Preparing your electricity for Storm Doris

Written on . Posted in Business, Commercial properties, Community, Crime and safety, Emergencies, Local business, Media, Older people, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Our electricity network is built to be resilient but extreme weather such as Storm Doris can damage overhead power lines resulting in some customers losing their electricity supply.

UK Power Networks - delivering your electricity

UK Power Networks

Where this happens UK Power Networks work to restore power as quickly and safely as possible, and have organised for additional staff in their contact centre and more engineers on the ground to be available to help customers whose electricity supply might be affected by the predicted weather.

Regular updates

You will be able to find regular updates on their website www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk and social media @ukpowernetworks throughout this period.

Anyone experiencing a power cut should

Priority service register

UK Power Networks has a Priority Service Register for customers who may be more vulnerable and require extra assistance in a power cut. Find out more information at ukpowernetworks.co.uk/priority.

We advise people to stay clear of power lines and report damaged power lines immediately by calling 105 – free to call from a landline or a mobile phone. If they see electricity lines that are down or causing significant risk to the public they should call 999.

Preparing for a power cut

Below is some additional advice on how you can prepare for a power cut

  • Keep our freephone number handy
  • See the website for some useful videos offering you advice during a power cut
  • Keep spare batteries for radios and torches – local radio stations often broadcast helpful information
  • Keep an old-fashioned corded phone which you can plug in, as cordless phones won’t work in the event of a power cut
  • Take care if using candles, tea-lights and other naked flames
  • Keep fridges and freezers closed, with a blanket over as they will stay cold for many hours
  • Switch off all your electrical equipment, except one light which will let you know when the power comes back on
  • Remember the street lights may also be off so take care if you go out
  • Look out for elderly neighbours and other vulnerable people; please consider taking them round a flask of hot water or hot food

Cabinet 2 February 2017

Written on . Posted in Benefits, Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Council tax, Councillors, Democracy, Epping, Housing, Housing repairs, Leader, Loughton, Media, Meetings, Older people, Ongar, Our performance, Out and about, Residents, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

The budget, Careline, Epping Forest District Council’s 24 hour emergency monitoring service for older people and investment in the Council’s housing stock were among items discussed at Cabinet 2 February 2017.

Council Tax freeze recommended

Cabinet recommended another nil-percent increase on Epping Forest District Council’s share of the Council Tax when the budget goes to Full Council on 21 February.

Leader of Council Councillor Chris Whitbread complimented Finance Portfolio Holder Councillor Gagan Mohindra and his staff on the freeze for the seventh successive year.

Councillor Whitbread also updated Cabinet on the progress of the Council’s transformation programme which continues to look at more efficient ways of working and using the Civic Offices to its full potential.

Careline monitoring

Councillors have taken steps to protect the future provision of Carline, the Council’s 24 hour emergency monitoring service for elderly and vulnerable people living within the district.

Cabinet received a report presented by Communities Select Committee Chairman Councillor Yolanda Knight setting out proposals for the long term enhancement and protection of the service in partnership with an external provider, instead of providing the monitoring service by the Council itself.

Councillor Knight reassured councillors that the Careline service itself will still be provided by the Council, it was only the monitoring service that would be provided by a new provider, on behalf of the Council.

She said that the Council’s own Monitoring Control Centre has provided an excellent and reliable service since June 1984 and has always meet every requirement set by the TSA (Telecare Service Association). However, as the ageing population of the district continues to grow, demands upon Careline have increased leading to difficulty maintaining staff cover to the levels expected by the Council and now required by the TSA.

In line with the British Standard, moving the Careline monitoring services to another provider will increase the number of operators monitoring the network. It will also:

  • Ensure no gaps in service
  • Enhance capacity
  • Allow other Careline services to be offered
  • Enable more alarms to be fitted across the district
  • Bring safety, security and peace of mind to more residents across the district
  • Reduce the overall cost of the Careline Service

Housing Portfolio Holder Councillor Syd Stavrou, and Councillors Anne Grigg and Will Breare-Hall all spoke in support of the proposal, emphasising the importance of arranging a smooth transfer. They also complimented the service on the high standard that has been provided over the years, while looking forward to the continued expansion of its vital work under new arrangements.

£3.6m investment in repairs to empty Council Homes

Cabinet approved the letting of two major housing maintenance contracts worth £3.6 million over three years.

As existing tenants transfer into vacant Council properties, there is a need to repair, and the opportunity to improve and upgrade the properties, before they are re-let to new tenants.

