State of the art centre for Waltham Abbey

Written on . Posted in Business, Chairman, Commercial properties, Community, Councillors, Doing business with the council, Health, Local business, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Sports, Sports centres and pools, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

On Thursday 12 October 2017 local school children, councillors and business members gathered to mark the start of construction for Waltham Abbey’s brand new state of the art leisure centre, which is due to open in Winter 2018.

Preparing to place the Waltham Abbey Leisure Centre time capsule

Click on an image below to begin slideshow

Exciting times for Waltham Abbey

Councillor Helen Kane, Portfolio Holder for Leisure said: “These are exciting times for Waltham Abbey. The first new council housing in 30 years has just been completed in Harveyfields, Roundhills and surrounding roads as we start the construction of this fantastic new leisure centre. Sixty independent living accommodation units providing a positive alternative to residential care and new health facilities replacing the old surgery accommodation in Maynard Court are set to follow in partnership with Essex County Council and NHS England.”

”The leisure centre will be for everyone. Working with Places for People and their construction partners Pellikaan, we are set to deliver a top class leisure facility that will promote health and wellbeing, and provide a place for people to enjoy physical activity and socialise within the community.”

Investing in our community

Councillor Kane continued: “We are investing in our community and our future. Coming hard on the heels of the recently refurbished and extended museum in Sun Street and the development of the brand new Epping Forest Shopping Park in Loughton, Epping Forest District Council is signalling its intent in the best possible way.”

Councillor Sue Lissimore, Cabinet member for housing at Essex County Council added: “These plans breathe new life into taxpayer-owned land. We’ve pledged £42m over the next five years to bring sites like this forward for much needed homes with multi-use developments that also help to drive economic growth. The leisure centre ground-breaking is a fantastic milestone and a great example of public and private sector partners working together across Essex.”

Design, build, operate and maintain

Places for People Leisure were awarded the 20-year Design, Build, Operate and Maintain contract for the new Waltham Abbey Leisure Centre by Epping Forest District Council, along with their construction partners Pellikaan Construction and architects Pozzoni.

£9.5m investment in centre

The new £9.5m leisure centre has been designed with a green roof to complement the surrounding recreational ground and will feature an 80-station fitness suite, 25m six lane pool with 15m learner pool, exercise and group cycling studio, a community room, and café.

Virtual cycling & Les Mills

The Centre will also feature a dedicated Virtual Cycling studio with classes led by Les Mills virtual master trainers, enabling customers to participate at their own convenience when it suits them.

Fantastic community leisure facility

John Bates, Business Development Director at Places for People Leisure said: “We are extremely excited to begin work on what will be a fantastic community leisure facility. Through our partnership with Epping Forest District Council we are looking forward to providing a leisure operation that will capture the local community’s imagination and encourage even more people to adopt a love of physical activity.”

Time capsule

Those in attendance yesterday included pupils from Hillhouse Church of England Primary School as well as representatives from the Epping Forest District Swimming Club who buried a time capsule as part of the ceremony which included the old set of keys to the previous community centre.

The current Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool recently received investment to improve the customer experience and will remain open and fully operational until the new centre opens.

Decisions from Plans East 11 October 2017

Written on . Posted in Commercial properties, Councillors, Democracy, Housing, Media, Meetings, Our performance, Out and about, Planning, Private housing, Regulations, Residents, Uncategorized, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Planning application decisions from Area Planning Sub-Committee East meeting on Wednesday 11 October 2017.

Watch the webcast

Decisions

  • EPF/2523/16 – Brent House Farm, Harlow Common, North Weald, Essex CM17 9JD
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1629/17 – 13 Vicarage Lane, North Weald Bassett, Essex CM16 6ET
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2057/17 – 95 High Road, North Weald, Epping, Essex CM16 6HS
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1913/17 – Ellensmead, Stondon Road, Ongar, Essex CM5 9BU
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1762/17 – Land to the rear of Mountford and Bishops Bron, Oak Hill Road, Stapleford Abbotts, Essex RM4 1JL
    Deferred for a site visit
  • EPF/2041/17 – 1 Curtis Mill Lane, Stapleford Abbotts, Romford, Essex RM4 1HS
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2174/17 – Trade Winds, Oak Hill Road, Stapleford Abbotts, Essex RM4 1EH
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1973/17 – Newstead, 19 Coopersale Common, Coopersale, Epping, Essex CM16 7QS
    4 members stood so will go to D.D.C
  • EPF/2086/17 – 49 Ash Groves, Sheering, Essex CM21 9LN
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1824/17 – The Downtons, 114 Crown Close, Sheering, Essex CM22 7NE
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2591/15 – Belgique (Theydon) Ltd, 14 Forest Drive, Theydon Bois, Epping, Essex CM16 7EY
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1628/17 – 56 Dukes Avenue, Theydon Bois, Essex CM16 7HF
    Permission granted

Planning application search

Council Tax Support Scheme consultation extended

Written on . Posted in Benefits, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Consultation, Council tax, Democracy, Epping, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

The Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme consultation has been extended, due to a problem with a link that was published on social media. You are now able to make comments until midnight on Wednesday 25 October 2017.

