessons with the Riding for the Disabled Team at Grange Farm. James has also bought a stationary bike to use at home which he is enjoys using enormously.

All of this has helped to enable James to take 20 steps unaided.

Julie Robinson said We would like to express gratitude to the customers from Shapes Gym and the swimming pool, staff and friends and family who have given so generously. Without them it would not have been possible to achieve such a fantastic amount.

Local Plan Alterations Will Help Councillors Fight For District

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Councillors in Epping Forest District believe the adoption of their Local Plan Alterations within the Strategic Environment Assessment deadline of 21 July will help them deal with planning applications stemming from the East of England Plan.

Councillor Mrs Anne Grigg, Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder thanked retiring Inquiry Inspector Ted Roffey for helping the Council speed through the process, hitting the deadline with eleven days to spare. She said: Unlike other councils, we felt that adoption of alterations to our Local Plan prior to the implementation of the new Local Development Framework would best serve our need to deal with applications for new houses allocated to our district. While the recommendations of the Examination in Public still leave a great deal of work to be done, the process overall has seen the allocation for Epping Forest reduced from a high point of 18,600 dwellings to the latest recommendation of 6,500. For a district so predominately characterised by the Green Belt, this is a major achievement and we would like to thank Ted Roffey for his part in helping us to cope with development that is likely to follow.

Councillor Mrs Grigg added: I would like to wish Mr Roffey a long and happy retirement.

Epping Forest District Council believes the implementation of the Local Development Framework made the decision to adopt alterations rather than produce a whole new Local Plan the right way forward.

Councillor Mrs Grigg commented: While other Councils took a different approach by developing new local plans, for us, the danger of waiting for the new framework lay in a potential policy vacuum while we dispensed with the old system and implemented the new. This way we will continue to have robust local planning policies to take us to the end of the East of England Plan debate and beyond.

Neighbourhood First Responders

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At the beginning of the Full Council meeting of Epping Forest District Council on 25 July the Chairman, Mrs Ann Haigh presented certificates to members of the Epping Forest Neighbourhood First Responders. This volunteer group is one of the charities Mrs Haigh is supporting during her chairmanship of the Council.

The emergency medical unit provides care `for the people by the people` of the local district. The emergency calls dealt with include such things as diabetic emergencies, unconsciousness, chest pains and heart attacks. Volunteers who are trained in this area by St John Ambulance deal with Category A emergency calls and should be able to be with the patient within 8 minutes of being called.

Each set of equipment required costs in the region of £3,000 although the ambulance service replaces the oxygen cylinders and the defibrillator pads without charge as they are used. The more equipment they have in a unit the more volunteers can be on shift at any one time.

First responders with Councillor Mrs Ann Haigh after presentation of their service certificates. Left to Right:  David Read, Peter Marchant, Chairman of Council Mrs Ann Haigh, John Newman, Roger Salmon, Sandra Newman.

Councillor Mrs Haigh said: First Responders is a little known but marvellous charity made up of unpaid volunteers working for the good of the district whose life saving actions support the Ambulance Service. I hope that making First Responders one of my charities for the year will raise their profile and bring more resources to this excellent group of volunteers.

Robert Daniels Court Celebrates Re-opening

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After a successful two-year refurbishment programme, Home South (formerly Warden Housing) is to officially re-open Robert Daniels Court in Theydon Bois, Essex. Staff and residents are hosting an event on Friday 14 July from noon until 2.00 pm to mark the occasion. Guest speakers will include Councillor David Stallan, Housing Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council and Tracey Lees, Managing Director for Home South. Councillor Mrs Caroline Pond, Vice Chairman of Epping Forest District Council will plant a commemorative tree and the event will also feature performances by the Theydon Bois Primary School Choir. Guests, including all Epping Forest District Councillors, will have an opportunity to tour the improved accommodation and talk to residents.