Housing Portfolio Holder Councillor Syd Stavrou reported that following inviting tenders from six companies, Cabinet was being asked to appoint Graceland’s CMS LTD and Mears PLC. Cabinet approved the recommendations and were pleased to appoint both contactors as both have previously carried out work to empty properties for the Council to a high standard.

Know a cheat in your street?

Written on . Posted in Benefits, Business, Business rates, Community, Council tax, Councillors, Crime and safety, Housing, Media, Out and about, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

Every year thousands of pounds of your money is stolen by cheaters, money that should be used to improve your local community.

Don’t let them get away with it.

Report fraud

Know a cheat in your street?

Right now, fraudsters are cheating us all. Here’s how they do it …

Housing tenancy fraud

Someone who has committed a social housing fraud by

  • illegally sub-letting
  • not living in the property and leaving it empty
  • making a fraudulent Right to Buy application
  • taking (or making) a payment for a mutual exchange
  • living in a property after the tenant has died, where they had no right to succeed
  • giving false or misleading information to get the tenancy

Council Tax fraud

Someone who gets a Council Tax discount by falsely

  • stating the property is empty
  • claiming they live alone
  • claiming they are a student
  • claiming Council Tax Support falsely by doing undeclared work or having capital/property in excess of the limit

Business rates fraud

  • A person or business liable for Business Rates who falsely claims an exemption or relief they are not entitled to

Have you spotted a cheater?

Finance Portfolio Holder Councillor Gagan Mohindra said: “Have you spotted a cheater? Tell us immediately. Your report will be treated in the strictest confidence and can be given anonymously.”

“Fraud is not a victimless crime. It is taking money from honest taxpayers. Every penny lost to fraud means we have less money to spend on providing the services you want.”

“Spot the cheater and don’t let them get away with fraud!”

Nu Bar license temporarily suspended

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Epping, Licensing, Local business, Loughton, Media, Ongar, Out and about, Residents, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your environment

The Nu Bar in Loughton has had its licence suspended pending a full hearing at Licensing Committee on 7 March 2017.

Licensing notice

Alleged breach of licence

An expedited review was brought by Essex Police after an incident took place in the bar in the early hours of the morning on 5 February 2017, alongside an alleged breach of licence conditions.

Temporarily suspended

A council spokesperson said: ”The decision was taken by Licensing Sub-Committee Councillors to temporarily suspend the licence, which means any licensable activities are not permitted to take place in the interim period between now and the full Licensing Committee hearing unless an interim hearing is applied for by the licence holder.”

Final decision on 7 March

They continued: “A final decision will be reached at this meeting, which is scheduled for 7 March 2017. At the hearing Councillors will assess the evidence brought by Essex Police and make the decision to either amend the licence or it’s conditions, allow it to remain in place or revoke the licence completely.”

The applicant, Essex Police Chief Inspector Lewis Basford said: ”Essex Police is continuing to work around the issue of public safety and crime and disorder in the night-time economy.”

New phone system rings in changes

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Council tax, Councillors, Emergencies, Energy efficiency, Epping, Housing, Housing repairs, Loughton, Media, Older people, Ongar, Our performance, Performance, Residents, Supporting business, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

New phone connections saving Epping Forest District Council and its tax payers £12,000 a year are set to go live this weekend (17 February to 20 February).

Cllr Lion promoting EFDC's new phone connections

Out of hour’s services

Subject to go ahead, temporary emergency numbers will be used during the switch.

The council has planned the switch at the quietest time of the week to minimise service disruption.

During the switch the two emergency out of hours contact numbers (01992 564000 and 01992 564199 for housing) will temporarily change while the council works with BT.

To contact EFDC out of hours from 5pm on Friday 17 February to 9am on Monday 20 February please call:

  • Housing Repairs Emergency 0203 589 3012

  • Any other Emergency   0203 589 3013

Protecting services

Moving phone connections from an analogue to a digitally based internet system will:

  • Make an annual saving of £12,000
  • Makes it easier to move phone answering to other locations
  • Improve phone resilience
  • Protect vital services

There will be no difference in how residents contact the council via phone as all phone numbers will remain the same and there will be no increase any call charges.

Small changes making a big difference

Technology and Support Services Portfolio Holder Councillor Alan Lion said: “We are planning another 0% increase in Council Tax this year. This is the latest in a series of investments. From double glazing to LED lighting and solar panels it all adds up. Relatively small savings like our new connections to our phone system can play a large part in keeping Council Tax down at the end of the year.”

Council Tax frozen for 7th year

Written on . Posted in Benefits, Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Council tax, Councillors, Epping, Leader, Loughton, Media, Meetings, Older people, Ongar, Our attractions, Our performance, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Good financial planning over many years is being credited with keeping Epping Forest District Council’s share of the Council Tax down for a record 7th year.

