Register to vote by 19 October 2017

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

Properties in the district that have not yet confirmed their voting details will shortly receive a third Household Enquiry Form (HEF).  Please do not ignore this form as by law you are required to respond, even if there are no changes to the details printed on the form.  Please respond online, by phone or by text before 19 October 2017.

Household Enquiry Form - Annual Canvass 2017

What is a Household Enquiry Form?

All properties in the district have been sent a household enquiry form. This is known as the annual canvass, it happens every year and there are two stages to complete your registration. It tells us details of people who have moved out and adds details of new occupants.

Respond online

“It’s the easiest and quickest way for you to confirm your details or make any changes,” says Glen Chipp, Electoral Registration Officer, “it helps keep our costs down, which keeps the cost down for you too. You must respond, even if your details haven’t changed since the last election.”

Registering someone not already on the electoral register is a two stage process – adding a new name to the Household Enquiry Form is only stage one.

Stage 2 is providing more information about the new person so we can verify their identity.” Glen explained ”We will make contact either by email, phone or by sending out a registration form. Please do not ignore this – until the new person has been verified we cannot add them to the register.  To respond please either register online (www.gov.uk/registertovote) or call the elections helpline (01992 564411) before 19 October 2017 with the information required.”

First stage

You will need the 2 part security code on your household enquiry form and you can do 1 of the following

  1. Confirm online at www.householdresponse.com/eppingforest
  2. Text NOCHANGE – with your security number to 80212
  3. Confirm by phone 0800 197 9871

Need to make a change?

You will need the 2 part security code on your household enquiry form and can do 1 of the following

  1. Amend the information online easily and quickly at www.householdresponse.com/eppingforest
  2. Amend the form and return it to us in the prepaid envelope – please make sure you give a contact phone number or email address in case of queries

Second stage

Merely completing the Household Enquiry Form does not mean you are registered. Don’t forget to

You will need your date of birth, national insurance number, nationality and any previous addresses. Please also make sure you include a contact phone number and/or email address in case of queries.

Register to vote

Glen added: ”Please do not ignore the next round of reminders and have your responses back to us before 19 October 2017. If you ignore this reminder to register, you won’t be eligible to vote in the next election, you could face up to a £1,ooo fine and it could affect your credit rating too.”

Woman guilty of subletting council property

Written on . Posted in Benefits, Chigwell, Council tax, Equalities, Housing, Loughton, Our performance, Performance, Private housing, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Uncategorized, Working with the council, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

Ms Paula Callaway of Dunmow Essex has been given a 12 month suspend sentence and 150 hours community service after being found guilty of 2 counts of Social Housing fraud.

Subletting council property

Paula Callaway became a tenant of Moat Housing housing association in 1999. The tenancy agreement required Ms Callaway to live at the property 49 Ravenoak Way Chigwell as her main home and not to sublet it without prior written permission.

In November 2011 Paula Callaway sought permission to carry out a mutual exchange with the tenant of a one bedroom flat Council property at 9 Felstead Road Loughton.

Reasons given for requesting the exchange was that Ms Callaway wished to downsize following her children leaving home. The mutual exchange was approved and took place in January 2012.

Confidential fraud hotline

Following a report to the Council’s confidential fraud hotline officers launched an investigation which revealed that Paula Callaway had purchased a three bedroom new build property and had been living in Dunmow since October 2009, whilst still claiming to be a tenant at Ravenoak Way, Chigwell.

Ms Callaway had not informed Moat Housing that she had moved out and had left her son at that property and also rented out to property to at least another five people.

The mutual exchange was therefore fraudulent and the reasons given false.

Further fraudulent activity

At trial it transpired that the tenant Ms Callaway carried out the mutual exchange with was her sister in law and the real reason for wanting to exchange was that her sister in law wanted to move to a three bedroom property.

Having then gained the tenancy of the one bedroom flat 9 Felstead Road, Callaway then illegally sublet it again. She moved in two individuals from Ravenoak Way into 9 Felstead Road, whilst still living in her own property in Great Dunmow, acting as the landlord for the 2 council owned properties.

Depriving families of a home

After a five day trial at Chelmsford Crown Court Ms. Callaway was found guilty of 2 offences relating to Social Housing fraud. Having previously pleaded guilty to the criminal offence of dishonestly subletting a property, she was sentenced with a 12 month suspended sentence on both counts of fraud, 150 hours community service and a victim surcharge.

The Judge stated: “You were given social housing once you had bought a home of your own. There is chronic shortage of social homes and you deprived a family from living in a home for six years. This went on far too long. It went on but you must know what you did was wrong.”

Fraudsters cheat us all

Finance Portfolio Holder Councillor Gagan Mohindra said: “Fraud affects everyone. Money stolen by housing tenancy fraud, council tax fraud or business rates fraud is depriving our public services of the vital resources they need.”

