What local people told us

Written on . Posted in Business, Consultation, Local plan / planning our future, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Your community, Your council, Your environment

We asked local people to explain what they thought was important in the district, and what the priorities should be for the future of the area, i.e. their Community Vision. The key results are to be included as part of the evidence base in the forthcoming preparation of the Core Planning Strategy.

The priorities for the District over the next 20 years are:

  • To protect and enhance green spaces whilst encouraging the growth of local jobs and business.
  • The most important planning issues facing local areas are:
  • Better protection for green spaces, reducing traffic congestion and providing more local job opportunities.

The favoured approaches to the location of new houses and jobs are:

To locate growth close to public transport links and around/within existing towns whilst considering a combination of options throughout the District where appropriate.

Question 1 – What do you think the priorities are for the District over the next 20 years?

The most popular option was ‘Protecting and enhancing green spaces’ which almost a third of respondents chose, followed closely by ‘Encouraging the growth of local jobs and businesses’. ’Providing facilities for the community’ was the third most popular option.

‘Providing housing to meet local need’, and ‘Reducing the impacts of climate change’, were seen as less important by people who responded to the consultation. A small proportion of people wrote their own individual option under the ‘Other’ choice.

Protect and enhance green spaces 32.4%, Encouraging local jobs and businesses 25.4%, Community facilities 17.2%, Local housing 11%, Climate change 10.3%, Other 3.7%.

Question 2 – What planning issues do you think most need to be addressed in your local area?

Opinion was split on this question. Again the most popular option was ‘Better protection for green spaces’. Of the other options available, ‘Reduced traffic congestion’, ‘More local job opportunities’, ‘Right balance of shops and restaurants’, and ‘Improved community facilities’ were preferred.

The options for ‘Better access to public transport’, ‘More affordable housing’ and ‘Provision of a greater variety of housing types’ were chosen less frequently in the response. A small proportion of people gave their own individual suggestions of planning issues which needed to be addressed, under the ‘Other’ choice.


Protect green spaces 20.6%, Reduce congestion 13.9%, Local job opportunities 13.2%, Balance of shops and restaurants 12.3%, Community facilities 11.7%, Public transport 10.6%, Affordable housing 6.9%, Housing variety 6.7%, Other 4.1%.

Question 3 – Where do you think new houses and jobs should be located?

We asked local people where they thought new housing and jobs should go in the district. The most popular options were ‘Close to public transport links’ and ‘Around or within existing towns’. Slightly less popular choices were ‘A combination of all the options spread throughout the district’, ‘Near the edge of Harlow’, and ‘Close to the motorway network’.

The remaining three options were unpopular. A small proportion of people wrote their own individual option under the ‘Other’ choice.

Close to public transport links 23.6%, Around or within existing towns 21.1%, Combination of all the options across district 14.8%, Near the edge of Harlow 12.9%, Near motorway 9.4%, Spread throughout existing rural settlements 6.8%, Concentrated in one existing settlement 4.6%, Other 4.4%, New settlements in the countryside 2.4%

If you would like to find out more detail about what local people told us:

Refuse Policy featured on Channel 4 News

Written on . Posted in Community, Media, Recycling and waste, Residents, Your community, Your environment, Your home

Epping Forest District Council’s refuse and recycling policy was featured on Channel 4 News on Saturday 11 June 2011.


View report on the Channel 4 website 

Epping Forest District combines a mix of weekly domestic recycling collections of kitchen and garden waste with collection every other week for dry recycling such as paper, tin cans, plastic and glass. Residual waste is also collected every other week. Since the introduction of the current system, the council and its residents have achieved recycling rates of around 60 per cent, significantly higher than the national average rates of 40 per cent (source Channel 4).

Government Consults on Gypsy and Traveller Proposal

Written on . Posted in Community, Consultation, Gypsy and traveller, Residents, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Learn from local experience – council calls for local control in gypsy, roma and traveller planning consultation

The government is consulting on the National Planning Policy Statement on targets for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller sites.

