Olympic Airfield Plans

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Local business, North Weald Airfield, Olympics, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Sports, Supporting business, Your community, Your council

Local business could benefit from thousands of visitors to London 2012 travelling to the Olympic Games via North Weald Airfield according to its owner, Epping Forest District Council. The 380-acre site close to the M11 and public transport could provide camping facilities and a transport hub for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Among the options are Park and Ride to local rail services, temporary upgrade of the Airfield status to allow passenger flights and an approach from the Caravan Club of Great Britain for its members to stay at North Weald during the Games.

Councillor Chris Whitbread Deputy Council Leader, Chairman of North Weald Airfield Strategy Cabinet Committee and the Council`s new Business Champion is very excited by the possibilities. He said: London 2012 is a great business and cultural opportunity for Epping Forest district. The Airfield is a well-located site with a good track record of hosting and holding events.

One of the major selling points to the International Olympic Committee was to make London 2012 the Public Transport Games. Epping Forest district has eight Central Line Underground Stations. However, people will need to get to the stations and the Council is concerned about parking congestion if no extra local parking facilities are available. A well-planned Park and Ride scheme would benefit everyone by smoothing the journey for visitors and reducing parking at the stations.

Councillor Whitbread continued: North Weald also offers a potentially fast air route to the Games. Aviation tenants are asking the Council to look at temporarily licensing the Airfield for passenger flights to take some of the pressure off other Airfields.

Businesses in London have not been slow to see the opportunities. Epping Forest district is also ideally placed for the main events in Stratford and the White Water Canoeing on the River Lee at Waltham Abbey. Most London hotels are already fully booked for the duration of the Games. The Caravan Club of Great Britain holds a national rally each year and would like to hold their 2012 event close to the Olympic venues and North Weald Airfield could be the perfect place.

Councillor David Stallan voiced some concerns about the temporary nature of any Park and Ride. Councillor Whitbread assured him should a Park and Ride scheme go ahead, it would be temporary and not permanent. Councillor Di Collins Leader of the Council said she could see the benefit of Park and Ride with camping and caravanning. Councillor Jon Whitehouse was concerned to ensure very careful traffic planning would be necessary but supported the ideas in principle.

Councillor Anne Grigg Vice-Chairman of the Council felt that temporary licensing of the Airfield for passenger flights would give residents and the Council a good idea of the impact of more sustained aviation expansion. Like Councillor Stallan, her fellow North Weald Member, she had some concerns about the local impact of Park and Ride.

Councillor Chris Whitbread emphasised that agreement in principle was subject to much further investigation and consultation with the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA). He added: There is much detail to be discussed. Any plans would have to dovetail with the wider Olympic transport plans. We would need the go-ahead of the ODA. However, this is a potentially fantastic opportunity to raise the profile of North Weald and the district. It would earn income for Council services and create great opportunities for local business.

Epping Parking Review

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Consultation, Planning, Residents, Travel, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Epping Parking Review

A three week consultation period ending on 3 July 2009 has been undertaken as part of a review into the Epping Parking Scheme which was implemented in August 2007.

Essex County Council issued a consultation letter to residents and businesses in the Epping Forest District on behalf on Epping Forest District Council to review the Scheme.

    Full details can be found on the Essex County Council website.

Council Apology to Epping Piano Lounge

Written on . Posted in Business, Environmental health, Food safety, Local business

Epping Forest District Council has apologised to a local business after mistakenly including the Piano Lounge in a list of premises that received Food Improvement Notices. John Gilbert, Director of Environment and Street Scene for the Council said: It was an administrative mistake on our part and we are very sorry for any inconvenience and embarrassment caused.

The Council received a Freedom of Information Act request from the Epping Forest Guardian earlier this year asking for a list of restaurants and take-aways visited by Environmental Health Officers between 2006 and 2008 where improvement notices has been issued.

Mr Gilbert said: The standards of quality and hygiene among our local pubs, restaurants and take-aways are generally very high. None of the problems found by our inspectors constituted an imminent risk to public health and wherever we asked for improvements, these were carried out without any need for legal proceedings.

However, we made a mistake on the list. All of the records are computerised. Four notices had been issued to the previous occupier of one premises, an Indian restaurant, which is now occupied by the Piano Lounge. When the Piano Lounge took over the site, our system transferred the previous occupier`s history to the new business.

None of the notices issued between 2006 and 2008 related to the Piano Lounge. We are very sorry for the mistake and we have acted as quickly as we can to change the way our computer system holds this information to ensure it cannot happen again.

New Data Security Transfer System

Written on . Posted in Business, Doing business with the council, Supporting business, Your council

Epping Forest District Council has become the first Council in Essex to introduce a new and more secure way of transferring data. The GCSx Connection (Government Connect Secure Extranet) is a secure private wide area network (WAN), which enables secure interactions between connected Local Authorities and organisations.

