Food and Garden Waste Wheelie Bins

Written on . Posted in Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Countrycare, Our countryside, Recycling and waste, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Green lidded wheelie bin for food and garden waste and black wheelie bin for non-recyclable waste

Following the introduction of new food and garden waste wheelie bins by Epping Forest District Council some residents with very large gardens have expressed concerns about the amount of their garden waste they will be able to recycle using the new bins.

One of the most important factors the Council considered in developing the new system was the need to reduce the total amount of waste being collected. Although the food and garden wheelie bin only holds the equivalent of four or five of the former sacks, unlike the old sacks system, the food and garden waste will be collected weekly. In the vast majority of cases this should be sufficient, especially where residents are also composting waste at home and storing the garden waste to allow it to dry out and reduce in weight and volume.

The Green lidded wheelie bin is for food and garden waste and the black wheelie bin is for non-recyclable waste.

However, the Council recognises that there may be exceptional circumstances where a second wheelie bin is appropriate, and therefore at the Cabinet meeting on the 7 September 2009 Councillors looked again at the particular problems of a small number of residents who have very large gardens and agreed that in these exceptional circumstances a second food and garden wheelie bin might be made available, following an individual assessment.

People who think they might qualify for a second wheelie bin will need to talk to the Council first to make sure other options, such as garden composting and storage of garden waste have also been considered.

In addition, the Council will consider, again on an individual basis, providing a garden wheelie bin to residents in flats who are currently maintaining garden areas themselves and who wish to continue to do so. This will enable residents to continue to keep their surroundings tidy and ensure that garden waste is recycled.

Council Cash to Support Homeless

Written on . Posted in Community, Democracy, Housing, Local plan / planning our future, Planning, Residents, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

A scheme that has helped over 200 families rent a home in the private sector is to be boosted with more money. Epping Forest District Council will pass the full benefit of a £7,500 Government grant to Epping Forest Housing Aid, enabling the local charity to guarantee more rent deposits on behalf of local people. The Council is also extending the value of underwriting Epping Forest Housing Aid`s guarantees from £40,000 to £60,000. Together, the measure will allow more local people to take the first steps to renting a new home. Twenty families are expected to benefit almost immediately.

In a separate move, the Cabinet of Epping Forest District Council also authorised the provision of £47,500 to provide small interest-free loans to residents who might otherwise be in danger of losing their homes due to the economic downturn. Loans of between £1,000 and £3,000 are envisaged although Government guidance allows for loans of up to £5,000 under the scheme.

Crucial Crew Pupils Learn Personal Safety

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

Over 1,300 pupils visited Gilwell Park in Chingford from Monday 8 June to Friday 19 June 2009 to take part in the annual Crucial Crew event.

Crucial Crew is an interactive safety initiative based around key life skills that target 10 to 11 year old children. Crucial Crew teaches children how to tackle the dangers they may encounter in everyday life and helps prevent them, in a very interactive way, becoming involved in crime.

Pupils were taught how put somebody in the recovery position

It is designed to help the children to cope with dangerous situations, accept responsibility for their own safety, learn social responsibility and make sensible decisions based on acquired knowledge.

Pupils shown a mock up of a road accident involving a young cyclist

    Crucial Crew is based very firmly on four principles:

  • Children learn by doing
  • Crime prevention and personal safety education can be challenging and exciting
  • Everyone is concerned about crime prevention and personal safety
  • The most effective way of tackling the problem is a partnership approach

Chairman Penny Smith with Crucial Crew 2009 staff

Superintendent Simon Williams, Essex Police said: “Crucial Crew is a fun way to prepare children to remain safe in a variety of emergency situations and to be aware of dangers they are likely to encounter as they advance through life. Messages are conveyed through interactive role play allowing children to react to the problems they encounter and to learn how to make the correct choices about their personal safety.

Pupils shown the importance of recyclingThis year children each received a copy of our new personal safety workbook with further information and advice on dealing with dangerous situations and how to make positive choices regarding behaviour. The publication, with an introduction by John Gilbert, Chair of the Epping Forest District Safer Communities Partnership, complements the Crucial Crew experience and will act as both a classroom and family resource.

David J Bailey, Head Teacher at Stapleford Abbotts Primary School said: “Pupils and teachers both found Crucial Crew to be an exciting and informative event. It raised issues around crime prevention and personal safety that schools find difficult to address in the classroom. The feedback from pupils who attended was extremely positive and I hope that all the children take on board the importance of personal safety.”