Epping Forest District Council is emphasising that this is not a council initiative or a re-run of the previous consultation it was mandated to run as part of the Direction imposed by the previous government. In this case Epping Forest District Council is only a responder.

The government wants to learn from local experience. Its own Localism agenda should ensure that travelling communities should be treated no more favourably or placed ahead of the housing needs of other groups according to a report by Epping Forest District Council.

Epping Forest District Council is responding to suggestions contained in the latest planning guidance consultation issued by the government. The consultation runs for 12 weeks to 6 July. Councillors have already become aware of concerned residents and want local people to add their own independent voices to the process.

Councillor John Philip, Deputy Leader and Planning and Technology Portfolio Holder for the council said: The people of Epping Forest District are uniquely placed to advise the government. Under the Direction of the previous government, the council was forced to consult on targets set by the East of England Regional Authority, not by local people and compelled to identify sites for new local Gypsy, Roma and Traveller occupation.

Councillor Philip continued: These demands were unrelated to our own experience of what was needed and appropriate to our community. The process was hugely expensive, unfair and unnecessary. It caused widespread resentment, anger and worry for thousands of residents while council staff were distracted from other essential tasks. It was a tremendous relief to everyone when the new coalition government cancelled the Direction.

Among the new government suggestions are requirements for councils to draw up five-year plans for new travelling community developments, accommodation beyond strictly local need and special consultation arrangements for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller planning applications.

The government has drawn up a list of thirteen questions about its new draft Planning Policy Statement. It has also drawn up an impact assessment to tease out potential consequences.

View the Planning Services Scrutiny Standing Panel agenda

Councillor Philip said: Of course Epping Forest District Council will be making a full and robust reply but in this instance it is vital that residents also make their own responses. More than 10,000 residents responded individually or as part of community groups to the last Gypsy, Roma and Traveller consultation in Epping Forest. If only a tenth of that number reply to these proposals, ministers and civil servants will understand the strength of public opinion on these issues.

Residents should respond directly to the Department for Communities and Local Government by email to travellerspps@communities.gsi.gov.uk or in writing to:

Paul Williams
Planning: Economy and Society Division
Department for Communities and Local Government
Zone 1/G6, Eland House, Bressenden Place

The Communities and Local Government Consultation – Planning for Traveller Sites will be reported to the next meeting of the Planning Services Scrutiny Standing Panel from 7:30pm on Tuesday 14 June 2011. The meeting is open to the public but seating is limited. Residents can watch the webcast live from the comfort of their own homes.

Planning Services Scrutiny Standing Panel webcast 

North Weald Airfield – Cabinet Committee

Written on . Posted in Business, North Weald Airfield, Our attractions, Planning, Your environment

There could be `considerable` commercial interest if Epping Forest District Council opted to develop aviation opportunities at North Weald Airfield. Councillors are recommending further investigation of options for `active` aviation growth at the Airfield to the next Cabinet meeting on 18 April. Full public consultation would precede any final decision.

The former Battle of Britain Airfield currently handles around 20,000 aircraft movements each year. Under new proposals that could increase by 18,000 extra movements a year.

Leader Di Collins and Deputy Leader Chris Whitbread would like a full consultation and engagement with local residents and tenants of the airfield

An executive summary of a report on potential aviation expansion at North Weald Airfield can be read here (pdf 262KB). The report outlines various options from doing little or nothing, through `organic growth` to `active development`, significantly developing aviation with a commercial partner.

Aviation development consultant Nick Kaberry presented the Halcrow report to members of the council`s North Weald Airfield Cabinet Committee at the Civic Offices in Epping on Tuesday (22 March).

Aviation operations at North Weald currently run at a loss to the council. This is offset by income from other airfield activities allowing the council to break even but the council wants aviation to pay for itself.

