Carols by candlelight for civic Christmas service

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Community, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Residents, councillors and staff gathered at Waltham Abbey Church to celebrate Christmas by Candlelight on Thursday 13 December 2018.


The congregation enjoyed the Abbey at its most stunning as the lights dimmed and candles were lit for the annual Civic Carol Service hosted jointly by Epping Forest District Council and Waltham Abbey Town Council. The service was conducted by Rector Rev Peter Smith with Director of Music Jonathan Lilley leading Waltham Abbey Church Choir.

Readings from King James Bible

Councillor Richard Basset, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council opened the event and welcomed the congregation before the Rev Smith began the service.

Waltham Abbey Town Mayor Jeane Lea, Councillor Jodie Lucas, the Rev Helen Gheorghiu Gould, Daniel Mehr from Epping Forest Youth Council and Cllr Richard Bassett, gave readings taken from the King James Bible.

Traditional Christmas carols

The congregation joined in with traditional Christmas carols and prayers before Cllr Lea closed the service and invited everyone to join her for mulled wine and mince pies over the road at Waltham Abbey Town Hall.

The offertory collection will be shared between Waltham Abbey Church, Cllr Bassett’s charity – Community Transport and Cllr Lea’s charity – Essex Air Ambulance.

Christmas message from EFDC Chairman

Chairman Councillor Richard Bassett said: “It’s almost Christmas, a time when most of us can look forward to spending time with family and friends. But I believe it is also a time to reflect on others, particularly those who don’t have family and friends to enjoy the festive season with….and to make sure we help our friends and neighbours at times of need.”

“A few weeks ago I slept out at Chelmsford Cathedral to raise money for the homeless at Christmas. Not only did it give me a real insight into the challenges others face every day, but it also made me think about the difference that charities like Chess Homeless make to those who have no homes to go to. I found it a very humbling experience.

“As I have been visiting around the district this year I have met many people who, because of unfortunate circumstances, find themselves in difficult situations requiring our assistance and I see so many volunteers doing such an excellent job of helping them.

“Christmas should be a time of peace and goodwill to everyone, not just the materialistic giving of presents.

“Therefore at this joyous time of year can we also think of those less fortunate or lonely and, if an opportunity arises, help where we can.

“I would also like to say thank you to everyone I have had the pleasure to meet this year and wish you all a very Happy Christmas.”

Domestic Homicide Review report published

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Health, Older people, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

The Domestic Homicide Review Panel report into the murder of a 35-year-old mother of two, by her husband of eight years, has concluded that her death ‘could not reasonably have been foreseen or prevented by any agency, organisation or individual.’

The Epping Forest Community Safety Partnership has published the Domestic Homicide Review Panel Report into the tragic murder of Susan, a 35 year old mother of two from Theydon Bois. Her husband Peter assaulted her in February 2016 and set fire to her body in an attempt to conceal the murder.

What is a DHR?

The Domestic Homicide Review (DHR) process considers the circumstances that led to death from violence, abuse or neglect by a relation, partner or ex-partner of a member of the same household.

DHR’s establish whether public bodies and agencies could improve responses to situations, whether the correct safeguards are in place, identify lessons learned and highlight best practice – in order to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future.

Absolute tragedy

Epping Forest District Council participated in the review. The Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, Councillor Sam Kane said: “Susan’s death was an absolute tragedy. On behalf of myself and everyone on the panel, I would like to extend our condolences to everyone affected by her death, especially her children and loved ones.”

“The exact reasons for the murder were not uncovered but the report discloses an order of events and Peter’s subtle coercive and controlling behaviours that may have contributed to the unexpected attack.”

Subtle abuse

“The panel’s view was that irrespective of whether outreach services were available to Susan, it was unlikely that she, her family and friends would have recognised her need for access to them, because the domestic abuse she received was so subtle. This is indicative of the widening definition of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is far more than physical. It can take many forms that are not as obvious as broken bones or bruising.

“The report highlights the importance of health professionals in recognising potential domestic abuse through interactions with patients with non-physical symptoms such as low self-esteem or depression”.

Report concerns before it’s too late

Councillor Kane concluded: “If you or someone you know could be a victim, you can report your concerns anonymously to the police or to social services. Do not turn a blind eye. Your call could make the difference between life and death.”

J9 initiative

A team of agencies; Essex Police, Essex County Council Social Services, Safer Places and Epping Forest District Council, work together to form the Epping Forest Community Safety Partnership. Together they combat and raise awareness of Domestic Abuse under the initiative ‘J9’, set up in memory of domestic abuse victim Janine Mundy.

