Free Seminar to Help Beat the Recession

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

Epping Forest District Council is joining forces with Essex FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) and the District`s Town Centre Partnerships to run a free seminar to help local firms beat the recession.

South West Essex FSB Chairman, David Miles, said: As the latest initiative from Epping Forest District Council to help businesses in the District during the recession this special seminar is being held on Thursday 22 October 2009 at Theydon Bois Village Hall.”

He continued: “Essex FSB is pleased to be working with Epping Forest District Council to organise one of our very popular Beat the Recession and Boost Your Sales seminars with marketing expert Steve Clarke of Eureka Sales Solutions. These events regularly attract between 80 and 120 guests for a fast moving, hard hitting seminar which gives practical steps that firms of any size and any sector can take to improve their sales despite the recession.”


Booking is essential for catering purposes.

Epping Forest District Business Champion and Deputy Leader of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Chris Whitbread, said: Businesses are facing tough times at the moment and Epping Forest District Council is keen to work with partners to provide as much help and support as possible. We are pleased to be working with Essex FSB, as the largest business membership organisation in the country, and other partners and local business networks to run this seminar which will also include speakers from Business Link explaining the free advice and support services they are offering businesses as well as the latest news from Epping Forest District Council, Epping Forest Local Strategic Partnership and our local Town Centre Partnerships.”

Councillor Whitbread continued: “This promises to be an exciting event and we hope as many Epping Forest businesses as possible will book in and come along and then take advantage of the tips they will hear to help them boost their sales!

Steve Clarke of Eureka Sales Solutions said: Having built and then sold my previous Harlow based company allowing me to retire at the age of 45 I suddenly found that I needed a challenge that used my expertise which is why I am working with Essex FSB to help small businesses in the county beat the recession even if their customers are spending less. Teaming up with Epping Forest District Council and its business partners is an exciting opportunity for me to reach a new audience with this practical marketing message.”

    In 90 minutes flat, people coming on the seminar will learn:

  • How to attract new enquiries like a magnet
  • How simple changes to your website could triple your sales
  • Six ways to grow your business whatever market you’re in
  • How to benefit from automated systems
  • The seven major marketing blunders business owners make … and how to avoid them!
    Previous attendees at these events have said:

  • “The presentation was informative, interesting and easy to understand 9/10
    Lee Martin, Lee Martin Print and Promotion
  • Your experience shone through, very professional 10/10
    Paul Brown, Margaret`s Frozen Luxuries Ltd
  • “Interesting and exciting, opened my mind to many direct marketing possibilities 10/10
    J Ripsher, Harpers

This is a partnership event involving Business Link East, Epping Forest District Council, Epping Forest Local Strategic Partnership, Epping Town Centre Partnership, Essex FSB (Federation of Small Businesses), Eureka Sales Solutions Limited and Waltham Abbey Town Partnership.

The FSB represents more than 215,000 business people across the United Kingdom and is the largest single organisation representing business interests in the country.

The South West Essex Branch of the FSB represents the interest of small businesses in the following postcode areas – CM13 to CM16, SS17, RM1 to RM20, and IG1 to IG11 – which includes Brentwood, Epping Forest, Havering, Redbridge and Thurrock Councils.

Land Banking Scheme

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Countryside and wildlife, Local business, Our countryside, Planning, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your environment

These commonly advertise small plots of agricultural land for sale, on the internet, by phone or through the use of leaflets and brochures or newspaper articles. These parcels of land are advertised as potential investment opportunities. The premise is that planning permission for a new housing development can be sought and if approved, the value of the land should increase at which point it could be sold on to a developer for a substantial profit, or the purchasers could build their own homes. The sales information often gives the impression that planning permission is shortly to be granted, or the use of the land is to be changed via the Development Plan process.

There are examples all over the UK of such schemes, where unsuspecting buyers have purchased plots of land believing that the value will increase significantly. There is no example to date where planning permission has been granted for all or part of an area of land that has been divided into plots in this way. Purchasers are left with a piece of land with agricultural land value, and very little prospect of being able to sell it on or develop it.

Investigations into these types of schemes have been carried out by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), Trading Standards and several national newspapers. Some that have claimed to be able to seek planning permission for a collective of plot owners have been closed down. Such collective investment schemes need to be authorised by the FSA to be legal.

Emerging Property Partnership (EPP) is currently advertising plots of land for sale on land within the Blunts Farm area in Theydon Bois.

