Planning documents offline for upgrade works

Written on . Posted in Business, Consultation, Licensing, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Your council, Your environment

On Monday 8 July you will not be able to view planning or licensing application documents online due to essential upgrade works. We will start at 8am and hope to have the upgrade completed by 2pm. No other part of the Epping Forest District Council website will be affected.

You will be not be able to search for documents such as floorplans and application forms but details of applications will still be available.

The upgrade will

  • improve the usability of the page
  • remove issues experienced by some users with pop up blockers

We apologise in advance for any inconvenience this may cause.

 

Infringement Prevention Award for North Weald Airfield

Written on . Posted in Business, Chairman, Local business, Media, North Weald Airfield, Our attractions, Out and about, Regulations, Supporting business, Travel, Your area

North Weald Airfield received an Infringement Prevention Award from the National Air Traffic Service (NATS) for raising awareness in the flying community to keep in the correct flight zone.

The infringement prevention award was introduced in recognition of flying clubs, groups and airfields that have made special efforts to prevent and mitigate against airspace infringements. North Weald is only the second airfield to receive this award.

Jonathan Smith and Jonathan Bolton from NATS presented the Chairman of Epping Forest District Council Councillor Mary Sartin and Airfield Operations Officer Trevor Jago with the award. As part of the campaign, a special TMZ leaflet has been produced in order to increase awareness amongst home-based and visiting pilots to the airfield, which is owned by Epping Forest District Council.

TMZ stands for Transponder Mandatory Zone and is the controlled airspace around Stansted Airport. Aerial photographs of local landmarks to help improve situational awareness have been included. In particular, the Church Langley Water Tower adjacent to the M11 is right on the edge of the Stansted control zone, so if an aircraft goes past it they have infringed. In addition, a briefing note for pilots advising them of local procedures has been produced and signs have been erected at the main runway to remind them of the TMZ.

Read the leaflet Be TMZ aware! (pdf 744MB)

Chairman of Council Councillor Mary Sartin said: “I am delighted to receive this award on behalf of North Weald Airfield. Air traffic safety is very important and I know our operational staff at the Airfield have put a lot of effort in to producing as much detailed information as possible for the pilots who use it.”

Photos

Many thanks to Weald Aviation for providing a hangar and the stunning Hunter T7 Fox 1 as the backdrop to the presentation. View photos in a slideshow by clicking on a picture and then click start slideshow.

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Follow North Weald Airfield on Facebook for more great pictures of planes, cars and their many other events.

 

Proposed changes to the planning rules – new permitted development rights

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Business, Chigwell, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Epping, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

As from 30 May 2013, new changes have come into force in respect of further permitted development rights for certain building works and changes of use without the need to apply for planning permission. Despite most Council’s, including ourselves, having raised objections to these planned changes, this has nationally been brought in to encourage development to take place and speed up its delivery by removing local authority control in an attempt to revive the economy. There are a number of changes, which are as follows:

Single storey rear extension to houses:

At present, it is possible to build a 4 metre deep single storey rear extension onto the original rear wall of a detached house and a 3 metre deep single storey rear extension onto an attached house as permitted development, i.e. without the need for planning permission. This right remains, but a new procedure (called “prior approval”) is to be introduced which may allow extensions up to double this size without planning permission (up to 8 metres deep for a detached house and 6 metres deep for an attached house). This does not apply in conservation areas, though.

The process for all other extension works under Part 1 of the GPDO will remain the same (i.e. no more than half the garden area around the house etc), but anyone proposing a 3m-6m or 4m-8m extension must write and provide a plan and written description of the proposal. There is no planning application fee.

The Council is required to consult the immediately adjoining premises only, with a minimum consultation period of 21 days. If no objections are received from the consulted adjoining neighbours, the development can go ahead. If an adjoining neighbour objects, then the prior approval of the local planning authority is required. Planning Officers will then need to consider the impact of the development only on the amenity of the immediate neighbours. Other factors, such as green belt, design and appearance cannot be considered under this prior approval procedure. Only where there is clearly excessive harm to neighbouring amenity will Officers be in a position to refuse prior approval.

