We’d like to say a huge ‘Thank You’ to all our big-hearted residents who dropped Christmas gifts into the Civic Offices for mums and children in refuges across Essex.
Collecting gifts for families in refuges has been a tradition amongst Epping Forest District Council staff for many years, but this year we decided to open it up to residents to help bring a little Christmas cheer to those who find themselves in refuges over the festive season….and you didn’t disappoint.
We managed to collect many gifts including books, toys and toiletries, which will be delivered in time for Christmas.
On Friday – Christmas Jumper Day – staff got into the festive spirit with music and mince pies while wrapping all the donated gifts, ready for distribution. They’d all paid £2 to wear their Christmas Jumpers to work, with the cash going to Save the Children.
“We’re so grateful to the local people who have supported our collection this year,” said Cllr Sam Kane, Portfolio Holder for Community and Partnerships.
“Christmas is a tough time for families in refuges and we’re glad to be able to spread a little Christmas joy on the big day.”
Residents, councillors and staff gathered at Waltham Abbey Church to celebrate Christmas by Candlelight on Thursday 13 December 2018.
The congregation enjoyed the Abbey at its most stunning as the lights dimmed and candles were lit for the annual Civic Carol Service hosted jointly by Epping Forest District Council and Waltham Abbey Town Council. The service was conducted by Rector Rev Peter Smith with Director of Music Jonathan Lilley leading Waltham Abbey Church Choir.
Readings from King James Bible
Councillor Richard Basset, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council opened the event and welcomed the congregation before the Rev Smith began the service.
Waltham Abbey Town Mayor Jeane Lea, Councillor Jodie Lucas, the Rev Helen Gheorghiu Gould, Daniel Mehr from Epping Forest Youth Council and Cllr Richard Bassett, gave readings taken from the King James Bible.
Traditional Christmas carols
The congregation joined in with traditional Christmas carols and prayers before Cllr Lea closed the service and invited everyone to join her for mulled wine and mince pies over the road at Waltham Abbey Town Hall.
The offertory collection will be shared between Waltham Abbey Church, Cllr Bassett’s charity – Community Transport and Cllr Lea’s charity – Essex Air Ambulance.
Christmas message from EFDC Chairman
Chairman Councillor Richard Bassett said: “It’s almost Christmas, a time when most of us can look forward to spending time with family and friends. But I believe it is also a time to reflect on others, particularly those who don’t have family and friends to enjoy the festive season with….and to make sure we help our friends and neighbours at times of need.”
“A few weeks ago I slept out at Chelmsford Cathedral to raise money for the homeless at Christmas. Not only did it give me a real insight into the challenges others face every day, but it also made me think about the difference that charities like Chess Homeless make to those who have no homes to go to. I found it a very humbling experience.
“As I have been visiting around the district this year I have met many people who, because of unfortunate circumstances, find themselves in difficult situations requiring our assistance and I see so many volunteers doing such an excellent job of helping them.
“Christmas should be a time of peace and goodwill to everyone, not just the materialistic giving of presents.
“Therefore at this joyous time of year can we also think of those less fortunate or lonely and, if an opportunity arises, help where we can.
“I would also like to say thank you to everyone I have had the pleasure to meet this year and wish you all a very Happy Christmas.”
The Domestic Homicide Review Panel report into the murder of a 35-year-old mother of two, by her husband of eight years, has concluded that her death ‘could not reasonably have been foreseen or prevented by any agency, organisation or individual.’
The Epping Forest Community Safety Partnership has published the Domestic Homicide Review Panel Report into the tragic murder of Susan, a 35 year old mother of two from Theydon Bois. Her husband Peter assaulted her in February 2016 and set fire to her body in an attempt to conceal the murder.
What is a DHR?
The Domestic Homicide Review (DHR) process considers the circumstances that led to death from violence, abuse or neglect by a relation, partner or ex-partner of a member of the same household.
DHR’s establish whether public bodies and agencies could improve responses to situations, whether the correct safeguards are in place, identify lessons learned and highlight best practice – in order to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future.
Epping Forest District Council participated in the review. The Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, Councillor Sam Kane said: “Susan’s death was an absolute tragedy. On behalf of myself and everyone on the panel, I would like to extend our condolences to everyone affected by her death, especially her children and loved ones.”
“The exact reasons for the murder were not uncovered but the report discloses an order of events and Peter’s subtle coercive and controlling behaviours that may have contributed to the unexpected attack.”
“The panel’s view was that irrespective of whether outreach services were available to Susan, it was unlikely that she, her family and friends would have recognised her need for access to them, because the domestic abuse she received was so subtle. This is indicative of the widening definition of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is far more than physical. It can take many forms that are not as obvious as broken bones or bruising.
