Golf Day Boost for Local Charities

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Councillors, Democracy, Doing business with the council, Leader, Meetings, Your council

On Monday 22 September 2008 Theydon Bois Golf Club again played host to the Chairman of Epping Forest District Council Councillor John Knapman and teams from local businesses at the Council`s Charity Business Golf Day. Two local charities will receive a cash boost thanks to this annual fundraising event sponsored by Higgins Group PLC in Loughton, which raised £6,000.

Winning Team Stace with Councillor John Knapman

This year the Chairman`s is raising money for St Clare Hospice, Hastingwood which cares for people and their families who are affected by life-threatening incurable diseases and Vitalise Jubilee Lodge, Chigwell which offers a variety of accessible residential respite breaks and other services designed for disabled people and their carers.

Individual Winner Matthew Knight with Councillor John KnapmanWinning Team Captain, Mike Hutchins from Stace, receiving the John Gilliham Shield

Councillor Knapman said: I thank Higgins Group and Theydon Bois Golf Club for their support again this year and the continued support from local clubs, societies and businesses. During the years that this event has been running over £70,000 has been raised for many local causes. The Business Golf day plays a fantastic part in the Chairman`s charity events calendar helping to provide comfort to local people through local charities in a hugely positive way.

The overall winner of the individual competition was Matthew Knight and for the second year in succession, the winning team was from Stace, based in Epping. The Business Golf Day continues to provide a valuable contribution to the Chairman`s Charity each year and I am delighted that so many local businesses have been able to support the Chairman`s Charity again this year, said Councillor Knapman.

Traveller and Gypsy Consultation Starts 4 November

Written on . Posted in Consultation, Gypsy and traveller, Your council, Your environment

The Government has given Epping Forest District Council a directive to provide an extra 49 gypsy and traveller pitches by 2012 and more after this date. Their idea is that in providing enough suitable pitches in environmentally-sustainable locations, travellers and gypsies will no longer make unauthorised encampments.

The official consultation does not begin until 4 November 2008 and will run through to 20 January 2009. Members of the Cabinet will see a first draft of the consultation document at their meeting on Monday 6 October 2008. Amendments to the draft will then be incorporated before the document is considered by the Full Council on 28 October 2008. The Council has written to all landowners of sites identified in the draft document, inviting them to look at the information and offering them the opportunity to attend a special briefing to discuss any questions they may have.

To view this webcast click on the link below and then click on the index points tab to go direct to the agenda item.

Watch the webcastCabinet meeting 6 October 2008 webcast
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The report with the accompanying draft consultation document can be viewed via the Homepage of the Council`s website. The Council anticipates a great deal of public interest and will make the final document widely available electronically or in print form.

Agenda for Cabinet meeting on Monday 6 October 2008

All local authorities are required to carry out this exercise and this Council always intended to include the accommodation needs of the travelling community in its wider consultation arising from the more general targets for housing and employment provision set out in the East of England Plan. Despite this the Government issued a Directive requiring the Council to deal separately with the gypsy and traveller issues by publishing a stand-alone plan for this by September 2009. The consultation between November and January will cover options for what the final submitted plan should contain. The consultation document identifies 27 sites across the District. Each is listed and discussed individually, with aerial photographs to show how it sits in the surrounding landscape.

The final version of the document will include a detailed questionnaire designed to help the Council understand the public views on the key options. The District has no choice but to provide these pitches but it does have a choice as to where it proposes they go.

This exercise is being jointly organised by the Council`s Planning and Housing Directorates. Councillor Anne Grigg, Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder, said: At this stage the location of potential sites is primarily a planning issue but clearly the accommodation needs of the travelling community forms a part of the Council`s overall housing responsibilities. We are required to make provision for travellers and gypsies. Mistrust and misunderstanding between the travelling and settled communities can lead to friction. This process, which includes comprehensive public consultation, should help to identify a balanced solution. Hopefully if our District plans for good sites we will run less risk of unauthorised encampments and the problems these create. It should also lead to fewer unsuitable sites being granted over our heads on appeal. This puts Epping Forest back in control of events.

