Help us bring empty homes back into use

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Epping, Housing, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Private housing, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community

Did you know that in the Epping Forest District there are approximately 447 properties which have been empty for more than 6 months?

We are asking for your help this National Empty Homes Week (16 to 23 October 2017) – report empty homes to us, so that we can help the owners bring them back into use.

Empty homes week

Why are properties left empty?

Properties are left empty for a variety of reasons but they can be the source of much misery to neighbours who have to live nearby. It is estimated that the home next door to an empty property can be devalued by 10%.

There is also the worry of nuisance, vermin, arson, vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

For the owner, an empty property is a wasted resource and can be costly in terms of increased insurance, increased council tax premiums, property fraud, emergency repairs and break-ins.

Financial assistance

We are committed to reducing the number of empty properties in the district and can offer financial help in certain circumstances. It is recognised that a stumbling block can be that the empty property is in disrepair and cannot be lived in, let or easily sold in its condition.

We can offer the following schemes:

  • The Empty Homes Repayable Assistance offers up to £10,000 if there is an empty property that you intend to live in yourself, but is in poor condition. The money is repaid when you eventually sell the property.
  • The PLACE Loan offers up to £25,000 if you have a property that you would like to have renovated in order that you can sell or rent it out. This is an interest free loan and is paid back within two years in the case of a loan to sell, or five years in the case of the loan to let.

We always prefer to work with owners in a constructive way. We have certain enforcement powers that we may use to ensure an empty property is brought back to use, particularly if it has been empty a long time and is problematic to the local community.

Help for empty home owners

Councillor Syd Stavrou, Housing Portfolio Holder, said: “As a council we are fully committed to bringing empty properties back into use and are looking to help owners in every way we can. However where all other measures have failed, we are prepared to take enforcement action as a last resort.”

She added: ”If you are aware of an empty property or own one yourselves, please let us know. We will need the address and any other information you think might be helpful. We will do our best to contact the owner and work with them to bring the property back to use, and all calls are treated in confidence.”

Report an empty property

Further information

Have your say on how homes are allocated

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Consultation, Epping, Housing, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community

Have your say about the way Epping Forest District Council prioritises housing applications and allocates affordable housing. We want your views on the draft revised Housing Allocations Scheme before 2 January 2018.

What is a Housing Allocations Scheme?

The current scheme was last reviewed in 2015. It is a document which sets out clear policies on how the council prioritises applications and allocates affordable housing to people on the housing register. The housing register is a list of homeseekers who are waiting to be offered a council or housing association property.

We are required by law to have a Housing Allocations Scheme for:

  • deciding priorities and the procedure to be followed in selecting homeseekers for council accommodation
  • nominating homeseekers for housing association accommodation

Alongside members of the public, we are also consulting with

  • The council’s Tenant and Leaseholders Panel
  • Town and Parish Councils
  • Partner agencies with an interest in the scheme
  • Every private register provider of social housing with which it has nomination arrangements

Have your say

Housing Portfolio Holder, Councillor Syd Stavrou said: ”We are consulting with a variety of associated bodies and partner agencies, as well as our residents. We want to hear your views, so please make sure you complete the consultation.”

”If you would like to comment on the draft revised Housing Allocations Scheme 2018, please fill out the online form. Responses are needed by 2 January 2018. The Council’s Cabinet will consider the results of the consultation and when it has been approved, the new scheme and policy will come into force on 1 July 2018.”

Further information

Council Tax Support Scheme consultation extended

Written on . Posted in Benefits, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Consultation, Council tax, Democracy, Epping, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

The Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme consultation has been extended, due to a problem with a link that was published on social media. You are now able to make comments until midnight on Wednesday 25 October 2017.

We’re asking for your views on the future of our Local Council Tax Reduction scheme (LCTS) to see whether any changes should be made. It’s important we get the views of our residents as it could affect the amount of Council Tax you pay, or the services you receive.