This whole process has to be done within a total of 42 days from first receipt of the information submitted, otherwise, no matter whether there is an objection from an immediate neighbour or from the Council, the development can proceed. There is a right of appeal against a refusal.

The legislation requires that any 3m-6m or 4m-8m extension “shall be completed on or before 30th May 2016″.  It is therefore a temporary additional permitted development right for 3 years only.

The legislation also requires that “the developer shall notify the local planning authority of the completion of the development as soon as reasonably practicable after completion”.

Download the application form – Prior Notification of a Proposed Larger Home Extension

Download the guidance notes – Prior Notification of a Proposed Larger Home Extension

Change of Use

(please note that none of the below changes of use are relevant to listed buildings, but they can be carried out in conservation areas).

•  Premises in Class B1(a) office use will be able to change to Class C3 residential use so long as the C3 use starts on or before 30 May 2016. This is only subject to a prior approval process whereby the developer shall apply to the Council for a determination as to whether prior approval is required only in respect of flooding, highway and transport issues and contamination. There are no other considerations. The determination will have to be made by the Council within 56 days and in this case, a fee, believed at this stage to be £80.00, is required. There was an opportunity to be exempt from this permitted change of use and we as a Council made a strong case in order to protect our local town centre and employment areas. However, we, along with many others, were unsuccessful and only 17 authorities across England (including 11 inner London boroughs) have been given change of use exemption. Again, this is a temporary additional permitted development right in that no change of use can take place after 30 May 2016, but if the use has started before then, it can continue.

•  Parts of buildings under 150 metres within Class A1 – A5, B1, D1 and D2 will be permitted to change to a flexible use falling within Class A1 (shops), A2 (financial and professional services), A3 (restaurants) or B1 (business). For a one off period of up to 2 years, the developer only needs to notify (and therefore there is no prior approval considerations) the Council beforehand and in this time period, it can move between other uses in this flexible use. After 2 years, the use reverts back. This applies even in the Local Plan key retail frontages. 

•  Agricultural buildings (cumulatively)|under 500 square metres in floor space used solely in agriculture before 3 July 2012 or for 10 years after that date, can change to a flexible use falling within Class A1-A3, B1 (business), B8 (storage and distribution), C1 (hotel) or D2 (assembly and leisure). This flexible use will then be classed as “sui generis” such that any further changes of use outside the flexible uses require planning permission. In the case where the floor space does not exceed 150 metres, the developer merely has to notify the Council of the change. If it exceeds 150 metres, the developer has to apply to the Council for a determination as to whether prior approval is required and we can only take account of flooding, highway and transport issues, noise and contamination can be considered through consultation with statutory undertakers. Therefore there are no other considerations. The determination has to be made by the Council within 56 days.  

•  Buildings within Class B1, C1, C2, C2a, D1 and D2 will be able to change to a state funded school. The developer shall apply to the Council for a determination as to whether prior approval but we can only consider against  highway and transport issues, noise and contamination. There are no other considerations. The determination will have to be made by the Council within 56 days.

•   The use of any building as a state-funded school for a single academic year will be permitted. It then reverts back to its previous use at the end of the academic year. The site must however, be approved for such purpose by the relevant Minister.

Temporary Increased Thresholds for Offices

 Increases Permitted Development threshold to erect, extend or alter office premises from 25% of gross floor space or 100 square metres (whichever is the lesser) to 50% or 200 square metres. The new permitted development right is temporary and will expire on 30th May 2016. The developer must notify us in writing when the development is complete

Temporary Increased Thresholds for Shops, Catering, Professional or Financial Services 

Increases PD threshold to erect, extend or alter a shop, catering, professional or financial services establishment from 25% of gross floor space or 100 square metres (whichever is the lesser) to 50% or 200 square metres. The new permitted development right is temporary and will expire on 30th May 2016.
 The exclusion of development within 2 metres of the boundary of the curtilage is removed during the same period except in relation to premises which adjoin land or buildings in residential use. The developer must notify us in writing when the development is complete.

