European Elections 2009

Written on . Posted in Community, Democracy, Elections, Older people, Residents, Your community, Your council

It has been confirmed that European Parliamentary elections will take place across Europe between 4 and 7 June 2009. The UK polling day is Thursday 4 June 2009. Epping Forest District residents will be voting to elect seven Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) for the Eastern region. Those elected will represent the Region for a five-year term. A total of 500 million European citizens in 27 countries will be voting for 736 MEPs on the same date. The election will be run from a regional policy centre in Huntingdon by the Regional Returning Officer. On the same date an election for seven the County Councillors for the Epping Forest District will also be held.

The Electoral Services Team at Epping Forest District Council would like to remind residents that if your name does not appear on the Register of Electors 2009, you will not be able to vote in either election. There are no scheduled elections for District Councillors this year.

The Register of Electors (also known as the Electoral Register, the Electoral List, the Electoral Roll or even the Voters’ Register) was published on 1 December 2008 following the Annual Canvass of Electors. If you moved house after 15 October 2008 your name might not appear on the Register at your new address. To update your registration call the Electoral Services Team on 01992 564411 for a voter registration form (even if you are paying Council Tax at your new address it does not automatically mean you are on the Register of Electors). You can check your entry in the Register of Electors by contacting the Electoral Services Team on 01992 564411 or view the Electoral Register at the Civic Offices in Epping, Waltham Abbey Town Hall or at the Council`s Information desk inside Loughton Library.

The Council must receive voter registration forms by 5pm on 19 May 2009 for them to take effect for the 2009 European elections. If you are unable to vote in person on polling day and you have not already registered for a postal or proxy vote, please contact Electoral Services for details about how to apply. If you have moved or changed your name since applying for a postal vote, it will now be invalid so you will need to complete a new application. The closing date for completed postal applications is 5pm on 19 May 2009 and for proxy applications is 5pm on 27 May 2009.

Epping Forest District Council`s Ian Willett is the local / deputy Returning Officer for these elections said: “This year polling day is on 4 June 2009 and not the usual day in May. This is because the Government has decided to delay the County Council elections so that they are held on the same day as those for the European Parliament. Voters should bear this in mind if they want a postal or proxy vote and make sure they are registered to vote on polling day.

Mr Willett continued: “The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy but if you don’t register and obtain a postal or proxy vote if you need one, you lose that right and won’t be able to vote. If you don’t have a vote, you can’t have your say. If you are not sure about what you need to do, call the Electoral Services Team on 01992 564411 now.”

Further Update on Fire at Birchwood Industrial Estate

Written on . Posted in Emergencies, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your environment

Since the last information provided to residents of Nazeing by Epping Forest District Council, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has issued further updates.

The fire at Nazeing

  • two fire appliances remain on site at the Birchwood Industrial Estate
  • water is no longer being drawn from a local lake via a high volume pump
  • Hoe Lane is now open to traffic

The fire continues to burn under control and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service expects to be at the scene for at least the next 24 hours.

The Epping Forest District Council Emergency Planning Team distributed a letter to residents in Nazeing earlier today prior to the updates listed above.

Text of the letter can be seen below.

“Information Update “ Birchwood Industrial Estate, Nazeing – Fire

You may be aware that Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has been tackling a fire at the Birchwood Industrial Estate off Hoe Lane since the early hours of Monday morning. You may have seen the flames, a glow in the night sky, or the column of smoke. However, residents should not be unduly alarmed. The fire is under control and while inconvenient to local residents, it hopefully should not cause you undue stress or concern.

The seat of the fire is a very large wood pile originally intended for recycling into chipboard and other products.

Three fire appliances remain on site at the estate as Firefighters continue to manage the fire. The wood pile has burned steadily but under the control of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.  The material is thought to be clean wood burning at a very high temperature producing relatively little smoke. Residents living nearby and in Nazeing are being advised there is no need to keep their windows and doors closed although in the current cold weather most people will be doing so anyway.

Environmental Health Officers from Epping Forest District Council are supporting the Fire Service. They are also monitoring air quality at various points around Nazeing which has so far raised no signs for concern. The Environment Agency is monitoring water run-off from the site but the situation is being helped by the Fire Service recycling water, collecting it as it runs off the wood pile and spraying it on again. Further water supplies are being brought to the site from hydrants in Hoe Lane and from a local lake via a high volume pump.

It is thought the fire is likely to burn for several days. Wind and weather may affect the timescales. Fire Breaks have also been created to separate the burning sections of the wood pile from the rest.