Chris Whitbread and Gagan Mohindra at Oakwood Hill Depot

Keeping Council Tax frozen

The average payment of a Band D property to the District Council is set to remain at £148.77 until at least April 2018. Rents for Council House tenants are also set to come down by 1% in line with national guidelines.

The District has not increased its share of Council Tax since 2010.

Protecting services

Finance Portfolio Holder Gagan Mohindra presented the 2017/18 budget to Cabinet on Thursday 2 February. Confirmation of the nil-increase is expected to follow at Full Council on 21 February 2017.

Epping Forest District Council has successfully managed to maintain low taxes and the protection of frontline services against a background of long term reductions in central government funding and public sector service cuts elsewhere.

Councillor Mohindra said: ”This hasn’t been achieved overnight. Even before the financial crisis of 2008, Epping Forest District Council was setting out our stall as an efficient low-tax council. As central government funding has reduced year on year, we set our sights on becoming financially independent.”

Remaining as efficient as possible

The Council has managed the process through a combination of reduced costs and increased income.

Councillor Mohindra said: ”Over the years we have cut our costs dramatically. Our Revenue budget not many years ago was over £18million. That has been reduced to a little over £13million for next year.”

”We have adapted and moved with the times. We have changed the way we work, making better use of technology wherever possible, changing our structures and streamlining our services to ensure we remain as lean and efficient as possible. That process is ongoing. We are now embarking on a more intensive transformation which may see much more use of flexible and home working, reductions in office space and more productivity.”

Working in partnership

He continued: ”We have also embraced private sector partnerships wherever we believed it could deliver better services. Next month Places for People takes on the management of our Sports and Leisure Centres. We already had a good track record with our previous provider. This new contract will see not only reductions in the cost to the council but will also potentially see the development of a brand new leisure centre in Waltham Abbey and improvements to other facilities. This is against a backdrop of other councils cutting back and closing down their leisure offering.”

”Our residents also play a huge role in our success. Recent fluctuations in recycling have seen the cost of our waste collection service increase, but overall, with the help of our residents diverting domestic waste from landfill to recycling, our new contract is saving many thousands of pounds every year. ”

Members of the Cabinet and senior officers inspected progress on Epping Forest Shopping Park just before Christmas. Yearly income from the park could be as much as £2.7 million and will be used to support local public services.

”And while our costs are coming down, we are increasing our income. Epping Forest District Council is one of the biggest land owners in our area. Our portfolio of shops, industrial estates, commercial units, car parks and North Weald Airfield brings in a significant rental income. This money is ploughed back into providing local services. That income is set to be boosted by as much as £2.7million per annum when Epping Forest Shopping Park opens later this year.”

”These major contracts, developments and investments are years in the planning and delivery but they are paying tremendous dividends.”

Bucking the trend

Councillor Chris Whitbread, Leader of Epping Forest District Council congratulated Cllr Gagan Mohindra and thanked the finance team for their hard work on another strong budget.

He said: ”The hallmark of a good council is to be low tax whilst protecting front line services. Councillor Gagan Mohindra and his team have done a marvellous job in bringing forward this budget. Times are tough. We are seeing substantial increases in Council Tax everywhere else. But we have been able to buck the trend at Epping Forest District Council.”

”The foundations of our financial strength can be found in years of careful management and investment. It has been a job well done but we must continue to look forward. Later this year I hope to see new changes to the management of our Pay and Display Car Parks which will cut costs without increasing charges. Longer term we are also looking at better use of our offices in Epping.”

”We have excellent management and staff committed to getting the best value out of every penny. It is by far the best way to balance the books but we never forget our purpose is to provide the best possible service at the least possible cost to our local residents.”

Greensted ward by-election candidates

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Democracy, Elections, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your home

Candidates in the election for 1 town councillor in the Greensted by-election on Thursday 2 March 2017.

Candidates

  • Simon James Cole
  • Brian Lawrence Surtees, Liberal Democrats

Download

Statement of persons nominated – 2 March 2017 – Greensted (PDF – 8.67KB)

Notice of Poll – 2 March 2017 – Greensted (PDF – 19.37 KB)

Step up your Spring Clean

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Councillors, Energy efficiency, Environmental health, Epping, Local business, Loughton, Media, Older people, Ongar, Out and about, Recycling and waste, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

With Spring on its way many of us will be thinking about spring cleaning our house and getting rid of unwanted items.

