Tree Wardens undertake OPAL Tree Health Survey.

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Volunteering opportunities, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

The Council’s Tree Wardens have started undertaking the OPAL (OPen Air Laboratories)  survey into the health of the trees in the District.  The survey is being co-ordinated by Imperial College London together with Forest Research and the Food and Environment Research Agency.

Horse Chestnut Tree

With guidance from Tree Warden Co-ordinator Kevin Mason a member of the Countrycare team, nine Tree Wardens attended a training session on 12th June in Roughtalley’s Wood, North Weald.

By taking part in the national survey and submitting the results the Tree Wardens are helping to discover more about the general health of our trees and give vital information on some of the pests and diseases that affect Oak, Ash and Horse Chestnut trees. Instruction was also given on identifying other potential pests and diseases which whilst not present yet, or at least not widespread, could have a serious impact on our trees.  Tree Wardens are part of an important surveillance network of people across the country protecting our trees.

The recordings are used by Forest Research – the Forestry Commission’s research agency.  The results from the survey will show the condition and health of the trees in parks, streets and woodlands across the UK and provide important information about the possible presence of certain key tree pests and diseases.

A national survey like this has not been undertaken before and it is likely that the trees surveyed by the Tree Wardens will not have been surveyed before.

The survey covers the location and species of the tree, its characteristics in relation to the trees around it and its condition; this gives a general picture about the health of the tree. Also covered was up to date information of pests and diseases on three of the most recognisable tree species: Ash, Oak and Horse Chestnut.

Bleeding Canker

 

One of the Horse Chestnuts surveyed by the Tree Wardens was discovered to have Bleeding Canker.  This is a disease caused by a pathogen, Pseudomonas syringae pv aesculi, which infects and disfigures the tree.  If the disease is severe it can kill the tree so it needs to be regularly checked.  Fortunately none of the Ash trees in the wood were found to have.
The Tree Wardens were also shown an unusual Cappadocian Maple (Acer cappadocicum) which is growing in the wood and there is a fine display of Common Spotted Orchids (Dactylorhiza fuchsii)growing in the wet grassland area.

Cappadocian maple

 

 To help with the survey please go to http://www.opalexplorenature.org/TreeSurvey
for the full instructions or alternatively contact Kevin Mason at Epping Forest Countrycare on 01992 788203

Proposed changes to the planning rules – new permitted development rights

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Business, Chigwell, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Epping, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

As from 30 May 2013, new changes have come into force in respect of further permitted development rights for certain building works and changes of use without the need to apply for planning permission. Despite most Council’s, including ourselves, having raised objections to these planned changes, this has nationally been brought in to encourage development to take place and speed up its delivery by removing local authority control in an attempt to revive the economy. There are a number of changes, which are as follows:

Single storey rear extension to houses:

At present, it is possible to build a 4 metre deep single storey rear extension onto the original rear wall of a detached house and a 3 metre deep single storey rear extension onto an attached house as permitted development, i.e. without the need for planning permission. This right remains, but a new procedure (called “prior approval”) is to be introduced which may allow extensions up to double this size without planning permission (up to 8 metres deep for a detached house and 6 metres deep for an attached house). This does not apply in conservation areas, though.

The process for all other extension works under Part 1 of the GPDO will remain the same (i.e. no more than half the garden area around the house etc), but anyone proposing a 3m-6m or 4m-8m extension must write and provide a plan and written description of the proposal. There is no planning application fee.

The Council is required to consult the immediately adjoining premises only, with a minimum consultation period of 21 days. If no objections are received from the consulted adjoining neighbours, the development can go ahead. If an adjoining neighbour objects, then the prior approval of the local planning authority is required. Planning Officers will then need to consider the impact of the development only on the amenity of the immediate neighbours. Other factors, such as green belt, design and appearance cannot be considered under this prior approval procedure. Only where there is clearly excessive harm to neighbouring amenity will Officers be in a position to refuse prior approval.

This whole process has to be done within a total of 42 days from first receipt of the information submitted, otherwise, no matter whether there is an objection from an immediate neighbour or from the Council, the development can proceed. There is a right of appeal against a refusal.