Council Tax Reduction Scheme consultation

Government grant

“The Government gives us a grant to pay Local Council Tax Support which is reducing each year” explains Finance Portfolio Holder Councillor Gagan Mohindra, “if we spend more than the grant, we have to decide how we pay for the excess.”

Making changes

“This year, in addition to looking at how the scheme is funded, we are deciding whether changes should be made to reduce the number of different Council Tax bills that people get when they receive Universal Credit, and whether Bereavement Support Payments should be disregarded. There are also changes to the way that we treat decisions by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).”

Generate savings

Councillor Mohindra said: “We’ve looked carefully at the LCTS scheme and are aiming to providing a fair level of support to those residents on a low income as well as identifying potential changes which would generate savings for the council.

We will of course continue to fully fund support for those who suffer exceptional hardship, and none of the changes would make a drastic change to the amount of council tax individuals would pay.”

Let us know what you think

“Let us know what you think on this important issue” Councillor Mohindra asked residents. “ It takes just 10 minutes to complete the online questionnaire which runs until midnight on Wednesday 25 October 2017.

Any recommendations from this consultation will be considered by Full Council later in the year, with a view to bringing in changes from April 2018.”

Make a detailed reply or comments

If you want to make a detailed reply or comments, email benefits@eppingforestdc.gov.uk and enter ‘consultation’ in the subject heading. If you don’t have access to a computer, you can get a paper copy from the Benefits Division at the Civic Offices.

We cannot respond individually to each response.

Applications open for Creativity Awards 2018

Written on . Posted in Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Epping, Loughton, Museum, Ongar, Our activities, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your community

Applications open Monday 2 October 2017 for the 2018 Creativity Awards. The awards are open to every young person in the district, aged between 13 and 25, with a single award of up to £1000 up for grabs.

Creativity Award 2017

Develop your skills

If you are an individual or group and have a real talent or interest in the arts, culture and heritage; we would like to support you in developing your skills with our Creativity Award.

Individuals or groups

The awards are open to individuals and groups (minimum 3 people) who are looking for support for their creative activity. A group can already be established (i.e. art clubs, theatre groups, choirs or orchestras) or have formed especially to apply for this funding. The awards are open to heritage projects and all young people’s programmes through our museum service.

Apply now!

Applicants are required to show their commitment to their area of interest and explain how the award will help them develop their talent. You must be able to demonstrate that you are actively pursuing your interest through volunteering, education, exhibition or performance.

Recycling rewards for 1,600 flats in district

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chairman, Chigwell, Community, Councillors, Epping, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Recycling and waste, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Epping Forest District Council is launching a new pilot recycling scheme 1,600 households in 100 blocks of flats across the district, ‘Recycling Rewards’.

Recycling rewards scheme

Rewards for recycling

The scheme will reward residents for recycling their waste correctly. Cutting down on bin contamination, increasing recycling rates in flats where we know it is more difficult to recycle and educating people on the different materials that can be recycled and how.

Improve recycling rates

Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: ‘’We know recycling rates in flats are below where they should be. This scheme is a wonderful opportunity for residents in the blocks of flats involved, to improve their recycling rates and get rewarded for doing so.’’

‘’We hope that these incentives will encourage the people taking part to recycle as much as they can, so that we can increase recycling and improve the quality of recycling collected. We’re also delighted that we can support some fantastic local charities with this scheme too.”

Supporting local charities

Four local charities and community projects including; Epping Forest Community Transport, Chigwell Riding Trust, Epping Forest Foodbank and Safer Places will be supported by Recycling Rewards, donating £1,750 this year.

Recycling advice and help

The scheme will be delivered on behalf of the council by specialist recycling reward scheme provider, Local Green Points. Specially trained door knocking teams will be visiting over 1,600 properties across 100 participating blocks of flats in the district over the coming weeks, offering recycling advice and helping residents sign up to the scheme.

Collect ‘Green Points’

Once registered, residents will collect ‘Green Points’ for recycling, taking waste to recycling centres and reporting fly tipping. The scheme offers monthly voucher prizes for the highest green point earners and donations to your favourite local charities. The scheme will also offer a discount card, which will entitle the resident to discounts and special offers in local businesses.

