Loughton bar licence suspended

Written on . Posted in Business, Commercial properties, Community, Crime and safety, Democracy, Licensing, Local business, Loughton, Media, Meetings, Out and about, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council

After an assault during the early hours on 10 April 2016, Nu Bar in Loughton High Road has had its licence temporarily suspended by councillors.

Temporary suspension of licence

A council spokesperson said: Following the incident, Essex Police submitted an application for a review of Nu Bar’s alcohol licence to the District Council’s Licensing Sub-Committee. Their application called for either the temporary suspension of the licence or the enforcement of stringent conditions in the interim period between now and a full hearing.

Councillors rejected the appeal by Greene King to lift the temporary suspension. They said that the suspension is appropriate and proportionate given the evidence submitted. The suspension will continue until the full hearing on 3 May 2016.

Robust steps taken 

Essex Police Superintendent Trevor Roe said: We are happy to support the night time economy in the Epping Forest district but when public safety, crime and disorder become an issue, robust steps will be taken to enforce the law around licensing by the licensing officers and the new community policing team based at Loughton.

 

Council pioneers drone use

Written on . Posted in Building control, Business, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Countryside and wildlife, Democracy, Drainage, Media, Meetings, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Stories in both the national and local media published over the last week have reported us buying 2 aerial camera systems also known as drones.

This is true but some of the stories have contained inaccuracies which we would like to put right.

DJI Phantom 3 aerial camera system

To view photos in a slideshow, click on a picture below and click start slideshow.

Cabinet agreed purchase

At a meeting of Epping Forest District Councils cabinet on 11 January 2016 it was agreed to purchase 2 drones for £5,000. This includes Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approved training for staff. Watch the decision at cabinet.

This money came out of our ‘invest to save scheme’.

The drones purchased are DJI Phantom 3 and will be operated by our GIS team once trained. (GIS = Geographic Information System).

Saving money

We have been buying commercial photographs and videos for site surveys for over 50 years. This has included the hire of drones. Purchasing drones has many benefits that will save the council money and time. These include

  • Real-time surveys for planning purposes saving us having to purchase aerial photography for new planning developments and landscaping enforcement
  • Surveying roofs and guttering on council owned estates saving money and time on scaffolding and surveys
  • Identifying illegal waste transfer sites and previously unidentified unauthorised caravan encampments
  • Find out more on the cabinet report dated 11 January 2016

Generate  income

We are hoping the drones could generate the council income. We will be exploring the opportunities of shared use with other local authorities and public bodies. This will help to ensure we remain a low council tax authority (we have frozen our portion of council tax for the last 6 years).

A valuable tool

We would like to reassure residents that the drones will not be used for snooping on our residents but used as a valuable tool in the fight against environmental and planning abuses. We will not be looking into peoples back gardens.

Innovative use of new technology

This innovative use of new technology helps to save the taxpayer money and helps us to look after the environment in the Epping Forest district, in which we are proud to live, work and enjoy.

 

Limes Centre open morning

Written on . Posted in Business, Chigwell, Community, Environmental health, Housing, Local business, Media, Older people, Out and about, Private housing, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

We are having an open day at The Limes Centre in Chigwell to mark our extended opening hours. All residents are welcome to come along and find out what services we offer.

  • When – Monday 1 February 2016 9:15am to 12 noon
  • Where – The Limes Centre, Limes Avenue, Chigwell, IG7 5LP

Limes Farm open day flyer

On the day we will be available to answer your questions

  • Housing management South – rent enquiries, tenancy matters and estate issues
  • Environmental health – noise nuisance, fly tipping and general enquiries
  • Community safety – anti social behaviour, or any other policing matters
  • Community involvement – activities in your local area and at the Limes Centre
  • Private sector housing – housing advice to private home owners

Since our new extended opening hours, we have been asking residents to complete a satisfaction questionnaire when visiting The Limes Centre. Every month all completed survey forms will be entered into a £25 prize draw. The first draw will take place on 1 February 2016. So come along and see us, we’ll be happy to help with your enquiry.

Free refreshments.

Want to know more?

 

Prosecution for fly-tipping in Waltham Abbey

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Media, Our countryside, Out and about, Recycling and waste, Regulations, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your council, Your environment

Mr Terence Sullivan of Morris Court Waltham Abbey was fined £120 and ordered to pay a contribution towards the prosecution costs of £200 after pleading guilty to an offence of depositing fly-tipped waste on 16 March 2015 in a bin store at Springfields, Waltham Abbey.

The fly tipping of waste in the bin store serving properties in Springfields Waltham Abbey was witnessed by a member of the public on 16th March 2015 and reported to the Council the following day.