We cannot be certain when the fire will be fully extinguished or what the weather will do over the next few days, however, the outlook is promising.  Hoe Lane is closed but residents and businesses have access to their properties.

If you would like further updates please listen to broadcasts on local radio stations. You can also log on to the Council Website, www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk which we will keep up to date with the latest news from our colleagues at the Fire Service.

Please accept my assurances of our support.

Yours faithfully

Derek Macnab
Deputy Chief Executive
(Epping Forest District Council Emergency Planning Team)”

Fire at Birchwood Industrial Estate Update

Written on . Posted in Emergencies, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your environment

Four fire appliances remain on site at Birchwood Industrial Estate in Nazeing as Firefighters continue to manage the fire that broke out in the early hours of Monday morning. The large wood pile has burned steadily but under the control of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service. By keeping the surrounding wood dampened down, the centre of the pile is being allowed to burn down. The material is thought to be `clean wood` burning at a very high temperature producing relatively little smoke. Residents living nearby and in Nazeing are being advised there is no need to keep their windows and doors closed although in the current cold weather most people will be doing so anyway.

Environmental Health Officers from Epping Forest District Council continue to support the Fire Service. They are also monitoring air quality at various points around Nazeing which has so far raised no signs of concern. The Environment Agency is monitoring water run-off from the site but the situation is being helped by the Fire Service recycling water, collecting it as it runs off the wood pile and spraying it on again.

Firefighters continue to manage the fire

Further water supplies are being brought to the site from hydrants in Hoe Lane and from a local lake via a high volume pump.

It is thought the fire is likely to burn for several days. Wind and weather may affect the timescales. Fire Breaks have also been created to separate the burning sections of the wood pile from the rest.

Councillor Di Collins, Leader of Epping Forest District Council said: I would like to thank the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service for the marvellous job they are doing. Thankfully, despite the scale of the fire no-one has been hurt or injured and it is now a question of containing and managing it. We believe the wood pile is essentially clean wood that was intended for recycling, so the smoke coming off it is very similar to a very large bonfire. Residents should therefore not be unduly alarmed.

Councillor Collins continued: District Council Environmental Health Officers will continue to monitor air quality around the site but so far all the signs have been good. They have also been in contact to reassure the local primary school which is largely unaffected.

While we can`t be certain when the fire will finally be extinguished or what the weather will do over the next few days, the outlook is promising. Hoe Lane remains closed but residents and businesses have access to their properties and I hope everything will return to normal as soon as possible.

Fire at Birchwood Industrial Estate, Nazeing

Written on . Posted in Emergencies, Your area, Your community, Your environment

Firefighters have brought a large fire at Birchwood Industrial Estate, Nazeing under control. The fire is thought to have begun in the early hours of Monday morning (5 January 2009). The scene has been described as an enormous bonfire as a large wood pile intended for recycling has gone up in flames. It is thought the material is clean wood but residents of nearby Nazeing are being advised as a precaution to keep indoors as much as possible with their windows and doors closed.

Hoe Lane, which provides access to the site, is temporarily closed while Firefighters of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service continue to monitor and control the blaze.

Firefighters continue to monitor and control the blaze at Nazeing

Epping Forest District Council has been assisting the emergency services. Environmental Health and Building Control Officers are on the scene to assist and advise Fire Service colleagues. The Council has also made preliminary arrangements for a rest centre although it is thought unlikely it will be needed.

Information can be found on the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service website.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service website (opens in a new window)

Provisional Site Allocation Reduced

Written on . Posted in Community, Countryside and wildlife, Democracy, Gypsy and traveller, Leader, Local plan / planning our future, Older people, Our countryside, Planning, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Go East, the regional office of the Government says the provisional allocation of additional gypsy and traveller site pitches for Epping Forest district has been reduced by ten from 49 to 39. The announcement is contained in the Examination in Public (EiP) Report into the Review of Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation in the East of England published on 18 December 2008. The EiP report now forms the basis of recommendations to the Government which will hold further consultation before issuing its final allocations next year.

Councillors and Planning Officers have consistently argued for a reduction in the number of pitches allocated to Epping Forest district. While Councillors feel the allocation remains unfairly high for Epping Forest in comparison to other districts, the reduction is a vindication of their stance. The Council will continue to press for further reductions.

The reduction for Epping Forest district is in marked contrast to most other parts of the region. Overall, the EiP has increased the regional allocation of extra traveller and gypsy pitches by a further 50 from 1,187 to 1,237.

