Private sector housing strategy consultation

Written on . Posted in Consultation, Housing, Private housing, Your council, Your home

Image of Private sector Housing Strategy coverWe want your views on our draft private sector housing strategy.

Private sector housing is extremely important, it has a bearing on the quality of life and wellbeing of many residents in our district and we would like your views on our draft private sector housing strategy.

The new strategy deals with financial help to repair / adapt homes, provide advice, assistance and specialist support to owner-occupiers, leaseholders, private sector tenants and landlords, how we use enforcement powers to ensure unsatisfactory properties meet legal standards, disabled facilities grants, bringing long term empty homes back into use and how the council sees the private rented sector contributing to the supply of affordable housing.

Read the draft strategy:

Draft private sector housing strategy 2012 to 2015 (pdf 281 KB) Epping Forest PSHS 2012-2015 _Draft_

We need your views by Friday 30 March 2012 when the consultation ends, the strategy will then be amended as necessary before being considered by Cabinet on 23 April 2012.

You can send us your comments by email to privatesectorhousing@eppingforestdc.gov.uk or write to Private Sector Housing Team, Epping Forest District Council, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4BZ.

 

Honey Lane consultation

Written on . Posted in Consultation, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your council

Honey Lane Consultation MapWe want your views on the proposed change in designation of part of Honey Lane in Waltham Abbey from a “prohibited street” to a “consent street”.

Take notice that pursuant to Schedule 4 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions Act) 1982 Epping Forest District Council (“the Council”) hereby gives notice of its intentions to pass a resolution at a meeting of its Licensing Committee on 11 April 2012 the draft of which is set out below:

With effect from Monday, 28 May 2012 the current designation of Honey Lane, Waltham Abbey, Essex (excluding the section between the two M25 motorway accesses which is to remain a prohibited street) being a street within the district of Epping Forest, shall be varied from its current designation of a “prohibited street” to a “consent street”.

If passed, the effect of the resolution will be that from Monday 28 May 2012 street trading will be permitted on Honey Lane, Waltham Abbey, Essex (excluding the section between the two M25 motorway accesses which is to remain a prohibited street) subject to a person first obtaining the prior written consent from Epping Forest District Council.

Any person wishing to make a representation relating to the Council’s intention to pass this resolution must do so in writing by no later than 4 pm on Monday 26 March 2012.

Representations should be sent to Epping Forest District Council for the attention of Ms Alison Mitchell, Assistant Director of Corporate Support Services (Legal), Epping Forest District Council, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4BZ. A copy of this notice and the plan can be viewed at the Council’s Civic Offices.

Any representation received by 4 pm on Monday, 26 March 2012 will be considered at the meeting on 11 April 2012 after which a decision will be made whether to proceed to pass the resolution.

Colleen O’Boyle
Director of Corporate Support Services / Solicitor to the Council
Epping Forest District Council
Civic Offices
High Street
Epping
Essex CM16 4BZ

Equality objectives, what should we focus on?

Written on . Posted in Community, Consultation, Equalities, Our performance, Residents, Your community, Your council

Help us bring about positive change by telling us your views on our proposed equality objectives.

Reducing inequality is an integral part of the councils business. We aim to treat everyone equally and fairly according to their needs.

We actively seek to narrow the gap between people who are disadvantaged in comparison to their peers, and aim to provide a high standard of service that is accessible to all.

To focus our equality related work, we have developed a range of objectives for the next 4 years.

We want to make sure you agree that we have identified the areas that will make the most difference to equality for our communities, and which will help to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between different groups of people.

In developing the equality objectives, we have considered information that we already have on how important relevant issues are, how the objectives would help us to meet our equality duties, and what we can deliver over the next 4 years.

Complete the online proposed equality objectives consultation
The closing date for this consultation is 17 February 2012, and the results will be published in April 2012.

To find out more about equality at the council:
visit the equality and diversity page
or email equality@eppingforestdc.gov.uk
Background to our Equality Objectives in our Equality Scheme

Council consults on way to assess housing land

Written on . Posted in Consultation, Democracy, Housing, Planning, Your council, Your home

pping Forest District Council is consulting on how to assess land for potential future housing (the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA)) as part of the new Local Plan.

Portfolio holder for planning and technology councillor John Philip said: “Epping Forest District Council strives to strike the right balance between the need for more housing and development on one hand and protection of our existing heritage and environment on the other. The Local Plan was adopted in 1998 and last revised in 2006. A new Local Plan will be essential to continue to defend the district against unsuitable planning applications and encourage such applications that are what we would want for our local community.”

The new plan will cover the period up until 2031. Council Planners need to identify where to put homes and employment in the future, as well as how best to protect our Green Belt, heritage and natural resources. The Plan needs to be evidence-based and consistent with national policies. The evidence is being gathered now.

Once the council has sufficient evidence, all the issues and options can be set out. Input from community groups and the public on proposed ways forward will then be sought.

Councillor Philip said: “I would stress that the SHLAA does not allocate sites, it merely reviews them.”

