Clean for The Queen

Written on . Posted in Community, Countryside and wildlife, Leader, Local business, Loughton, Media, Older people, Our countryside, Out and about, Recycling and waste, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Councillors, Biffa representatives and council waste management staff donned gloves and brandished litter pickers and sacks as they contributed to the Clean for The Queen campaign in Loughton today.

Leader of Council Chris Whitbread and Environment Portfolio Holder Councillor Will Breare-Hall helped to collect litter from the verges in Rectory Lane.

Clean for the Queen

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Clean for The Queen

Vacuum your villages! Spruce up your cities! De-litter the land!

Clean for The Queen is a campaign to clear up Britain in time for Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th birthday, which will be officially celebrated in June 2016.

Litter pick groups have been organised in Matching, Ongar, Theydon Mount and Willingale as well as by residents groups from Oakwood Hill in Loughton and Ninefields in Waltham Abbey.

Let’s take care of our environment

Councillor Will Breare-Hall, Environment Portfolio Holder said: “We’re committed to keeping Epping Forest district a clean and attractive place all year-round,  so we’re delighted to be supporting the Clean for The Queen campaign.”

“I know a number of local town and parish councils and residents groups are also getting involved with their own litter picks, and it’s not too late for others to join in. We’d love to help promote their work.”

“If everyone disposed of their rubbish properly we could both improve our environment and reduce this unnecessary cost to the taxpayer.”

“It’s important that everyone takes responsibility for their rubbish. Let’s take care of our local environment and keep Epping Forest a beautiful place to live, work and visit.”

 

Know a cheat in your street?

Written on . Posted in Benefits, Business, Business rates, Community, Council tax, Crime and safety, Media, Older people, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

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

Spot the cheater – don’t let them get away.

Know a cheat?

Fraudsters are cheating us all

Housing tenancy fraud – misusing council properties

Council tax fraud – Falsely claiming Council Tax discounts (including Council Tax Support)

Business rates fraud – Falsely claiming reliefs or exemptions

Do you suspect someone of fraud?

Then tell us about:

Someone who has committed 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, or
  • giving false or misleading information to get the tenancy

Someone who has committed Council Tax fraud clamming discount by falsely:

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

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

Spotted a cheater?

 

 

Tenants move into new council homes in Chigwell

Written on . Posted in Chigwell, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Housing, Media, Residents, Your area, Your council, Your home

Tenants moved into the district’s first new council homes on 7 December, just in time for Christmas.

The 10 converted flats at Marden Close and 2 new flats at Faversham Hall in Chigwell Row are the first of the council’s new house-building programme to be completed. The programme aims to build around 315 new council homes across the Epping Forest district in the next 10 years.

Miss Downes with councillors and housing officers

Pictured from left to right – Chigwell Row Councillor Brian Sandler, Paul Pledger (Assistant Director of Communities), Georgia Downes, Alan Hall (Director of Communities) and Housing Portfolio Holder Councillor David Stallan – congratulating Georgia Downes for being the first tenant to move into the new flats.

View photos in a slideshow by clicking on a picture below and then click start slideshow.

Marden Close, Chigwell Row

20 sheltered bedsits at Marden Close in Chigwell Row were converted into 10 one-bedroom general needs flats as the bedsits had become unpopular and difficult to let.

The 2-storey building has secure individual entrances to each flat, a small communal garden, energy efficient heating, insulation and new windows. They are being let at the usual council social rents.

The former Faversham Hall on the same site has also undergone a high quality refurbishment including new landscaping. It now provides 2 new general needs flats out of a previously underused community facility.

A hugely significant moment

Councillor David Stallan, Housing Portfolio Holder said: “This is a hugely significant moment for Epping Forest District Council and something I am immensely proud to be part of. After 30 years when government policy focused our affordable housing plans towards facilitating new homes built by housing associations, we are starting to provide new housing directly again.”

“These new homes have been converted to a good standard and are energy efficient. They are a great example of what we want to achieve across our district.”

I’m really happy

Georgia Downes said: “I’m really happy with the quality of my home and it’s a real pleasure to live here.”

 

Unsung hero gets award

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

Congratulations to Christopher Bullock from Epping Green on receiving a highly commended award in the unsung hero category in the Pride of Essex Awards 2015.

