Veterans Return For Airfield Gate Guardian Dedication

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Community, North Weald Airfield, Older people, Our attractions, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council

RAF veterans returned to North Weald on Sunday 19 April 2009 for the dedication of the Hawker Hurricane replica aeroplane that now stands as a permanent guardian at the gates of the former Battle of Britain Airfield.

Serving officers and men of 56 Squadron from RAF Waddington, who were based at RAF North Weald for more than 13 years, joined Wing Commander Tom F `Ginger` Neil, DFC who flew the actual Hurricane depicted by the Gate Guardian.

 

North Weald Airfield Gate Guardian Dedication webcast (opens in a new window)

Veterans by North Weald Airfield gate guardian

Other veterans from World War II and the Cold War joined Rev Rayner Harries MBE in the dedication and unveiling of plaques, one of which lists the 50 squadrons that flew from North Weald and another which lists the supporters who made the community partnership project possible, supported by Epping Forest District Council Chairman Councillor John Knapman and airfield historian Arthur Moreton.

  • Arthur Moreton received a Special Award from Chairman John Knapman at the Civic Awards 2009.

A Vampire jet-fighter of the type flown by the RAF at North Weald in the 1950s performed a flypast. A flight of four ex-RAF Bulldog Trainers then flew a `missing man` formation as guests remembered those who did not return.

RAF Vampire jet-fighter

Guests were treated to further flypasts and an aerobatic display as North Weald proved that its flying heritage remains as strong as ever.

North Weald Airfield Gate Guardian

Rev Rayner Harries explained to guests that the Hurricane replica was not to commemorate war. They were gathered to celebrate the `Spirit of North Weald` which `continues to live on in friendship, fellowship and mutual support`. North Weald today enjoys a peaceful legacy, playing its part in the World Scout Jamboree and expecting to become involved in the London 2012 Olympics.

Dedication to the new North Weald Airfield gate guardian

The last RAF fighter squadron left North Weald Airfield in 1958 and it closed as an RAF base in 1964. Today it is owned by Epping Forest District Council. Aviation still plays a major role along with various business and leisure activities. North Weald Airfield also hosts the largest outdoor market in Europe on Saturday each week and Bank Holidays.

Council staffed filmed the dedication service, extracts of which can be viewed from the link at the top of the page.

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.

Gypsy and Traveller Pitch Provision Reduced

Written on . Posted in Community, Councillors, Countrycare, Democracy, Gypsy and traveller, Our countryside, Planning, Residents, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Epping Forest District has bucked the regional trend with another reduction in the number of Gypsy and Traveller pitches allocated to the area. The number of proposed new pitches has been reduced by a further five to 34 by 2011 in the latest consultation issued by the Secretary of State on 27 March. The reduction follows an earlier recommendation to cut the number from 49 to 39.

The latest figures are published by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Overall the Secretary of State proposes to increase the number of new pitches in the East of England from 1,187 to 1,237. Epping Forest is one of two Councils in Essex to argue successfully for further reductions. Basildon has had its provisional allocation cut by 19 to 62.

Both Councils remain top of the list for Gypsy and Traveller provision, Epping Forest forecast to accommodate 128 and Basildon 174 by 2011. Thurrock is next with 124. At the other end of the scale, Southend and Castle Point have been asked to provide 15 each.

The Secretary of State was commenting on the latest stage in the review of the Regional Spatial Strategy, a planning document that looks at the need for development, including housing. Residents have eight weeks to comment and respond to the Secretary of State. Submissions must be received by 5.00pm on Friday 22 May 2009.

Councillor Anne Grigg, Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council welcomed the latest reduction but felt there was still scope for further reductions. She said: This is a very sensitive issue. The Gypsy and Traveller communities have rights to adequate site provision but this needs to be balanced against the equally important needs of the settled community. Slowly but surely, our arguments for a fairer allocation of pitches across the region is gaining some success. There is still some way to go but we have clearly made progress. Everyone now has the chance to tell the Secretary of Sate directly what they think.

Links to the Government Office and online Government consultation can be found via Epping Forest District Council`s website www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk. Alternatively, write to:

Regional Planning Team
Go-East
Eastbrook
Shaftesbury Road
Cambridge
CB2 8DF

or e-mail gtproposedchanges@goeast.gsi.gov.uk

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.

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.

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.

Civic Awards 2009 Young Citizen of the Year

Written on . Posted in Civic events, Community, Crime and safety, Residents, Young people, 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.

The Young Citizen of the Year Award

The Epping Forest District Young Citizen of the Year for 2009 is Darnell Margurite.

Young Citizen of the Year Darnell Margurite and Chairman John Knapman

The Young Citizen of the Year Award was awarded to a young man who has made a tremendous difference to his local community.