Debbie Towns from the All Ways Educating said: They all really enjoyed the way the scenarios were presented and they have discussed it at length ever since! All parents and children were extremely impressed at how well organised the session was.

James from All Ways Educating wrote: Dear Crucial Crew, I learnt very much including how to put somebody in the recovery position, how to avoid peer pressure and many more interesting things to do. I enjoyed it very much and I hope you can do this again.

Sally Smalley from All Ways Educating wrote: My boys were buzzing when they came out of Crucial Crew this morning. They were really impacted by it and keep mentioning things they had learnt. They particularly liked the discussion on bullying as they have experienced this and were glad to hear they did the right thing.

New ‘Slimmed-Down’ Cabinet Meets

Written on . Posted in Community, Councillors, Democracy, Housing, Parking, Recycling and waste, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

News and video from the first Cabinet meeting of the new Council year including the announcement of the new slimmed-down Cabinet, parking on Council estates and recycling among others.

New Cabinet

Business resumed for District Councillors at the Cabinet meeting of Epping Forest District Council on Monday 8 June 2009 following last week`s County and European Elections. It was the first meeting of the new slimmed-down Cabinet following its reduction from nine to eight members at the Annual Council meeting in May.

    The new Cabinet comprises:

  • Councillor Di Collins – Leader of the Council
  • Councillor Chris Whitbread – Finance and Economic Development
  • Councillor Richard Bassett – Performance Management
  • Councillor Mitch Cohen – Legal and Estates
  • Councillor Heather Harding – Leisure and Wellbeing
  • Councillor Mary Sartin – Environment
  • Councillor David Stallan – Housing
  • Councillor Syd Stavrou – Community Safety and Transport

Councillor Mitch Cohen briefed members on the impact of the recession on local businesses following a meeting with business tenants. Epping Forest District Council is taking steps to assist local businesses. Councillor Richard Morgan, Chairman of Overview and Scrutiny briefly outlined the latest work of his committee including public consultation on the format of the Forester and local calls for free Tube travel into London for residents of pensionable age.

Cabinet went on to discuss the issue of free Tube travel with members expressing concern about the potential cost to the Council. Councillor Richard Bassett, Performance Management Portfolio Holder listened to the views of councillors. While free travel proved not to be a viable option, Councillor Bassett noted that older residents could still travel very cheaply using the Oyster Card and gave a commitment to publicise it within the Forester.

Church Hill Car Park

A proposal by Councillor Mitch Cohen, Legal and Estates Portfolio Holder to market Church Hill Car Park, Loughton for retail development was agreed. Councillor Cohen received approval to market the site for freehold sale or long lease agreement and report back to Cabinet on the outcome. Affordable housing could be incorporated into a scheme.

Parking on Council Estates

Cabinet endorsed a flexible approach to tackling unauthorised parking on its housing estates. Councillor David Stallan, Housing Portfolio Holder received support for enforcement on an ad hoc basis in conjunction with local consultation and good management of parking areas. Where problems persisted and local residents complained, methods of controlling unauthorised parking could include the installation of jockey rails and shrubs.

Recycling

Extension of door step recycling collection services has led to a decline in use of local recycling points. Cabinet agreed to remove 26 local points saving £10,000 a year but to retain 21 District Recycling Centres. Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Mary Sartin indicated that some of the savings could be used to extend textile recycling.

In response to a question, Councillor Sartin confirmed that recycling services are being extended to households living in flats.

Feeling Good Keeping Safe

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

Older people in the Epping Forest District will soon be entertained by a touring play informing them of how distraction burglaries are carried out, and to help them to recognise bogus callers and refuse them entry. A preview of the play ‘Feeling Good, Keeping Safe’ was performed at Theydon Bois Village Hall on Wednesday 29 April 2009. It was organised by the Epping Forest District Safer Communities Partnership and performed by volunteers from the Roding Valley U3A (University of the Third Age).

Volunteers from Roding Valley U3A performing the Feeling Good, Keeping Safe at Theydon Bois

The aim of the show is ‘to improve doorstep crime awareness and avoid becoming a victim’ through the powerful medium of drama. It shows how burglars work and provides audiences with the necessary techniques to keep themselves safe on their doorstep.

 There were 162 offences of distraction burglary reported in the Epping Forest District between 2006 and 2008. In most categories of crime, younger people are more likely to be the victims but with distraction burglaries the trend is reversed with the average age of victims being 81. According to national figures on doorstep crime there are 19,000 offences against older people reported every year, but the real figure may be much higher. A `Help the Aged` survey in 2002 suggested the number of people falling victim to bogus callers in the UK could be as high as 300,000 in the previous 12 months. Research has shown a large under-reporting of incidents as to victims can often feel foolish or embarrassed or even not being aware a crime has been carried out.