We’re asking for your views on the future of our Local Council Tax Reduction 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 midnight on Wednesday 25 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.

Two prosecuted for cutting down protected tree

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Doing business with the council, Epping, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our countryside, Out and about, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Francesca Schillaci a resident in Nazeing and Tom Casey of Casey Tree Services, Nazeing have collectively been fined over £3000 after cutting down a protected willow tree.

Willow tree - Honeysuckle Nazing

Preservation Order

The was tree situated in Mrs Schillaci’s garden in Back Lane, Nazeing and became subject to a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) in December 2016, following a proposal by Mrs Schillaci to cut it down.

In March 2017 tree and landscape officers noticed the willow tree had been cut down, although no consent had been given.

False claims

Mrs Schillaci admitted that she has known the tree was protected but claimed it had been damaged during “Storm Doris” in February 2017 and the willow required urgent removal as there was an imminent danger if this did not happen.

Mrs Schillaci stated that she had contacted the council and having explained the situation was given authority to have the tree felled.

Further investigations

Tom Casey of Casey Tree Services confirmed that he had cut down of the willow tree after Mrs Schillaci incorrectly informed him she had permission from the Council to do so.

Officers confirmed that a telephone call had been traced from Mrs Schillaci, the officer she spoke to did not give her permission to cut down the tree, but advised her in line with the Council’s standard procedure Mrs Schillaci should arrange for the tree to be inspected by a tree surgeon and send in a photograph of the tree in its alleged dangerous state.

Found guilty

At Basildon Magistrates Court in October 2017 Francesca Schillaci and Tom Casey Nazeing were each found guilty of cutting down the willow tree without authorisation.

The Magistrates stated that they found the evidence presented by council officers to be credible and the evidence given by Mrs Schillaci inconsistent.

They also advised as a professional tree surgeon, Mr Casey should have known not to accept what Mrs Schillaci told him without written proof.

The Magistrates were not satisfied that the tree was an immediate risk which required it to be cut down immediately.

Mrs Schillaci was fined £1500 and ordered to pay a contribution towards the council’s prosecution costs of £1,000.

Mr Casey was given a 6 month conditional discharge, ordered to pay a contribution towards the council’s prosecution costs of £1000 and has been removed from the Council’s approved list of contractors.

Further information

First new council homes for Waltham Abbey

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Councillors, Doing business with the council, Housing, Housing repairs, Leader, Local business, Media, Older people, Our countryside, Our performance, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Epping Forest District Council welcomed the first tenants into John Scott Court, Waltham Abbey this week.

50 guests gathered for the official opening ceremony, an event which marked the completion of Phase One of the Council’s House-building Programme to provide 23 new affordable rented homes in Waltham Abbey.

John Scott Court

Click on an image below to start slideshow

John Scott

The development is named after former District Health and Housing Officer and Joint Chief Executive John Scott as a tribute to decades of service to the Council and the local community.

Guests, including John Scott, MP Eleanor Laing and local councillors joined council officers, contractors and tenants to open the nine newly built homes at John Scott Court, all of which are being let to local residents in need of housing.

Energy efficient homes

The brand new energy-efficient homes, which are built to Lifetime Homes Standards, are built on a formerly under-used garage site.

Resident delighted with her new home

One new tenant, who was delighted to move into her new home said: “I moved in last week and am so happy in my new home. I am very impressed with the size of the rooms, my son has lots of space for his toys. I’ve shown lots of friends and neighbours around my flat and they all want to live here!”

Programme of over 300 homes

The new homes at John Scott Court are the latest completions in the district-wide programme of over 300 new affordable homes to be built during the next 10 years. They will shortly be followed by the completion of Phase 2 of the Programme in Burton Road, Loughton, which is on schedule to complete by March 2018.

Proud to work with residents

Councillor Syd Stavrou, Portfolio Holder for Housing attended the official opening and said: “We are committed to making the best use of our housing stock and are continuing to build new homes for people in housing need within our community. We are proud to be working with residents and partners, building more well-designed homes for affordable rent in our district”.

After the ceremony there was an opportunity to visit another new development of six houses and flats at Hockley court, Waltham Abbey.

Further information

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
  • 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.”