Shared accommodation standards survey

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If you live in, manage or own shared accommodation, let us know what you think of our proposed Essex-wide amenity standards. This covers bedroom sizes and living space, kitchen and bathroom facilities, number of toilets and other amenities like heating and washing and drying facilities.

Essex HMO consultation

Take the survey

The survey should only take 10 minutes and will close on 19 June 2018.

Landlords and tenants – tell us your views

“It’s really important that both landlords and tenants tell us their views” said Councillor Syd Stavrou, Deputy Leader and Housing Portfolio Holder. “If landlords don’t respond they risk having standards imposed on them that they don’t like and which may be costly. Equally for tenants this is their opportunity to let us know what they would reasonably expect when living in shared accommodation.”

Councillor Syd Stavrou ended by asking landlords and tenants to complete the survey: “It only takes 10 minutes to complete and closes on 19 June 2018, this is your chance to help us better understand your views.”

Clear space and amenity standards

Essex Councils want to ensure that clear space and amenity standards for HMOs are in place across Essex so that landlords and tenants know what is expected.

Please have your say as we seek to ensure that HMOs are safe, suitable and well-managed.

Decisions from Plans South 25 April 2018

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Planning application decisions from the Area Planning Sub-Committee South meeting Wednesday 25 April 2018.

Decisions

  • EPF/2315/17 – 49 Manor Road, Chigwell, IG7 5PL
    GRANTED
  • EPF/0319/18 – 52 & 54 Palmerston Road, Buckhurst Hill, IG9 5LH
    GRANTED
  • EPF/2758/17 – 12 High Elms, Chigwell, IG7 5PN
    DEFERRED
  • EPF/3177/17 – 105 Manor Road, Chigwell, IG7 5PM
    REFUSED
  • EPF/3210/17 – Former Delivery Office, 256 High Road, Loughton, IG10 1RB
    GRANTED
  • EPF/0201/18 – 1 Brook Parade, Chigwell, IG7 6PD
    GRANTED
  • EPF/0206/18 – 25 Felstead Road, Loughton, IG10 3BB
    GRANTED
  • EPF/0330/18 – 157 Manor Road, Chigwell, IG7 5QA
    GRANTED
  • EPF/0336/18 – Greenacres, Vicarage Lane, Chigwell, IG7 6LS
    GRANTED
  • EPF/0353/18 – 71 Roundmead Avenue, Loughton, IG10 1PZ
    REFUSED
  • EPF/0523/18 – 12 Eleven Acre Rise, Loughton, IG10 1AN
  • GRANTED

Planning application search

Landlord fined £21,575 for illegal HMO

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Epping Forest District Council successfully prosecuted and fined Mr Veli Bunul £21,575, when found operating an unlicensed house in multiple occupation (HMO) and breaching legislation designed to protect tenants.

HMO Licence

The Council was called to inspect a three storey family town house in Tillingham Court Waltham Abbey, found to be occupied by three separate families, each with young children, all sharing one kitchen and two bathrooms.

Potential tragedy

Housing 11 occupants, the property was overcrowded, had inadequate fire precautions or a safe means of escape in event of an emergency.

Basildon Magistrates court was particularly concerned about these failings which could have potentially led to lives being at risk and tragic circumstances.

The Court heard that Mr Bunul of Chase Side, London E14 had ignored all of Epping Forest District Council’s warnings about his responsibilities to licence the property and his obligation to make it safe.

He alleged he was unaware that the property was being occupied by several families, claiming someone else collected the rent on his behalf. The court did not find this a reasonable excuse and so carried his conviction alongside a hefty fine.

Zero tolerance

Housing Portfolio Holder, Councillor Syd Stavrou said, “We will not tolerate landlords who rent properties which fail to meet standards.  The Council has a commitment to ensure that private landlords in the Epping Forest district do not take financial advantage of vulnerable tenants and put their lives at risk.  We will not hesitate to prosecute landlords who show a disregard for the law and their responsibilities towards occupants”.

New licensing rules

The Government are bringing in an extension to the  current licensing regime. From 1 April 2018, any property with five or more people from two or more households will require a licence regardless of how many floors there are in the property.

Landlords must comply with licence conditions to ensure properties are safe for the amount of people occupying them. In addition, minimum space requirements are to be imposed to prevent exploitation by overcrowding.

Advice to Landlords

Landlords that currently operate a licensable HMO in Epping Forest District (3 or more storeys, occupied by 5 or more people living as 2 or more households) but do not currently hold a licence should contact the Council’s Private Sector Housing Team immediately to avoid prosecution.