Housing Portfolio Holder, Councillor David Stallan agrees. He said: We have legal duties of care towards everyone living within the District. As well as consulting the settled community, it is also important to talk to the local travelling and gypsy communities. Council staff will be working directly with everyone involved to make sure we get the best outcome possible.

The Government call for the provision of additional traveller and gypsy sites in the District coincides with work to deliver general Government housing targets set out in the East of England Plan. As referred to earlier, Epping Forest District Council had hoped to combine the traveller and gypsy consultation with its general consultation with residents on the up and coming Local Development Framework delivering the East of England Plan.

In so doing it hoped to incorporate some of the required traveller and gypsy provision within larger projects for private and affordable housing developments. However, the Government has insisted that the traveller and gypsy consultation should be carried out separately.

Councillor Grigg said: It seems to many of us that the best way to provide new traveller and gypsy pitches could be as part of larger new developments in much the same way as we have successfully integrated affordable housing as a requirement of all planning applications over a certain size. That might have been done as part of the Local Development Framework but the Government wants us to look at traveller and gypsy provision as a separate issue.

Councillor Grigg added: Whilst there is an under-provision of sites nationally, the Council feels that this District has been allocated too many extra pitches in comparison with some other areas. However, the Government still wants us to plan for more sites even though the final number we need to plan for has not yet been decided at a regional level. As a result we must now comply with their Directive. Even so, I must stress that no decisions have been taken and not all the sites identified would be needed. This is at a very early stage, nothing is cast in stone. We want to make sure everyone can have their say through a properly structured debate. We will obviously talk directly with the owners of the sites and people in the travelling and gypsy communities but we also welcome the views of others which will be taken into consideration.

The Council will be including an update in the Christmas edition of The Forester. The final document and consultation forms will be available on the Council website and people will be able to request printed copies. One or more public exhibitions will be held where residents can view the options and ask questions. District Council representatives will work directly with people in the traveller and gypsy communities. Town and Parish Councils will be encouraged to help provide feedback. The consultation is due to finish on 20 January 2009 with the outcome published later in that year.

To view the draft consultation document, visit the Council online at . Responses can be made from 4 November. The Council will also publish a dedicated phone number for enquiries following publication of the finalised consultation document and survey form on 4 November 2008.

Council Staff GENErate Funds for Charity

Written on . Posted in Media, Your council

Jeans for Genes - changing the world for children with genetic disorders

Staff at Epping Forest District Council swapped their everyday work clothes for jeans on Jeans for Genes Day 2008 today.

Staff donated £1 for the privilege to wear their jeans to work, with a lucky few being pictured outside the civic offices in Epping with cowboy hats. Council staff GENErated £211.32 for the charity.

Council staff in jeans for jeans for genes day 2008Jeans for genes day 2008 at the civic offices in Epping

Jeans for Genes aims to change the world for children living with genetic disorders. The money they raise each year funds care and support for children and their families, as well as research into the causes and cures of these conditions.

Genetic disorders affect 1 in 33 children born in the UK – the equivalent of around one in every class of schoolchildren. Many of these have no current treatment and more than half of all childhood deaths in the UK are linked to a genetic condition.

The theme for Jeans for Genes Day this year is `GENErations` and the charity is celebrating the way genes can filter down through families, influencing a child`s appearance, personality, career choices and even sense of humour.

Safer Communities Partnership 3 Year Plan

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Older people, Our performance, Performance, Residents, Working with the council, Your community, Your council, Your home


The Epping Forest District Safer Communities Partnership is a statutory collaboration of organisations and groups working together to reduce crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour in the District.

It is made up of Epping Forest District Council, Essex Police, Essex County Council, West Essex Primary Care Trust, and Essex Fire & Rescue Service (Responsible Authorities), but includes many other local bodies such as Probation, Victim Support, the Youth Offending Team, Registered Social Landlords, Neighbourhood Watch and residents groups.