Visit the Southend, Essex and Thurrock Domestic Abuse Board (SETDAB) website for comprehensive advice and guidance on how to get help

Further contact infomation

  • Police – 999 (if danger is immediate)
  • Police – 101 (non-emergencies)
  • Safer Places 24 hour helpline – 03301 025811
  • National domestic violence 24 hour helpline 0808 2000 247

Confident and bold decisions taken at Cabinet

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Councillors, Epping, Health, Housing, Leader, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Loughton, Meetings, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Sports, Sports centres and pools, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

A series of far-reaching decisions were taken at the meeting of Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet, meeting at the Civic Offices on 10 December.

New home for Council

Councillors have agreed in principle to relocate staff to North Weald. While customer services, civic and democratic functions will remain at the Civic Offices in Epping, new purpose-built offices will provide space for up to 380 staff at Blenheim Way, North Weald within three years.

New partners will join remaining council staff in Epping, ensuring the northern end of the town retains a strong employment focus and economic footfall for High Street shops and businesses.

Demolition of the 1960s Conder Building attached to the Civic Offices will clear the way for a mix of new homes behind the Civic Offices.

St John’s Road Cinema, Homes and Leisure Centre

As the Civic Offices evolve, the Council will also be transforming the southern end of Epping with a new leisure centre, cinema, homes, businesses and parking. Subject to detailed negotiation and agreement, Epping Forest District Council proposes to work in partnership with Epping Town Council and leisure provider Places Leisure (also known as Places for People) to deliver the development.

The existing sports centre in Epping will be redeveloped for housing following completion of the new St John’s facility, allowing the Council Offices, St John’s Road and Hemnall Street to make a substantial contribution to housing demand identified in the emerging Local Plan.

Council staff working from the current housing depot off Epping High Street will move to new facilities already built at Oakwood Hill, Loughton.

Harlow and Gilston Vision and Design

Three strategic housing locations at Water Lane, Latton Priory and East of Harlow have been identified in the Local Plan for large housing developments on the boundaries of Harlow but within Epping Forest District. Councillors approved the vision and design guide – working documents developed by Epping Forest District Council in partnership with Harlow and East Herts District Councils for Harlow and Gilston Garden Town.

£97 million Capital Programme

Ongoing development of new council houses form the major part of the five-year capital programme put before councillors at the start of the New Year budget setting process. Aside from approximately £8 million for the new Waltham Abbey Leisure Centre, completed in November 2018, around £80 million is identified for a combination of new council housing and improvements to the Council’s existing stock over five years.

Landmark Building

Councillors approved £140,000 to complete work necessary to let commercial units at the new Landmark Building in the Broadway, Loughton. Once let, rental income of around £250,000 a year will be used to support the Council’s public services.

A forward-thinking council fit for the future

After the meeting, Council Leader Councillor Chris Whitbread said: “This is probably one of the most significant Cabinet meetings in years. The strategic development of council services based in Epping, North Weald and our new depot at Oakwood Hill, Loughton dovetail with our determination to build much need new homes sympathetically and boost economic activity across the district.”

“These are bold decisions. They demonstrate vision, confidence in our council, commitment to our residents and belief in the future of our district.”

Epping Forest Community Champions initiative launched

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Epping, Health, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Sports, Volunteering opportunities, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your environment, Your home

Community Champions, a volunteer programme across the towns and villages of Epping Forest district is up and running.

The initiative aims to build on the skills and knowledge of local people to create, happy, friendly and healthy communities. To do this Epping Forest District Council is bringing together like-minded people from local towns and villages to share ideas and experiences from their communities to improve the health and wellbeing of local people.

The initiative was launched in October with nine Champions taking part in an induction morning where they learned about the support and development offered by the Council throughout the programme. They also all became Dementia Friends after taking part in an Information Session.

Community Champions have been recruited in the following towns and parishes:

  • Buckhurst Hill
  • Chigwell
  • Nazeing
  • Ongar
  • Theydon Bois
  • Willingale

What is the role of a Community Champion?

Community Champions can help you to:

  • Get to know what’s going on in the local area
  • Learn more about how to stay healthy and active
  • Access local services you might need
  • Organise community events

There is an ongoing recruitment campaign for volunteers from each of the towns and parishes within the Epping Forest district.

Do you know of a local resident who would be interested in joining us and making a real difference in the community?

