Neighbourhood Development Plan for Chigwell

Written on . Posted in Business, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Consultation, Councillors, Countryside and wildlife, Housing, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Private housing, Residents, Supporting business, Trees and landscapes, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Local shopping at Chigwell ParadeChigwell residents are being offered the opportunity to shape the future of their area. Chigwell Parish Council has taken the first steps towards preparing a Neighbourhood Development Plan covering the whole parish by submitting an application to Epping Forest District Council.

Any Parish or Town Council can prepare a Neighbourhood Plan. The Plans give communities an opportunity to shape the way in which their local area develops over the coming years. Neighbourhood Plans must take account of the District Council’s Local Plan and can be used to develop a shared vision for the local area by:

• Suggesting where new homes, community facilities and other forms of development should be built;
• Identifying and helping protect important local green spaces; and
• Influencing what new buildings should look like.

Epping Forest District Council has a duty to publicise the proposal for at least six weeks but the consultation period has been extended to eight weeks to allow for Christmas. A copy of the application, along with further information on neighbourhood planning, can be viewed here.

Councillor Richard Bassett, Planning Portfolio Holder for the District Council said: “Neighbourhood Plans can be a very useful tool in planning future development and I hope as many Chigwell residents will comment on the proposals as possible. This is a consultation on the identification of the potential plan area, not a formal consultation on the Neighbourhood Plan itself, which will come later. The consultation commenced on 16 December 2013 and, in order to allow for the Christmas period, will run for 8 weeks until 5.00pm on 10 February 2014.”

Comments can be sent by email to or by post to:

Forward Planning, Epping Forest District Council, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4BZ.

Councillor Bassett added: “Please be aware that all comments received will be publicly available and may be included on our website. Personal details such as the respondents address, telephone number and signature will not be published.”

Images of Chigwell

What next

Neighbourhood Plans were introduced by Government through the Localism Act in 2011.

Once they have successfully completed the preparation process, Neighbourhood Plans will legally have policy status and will be used to help decide planning applications. Within the parameters set by the district-wide local plan, a neighbourhood plan must be used to positively encourage sustainable development.

Following the end of the eight week period, the District Council must decide whether to designate the proposed neighbourhood area. If agreed, the Parish Council may commence work on preparing the Neighbourhood Plan. A draft Plan must be subject to a formal 6 week public consultation before being submitted to the District Council for examination by an independent Examiner. If the Plan is approved, a referendum is held within the Parish to decide whether the Plan should be used by the District Council to decide upon planning applications within the neighbourhood area.

Within Epping Forest District, Moreton, Bobbingworth and the Lavers Parish Council are already working on a Neighbourhood Plan for their area.

Children’s services under scrutiny

Written on . Posted in Community, Consultation, Councillors, Media, Meetings, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Controversial plans to close local children’s services came under the spotlight at Epping Forest District Council on Tuesday 26 November. Councillors called on Essex County Council to explain the move after a consultation exercise (Shaping Future Services from April 2014 ) revealed plans to close Little Buddies Children’s Centre in Buckhurst Hill.

Read the agenda and reports

Essex County Council says it needs to save around £215 million by 2016/2017 on top of £365 million already saved over the previous 3 years. Closing Little Buddies would be part of an overall reduction of 11 premises across the county saving £2.5 million.

Stav Yiannou of Essex County Council and Stacy Randall of contract provider Spurgeons explained the reasons for the consultation and proposed the closure.

While Little Buddies would close and its services merged with the Sunrise Centre in Loughton, further planned changes to district wide services include the establishment of outreach services as well as ‘Main Site’ and ‘Delivery Site’ variations.

Children’s centres cater for children under 5 years of age and their parents. 

Stephen Neville, a resident of Buckhurst Hill made a statement to the committee. He outlined a number of objections to Essex County Council’s reasons for closing Little Buddies. He contested assertions about car parking and argued that greater levels of local social deprivation existed than the county council acknowledged. 

Overview and Scrutiny Councillor Leon Girling began questions. He asked the county council to justify the levels of awareness and profile of the consultation. He felt that schools and parents of slightly older children had been excluded. He argued that the decision to close Little Buddies was a ‘done deal’ and challenged Stav Yiannou to justify the county council approach. Ms Yiannou accepted Councillor Girling’s point that schools could have received more information and undertook to contact them. 

Each children’s centre is designed to provide a variety services tailored to its location. Children’s centres work closely with health, schools, GPs and other service providers.

