New dates for Cycling for Health!

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As the weather is getting nicer, there has never been a better time to get on your bike and get active in the fresh air! To make things even easier, cycling for health have added new Friday dates to their 2017 diary!

Cycling for Health

Suitable for all

There are different routes which have been graded into 3 different intensity levels, which means there is something for everyone.

Why cycle?

  • Burn approx 650 calories
  • Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 50%
  • Increase cardiovascular fitness
  • Improve overall wellbeing
  • Increase muscle strength and tone


Further information

Pay on day (ride fee)

If you have your own bike and helmet, just turn up at the meeting point!

  • Cost £4.00 (£8.00 for all day rides)
  • No booking required

Pre-paid (bike hire and ride fee)

  • Cost £8.00 (£16.00 for all day rides)
  • Booking is required at least 48hrs in advance

Race for Life 2017 at North Weald Airfield

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

Join us at North Weald Airfield on Wednesday 12  July 2017 for Race for Life! Run, jog or walk our 5 and 10 kilometre courses and help raise money and awareness for Cancer Research UK.

Race for Life 1

Why Race for Life?

Race for Life is thousands of women of all ages and abilities, uniting with one purpose. To raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Cancer Research UK are world leaders in finding new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. Every two minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer and your support through events like Race for Life is what helps the charity continue their ground-breaking work to see more people surviving cancer.

Event details

  • Date: Wednesday 12 July 2017
  • Time: 7pm
  • Boys (6-12): £10.00
  • Girls (6-15): £10.00
  • Women (16+): £14.99
  • Under 6 entry: free and no registration needed
  • Venue: North Weald Airfield, Merlin Way, North Weald, Epping, CM16 6HR View map
  • Distance: 5k/10k

Take part!

There’s still time to register, you can do so online following the links below.

Find out more

Cabinet 15 June 2017

Written on . Posted in Business, Commercial properties, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Grants, Leader, Local business, Media, Meetings, Our attractions, Our performance, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Cabinet meeting on 15 June 2017 discussed local plan, homelessness and shopping park.

View the webcast

Shopping Park 

Next (including a Costa Coffee), TK Max, Aldi, Hobbycraft, Pets at Home and Smyths Toys have been confirmed among the tenants of the new Epping Forest Shopping Park. Councillor Anne Grigg made the announcement at the meeting of Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet on 15 June. Construction of the retail units is nearing completion with the supporting highway improvements due to finish in August. The Council expects handover on 19 June with the start of shop fitting starting a week later. The park will also set high green transport standards in Essex with 10 electric charging points.

Local Plan Implementation

Proposed masterplans covering areas in Epping, Waltham Abbey, Loughton, North Weald, Ongar, Chigwell and sites around Harlow will be produced as Epping Forest District Council works towards the implementation of the new Local Plan. The need for strategic masterplans to ensure development and infrastructure requirements across groups of sites in the same area was outlined in a report presented by Planning Portfolio Holder John Philip.


Councillor Philip explained that it was necessary to show the government-appointed inspector that the Council is taking steps to ensure that growth can be delivered in a coordinated way with necessary infrastructure provided. He emphasised that this does not mean any sites will definitely be in or out of the final Local Plan or that planning approvals have been decided or approved. No definitive decisions have as yet been taken on which sites will be included in the final draft of the Local Plan.

Councillors should be involved early without being predisposed to deciding planning applications. None of the work proposed in the report committed councillors to approving individual sites or applications.


Cabinet approved proposals to allocate the Homelessness Support Grant. Councillors supported the recommendations by Housing Portfolio Holder Syd Stavrou to allocate £60,000 to Genesis Housing Association to provide private sector accommodation, and £29,000 to the young parents scheme at Railway Meadow in Ongar. Further allocations will be made as additional reports come to Cabinet. 

Superfast Broadband 

Reports on the extension of superfast broadband and free wifi in town centres put forward by Technology Portfolio Holder Alan Lion were supported by Cabinet colleagues.

