Grants for community groups available

Written on . Posted in Arts, Business, Community, Grants, Health, Media, Older people, Our activities, Out and about, Playschemes, Residents, Sports, Supporting business, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Could your community group use £5,000 to help improve the health and wellbeing of the districts residents? If yes, apply now for a grant for projects to improve facilities, such as equipment purchase, capital projects and new initiatives.

grant-aid

Grants up to £5,000

Grants are available to

  • Local voluntary and community groups
  • Sports clubs
  • Arts and culture groups
  • Trusts
  • Social enterprises
  • Community interest groups

Who can apply?

Groups that apply must be

  • Charitable and/or non-profit making
  • Based, or active, in Epping Forest district
  • Provide services to meet key needs within the district
  • Non political
  • Can show clear aims and objectives and effective strategies for achieving these
  • Have considered alternative funding sources or put forward schemes as part of ‘match’ funding proposals
  • Are able to show a clear need for financial support
  • Have a bank or building account in the name of the applicant organisation

Make your application now

Councillor David Stallan, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council said: ”We really appreciate the work the voluntary and community sector does in the district. In tough economic times the need for groups to receive funding and support from the council goes up and I look forward to seeing how our grants are spent to help the lives of those in our community.”

“If your group is eligible and the grant will help the health and wellbeing of our residents, don’t delay and make your application now.”

Great opportunity

He continued “Our grants are a great opportunity to help others in our community”.

“The difference they have already made in the district is astounding and I look forward to seeing how the grants go on to help others in our community”.

“In tough economic times, the Council’s contribution can make all the difference. So if you or your organisation is eligible don’t delay and make an application today”.

Make an application

More information

For further information on Grant Aid

Celebration of grant aid success

Written on . Posted in Arts, Business, Chairman, Community, Democracy, Equalities, Grants, Health, Local business, Media, Older people, Our activities, Our performance, Out and about, Performance, Playschemes, Residents, Sports, Supporting business, Uncategorized, Volunteering opportunities, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Recognising the valuable contribution the local community and voluntary sector does for the district was celebrated Friday 23 March at our grant aid celebration event.

Ongar In Bloom

Click to enlarge photo and then click to see more photos

Diverse mix of groups

A diverse mix of groups helping a wide spectrum of people across the District has received grants in the last year enabling them to continue their much needed and valuable work.

Vital and much needed services

Epping Forest District Council Chairman Councillor David Stallan said: “It’s so encouraging to see such a wide variety of groups receive these vital grants. This year we have given over £83,000 in grants and it’s great to see the improvements they are making within our communities.”

“The voluntary and community sectors do so much so for our District and its important their much needed hard work is recognised.”

“If you know of any local or community groups that could use our grant aid schemes help, get in contact today.”

Want to know more?

Decisions from Plans South 21 March 2018

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

Decisions

  • EPF/1012/17 – 12A Alderton Close, Loughton, Essex, IG10 3HQ
    Permission refused
  • EPF/2625/17 – 40 York Hill, Loughton, Essex, IG10 1HU
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2984/17 – 26 Murtwell Drive, Chigwell, Essex, IG7 5ED
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2989/17 – 35 Forest Lane, Chigwell, Essex, IG7 5AF
    Permission granted
  • EPF/3058/17 – 67 Newmans Lane, Loughton, Essex, IG10 1TN
    Permission granted
  • EPF/3264/17 – Grange Court, 72 High Road, Chigwell, Essex, IG7 6PT
    Permission granted
  • EPF/3275/17 – Grange Court, 72 High Road, Chigwell, Essex, IG7 6PT
    Permission granted
  • EPF/3436/17 – Cornerways, Turpins Lane, Chigwell, Essex, IG8 8BA
    Permission granted

Planning application search

Landlord fined £21,575 for illegal HMO

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Councillors, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Epping, Licensing, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Private housing, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

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

Update on council services

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Councillors, Crime and safety, Epping, Housing, Local business, Loughton, Media, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Recycling and waste, Residents, Supporting business, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Updated plans for refuse and recycling collections

As the severe weather continues into Friday 2 March 2018, we are adapting operations to maintain waste collection services, making allowances for reduced resources and challenging conditions for our waste collection crews.

We are continuing to focus on fortnightly black wheelie bin, recycling sacks and blue box collections. Access to residential roads can vary in these conditions with properties located in rural areas or down narrow lanes are likely to experience more disruption than others.

Black wheelie bins, recycling sacks and blue boxes

  • Please leave your waste out on the boundary of your property until 5pm on Friday 2 March
  • If your waste is not collected by 5pm, please bring it in over the weekend
  • On Monday 5 March extra crews have been laid on to try and catch up any missed areas, so please make sure your bins are out again by 7am
  • If your bins have not been collected by 5pm on Monday, please take them back in and out in time for your next scheduled collection

Please accept our apologies for this disruption. We will endeavour to collect any waste that has been missed.