Losses will continue if the council does nothing. According to the Halcrow report, organic growth could reduce the losses but not eliminate them. Active growth is the only way to stop losses and generate a profit if the council wants flying to continue.

Active development would focus on business users including small executive jet and turboprop aircraft. Business passenger services can only operate from airfields licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Minimum investment for active development would include bringing 1,400m of the runway up to a CAA licensable standard. Runway and taxi pavements would need strengthening. Lighting and instrument approach capability would be necessary for take off and landing in poor weather. Combined with other improvements, the council would face substantial capital investment. This might be achieved directly or in partnership with a fixed based operating company.

Councillors want any future development proposals to go ahead only after full consultation and engagement with local residents and tenants of the airfield. Councillor Di Collins said: It is still early days. This is one option. There may be others. Residents over many years have made it clear that they want North Weald to remain an operational airfield. The airfield is steeped in heritage and history, and should make a valuable contribution to the local economy and employment.

“For that to continue we need to consolidate the airfield’s long term future with a business plan and strategy that stops the losses and turns airfield into a financial as well as a social and community asset.

“We are custodians of North Weald. We must be sensitive to the requirements of local people and ensure the airfield continues to support the community for future generations.

Draft Corporate Plan 2011 – 2015 Consultation

Written on . Posted in Consultation, Countryside and wildlife, Local business, Our countryside, Our performance, Planning, Supporting business, Your council, Your environment

The Corporate Plan (formerly known as the Council Plan) is the Council`s key strategic planning document. The Corporate Plan sets out service priorities over a four-year period, and translates the vision for the district set out by the Community Strategy recently published by the Local Strategic Partnership, One Epping Forest, into the Council’s strategic direction, priorities and the most important outcomes that it wants to achieve.

The Corporate Plan helps prioritise resources to provide quality services and value for money, but does not cover everything that the authority does, focusing instead on those issues that matter most to local people, national priorities set by the government and local challenges arising from the social, economic and environmental context of the district.

The Corporate Plan complements the Community Strategy and reflects those issues and priorities where the Council can have maximum impact. The Corporate Plan includes specific actions to address priorities that are financed, resourced and have a timescale for completion. The Corporate Plan is closely linked to the Council`s medium-term financial strategy, and sets out how the Council will deliver its vision and priorities over the next four years, to ensure improved outcomes for local people. The Corporate Plan includes a section reflecting the Council`s key objectives for 2011/12, which will be updated each year.

The Council is interested to know what you think of the Corporate Plan. Comments on the content and the aims and objectives for 2011/12 and the four-year period, can be made using either the online feedback form, or by submitting written comments to performance@eppingforestdc.gov.uk or Performance Improvement Unit, Epping Forest District Council, Civic Offices, Epping, Essex, CM16 4BZ.

Responses received will be used to inform the content of the final version of the Corporate Plan, which will be published in April 2011.

Copies of the Draft Corporate Plan can be obtained from the Performance Improvement Unit by emailing performance@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Copped Hall Conservation Area

Written on . Posted in Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Countryside and wildlife, Our countryside, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your environment

Are you interested in the future of the Copped Hall Conservation Area?

Epping Forest District Council has recently published a draft character appraisal and management plan for this area and local residents and stakeholders are invited to comment on this draft before the final version is published.

This consultation ends on Monday 28 March 2011.


The purpose of a character appraisal is to define the character of the conservation area, review its boundaries and highlight any areas where there may be opportunities for enhancement.

A public meeting is to be held at 7pm on Monday 31 January 2011 in the Committee Rooms at the Civic Offices, High Street, Epping. This meeting will give residents and other interested parties the opportunity to consider ways of enhancing the character and appearance of the conservation areas and comment on the draft character appraisals.

Suggestions can be submitted on the night or during the eight weeks following the public meeting via the council’s website. Anyone interested in the future of the Copped Hall Conservation Area is invited to attend.