Step Up your Spring Clean

You don’t have to throw it away

‘You don’t have to throw it away’ says Environment Portfolio Holder Councillor Will Breare-Hall, ‘one person’s junk may be another person’s treasure. Why not try these ideas to avoid your unwanted belongings going to waste.’

Give it away

Ask your family and friends if they can make use of it.

Swap it

Freegle and Freecycle are great for swapping items with people who will want to collect your unwanted stuff.

Donate it

Most charity shops accept clothing and bric-a-brac type items. Reuse organisations such as Epping Forest ReUse will reuse good quality furniture and appliances.

Sell it

Websites like ebay and gumtree make it easy for you to sell your unwanted items.

Save a trip to a recycling centre

Councillor Will Breare-Hall ended with: ‘Whether you are decluttering or simply making room for this year’s Christmas presents, there are lots of things you can do with your old stuff to save you a trip to a recycling centre. Seize the opportunity to step up your Spring Clean!’

Anti-litter campaign cleans up for third year

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Countryside and wildlife, Doing business with the council, Energy efficiency, Environmental health, Epping, Food safety, Health, Local business, Loughton, Media, Older people, Ongar, Our countryside, Our performance, Out and about, Recycling and waste, Residents, Supporting business, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

An anti-litter campaign across Essex, Kent and Suffolk #BinIt has resulted in a reduction of litter for the third year in a row, an amazing drop in litter of 43%.

Don't toss it - #BINIT

Littering is a criminal offence

The Love Essex campaign, run by the Cleaner Essex Group, is made up of local authorities and local business partners throughout Essex.

This year’s Don’t toss it – #BinIt campaign aims to remind people that:

  • Littering is a criminal offence
  • It comes with a fixed penalty notice from £75
  • And a maximum fine on conviction in court of £2,500

Spreading the message

The ‘Don’t toss it – #BinIt’ message has appeared throughout Essex on

  • Refuse vehicles
  • Bus shelters
  • Petrol pumps
  • 86 McDonald’s restaurants
  • 15 KFC restaurants
  • Spread to 2.4 million social media accounts

This has so far seen an average drop in litter of 43% and helped to reduce branded fast food litter by 63 per cent, in the areas monitored, and independently verified by Keep Britain Tidy.

Tackling litter

Councillor Will Breare-Hall, Environment Portfolio Holder said: “Litter is an issue that costs around £17 million across Essex. Not only does this take resources away from other much needed council services it also damages our environment.”

“It is important for people to remember that littering is a criminal offence that comes with a maximum fine of up to £2,500.”

“As a community we need to come together and tackle this important issue by behaving responsibly and reporting incidents so we can investigate further and take action.”

Working together

Cherry Lewis-Taylor, McDonald’s franchisee added: “I believe that working together and campaigning against littering at our restaurant locations helps remind people to dispose of their litter responsibly.”

“Between McDonald’s and KFC’s participating restaurants and drive-thru’s, we have reached millions of customers. Adding this to the number of people who saw the other campaign material, including social media, it is likely that the Don’t toss it … #Binit message will have been seen at least 6 million times.”

Do the right thing

Huw James, Director of Kefco, the KFC Franchisee in Essex commented: “I am proud that we at KFC can work with councils and other business partners to actively promote that people should do the right thing and bin their litter. As a business, we are committed to looking at ways we can help reduce the amount of litter that ends up on our streets.”

Report it

If there are large amounts of litter in your street or fly-tipped rubbish near where you live, let us know

Please give as much detail as possible so we can investigate what further action can be taken.

Students become Dementia Friends

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

In the run up to #Essexdementiaday, over 40 students from Braeside Independent School in Buckhurst Hill learnt more about dementia at a Dementia Friends session, delivered by Epping Forest District Council Community Services on 17 January 2017.

Dementia Friends Session

Epping Forest District Council teamed up with Braeside secondary school to deliver an interactive session for students aged 10 to 14 years old, to educate them on what it is like to live with dementia and that the small changes they can make help make a dementia friendly community.

First session for young people

Leisure and Community Services Portfolio Holder, Councillor Helen Kane said: ”The information sessions are great for increasing people’s knowledge and awareness of dementia. We have already delivered the information session to local community groups and to staff within Epping Forest District Council. This was the first session we have delivered for young people.”

Roll out to other local schools

She continued: ”The feedback we received from students and teachers was that the session was very informative and we aim to roll this out to other local schools in Epping Forest.”

Get involved

If you think you, your local school or group would benefit from attending a Dementia Friends Information session or would like any further information on the Dementia Friends programme please contact either Louis Walton lwalton@eppingforestdc.gov.uk or Karen Murray kmuray@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.