The legislation requires that any 3m-6m or 4m-8m extension “shall be completed on or before 30th May 2016″.  It is therefore a temporary additional permitted development right for 3 years only.

The legislation also requires that “the developer shall notify the local planning authority of the completion of the development as soon as reasonably practicable after completion”.

Download the application form – Prior Notification of a Proposed Larger Home Extension

Download the guidance notes – Prior Notification of a Proposed Larger Home Extension

Change of Use

(please note that none of the below changes of use are relevant to listed buildings, but they can be carried out in conservation areas).

•  Premises in Class B1(a) office use will be able to change to Class C3 residential use so long as the C3 use starts on or before 30 May 2016. This is only subject to a prior approval process whereby the developer shall apply to the Council for a determination as to whether prior approval is required only in respect of flooding, highway and transport issues and contamination. There are no other considerations. The determination will have to be made by the Council within 56 days and in this case, a fee, believed at this stage to be £80.00, is required. There was an opportunity to be exempt from this permitted change of use and we as a Council made a strong case in order to protect our local town centre and employment areas. However, we, along with many others, were unsuccessful and only 17 authorities across England (including 11 inner London boroughs) have been given change of use exemption. Again, this is a temporary additional permitted development right in that no change of use can take place after 30 May 2016, but if the use has started before then, it can continue.

•  Parts of buildings under 150 metres within Class A1 – A5, B1, D1 and D2 will be permitted to change to a flexible use falling within Class A1 (shops), A2 (financial and professional services), A3 (restaurants) or B1 (business). For a one off period of up to 2 years, the developer only needs to notify (and therefore there is no prior approval considerations) the Council beforehand and in this time period, it can move between other uses in this flexible use. After 2 years, the use reverts back. This applies even in the Local Plan key retail frontages. 

•  Agricultural buildings (cumulatively)|under 500 square metres in floor space used solely in agriculture before 3 July 2012 or for 10 years after that date, can change to a flexible use falling within Class A1-A3, B1 (business), B8 (storage and distribution), C1 (hotel) or D2 (assembly and leisure). This flexible use will then be classed as “sui generis” such that any further changes of use outside the flexible uses require planning permission. In the case where the floor space does not exceed 150 metres, the developer merely has to notify the Council of the change. If it exceeds 150 metres, the developer has to apply to the Council for a determination as to whether prior approval is required and we can only take account of flooding, highway and transport issues, noise and contamination can be considered through consultation with statutory undertakers. Therefore there are no other considerations. The determination has to be made by the Council within 56 days.  

•  Buildings within Class B1, C1, C2, C2a, D1 and D2 will be able to change to a state funded school. The developer shall apply to the Council for a determination as to whether prior approval but we can only consider against  highway and transport issues, noise and contamination. There are no other considerations. The determination will have to be made by the Council within 56 days.

•   The use of any building as a state-funded school for a single academic year will be permitted. It then reverts back to its previous use at the end of the academic year. The site must however, be approved for such purpose by the relevant Minister.

Temporary Increased Thresholds for Offices

 Increases Permitted Development threshold to erect, extend or alter office premises from 25% of gross floor space or 100 square metres (whichever is the lesser) to 50% or 200 square metres. The new permitted development right is temporary and will expire on 30th May 2016. The developer must notify us in writing when the development is complete

Temporary Increased Thresholds for Shops, Catering, Professional or Financial Services 

Increases PD threshold to erect, extend or alter a shop, catering, professional or financial services establishment from 25% of gross floor space or 100 square metres (whichever is the lesser) to 50% or 200 square metres. The new permitted development right is temporary and will expire on 30th May 2016.
 The exclusion of development within 2 metres of the boundary of the curtilage is removed during the same period except in relation to premises which adjoin land or buildings in residential use. The developer must notify us in writing when the development is complete.

Temporary Increased Thresholds for Industrial and Warehouse Use Classes 

 Increases PD threshold to erect, extend or alter industrial and warehouse premises from 25% of gross floor space or 100 square metres (whichever is the lesser) to 50% or 200 square metres. The new permitted development right is temporary and will expire on 30th May 2016. Developers must notify us of completion.