The draft character appraisal and a copy of our electronic comments form will be available to view on the conservation pages of the Council`s website from 31 January.

A limited number of hard copies of the draft character appraisals will also be available. These can be obtained by telephoning 01992 564358 or emailing vjames@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.

Alternatively, the appraisals will be available to view at the District Council`s Planning Reception from Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm, Civic Offices, Epping.

Retail Park Plans in Broadway Display

Written on . Posted in Business, Commercial properties, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Loughton, Planning, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your environment

Local residents and businesses can find out more about a proposed new retail park when initial plans go on display in Debden Broadway this month.

Langston Road Retail Park will hopefully soon become a welcome addition to Debden’s retail line-up; offering more choice for local shoppers and the wider catchments. Part of the site in Langston Road is currently occupied by a Council depot servicing refuse freighters and maintenance teams who would be relocated to other sites. No existing jobs would be lost as a result of this proposal. Combined with the adjoining land belonging to property developer Polofind, the enlarged site would form a retail development bringing jobs and shoppers.

Should the Council gain planning consent, Langston Road Retail Park is envisaged to become a home of fashion retailers complementing other high street businesses in the Broadway.

Computer generated impression of the proposed Langston Road retail park

Epping Forest District Council will launch a public information exercise at 23 The Broadway, Debden with displays of the proposed project, visuals and information.

23 The Broadway Debden will be open on:

Tuesday 23 November 2010 from 10am to 1pm

Wednesday 24 November 2010 from 1pm to 5pm

Thursday 25 November 2010 from 5pm to 8pm

Saturday 27 November 2010 from 10am to 1pm

Consultants and Council officers will be in attendance to answer questions and discuss the proposed development.

Computer generated impression of the proposed Langston Road retail park

Potential Benefits of Langston Road Retail Park:

¢ 10,000 sq m of ground floor retail space, with additional mezzanine space.

¢ Fashion led retail, home to high street names.

¢ Encouraging the retention of local shopping.

¢ Targeting 80+% of expenditure that currently goes outside the area to return and experience shopping on their doorstep.

¢ Give the local and wider community the retail it wants.

¢ Make Debden a more vibrant Centre.

¢ Bring in additional shoppers who will therefore spend more money in Debden.

¢ Enhance perception of the area and encourage additional retail interest in the locality.

¢ Encourage local shopping as part of a green sustainable attitude.

¢ Accessible by sustainable modes of transport; being within easy reach of Debden Station and the bus services which serve Chigwell Lane and The Broadway.

¢ Backing of Epping Forest District Council who will ensure that the retail is what the locals require, supporting the investment that the Council has already undertaken.

¢ Epping Forest District Council is an environmentally aware and business oriented district looking after its residents and traders.

¢ Will provide part and full time employment, both during the construction period and in the long-term once the Retail Park is open.

¢ Epping Forest District Council is looking at ways in which to support The Broadway and encourage the synergy between them.

¢ The majority of trips to and from the Retail Park will be made outside of the current weekday peak hours on the local highway network, underground and bus services; this will enable the Retail Park to complement the existing developments in Debden by attracting visitors to the area at times when the transport networks are less busy.

¢ A major highway improvement scheme for the A1168 Chigwell Lane is being developed to support the development in conjunction with Essex County Council. The scheme will be implemented as part of the development to ensure that trips to the Retail Park can be safely accommodated at all times, and will deliver benefits to all travellers using the route by smoothing traffic flow and improving the pedestrian environment.

¢ The proposed scheme will comprise 2 two storey terraced blocks with provision for first floor mezzanine.

¢ The building elevations are to be finished with a mixture of recyclable building materials.