Environment and Neighbourhood officers were able to trace the vehicle used in the fly tipping back to Terence Sullivan of Morris Court Waltham Abbey, who when subsequently interviewed under caution admitted being responsible for its deposit which included some waste from his business as a roofing company.

Evidence gathered by the Council’s Environment & Neighbourhood team led to a prosecution in Chelmsford Magistrates Court on 10th December 2015.

We aim to maintain a safe and clean environment

Councillor Will Breare-Hall, the Environment Portfolio Holder, said:

‘We aim to maintain a safe and clean environment for our residents and take all instances of fly tipping extremely seriously. We will pursue a prosecution when we have the necessary evidence, so I encourage members of the public who witness fly tipping to make a note of the details, including the date and time and the registration number of any vehicle involved, and to report it to us as soon as possible, either online or by calling 01992 564608 during office hours or 01992 564000 at all other times.”

Report fly tipping

 

Gambling Policy Consultation

Written on . Posted in Business, Licensing, Regulations

We are required to consult on our Gambling policy every 3 years and we are keen to hear from residents, businesses, licensees and anyone with an interest in the Epping Forest district.

As the licensing authority, Epping Forest District Council must regard the licensing objectives as set out in section 1 of the Act.

The licensing objectives are:

  • Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime
  • Ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way
  • Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling

Email us your comments to licensing@eppingforestdc.gov.uk or send them to Licensing department, Epping Forest District Council, Corporate Support Services, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping CM16 4BZ.

These will be passed to our licensing committee for consideration.

All comments must be received by 31 January 2016.
Click here to read the draft policy

CO levels tested to protect residents

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Councillors, Environmental health, Food safety, Local business, Media, Out and about, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Public Health team test Carbon Monoxide levels to protect residents from exposure.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, gas which is lethal and can cause asphyxiation. There have been a number of well publicised deaths from CO exposure in recent years which were attributed to faulty gas heaters, boilers and, somewhat surprisingly, the use of barbeque charcoal in restaurants.

Environmental Health Officer Hasan Erdogan and withEnvironment Portfolio Holder Councillor Will Breare-Hall

When charcoal cools, CO gasses are produced. These gasses can potentially permeate neighbouring accommodation as well as remain within the restaurant itself, which could have tragic consequences for neighbouring residents and the restaurant’s employees.

CO data loggers fitted

Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: “There has been an increase in the use of open barbeque equipment in restaurants around our district and, if CO levels are not monitored, this could pose a significant risk to residents and employees. Mindful of our residents wellbeing, our Public Health Team have undertaken CO sampling in 12 of the districts barbeque restaurants. CO data loggers were fitted in each business over a weekend to establish exposure levels.”

Councillor Will Breare-Hall continued: “Of the 12, most were found to be below the legal workplace exposure limit. 5 were identified as having CO levels with room for improvement. These were swiftly and easily dealt with using simple and cost effective solutions, for example, ensuring doors are kept closed to allow extractors to work efficiently, ensuring extractor systems and filters are kept clean, and making sure that the charcoal is removed at the end of the day and not left overnight. Follow up monitoring was undertaken to confirm that the changes had been effective.”

Instant read CO monitor and data loggers

CO testing is important

Councillor Will Breare-Hall concluded: “CO testing is important because high levels can be so dangerous. We are not trying to catch anyone out, we are simply trying to keep our residents and our restaurants as safe as possible.”

“Following this success, a further project is planned to establish whether restaurants in the district that use Tandoor ovens are operating with safe levels of CO. Tandoor ovens traditionally use charcoal and even though many are now gas fired, officers have found that the current trend is for charcoal fired tandoor ovens.”

Food safety advice

Further information on this project, or any health and safety or food safety advice contact the Public Health Team

 

National Empty Homes Week

Written on . Posted in Community, Housing, Media, Out and about, Private housing, Regulations, Residents, Working with the council, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Did you know approximately 480 properties in the Epping Forest district have been standing empty for more than 6 months. In an area where there’s a huge demand for housing but development on Green Belt is prohibited, it’s very important that as many empty properties as possible are brought back to use.

Empty homes banner

Properties are left empty for a variety of reasons but they can be the source of much misery to neighbours who live nearby. It’s estimated that the home next door to an empty property can be devalued by 10%. There is also the worry of nuisance, vermin, arson, vandalism and anti social behaviour. For the owner, an empty property is a wasted resource and can be costly in terms of increased insurance, increased council tax, emergency repairs and break-ins.