Telecoms Installations

The construction, installation or replacement of telegraph poles, cabinets or lines for fixed-line broadband services will not require prior approval in Conservation Areas for a 5 year period. Development must be completed before 30th May 2018.

Extensions permitted to temporary schools

Buildings which qualify for the right to change temporarily to school use are also given the benefit of existing permitted development rights which allow schools to carry out building works (including the erection, extension or alteration of buildings and the provision of hard surfaces) subject to various conditions and limitations.
 This will apply from the date we are notified by the relevant Minister that the site has been approved for school use.

 

Find out more about the planning process and planning applications

 

Eagles take flight over North Weald

Written on . Posted in Epping, North Weald Airfield, Ongar, Our attractions, Out and about, Uncategorized

On Bank Holiday Monday the Stars and Stripes were flying over the main gate at North Weald Airfield in anticipation of a special American Eagle Squadron flypast at lunch time.
Two Eagle Squadrons of American RAF volunteers – 71 and 121 – were based at North Weald during 1941, so it was fitting that a special formation of four aircraft representing these squadrons included the Airfield in a commemorative flypast over their former bases around the east of England on Monday 27 May.
The formation, which started out at Duxford and had the callsign ‘Eagle Squadron’, was led by a Hawker Hurricane in 601 (County of London) Squadron markings, representing the aircraft flown by the American volunteer Billy Fiske during the Battle of Britain. The second aircraft was a Spitfire I painted in Bill Dunn’s colours. He was the first US pilot to become an ace while he was based at North Weald with 71 (Eagle) Squadron in August 1941.
They were accompanied by a P-47G Thunderbolt ‘Snafu’ and P-51C Mustang ‘Princess Elizabeth,’ representing the later units of the US Eighth Air Force, which flew from airfields in Essex and East Anglia escorting the B-17 and B-24 bombers as their ‘Little Friends’.
It was a windy day and for a while we thought the flypast might be cancelled, but it worked out right in the end, and was an awe-inspiring sight!  Many people came to the Airfield to see the flypast and we had a busy Market too, so there was quite an audience to witness this unique event.

 

Waltham Abbey Minis help to save lives

Written on . Posted in Epping, North Weald Airfield, Ongar, Our attractions, Out and about, Travel, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey

The Abbey Mini Owners club from Waltham Abbey held a rally to raise money for the Essex & Herts Air Ambulances on Sunday 12 May. The owners first of all gathered at North Weald Airfield, home of the Herts Air Ambulance.

There were 24 Minis and Wolseley Hornets parked at The Squadron, where they posed for photographs with their owners. David Kerr-Sheppard, the Air Ambulance’s Chief Pilot, also owns a Mini, which joined our visitors.

They then departed later in the morning to visit Earls Colne, the Essex Air Ambulance’s base. The event raised around £250 for the two Air Ambulances, which rely on public donations to fund their life-saving operations.

Councillors allowances and expenses 2012/13

Written on . Posted in Councillors, Democracy, Uncategorized, Your council

Councillors are entitled to allowances and expenses to cover some of the costs of carrying out their public duties as they are not paid a salary. The Council is required to publish these amounts annually.

Amounts paid to Epping Forest District Council councillors in respect of basic and special responsibility allowances, travel and subsistence expenses, together with the special allowances paid to the chairman and vice-chairman of the Authority during the year.

MEMBERS’ ALLOWANCES AND EXPENSES 2012/13
Epping Forest District Council
LOCAL AUTHORITIES (MEMBERS’ ALLOWANCES) (ENGLAND) REGULATIONS 2003 – PAYMENTS TO COUNCILLORS 2012/13

Notice is hereby given of the amounts paid to Councillors of the Epping Forest District Council in respect of Basic and Special Responsibility Allowances, Travel and Subsistence Expenses, Connectivity Allowance, Pension and ERS NI and special allowances paid to the Chairman and Vice­Chairman of the Authority during the year ended 31 March 2013.
I Willett
Assistant to the Chief Executive
Dated this 8th day of May  2013