Anyone operating such an HMO without the appropriate licence is committing an offence, risks a criminal record and an unlimited fine on summary conviction.

Other landlords operating or thinking of operating an HMO that will fall under the new licensing regime from 1 April 2018 are encouraged to contact the Private Sector Housing Team for further information and advice.

Advice to tenants

If you think you may be living in a property that requires a licence and one is not displayed in the property, or you are concerned about the property conditions, please contact the Private Sector Housing team on the details below.

Contact

Council Tax is set for 2018/19

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At a meeting of Council on 22 February 2018, Epping Forest District Councillors made the decision to increase Council Tax for the first time since 2010, following the inclusion of law and order initiatives to improve anti-social issues in the district.

Tax levels may be set higher still as Essex County Council, Essex Police, Essex Fire and Rescue and some Town and Parish Council’s have confirmed increases their Council Tax share too.

An average Band D property will pay an extra £3.69 a year for their District Council Tax contribution.

 

Council Tax

Epping Forest District Councillors agreed the 2.48% increase in the District Council’s portion of Council Tax to absorb the cost of 3 extra police officers employed to work closely with the Community Safety Team. The decision was taken as residents call for more visible policing to deter and deal with cases of anti-social behaviour in local towns and villages.

Finance Portfolio Holder, Councillor Gagan Mohindra said: “This budget is a significant departure from our policy in recent years as it proposes the first increase in Council Tax since 2010/11. This change is necessary to provide additional funds to combat the scourge of anti-social behaviour. Earlier we discussed the problems being faced by our residents on a daily basis and it is vital that we act to address these. We hope that over the 3 year trial period we are providing funding for, the police will be in a better place than they are now and that it will be possible to withdraw our support.”

“This is the first time for eight years that we are increasing the Council Tax but it is for a specific reason and for a limited time period, to provide the public with additional services they have said they want.”

Derek Macnab – Chief Executive

Following the announcement that Epping Forest District Council’s Chief Executive Glen Chipp, is leaving to become Chief Executive of Horsham District Council, Council agreed the recommendation to appointment Derek Macnab as acting Chief Executive and Head of Paid Services with immediate effect.

Council Leader, Councillor Chris Whitbread, thanked Glen Chipp for his service to Epping Forest District Council and its residents before welcoming the appointment of Derek Macnab.

He said: “Derek Macnab’s brief is to maintain the momentum of our modernisation and organisational development of the Council. No doubt he will bring his own personal style and approach to the process, but the drivers for change remain. We are a strong, well-managed Council moving towards a position of financial independence as central government funding ends.”

A minute for reflection

A minute’s silence was observed by Council in memory of Councillor Brian Surtees and former Council Leader Di Collins, who both passed away earlier this month.

A heartfelt speech was first given by Council Leader Chris Whitbread, offering sincere condolences to the friends and family of both former Councillors. An abundance of tributes from Councillors from all parties followed, praising and sharing kind words in memory of both Councillor Brian Surtees and Di Collins.

Elections 2018

Simon Hill has been appointed as Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer for Epping Forest District Council in advance of this year’s elections, on 3 May 2018.

Mr Hill was also appointed Monitoring Officer for the Council, a role which is responsible for the governance of Council officers and elected Councillors.

Businesses beware bogus Council Officers

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Businesses beware, bogus Environmental Health Officers and Licensing Officers have visited businesses across Essex, issuing fake on the spot fines for non-compliance and asking for annual fee payments in cash.

Council tax scam warning

The Council has received 3 reports of individuals falsely presenting themselves as Epping Forest District Council Environmental Health Officer’s to food establishments within the Waltham Abbey area.

The imposters demanded the business owners pay fines for not complying with regulations.

Licensing scam

Licenced businesses within Essex have also received visits from individuals pretending to be Council Licensing Officers, requesting licence fees be paid in cash.

These people are very convincing as they know how much your licence is and they also use the names of real licensing officers.

Real Council Officers

Real Environmental Health Officers and any of the Council’s Licensing or Enforcement Officers will be happy to let you see their badges to check their identity.

On the back of their badges, you will find a list of their authorisations and a telephone number, which you can call to verify they are who they say they are. Remember you are well within your rights to request to check their authorisations and be especially careful if they do not allow you to do this.

Environmental Health Officers and Licensing Officers will not ask you to pay an on the spot fine or take cash from you.

If a scammer calls

If you are in any doubt as to whether someone demanding money from you is legitimate, you should contact the Council as soon as possible to check his or her identity. Do not pay them.

Report it

If you suspect you have been visited by a bogus caller please contact the Council and the Police as soon as possible.

