At a meeting of Council on Tuesday 31 July 2018, Councillors paid tribute to former Councillor Frank Love, supported a motion to secure a Holocaust Memorial in the district, agreed extra investment in the recycling contract and were pleased to hear the district is the ‘best connected’ to superfast broadband in Essex.
The Chairman of Council, Councillor Richard Bassett, invited Councillors to stand for a minute’s silence in tribute to the memory of Former Councillor Frank Love, who recently passed away.
The former Councillor represented the Chipping Ongar Ward from 1978 until 1991 and served on many of the Council’s member bodies throughout this time.
Councillor Paul Keska and Councillor Richard Morgan shared their fond memories of Mr Love with fellow Councillors, sending their condolences to his family and loved ones.
Motion for Holocaust Memorial
Unanimous cross party support for the motion, brought by Councillor Gavin Chambers and seconded by Councillor Kauffman, to secure an official Holocaust Memorial within the district was echoed throughout the Council chamber.
Councillors shared personal stories and the same zero tolerance approach to anti-Semitism – wholeheartedly supporting the creation of a place for commemoration and remembrance. The full proposal for the memorial will be considered at a subsequent Cabinet meeting.
Need for high quality recycling
Councillors agreed to contribute towards increased costs faced by the Council’s waste and recycling contractor Biffa Municipal, since the Chinese government imposed a ban on the import of paper produced by recycling facilities in the UK.
The ban has resulted in excess amounts of paper in the reprocessing market, reducing its value and creating a buyers’ market focussed on quality – increasing Biffa’s costs.
The Council currently sends no recycling waste to landfill. In order to continue with this policy, Biffa requested a further investment of £841,080 to offset the cost associated with delivering higher quality recycling materials.
Having taken specialist advice, Councillors agreed the recommendation to pay Biffa £500,000 – comprising a £200,000 one off capital contribution and £50,000 annually over six years, in order to prevent any of the district’s recycling waste ending up in landfill.
Some of the increased costs relate to the amount of contamination found within the recycling collected. Residual food waste and non-recyclable materials can find their way into recycling, which significantly reduces the quality of the material produced.
Best connected district – Superfast Broadband
It is good news for internet users as the Epping Forest District is well on its way to becoming the ‘best connected’ area within Essex. 96% of residents can currently connect to Superfast Broadband services – reportedly the fastest high speed internet connection in Essex.
The Rural Challenge Project, that finished in early July, has seen in excess of 4,300 additional properties connected to the fibre broadband network. The next phase of the rollout is expected to provide broadband to a further 2,188 properties, bringing coverage up to an impressive 99.67% by December 2019 – leaving just 207 homes in the district where superfast broadband cannot be obtained.
The public-voluntary sector partnership between Epping Forest District council and the Citizens Advice Bureau came under the spotlight at the Overview and Scrutiny meeting on Tuesday 24 July 2018.
Council CAB Partnership
The Council is one of the most important sources of local CAB funding, contributing £150,000 in the current Financial Year.
Chief Executive Nnenna Anyanwu summarised the work the Epping Forest District CAB. It provides specialist and generalist advice from three main offices in Loughton Library, Waltham Abbey Town Hall and Hemnall Street, Epping as well as two outreach services from Limes Farm and Ongar library.
CAB advice is free, confidential, impartial and independent. Core areas of expertise include benefits, debt, housing, employment, relationships, legal matters financial services, tax, discrimination and consumer issues.
Most people come to the CAB with more than one problem. In 2017/18 the 44 volunteers working from the five local offices helped 1,961 clients directly with 7,409 issues. Between April and June 2018, 833 CAB clients benefited through a mix of additional income, benefits and debt written off by almost £275,000.
Nnenna Anyanwu is hoping to build a closer strategic partnership with Epping Forest District Council as the CAB faces various challenges including funding, EFDC geographical environment, volunteer recruitment and training, staff shortages and building partnership relationships.
A new joint District Community Safety Hub bringing Epping Forest District Council and Essex Police closer together in the fight against local crime was officially launched on 20 July 2018.
(L-R) Council Leader Chris Whitbread, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community Safety Sam Kane, Epping Forest District Council Chairman Richard Bassett, Assistant Chief Constable Andy Prophet, Essex Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst, and Dame Eleanor Laing MP, at the official launch of the new Epping Forest Community Safety Hub.
The Council and Essex Police joined forces, together with other agencies, to create the Hub, at the Civic Offices in Epping.
Guests, including Rt. Hon. Dame Eleanor Laing MP, Roger Hirst (Essex Police Fire and Crime Commissioner), Assistant Chief Constable Andy Prophet, Council Chairman Richard Bassett, and local councillors, joined Council and Police officers to open the Hub which has been in operation since the end of June 2018.
The launch marks an even stronger partnership between Epping Forest District Council and Essex Police. The Hub comprises the Council’s Community Safety Team, a Police Sergeant and two experienced Police Constables all funded and tasked by the Council. The team is already working together with other partners involved with crime prevention and community safety.
The Council’s Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, Councillor Sam Kane, hosted the Launch and said: “Over recent years there has been a sustained demand for councils to increase the use of their powers to deal with anti-social behaviour, disorder and environmental crime. At the same time, the Government has introduced significant new legislation giving police and councils effective new powers to deal with these issues. Epping Forest District Council is already making use of the new powers but enforcement is often the main responsibility of the Police, which can lead to a disjointed approach. Better coordination through the creation of this unique Community Safety Hub will prove to be revolutionary for the District.”