In the past Limes Farm has had a bedevilled reputation for social issues and crime but more recently the Estate has enjoyed a much better atmosphere, lower levels of crime and less anti-social behaviour. The Young Citizen of the Year for 2009 has played a key role in the transformation.

He has given young people on the Estate something to do. Only 19 years old himself, he has worked with a close friend, Ben Wooley, to set up a football project for 8 to 13 year olds. It has not been easy. He has faced and overcome some very challenging behaviour, honing his own skills as a football coach and winning the respect of the Estate.

His efforts have not gone unrecognised elsewhere. Watching his voluntary work on Limes Farm, he came to the notice of Tottenham Hotspur, which has offered him a coaching role within their Football Foundation. His enthusiasm, dedication and hard work have marked him out as a true role model.

Makedoandmend

Written on . Posted in Arts, Chigwell, Community, Loughton, Older people, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community

Makedo&mend image

Makedoandmend, an artistic collaboration between young and older people and adults with disabilities from Loughton, Chigwell and Waltham Abbey will be officially launched on Tuesday 7 April 2009 at 3pm at Loughton Youth Centre, 106 Borders Lane, Loughton 1G10 3SB. Vice Chairman of Council Councillor Penny Smith will be attending.

As we end a decade where recycling has become a global imperative, makedo&mend, a multi-disciplinary arts project run by Epping Forest District Council, takes its artistic inspiration from a decade in the previous Century when rationing was the norm, new clothing items rare and a harsh post-war era required people to make do with what they had or mend and repair items normally thrown away. The project sees groups `recycling` the fashion, music and film of the 1940s with contemporary styles to `make do` or `mend`, to create new and original work.

Makedo&mend has distinct strands that feed into each other throughout the year. Young and older people and adults with disabilities from Waltham Abbey, Chigwell and Loughton will collaborate to create a body of work consisting of an original fashion collection, a dance video, a music track and a style magazine featuring all the work produced. The initiative culminates in an exhibition running for two months in partnership with Epping Forest District Museum in Waltham Abbey from 10 October to 1 December incorporating rare pieces from the Museum`s costume collection and a programme of public workshops on the themes of makedo&mend.

The fashion aspect of the project grew out of the need to develop cross-generational relationships in Loughton. Makedo&mend will encourage older residents to pass on their memories and experience of 1940s fashion to young people on a project that is relevant to present day issues.

The London College of Fashion is also involved as a partner in the project to reach out to young people in environments such as youth centres to make them feel confident about their ability to achieve at higher education. As well as bringing generations together and creating pathways to careers, makedo&mend also reaches out to groups in care. Alder House is a residential home for people with disabilities aged 23 to 65 years and they will work with artist Emily Jost to design clothing with a 1940s slant but use their disability as an opportunity for design innovation.

Another aspect of makedo&mend is the music. The music becomes a pathway to mend relationships between groups of young people. A group from Waltham Abbey will create a tune using a 1940s track as inspiration and a group from Limes Farm will work with sound artist Arjunan Manuelpillai to write lyrics and record the vocals. In doing so, this part of the project facilitates two groups of young people who would normally be rivals to share and inspire each other.

Image details – John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library. Make do and mend, pamphlet, ca 1943. JCPML00715/7 Original held by National Archives of Australia B5641/1, K4.

Real help now

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Local business, Residents, Supporting business, Your community

 

Where to find help with homes, jobs and finances when you need it.

The international financial crisis and the recession it has caused around the world, and now in the UK, is having a real impact on individuals, families and businesses.

The Government is acting because extra support is needed to get us through the downturn. So a range of new help is being made available for those who need it, from homeowners with difficulties paying their mortgages, or people seeking employment or training, to small businesses with cashflow problems and larger businesses needing working capital.

A booklet tells you what help is available now and where to find it. It also includes details of extra support that is being introduced this spring, and we will update it as more help becomes available. It can be downloaded from either of the below links.

The Government`s priorities to get Britain through the recession are:
  • to prevent the collapse of the banking system, so that people`s savings are secure and the banks can do their job
  • to get the financial system lending responsibly again so as to support businesses, jobs and growth
  • to support the economy and jobs through direct government action, including tax cuts and important investment projects
  • to help people through more difficult times with the support described in this booklet

Action has also been taken to boost our economy by putting money in people`s pockets and bringing investment plans forward.

    This includes:

  • income tax cuts of £145 for every basic rate taxpayer
  • £60 extra for pensioners this winter
  • a VAT cut worth on average over £200 to every family this year
  • an extra £3 billion investment in projects that will protect and create jobs
  • a £75 above inflation increase in the child element of the Child Tax Credit from April 2009, worth up to £2,235 a year for families

Real help now, when you need it.