To ensure this opportunity is given the greatest support the Council is looking at ways to encourage a better relationship between the site and The Broadway. Epping Forest would remain the Landlord to The Broadway and would not do anything to undermine it. The developers are considering a programme of enhancement which would include signage; an improved link walkway between Debden Station and The Broadway to encourage access; and a potential marketing programme to assist in creating awareness of The Broadway. This would be part of the continuing programme of enhancement and investment in the immediate area for the benefit of local people and traders.

The Council are very aware of the local residents’ concerns regarding highways issues affecting the area, and to this end they have been in a dialogue with Essex County Council to undertake traffic improvements. The intention is that a highways improvement scheme will be developed which not only addresses the demand created by the retail park, but which also seeks to tackle where possible the root causes of the traffic issues which are currently observed. When implemented, the results would improve access and traffic flow through the area, lessening the impacts of traffic congestion and delays which are felt locally. Epping Forest District Council is optimistic that the scheme can be delivered; if these improvements do not go ahead now, the opportunity for financial assistance will be lost; and there will not be an allocated time in the near future for them to re-commence.

Councillor Lesley Wagland, Legal and Estates Portfolio Holder, said: The Council are very supportive of the potential benefits of the scheme. Reflecting current interest, it is hoped it will bring in new fashion retailers to the area; encouraging those who shop in other destinations to return and shop locally. Langston Road Retail Park would, alongside The Broadway, combine to offer a greater shopping choice for Debden. Collectively it would become a thriving centre and its ability to compete with areas outside the district would improve. It could mean up to £70 million a year to the area from shopping that would otherwise go outside the district. In addition to the new shopping, it would create the opportunity for over 200 new local jobs for Debden.

Publicity Campaign Ahead of Fixed Penalty Notices

Written on . Posted in Community, Prosecutions, Residents, Your community, Your environment

An advertising campaign online and in local newspapers will help to raise awareness among local residents of the impending introduction of Fixed Penalty Notice fines for anti-social behaviour. Epping Forest District Council plans to introduce the notices at the end of November.

Small scale anti-social behaviour can be difficult and frustrating to deal with says Councillor Mary Sartin, Environment Portfolio Holder. At the moment, the only method we have of tackling issues such as littering, fly-tipping, graffiti, abandoned vehicles, noise nuisance and similar problems is through the courts. But from 29 November 2010, the Council will have the ability to issue fixed penalty notices.

People committing these offences will find themselves liable for fines ranging from £50 up to £300. Anyone who feels they have been unfairly treated can still opt to go to court where their case can be judged by a magistrate in the same way as the current system. However, fixed penalty notices should speed up the process and cut the bureaucracy. We hope that once the small minority of people who commit the majority of these offences start to get the message through their wallets, overall instances of anti-social behaviour will fall.

Epping Forest District Council Environment and Neighbourhood Officers

We are giving everyone plenty of advance warning. We started to tell people about the introduction of the notices back in August. Information is posted on the council website. The next stage will be an advertising campaign in the local press and community websites in October. The scheme will be launched officially in November but we  wont issue any fines for the first few weeks. Instead people will be given a warning letter telling them what will happen if they continue to cause mess or nuisance.

Councillor Mrs Sartin rejects claims the council is using ‘Big Brother’ tactics. She said The only people standing to lose from Fixed Penalties Notices will be those who mar our district through their own careless or thoughtless behaviour. For the vast majority of law abiding citizens who take pride in the cleanliness and appearance of our district, these notices should come as a welcome development.

Fixed Penalty Notices will only be issued by uniformed council officers who will never ask for cash on the spot. The Fixed Penalty Notice will give details of how and where to pay.

Councillor Sartin added: We are turning the tables on the graffiti artists, litter louts and the like. Epping Forest District Council spends thousands of pounds of Council Tax payers’ money every year cleaning up after people who should know better.