Law and Order Budget set to bring first District Council Tax rise for 8 years

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Epping Forest District Council is to vote on its first Council Tax increase in 8 years as councillors decide on whether to pay for various law and order initiatives. This includes 3 extra police officers employed by Essex Police who would be dedicated to the district.

Should the Cabinet recommendation agreed on 1 February 2018 receive Full Council approval, residents will be asked to pay an extra £3.69 a year on average for a Band D property.

Final decisions on the budget and setting of Council Tax will be taken at Full Council on 22 February 2018.

Cabinet 1 February 2018

Cllr Mohindra at cabinet

More resources to tackle law and order issues

Finance Portfolio Holder Councillor Gagan Mohindra is recommending the budget. He said: “Without these initiatives, we would have been putting another zero percent Council Tax increase forward. However, our residents are telling us they want more resources to tackle law and order issues, especially around anti-social behaviour. Essex Police is also putting extra resources in but we are fortunate we can add more. These officers will be based at the Civic Offices and work closely with our own Community Safety Team. They will be dedicated to our district and spend the vast majority of their time with us.”

Councillor Mohindra says this is a strong budget despite challenging financial times. Speaking ahead of the Council meeting to set the District Council budget and Council Tax, he explained how significant savings and increased income are being reinvested into services.

First increase since 2010

He said: “Our residents have seen their overall Council Tax bill increasing over the years and think Epping Forest District Council’s precept of the Council Tax has gone up too. This has not been the case – this is actually our first increase since 2010. The historic increases have been made by Essex County Council, Essex Police and local town and parish councils.”

“The District Council part of our Council Tax bill for a Band D property is going up from £148.77 to £152.46 a year. A 2.48% increase which represents incredible value considering the law and order costs we are taking on and a raft of other investments.”

Assets and investment

“Use of our assets and income from investments has helped us manage much better than most other councils. As the budget setting approaches, my council colleagues and I still have to make some tough choices. Refuse and recycling costs are going up as inflation and cuts in the price for recycled materials have hit income. Reductions in the central government Revenue Support Grant are bigger than previously expected. It is worth noting the grant will end completely by 2019/20.”

“It is not all doom and gloom – the successful completion of the Epping Forest Shopping Park is projected to add income of £2.5million, money the Council plans to spend on maintaining our local services. The recent re-letting of the Council’s Leisure Centre Management contract to Places for People is saving almost £1million a year as well as helping to fund the construction of a brand new leisure centre in Waltham Abbey plus major improvements to our centres in Loughton, Epping and Ongar.”

Commercial business

“Income from commercial activities is up, making a contribution of almost £3million to council services. North Weald airfield is preparing for the arrival of the National Police Air Service. The Herts and Essex Air-Ambulance is already a long-standing tenant. The addition of police aircraft will make the airfield a major emergency services aviation hub. Distribution companies and aircraft maintenance services are thriving alongside the continued success of the airfield’s Saturday market and other regular events.”

“The Broadway Landmark development in Debden is adding to the Council’s portfolio of shops. Income from our industrial estates is also up. The new Pay and Display management contract is now bedded in, providing further savings while additional parking spaces are adding to income.”

Smarter ways of working

“Smarter ways of working are also set to achieve savings. Long term reduction in the need for office space is being achieved through better use of technology. Major new IT investment is expected to be off-set by the benefits of flexible working and a possible reduction in staffing levels through the Council’s People Strategy.”

“Innovative cultural and sports services include the contract to manage Lowewood Museum on behalf of Broxbourne Borough Council, earning Epping Forest almost £20,000 a year while almost £90,000 in external funding has been added to the Sports Development Programme.”

Council house building

“The first phase of the new council house building programme has been completed with 23 new homes in Waltham Abbey. Further developments including new flats and houses in Loughton, Epping and Coopersale are on track for completion this year. Income from council houses is set to fall again as a further 1% reduction in line with Central Government policy brings the average rent down to £95.34 per week.”

Myth-busting

Councillor Mohindra said: “I would like to do some myth-busting. Some people have got the wrong idea about pay and display car parks identified for housing in the Local Plan. Our Pay and Display car parks are a direct source of income to the Council. Any redevelopment proposal must include full re-provision of parking spaces.”

“Similarly, we also own the Broadway shop units in Debden and have increased our investment with the new Gateway shops. As landlord of Epping Forest Shopping Park we have ensured its new shops bring more customers, money, employment and wealth into our District. The Broadway has a healthy outlook with a waiting list of new prospective tenants as soon as vacancies arise.”