“Please tell us if you suspect someone is committing fraud by filling in our online form or by calling our fraud investigation team”

You can report anonymously and don’t have to give your name or contact details unless you want to.

Recycling rewards for 1,600 flats in district

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chairman, Chigwell, Community, Councillors, Epping, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Recycling and waste, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Epping Forest District Council is launching a new pilot recycling scheme 1,600 households in 100 blocks of flats across the district, ‘Recycling Rewards’.

Recycling rewards scheme

Rewards for recycling

The scheme will reward residents for recycling their waste correctly. Cutting down on bin contamination, increasing recycling rates in flats where we know it is more difficult to recycle and educating people on the different materials that can be recycled and how.

Improve recycling rates

Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: ‘’We know recycling rates in flats are below where they should be. This scheme is a wonderful opportunity for residents in the blocks of flats involved, to improve their recycling rates and get rewarded for doing so.’’

‘’We hope that these incentives will encourage the people taking part to recycle as much as they can, so that we can increase recycling and improve the quality of recycling collected. We’re also delighted that we can support some fantastic local charities with this scheme too.”

Supporting local charities

Four local charities and community projects including; Epping Forest Community Transport, Chigwell Riding Trust, Epping Forest Foodbank and Safer Places will be supported by Recycling Rewards, donating £1,750 this year.

Recycling advice and help

The scheme will be delivered on behalf of the council by specialist recycling reward scheme provider, Local Green Points. Specially trained door knocking teams will be visiting over 1,600 properties across 100 participating blocks of flats in the district over the coming weeks, offering recycling advice and helping residents sign up to the scheme.

Collect ‘Green Points’

Once registered, residents will collect ‘Green Points’ for recycling, taking waste to recycling centres and reporting fly tipping. The scheme offers monthly voucher prizes for the highest green point earners and donations to your favourite local charities. The scheme will also offer a discount card, which will entitle the resident to discounts and special offers in local businesses.

Local businesses, get involved

If you are a local business and you are interested in taking part, please contact Local Green Points on 0207 326 5055 or email info@localgreenpoints.com to find out more.

If you are a resident in a block of flats, Local Green Points will be sending a welcome pack and knocking on your door soon, if your block is involved in the pilot scheme.

North Weald Airfield fireworks & bonfire party

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Epping, Licensing, Local business, Loughton, North Weald Airfield, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Come and join us at North Weald Airfield on 3 November 2017, for a spectacular evening of fireworks and fun! Tickets are now on sale, so book now to avoid disappointment!

North Weals Airfield fireworks and bonfire party

Click on an image below to begin slideshow of last year’s fireworks event.

Schedule of events

  • 5.00 pm – Gates & Ferris wheel open
  • 5.30 pm – Kids disco starts, with prizes for the best dancers
  • 7.00 pm – Bonfire is lit
  • 7.15 pm – Little Mix tribute band (2 lucky children get to meet the band, keep your ticket number handy)
  • 8.15 pm – Hot air balloons glow to music
  • 8.30 pm – Fireworks display begins
  • 9.15 pm – 80’s tribute band begins
  • 10.30 pm – Licensed bar closes
  • 10.45pm – Last bus leaves
  • 11.00pm – Airfield closes

Every ride on the Ferris wheel you take will see 50% of the price donated to The Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust, helping to fund their life saving missions!

Tickets available now!

Tickets are available to buy now, so don’t delay and avoid disappointment!

  • Buy tickets online
  • Tickets are also available from The Squadron Café at North Weald Airfield, The News Shop in North Weald and are being sold at Saturday market at North Weald Airfield

Ticket prices

  • £5 per adult
  • £3 per child (2 – 11 years old)

A limited number of tickets will be available on the night and will cost

  • £7 per adult
  • £5 per child (2-11 years old)

Getting to and from the event

By bus

  • Special bus services to the airfield from Waltham Abbey, Harlow and Ongar will be available – details here
  • Return busses to Waltham Abbey, Harlow and Ongar will leave from the control tower from 9:45pm
  • A free bus will pick up passengers from Kings Head bus stop, North Weald

On foot

  • North Weald Airfield (map)
  • A free bus will pick up passengers from Kings Head bus stop, North Weald

By car

Further information

Ongar leisure centre refurbishment unveiled

Written on . Posted in Community, Councillors, Health, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Sports, Sports centres and pools, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Ongar Leisure Centre unveiled its newly refurbished fitness suite on Saturday 9 September 2017.

Cllr Kane cutting the ribbon

Click on an image below to begin slideshow

State of the art equipment

The new suite now includes a state of the art cardio and strength kit, rowers, multifunctional training equipment and Watt bikes. It also features a new training rig which is ideal for rehabilitating an injury and high intensity training, as well as a Technogym Skillmill, which is a powerless treadmill that allows users of all abilities to perform at their own pace.