Rt. Hon. Dame Eleanor Laing unveiled the plaque for the Launch and said: “This is a brilliant initiative. I am genuinely delighted to unveil the plaque to mark the launch of the Epping Forest Community Safety Hub. There is in our area increasing fear of a rise in crime and I am pleased to be able to tell people that Epping Forest District Council in conjunction with Essex Police and our local community are doing something about it.
“I would like thank the district council, Essex Police and everyone who has been involved in making this ground-breaking initiative come together.”
First initiative of its kind
Councillor Sam Kane said: “I believe this is the first initiative of a district council both funding and tasking police officers anywhere in the country. I am confident it will become a flagship for others to follow. The Council and Essex Police are proud of the close links that we already have. The new Community Safety Hub is a powerful demonstration of our continuing and innovative partnership working.”
Chief Inspector Lewis Basford, District Commander for Epping Forest and Brentwood added: “This commitment is a fantastic demonstration of what local partnerships can do. It means more police, more problems solved, better engagement and ultimately safer communities.”
Epping Forest District Council will review its commitment to fund the three police officers after three years.
Household Enquiry Forms will be dropping through letterboxes over the next few weeks and it is essential that every home within the Epping Forest District responds by 21 August 2018.
If you live at an address in the district, you are legally required to respond and we are urging local residents to do it as soon as the form arrives, to help cut down the £20,000 cost of reminders last year.
The form also ensures that Epping Forest can keep the electoral register up to date and that you are able to vote should there be an unexpected election.
Simon Hill, Electoral Registration Officer said: “It’s important that residents respond immediately to the form online, by phone or by text, so we can make sure we have the right details on the electoral register for every address in Epping Forest.”
“Last year 60% of households used one of the automated response options but many more could have done, particularly if there are no changes to the details. Using them saves time and money.”
Register and respond to canvass form
If you’re not currently registered, your name will not appear on the form. If you want to register, the easiest way is online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote or call the Electoral Services office on 01992 564411.
At the same time as registering you must also respond to the canvass form.
People who have moved address recently are particularly encouraged to keep an eye out for the form and check the details. Research by the independent Electoral Commission indicates that recent home movers are far less likely to be registered than those that have lived at the same address for a long time.
Do it online, by phone or by text now
It’s easiest and quickest to confirm your details online, by phone or by text. You can also let us know of any changes online. By using one of the automated response options you are helping to keep our costs down.
Make sure you can vote
“People think that they are automatically added to the register of electors because they are paying Council Tax, but that’s not the case,” said Simon Hill. “The annual canvass happens every year and even if nothing in your household has changed, you still need to confirm your details.”
It can affect your credit rating
It is important to remember that not being on the register can affect your ability to open a bank account, get a loan, credit, a mortgage or even a mobile phone, because it can affect your credit rating.
Respond by 21 August
Don’t ignore the form. By law you must confirm your details, or you may face a fine of up to £1,000. Please respond immediately if you have not already done so, please complete your form by 21 August 2018 at the very latest.
The Chairman of Council, Councillor Richard Bassett, hit the opening tee shot at the Epping Forest District Council Chairman’s charity golf day at Chigwell Golf Club on Tuesday 3 July 2018.
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After apologising for the divot from his first shot, 24 golfers took to the fairways alongside the Chairman. The group was comprised of Councillors, officers and former employees.
£783 raised for Chairmans charities
The golfers raised a magnificent £783 for the Chairman’s chosen charities, including; Epping Forest Community Transport, a local charity which meets the needs of local people who are unable to use conventional public transport and towards grants for children’s charities and clubs across the district.
Chairman of the Council, Councillor Richard Bassett said: “It was a fabulously sunny day and the standard of the golf was very high. Congratulations to Trevor Johnson, David Clifton, Wendy MacLeod and Steve Smith on their respective victories! A fun day was had by all and even better still – a sizeable amount was raised! Thank you to everyone that took part and helped raise funds for such worthy causes.”
A man from Waltham Abbey has been prosecuted by Epping Forest District Council for failing to clear waste that was adversely affecting the character and visual attractiveness of land within Roding Valley Meadow Local Nature Reserve.
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Former underground bunker site
Mr Raymond Sturgess of Stanford Court in Waltham Abbey was successfully prosecuted in June 2018. He failed to respond to a notice served on him requiring him to remove waste, plastic, card, building materials and household items from the former Royal Observer Corps underground bunker site, which he originally intended to renovate when it was bought in 2015.
Sturgess pleaded guilty and received a reduced fine of £200, was ordered to pay £200 towards the Council’s prosecution costs together with a statutory victim surcharge of £30.
Ample time to comply
During mitigation Mr Sturgess told the Magistrates that was unable to comply with the notice because he had injured his knee, he claimed that vandals and fly-tippers had gained access to the site and were responsible for the mess.
The Magistrate concluded that Sturgess had ample time to comply with the notice and they did not accept everything he had told them.
Largest remaining water meadow
The bunker site sits within the Roding Valley Meadow Local Nature Reserve. The Wildlife Trust manage the site and describe it as ‘the largest remaining water meadow in Essex’.
It is reputedly famous for it’s beautiful wild flowers, butterflies, invertebrates and birds. It is important that this site is preserved for its resident wildlife and for future generations to enjoy.