Councillor Mohindra added: “At a time when public sector organisations are generally cutting services we are bucking the trend by investing in new and better services from health, culture and wellbeing to employment, housing and law and order. This could only have been achieved with years of financial prudence and planning.”

Other items at Cabinet

The Council’s sheltered housing schemes reserved for older residents are to be reviewed. Initial scoping reports will be produced to see how some capacity in the sheltered housing stock can be replaced or converted into general needs housing available to people of all ages on the Council’s housing waiting list.

The preliminary nature of the scoping study was repeatedly emphasised with much more investigation required before any decisions on whether and how any redevelopment might take place. The needs of tenants are a top priority and would be handled with the greatest sensitivity. Approval of the proposals followed acceptance of the annual review of the Housing Allocation Scheme. Councillors also approved the Council’s Pay Policy for 2018/19, Transformation updates, Treasury Management Statements and calendar of meetings for 2018/19.

Epping Forest Shopping Park open for Christmas

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The new Epping Forest Shopping Park in Loughton is up and running and open for Christmas.

Epping Forest Shopping Park

Stores open

Stores open in time for Christmas are

The new shopping park at Langston Road in Loughton is owned by Epping Forest District Council. It’s a short walk from Debden tube station with over 300 parking bays including 10 charging points for electric vehicles. There’s cycle racks for 34 bikes as well.

A fantastic range of well-known and popular retailers

“I’m delighted to see our new shopping park open,” said Councillor Anne Grigg, Economic Development portfolio holder at Epping Forest District Council. “We’ve got a fantastic range of well-known and popular retailers, and for many it’s their first store to open in the Epping Forest district.”

“Analysis showed us 75% of local residents travelled out of the district to shop. Now the Epping Forest Shopping Park can plug that gap and residents can now shop locally at the stores they want.”

Epping Forest Shopping Park logo

New jobs for the local area

Councillor Grigg ended with: “The retail park not only provides new jobs for the local area, it’s rental income will be put back into local services, contributing to keeping Epping Forest District Council a low Council Tax council.”

Free weekend parking throughout December

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Epping, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Parking, Residents, Supporting business, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

We are offering free car parking on Saturdays and Sundays in 18 Epping Forest District Council owned car parks from Saturday 2 December to Sunday 31 December 2017.

car parks

Support local

Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder, Councillor Sam Kane said: ”We hope that by relaxing the car parking charges over the weekends in the lead up to Christmas, we will help encourage our residents to shop locallySupporting our retailers and town centres throughout the Christmas period.”

”There are so many benefits to shopping locally. We want to give our residents easier access to our shops throughout the festive season, hopefully reducing the need to visit busy, overcrowded shopping centres and taking their custom outside the district.”

Further information

Decisions from Plans West 15 November 2017

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Planning application decisions from Area Planning Sub-Committee West meeting on Wednesday 15 November 2017.

Decisions

  • EPF/1232/16 – Chimes Garden Centre, Old Nazeing Road, Nazeing, Waltham Abbey Essex, EN10 6RJ
  • Permission granted
  • EPF/1492/16 – The Chimes Nursery, Old Nazeing Road, Nazeing, Waltham Abbey, EN10 6RJ
  • Deferred to DDMC
  • EPF/1782/17 – Marydel, Copt Hall Green, Waltham Abbey, Essex, EN9 3TB
  • Permission refused
  • EPF/2047/17 – Land at Burleigh Lodge, Hoe Lane, Nazeing, Essex, EN9 2RJ
  • Permission granted

Planning application search

 

Decisions from Plans East 8 November 2017

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Planning application decisions from Area Planning Sub-Committee East meeting on Wednesday 8 November 2017.

Decisions

  1. EPF/0852/17 – Ashleam House, Lyngs Farm, Nupers Hatch, Stapleford Abbotts, Essex, RM4 1JR
    Permission refused
  2. EPF/1762/17 – Land to the rear of Mountford and Bishops Bron, Oak Hill Road, Stapleford Abbotts, Essex, RM4 1JL
    Permission granted
  3. EPF/1926/17 – 15 Theydon Place, Epping, Essex, CM16 4NH
    Permission granted
  4. EPF/1990/17 – 2 Theydon Place, Epping, Essex, CM16 4NH
    Permission refused
  5. EPF/2265/17 – 2 Creeds Cottages, High Road, Epping, Essex, CM16 4DE
    Permission refused
  6. EPF/2272/17 – 56 Longfields, Ongar, Essex, CM5 9BZ
    Permission granted
  7. EPF/2378/17 – Newford Barn, Tysea Hill, Stapleford Abbotts, Essex, RM4 1JS
    Permission granted

Next meeting

The next Plans East meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 6 December 2017.