Audiences are shown techniques to keep themselves safe on their doorstep

John Gilbert, Chairman of the Epping Forest District Safer Communities Partnership attended the preview of the play and said: “I found the presentation ‘Feeling Good, Keeping Safe’ to be very informative and entertaining. It’s a great way of getting this vitally important message to those who are most at risk from doorstep crime. Whilst the Epping Forest District is a very safe place to live, this does not prevent criminals from targeting the most vulnerable within our communities, particularly the elderly and infirm who often live alone. It is our priority to inform and protect those who may be at risk from bogus callers both at the doorstep and on the telephone.”

Mr Gilbert continued: “We (the Safer Communities Partnership) will continue to support this initiative and look to see how we can provide the same information and support to those unable to attend the shows.”

U3A are committed to lots of shows in the District this year are looking for suggestions for future venues and audiences. If you have a suggestion please contact Caroline Wiggins by email to cwiggins@eppingforestdc.gov.uk or by telephone on 01992 564122.

    Future performances are listed below:

  • Wedsnesday 3 June 2009 at 9:45am
    Buckhurst Court, Albert Road, Buckhurst Hill, Essex IG9 6EH
  • Wedsnesday 10 June 2009 at 9:45am
    Leonard Davis House. Kiln Road, North Weald, Essex CM16 6BS
  • Tuesday 7 July 2009 at 1:45pm
    Frank Bretton House, Bansons Way, Ongar, Essex CM5 9EY
  • Thursday 23 July 2009 at 1:45pm
    Pelly Court, Hemnall Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4NA
  • Thursday 6 August 2009 at 2pm
    Chapel Road, Epping, Essex CM16 5EE
  • Tuesday 22 September 2009 at 2pm
    Epping Methodist Church Hall, 119 High St, Epping, Essex CM16 4BD
  • Monday 28 September 2009 at 2:15pm
    North Weald Village Hall High Rd, North Weald, Epping, Essex CM16 6BU

Housing Strategy Consultation

Written on . Posted in Community, Consultation, Housing, Older people, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Epping Forest District Council is seeking views on a draft Housing Strategy which identifies current and future housing needs and sets out its vision for housing in the district. Residents are invited to read the Consultation Draft and to send their comments to the Council.

Organisations with an interest in housing are also being consulted. A well-attended conference was held in Waltham Abbey on 18 March. A wide range of organisations were represented, including Housing Associations, developers and other Councils. Groups representing people with particular housing needs were also invited to attend the presentations and workshops. Following the conference, local residents now have the opportunity to add their views.

The Consultation Draft Housing Strategy includes the objectives set out in the Council Plan. This states an overall vision, which is that “We want the Epping Forest district to be a safe, healthy and attractive place in which to live and work”. The Plan also sets out five key objectives in relation to housing, which are:

  • To make sure that growth in the number of homes being developed is properly planned (and sustainable)
  • To make affordable housing available (both for rent and for low cost home ownership) in rural and urban locations, for people who want to live in the district
  • To make sure that people with special needs are able to live in suitable accommodation with the right levels of support
  • To accommodate quickly homeless people in suitable, permanent accommodation
  • To make sure that all homes in the district, in both the public and private sector, are in a decent condition.

The Consultation Draft Housing Strategy sets out how the Council is working towards these objectives and how other issues will be approached – such as anti-social behaviour and energy efficiency. It explains how the Capital Programme will be financed and the final chapter includes a detailed action plan.

This is the first Housing Strategy to be published since May 2003. The Government at that time expected Councils to produce their own Strategies, according to a set of guidelines. While this is no longer a requirement, the Council has concluded that it should have an up to date Housing Strategy. After the consultation period, which ends on 5 June this year, the Council will consider all the responses received and then produce its final version for adoption in the summer.

Residents wishing to read the Consultation Draft can download it from the Council’s website www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/housing or they can phone the Housing Information Team on 01992 564292 to request a copy. There is a feedback form on the website. Alternatively, the Council would also welcome comments and suggestions by letter, addressed to the Housing Information and Strategy Team at the Civic Offices in Epping, or by email to: housinginfo@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Crime In Your Community Survey Prize Draw Winner

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

Congratulations to Shelagne Sheldrake of Ongar, the lucky winner of a £100 Marks & Spencer voucher for completing Epping Forest District Council`s `Crime in your Community` online survey.  Chairman of Council Councillor John Knapman picked the winning number from the replies received.  

