Free weekend parking in December

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Park in an Epping Forest District Council owned car park on weekends from Saturday 1 December until Sunday 30 December 2018 and park for FREE!

So many reasons to shop local

Contract and Technical Services Portfolio Holder, Councillor Nigel Avey said: ”We hope that by relaxing the car parking charges over the weekends in the lead up to Christmas, we will encourage our residents to shop locally. Supporting our local retailers and town centres throughout the Christmas period.

”We want to give our residents easier access to our shops throughout the festive season, hopefully reducing the need to visit out of town shopping centres and taking valued trade outside of the district.

“There are so many reasons to shop locally, we hope we’re providing our residents with another!”

Further information

Decisions from Plans South on 21 November

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Planning application decisions from the Area Planning Sub-Committee South meeting Wednesday 21 November 2018.

Decisions

  • EPF/2019/18 – 229 Fencepiece Road, Chigwell, IG7 5EB

         Permission granted

  • EPF/1950/18 – Woodberrie, Kings Hill, Loughton, IG10 1JE

          Referred to District Development Management Committee

  • EPF/2040/18 – 69 Church Hill, Loughton, IG10 1QP

         Deferred pending site visit

  • EPF/2114/18 – 89 Princes Road, Buckhurst Hill, IG9 5DZ

         Referred back to officers (Parish Council did not attend)

  • EPF/2624/18 12 Albion Park, Loughton, IG10 4RB

         Permission granted

Planning application search

Community gathered to celebrate opening of Waltham Abbey leisure centre

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Local children created a splash in the pool at the new Waltham Abbey Leisure Centre when it opened to the public on Saturday.

On time and on budget

The £10m centre – which has been delivered on time and within budget – was formally opened by Councillor Richard Bassett, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, and Dave Jolliffe, Area Manager, from Places Leisure which operates the Council’s four leisure centres.

The day was one of celebration for the centre which has been built from scratch on a new site at Hillhouse, Waltham Abbey. Staff showed visitors around the new facilities and there were free taster sessions including public swimming, indoor cycling classes and junior activities.

Great for the area

Councillor Helen Kane, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Community Services at Epping Forest District Council said: “It was such a pleasure to be at the opening of the new centre. It will be a great asset for the area and will help improve the health and wellbeing of our community.”

Active places for healthy people

Dave Jolliffe from Places Leisure said: “It was a fantastic day and we were delighted to welcome so many members of our community to their new leisure home on our first official day of opening! As a social enterprise it’s our mission to create active places and healthy people and we hope that the new venue and facilities will inspire even more of our community to come along and try a new sport or activity or just pop in to socialise with their friends and family. There really is something for everyone from parent and baby classes to indoor cycling, aqua aerobics and mindfulness sessions.”

Council 1 November 2018

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Reports to Council on 1 November 2018 included updates on the newly completed Leisure Centre in Waltham Abbey, an Essex-wide fly-tipping campaign, additional Council homes built and an announcement about free weekend parking in Council run car parks in December.

Leisure Centre open ahead of schedule

It’s good news for Waltham Abbey, with the new Leisure Centre set to open ahead of schedule on Saturday 17 November 2018.

The new health and wellbeing hub boasts a six lane 25m pool along with a 15m learner pool with floor that is adjustable between 0m and 1.2m, virtual cycling classes and state of the art equipment.

Leisure partners Places for People are offering memberships with no joining fee until 14 November 2018.

Crime not to Care

The Council has been promoting the Essex-wide fly-tipping campaign, ‘Crime not to Care’.

Designed to educate residents about their duty of care when disposing of their waste, the campaign informs residents that they can be fined and prosecuted if their waste is fly-tipped by rogue traders.

In his report, Councillor Nigel Avey, Environment Portfolio Holder, informed members of the Councils most recent prosecution. The case of Loughton resident, Mr Tjoluskins, was heard by Magistrates on 13 September. He handed his waste to a scammer who fly-tipped in a bin store in Oakley Court in Loughton. The resident was fined £600 and ordered to pay the Councils prosecution costs of £900.