The Government announcement comes as residents continue to respond to local consultation on the future provision of traveller and gypsy sites in the district.

Councillor Mrs Anne Grigg, Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council said: The announcement is a move in the right direction but I don`t think it goes far enough. Local residents are very concerned about the high number of extra traveller and gypsy pitches the district is being asked to accommodate. Epping Forest district already has more gypsy and traveller accommodation than most other areas. Even with the potential reduction from 49 to 39 extra pitches, we are still being asked to take substantially more than many other areas. We will continue to argue for further reductions.

The Secretary of State will consider the Review of Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation in the East of England and the recommendations of the EiP before issuing any proposed changes in the Spring. There will then be a further period of consultation. Go East says that the Secretary of State will publish the finalised policy in the Summer of 2009.

Cabinet Decisions 15 December

Written on . Posted in Community, Democracy, Leader, Meetings, Residents, Your community, Your council

In a step that Councillors hope will help local retailers, the Cabinet of Epping Forest District Council has agreed that there will be no increase in pay and display car park prices next year. Instead, any increased spending on car parks will be met from a further £60,000 of savings identified within the Council`s current budget. The Cabinet also reaffirmed its intention not to increase the District`s Council Tax precept by more than 2.5 per cent.

Watch the webcastwebcast of cabinet meeting on 15 December 2008
(opens in a new window)

Epping Forest District Council already provides some of the lowest pay and display car parking fees in Essex and the surrounding area, with the cheapest ticket costing 10 pence. Some free parking is also available in each of the district`s principle towns on Saturdays. All of the district`s pay and display car parks are also free on Saturdays in the run up to Christmas.

Councillor Richard Bassett, Civil Engineering and Maintenance Portfolio Holder confirmed that the freeze on charges would not mean any cuts in other services. He said: Council staff have managed to find savings in the budget and we will still continue with our improvement plans. Bakers Lane Car Park in Epping will benefit from investment of £120,000 including new lighting, CCTV, drainage, resurfacing and lining. Everyone knows that the Country is facing difficult economic times in the New Year. I hope that these measures will go some way towards helping our businesses by encouraging people to shop locally.

In another move to address the problems of people finding themselves victims of the economic downturn, the Cabinet recommended a bid to the Full Council of £20,000 for a scheme to help people afford rental payments in the private sector. Housing Portfolio Holder, Councillor David Stallan hopes the extra money will go to the Rental Loan Scheme from next April and will help to deal with any potential increase in people forced to register with the Council as homeless after home-repossessions.

In other matters discussed by the Cabinet held on 15 December, Councillor Mary Sartin gained approval for the Council to take on powers to remove untaxed cars from the district`s roads. National statistics suggest that 80 per cent of untaxed cars also lack insurance and many are also found to be unroadworthy. The presence of such vehicles is also linked to criminal activity and it is hoped that their removal will lead to a reduction in crime and anti-social behaviour.

Council Pays Tribute to Local Hero

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Leader, Meetings, Older people, Young people, Your community, Your council

Tributes to Georgie Sparks at the Epping memorial

Councillors from Epping Forest District Council stood in silence at the beginning of the Council meeting on Tuesday 16 December 2008 in tribute to Royal Marine Georgie Sparks who was killed in action in Afghanistan.

 

Tributes at the Epping memeorial

Personal tributes were paid by Chairman of Council John Knapman and Council Leader Diana Collins. The Council offered its condolences to his family and friends including his sister Katie.

Watch the webcastwebcast of Council meeting on Tuesday 16 December 2008 (opens in a new window)

The following article first appeared on the website www.everythingeppingforest.co.uk (opens in a new window)

Epping came to a standstill on Saturday morning as the town remembered Royal Marine Georgie Sparks who was killed in action in Afghanistan. Hundreds of people packed into St John’s Church to pay tribute to the serviceman, on what would have been his 20th birthday.

A guard of honour stood outside as Royal Marine colleagues carried his coffin, draped in a Union flag, into the church. Georgie died along with Marine Tony Evans after both were on foot patrol with J Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines. They were north-west of Lashkar Gah, in Helmand province, when they moved on to the roof of a compound. There was an attack by insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades and both were badly wounded.

Colleagues and war veterans joined members of Georgie’s family and local dignitaries – including Epping mayor Ben Murphy and Epping Forest District Council chairman John Knapman for his funeral service which included tributes from Georgie’s sister, Katie. She described how proud she was to have a brother like Georgie – who was known as Sparky to his friends – and also paid tribute to the four Marines who just hours earlier had also been killed in Afghanistan.