Overview and Scrutiny 6 June 2017

Written on . Posted in Councillors, Democracy, Meetings, Our performance, Out and about, Performance, Residents, Supporting business, Working with the council, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Princess Alexandra Hospital is in special measures after its services were rated ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission. Senior staff from Princess Alexandra met with Epping Forest District councillors at the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday 6 June for an improvement plan update.

View the webcast here

  • Lance McCarthy – Chief Executive
  • Stephanie Lawton – Chief Operations Manager
  • Nancy Fontaine – Chief Nurse

Waiting times

A&E waiting times and delays in bed allocation were raised by Councillor Stephen Murray.  Stephanie Lawton apologised for the long waiting times but confirmed that patients remain safe. She said that some improvements had been made to flow and discharge of patients with support from community teams. Building works have been commissioned to extend admission facilities. Together with other plans these improvements should improve admission times. Nancy Fontaine added that where elderly patients are being admitted there is some discretion in allowing family members extra access to provide support.

Recruitment and retention

Responding to a question by councillor Aniket Patel, Nancy Fontaine outlined a number of new ward management and leadership training programmes. Councillor Yolanda Knight praised hospital staff following a ‘faultless’ recent visit. However, she also knew from experience that the quality of service varies greatly across different areas of the hospital. She raised the issue of staff morale, staff retention and the training provided to staff in dealing with difficult members of the public.

Nancy Fontaine was pleased to report that some members of staff have been with the Trust for many years. In some instances, three generations from a family are working in different areas of the hospital while many staff trained at Harlow coming back as more senior staff in later years. However, Lance McCarthy did acknowledge that recruitment was affected by the special measures issue.

Safeguarding for children

Councillor Steven Neville sought reassurance on safeguarding for children. Nancy Fontaine responded with a discussion around a culture of failing to follow policy and training. Safeguarding is now more embedded into hospital standards. She said that policies were now tough but it is probably never possible to ’do enough’.

Responding to a question by Councillor Holly Whitbread, Nancy Lawton described methods of recruitment including links with local colleges and interviews by Skype. Councillor Roger Baldwin asked about the financial deficit and plans to reduce reliance on agency workers.  Nancy Fontaine responded that there is a very clear direction to reduce reliance on temporary staff. Lance McCarthy was able to provide figures illustrating the drop in agency expenditure from more than £20m a few years ago to somewhere nearer £13m more recently.

Emergency Planning

Responding to Councillor Nigel Bedford, Lance McCarthy said that the hospital managed the recent cyber attack on the NHS thanks to internal IT protecting services and installing the relevant patches very quickly. Stephanie Lawton outlined the processes and partner agencies working together to coordinate patient discharge in a timely way. She said this was not ‘cracked yet’ but improvements were being made.

Nancy Fontaine and Lance McCarthy outlined in more depth the health and social care solutions used to address issues of patient isolation raised by Councillor Aniket Patel. Stephanie Lawton also confirmed the regular update, review and training for emergency planning situations such as the recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester.

Lance McCarthy acknowledged the Trust has a long way to go in moving out of special measures but felt the hospital was in a much more positive position. He is also looking at the long term redevelopment or relocation of Princess Alexandra to a better site.

Caring Hospital

Committee Chairman Councillor Mary Sartin thanked Lance McCarthy, Stephanie Lawton and Nancy Fontaine for answering so many questions and offered best wishes for the future. She said that whatever the issues, the CQC report made clear that Princess Alexandra Hospital was a ‘caring’ hospital.

Corporate Plan

In other business Council Leader Chris Whitbread reminded committee members of some of the key achievements of previous years including the freeze on Council Tax for a seventh year and the development of new assets such as the Epping Forest Shopping Park. He said that the delivery of keys to residents for the first newly built council houses had taken place.  Focusing on community services he also applauded the work of the Council in attracting external funding. Local Plan development continues. The Council has listened and consulted with residents.

