Meet your local police officers

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Community, Crime and safety, Media, Out and about, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your home

Essex Police are holding a local community meeting in Buckhurst Hill on Wednesday 22 March 2017.

Local Community Meeting Buckhurst Hill 22-3-17

Find out more about what’s going on in your local area and meet with your local policing team. This is an open meeting and all members of the public are welcome.

Date

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Time

6pm to 7pm

Venue

Roding Valley Hall, Station Way, Buckhurst Hill, IG9 6LN

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!’

Beware of bogus Police Officers

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Media, Older people, Out and about, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your home

A group of males have recently been involved in committing distraction burglaries in the Basildon, Brentwood and Thurrock areas, by posing as Police Officers.

They have fake but very convincing Essex Police Identity Cards and use these to trick and scam their way into vulnerable people’s homes with the intent to steal cash and valuables. They have to date mainly been concentrating on elderly females, but everyone is at risk.

Secure, protect, prevent image by Essex Police

If a bogus police officer calls

If anyone calls at your property posing as a police officer please do not let them in without first checking their identity.

Please telephone 101 to verify that the person at your door is a bona-fide officer.

Best advice is not to open the door to anyone you do not know or are not expecting. A good tip is to open an upstairs window if possible and speak to the caller, asking their details, before opening the door until you are certain who they are.

If you mention that you are going to call the police to verify their identity, a valid police officer will be happy to wait whereas it is likely that a bogus caller will disappear quickly.

Please try and note a brief description of the person at the door and give this to the police if the caller proves not to be a bona-fide officer.

Other bogus callers

Other types of bogus caller also pretend to be from utility companies or similar organisations.

The above advice applies in all cases. Some general advice is given below

  • Representatives from water, gas and electric companies rarely visit without appointments. Genuine callers make appointments in advance and will always be happy to wait while you check their identity. Some utility companies now also operate a password scheme for extra security – please call your provider for details.
  • Police or bank officials would never visit you or call you by telephone and ask for your bank details or ask you to withdraw large sums of cash.
  • Be wary of strangers who call unexpectedly. If in doubt keep them out!
  • Bogus callers succeed because they’re believable – they’re well practised and will have a convincing story and set of excuses ready.
  • Next time the doorbell rings remember – check before you open the door.

Who to call

If you suspect you, or someone you know has been visited by a bogus caller please call the Police as soon as possible – you may well prevent other crimes occurring.

Community Transport saves Nazeing bus service

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chairman, Chigwell, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Epping, Health, Loughton, Media, Older people, Ongar, Our countryside, Our performance, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Travel, Volunteering opportunities, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

A vital bus route for Nazeing has been saved. Councillor Jeane Lea, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council went to see the C392 for herself after Epping Forest Community Transport stepped in to save the Nazeing-Hoddesdon service.

The 392 Little White Bus is connecting communities across Essex and Hertfordshire

Community Transport

Since January the C392 Little White Bus runs daily between Tylers Cross, Nazeing and Hoddesdon Rye Park via Broxbourne between about 7am and 7pm replacing an axed earlier commercial service.      

Community Transport trustee and District Councillor for Nazeing Richard Bassett was instrumental in organising the new service. He joined Councillor Lea and other commuters at Nazeing Crossroads to meet the 10.10 bus driven by volunteer Amy Carter.

Providing an essential service

Councillor Bassett said: ”We are seeing more and more the value of community transport in our district and in this case we would have seen no bus services in a village and surrounding area of 5000 people until Community Transport saved the day by putting together this service in record time.”

Councillor Bassett worked with Essex Passenger Transport and Nazeing and Roydon Parish Councils after both the 392 and 505 bus services were withdrawn. In addition to the C392, he helped to get the 86 service run by EOS diverted via Bumbles Green and St Leonards before resuming its route from Harlow down the Crooked Mile towards Waltham Abbey.

Cllr Bassett added that ”Thanks to some very speedy actions the C392 is running under the section 22 license which means all concessions are valid on the service.

Reducing fairs

We have reduced the single fare to £3 and the return to £5 with children getting a reduced fare of £2. I have received some early comments that people are very pleased with the service and the friendly drivers and the little white community bus.”

He also added ”I am very concerned that many rural services are finding they are having bus services reduced or cancelled. Community Transport is stepping up to provide services to dependant villages to prevent social exclusion and help with hospital and other appointments which otherwise people would struggle to attend.”

Local people working together

Councillor Lea was delighted to meet Councillor Bassett, the driver Amy Carter and fellow travellers. She said: ”I want to congratulate everyone involved in the project. Rural bus services are under pressure everywhere but the C392 shows just what can be done when local people organise and act together.”

More information

For Community Transport Timetables please visit:

For more information about Community Transport or to volunteer in the office or as a driver please call:

  • Community transport office on 01992 579556

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.

Staying well this winter

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Epping, Equalities, Health, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Olympics, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Performance, Residents, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Stay well this winter events took place across the district, advising residents on how to prepare for colder months.

Preparing for cold weather

Epping Forest District Council and NHS West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group bought together professionals from across West Essex aiming to advise the elderly on how to prepare for winter, promoting available services and how to practising good self-care.

Helpful advice

The roadshows speakers gave information on selecting the correct services. Including how to prepare you in case of an emergency, tips on keeping in good health and how to manage health conditions.

Speakers included:

  • NHS Pharmacy Team
  • NHS Falls Prevention Team
  • NHS Community Nurses
  • Specsavers optometrist
  • Trading Standards
  • Self-Management UK
  • East of England Ambulance Service
  • Essex County Fire and Rescue
  • West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group

Great range of services

Councillor Helen Kane Leisure and Community Portfolio Holder said: “Events like this showcase emphasise the range of services we have available in West Essex, and prove that there is help available if needed.”

“The stay well this winter events also highlight the importance of good self-care and how vital is to be prepared in staying well and making sure you’re ready for any kind of emergency you may face, not only in winter but all year round.”

“It’s great to see services across West Essex coming together and working in partnership, looking out for our community’s safety and wellbeing.”

More information

For more information on how to stay well please visit

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.