The campaigns message is simple – before handing over your waste to somebody else, always check, consider and record to protect yourself and reduce fly-tipping by rogue traders.

Universal Credit

In his report to members, Councillor Mohindra, Finance Portfolio Holder, presented an update about Universal Credit.

From 5 December, the Job Centre Plus in Loughton will roll out Universal Credit. Meaning that anyone of working age that needs help with their rent and is not already receiving Housing Benefit, will need to apply for Universal Credit instead of Housing Benefit.

Visit www.gov.uk/universal-credit for further information.

Council house-building programme

Councillor Syd Stavrou’s report informed members of the handover of four new Council homes in Coopersale, Epping on Wednesday 10 October. The two new 2 bedroom houses and two 1 bedroom flats will be let to applicants on the Councils housing register. A further seven new Council homes will be ready to handover in early November.

The Council has committed around £58 million for new housing since it restarted its council house building programme in 2014. So far, new homes have been built in Waltham Abbey, North Weald and Epping, with more in the pipeline.

Free parking in December

Councillor Sam Kane announced the Councils plan to relax parking fees in Council owned car parks on weekends throughout December 2018 ‘to help local traders’ and support our high streets this Christmas.

Parking will be free on Saturdays and Sundays throughout December in all of the Council owned car parks.

Council progress report to Scrutiny

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Council Leader Chris Whitbread set out progress on a number of key Council initiatives for Overview and Scrutiny on Monday 29 October. Major steps forward include internal reorganisation of the Council’s top management structure, new homes for local people through the council house building programme and the culmination of a year of major investment in leisure facilities with the imminent opening of the brand new Waltham Abbey Leisure Centre.

Thanks to prudent financial planning, effective management and maximisation of assets, Epping Forest District Council is in a stronger financial position than many councils. Councillors of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee received the latest progress report on services from Council Leader Chris Whitbread.

£2.5m savings

The Council has a savings target of £2.5m over the next three years as government grants are phased out while protecting frontline services and keeping Council Tax low.

The first new council houses have been completed with many more now in the pipeline.

Restructure

Senior management has been restructured with two Strategic Directors and eight Service leads tasked with focusing on the customer and driving efficiency through bringing business support functions together.

Councillor Whitbread said that the Council is committed to promoting ‘flexible smarter working’ for staff and redeveloping the rear of the Civic Office site. While listing has delayed changes to the Civic Offices, options are to be discussed by December Cabinet.

Good progress on ICT is supporting customer access to Council services and allowing staff to work in flexible more efficient ways.

Epping Forest District Local Plan

The Local Plan is back on track.   Judicial Review caused frustrating delay and uncertainty but the plan is now submitted for examination next year.

Leisure in the district

The Council’s partnership with Places for People has delivered £12 million of improvements including the opening of the new Waltham Abbey Leisure Centre in a few weeks’ time. Council assets are helping to deliver community and economic benefits.  Epping Forest Shopping Park is trading well and the Council is now in position to take forward St John’s Road, Epping potentially including another new leisure centre.

Finance

Whilst Council Tax was frozen for many years, an increase of 2.5% this year to fund extra police officers dedicated to the district is proving very successful.

Preparation of the 2019/20 budget starts in earnest shortly with positive bids for extra services such as investment in public car parks being looked at by Cabinet and Overview and Scrutiny in January.

Nazeing nursery fined for contaminated water

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The owner of a Nazeing nursery has been fined £583 plus £500 costs and a £58 victim surcharge, after Epping Forest District Council found  E. coli and Enterococci in his water supply.

Mr. Derek Fawcett, one of the owners of Eastside Nursery, Nazeing, Essex pleaded guilty on 11th October 2018 at Chelmsford Magistrates Court, to not having complied with a Notice served on him on the 8th November 2017 by Epping Forest District Council for improvement work to be carried out to the private water supply serving the nursery.

Potential dangers

Inspection of the supply confirmed it to be high risk and samples of the water showed that it contained E. coli and Enterococci which posed a potential danger to human health. These bacteria are commonly associated with human or animal bodily waste and the concentrations found were the highest the council has encountered. Residents of the site would be using this water to wash, cook and clean with.