Epping Forest District Council`s Safer Communities Partnership undertook the survey between February and March this year via the Council`s website. The aim of the survey was to establish the public`s perception of crime and whether they felt safe.

The results received were measured against local and national indicators to establish the public`s perception of anti-social behaviour. The results showed 94.6% of people feel safe during daylight while out in their local area and 62.5% of people feel safe after dark while out in their local area. 74.1% of people requested an increase of police patrols, 9.8% feel people being drunk or rowdy in public places is a very big problem and 75.9% feel property crimes (vandalism and theft) is the biggest problem where they live.

The results of the survey, carried out over a month from mid February to mid March, will be used to assist in the setting of priorities for the coming year for the Partnership.

Chairman of Council Councillor John Knapman said:  I would like to thank all those who took the time to respond to our survey.  It really is very helpful when planning where to direct resources to know what our residents think about crime and safety.

News from the Cabinet

Written on . Posted in Community, Democracy, Leader, Meetings, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

News from the Cabinet meeting held on 9 March 2009.

Agenda and decisions for Cabinet meeting on 9 March 2009
View webcast of Cabinet meeting on 9 March 2009 (opens in a new window)

The Meadows – Legal Costs

Legal costs of £7,250 awarded against Epping Forest District Council reminded Councillors of the risk of swift action to prevent unauthorised traveller encampments. Members of the Council`s Cabinet agreed to make the payment after the Council sought an injunction to prevent travellers moving on to The Meadows, land south of Waltham Road, Nazeing last October.

The site, an overgrown field was subject to clearance, leading local residents and the Council to suspect that the work was in preparation for use by travellers. Council Officers faced a dilemma of taking swift action based on incomplete information or potentially waiting too long for more information and being unable to prevent a potential incursion.

Councillor Anne Grigg, Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council said: We are disappointed with the Judge`s decision to award costs against us. I think there was significant cause for us to be concerned. Residents would not have thanked us, had we waited until it was too late to take effective action. Despite the financial risk, faced with the same circumstances in the future, I think most of our residents would want us to act decisively again.

Relaxation of Shared Ownership Rules

The economic downturn has led to a reduction in demand for new shared ownership housing. Members of the Cabinet agreed proposals to relax the requirement for shared ownership elements to new social housing schemes, providing greater flexibility to housing associations for the development of social rented housing or the use of a ` Rent Now – Buy Later ` scheme where tenants pay an intermediate rent of around 80 per cent of market rent until they can afford to buy a share of the property. Cabinet Members agreed to keep the policy under six monthly review.

Home Ownership Grants

The Council`s own pilot home ownership grants scheme has been very successful and is to be extended. Five families have so far used or are taking up the offer of £34,000 grants to move out of a Council house in order to buy private property. Council properties vacated through the scheme can be re-let to other families or individuals on the Council`s Housing Register in need of affordable rented housing. The Cabinet agreed the provision of five additional grants for 2009/10.

Local Strategic Partnership Meeting

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Consultation, Countrycare, Democracy, Gypsy and traveller, Housing, Meetings, Our countryside, Residents, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

The co-ordinating group of local service organisations, Epping Forest Local Strategic Partnership Board welcomed its new Manager, John Houston on Thursday 26 February 2009. John will work for the whole group which includes local Councils, Essex County Council, West Essex PCT, Epping Forest College and Essex Police. Technically he is employed by Epping Forest District Council with funding support from the major statutory partners.

Agenda for Local Strategic Partnership Board meeting on 26 February 2009

Traveller and Gypsy Site Provision Consultation

Following introductions, the Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) Chairperson, Councillor Diana Collins of Epping Forest District Council moved to the first main agenda item, public consultation on future provision of sites for travellers and gypsies. The District Council`s Director of Planning and Economic Development, John Preston gave an outline of the consultation, one of the biggest undertaken by the Council. He explained how the Council would need to analyse the large number of responses and take the process forward. He also informed the LSP of the Planning Inspector`s recommendation to reduce the number of extra pitches from 49 to 39.

John Houston noted the role of the LSP to support disadvantaged people and acknowledged local concerns about the process. He invited the LSP to go through a discussion paper prepared on behalf of its members, to be submitted to the District Council as part of the consultation process. The LSP noted that around 90 pitches already existed in the District. Members of the group considered a number of issues in their discussion, including housing provision, health and fear of crime issues. It was felt that it was important for the LSP to be clear in terms of treating everyone equally and fairly. The group acknowledged the strength of local feeling.