Services include

  • Information and advice on childcare and early learning provision
  • Health services including pre and postnatal support
  • Parent/carer groups, including dads’ and grandparents groups
  • Access to children’s communication and early language support
  • Links to Jobcentre Plus
  • Family support services

Stacy Randall responded to a question from Councillor Gavin Chambers by indicating a relatively low level of usage at Little Buddies, although many of the families came from outside the Epping Forest district and Essex. She described other services also provided for local children and their parents in Buckhurst Hill Library.

Councillor Stephen Murray contested assertions that public transport links between Buckhurst Hill and the Sunrise Centre in Alderton Hall Lane, Loughton were good. He also argued that the extra hours allocated to Little Oaks Children’s Centre in Torrington Drive followed previous reductions. He went on to assert that previous assurances over the protection of funding for children’s services had not been fulfilled. Stacy Randall sought to reassure Councillor Murray, especially with regard to the Little Oaks Centre.

Councillor Girling voiced further concerns raised by local residents who did not understand the rationale for the evidence on the county council website.

Baldeep Salter, a mum from Buckhurst Hill was invited by Overview and Scrutiny Chairman Councillor Richard Morgan to speak to the committee. As a family using Little Buddies, she said they would struggle if the centre closed. She spoke for other parents in saying how she had struggled to use the website consultation.

Mrs Salter also paid tribute to the staff at Little Buddies for the special care they offered to her terminally ill son during the later stages of his battle with cancer.   

Epping Forest District Council has made a detailed response to the consultation. It has expressed extreme concern about the closure of local children’s services and its disappointment in the consultation documents. However, except for the proposed closure of Little Buddies which the district council opposes, it also recognises that the level of children’s services cannot continue as it is and that the approach taken in developing the proposals is otherwise logical and measured under the circumstances.


View photos in a slideshow by clicking on a picture and then click start slideshow.

The consultation, Shaping Future Services from April 2014, on the closure of Little Buddies and other centres ends on Thursday 5 December. A final decision expected in January 2014.

Complete the ‘Shaping Future Services from April 2014’ consultation online


Have your say on Essex bus service

Written on . Posted in Consultation, Out and about, Travel, Working with the council, Your area, Your council

Consultation has already began on the bus service Essex County Council (ECC) provides in your area, if you want to have your say please complete the survey before the 9 December. Copies of the consultation will also be available online at through libraries or by calling 0845 603 7631.

So far ECC  have received 1,500 responses but they would still like to receive your comments. On Monday 16 September, ECC began a twelve week formal public consultation which includes how it provides financial support to local bus services.

Bus service between Epping and Ongar

The local authority currently pays £7.9million for nearly 200 local bus services which generally run in the evenings, on Sundays or in rural locations. The authority is keen to ensure the bus services it provides meet, as far as possible, the essential travel needs of Essex residents and also offer the best value for taxpayers. However, maintaining expenditure at this level in the current financial climate is unsustainable and the county council is looking at where efficiency savings can be made.

The consultation is asking residents about their travel needs and what types of services are most important to them, but the consultation is not looking at individual bus services at this stage.

Essex County Councillor Rodney L Bass, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation said: “We need to review the Bus Strategy to make sure that the bus services we provide meet the essential travel needs of residents, offer the best value for taxpayers and can be sustained.

“Given the challenging economic climate, we must be realistic and accept that it is likely that not all needs across the county can be met and that the funding available in the coming years will be reduced.

“However, the views the consultees provide will be carefully considered and reviewed alongside information we already hold such as passenger numbers and the journeys passengers undertake. We are seeking to engage as many people as possible in this consultation so that decisions are made fairly and informed by public opinion.”

The consultation, plus all accompanying literature and documentation, including a comprehensive list of the bus services paid for by ECC, was available from 16 September.  Please note, there will be further consultation and opportunities to comment on the draft bus strategy when it is completed.  Once the new strategy has been finalised it there will be a series of area reviews across the County to allow services in each area to be looked at in the light of the new strategy.  Any changes are intended to be implemented between September 2014 and September 2015.

Safe as houses with HomeSafe

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Consultation, Councillors, Crime and safety, Emergencies, Local business, Media, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Local estate agents have joined forces with the Epping Forest Community Safety Partnership to fight crime by spreading the home safety message to local homeowners.

Residents buying a house or flat in the district are being given a special Home Safety pack when they move in. The HomeSafe initiative consists of advice on home security and fire prevention given to residents on completing the purchase of their new home.


View photos in a slideshow by clicking on a picture and then click start slideshow.