Councillors Allowances and expenses 2012/13 (pdf 16kb)
Notes

  • Basic Allowance is an amount paid to each Councillor to cover incidental expenses as a result of their role as elected representatives.
  • Responsibility Allowance is a special payment to Cabinet Members and certain Chairmen in connection with their additional responsibilities and workload in these positions.
  • Member Connectivity Payments are made to members who agree to receive the majority of their agenda/reports/minutes in e-format and not hard copy.
  • Chairman/Vice-Chairman’s Allowances are special payments to the Chairman and Vice­ Chairman of the Council to assist them in carrying out their civic duties on behalf of the Council.
  • Travelling and subsistence payments are made in relation to attendance at meetings and other approved duties.
  • Pension payments are the contributions made by the Council to the Local Government Pension Scheme for those members opting into the Scheme.
  • ERS NI represents the Council’s national insurance contributions.

Home Energy Conservation Act Further Report 2013

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Business, Chigwell, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Energy efficiency, Epping, Housing, Loughton, Older people, Olympics, Ongar, Planning, Private housing, Recycling and waste, Regulations, Residents, Travel, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your environment, Your home

As part of the amended Home Energy Conservation Act, Local Authorities are required to submit a further report on planned energy efficiency measures in their area.

Read the Epping Forest District Council HECA further report 2013

Find out more about energy efficiency

 

Countrycare Easter Scavenger Hunt

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Loughton, Older people, Olympics, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Residents, Sports, Travel, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Looking for something fun to do with the  kids Wednesday 3rd April? Why not Join Epping Forest Countrycare for an Easter Scavenger hunt!

10am until 12pm. No need to book just turn up. £4 per child. Starting point Reserve Entrance at the end of Pike Way, North Weald, CM16 6BL.

For more Countrycare events download our Coutnrycare Events List 2013

 

 

 

Proposed changes to charging for pre-planning application advice

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Business, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Epping, Housing, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Planning, Private housing, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

As from 1 April 2013, the Council’s charges on pre-planning application advice will be changing to include a greater scope of development types. Please see the attached document which sets out these new charges and the procedure for seeking advice.

View the new pre-planning application advice fees April 2013

 

Find out more about the planning process and pre-application advice

Countrycare Events For 2013

Written on . Posted in Animal welfare, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Environmental health, Epping, Loughton, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Playschemes, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Countrycare will be running a series of kids events again this spring and summer.

Join Countrycare on one of our Local Nature Reserves and branch out into birds on Roding Valley Meadows, go barmy over bugs at Weald Common or nutty over newts at Nazeing Triangle. Our kids events are aimed at ages 4 to 12, we aim to teach them a little about their surrounding countryside and the wildlife that lives there and have a lot of fun too!

We will be kicking off with an Easter Scavenger Hunt at Roughtalley’s Wood on 3rd April. Find and solve the riddles hidden around the reserve to win some chocolate eggs!

Click Countrycare Events 2013 for a list of all our events in 2013.

Learning with Countrycare

Written on . Posted in Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Chairman, Chigwell, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Councillors, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Doing business with the council, Epping, Health, Loughton, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Playschemes, Procurement, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Countrycare launches environmental education service to show young people the value of the green spaces and wildlife around them.

The Countrycare team is offering an environmental education service to schools that can work with their curriculum, in both science and arts, to help engage young people with the environment. Environmental education sessions can be run on Local Nature Reserves, in classrooms or in school grounds, and we cater for all ages.

We want young people to grow up not just enjoying the countryside but respecting it as well.

Learning with Countrycare

We offer a range of projects including

  • Creating wildlife sanctuaries in school grounds
  • Building bird boxes
  • Practical projects on Local Nature Reserves
  • Tree ecology
  • Tree planting
  • Invertebrate identification
  • Guided walks

If none of these activities fit in with your syllabus we can mould lessons to fit your needs.

Find out more

Download the brochure Learning with Countrycare (pdf 1MB)

For more information about the environmental education service at Countrycare and the competitive costs call 01992 788203 or email contactcountrycare@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.

Find out what other work Countrycare does the website at http://www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/

You can also follow Countrycare on Twitter at https://twitter.com/EFcountrycare/