Temporary Increased Thresholds for Industrial and Warehouse Use Classes 

 Increases PD threshold to erect, extend or alter industrial and warehouse premises from 25% of gross floor space or 100 square metres (whichever is the lesser) to 50% or 200 square metres. The new permitted development right is temporary and will expire on 30th May 2016. Developers must notify us of completion.

Telecoms Installations

The construction, installation or replacement of telegraph poles, cabinets or lines for fixed-line broadband services will not require prior approval in Conservation Areas for a 5 year period. Development must be completed before 30th May 2018.

Extensions permitted to temporary schools

Buildings which qualify for the right to change temporarily to school use are also given the benefit of existing permitted development rights which allow schools to carry out building works (including the erection, extension or alteration of buildings and the provision of hard surfaces) subject to various conditions and limitations.
 This will apply from the date we are notified by the relevant Minister that the site has been approved for school use.

 

Find out more about the planning process and planning applications

 

Full Council 23 April 2013

Written on . Posted in Benefits, Business, Community, Consultation, Councillors, Democracy, Licensing, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Meetings, Our attractions, Out and about, Parking, Recycling and waste, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Welfare reforms, broadband access, recycling and the Local Plan were discussed at Full Council on 23 April, the last meeting before the local elections on 2 May.

Short stay parking to support high street

100 or more Epping car parking spaces are to be re-designated short stay. The 3 hour maximum stay in these spaces will free up parking for shoppers visiting local high street businesses.

The pay and display parking changes are being made after a council survey linked the increased London Underground Limited (LUL) parking charges to displacement of commuters to cheaper council car parks. Councillors heard that this caused an unacceptable reduction in parking availability for shoppers and a reduction in business for high street shops. Local councillors are to be consulted on the changes.

Councillors remembered

Councillors remembered 2 former members of Epping Forest District Council. Ian Beattie served the residents of Buckhurst Hill and Buckhurst Hill West for 21 years from 1974 until 1995. One of the longest serving and most senior councillors, he was also Chairman of Council in 1980/81. Councillors also paid tribute to former councillor Joan Ormston who served as a member for the Debden Green Ward from 1990 to 1994.

Other items

Key Objectives in the Corporate Plan were agreed by councillors. Among other issues debated at Full Council were welfare reforms, broadband access, town centre partnerships, recycling, pay policy, licensing and the Local Plan. There was very good news following a council bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for money to expand Epping Forest District Council’s museum in Waltham Abbey.

Watch the Full Council meeting

Cabinet 15 April 2013

Written on . Posted in Business, Commercial properties, Councillors, Democracy, Housing, Licensing, Local business, Meetings, Recycling and waste, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Councillors met on 15 April for the last meeting of the Cabinet in the 2012/13 civic year. Items discussed included housing, early preparations for the tendering of the next waste management contract, pay policy, business continuity and licensing.

Housing

Changes to tenancy conditions and the housing allocation scheme for residents in council housing were approved by the Cabinet. The changes include the adoption of flexible (fixed-term) tenancies for 3-bedroom properties. Councillors also agreed to ask the Housing Scrutiny Panel of Overview and Scrutiny to review the pilot scheme for flexible tenancies after 12 months. In particular, Cabinet will receive feedback on potential for continuing, discontinuing and expanding the flexible tenancy policy for 2-bedroom properties.

The changes were adopted following consultation with the Tenants and Leaseholders Federation, partner agencies, Parish and Town Councils and Registered Social Housing Landlord Partners.

Licensing

Cabinet supported proposals to introduce evening meetings and extended direct consultation with residents for premises licensing applications. By holding evening meetings, Councillors hoped to make them more accessible to residents, and particularly those at work during the day. Extending contact to residents and other businesses within 150 meters of a licence applicant follows procedures adopted by Westminster City Council. A recommendation for a supplementary estimate of £63,770 for 2013/14 is to be made to Full Council to pay for the enhancement to the licensing service.

Subject to funding agreement at Full Council, new licensing arrangements would be reviewed at the end of a 9 month pilot.

Watch the cabinet meeting

Is your club up to date on tax laws?

Written on . Posted in Business, Business rates, Commercial properties, Community, Grants, Local business, Our activities, Out and about, Regulations, Residents, Sports, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your money

 

With all the talk in the media of obesity in adults and the push for an Olympic legacy this is a golden time for sports in our country as we drive to get more people active.