Robert Daniels Court is the first ever stock transfer of sheltered housing from Epping Forest District Council to a housing association. Following extensive consultation with residents and a ballot, ownership of the building was transferred to Home South, and Home South became the tenants` new landlord. The scheme was originally built in the sixties and was in need of a complete refurbishment. Most of the accommodation was in the form of bedsits, with combined bedrooms and lounges, with residents having to use shared bathroom facilities. Residents were consulted on what facilities they needed, and remained at Robert Daniels Court whilst the improvement scheme was carried out. An extension of self-contained flats was built and all the bedsits have been converted into flats. Now that the scheme has been completed, the residents are delighted with their new and converted homes.

Robert Daniels Court provides accommodation for the over sixties and cost just over £2.5 million to improve with completion in June 2006. The overall cost to the Council was far less than if the Council had undertaken the improvements itself. There are now 35 one-bedroom self-contained flats, all featuring modern facilities, including in some flats `wet rooms` and low-level use kitchens. A new communal lounge and landscaped garden will play host to a range of events and activities.

The scheme was completed successfully thanks to a strong partnership between Home South (formerly Warden), Epping Forest District Council, architects Hunter and Partners and Rok Construction. Robert Daniels Court has been designed to cater for varying levels of support and a full time Resident Manager is available for those requiring such support. Councillor Stallan says I`m sure the residents will agree that their new homes have been worth the wait. They look excellent. Warden Housing has proved itself, like the Council, to be a caring landlord. Indeed, with the success of this transfer the Council is now working with Warden (now Home South) to transfer another sheltered housing scheme in Chigwell. We will be seeking the Secretary of State`s consent for this in the near future.

Tribute to Former Councillor Michael Wardle

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Councillors and Staff at Epping Forest District Council have paid tribute to former EFDC Councillor Michael Wardle, who passed away on Friday 23 June 2006 after suffering from a long illness. Councillor Wardle served as the representative for St. Mary`s Ward in Loughton on the District Council from 1992 until his retirement in 2002. Councillor Wardle had also been a Loughton Town Councillor for the Loughton St. Mary`s Ward since 1996.

Epping Forest District Council Chairman Ann Haigh said We would like to offer Councillor Wardle`s family our sincere condolences and sympathy for their loss. He will be remembered not only for his excellent service to the community for both Epping Forest District Council and Loughton Town Council during the previous two decades but also for his care and compassion for others as well as his wonderful dry sense of humour.

Councillor Wardle left a wife and three children and Council Members and staff stood in silent tribute as Councillors received news of his death at the meeting of the Full Council on Thursday 29 June.

Michael Wardle was Chairman of the District Council`s Area Plans Subcommittee A from 1995 to 1997 and was also Vice-Chairman of the District Council`s District Development Control Committee from 2000 to 2001 as well as being a member of numerous committees in his ten years with the Council. Michael was a founder member of Loughton Town Council when he became a Town Councillor in 1996.

Councillor Wardle will be remembered as a friendly and charismatic Councillor. He had many friends and will be sadly missed.

Councillors Criticise Roding Road Bridge Delays

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Councillors last night heavily criticised the delays in reopening Roding Road in Loughton and the lack of information being provided by Transport for London contractors Metronet and Essex County Council Highways. They also criticised the response of the Post Office in sealing post boxes in the area and refusing collections.

The bridge over Roding Road, which carries Central Line trains to and from Loughton Station, was hit by a skip lorry on 13 June 2006 causing damage to the structure. A three week emergency road closure has been put in place while repair work is carried out due to fears that the structure is unsafe.

Local Loughton Roding Ward councillor Councillor Stephen Murray, seconded by Cllr Ken Angold-Stephens, put a motion to Council last night calling on the Leader of Council, Civil Engineering and Maintenance Portfolio holder and Joint Chief Executives to continue to put pressure on Essex County Council and Metronet to get the work completed swiftly. Cllr Angold-Stephens also criticised the lack of information being given to local residents regarding the road closure and the status of the works, as well as the post offices decision to close post boxes due to difficulties in collection. Councillors unanimously supported the motion and added their own concerns regarding the continuing traffic congestion and economic damage the road closure is causing, and again called on contractors to work as quickly as possible, including at night, to complete the repairs.

