Councillor Sandler Presents Cheque to Pony Riding Charity

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Money raised by Councillor Brian Sandler during his year as Chairman of Epping Forest District Council will be put to good use by Chigwell Riding Trust for Special Needs. Councillor Sandler presented a cheque for £11,374.34 to Deborah Hall of the Trust on Wednesday 11 October 2006. The money will help to fund much needed new seating for the outdoor arena.

Councillor Sandler was delighted to make the presentation. He said: Chigwell Riding Trust for Special Needs is one of the best charities I have ever known. The work Deborah Hall, her staff and volunteers do with the young people here is just fantastic. Visiting the facilities and seeing how much the young people benefit from working with the horses is always marvellous. I feel privileged and honoured to have played a small part in helping Deborah and her team.

Image of Chigwell Riding Trust cheque presentationImage of Chigwell Riding Trust cheque presentation

Images captions: Piebald Cob Jake ridden by fourteen year old Charlotte Bissell with Chigwell Riding Trust for Special Needs volunteer Karen Backhouse and Trust Manager Deborah Hall receiving a cheque for £11,374 from Councillor Brian Sandler, part of the money raised during his year as Chairman of Epping Forest District Council.

Fourteen year old Charlotte Bissell from Loughton who goes to Oak View School showed Councillor Sandler her horse-riding skills with the help of Jake and his leader Karen Backhouse, one of the team of employees and volunteers who make the charity possible. Councillor Sandler said: I was very impressed. Anyone who thinks that Charlotte and her friends are riding around on small ponies should stand next to Jake. He is one very serious horse!

Councillor Sandler organised and supported a range of events during his year of office to raise funds for the Trust and St Clare Hospice. However, Deborah Hall doesn`t just need money to maintain the Trust, she is also appealing to volunteers over the age of fourteen who can help out.

She said: We are a charity and we cannot work without the help of volunteers. I am particularly short of people on Saturdays but would also welcome new volunteers in the week. Anyone over the age of fourteen who likes horses and would like to work with the Children and young people would find a day spent at the Trust very rewarding.

To volunteer, call Deborah on 020 8500 6051 or e-mail

Firebreak Students Pass Out In Harlow

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A passing out parade was held at Harlow Fire Station on Friday 6 October 2006 to mark the end of the course for Firebreak students. The Firebreak programme aims to promote a culture of safety and citizenship for Key stage 4 children (between the ages of 13 -16 years) by providing a range of vital life skills whilst undertaking the various disciplines of the Fire Service in non-residential course lasting 5 or 7 days.

Proud parents, teachers and friends were treated to a display by the team demonstrating the skills and confidence gained in a relatively short space of time. The skills displayed included students wearing breathing apparatus entering a smoke filled room, simulating a road traffic accident by cutting a dummy out of a car, performing a hosepipe drill and performing a leglock up a ladder “ all before the passout parade itself!


The Firebreak course endeavours to:
  • Instil a sense of self discipline, self worth, independence and responsibility
  • Promote teamwork amongst the attendees
  • Encourage trainees to respect the differences between people
  • Confirm the benefits of worthwhile and fulfilling relationships
  • Urge trainees to play an active and worthwhile role as a member of their community
  • Ensure that the trainees make the most of their own and others potential

The Firebreak scheme is run by the Essex Fire and Rescue Service, Harlow and Epping Forest Community Command and is funded in part by the Epping Forest Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership.

Epping Forest District Council Community Wellbeing Portfolio Holder Councillor Mrs Syd Stavrou said: The Firebreak course has become an extremely useful tool in working with those young people who may not respond well to mainstream education techniques. The programme provides a learning environment that combines practical skills and scenario based training, with classroom centred theory and discussion workshops. During the course, Firebreak students will take part in activities aimed at improving self-esteem, self-discipline and responsibility. This is achieved by employing fundamental Fire Service principals of leadership, teamwork and motivation.


For more information on the Firebreak project in Epping Forest please contact Caroline Wiggins on 01992 564 616 or by email on

Loyalty Award and Examination Certificates

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Members of staff from Epping Forest District Council who have either completed over 25 years` service or passed examinations, received certificates from Chairman of the Council, Councillor Ann Haigh at a special reception at the Civic Offices.

Councillor Ann Haigh said: It was a pleasure to be able to reward the hard work and dedication of so many long serving members of staff and also pleasing to note that staff are committed to their own professional development by taking examinations in a wide variety of subjects ranging from Construction Project Management to an Internal Auditor Course, and from Acoustics and Noise Control to a Disability Trampoline Coach Award.

Image of Chairman Ann Haigh with loyalty award and examination certificates recipients

Councillor Ann Haigh went on to say: I would like to add my congratulations to all those who received certificates and wish them all the very best for the future. Loyalty Awards were given to five members of staff as recognition for the many years service they have given to the Epping Forest District and its residents. As an organisation, Epping Forest District Council is only as good as the people who work for it, and we must be a good Council as this year we have recognised five people who have been with us for 25 years or more.

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.