“Moving home is the most popular time to make home improvements. So when we are spending all that money, it is also the time to think about making our new homes as safe and secure as possible.” said Councillor Gary Waller, Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community Safety.

Councillor Waller continued: “The HomeSafe Home Safety Pack provides a starter kit for your new home. It contains advice for new home-owners on everything from changing locks to smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. The first thought for many people when they move in is often new curtains, carpet or kitchen whereas the first job ought to be changing your locks and the code to your burglar alarm.”

HomeSafe Home Safety Pack

Also included in the packs are property marking guides, health service information, and advice about registering to vote. The pack comes with a handy home security checklist to help occupiers identify any security issues with their new property. Over 30 estate agents are participating in the scheme throughout Epping Forest district. The scheme is being part funded by the Essex Police & Crime Commissioners ‘new initiatives’ fund and Epping Forest District Council.

Chief Inspector Tracey Harman, District Commander responsible for Neighbourhood Policing locally also supports the scheme. She said, “Epping Forest district is a very safe place to live, we have made great strides in reducing domestic burglary significantly this year. However, we are not resting on our laurels and we will continue to work hard to keep it that way. This is an innovative partnership scheme which we hope will get new home owners thinking about their security as they move in when they are more likely to make any necessary improvements.”

Councillor Waller concluded: “Although we are working with local estate agents to target new home-owners, it is always a good time to review your home security no matter how many years since you moved.”


For free and impartial security advice speak to your local police Crime Prevention Officer by dialling 101 or visit the Essex Police website.


The annual canvass is coming

Written on . Posted in Consultation, Elections, Media, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Annual canvass forms are being delivered soon, complete it quickly to make sure you’re registered to vote.

Ring or click or textDuring October we’re delivering the annual canvass form to every household in the district.

It is important you complete it as quickly as possible – if you’re not on the register, you can’t vote – it’s as simple as that.

It’s easy to do, you can do it by

  • freephone
  • text
  • online

What is the annual canvass?

The annual canvass runs from October to February. Canvass forms are sent to every property asking for details of all residents eligible to vote, who are currently living at the property.

Why should I register?

  • If you don’t register you can’t vote and have a say in the running of the country both at local and national level
  • If you don’t register it will be much harder to obtain credit
  • It is the law to respond – refusal to return your registration form may lead to a fine of up to £1,000

Details on the form are correct

Please use the freephone, internet or text response options – if you use these you will be saving us a lot of money. These methods cost us just 12p compared to 28p postage plus processing costs if you return the form by post. 15,000 households used these automated methods and we are hoping for 3 times as many this year.

Details on the form are not correct

Cross out anyone who is no longer living at the address or add to the next blank line the details of anyone who is living at your address but not listed. Remember to sign the form. If you are returning the form to us by post, please use the prepaid envelope it came in.

A change to be aware of

This year you will not be automatically excluded from the edited register. Please remember to tick the box on the form has changes or select the opt-out option if using freephone or internet for if you want to be excluded from the edited register. You cannot opt-out if you reply by text.

Ian Willett, the Electoral Registration Officer at Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) says: “Filling in the annual canvass is easier than ever! As soon as you get it, check it. If everything’s correct, reply by freephone, text or online straight away.”

Ian Willett continued: “Please be aware if you want to opt-out from the edited register, you will need to reply either by freephone or online as this option is not available by text. If you have any questions contact the electoral services helpline by email to or call 01992 564411 and our elections team will be happy to help.”

Mr Willett concluded: “Last year 15,000 households replied by freephone, online or text, but 3 times as many could have! Using these methods saves you time and saves the council money.”


Planning application validation requirements checklist consultation

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Chigwell, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Consultation, Epping, Local plan / planning our future, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

The Department for Communities and Local Government recommend that Local Planning Authorities regularly review their own validation requirements. Our current validation checklist now needs to be updated to make sure our requirements remain relevant and appropriate to current policies and legislation. Therefore, we are reviewing our checklists and would appreciate your feedback.

A draft validation requirements list has been produced for consultation. The draft validation requirements have been simplified from our previous requirements so that it provides more explanation as to the instances when we should require information from you to support your planning applications. The format has also been converted into an easy to read table to make it user friendly. Some changes have also been made to bring the list up to date where changes have been made to planning legislation, policy and guidance upon which the requirements are based.

Epping Forest District Council is undertaking a 21 day consultation period commencing on 18 September 2013 so that the deadline for comments is 5pm on 9 October 2013.

View the consultation and comment upon it here

Or email us at for more details.