Official launch

An official launch event was held on Saturday 9 September 2017, which offered visitors free swimming, badminton and virtual cycling sessions, special deals on membership and the chance to see improvements made following the £450,000 worth of investment.

Track your swim technology

Investment into Ongar leisure centre has also included new energy saving technology, IT systems to enhance the customer experience as well as the introduction of state of the art equipment such as SWIMTAG, which is the latest wearable technology that helps customers track their swim activity.

Commitment to leisure

Epping Forest District Council Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Community Services Councillor Helen Kane said: ”It is such a pleasure to see the first major investment of the new leisure contract come to fruition at Ongar Leisure Centre. I know there has been some local concern about the future of the centre but this refurbishment and Places for People Leisure’s investment of £450,000 is a clear commitment to leisure services in Ongar.”

Major refurbishment across district

”Across the District major refurbishment works start in Epping and Loughton this Autumn while preliminary work has already started for the brand-new leisure centre at Waltham Abbey. I’m pleased to say that the outlook for leisure services is positive throughout the District.”

Opportunities for everyone

Geraint Hole, General Manager at Ongar Leisure Centre comments: ”We are delighted to be able to offer the local community a newly refurbished and equipped leisure centre that will provide opportunities for everyone to take part in physical activity and enjoy the wide range of facilities on offer. As a social enterprise, we aim to open up even more opportunities for people to adopt a healthier and more active lifestyle and are looking forward to offering customers free sessions as part of this event.”

Nominate your Citizen of the Year

Written on . Posted in Arts, Chairman, Civic events, Community, Democracy, Equalities, Grants, Media, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Performance, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Epping Forest District Council’s Citizen of the Year Awards recognises people in the community who go above and beyond and make positive changes in our district.

Citizen of the year Civic Awards 2018 poster

If you know an individual or a team who make a real difference nominate them for

  • Citizen of the Year
  • Team of the Year

Highlighting positive work

Chairman David Stallan said: ‘The Citizen of the Year award is a great event, highlighting the positive work that goes on throughout the district. There are people among us who go above and beyond, making positive contributions to our society.’

‘If there’s an individual or group who springs to mind, now is your time to nominate them for a Civic Award.’

Make a nomination

Applications close Friday 24 November 2017.

Council Tax Reduction Scheme consultation

Written on . Posted in Benefits, Buckhurst Hill, Business, Business rates, Chigwell, Community, Consultation, Council tax, Epping, Local business, Loughton, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

We’re asking for your views on the future of our Local Council Tax Support scheme (LCTS) to see whether any changes should be made. It’s important we get the views of our residents as it could affect the amount of Council Tax you pay, or the services you receive.

Council Tax Reduction Scheme consultation

Government grant

“The Government gives us a grant to pay Local Council Tax Support which is reducing each year” explains Finance Portfolio Holder Councillor Gagan Mohindra, “if we spend more than the grant, we have to decide how we pay for the excess.”

Making changes

“This year, in addition to looking at how the scheme is funded, we are deciding whether changes should be made to reduce the number of different Council Tax bills that people get when they receive Universal Credit, and whether Bereavement Support Payments should be disregarded. There are also changes to the way that we treat decisions by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).”

Generate savings

Councillor Mohindra said: “We’ve looked carefully at the LCTS scheme and are aiming to providing a fair level of support to those residents on a low income as well as identifying potential changes which would generate savings for the council.

We will of course continue to fully fund support for those who suffer exceptional hardship, and none of the changes would make a drastic change to the amount of council tax individuals would pay.”

Let us know what you think

“Let us know what you think on this important issue” Councillor Mohindra asked residents. “ It takes just 10 minutes to complete the online questionnaire which runs until 12 October 2017.

Any recommendations from this consultation will be considered by Full Council later in the year, with a view to bringing in changes from April 2018.”

Make a detailed reply or comments

If you want to make a detailed reply or comments, email benefits@eppingforestdc.gov.uk and enter ‘consultation’ in the subject heading. If you don’t have access to a computer, you can get a paper copy from the Benefits Division at the Civic Offices.

We cannot respond individually to each response.

Learn about local mammals with Countrycare

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Join Countrycare on Saturday 16 September 2017 at 7:30am for a close encounter with some of the small mammals found in Roding Valley!

Small mammal event 2017

Help us identify which animals live in and around Roding Valley, followed by breakfast!

Details

  • Saturday 16 September 2017
  • 7:30am – 9:30am
  • The Grange Farm Centre, Grange Farm Lane, Chigwell, Essex, IG7 6DP (click here for a map)
  • £6
  • Call 01992 564224 to book

Further information

Your rubbish, your responsibility

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Councillors, Environmental health, Epping, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Prosecutions, Recycling and waste, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Fly-tipping in Essex is draining more than £1 million of taxpayers’ money each year.