`Credit Crunch` Response

Business input is needed for a co-ordinated response to the Credit Crunch, members of the LSP Board agreed. A Task and Finish Panel of Members will meet to develop ways in which Government Agencies and business might work together to stimulate and support the local economy.

Project Funding

The Essex Partnership has now confirmed that the bids from Epping Forest have been successful and an allocation of £453,855 has been made to support the schemes the Board has endorsed. The LSP Board will be able to move forward on all the proposals.

Projects will include an information guide on Home Safety, a supported volunteering project including opportunities that are tailored to meet personal development needs and pathways to work. People with learning difficulties will benefit from access to the Arts.

Further projects will help the emotional health and wellbeing of children, support for parents and holiday and after-school drop-in sessions for teenagers. Funding will help support vulnerable parents and carers in isolated rural communities. Investment in local CCTV will help to combat crime and anti-social behaviour.

Smoking, Heart Disease, Obesity

Catherine O`Connell of West Essex Primary Care Trust outlined priorities for preventing early deaths in Epping Forest District. Issues of major concern include reducing smoking, combating heart disease and tackling childhood obesity which can lead to health problems in later life. Among other concerns for the area`s children was a lower than hoped for take up of the MMR vaccine. Instances of measles are increasing.

Local hospitals have made huge improvements in patient safety. MRSA infections in local hospitals are now lower than in many other areas.

Life expectancy of the population is improving overall and work is therefore focusing on narrowing the gap between those groups at the lower end of the life expectancy range and the top.

Catherine O`Connell was also proud of the PCT record in providing NHS dentists to any local resident who now needs one. Residents can be referred to their nearest available local dentist through just one phone call.

Housing Strategy

Epping Forest District Council`s Director of Housing, Alan Hall, presented a briefing on the latest developments of the Local Authority Draft Housing Strategy. Numbers and location of affordable housing, balancing urban and rural demand, meeting special needs and ensuring homes meet a high quality standard are enshrined in the latest draft.

More than 7,000 households are not in suitable housing while 1,300 families are assessed as in `housing need`. More families are listed on the Housing Register. Property prices are 11 times average earnings. Up to 2021 there is projected district-wide shortfall of 5,700 affordable homes. Building new affordable homes is closely associated with private sector development. The current slow-down in the commercial new-build market is therefore affecting the number of new-build affordable homes being developed.

Young people are moving out of the district due to high property prices and the population profile is of an increasingly ageing population.

Forty-five actions are listed in the draft plan to address housing issues. Among these actions are facilitating 200 affordable new homes by 2010. Ongoing work with local residents continues to prevent people becoming homeless. The Council will work with a Housing Association to provide a Mortgage Rescue Scheme. All Council homes are on course to achieve the ` Decent Homes ` standard by 2010.

Civic Awards 2009 Community Service Medals

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Community, Crime and safety, Loughton, Ongar, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

You can watch the awards presentation in full. Click the back button at the bottom of the page and click the link to watch the webcast.

Community Service medals are awarded to members of the Emergency Services who have made a special contribution or shown care and dedication well above and beyond the call of duty.

Police Community Support Officer Hayley Toye

Chairman John Knapman with PCSO Hayley ToyeEpping Forest District Council supports its local PCSOs, and works in partnership with them and Essex Police, and provides funding. As a result there has been real benefits from the introduction of PCSOs. No-one illustrates that better than the winner of the Epping Forest Police Community Service Medal for 2009.

Hayley Toye is a dedicated Officer serving the neighbourhood of Debden. Well known by local Councillors, residents and young people, she has made a particularly strong impact on anti-social behaviour. Her strength lies in talking with people and listening to them.

Building relationships and trust, Hayley has tackled problems as diverse as graffiti, racial abuse, shoplifting and inconsiderate parking. She uses her initiative to find new ways of communicating with local young people, one particular notable example being her Halloween disco.

Essex Ambulance Service Paramedic Brian Clark

Chairman John Knapman with Louise SamouelleBased at Ongar Ambulance Station, Brian Clark has been saving lives since 1980.

He is described as a `lovely, caring gentleman ` and he can be unaware of his impact on the people around him. Attending a minor emergency, Brian was surprised when the patient recognised him as the man who had saved his life years earlier. He has a reputation for remaining calm and level headed in pressurised and extreme situations.

Brian plays a big part in the social calendar of his station and the same friendly approach has endeared him to many of the new recruits he has mentored and trained over the years.

Brian is unable to receive his Community Service Medal in person but representing him at the awards presentation is Brian’s manager from the Essex Ambulance Service, Louise Samouelle.