The Notice required the improvements to be completed by 5 March 2018. After the failure of one contractor to complete the work during the initial timescale, an application was made to the Council in February 2018 by Mr Fawcett to allow him extra time to complete the work.

The Council agreed to extend the time for completion of the project until 5 May 2018, however on the 4 May, Mr Fawcett informed the Council that the work had still not been started. On 7 May the owners were informed that prosecution proceedings would be commenced. Subsequently, a different contractor was instructed by Mr Fawcett on 14 May to undertake the tasks. The improvement work continued until the 9 October 2018 when an inspection confirmed it was substantially complete subject to final sampling and analysis of the supply by the Council.

Fined

The Magistrates stated that on consideration there had been some negligence on the part of Mr Fawcett notwithstanding his illness in 2018. He was fined £583 and ordered to pay £500 towards the Council’s prosecution costs and a Victim Surcharge of £58. It is important to note that this offence can be given higher fines and even custodial sentences.

Statutory duty to assess risk

Council Officers will continue to inspect all private water supplies that are judged to be a risk, and take the necessary enforcement action to safeguard human health. These bacteria can cause significant illness and in some cases even death, especially at such high concentrations. It is the Council’s statutory duty to risk assess and restore water quality to these supplies.

Councillor Nigel Avey, Cabinet member responsible for the environment said:  “The Council has a duty to protect the health and wellbeing of our residents.  It is disappointing that we had to take this case to prosecution rather than the work being undertaken during the notice period. There are a large number of private water supplies in the district. I would like to thank the Magistrates Court for supporting the Council. No one wants anyone to become ill through poor water and I hope this case sends out a clear message to all owners of private water supplies on the importance of ensuring they keep those supplies clean, fit and healthy for human consumption.”

New leisure centre for Epping being explored

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The feasibility of providing a new community leisure centre and swimming pool to be built in Epping is being actively explored. Proposals are being discussed with Places Leisure (the leisure arm of Places for People), the District Council’s current leisure provider and Epping Town Council.

The new centre could form part of the larger St Johns development to potentially include the first cinema in the town for decades, new shops, public open space and housing. The councils have withdrawn from previous plans to sell the area to a private developer, Frontier Estates. Frontier had intended to build a mixed use scheme to include a supermarket, but changes to the retail environment have made the approach less favourable and the Councils are now actively pursuing the new leisure option with Places Leisure.

The proposals include the transfer of the District Council depot to its new headquarters at Oakwood Hill in Loughton, and freeing up the site of the current Epping Sports Centre for housing as set out in the draft Local Plan. New Town Council offices would also be built into the new plans.

Epping Forest District Council remains one of the few councils able to invest in new leisure services. Its property portfolio includes the new shopping park in Loughton, now adding to the Council’s income from other shops, industrial units and commercial properties across the district. Income from these properties allows Epping Forest District Council to set one of the lowest Council Tax rates in Essex while continuing to invest in major new schemes.

In partnership with Places Leisure, it has just completed improvements at Ongar and the current Epping centre, built a major extension to Loughton Leisure Centre opened last week, and is due to complete the brand new Waltham Abbey Leisure Centre in November.

Councillor Chris Whitbread, Leader of Epping Forest District Council was delighted to make the latest Epping announcement with the Epping Town Mayor, Councillor Nigel Avey.

Councillor Whitbread said: “Today marks a milestone in the history of Epping. These plans can transform the heart of Epping, building on the current success story with an even better town centre. We are creating a wonderful new space to draw in visitors, providing jobs, leisure and housing. It would be a major boost to the local economy and a fantastic enhancement to our town.

Councillor Nigel Avey added: “Our two councils have a joint vision for Epping, our town and our community. It has been a long road, with setbacks, but both the Town and District have stuck to our guns in putting Epping first. With Places for People, we think we could find a private partner that has already demonstrated its local commitment through the provision of fantastic new community facilities across the district. St Johns would be on a larger scale with benefits to match.”

Public consultation on the new plans will take place in the New Year with outline planning permission being sought thereafter.