Local businesses, get involved

If you are a local business and you are interested in taking part, please contact Local Green Points on 0207 326 5055 or email info@localgreenpoints.com to find out more.

If you are a resident in a block of flats, Local Green Points will be sending a welcome pack and knocking on your door soon, if your block is involved in the pilot scheme.

North Weald Airfield fireworks & bonfire party

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Epping, Licensing, Local business, Loughton, North Weald Airfield, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Come and join us at North Weald Airfield on 3 November 2017, for a spectacular evening of fireworks and fun! Tickets are now on sale, so book now to avoid disappointment!

North Weals Airfield fireworks and bonfire party

Click on an image below to begin slideshow of last year’s fireworks event.

Schedule of events

  • 5.00 pm – Gates & Ferris wheel open
  • 5.30 pm – Kids disco starts, with prizes for the best dancers
  • 7.00 pm – Bonfire is lit
  • 7.15 pm – Little Mix tribute band (2 lucky children get to meet the band, keep your ticket number handy)
  • 8.15 pm – Hot air balloons glow to music
  • 8.30 pm – Fireworks display begins
  • 9.15 pm – 80’s tribute band begins
  • 10.30 pm – Licensed bar closes
  • 10.45pm – Last bus leaves
  • 11.00pm – Airfield closes

Every ride on the Ferris wheel you take will see 50% of the price donated to The Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust, helping to fund their life saving missions!

Tickets available now!

Tickets are available to buy now, so don’t delay and avoid disappointment!

  • Buy tickets online
  • Tickets are also available from The Squadron Café at North Weald Airfield, The News Shop in North Weald and are being sold at Saturday market at North Weald Airfield

Ticket prices

  • £5 per adult
  • £3 per child (2 – 11 years old)

A limited number of tickets will be available on the night and will cost

  • £7 per adult
  • £5 per child (2-11 years old)

Getting to and from the event

By bus

  • Special bus services to the airfield from Waltham Abbey, Harlow and Ongar will be available
  • Return busses to Waltham Abbey, Harlow and Ongar will leave from the control tower from 9:45pm
  • A free bus will pick up passengers from Kings Head bus stop, North Weald

On foot

  • North Weald Airfield (map)
  • A free bus will pick up passengers from Kings Head bus stop, North Weald

By car

Further information

Youth Councillors say no to N2O

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countryside and wildlife, Environmental health, Epping, Health, Loughton, Media, Olympics, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Our performance, Out and about, Residents, Uncategorized, Volunteering opportunities, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Epping Forest Youth Councillors took to districts car parks to clean up laughing gas canisters, empty bottles of alcohol and general waste.

Along with members of the Waste Management Team and City of London Volunteer Wardens, Youth Councillors dressed in protective clothing cleaned up over 550 laughing gas canisters in Epping Forest, Traps Hill, Loughton and Cornmill Lane, Waltham Abbey.

So what is laughing gas?

The Home Office has found Nitrous Oxide (N2O) more commonly known as laughing gas, to be the second most popular recreational drug among 16 to 24 year olds in England and Wales.

Nitrous oxide is not a controlled drug, and has legitimate uses in medicine and dentistry.

Under the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985, it is illegal to sell to under 18s when the seller believes the substance may be inhaled for the purposes of intoxication.

While it is not illegal for an adult to inhale the gas, many authority’s across Britain are concerned about its use.

Raising awareness

Youth Councillors are currently conducting an on line survey in schools, aiming to identify

  • Young people’s understanding of drugs
  • What drugs they have tried
  • What made they try them
  • Peer pressure
  • Curiosity or boredom

The findings will be published as part of the Youth Council’s drug awareness project.

Youth Councillors are currently designing a poster campaign to take into their schools and raise awareness of the dangers of the laughing gas craze.

Are you aged between 11 and 24?

Understanding the risks

Youth Councillor Nina Honey said: “It is important young people understand the serious health risks the substance can pose.”