We are looking for people who are:

  • Living in the Epping Forest district
  • Aged 18 years or above
  • Passionate about where they live
  • Able to build strong community connections
  • Happy to support and promote fun days and community events
  • Willing to share information about local services in the area
  • Able to promote useful health improvement information within the community

Get involved and make a difference

Councillor Helen Kane, Leisure and Community Services Portfolio Holder said: “I am extremely proud of our Community Champions for putting themselves forward to volunteer, and I am excited to hear their ideas. The Community Champions programme is a great way to meet new people and develop your skills and knowledge. We would love for you to get involved and make a real difference in your community!’’

More information and how to join

For further information on the Epping Forest Community Champions programme and details on how to join please contact Patrick Arnold, Senior Community Engagement Officer.

Floods Destroy – Are you at Risk? Are you Prepared?

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countryside and wildlife, Crime and safety, Drainage, Environmental health, Epping, Health, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

With the onset of winter, the Environment Agency has launched its annual Flood Action Campaign.

This year it’s titled Prepare, Act, Survive and is aimed at young people who are most at risk in a flood because18-24’s are least aware of dangers of flooding in their area and more than half would not know what to do in an emergency. The Environment Agency and British Red Cross are urging young people to learn how to protect themselves and help their communities when flooding hits.


“We are all individually responsible for the safety of ourselves, and our homes in the event of a flood,” said Cllr Nigel Avey, Cabinet Member for the Environment.

“There is so much self-help information available that there is no excuse for not being prepared in the event of a flood.”

“For instance flood doors and boards are available to hold back the water if you live in an area that is in danger of flooding, or you can buy self-inflating ‘sandbags’ that only take up a fraction of the space of traditional sandbags and can be deployed rapidly. We must all be prepared to help ourselves should the worst happen.”

I would also encourage all residents to check the flood risk in their area by visiting the Environment Agency’s website and if necessary sign up for automated email and text Flood Alerts.

Be prepared

The Environment Agency’s advice in their latest campaign is to:

Prepare a bag that includes medicines and insurance documents

Act, turn off gas, water and electricity. Move things upstairs or to safety. Move family, pets and car to safety

Survive Call 999 if in immediate danger, follow advice from emergency services, keep yourself and your family safe.

More useful information is available on:

#JustOneThing on YouTube

You wouldn’t leave your belongings out to be stolen, so why let them be taken by a flood? What #JustOneThing would you hate to lose in a flood?

Meeting to discuss proposals for new homes in Stapleford Abbotts

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your environment, Your home

Local residents living in and around Stapleford Abbotts are invited to attend a public meeting to discuss plans for a new housing development on the edge of the village

When: Tuesday, 11 December, 7pm to 9pm

Where: Stapleford Abbotts Primary School, Stapleford Road, RM4 1EJ

Plans for residential units, together with associated landscaping, car parking and highway works are proposed for the Land at Oak Hill Road, opposite the junction with Tysea Hill. The proposals relate to site STAP.R1 in the Epping Forest District Local Plan Submission Version.

Epping Forest District Council is hosting the Development Management Forum along with Developer Magenta Planning Ltd. in order for local residents and all other interested parties to view plans and learn about the proposals prior to the submission of a planning application.

There will be a presentation at the start followed by a chance to discuss and put questions to representatives from Magenta Planning LTD and a Planning Officer from the District Council.

This type of forum allows for issues to be raised about the proposals and to explore any amendments and agreement between all parties in a positive and constructive way before any considerations are made at a planning committee.

Loughton man prosecuted for failing duty of care

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Countryside and wildlife, Environmental health, Loughton, Older people, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Prosecutions, Recycling and waste, Regulations, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

A shop in The Broadway, Loughton had rubbish dumped in it’s trade bin which was traced back to a resident living in Willingale Close.

Investigations by Epping Forest District Council led to the prosecution of Mr Christian Akinrinade. The waste included a number of cardboard boxes and a leather bag which were identified as having originated from Mr Akinrinade’s property in Willingale Close Loughton.

Mr Akinrinade pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court to transferring household waste to an unauthorised person. He told the Council he had given the waste to builders working at a property in his road and had paid them approximately £30 to do so.

He was fined £1153 and ordered to pay the Council’s prosecution costs of £627.82 together with a victim surcharge of £115.

Fly tipping prosecution

“We take fly tipping, and residents’ responsibility to ensure they are disposing of their waste legitimately and responsibly very seriously and will not hesitate to prosecute,” said Cllr Nigel Avey, Portfolio Holder for Environment.