The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 requires the responsible authorities within each District in England and Wales to form a Safer Communities Partnership (SCP), also referred to as Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) or Community safety Partnership (CSP).

Each SCP is required to conduct an annual strategic assessment of crime, disorder, anti-social behaviour and issues which affect the quality of life of residents. The assessment identifies the key problems the district has by examining a wide range of data sets held by many organisations. Analysis of the data provides a comprehensive picture of issues affecting the District. Priorities for action are agreed, directed by the results of the strategic assessment. Those priorities are formulated into a 3 year partnership plan which sets targets to reduce crime, disorder and improve community safety.

Citizens of the Year Nominations Sought

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Community, Democracy, Older people, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

The search is on to find the Epping Forest District Council Citizens of the Year 2009.

Do you know someone who has shown outstanding courage, or has done something of great benefit to you or your community? Perhaps someone who has shown extraordinary commitment, energy and effort in their particular field or towards achieving a particular goal?

If that person is a resident of the District, why not show your appreciation and nominate them for Epping Forest District Council`s accolade, a Citizen of the Year Award? The Citizens of the Year 2009 will receive their award at the Annual Civic Reception in March 2009.

If you know someone who fits the bill and deserves to be recognised, fill in a nomination form and make sure it reaches the Civic Offices by Friday 28 November 2008.


Annual Canvass of Electors 2008 Reminder

Written on . Posted in Community, Councillors, Democracy, Elections, Older people, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council

Epping Forest District Council will be sending out annual canvass of electors form reminders to all properties that did not respond to the original form. The forms will be in an envelope addressed to The Present Occupier which is also clearly marked `Register of Electors form`.

Registration Officer Ian Willett is urging everyone to fill in and return the form as soon as possible. He said: If you do not return your form and your name is not on the register, you will not be able to vote.

Mr Willett continued: You need to register to vote every year so please fill in and return the form as soon as possible in the envelope provided. It is compulsory to register but whether you vote on polling day is up to you. Completed forms must be returned to the Electoral Services Office at the Council by 16 October 2008.

The Register is published on 1 December 2008 and those eligible to vote should check that the entry for their property is correct. The Electoral Register may be viewed at the Civic Offices, Epping; Waltham Abbey Town Hall; or at the Council`s Information desk inside Loughton Library.

Mr Willett concluded: If you have not received a form or you think you have mislaid it, please contact 01992 564411 for more information.

Why complete the form?

Completion of these forms is a legal requirement and failure to do so may result in prosecution with a maximum fine of £1,000.

It is extremely important that forms are returned. Not only is it essential for the right to vote but also because credit-referencing agencies use the register as proof of residency, so anyone who is not listed may be affected if applying for credit. In this country, the law states that everyone who is eligible to vote must be registered. Anyone who has not registered will automatically forfeit the opportunity to vote on election day.

Even if you are registered for Council Tax, this does not automatically mean your name is on the register.

Tell Us A Story

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Museum, Older people, Our attractions, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Storytelling in the Epping Forest District Museum garden

Epping Forest District Museum is hosting `Tell Us A Story` on Saturday 27 September 2008 and Sunday 28 September 2008. Councillor John Knapman Chairman of the Council will be attending this free event on Saturday 27 September at 11am.

You will have the chance to interact with objects, dress up and role-play your own stories from history. Artist and storyteller Julian Walker will be at the Museum to assist people in creating their own stories from objects. He explained: There will be different activities on offer for families and older independent visitors. Families will be able to use historical costume and objects from the period to role-play a scene from history. For example in the Victorian gallery, as well as attempting to get into a corset and crinoline, they will be given a Victorian budget and have to choose whether to spend it on household items from the hardware shop, or fun items from the toy shop.

For older independent visitors there will be a choice of activities such as trying to copy medieval handwriting from a page of the Waltham Abbey Bible. Those less confident about role play will be able to curate their own case to tell a story, choosing from a wide selection of objects.