GCSx is connected to the Government Secure Intranet (GSI), which also enables secure interactions between Local Authorities, Central Government departments and national bodies. It provides a range of connectivity options to enable access to the GSI network and its hosted services without using the Internet or any other public networks.

The main benefits of GCSx are that it provides an accredited, managed network to connect all English, Welsh and Scottish Local Authorities, Central Government, the Police National Network (PNN), the NHS and the criminal justice communities, into a trusted secure community. A secure email service is provided and it enables secure data sharing.

This system is currently used by Benefits staff to communicate restricted data securely with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). However, it is envisaged that the network will have wider benefits for other departments once it matures.

To obtain connectivity to the GCSx Epping Forest District Council has had to adhere to strict ICT security best practice and guidelines. Although it is not totally impossible for data not to be lost, the Council has done all that can be asked of it to secure data with the technology currently available.

Fit For Business

Written on . Posted in Business, Health, Our activities, Out and about, Supporting business

Epping Forest District Council is the fourth organisation to achieve the `Fit for Business` (FFB) recognition on the Big Lottery Funded `Wellbeing in the East` portfolio. It is also the first business to achieve this in Essex. The National Lottery funded programme works with 37 businesses across the East of England as part of a grant from the Care Services Improvement Partnership (CSIP Eastern) to launch a `Workplace Health and Wellbeing` programme. This money comes from an original sum of £3.9 million from the Big Lottery to initiate sport and wellbeing programmes across England.

Epping Forest District Council has achieved Fit for Business recognition with a total of 579 points. These points have been gained from both mandatory and optional activities. Organised and facilitated by the Council`s Sports and Health Development Team, activities include lunchtime walks, badminton, Nintendo Wii sessions, alcohol awareness, stress busting sessions and one-off interventions.

These activities meet the five `Fit For Business` (FFB) remits of workplace health: Physical activity, healthy eating, mental health and wellbeing, smoke free workplaces and drugs and alcohol awareness. The final points score achieved by Epping Forest District Council exceeds the 410 minimum points required for the `Fit For Business` (FFB) recognition, demonstrating that a well-balanced employee health programme has been instigated and delivered within the organisation.

The Sports and Health Development Team at the Council is currently developing a year two action plan, which will be completed once staff have completed and returned their Employee Needs Questionnaire. Successes from year one will continue and new lunchtime initiatives will be offered for all staff to participate.

Real help now

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Local business, Residents, Supporting business, Your community


Where to find help with homes, jobs and finances when you need it.

The international financial crisis and the recession it has caused around the world, and now in the UK, is having a real impact on individuals, families and businesses.

The Government is acting because extra support is needed to get us through the downturn. So a range of new help is being made available for those who need it, from homeowners with difficulties paying their mortgages, or people seeking employment or training, to small businesses with cashflow problems and larger businesses needing working capital.

A booklet tells you what help is available now and where to find it. It also includes details of extra support that is being introduced this spring, and we will update it as more help becomes available. It can be downloaded from either of the below links.

The Government`s priorities to get Britain through the recession are:
  • to prevent the collapse of the banking system, so that people`s savings are secure and the banks can do their job
  • to get the financial system lending responsibly again so as to support businesses, jobs and growth
  • to support the economy and jobs through direct government action, including tax cuts and important investment projects
  • to help people through more difficult times with the support described in this booklet

Action has also been taken to boost our economy by putting money in people`s pockets and bringing investment plans forward.

    This includes:

  • income tax cuts of £145 for every basic rate taxpayer
  • £60 extra for pensioners this winter
  • a VAT cut worth on average over £200 to every family this year
  • an extra £3 billion investment in projects that will protect and create jobs
  • a £75 above inflation increase in the child element of the Child Tax Credit from April 2009, worth up to £2,235 a year for families

Real help now, when you need it.

Councillors Visit The Broadway

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Leader, Local business, Loughton, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council

Councillors Diana Collins and Anne Grigg lend a hand

The Leader of Epping Forest District Council Councillor Diana Collins and the Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder Councillor Anne Grigg visited The Broadway in Loughton on Wednesday 28 January 2009. They met with representatives of local traders and reassured them that every effort is being made to reduce the impact on local businesses whilst work to regenerate the area is being carried out.

This is following concerns expressed earlier by local traders and residents at a Town Centre Partnership meeting that steps should be taken to minimise disruption to businesses and residents. A number of steps have been taken to keep the Broadway accessible for traders and shoppers.

Access is being maintained to all the shops on The Broadway, only the eastbound carriageway has been shut for now. Crossing over points have been provided so shoppers can get from one side of The Broadway to the other, Vere Road Car Park has been re-designated for short-stay and permit holders only and free parking has been retained for The Broadway.