Councillor Whitbread continued with a description of the transformational changes being implemented across the Council leading to modern working, better use of technology and the facilitation of future service improvements. He also reminded fellow councillors of the benefits of the new leisure contract with a projected income of £20m over the next 20 years.

Other items covered by Overview and Scrutiny included:

  • Select Committees Terms of Reference
  • Select Committee membership
  • Task and Finish Panels
  • Annual Report of Overview and Scrutiny

Essex Police Bank Holiday advice

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

Residents and visitors to the county are advised they may see armed officers patrolling in places they may not usually.

Bank Holiday weekend

This Bank Holiday weekend is set to be hot and sunny and thousands of people will be out enjoying our countryside and coast.

Armed and specialist police

The move to have armed and specialist police officers patrolling ports, airports, railway stations as well as in places where people gather in crowds like seaside towns is as a response to the national threat level being raised to critical.

”Enjoy yourself, don’t change plans”

Chief Superintendent Ewen Wilson said: “My message to people this Bank Holiday is please enjoy yourselves this weekend and don’t change your plans.

Don’t be alarmed

“You may well see armed police officers and other specialist units this weekend. Please don’t be alarmed if you see them. It doesn’t mean they’re responding to a specific threat and there is no intelligence on any threat with an Essex link.

Say hello!

“Police officers with guns can look unusual, but please come and talk to us. Say hello, introduce yourself. We are asking officers to work long hours keeping Essex safe and a hello and a smile will top up our energy levels.”

Extra security checks

Anyone travelling or attending an event this weekend may need to allow some more time if there are extra security checks at those events.

Further information

Disruption to phones affects council

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Emergencies, Local business, Media, Museum, North Weald Airfield, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council

Updated information 11:30am

The telephone system issue has now been resolved and you will now be able to get through.

Thank you for your patience whilst we dealt with this issue.

Original message 10:30am

Cable damage affecting 36 exchanges across London and Essex has cut off most of Epping Forest District Council’s phones. Problems emerged yesterday but have increased this morning on 17 May 2017.

The problems are wide-spread but mainly affecting business customers. Private phones are largely unaffected.

Phone disruption

Virgin Media and Talk Talk

Virgin Media and Talk Talk are issuing frequent information updates.

More information can be found at

Contact us

Customers calling Epping Forest District Council for non-emergency issues are being put through to voicemail and asked to leave a message.

Alternatively, customers can email

We apologise for the inconvenience

A spokesperson for Epping Forest District Council apologised for the inconvenience. He said: “The problems started yesterday but seem to have become worse overnight. Many organisations right across North London and Essex are affected.”

We apologise for the inconvenience but hope our customers will understand and bear with us while these issues for Virgin Media and Talk Talk outside our control are resolved.”

The spokesperson added: “Emergency calls are being redirected to our partner Mears and still being answered.”

Are you dementia friendly?

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Epping, Equalities, Health, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our performance, Out and about, Performance, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

To help raise awareness for Dementia Awareness Week (14 – 20 May 2017), we are launching the first of our 8 dementia friends sessions on Tuesday 16 May at Waltham Abbey Library and we would like you to join us!

United against Dementia

Click on an image to begin the slideshow

Become a dementia friend

We are calling on local businesses, community groups and individuals to attend one of our events and become a dementia friend.

Small ways to help

Each session is focuses on learning more about what it is like to live with dementia, helping you understand the small ways you can help and make life easier for those living with dementia in your community.