Mr Murphy told the everythingeppingforest website: “Today was obviously a highly emotional day for our town, the Royal Marine Corps, and for a family who have had to say goodbye to their brave son on his 20th birthday, just a week before Christmas.” He added: “Family, friends and comrades paid tribute to a remarkable, dedicated young man who valued his family enormously. This young man chose coming home to see his family every weekend he could over going out on the town with his fellow Marines.”

Epping High Street was closed to traffic as shoppers stood in silence. Several men removed their hats as a mark of respect as Georgie’s coffin, flanked by Royal Marines, made its way to the church. Mr Murphy said: “Today, Epping was shown the hard reality this country faces from fighting in a war against terrorism and injustice on behalf of those who are unable to defend themselves. We are all so proud of this young man who wasn’t afraid to stand up and be counted and who sadly lost his life doing so. May he rest in peace eternal.”

Georgie and colleague Tony Evans both received immediate medical attention after they were injured and were moved to a secure location before being put on a helicopter to be transferred back to Camp Bastion. However both died during the flight.

Georgie joined the Royal Marines in June 2006 and passed out from training in July 2007, joining 42 Commando a few days later. During his time at 42 Commando he qualified as a sniper. His parents, Wayne and Toni, and sister, Katie, said: “We have lost our best friend as well as our son. We are so very proud of Georgie – he always wanted to be a Royal Marine. Georgie loved the outdoors – fishing, shooting, paintballing – and was very close to his family.

We miss him so much.” Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Stickland Royal Marines, Commanding Officer, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said: “Marine Georgie Sparks was a quiet, understated professional. He lost his life fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with his comrades, covering their actions with his expert sniper skills.”

Call for Sites Provisional List Published

Written on . Posted in Community, Local plan / planning our future, Older people, Planning, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your environment

Around 200 suggestions from local residents, landowners and developers have been received by Epping Forest District Council since it asked people to nominate potential sites for all types of future development including housing.

Residents can see the list below.

Call for sites provisional list pdf (349 KB)

The list will eventually help the Council formulate plans for accommodating around 3,500 new homes allocated by the Government to the district under the East of England Plan.

Information from the `Call for Sites` will inform the preparation of the Local Development Framework (LDF), a series of documents setting out future planning policies for the district. As a result of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, the LDF is the new form of plan making in England and Wales and replaces the Local Plan. In Epping Forest district the priority for the LDF is to provide sufficient land allocations to meet the housing, employment and other targets in the East of England Plan and to meet the requirements for Gypsy and Traveller provision given by the Single Issue Review of the East of England Plan.

Sites identified and evaluated through the `Call for Sites` exercise will be particularly relevant to some of the documents that will make up the LDF. These include the Core Strategy and a Land Allocations Development Plan Document. The `Call for Sites` exercise assists the process of finding the most suitable and deliverable sites for the LDF.

The `Call for Sites` is the first step for the Council in identifying potential land for new development. While making the provisional list public, the Council stresses that being on the list does not indicate support by Councillors, or that the land will ultimately be found suitable for development purposes.

Some residents asked us if they could see the provisional list so we have made it available on the website. However, it is still incomplete and unevaluated. Some of the suggestions will not be viable. Others will need serious consideration but that process is not likely to take place for many months. We still need to add some of our own land holdings into the mix as well as other potential sites, says Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder, Councillor Anne Grigg.

Councillor Grigg added: The official deadline for suggestions was 18 July but we are continuing to get occasional additions.

No action will be taken on considering whether the land that has been submitted is suitable for development in the long term, until preparation of the Core Strategy has been commenced. Any land that is promoted for development from the `Call for Sites` must be in accordance with the strategy of development distribution across the district. Public consultation on the Core Strategy including consideration of the development options available for the district is likely to occur during Summer 2009.

EFYC Funding

Written on . Posted in Community, Democracy, Leader, Meetings, Young people, Your community, Your council

At the meeting on 10 November 2008, the Cabinet received a report on funding for the Epping Forest Youth Council (EFYC) for 2009 to 2010. The Cabinet requested the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to receive a presentation from the Youth Council giving an update on developing the Youth Council Programme.