`Tell Us A Story` coincides with the launch of the Cultural Olympiad and has been funded by the Museums Libraries and Archives Council`s `Setting the Pace: Festival of Storytelling ` Grant Scheme. Isobel Siddons MLA Programme Manager for 2012 said: “We are thrilled to be among the first organisations to have projects awarded the Inspired by 2012 mark. We hope this will reward museums, libraries and archives for the commitment they have shown to the vision of the Cultural Olympiad and enable them to contribute to a lasting legacy for the people of our country.”

Visitors use historical costumes and objects from the period to role-play a scene

Epping Forest District Council Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Young People Councillor Heather Harding said: Tell Us A Story gives local residents the opportunity to learn about and reinterpret their culture, heritage and history.

    The event is free of charge and there is no need to book.

  • Saturday 27 September 2008 between 11am and 4pm
  • Sunday 28 September 2008 between 2pm and 4pm
  • Telephone the Museum on 01992 716882
  • Epping Forest District Museum website

National Fraud Initiative

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Crime and safety, Doing business with the council, Older people, Supporting business, Your community, Your council

Epping Forest District Council is required by law to protect the public funds it administers. It may share information provided to it with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud.

The Audit Commission appoints the auditor to audit the accounts of this authority. It is also responsible for carrying out data matching exercises. Data matching involves comparing computer records held by one body against other computer records held by the same or another body. This is usually personal information. Computerised data matching allows potentially fraudulent claims and payments to be identified. Where a match is found it indicates that there is an inconsistency which requires further investigation. No assumption can be made as to whether there is fraud, error or other explanation until an investigation is carried out.

The Audit Commission currently requires us to participate in data matching exercises to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. This is part of what is known as the ‘National Fraud Initiative’. We are required to provide particular sets of data to the Audit Commission for matching for each exercise, and these are set out in the Audit Commission’s handbooks.

The use of data by the Audit Commission in a data matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority under its powers in Part 2A of the Audit Commission Act 1998. It does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under the Data Protection Act 1998. For further information and contact details on the Audit Commission’s legal powers and the reasons why it matches particular information, see the Audit Commission’s website.

Audit Commission national fraud initiative website
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Data matching by the Audit Commission is subject to a Code of Practice.

Audit Commission code of data matching practice website
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    If you would like to contact Epping Forest District Council directly with any enquiries about the data sharing and matching exercises, here are our contact details:

  • Joe Akerman, Chief Internal Auditor, Civic Offices, Epping, Essex, CM16 4BZ
  • By telephone on 01992 564446
  • By email to

Free Electric Blanket and Smoke Alarm Testing

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Older people, Residents, Your community, Your council, Your home

An electric blanket being tested by a Council officer

Epping Forest District Council’s Safer Communities Team and Essex County Council Trading Standards have teamed up once again to carry out free electric blanket testing throughout the District.

This service is available to all Epping Forest District residents who are urged to come along to have their blankets tested whilst they wait. A faulty electric blanket can be the cause of house fires and this is a quick easy way to keep safe. This year, Essex County Fire & Rescue will also attend to promote their Home Safety Fire Scheme.

The Home Safety Fire Scheme also includes fire-fighters from your local Fire Station visiting your home in the Epping Forest District to give advice on fire safety and where necessary fit ten year smoke alarms.

This service is completely free and all you have to do is call 01279 420841 or turn up on the day to book your visit.

    Testing takes place between 10am and 1pm at:

  • Loughton Library, Traps Hill, Loughton on 13 October 2008
  • Community Hall, Pelly Court, Hemnall Street, Epping on 14 October 2008

For further information please contact the Epping Forest District Council`s Safer Communities Team by telephone on 01992 564272.

Report from the Cabinet

Written on . Posted in Councillors, Democracy, Leader, Meetings, Your council

Free swimming, the development of the second runway for Stansted and consultation with local residents of the Broadway featured in a packed Cabinet agenda on Monday 1 September 2008.