Upcoming sessions

Each session lasts for an hour and will be provided at the following Essex County Council Libraries

  • 16 May 2017 Waltham Abbey library, 37 Sun St, Waltham Abbey, EN9 1EL 1:30pm – 2:30pm
  • 29 June 2017 Loughton library, Traps Hill, Loughton, IG10 1HD 10am – 11am
  • 4 July 2017 Epping library, St John’s Road, Epping, CM16 5DN 10am – 11am
  • 12 September 2017 Chigwell library, Hainault Rd, Chigwell, IG7 6QX 2pm – 3pm
  • 21 September 2017 Debden library, Epping Forest College, Borders Lane, Loughton, IG10 3SA 1:30pm – 2:30pm
  • 10 October 2017 Ongar library, The Pleasance, High St, Ongar, CM5 9AB 10am – 11am
  • 2 November 2017 Buckhurst Hill library, 165 Queen’s Rd, Buckhurst Hill, IG9 5AZ 12:30pm – 1:30pm
  • 7 December 2017 North Weald library, 138 High Rd, North Weald Bassett, Epping, CM16 6BZ 11am – 12pm

Get involved

Places are limited so please book to avoid disappointment.

Further information

Recycling art winner wows friends

Written on . Posted in Community, Epping, Media, Our countryside, Out and about, Recycling and waste, Residents, Supporting business, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Mollie Dunn wowed classmates when she showed them her competition winning dustcart artwork …. on the side of a real dustcart!

The artwork says “when you put your litter in the bin it makes a prettier town to live in.”

Mollie Dunn

Click on an image below to start the slideshow

The 6 year old from Coopersale Hall School was the winner of the infant school category in a competition to design posters on littering and flytipping.

Her artwork is being displayed on the side of council dustcarts which can be seen collecting residents recycling and waste all across the Epping Forest district.

Planning application validation list consultation

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Tell us what you think about our revised planning application local validation list.

We are consulting on revisions to the validation list of local information requirements. This now includes the addition of a guidance note on the submission of viability and financial appraisals for affordable housing.

Planning application local validation list consultation

What is the local validation list?

The local validation list identifies information required to register, assess and validate a planning application. We are asking any person or organization with an interest in or involvement with planning applications submitted to Epping Forest District Council to respond.

The previous validation list was produced in 2015 and we are required to review it every 2 years.

Consultation documents

How to respond

The consultation is open for 6 weeks from 21 April until 30 June 2017 – send us your comments by

Cabinet 6 April 2017

Written on . Posted in Business, Commercial properties, Community, Democracy, Leader, Local business, Media, Meetings, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council

Cabinet meeting on 6 April 2017 discussed new council house build, highway funding, tourism, shopping and Waltham Abbey Police Station.

New council house building reaffirmed at Cabinet

Councillors reaffirmed their commitment to build more new council houses at the meeting of Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet on 6 April. Approving the recommendations of the Finance and Performance Management Cabinet Committee, Councillors agreed to proceed with Phases 3 to 6 of the house building programme.

Highway match-funding

Epping Forest District Council will match-fund local Essex County Council highway schemes. Cabinet approved capital funding of £50,000 to secure additional funding for highways schemes approved through the Epping Forest Local Highway Panel.

Investing in tourism

Cabinet also approved a number of recommendations of the Asset Management and Economic Development Cabinet Committee. These included the provision of way-markers from Waltham Abbey town centre for the Royal Gunpowder Mills and the Lea Valley White Water Centre as the Council encourages tourism within the local economy.

Shopping park and retail units

Councillors received updates on the construction before discussing commercial contracts for the new Epping Forest Shopping Park in private. The new park is due to open next summer. Commercial details remain confidential as the Council finalises the anchor tenants. However, negotiations are proceeding well. Income from the shopping park of between £2.2m and £2.7m is expected to make a considerable contribution to the funding of Epping Forest District Council services in coming years.

Councillors also noted progress on new ground-floor shop units at the former Winston Churchill site in Loughton and the purchase of the former school site in St John’s Road Epping from Essex County Council.

Sun Street police station

In private session Councillors also discussed the former Sun Street police station in Waltham Abbey. Essex Police Estates has indicated bids for the vacant building situated next to the District Council-owned museum should be lodged with their agent by 12 April.