Wheelchair basketball - image supplied courtesy of Sport England www.sportengland.org

Clubs and organisations also need to offer a professional service that is business like and can cope with the ever changing financial climate. However, this can be difficult as we often run clubs as volunteers through our passion for our chosen sport or because we wish to give something back to the community we live in. This means that we often have no formal training in the ‘off the pitch stuff’ that can make or break even the most successful club (finance, marketing, book-keeping).

Unfortunately for some clubs a lack of expertise in this vital part of club management has been a costly wake up call and there have been reports of clubs receiving fines of up to £100,000 in unpaid taxes and penalties. Additionally, it may not be widely known that if your club is formed by a committee and not limited by a guarantee, the committee members can end up being personally liable for any tax debt the club incurs. 

So, with all this in mind, Epping Forest District Council in partnership with GB Sport will be running two interactive training courses to help clubs understand the tax environment and correct their procedures to fall in line with HMRC guidance (none costing more than £20). There is also an additional course on marketing to help clubs take advantage of the growing social media sector to develop their presence in the local community.

Business essentials for clubs

On 23 May at North Weald Golf Club from 6.30pm to 9.30pm. The course will cover

  • Legal status – detailing the definitions and requirements for the various ways coaches/workers can be paid
  • Self employment – outline the strict HMRC self employment guidelines, that if not satisfied can result in a hefty tax bill
  • Employment – review of the various types of employment for those involved in sport
  • Contracts –  sample contracts for self employment will be given and ideal working arrangements for coaches and clubs will be discussed
  • Insurance – we review insurance options to minimise risks to both clubs and coaches

Book-keeping essentials

 On 20 June at North Weald Golf Club from 6.30pm to 9.30pm. The course will cover

  • Book-keeping – How best to meet the HMRC requirements to ensure you are prepared for a tax inspection
  • Allowable expenses – the types of expenses that can/can’t be claimed by clubs and coaches
  • Invoicing and debt management – What to include in an invoice, how to avoid bad debt and options for debt recovery
  • V.A.T –  The rules and regulations for a sports coaching business, linked to turnover, legal status. A review of the VAT issues for non profit-making organisations such as clubs and associations, particularly focusing on what is and isn’t exempt from VAT

Marketing essentials

On 13 June at North Weald Golf Club from 6.30pm to 9.30pm. The course will cover

  • Branding – how to build and develop your club’s/organisation’s brand
  • Planning – how to put together a business and marketing plan
  • First impressions – why they count and how your organisation can make a good one
  • Social media – how to use facebook and twitter to improve your organisation’s profile and increase profit
  • Good practice – case studies of what other clubs have done and how it has helped them

The address for North Weald Golf Club is Rayley Lane, North Weald, Essex CM16 6AR.

If you would like more information on any of these workshops or would like to book a place on any of them, please contact Fabrizio on 01992 564567 or email fferrari@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.

Home Energy Conservation Act Further Report 2013

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Business, Chigwell, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Energy efficiency, Epping, Housing, Loughton, Older people, Olympics, Ongar, Planning, Private housing, Recycling and waste, Regulations, Residents, Travel, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your environment, Your home

As part of the amended Home Energy Conservation Act, Local Authorities are required to submit a further report on planned energy efficiency measures in their area.

Read the Epping Forest District Council HECA further report 2013

Find out more about energy efficiency

 

Proposed changes to charging for pre-planning application advice

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Business, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Epping, Housing, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Planning, Private housing, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

As from 1 April 2013, the Council’s charges on pre-planning application advice will be changing to include a greater scope of development types. Please see the attached document which sets out these new charges and the procedure for seeking advice.

View the new pre-planning application advice fees April 2013

 

Find out more about the planning process and pre-application advice

Council Tax freeze agreed by cabinet

Written on . Posted in Business, Business rates, Community, Council tax, Councillors, Democracy, Grants, Housing, Local business, Meetings, North Weald Airfield, Out and about, Planning, Private housing, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Council Tax freeze, new homes and disabled toilets were on the agenda when Epping Forest District Council’s cabinet met on Monday 4 February 2013.