Councillors and local traders view work at the Broadway

Councillor Diana Collins said: I understand the concerns of local traders but every effort is being made to minimise the impact of this scheme to local traders and shoppers. Unfortunately large engineering projects can cause disruption but at the end we will have a much improved and enhanced town centre.

Celebrating Success

Written on . Posted in Business, Chairman, Councillors, Meetings, Our performance, Performance, Your council

Chairman of Council, Councillor John Knapman recently presented Epping Forest District Council staff with certificates following their success in training and qualifications.

Chairman John Knapman and Council staff

Celebrating Success is an annual event organised by the Council at which staff who have attained professional accreditations, completed in-house training and development programmes and also achieved vocational qualifications receive their awards. Also invited are staff who have either completed, or are soon to complete, 25 years` service with the Council or its predecessor Authorities.

Councillor John Knapman said: As a Council we have invested heavily in staff training and development and have been an Investor in People since 2001. This year, in March, we were re-accredited against the Investors in People standard for the third time, achieving very high standards. The Council sees staff development as a key link to improving services to our residents and I was delighted to present certificates to those staff who have achieved success in their training over the last year.

Council Confirms Funds Held by Icelandic Bank

Written on . Posted in Business, Your council

Epping Forest District Council is one of a large number of councils with deposits in the Heritable Bank, a subsidiary of the Icelandic Landsbanki Group. The Council has £2.5 million in the bank which is registered and regulated in the United Kingdom.

As a debt-free Council, Epping Forest District has a large amount of savings and investments used to support the cost of services and keep Council Tax down. While the news from Iceland is not good, the amount of money involved is small in comparison to the Council`s overall investments which have been spread across a wide number of banks to limit the impact of problems in such circumstances.

Heritable is regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). The FSA determined that Heritable no longer meets its threshold conditions, and is likely to be unable to continue to meet its obligations to depositors. Heritable’s retail deposit business has been transferred to ING Direct.

The remainder of Heritable’s business has been put into Administration and Ernst and Young have been appointed as the Administrators. The Council is one of a number of unsecured creditors and the amount of the deposits that will ultimately be returned is unclear. The Local Government Association is currently lobbying to achieve the same level of protection for Local Authorities as has been given to ordinary savers.

The Council has a Treasury Management Policy, formulated in line with Government guidance, which restricts the amounts that are deposited with various financial institutions based on their credit ratings. At the time the deposits were made with the Heritable Bank the bank had a good credit rating.

Councillor Chris Whitbread, Finance and Performance Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council said: Thankfully, we have not put all our eggs in one basket. We are currently in an extraordinary economic environment where instability in financial markets has generated unpredictable events. However, Epping Forest District Council has very prudent investment policies. It is too early to say what the exact effects of Heritable Bank being placed in to Administration will be. These will ultimately be determined by the success or failure of the LGA campaign and what dividend is available to creditors at the end of the Administration but the Council remains financially strong and well managed .

The Council`s investments will be the subject of discussion at a special meeting of the Cabinet at 6pm on Monday 20 October 2008 which will be webcast and viewable online.

Have Your Say on the NHS Constitution

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Consultation, Older people, Residents, Supporting business, Your community, Your council

Don`t miss out on the chance to have your say on plans for the NHS Constitution – but hurry, time is running out. The NHS Constitution will record in one place what the NHS in England does, what it stands for and should live up to. It will also state how decisions affecting the NHS should be made.

The NHS Constitution is the first of its kind in the world and comes as a result of discussions with staff, patients and the public as part of the Darzi review. It declares the Government`s commitment to the NHS being a service for all, funded by taxes and based on clinical need and not an individual`s ability to pay.

It recognises the future of the NHS is too important to be left to chance. The Government will be obliged by law to renew the NHS Constitution every ten years. Any changes made will be as a result of a full and transparent debate.

The Constitution means local people will have important rights around access to drugs and treatments, health services, information, quality of care and environment, dignity and respect, complaint and redress.

West Essex PCT Chairman Alan Tobias OBE said: The NHS Constitution explains your rights as patients to make choices about your healthcare. It also sets out principles on how all parts of the NHS should act and make decisions. It describes what we can all do to make better use of the NHS. This is your opportunity to make comments about how we provide health services in the future.

Created 60 years ago the NHS has changed radically and for the better. Secretary of State for Health Alan Johnson said: The content of the Constitution was not dreamt up by me or civil servants in Whitehall. It is something that has arisen out of discussions with thousands of NHS staff, patients and the public across the country. The NHS belongs to the people. I would urge everyone to take part in this consultation to ensure that the NHS is fit for the future.

More information on the consultation together with contact details can be found on the Department of Health website and you can also record your views on the NHS East of England`s blog.

The consultation on the draft NHS Constitution, run by the Department of Health, ends on 17 October 2008.