The methodology proposed follows Government guidance. It aims to establish the way in which the council will assess every site in the district which may be suitable for more than six homes. The review information is then used to inform the allocation process at a later date.

Epping Forest District Council will be consulting residents throughout the plan process to ensure the views of the community are fully considered.

Councillor Philip concluded: “If you wish to review and comment on the SHLAA methodology, please visit the Forward Planning section of our website at between 10 October and 18 November 2011

What local people told us

Written on . Posted in Business, Consultation, Local plan / planning our future, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Your community, Your council, Your environment

We asked local people to explain what they thought was important in the district, and what the priorities should be for the future of the area, i.e. their Community Vision. The key results are to be included as part of the evidence base in the forthcoming preparation of the Core Planning Strategy.

The priorities for the District over the next 20 years are:

  • To protect and enhance green spaces whilst encouraging the growth of local jobs and business.
  • The most important planning issues facing local areas are:
  • Better protection for green spaces, reducing traffic congestion and providing more local job opportunities.

The favoured approaches to the location of new houses and jobs are:

To locate growth close to public transport links and around/within existing towns whilst considering a combination of options throughout the District where appropriate.

Question 1 – What do you think the priorities are for the District over the next 20 years?

The most popular option was ‘Protecting and enhancing green spaces’ which almost a third of respondents chose, followed closely by ‘Encouraging the growth of local jobs and businesses’. ’Providing facilities for the community’ was the third most popular option.

‘Providing housing to meet local need’, and ‘Reducing the impacts of climate change’, were seen as less important by people who responded to the consultation. A small proportion of people wrote their own individual option under the ‘Other’ choice.

PDF1
Protect and enhance green spaces 32.4%, Encouraging local jobs and businesses 25.4%, Community facilities 17.2%, Local housing 11%, Climate change 10.3%, Other 3.7%.

Question 2 – What planning issues do you think most need to be addressed in your local area?

Opinion was split on this question. Again the most popular option was ‘Better protection for green spaces’. Of the other options available, ‘Reduced traffic congestion’, ‘More local job opportunities’, ‘Right balance of shops and restaurants’, and ‘Improved community facilities’ were preferred.

The options for ‘Better access to public transport’, ‘More affordable housing’ and ‘Provision of a greater variety of housing types’ were chosen less frequently in the response. A small proportion of people gave their own individual suggestions of planning issues which needed to be addressed, under the ‘Other’ choice.

PDF2

Protect green spaces 20.6%, Reduce congestion 13.9%, Local job opportunities 13.2%, Balance of shops and restaurants 12.3%, Community facilities 11.7%, Public transport 10.6%, Affordable housing 6.9%, Housing variety 6.7%, Other 4.1%.

Question 3 – Where do you think new houses and jobs should be located?

We asked local people where they thought new housing and jobs should go in the district. The most popular options were ‘Close to public transport links’ and ‘Around or within existing towns’. Slightly less popular choices were ‘A combination of all the options spread throughout the district’, ‘Near the edge of Harlow’, and ‘Close to the motorway network’.

The remaining three options were unpopular. A small proportion of people wrote their own individual option under the ‘Other’ choice.

Close to public transport links 23.6%, Around or within existing towns 21.1%, Combination of all the options across district 14.8%, Near the edge of Harlow 12.9%, Near motorway 9.4%, Spread throughout existing rural settlements 6.8%, Concentrated in one existing settlement 4.6%, Other 4.4%, New settlements in the countryside 2.4%

If you would like to find out more detail about what local people told us:

Tell us what you think about crime

Written on . Posted in Consultation, Crime and safety, Your council

The Council’s Safer Communities Team would like your help. They want your views on your local area. What do you think about your local public services? Do you think CCTV helps prevent crime? What crimes do you feel you experience in your own area?

Epping Forest District Council is working in partnership with the police, probation, fire service, NHS and the county council to identify the concerns of people who live or work in the district about crime and disorder.

Councillor Penny Smith Safer and Greener portfolio holder said: “This is an opportunity for people to have their say about what concerns they have locally in relation to crime and disorder. Our findings will be used to drive the priorities of the Safer Communities Partnership in its activities to target and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in the area.”

All surveys should be completed no later than 30 September 2011.

Government Consults on Gypsy and Traveller Proposal

Written on . Posted in Community, Consultation, Gypsy and traveller, Residents, Your community, Your council, Your environment



Learn from local experience – council calls for local control in gypsy, roma and traveller planning consultation

The government is consulting on the National Planning Policy Statement on targets for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller sites.

Epping Forest District Council is emphasising that this is not a council initiative or a re-run of the previous consultation it was mandated to run as part of the Direction imposed by the previous government. In this case Epping Forest District Council is only a responder.

The government wants to learn from local experience. Its own Localism agenda should ensure that travelling communities should be treated no more favourably or placed ahead of the housing needs of other groups according to a report by Epping Forest District Council.

Epping Forest District Council is responding to suggestions contained in the latest planning guidance consultation issued by the government. The consultation runs for 12 weeks to 6 July. Councillors have already become aware of concerned residents and want local people to add their own independent voices to the process.