Watch the webcast

Watch a webcast of the 1 September 2008 Cabinet meeting

Free Swimming

Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Councillor Heather Harding invited John Gilbert, Head of Environment and Street Scene to outline proposals for free swimming to people over 60 and under 16 years of age. Councils were being asked to apply for Government grants. Not all the information was available. The Government had quantified support for those over 60s but not under 16 at this stage. Discussions with the Council`s Leisure Management Contractor are ongoing.

Loughton Pool

Councillor Chris Whitbread was concerned about what would happen after the initial two years of Government funding. Would the Government continue to fund the scheme or would costs fall to the Council?

The Cabinet agreed in principle to participate subject to further discussion with SLM and information from Government.

Value for Money Review

Members of the Cabinet agreed the recommendations of the Finance and Performance Management Cabinet Committee. Councillor Chris Whitbread, Portfolio Holder for the report agreed that the Council provided Value for Money but drew out the Committee`s concerns regarding some of the information used by the Audit Commission.

Aircraft in flight over EppingSecond Stansted Runway Application

Members of the Cabinet gave Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder Councillor Ann Grigg the go ahead to make formal objections to Stansted Airport`s application for a second runway. There was support for a detailed report which included objections ranging from disruption for local people through to environmental concerns over global warming. The application has been called in by the Government and will be reviewed at a Public Inquiry.

Responding to a question, Planning Officer Ian White said that the possibility of Stansted being sold by BAA did not necessarily remove the prospect of a second runway.

Councillor Jon Whitehouse supported opposition to the runway saying that he was pleased the Council was standing up to be counted.

Loughton Leisure Centre

Councillor Heather Harding obtained consent for £46,000 to deal with hot water heating problems at Loughton Leisure Centre.


Members of the Cabinet noted progress on the Springfield Improvement scheme in Waltham Abbey. Housing Portfolio Holder, Councillor David Stallan also recommended the acceptance of tenders for the upgrade of communal TV aerial systems for Council schemes in further preparation for the switch from analogue to digital TV broadcasting.

Careline control centre

Following a review of Careline, Cabinet also agreed recommendations by Councillor Stallan to retain and enhance the service. Councillor Mrs Diana Collins and Councillor Jon Whitehouse praised the service.

Councillor Whitehouse enquired if further expansion of Careline in the future could lead to even more enhancements to associated housing services in the future.

Prudential Indicators – Investments

Councillor Chris Whitbread was pleased to report the very good performance of the Council`s investments and the continued debt-free status.

Essex Waste Management Strategy

The long-term aims of achieving 60% recycling across Essex were supported by Cabinet as members endorsed the Essex Joint Municipal Waste Mangement Strategy. Environmental Protection Portfolio Holder, Councillor Mary Sartin also reported delays on completion of remedial work to Bobbingworth Tip. The former landfill site will ultimately become a pocket park but a shortage of topsoil caused by the current reduction in other construction work across the area has delayed completion. Councillor Sartin received support for a recommendation to Council for an extra £112,000 allowing completion of the scheme to an enhanced level.

Green Biodegradable Sacks

Demand for green sacks could lead to an overspend on budgets this year. Councillor Mrs Sartin outlined predicted usage showing a potential extra cost of £163,000. However, much of that cost could be offset by income from recycling credits with the final shortfall possibly being as little as £21,000. Members discussed the forthcoming consultation with residents which could lead to reduced reliance on sacks.

Ongar Lorry Park

Members of the Cabinet agreed to terminate the lease for the Borough Lorry Park site in Ongar hoping this would clear the way for Essex County Council to make proposals for the long term, possibly in partnership with Ongar Town Council.

Loughton Broadway Development Brief

Cabinet authorised Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder Councillor Ann Grigg to make amendments to the Loughton Broadway Development Brief following the successful conclusion of the recent public consultation. Twelve amendment headings including references to the Gateway development, petrol station, links to Langston Road, parking, housing and cycling will be incorporated for presentation to Full Council on 25 September 2008.