“The report highlights the importance of health professionals in recognising potential domestic abuse through interactions with patients with non-physical symptoms such as low self-esteem or depression”.
Report concerns before it’s too late
Councillor Kane concluded: “If you or someone you know could be a victim, you can report your concerns anonymously to the police or to social services. Do not turn a blind eye. Your call could make the difference between life and death.”
A team of agencies; Essex Police, Essex County Council Social Services, Safer Places and Epping Forest District Council, work together to form the Epping Forest Community Safety Partnership. Together they combat and raise awareness of Domestic Abuse under the initiative ‘J9’, set up in memory of domestic abuse victim Janine Mundy.
Visit the Southend, Essex and Thurrock Domestic Abuse Board (SETDAB) website for comprehensive advice and guidance on how to get help https://setdab.org/victims/
Further contact infomation
Police – 999 (if danger is immediate)
Police – 101 (non-emergencies)
Safer Places 24 hour helpline – 03301 025811
National domestic violence 24 hour helpline 0808 2000 247
Councillors have agreed in principle to relocate staff to North Weald. While customer services, civic and democratic functions will remain at the Civic Offices in Epping, new purpose-built offices will provide space for up to 380 staff at Blenheim Way, North Weald within three years.
New partners will join remaining council staff in Epping, ensuring the northern end of the town retains a strong employment focus and economic footfall for High Street shops and businesses.
Demolition of the 1960s Conder Building attached to the Civic Offices will clear the way for a mix of new homes behind the Civic Offices.
St John’s Road Cinema, Homes and Leisure Centre
As the Civic Offices evolve, the Council will also be transforming the southern end of Epping with a new leisure centre, cinema, homes, businesses and parking. Subject to detailed negotiation and agreement, Epping Forest District Council proposes to work in partnership with Epping Town Council and leisure provider Places Leisure (also known as Places for People) to deliver the development.
The existing sports centre in Epping will be redeveloped for housing following completion of the new St John’s facility, allowing the Council Offices, St John’s Road and Hemnall Street to make a substantial contribution to housing demand identified in the emerging Local Plan.
Council staff working from the current housing depot off Epping High Street will move to new facilities already built at Oakwood Hill, Loughton.
Harlow and Gilston Vision and Design
Three strategic housing locations at Water Lane, Latton Priory and East of Harlow have been identified in the Local Plan for large housing developments on the boundaries of Harlow but within Epping Forest District. Councillors approved the vision and design guide – working documents developed by Epping Forest District Council in partnership with Harlow and East Herts District Councils for Harlow and Gilston Garden Town.
£97 million Capital Programme
Ongoing development of new council houses form the major part of the five-year capital programme put before councillors at the start of the New Year budget setting process. Aside from approximately £8 million for the new Waltham Abbey Leisure Centre, completed in November 2018, around £80 million is identified for a combination of new council housing and improvements to the Council’s existing stock over five years.
Councillors approved £140,000 to complete work necessary to let commercial units at the new Landmark Building in the Broadway, Loughton. Once let, rental income of around £250,000 a year will be used to support the Council’s public services.
A forward-thinking council fit for the future
After the meeting, Council Leader Councillor Chris Whitbread said: “This is probably one of the most significant Cabinet meetings in years. The strategic development of council services based in Epping, North Weald and our new depot at Oakwood Hill, Loughton dovetail with our determination to build much need new homes sympathetically and boost economic activity across the district.”
“These are bold decisions. They demonstrate vision, confidence in our council, commitment to our residents and belief in the future of our district.”
Community Champions, a volunteer programme across the towns and villages of Epping Forest district is up and running.
The initiative aims to build on the skills and knowledge of local people to create, happy, friendly and healthy communities. To do this Epping Forest District Council is bringing together like-minded people from local towns and villages to share ideas and experiences from their communities to improve the health and wellbeing of local people.
The initiative was launched in October with nine Champions taking part in an induction morning where they learned about the support and development offered by the Council throughout the programme. They also all became Dementia Friends after taking part in an Information Session.
Community Champions have been recruited in the following towns and parishes:
What is the role of a Community Champion?
Community Champions can help you to:
Get to know what’s going on in the local area
Learn more about how to stay healthy and active
Access local services you might need
Organise community events
There is an ongoing recruitment campaign for volunteers from each of the towns and parishes within the Epping Forest district.
Do you know of a local resident who would be interested in joining us and making a real difference in the community?