Pride of Essex 2015 "Unsung Hero" Highly Commended and award winners - Chris Bullock centre

Chris is the Handyman Project Coordinator for Voluntary Action Epping Forest (VAEF), a service funded by Epping Forest District Council (EFDC).

He is a handyman who does jobs for tenants of EFDC properties who are over 60 and or disabled who often have no one else who can help them. Chris does basic jobs like replacing tap washers, flat pack assembly, fitting curtain rails and putting up shelving, plus a lot more!

Extremely courteous and invaluable

Chris was nominated for the award by Mr and Mrs Burton. They moved to the Epping Forest district in 2013 and asked EFDC if anyone could help with basic jobs as both are registered disabled. They were referred to the Handyman Service and introduced to Chris.

The couple now regard Chris as a personal friend  and describe Chris as “Extremely courteous and invaluable.” Mrs Burton added: “We cannot thank him enough for all he does, we wanted him and his work recognised, which is why we’re nominating him for an award.”

Humbled by the nomination

At the Pride of Essex Awards Chris said: “I am genuinely humbled by the nomination. I was really taken back by the incredible efforts nominees had gone to in order to help others, many in the face of their own adversities.”

“The Burtons are just one example of many whose situation compels me to go even further, often working into the evenings in my own time, just to improve their lives. I was the only person nominated who provided a hands on practical support service which highlights how rare the work we do really is.”

“This Award should be shared by all who support the Handyman Service at EFDC and VAEF, as really I’m just the front man. Without this team I wouldn’t have known of their struggles and been able to help them, so thank you from me.”

Volunteer with VAEF

If you would like to find out more about volunteering please contact Voluntary Action Epping Forest

 

Waste and recycling contract reviewed

Written on . Posted in Community, Councillors, Democracy, Media, Meetings, Recycling and waste, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

The Neighbourhoods and Communities Select Committee met on Thursday 17 December to review the changes made to the district’s waste and recycling service in May of this year.

New dustcarts

Introducing the main item, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Neighbourhoods Derek Macnab confirmed that, despite extensive local publicity, few public questions had been received, with only two members of the public in the Council Chamber. Major improvements to the service were believed to account for this.

Highlighting issues 

Waste and Recycling Consultant Len Attrill offered the first evidence to members of the committee for review, taking councillors through the thinking behind the use of Competitive Dialogue and the selection of the most economically advantageous contract during procurement.

Senior managers Roger Edwards, Peter Dickson, Les Smith and Simon Crook for the Council’s contractor Biffa Municipal attended the committee to explain what went wrong during the implementation of new arrangements during the summer months. The Council’s cabinet portfolio holder Councillor Will Breare-Hall was also available to answer questions.

Councillors cross-examined the witnesses in depth, asking about issues as diverse as the HR policies of Biffa during the contract handover, the advantages of the four day collection week, the move to a new depot, the size of the new vehicles, the composition of the rounds and the software problems. Councillor Will Breare-Hall said that with hindsight more lead-in time should have been allowed for the introduction of the change to the four day week. He would also have introduced other changes more gradually rather than all in one go.

Waste Manager David Marsh identified the lack of understanding and local knowledge transferred from old crews to new crews. Roger Edwards said that although it could be difficult to transfer knowledge, with hindsight more could be done in the future to achieve it.

Contact Centre Manager Julie Barnard said that the main problem for her staff was the number of missed collections and the repeated failure to collect missed collections once reported. Major improvements in communications between Biffa and the Council since the introduction of the new service have been achieved.

Committee Chairman, Councillor Mary Sartin focused on comments about the failure of assisted collections for residents with special requirements. Simon Crook for Biffa said that a lot of work had since been done to improve this process on behalf of the district’s more vulnerable residents.

Biffa manager Les Smith promised to look personally into problems around contamination of recycling identified by members of the public present at the meeting. Derek Macnab also summarised a list of written questions submitted by members of the public relating to the manner in which Biffa returned emptied bins to households, side-waste and waste separation.

Looking to the future

In summing up, Assistant Director Kim Durrani said that the Council had been in a difficult place but was in a much better position now. Looking to the future he said that the Council was striving with Biffa to improve recycling targets. Simon Crook for Biffa said that he was confident the service was now moving quickly towards the levels everyone would expect. Les Smith of Biffa assured Councillor Heather Brady that Biffa was well prepared for the next few weeks – Christmas – the busiest period of the year.