Epping Forest Youth Councillors Claire Gilbert, Holly Whitbread, Alex Martin and Gabrielle Compton attended Overview and Scrutiny on 11 December 2008. Claire Gilbert gave an excellent overview of what the Youth Councillors have been doing this year from a running a district-wide piece of young persons` consultation to organising the recent Big Youth Debate at Woolston Manor.

Epping Forest Youth Councillor Claire Gilbert said: We were able to categorise our main priorities, as 17 individual young people working in sub-groups and have developed four of our five priority areas: Activities, Transport, Environment and Safety issues. In the second year of their term of office, they see firm action through these working groups replacing monthly training needs as the driving force of the Epping Forest Youth Council.

Youth Councillors have been formally contacted through the Council`s website by a number of young people and organisations wishing to use the Youth Council as a consultation sounding board and seek Members` support and involvement. This has included different departments from within the Council – Planning Services, the Safer Communities Partnership, Environmental Services and Community and Cultural Services, as well as external organisations including West Essex PCT, Epping Forest College and the Children and Young People`s Strategic Partnership.

Youth Councillors visited the Langston Road depot

During the summer Youth Councillors toured the district visiting a number of sites including: the proposed new site of the Loughton Youth Project next to Loughton Library, Loughton Police Station, Langston Road depot site and Ongar Sports Centre. The tour gave the Members a far greater geographic perspective of the district and enabled them to meet and discuss issues with a local Acting Police Inspector, a senior Connexions worker, a Recycling Officer and a Sports Centre Manager.

Epping Forest Youth Councillor Claire Gilbert said: We also see more face-to-face work in the community as a vital component of our second year success. Some of our Members have worked very hard to raise the expectations of their School Council and hold them to task in promoting young people`s initiatives. In this second year, we want to build on the good work of local schools` partnerships by holding Youth Councillor drop-in surgeries at lunchtimes and after school and getting more young people engaged in local issues and the opportunities that are out there.

Their last training session was organised by Community Development Officer Gill Wallis which gave them an introduction to the Chairmen of the four Young People`s Action Groups: Essex Road Safety, Essex Drugs and Alcohol Service, Essex Youth Offending Team and West Essex PCT. They feel that as an elected group, not only must they voice the views of young people to these sorts of service providers but also have a role to play in voicing the services that are being provided back to young people – especially those provided by Epping Forest District Council.

    To date, Epping Forest Youth Council have been successful in securing external funding to the sum of £11,132. This has been made up as follows:

  • £5,500 from the West Essex Area Forum
  • £2,200 from the Epping Forest Children and Young People`s Strategic Partnership
  • £1,832 from the Youth Opportunity and Youth Capital Fund
  • £1,000 from the Grange Farm Trust
  • £300 from the Loughton Youth Project
  • £300 from the Jack Petchey Foundation

Epping Forest Youth Councillor Claire Gilbert said: Without funding from Epping Forest District Council of a similar sum of approximately £12,000 to support our training, meeting, transport and general revenue costs we would not have been able to run this year. On behalf of all our Members I would like to thank Epping Forest District Council for this support and formally request that the same level of support, in the sum of £12,000 be made available for the Youth Council in the next financial year.

Epping Forest Youth Council has successfully developed over the last nine months as a valuable resource to Epping Forest District Council. The 17 Youth Councillors, who are aged between 13 and 17 years, have undertaken a wide range of training and development to support them in their roles and have each taken specific responsibility for a portfolio or area of business.

HOPE Comes to Residents

Written on . Posted in Community, Health, Loughton, Older people, Our activities, Residents, Sports, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community

The residents of Epping Forest District Council`s Sheltered Housing Scheme in Parsonage Court in Loughton played host to the residents of Jubilee Court in Waltham Abbey for a competition with a Nintendo Wii and the Wii sports game.

Residents too part in a Wii sport bowling competition

Chairman John Knapman bowling a spareThe competition was suggested after Tottenham Hotspur Football Club donated a Wii to Parsonage Court as part of the HOPE (Helping Older People Exercise) initiative to encourage older residents of the community to become more fit and active.

 

Natalie Saunders of the HOPE organisation shows a resident how to play

Chairman of Council Councillor John Knapman presented a Wii to Jubilee Court before the competition started. He said: I hope this gift to Jubilee Court will help the residents in their campaign to get healthier.

Natalie Saunders of the HOPE organisation also took part in the activities scoring a strike in the Wii bowling.

Bernard Babbage celebrates a strike

Jubilee Court were the eventual winners with a victorious 99 points and Parsonage Court only having practised once the previous day came in close second with 93 points.

The winning team from Jubilee Court