Watch the webcast

Council Tax Frozen

There will be no increase in the Council Tax precept set by Epping Forest District Council if the recommendations of the cabinet are accepted by all councillors when the budgets are set later in February. The annual charge for a Band D property will remain the same for the third year in succession at £148.77.

Cabinet agreed the recommendations to full council despite further decreases in Government grant thanks in part to a number of savings reducing the next financial year’s ongoing revenue budget target to £14.37 million.

Councillor Syd Stavrou Finance Portfolio Holder emphasised Epping Forest District was and would remain a ‘low-tax’ council for the long term.

Councillor Chris Whitbread, Leader of the Council described the report as a ‘good news budget’ with £800,000 of savings coming mostly from ‘back offices’, no enforced redundancies, and fees and charges such as car park pay and display prices kept down. He acknowledged challenges ahead but remained upbeat about the council’s prospects.

After the meeting, Councillor Stavrou said: “At the current time with money so tight, it has never been so important to support local business and keep costs down for hard working local residents. Each member of the cabinet has played an important part in examining all service costs to reduce spending wherever possible while continuing to protect local services. Working with staff, we have found many new and better ways to deliver services without cutting quality and I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the process.”

Obsolete bedsits to be converted to new homes

Marden Close, a scheme of 20 bedsit flats developed for older residents in the 1960s is to be converted into 10 modern one-bedroom flats. The vacant buildings had previously proved very unpopular and difficult to let. Cabinet favoured retaining Marden Close rather than pursuing earlier options to transfer it to a social housing landlord. Proposals also found favour with cabinet for the lease of Faversham Hall to Chigwell Parish Council. East Thames Housing Group will project manage the conversions. Works could start on site within 6 months.

Councillors welcomed the scheme which will create much needed accommodation for people on the housing waiting list.

North Weald consultants appointed

Drivers Jonas Deloitte has been appointed to take forward the review of North Weald Airfield. The £145,000 brief is expected to make recommendations for consideration by councillors for the future of the airfield.

Council to fund CAB debt advisors

Cabinet agreed £67,000 to Epping Forest Citizens’ Advice Bureau for the appointment of 2 full-time debt advisors. The funding will cover 2 18 month contracts to begin in April. The agreement includes a commitment from the CAB to support residents through the Limes Centre in Chigwell. This funding is additional money to support homelessness prevention over and above the council’s regular CAB funding of more than £100,000 a year.

Better disabled toilet facilities for Epping and Buckhurst Hill

The accessible superloo currently provided in Bakers Lane Epping is set to be relocated to Buckhurst Hill once a major refurbishment of the Bakers Lane public toilet block has been completed. Cabinet approved additional expenditure of £85,000 for Bakers Lane and £21,000 towards relocating the superloo. The improvements are expected to be especially welcomed by people with disabilities who will find accessibility much improved through the initiative.

New dog control orders start today

Written on . Posted in Animal welfare, Business, Consultation, Countryside and wildlife, Crime and safety, Our countryside, Out and about, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

From Monday 14 January 2013, 3 new Dog Control Orders come into force for all publicly-accessible land in the Epping Forest district. The new orders are being adopted under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.

Dog control orders

It is now an offence for a person in charge of a dog to

  1. fail to remove any dog fouling on publicly-accessible land in the Epping Forest district, including Epping Forest which is owned by the City of London Corporation
  2. fail to put a dog on a lead when directed to do so by an authorised officer, on any public land within the district
  3. fail to limit the number of dogs which a person may take onto public land within the district to 4 dogs

Councillor Will Breare-Hall, Portfolio Holder for the Environment, said: “These Dog Control Orders received support from the vast majority of respondents to the public consultation. On behalf of all our residents, it’s important that the council uses the powers available to it to deal with the small number of irresponsible dog owners who still fail to control and clear up after their dogs, despite the recognised health risks.“

More information, including a copy of the orders and maps identifying the land where the orders apply (the whole of the Epping Forest district) are on the Dog Control Orders page or by calling 01992 564608 for advice.