Councillor John Philip, Deputy Leader and Planning and Technology Portfolio Holder for the council said: The people of Epping Forest District are uniquely placed to advise the government. Under the Direction of the previous government, the council was forced to consult on targets set by the East of England Regional Authority, not by local people and compelled to identify sites for new local Gypsy, Roma and Traveller occupation.

Councillor Philip continued: These demands were unrelated to our own experience of what was needed and appropriate to our community. The process was hugely expensive, unfair and unnecessary. It caused widespread resentment, anger and worry for thousands of residents while council staff were distracted from other essential tasks. It was a tremendous relief to everyone when the new coalition government cancelled the Direction.

Among the new government suggestions are requirements for councils to draw up five-year plans for new travelling community developments, accommodation beyond strictly local need and special consultation arrangements for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller planning applications.

The government has drawn up a list of thirteen questions about its new draft Planning Policy Statement. It has also drawn up an impact assessment to tease out potential consequences.

View the Planning Services Scrutiny Standing Panel agenda

Councillor Philip said: Of course Epping Forest District Council will be making a full and robust reply but in this instance it is vital that residents also make their own responses. More than 10,000 residents responded individually or as part of community groups to the last Gypsy, Roma and Traveller consultation in Epping Forest. If only a tenth of that number reply to these proposals, ministers and civil servants will understand the strength of public opinion on these issues.

Residents should respond directly to the Department for Communities and Local Government by email to travellerspps@communities.gsi.gov.uk or in writing to:

Paul Williams
Planning: Economy and Society Division
Department for Communities and Local Government
Zone 1/G6, Eland House, Bressenden Place
London
SW1E 5DU

The Communities and Local Government Consultation – Planning for Traveller Sites will be reported to the next meeting of the Planning Services Scrutiny Standing Panel from 7:30pm on Tuesday 14 June 2011. The meeting is open to the public but seating is limited. Residents can watch the webcast live from the comfort of their own homes.

Planning Services Scrutiny Standing Panel webcast 

West Essex Employer and Business Survey 2011

Written on . Posted in Business, Consultation, Local business, Supporting business, Your area, Your council

Epping Forest District Council is encouraging businesses to respond to the West Essex Employer and Business Survey, which Harlow Council is conducting on behalf of the West Essex District Councils – Epping Forest, Harlow and Uttlesford.

An Epping Forest District Council spokesperson said:  The survey is really important, as it helps us target effort at the problems that are most important to business and gives us the evidence we need to lobby for investment from Government, Europe and others. We need at least 1,000 businesses to respond, so please complete the survey. It shouldn`t take you more than ten minutes and will make a real difference to businesses in West Essex.

  • Complete the survey online

For more information or if you would prefer a hardcopy of the survey, please contact James Spencer by emailing james.spencer@harlow.gov.uk or by phone on 01279 446450.

Moreton, Bobbingworth and The Lavers Consultation

Written on . Posted in Consultation, Residents, Your community, Your council

The Council is carrying out a review of the boundary between Matching Parish and the neighbouring Moreton, Bobbingworth and The Lavers Parish.

The boundary bisects the village of Matching Green and the Council is carrying out a postal consultation to find out if those residents would like the boundary changed so the whole village is in Matching Parish.

Residents can find additional information on the background to this consultation and some of the issues that need to be taken into account before completing their consultation responses below:

  • Second stage consultation – Background Information (pdf 33KB)

  • Proposed Wards Map (pdf 576KB)

  • Matching Green Boundaries (pdf 323KB)

Only local residents who have received the postal survey can take part in this consultation which closes on 15 April 2011.

Countrycare Completes Hedgerow Survey

Written on . Posted in Consultation, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Our countryside, Residents, Your council

After 9 months of hard work from staff and volunteers, the council`s Countrycare team has finished its hedgerow survey of Moreton, Fyfield and the Lavers. The data will be used to help raise awareness of the importance of hedgerows as a source of biodiversity.

In 2010 DEFRA launched a nationwide survey through which the Countrycare team obtained a grant to survey the parishes that lie within the arable, agricultural landscapes of West Essex. The density of the hedges in these areas has decreased in recent decades due to agricultural practices and urban development pressures.

Conducting the hedgerow survey will help in determining the distribution and condition of the hedges and identifying the presence of species rich hedgerows, isolated trees and any veteran trees.

The results showed that three in ten of the hedgerows surveyed fulfilled all the criteria listed by DEFRA for a hedgerow to be considered in favourable condition. Seven in ten hedgerows fulfilled ten out of the eleven criteria, with most hedgerows failing because they were found to be nutrient enriched.

In addition to raising awareness with local landowners, farmers and community groups of the importance of hedgerows as a source of biodiversity, the data will also be used as evidence for the Local Development Framework, which is looking to include green infrastructure. The surveys also contribute to achieving the aims of the Epping Forest Local Biodiversity Action Plan and the Essex Biodiversity Action Plan.

A full report on the hedgerow survey conducted and more information on biodiversity can be found on the Countrycare area of the Epping Forest District Council website.