#CrimeNotToCare

Partnership working

This week, Love Essex, a partnership of councils, businesses and environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, is launching its #CrimeNotToCare campaign to inform residents they could unwittingly end up with a criminal record and face an unlimited fine, if a rogue trader dumps their waste illegally.

”Your rubbish is your responsibility”

Epping Forest District Council’s Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: “We need the public to understand their rubbish is their responsibility and they must do the right thing with it. Giving it to a man with a van who offers to get rid of it cheaply could prove costly for people and result in them getting a criminal record.”

Incidents on the rise

In the Epping Forest district there were 2,384  incidents in 2016 to 2017, a significant rise from the previous year’s figures of 1,944. The number of prosecutions of residents where fly-tipped waste has been traced back to them is also on the rise.

Successful prosecutions

A man was recently fined £461 and ordered to pay £758 prosecution costs after pleading guilty to failing his ‘duty of care’, at Chelmsford Magistrates Court. The Loughton resident had allowed a man who knocked at his door to take 40 black sacks away for £70 cash, without checking he was authorised to transport the waste – rules he was unaware of.

The rubbish was then fly-tipped in a garage area in Loughton and traced back to the resident.

”Important campaign for our country”

Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton added: “#CrimeNotToCare is an important campaign for our country and we are delighted that Epping Forest District Council as part of Love Essex, is partnering with us.

“There are almost a million fly-tipping incidents in England every year and cleaning it all up costs us £50million a year. It blights communities and our countryside and is a menace.”

Seek advice

Ensure you don’t fall foul of the law, visit www.recycleforessex.com/crimenottocare for advice.

Top tips to dispose of waste correctly

  1. If you use a trader to remove your waste ask to see their waste carrier registration number issued by the Environment Agency. It is illegal for them to take your waste if they don’t have a permit. Check their credentials and vehicle details here
  2. Make sure you get a receipt or transfer notice before your waste is taken away
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask where your waste is going and request paperwork that shows where it will be disposed. A legitimate waste carrier will not object to this questioning
  4. Protect yourself by being careful with your waste. Never leave rubbish, such as old washing machines or scrap metal on your drive or in the street as it could end up in the wrong hands. You can donate working items to reuse organisations or charity shops

Report fly-tipping

Register to vote before 12 September

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

Every household that is yet to confirm their voting details has been sent a reminder to complete their Household Enquiry Form (HEF) by 12 September 2017.

Household Enquiry Form - Annual Canvass 2017

What is a Household Enquiry Form?

All properties in the district have been sent a household enquiry form and if you are yet to respond, you will receive a reminder. This process is known as the annual canvass. It tells us details of people who have moved out and adds details of new occupants.

You must respond, even if your details haven’t changed and even you voted in May and/or June this year.

Do it online now

“It’s the easiest and quickest option to confirm your details or make any changes online,” says Glen Chipp, Electoral Registration Officer, “it’s also the cheapest method for us as it helps keep our costs down.”

But nothing has changed?

Even if none of your details have changed, you will still need to confirm your details are correct.

You will need the 2 part security code on your household enquiry form and you can do 1 of the following options

  1. Confirm online at www.householdresponse.com/eppingforest
  2. Text NOCHANGE – with your security number to 80212
  3. Confirm by phone 0800 197 9871

If there are changes

You will need the 2 part security code on your household enquiry form and can do 1 of the following options

  1. Amend the information online easily and quickly at www.householdresponse.com/eppingforest
  2. Amend the form and return it to us in the prepaid envelope – please make sure you give a contact phone number or email address in case of queries

Two stage process

If you have made changes to your household enquiry form, it is important to remember there will be a second stage to the process. Merely completing the form does not mean you are registered.

  • Stage 1 is responding to the Household Enquiry Form
  • Stage 2 is completion of the registration process for new electors at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

To complete the registration process you will need your date of birth, national insurance number, nationality and any previous address. Please also make sure you include a contact phone number and/or email address in case of queries.

Make sure you can vote

“People think that they are automatically added to the register of electors because they are paying Council Tax, but that’s not the case.” Glen Chipp added: ”The annual canvass happens every year and even if nothing in your household has changed, you still need to confirm your details’’.

It can affect your credit rating

‘’It is important to remember that not being on the register can affect your ability to open a bank account, get a loan, credit, a mortgage or even a mobile phone, because it can affect your credit rating!”

Respond by 12 September

“Don’t ignore the form, by law you must confirm your details, or you may face a fine of up to £1,000. Please respond immediately if you have not already done so, please complete your form by 12 September 2017 at the very latest.”