Cllr Di Collins, Leader of Council, said, Full council welcomed Cllr Murray`s motion and the Cabinet will give it its full support. I have experienced the traffic problems there myself and will be calling the County Portfolio holder and contractors to find out what the situation is. The Post Office`s decision to seal the post boxes in Roding Road and stop collecting until the road reopens also beggars belief. We understand the difficulties in collecting here now with the heavy congestion and closure but to stop collecting is ridiculous. We need some creative thinking from all parties to get the town moving. Councillor Andy Green, the Portfolio holder for Civil Engineering and Maintenance, and myself will continue to put pressure on Metronet and the County Council to get Roding Road reopened at the earliest possible date.

Standards Committee Annual Report 2005/2006

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Councillors heard last night how the authority`s Standards Committee had operated over the past year as the Committee`s Fourth Annual Report was noted by Full Council.

The Standards Committee`s main role is to advise councillors on ethical issues and provide training in the Code of Conduct. They also investigate complaints against councillors when necessary.

The report covered the work the Committee had undertaken in the past year, including responding to the government`s consultation on a review of the Code of Conduct, investigating 3 complaints (two against District councillors and one against a parish councillor), and running a series of training courses for councillors. The Committee also introduced two new protocols, one involving councillors declaring gifts and hospitality, and another covering how Members use Council facilities and IT equipment.

Dr Hawes, Chairman of the Standards Committee, said, It has been a very productive year for the committee with some interesting developments at a national level in how we deal locally with complaints against councillors. Some may be uncomfortable with the way standards are enforced and see the national Standards Board and local Standards Committee as an unwarranted intrusion in the democratic process. However, there is a great need to ensure that councillors and other public figures have the correct advice with regard to ethical matters, and that any complaints can be investigated independently and fairly. The objective of the New Ethical Framework was to build public confidence in local democratic politics and with training, advice and transparency in how we operate this objective can be achieved.

 

Cool Chairman in the Shade for Guide Dogs

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Link to Healthy Eyes website

Councillor Mrs Ann Haigh Chairman of Epping Forest District Council encouraged everyone in the district to look cool by wearing their sunglasses for Guide Dogs, supporting the charity`s annual fundraising event Shades Day. She joined her fellow Councillors at the Full Council meeting on 29 June in wearing sunglasses to highlight the importance of protecting your eyes from the harmful effects of the sun.

The Chairman was amongst thousands of schoolchildren and adults all over the UK who will be making a donation of £1 to The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association to wear their sunnies on Shades Day. The special day provides a unique opportunity to learn more about eye care, particularly in the sun, such as the importance of wearing good quality sunglasses.

Councillor Mrs Haigh said: Shades Day is a fantastic way both to raise money for Guide Dogs and to highlight an important eye care message for us all.

Epping Forest District Councillors looking cool for Shades Day - click to enlarge image

Picture is of Chairman and members of Epping Forest District Council posing in their shades with Jane Boreham fundraiser and secretary of Chelmsford branch of Guide Dogs together with 14 week old Guide Dog golden retriever puppy Alexis.

Guide Dogs is committed to eye health education and has invested more than £10 million into researching the causes of eye conditions. Funding research into eye diseases is essential to understand the causes of blindness and how to help prevent sight loss, says Tom Pey Guide Dogs` Director of Public Policy and Development. There are simple measures that everyone can take to look after their eyes and, potentially, save their sight.

This year`s Shades Day will be extra special as the charity celebrates the 75th anniversary of the first guide dogs in the UK, which qualified with their pioneering blind owners in Wallasey, Cheshire, in 1931.

For more information on eye health, visit www.healthyeyes.org.uk