“Nitrous oxide can be very dangerous when misused. When inhaled the gas restricts oxygen getting to the brain and can cause someone to become faint or unconscious and can even cause heart attacks.”

“The amount of canisters we found whilst out and about is worrying and it shows laughing gas is a real issue for young people today. Through our drug awareness project we hope to highlight the risks and make young people aware of the damage they are doing.”

More information

For further information contact

  • Di Gilson-Butler
  • Youth Engagement Officer
  • 01992 564 365

Learn about local mammals with Countrycare

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Join Countrycare on Saturday 16 September 2017 at 7:30am for a close encounter with some of the small mammals found in Roding Valley!

Small mammal event 2017

Help us identify which animals live in and around Roding Valley, followed by breakfast!

Details

  • Saturday 16 September 2017
  • 7:30am – 9:30am
  • The Grange Farm Centre, Grange Farm Lane, Chigwell, Essex, IG7 6DP (click here for a map)
  • £6
  • Call 01992 564224 to book

Further information

Your rubbish, your responsibility

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Councillors, Environmental health, Epping, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Prosecutions, Recycling and waste, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Fly-tipping in Essex is draining more than £1 million of taxpayers’ money each year.

#CrimeNotToCare

Partnership working

This week, Love Essex, a partnership of councils, businesses and environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, is launching its #CrimeNotToCare campaign to inform residents they could unwittingly end up with a criminal record and face an unlimited fine, if a rogue trader dumps their waste illegally.

”Your rubbish is your responsibility”

Epping Forest District Council’s Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: “We need the public to understand their rubbish is their responsibility and they must do the right thing with it. Giving it to a man with a van who offers to get rid of it cheaply could prove costly for people and result in them getting a criminal record.”

Incidents on the rise

In the Epping Forest district there were 2,384  incidents in 2016 to 2017, a significant rise from the previous year’s figures of 1,944. The number of prosecutions of residents where fly-tipped waste has been traced back to them is also on the rise.

Successful prosecutions

A man was recently fined £461 and ordered to pay £758 prosecution costs after pleading guilty to failing his ‘duty of care’, at Chelmsford Magistrates Court. The Loughton resident had allowed a man who knocked at his door to take 40 black sacks away for £70 cash, without checking he was authorised to transport the waste – rules he was unaware of.

The rubbish was then fly-tipped in a garage area in Loughton and traced back to the resident.

”Important campaign for our country”

Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton added: “#CrimeNotToCare is an important campaign for our country and we are delighted that Epping Forest District Council as part of Love Essex, is partnering with us.

“There are almost a million fly-tipping incidents in England every year and cleaning it all up costs us £50million a year. It blights communities and our countryside and is a menace.”

Seek advice

Ensure you don’t fall foul of the law, visit www.recycleforessex.com/crimenottocare for advice.

Top tips to dispose of waste correctly

  1. If you use a trader to remove your waste ask to see their waste carrier registration number issued by the Environment Agency. It is illegal for them to take your waste if they don’t have a permit. Check their credentials and vehicle details here
  2. Make sure you get a receipt or transfer notice before your waste is taken away
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask where your waste is going and request paperwork that shows where it will be disposed. A legitimate waste carrier will not object to this questioning
  4. Protect yourself by being careful with your waste. Never leave rubbish, such as old washing machines or scrap metal on your drive or in the street as it could end up in the wrong hands. You can donate working items to reuse organisations or charity shops

Report fly-tipping

Join us for Mad About Moths

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Interested in learning more about wildlife on nature reserves at night? Join us for our annual Mad About Moths event on Friday 1 September 2017, 8pm until late.

Mad about moths 2017We will also be using bat detectors and looking out for any other signs of nocturnal wildlife!

Details

  • When: Friday 1 September 2017
  • Time: 8pm until late
  • Where: Epping Green Millennium Garden, CM16 6PR
  • Cost: Free entry, donations for refreshments appreciated
  • Book: Call 01992 564224

Hot drinks will be available, don’t forget to bring a torch!

Further information