“Our message is simple: Before handing your waste to somebody else, always check, consider and record in order to protect yourself, and reduce fly-tipping by rogue traders. It is a crime not to care.”

Advice on how residents can protect themselves from rogue traders who fly-tip for profit is available on the Council’s Website. Click here for more information Crime Not to Care. A series of short films produced by the Cleaner Essex Group (a campaign group made up from representatives from local authorities across Essex), are also available to view on this web page.

Decisions from Plans East on 5 December

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Business, Chigwell, Community, Consultation, Councillors, Democracy, Epping, Housing, Loughton, Meetings, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Planning application decisions from the Area Planning Sub-Committee East meeting Wednesday 5 December 2018.


  • EPF/1117/18 The Drive, Stapleford Road, Stapleford Abbotts, RM4 1EJ
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2060/18 61 Pancroft, Lambourne, RM4 1BX
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2120/18 Lindsey House, Lindsey Street, Epping, CM16 6RB
    Permission refused
  • EPF/2481/18 8 Garden Fields, Stanford Rivers, Ongar, CM5 9PL
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2503/18 Warreners, Theydon Road, Theydon Bois, CM16 4EE
    Permission granted

Planning application search

Avoid the unwanted gift of food poisoning this Christmas

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Environmental health, Epping, Food safety, Health, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

There are an estimated one million cases of food poisoning in the UK every year, and without attention to food hygiene, this doesn’t stop during the festive season. To save your loved ones from a nasty bout of food poisoning over the holidays, follow these Food Standards Agency top tips from Epping Forest District Council to keep your festive season truly the most wonderful time of the year.

Top tips

  1. When Christmas food shopping, take sufficient bags to separate raw and ready-to-eat foods to avoid cross-contamination
  2. Check the guidance on your turkey to ensure you have enough time to fully defrost it – it could take as much as four days
  3. Don’t wash a raw turkey – it splashes germs onto your hands, clothes, utensils and worktops
  4. To work out the cooking time for your bird, check the instructions on the packaging Check that the meat is steaming hot throughout; there is no pink meat visible when you cut into the thickest part, and the meat juices run clear
  5. Whether you cooked your turkey from frozen or fresh, your turkey leftovers can be used to make a new meal (such as a turkey curry). This new meal can then be frozen, but make sure you only reheat it once

Coucillor Anne Grigg, Portfolio Holder for Commercial and Regulatory Services said: “Cooking a Christmas roast for a large gathering can be a challenge. It is vital that the turkey, and other meat, is stored, defrosted and cooked correctly. Likewise, leftovers from Christmas need to be reheated and eaten within specific timeframes in order to avoid food poisoning.

“This is why Epping Forest District Council is supporting the Food Standards Agency in helping to relieve some of the stress of preparing the Christmas meal and to keep your family safe during the festive period.”

Adam Hardgrave, Head of Foodborne Disease Control at the Food Standards Agency, said: “The four Cs of food hygiene – chilling, cleaning, cooking and avoiding cross-contamination are important throughout the year, but especially at Christmas.

“In the flurry of preparing the Christmas meal, it’s important to remember to plan ahead and allow plenty of time. Remember that an average-sized turkey can take four days to fully thaw in the fridge, and it is vital to thoroughly cook it so that the meat is steaming hot, there is no pink meat visible, and the meat juices run clear.”

For more information visit: or follow @foodgov #SeasonsEatings on Twitter for tips and advice throughout the festive period.

Chairman sleeps under the stars and raises £300

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Bedding down in the grounds of Chelmsford Cathedral on a cold, wet night is not something you would normally expect of a Council Chairman!

But last Friday night that’s exactly what Cllr Richard Bassett, Chairman of Epping Forest District did. He was taking part in a sponsored event, organised by Chess Homeless, a charity supporting homeless people in Essex, and was one of several civic leaders doing the same.

Humbling experience

“Sleeping outdoors on a cold, damp winter’s night really focusses your attention on what some people face EVERY night. Charities like Chess Homeless bring immediate relief and a sense of hope to those who have no homes to go to. I found this a very humbling experience.” Cllr Bassett raised £300 in sponsorship.

Night shelter

Chess provides a nine bedroom night shelter along with shared move on accommodation. During the winter months it runs a Winter project providing rough sleepers with food, drinks, sleeping bags and a bed for the night, normally in a local church hall.

Every year it hosts a Sleep Out in the grounds of Chelmsford Cathedral to raise funds and last year netted more than £20,000.