Background

Epping Forest District Council and Epping Town Council originally went into partnership with Essex County Council and a private developer, Frontier Estates, to redevelop the St Johns area of Epping.

The site comprises the former primary school, town council offices, and district council depot. From the outset the advantages of redeveloping the separate sites as a single holistic project made more sense than piecemeal redevelopment. The District Council took a major step forward when it bought the freehold of St Johns Primary School from Essex County Council as a means of ensuring that vision was followed.

Consultation with residents had previously altered the original design brief. Residents welcomed additional housing, shops and public open space but there was also a strong call for Epping to have its own cinema again, particularly for the benefit of the town’s young people.

Separately, an ongoing debate has been conducted over the future of Epping Sports Centre. Although the District Council has continued to invest in the Centre, its long term future has always been in doubt due to its location and construction. The site was identified for housing in the draft Local Plan, although the Council promised no plans would be made to close it until new facilities had been provided.

The new relationship forged between Places Leisure and Epping Forest District Council at its other leisure facilities around the district, combined with the opportunities at St Johns Road are crystalising into the new plans in partnership with Epping Town Council.

Other potential sites were also considered to replace Epping Sports Centre. Among other sites, a group of sports centre users had suggested an area currently owned by St Margaret’s Hospital and the District Council had also looked at reprovision at North Weald Airfield. Early investigations into the possibility of a joint-use centre with St Johns Secondary School had not passed feasibility discussions.

Apart from concerns over access and location, the cost of the St Margaret’s proposal involving the purchase of the land would have been prohibitive. North Weald Airfield and the largest part of St Johns are already owned by Epping Forest District Council, making each of these options much more affordable.

The previous aspiration to build an additional supermarket in Epping has been dropped.

With public calls for the new centre to be located as close as possible to the heart of Epping and customers not wishing to see a new North Weald facility lead to the closure of Ongar, the proposal to build at St Johns will come as welcome news.

Technical Background

  1. The St John’s Road redevelopment scheme is an important strategic project for the District, because of its ability to deliver both significant community and economic benefits.
  2. The site totals 3.68 acres and is in a prime town centre location. The original land ownership comprises of Essex County Council (former junior school) 2.59 Acres, Epping Forest District Council (Housing Repairs Depot) 0.59 Acres and Epping Town Council (Epping Hall) 0.54 Acres.
  3. The three public bodies have been working in partnership since the Junior School relocated to bring forward an appropriate redevelopment scheme.
  4. In recognition of the profile of the site and the high level of public interest a consultative approach with the local community has always been adopted, including a range of interested parties and stakeholders.
  5. As a result of public consultation the Council adopted a design and development planning brief for the site.
  6. The planning brief was for a mixed use scheme to include a food store (12,000sq ft) cinema, restaurants, ancillary retail use, car parking and up to 34 units of housing.
  7. In order to deliver the redevelopment the three Councils sought a specialist development company with the required expertise. After expressions of interest were received, Frontier Estates were appointed.
  8. After an extensive period of negotiation, which in order to ensure that the desired outcomes of the design and development brief were achieved, involved the purchase of the County Council’s land by Epping Forest District Council, it was anticipated that the final contracts could be entered into in the summer.
  9. However, it has not been possible to reach a final mutually agreeable position between the District Council, Town Council and Frontier Estates. The time taken to conclude negotiations has seen change in the retail market and Frontier Estates development risk increase.
  10. Therefore both the Town Council and District Council are now actively exploring an alternative which still delivers the community and economic briefs they both are keen to achieve for local residents.
  11. It is still the intention to pursue a mixed use scheme in accordance with the sites allocation in the submission version at the District Council’s Local Plan.
  12. However, the District Council is currently accessing the most suitable location for the reprovision at Epping Sports Centre which is ageing and constrained in terms of access. The St John’s site can now form part of this option appraisal.
  13. In the intervening period the District Council will continue to ensure the security of the site and keep residents updated.

£14.5m leisure investment for EFDC residents

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Loughton Leisure Centre’s £3m refurbishment was formally unveiled on Saturday 8 September 2018 by Cllr Richard Bassett, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council. The centre is one of three in Epping Forest that is undergoing refurbishment, alongside a complete new build at Waltham Abbey.