We are looking for people who are:
Living in the Epping Forest district
Aged 18 years or above
Passionate about where they live
Able to build strong community connections
Happy to support and promote fun days and community events
Willing to share information about local services in the area
Able to promote useful health improvement information within the community
Get involved and make a difference
Councillor Helen Kane, Leisure and Community Services Portfolio Holder said: “I am extremely proud of our Community Champions for putting themselves forward to volunteer, and I am excited to hear their ideas. The Community Champions programme is a great way to meet new people and develop your skills and knowledge. We would love for you to get involved and make a real difference in your community!’’
More information and how to join
For further information on the Epping Forest Community Champions programme and details on how to join please contact Patrick Arnold, Senior Community Engagement Officer.
With the onset of winter, the Environment Agency has launched its annual Flood Action Campaign.
This year it’s titled Prepare, Act, Survive and is aimed at young people who are most at risk in a flood because18-24’s are least aware of dangers of flooding in their area and more than half would not know what to do in an emergency. The Environment Agency and British Red Cross are urging young people to learn how to protect themselves and help their communities when flooding hits.
“We are all individually responsible for the safety of ourselves, and our homes in the event of a flood,” said Cllr Nigel Avey, Cabinet Member for the Environment.
“There is so much self-help information available that there is no excuse for not being prepared in the event of a flood.”
“For instance flood doors and boards are available to hold back the water if you live in an area that is in danger of flooding, or you can buy self-inflating ‘sandbags’ that only take up a fraction of the space of traditional sandbags and can be deployed rapidly. We must all be prepared to help ourselves should the worst happen.”
I would also encourage all residents to check the flood risk in their area by visiting the Environment Agency’s website and if necessary sign up for automated email and text Flood Alerts.
The Environment Agency’s advice in their latest campaign is to:
Prepare a bag that includes medicines and insurance documents
Act, turn off gas, water and electricity. Move things upstairs or to safety. Move family, pets and car to safety
Survive Call 999 if in immediate danger, follow advice from emergency services, keep yourself and your family safe.
Don’t miss out on this year’s Creativity Award, there is not long left to submit your application.
The award, of up to £1000, is for young people in the district with a talent or interest in the arts, culture and heritage.
It is open to individuals and groups (with a minimum of 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 award is also open to heritage projects and other young people’s programmes through our museum service.
Applicants, who must be aged between 13 and 25 years, are required to show their commitment to their area of interest and explain how the award will help develop their talent. They must be able to demonstrate they are actively pursuing their interest through volunteering, education, exhibition or performance.
The deadline for applications is midnight on Sunday 16 December 2018.
Plans for residential units, together with associated landscaping, car parking and highway works are proposed for the Land at Oak Hill Road, opposite the junction with Tysea Hill. The proposals relate to site STAP.R1 in the Epping Forest District Local Plan Submission Version.
Epping Forest District Council is hosting the Development Management Forum along with Developer Magenta Planning Ltd. in order for local residents and all other interested parties to view plans and learn about the proposals prior to the submission of a planning application.
There will be a presentation at the start followed by a chance to discuss and put questions to representatives from Magenta Planning LTD and a Planning Officer from the District Council.
This type of forum allows for issues to be raised about the proposals and to explore any amendments and agreement between all parties in a positive and constructive way before any considerations are made at a planning committee.
A shop in The Broadway, Loughton had rubbish dumped in it’s trade bin which was traced back to a resident living in Willingale Close.
Investigations by Epping Forest District Council led to the prosecution of Mr Christian Akinrinade. The waste included a number of cardboard boxes and a leather bag which were identified as having originated from Mr Akinrinade’s property in Willingale Close Loughton.
Mr Akinrinade pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court to transferring household waste to an unauthorised person. He told the Council he had given the waste to builders working at a property in his road and had paid them approximately £30 to do so.
He was fined £1153 and ordered to pay the Council’s prosecution costs of £627.82 together with a victim surcharge of £115.
Fly tipping prosecution
“We take fly tipping, and residents’ responsibility to ensure they are disposing of their waste legitimately and responsibly very seriously and will not hesitate to prosecute,” said Cllr Nigel Avey, Portfolio Holder for Environment.
“Our message is simple: Before handing your waste to somebody else, always check, consider and record in order to protect yourself, and reduce fly-tipping by rogue traders. It is a crime not to care.”
Advice on how residents can protect themselves from rogue traders who fly-tip for profit is available on the Council’s Website. Click here for more information Crime Not to Care. A series of short films produced by the Cleaner Essex Group (a campaign group made up from representatives from local authorities across Essex), are also available to view on this web page.