    However, the planning policy position has not changed:

  • The land is entirely within the Green Belt, and therefore the normal restrictions on development apply
  • The areas of land are isolated from the existing built area of Theydon Bois, and the services it provides
  • No means of access has been shown to the parcels of land. Policy CP3 would require this is addressed before any planning application could be made
  • The land has been submitted to the District Council under the Call for Sites exercise, but this does not mean that there is any certainty that this land will be allocated for development purposes
  • The allocation of 3,500 new homes claimed by the vendors refers to the requirement in the East of England Plan for the whole District over the period 2001 to 2021

EPP does not offer to seek planning permission for plot owners, nor does it give any guarantee that planning permission will be forthcoming. However, Planning Officers have received a number of calls about the land available, and feel it is important that people should be advised of the true planning policy situation.

Birchwood Industrial Estate Fire

Written on . Posted in Business, Environmental health, Regulations, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your environment

Local agencies should monitor Birchwood Industrial Estate `as closely as the law permits` according to District Councillors. Residents can help by keeping diaries and reporting problems to the Council and Environment Agency. Checks by the West Essex PCT have found no associated respiratory problems linked to the recent fires.

Asked about reduction in the amount of material kept on the site, better management in terms of security, fire breaks, water supply and other ways of reducing the impact of the site on local residents, Alex Chown of the Environment Agency replied that he was working with the operator to deliver these aims.

Councillors endorsed a joint letter from the agencies involved to residents of Nazeing setting out the issues with a list of frequently asked questions and answers.

Representatives of the Environment Agency and Council met at the Civic Offices of Epping Forest District Council in Epping on Thursday 23 July 2009 following the two Birchwood fires in Nazeing earlier in the year. Fire broke out at the wood recycling centre off Hoe Lane Nazeing in January. A second blaze occurred in May, leading to calls for the operation to close.

John Gilbert, Environment and Street Scene Director for Epping Forest District Council set the context at the Safer Cleaner Greener Scrutiny Panel. He outlined the history of the site including a wood-chipping operation for waste timber recycling. As a relatively small scale operation in comparison with other recycling facilities, he said that it did not fall within tougher regulatory powers.

Planning consent for the site had been granted by a Government Planning inspector against the wishes of the Council at appeal. The Council had had concerns about the operation including dust and the very large quantities of wood stored on site. Council Environmental Health Officers had visited the site on a number of occasions. Since the two fires, the Council has received a petition from local residents asking for the operation to be closed.

Alex Chown of the Environment Agency elaborated on how the chipping of wood on the site was exempt from the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2007. The Environment Agency began detailed investigations following the first fire which appeared to show the operation was running in line with the regulations. Following the second fire, the Agency considered removing the exemption and de-registering the operation.

The exemption has not been removed but the operation has been halted temporarily while the owner seeks to satisfy the requirements of the Environment Agency. De-registering remains an option.

When chipping and recycling wood, the company operated within the regulations. It could not be held legally responsible for the fires. However, it is responding to pressure by the Health and Safety Executive and Environment Agency. An Improvement notice has been served by the Health and Safety Executive to make the site more secure against unauthorised access.

The current national regulations are under review and central government may strengthen them next year. If that was to happen it is possible that the current operation at Birchwood would become subject to tighter regulations.

Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Meeting

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

Councillor Chris Whitbread, Deputy Leader of Epping Forest District Council and newly appointed ` Business Champion ` addressed a packed business breakfast meeting hosted by Epping Forest Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday 21 July 2009 at the Bell Hotel in Epping.

The portfolio holder for Economic Development said I want to build a strong relationship with the Chamber of Commerce. We want to hear what you have to say and how we can help. Partnership may be a buzzword but we are keen to encourage you to partner us and work together.

Mr Whitbread knows all about being a local businessman, particularly in this poor economic climate, as he heads up Millers estate agents in Epping based in the High Road since 1974. Reference was made to the Council`s ambitious vision for the future of Debden Broadway and the consultation underway in partnership with Essex County Council in Epping.

He also set out some of what the Council is already doing to help in these difficult times. We have taken on board concerns about parking from local traders and we believe our decision to provide free Saturday parking in some of our car parks has been beneficial. This year we froze parking charges. We want to encourage residents to support their local shops. The Council has also acted by reducing payment terms on invoices and wants to use local suppliers wherever possible.`

We see the Epping Forest Chamber as an important partner and we look forward to working positively together in the future. On my part I will do all I can to make it easier to contact us and get information.

Sam Gooday, of chartered accountants Blitz Gooday, also gave a talk packed with topical tax tips providing details about recent tax developments and planning opportunities particularly relevant for small businesses.

Iggy Quazi, Chair of the Epping Forest Chamber said It was good to see the interest in this meeting. Contrary to the present economic climate, there is a positive vibrancy in small businesses in the district and this Chamber aims to play a key role in helping to facilitate vital communication and engage with SMEs to achieve joint goals.

The next event is a 60th Anniversary dinner being held at the Piano Lounge on Wednesday 23 September 2009.

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.