The full list of penalties for offences is as follows (discount level in brackets):

  • Litter – £75 / (£50)
  • Abandoned vehicle – £200 / (£120)
  • Nuisance parking – £100 / (£60)
  • Dog fouling – £50 / (No discount)
  • Graffiti & flyposting – £75 / (£50)
  • Street litter control – £100 / (£60)
  • Unauthorised leaflet distribution – £75 / (£50)
  • Failure to produce waste transfer notice – £300 / (£180)
  • Failure to produce waste carriers papers – £300 / (No discount)
  • Waste receptacles – £100 / (£60)
  • Noise – £100 / (£60)
  • Failure to nominate key holder in designated alarm areas – £75 / (£50)

Loughton Conservation Areas

Written on . Posted in Conservation and listed buildings, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Our countryside, Out and about, Your environment

Are you interested in the future of the Loughton Conservation Areas?

Epping Forest District Council has recently published draft character appraisals and management plans for conservation areas in Baldwins Hill (pdf 1.2MB), Staples Road (pdf 1.5MB) and York Hill (pdf 2MB).

The purpose of the character appraisals is to assess the significance of each conservation area, review boundaries and highlight any areas where there may be opportunities for enhancement.

A public meeting is to be held at 7.30pm on Thursday 23 September 2010 at St Edmund`s Church Hall, Traps Hill, Loughton which will give residents and other interested parties the opportunity to consider ways of enhancing the character and appearance of the conservation areas and comment on the draft character appraisals.

Suggestions can be submitted on the night or during the eight weeks following the public meeting. Anyone interested in the future of the Loughton Conservation Areas is invited to attend.

  • Sumit your feedback online

A limited number of hard copies of the draft character appraisals will also be available. These can be obtained by telephoning 01992 564358 or emailing vjames@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.

Alternatively, the appraisals will be available to view at the District Council`s Planning Reception from Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm, Civic Offices, Epping.

Land Banking in Theydon Bois

Written on . Posted in Local plan / planning our future, Planning, Your area, Your environment

These commonly advertise small plots of agricultural land for sale, on the internet, by phone or through the use of leaflets / brochures or newspaper articles. These parcels of land are advertised as potential investment opportunities. The premise is that planning permission for a new housing development can be sought and if approved, the value of the land should increase at which point it could be sold on to a developer for a substantial profit, or the purchasers could build their own homes. The sales information often gives the impression that planning permission is shortly to be granted, or the use of the land is to be changed via the Development Plan process.

There are examples all over the UK of such schemes, where unsuspecting buyers have purchased plots of land believing that the value will increase significantly. There is no example to date where planning permission has been granted for all or part of an area of land that has been divided into plots in this way. Purchasers are left with a piece of land with agricultural land value, and very little prospect of being able to sell it on or develop it.

Investigations into these types of schemes have been carried out by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), Trading Standards and several national newspapers. Some that have claimed to be able to seek planning permission for a “collective” of plot owners have been closed down. Such “collective investment schemes” need to be authorised by the FSA to be legal.

    Castra Land is currently advertising plots of land for sale on land within the Blunts Farm area in Theydon Bois. However, the planning policy position has not changed:

  • The land is entirely within the Green Belt, and therefore the normal restrictions on development apply;
  • The areas of land are isolated from the existing built area of Theydon Bois, and the services it provides
  • No means of access has been shown to the parcels of land. Policy CP3 would require this is addressed before any planning application could be made;
  • The land has been submitted to the District Council under the “Call for Sites” exercise, but this does not mean that there is any certainty that this land will be allocated for development purposes.
  • The allocation of 3,500 new homes for Theydon Bois claimed by the vendors refers to the requirement previously contained in the East of England Plan for the whole District over the period 2001-2021. On 6 July 2010, Regional Spatial Strategies were revoked, and it is now for local planning authorities to determine the appropriate number of new houses for their area. The Council will take this forward via the Local Development Framework.

Castra Land does not offer to seek planning permission for plot owners, nor does it give any guarantee that planning permission will be forthcoming. However, Planning Officers have received a number of calls about the land available, and feel it is important that people should be advised of the true planning policy situation.