Over £14m investment

Investment in the district’s leisure centres tops £14m and has been completed in partnership with Places Leisure, Epping Forest District Council’s leisure activity and wellness partner.

Before cutting the ribbon and leading a tour of Loughton’s new facilities, Cllr Bassett paid tribute to the centre management and staff for keeping as much of the centre operational during the building works, and thanked users for their patience during the disruption.

New state-of-the-art facilities

The refurb brings new split-level gym facilities and multi-function movement studio spaces, a virtual spinning room, upgraded changing villages with new lockers, flooring and vanity units as well as better air conditioning.

The bulk of the project has been completed in 20 weeks with further work planned to the reception areas and heating and power units.

Councillor Helen Kane, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Community Services, EFDC Acting Chief Executive Derek McNab and Mayor of Loughton, Stephen Murray also attended the opening.

Health and wellbeing hub

“All of our leisure centres needed a makeover to keep them up to date and offering a welcoming environment for users. But in Waltham Abbey we had a wonderful opportunity to create a health and wellbeing hub in a new setting and I am really looking forward to seeing the finished project,” said Councillor Helen Kane.

Waltham Abbey Leisure Centre is being completely rebuilt on the old community centre site in Ninefields, as part of a major health and wellbeing initiative between Epping Forest District Council and Places Leisure, It is scheduled for completion in November.

Mathew Nicholson, Contract Manager for Places Leisure said “It’s an exciting time for leisure within our community, following the recent investment at Loughton and across our facilities. With the brand-new Waltham Abbey Leisure Centre due to be completed in November we are excited to be able to offer an enhanced leisure provision within the area and more opportunities for our community to get active.”

Special opening offers

Check out the website for special opening offers at Loughton Leisure Centre www.placesleisure.org/centres/loughton-leisure-centre/centre-activities/gym/

New legislation around animal welfare

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New legislation for animal businesses is being introduced by the Government, taking effect from 1 October 2018.

The new rules cover animal boarding businesses (including home boarders and day carers), dog breeders, pet shops and riding establishments.

They will all be covered under a single type of license known as an ‘animal activity licence‘, with new nationally-set license conditions for businesses providing animal-related services.

More businesses will need a licence

“We cannot change these conditions as they are already set in the legislation,” said Councillor Nigel Avey, Portfolio Holder for Environment.

“Businesses operating with these activities will need to comply with the new conditions, and will be assessed before the license is granted to make sure they can meet them. It means more businesses will require a license and I would advise anyone who is unsure, to check now with our licensing team.”

Licences in place by 1 October 2018

Those businesses operating under current licences will be able to continue to do so until the expiry date of their licence. All applications to renew licences will be under the new legislation.

New applicants will need to have their licences in place by 1 October 2018.

Contact our licensing team

Decisions from Plans South 22 August 2018

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Planning application decisions from the Area Planning Sub-Committee South meeting Wednesday 22 August 2018.

Decisions

  • EPF/2758/17 – 12 High Elms, Chigwell, IG7 6NF
    Permission refused
  • EPF/0612/18 – 14 Ely Place, Chigwell, IG8 8AG
    Permission refused
  • EPF/0999/18 – Flat The Firs, 191 High Road, Chigwell, IG7 5AS
    Permission refused
  • EPF/1242/18  – 143-149 High Road and 2 Old Station Road, Loughton, IG10 4LY
    Deferred for site visit
  • EPF/1293/18 – Pay and Display Car park, Vere Road, Loughton IG10
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1325/18 – 37 Hanson Drive, Loughton, IG10 2EF
    Referred to DDMC
  • EPF/1450/18 – Haylands, 48 High Road, Chigwell, IG7 6DL
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1590/18 – 4 Coolgardie Avenue, Chigwell, IG7 5AU
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1610/18 – Forest Place, Roebuck Lane, Buckhurst Hill, IG9 5QL
    Deferred for site visit
  • EPF/1902/18 – 104 Southern Drive, Loughton, Essex, IG10 3BX
    Permission granted

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