Reducing the number of empty properties

Epping Forest District Council is committed to reducing the number of empty properties in the district and can offer financial help in certain circumstances. It is recognised that a stumbling block can be that the empty property is in disrepair and cannot be lived in, let or easily sold in its condition.

We offer the following schemes

  • Empty Homes Repayable Assistance

    The Empty Homes Repayable Assistance offers up to £10,000 if there is an empty property that you intend to live in yourself, but is in poor condition. The money is repaid when you eventually sell the property.

  • PLACE Loan

    The PLACE Loan offers up to £25,000 if you have a property that you would like to have renovated in order that you can sell or rent it out. This is an interest free loan and is paid back within 2 years in the case of a loan to sell, or 5 years in the case of the loan to let.

Whilst the council will always prefer to work with owners in a constructive way, it has certain enforcement powers that it may use to ensure that an empty property is brought back to use particularly if it has been empty a long time and is problematic to the local community.

Committed to bringing empty properties back into use

Housing portfolio holder David Stallan said: “As a council we are fully committed to bringing empty properties back into use and are looking to help owners in every way we can. However where all other measures have failed, we are prepared to take enforcement action as a last resort.”

Report an Empty Property

If you are aware of an empty property provide us with the address and any other information you may have and we will do our best to contact the owner, to work with him, to bring his property back to use. All calls are treated in confidence. For further information and advice or to report an empty property, please contact the Empty Property Officer on telephone: 01992 564706 or email: privatesectorhousing@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.

 

Free weekend parking for December

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Consultation, Councillors, Local business, Media, Out and about, Parking, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Pay and Display Car Park charges will be relaxed in the Epping Forest District in the run-up to Christmas this year.

It will be free to park in Council car parks on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays throughout the month of December.

Support our local shops

Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder, Councillor Gary Waller said: “The relaxation of charges will offer our residents a more convenient way to do their Christmas shopping. We want to encourage our residents to shop locally where possible, rather than taking their custom out of the district. This will help support our local shops and high streets throughout the Christmas period.”

It should be noted that all other conditions in respect of Epping Forest District Council’s car parks will remain in force and civil enforcement officers (ENOs) will be patrolling as usual.

Pay and display car parks

 

Food Hygiene Rating Scheme turns 5

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Environmental health, Food safety, Health, Local business, Media, Out and about, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council

On 30 November 2015 the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) will be 5 years old and Epping Forest District Council is proud to be part of it.

More and more customers are making an informed choice about where they eat so we are encouraging all businesses in the district to display their rating. Food businesses work hard to achieve a good rating and it’s something to be proud of.

FHRS infographic

We want to

  • give consumers information about hygiene standards in food outlets so that they can make informed choices
  • drive up hygiene standards in food businesses
  • reduce the incidence of foodborne illness (this is estimated at around 500,000 cases annually from the main causes of foodborne illness – including all types of food borne disease could double this figure to nearer 1 million cases a year)

6 hygiene ratings

The scheme covers businesses supplying or serving food direct to consumers such as restaurants, takeaways, cafés, pubs, hotels, schools, hospitals, care homes, supermarkets and other retailers.

There are 6 hygiene ratings ranging from ‘0’ (urgent improvement required) at the bottom to ‘5’ (very good) at the top. Around 93% of food businesses are rated a 3 or better so there are plenty of places you can choose with good standards and easily avoid taking your family and friends to those not meeting the grade.

The scheme is designed so that all businesses, no matter how small can achieve the top rating by meeting the legal requirements and any improvements needed to get a higher rating are no more than is required by the law. We’ve seen standards improve. Now more and more businesses are able to show their customers that they take food hygiene seriously.

Look before you book

Look before you book and check the rating at www.food.gov.uk/ratings, by using the mobile app or looking for the green and black stickers which should be displayed at the premises.

Frequently asked questions and answers can be found at www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/hygiene-rating-schemes/rating-schemes-faqs-en.

 

Firework displays in Essex

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Local business, Media, Older people, Out and about, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Young people, Your area, Your community

Bonfire night is full of fun and excitement but it is also the night of the year which creates the most risk of fire.

The best way to stay safe on Bonfire night is to head out and enjoy an organised fireworks display. Click on the link below to go to details of properly organised displays collated by Essex County Fire & Rescue Service.

Firework code

  1. Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable
  2. Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time
  3. Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary
  4. Light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back
  5. Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks
  6. Never return to a firework once it has been lit
  7. Don’t put fireworks in pockets and never throw them
  8. Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators
  9. Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire
  10. Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving

Read more – information to make sure your firework parties are fun rather than fraught with danger.

Read more – Fireworks: the law.