Food and garden waste

We will continue to focus our resources on the fortnightly collections throughout Friday 2 March as above. Therefore

  • We are not collecting any green lidded bins for food and garden waste
  • If you were expecting a collection this week, please take it back and put it out again on your next normal collection day.

Our customer service team is continuing to operate with fewer staff  due to the adverse weather so you may experience longer hold times on the phone than usual, so please only call if it is urgent.

Minimising disruption to residents

Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: “I want to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to Biffa’s tremendously dedicated and hardworking staff. Despite the terrible weather we’ve experienced over the past few days they’ve been out on our streets, battling the elements, doing their best to ensure our waste and recycling is still collected.”

“I want them to know that their commitment to delivering the service and minimising disruption to our residents is greatly appreciated. I’d also like to thank our residents for the understanding and patience they have shown as we contend with these very difficult conditions.”

Contacting the Council

Not urgent?

If your enquiry is not urgent, please contact us by email or use our online reporting tool to contact us to help us reduce waiting times. Someone will be in touch with you as soon as they can.

If your enquiry is urgent and you need to speak to someone, please call us on the telephone numbers below.

If it’s urgent

  • General and refuse – 01992 564000
  • Benefits – 01992 562059
  • Council Tax – 01992 564188
  • Council housing – 01992 564716
  • Housing repairs – 01992 564199

Please keep checking the website and our social media channels for updates and further information.

Check for updates

Council Tax is set for 2018/19

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Business rates, Chigwell, Civic events, Commercial properties, Community, Council tax, Councillors, Democracy, Epping, Leader, Local business, Loughton, Meetings, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

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.

Decisions from Plans East 7 February 2018

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Consultation, Councillors, Democracy, Epping, Local business, Meetings, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Residents, Supporting business, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Planning application decisions from the Area Planning Sub-Committee East meeting Wednesday 7 February 2018.

Decisions

  • 1. EPF/2363/17 – Rozel, Loughton Lane, Theydon Bois, Essex, CM16 7JY
    Granted
  • 2. EPF/2666/17 – Land to rear of 40 -62 Hoe Lane, Abridge, RM4 1AU
    Deferred – site visit
  • 3. EPF/2771/17 – 21 Princes Close, North Weald, Epping, CM16 6EN
    Refused
  • 4. EPF/3007/17 – Oxford Lodge, Tysea Hill, Stapleford Abbotts, Romford, RM4 1JP
     Granted
  • 5. EPF/3025/17 – 43 Woodland Way, Theydon Bois, CM16 7DY
    Granted
  • 6. EPF/3135/17 – 7 Centre Avenue, Epping, CM16 4JU
    Granted
  • 7. EPF/3216/17 – Esperanza Nurseries, Stapleford Road, Stapleford Abbotts, RM4 1EJ
    Refused
  • 8. EPF/3124/17 – 2 Theydon Place, Epping, CM16 4NH
    Granted
  • 9. EPF/3219/17 – 1 Theydon Place, Epping, CM16 4NH
    Granted
  • 10. EPF/3259/17 – 121 Theydon Grove, Epping, CM16 4QB
    Refused
  • 11. EPF/3284/17 – 9 Church Hill, Epping, CM16 4RA
    Deferred – site visit

Planning application search

Businesses beware bogus Council Officers

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Epping, Food safety, Licensing, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Out and about, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

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

Written on . Posted in Business, Business rates, Commercial properties, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Local business, Media, Meetings, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council

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.

Essex wide Livewell campaign launched

Written on . Posted in Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Democracy, Environmental health, Epping, Equalities, Food safety, Health, Loughton, Media, Museum, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Our performance, Out and about, Residents, Sports, Sports centres and pools, Supporting business, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Livewell, a countywide website to get Essex healthy has been launched.

Livewell campaign image

Working collaboratively to promote health

The Livewell campaign sees all local authorities, including Epping Forest District Council and health partners, work collaboratively to promote positive health and wellbeing by providing public health advice, activities and events tailored to the needs of local residents.

The Council’s local museum, arts, sports, social and Forest Countrycare events will be available on the site.

Check out how to Livewell

The website aims is to encourage Essex residents to be more active and to make healthier lifestyle choices for themselves and their families. It focuses on more effectively tackling county-wide issues affecting the 12 local authority areas together.

Take the #21 Challenge

To celebrate the website launch, residents are being encouraged to take part in a number of #21 challenges – a nod to the fact that it takes 21 days to break or create a new habit.

The first part of the campaign is #21situps21days, Residents can find out more information on:

Post-Christmas is a good time to think about improving lifestyle choices, lose weight and live a happier, healthier and longer life. The 21 day theme of the project, the number of days it is thought we need to break a bad habit or establish a new one also has the support of Public Health England. Anyone can try and it is fine to start with an easy goal. An occasional day off is also fine but the message is ‘don’t stop, just let that go and do as best you can towards the 21 days’.