Essex Youth Services consultation documentary

Written on . Posted in Consultation, Media, Out and about, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community

Essex County Council Youth Services commissioned an up and coming filmmaker to go out and speak to as many youth activity providers in Epping Forest as possible to find out 3 main things.

  1. What they offer for young people in their area
  2. What their priorities are in providing services for young people
  3. What the Essex County Council Youth Services could do to help them

Watch the video

Video produced by Liam A Lucien. Visit for details of his work.

North Weald decision

Written on . Posted in Commercial properties, Consultation, Councillors, Democracy, Housing, Leader, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Meetings, North Weald Airfield, Private housing, Supporting business, Your council

The challenge to Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet decision to proceed to preferred options with a mixed aviation, residential, community and commercial development option at North Weald Airfield has been rejected.

Residents made their feelings known before the meetingA packed public gallery looked on as members of the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on 27 August 2013 upheld the original Cabinet decision.

More than 150 residents listened to the debate. With the public gallery full, other residents were invited to take spare seats in the council chamber itself. More residents watched via webcasting in an overspill area after a good natured demonstration outside the district council offices in Epping earlier in the evening.

Cabinet set a course for consultation as part of the Local Plan preferred options on a mix of continued aviation with some residential and commercial development on 22 July. Councillors challenging the Cabinet decision argued that further attention should have been given to issues around the rejection of full scale business aviation, and housing and commercial development options which would have led to the end of aviation.

Councillor Sylvia Watson introduced the case for the call in. She argued that the original Cabinet decision specifically gave

  • Insufficient weight given to the discount rate reflecting risk
  • No analysis of revenue implications versus capital
  • No district wide consultation on change to Issues and Options prior to the Preferred Options stage (of the Local Plan)
  • No options available without massive development with no aviation

Watch the debate


Councillor Anne Grigg, Asset Management Portfolio Holder defended the original decision rebuffing each of the grounds for challenge in turn. She also outlined that each option carried a degree of financial risk and drew attention to the estimates of financial returns to the Council in the original report. She argued that it was not possible to provide full development cost estimates until such time as detailed development proposals were produced.

Councillor Grigg also took issue with concerns expressed by Councillor Lesley Wagland that the decision would hamper the introduction of the Council’s new Local Plan. She believed the Cabinet decision would meet the requirements of the Local Plan process. Drawing attention to the consultant’s report, she emphasised the commitment to complete a high level master planning exercise focusing on feasibility and deliverability prior to incorporation into the Local Plan Preferred Options consultation process also approved by Cabinet on 22 July. 

Members of Overview and Scrutiny questioned Councillor Grigg and those councillors supporting the call in. Councillor Richard Bassett, Planning Portfolio Holder was also asked about potential delays to the Local Plan should additional options be considered. All councillors wish to have the Local Plan adopted as soon as possible. Councillor Bassett reminded councillors that the Council is not only the planning authority but also the owner of North Weald Airfield with all the responsibilities that entails such as protection of the heritage of the site.

Impassioned calls for and against the challenge were made by councillors across the chamber before Overview and Scrutiny upheld the Cabinet decision by 9 votes to 3. Councillor Richard Morgan, chairman of the committee concluded with thanks to residents for their attendance and interest.

Over 150 residents attended the debate

Over 150 residents attended the debate at the civic offices in Epping


Youth council generation games

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Consultation, Local business, Media, Museum, Older people, Out and about, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Epping Forest Youth Councillors held an afternoon tea party for the residents of Leonard Davis House in North Weald and the Voluntary Action Epping Forest (VAEF) Carers Group.

Guests enjoyed a great afternoon playing Bingo and card games, and decorating cakes. On loan from Epping Forest District Museum was a selection of vintage games including tiddlywinks and shove ha’penny.


View photos in a slideshow by clicking on a picture and then click start slideshow.

The afternoon tea party was held as part of the Youth Council’s Intergenerational Project. The project aims to break down stereotypical misconceptions and build stronger bridges between generations.

The guests were asked to complete a questionnaire exploring this issue. When asked what young people can learn from the older generation, one guest felt that young people should “be positive in what they want to achieve” and that older people should “be more understanding of the needs and hopes of young people.” 

Youth Councillor Jaymey McIvor said: “We have laid a foundation which soon will bridge the gap between the generations. Today has been a fantastic day for all generations.”

Jina Symes from VAEF said: “The carers have told me they really enjoyed it and were really impressed with, in their words, the young people. I think the afternoon was a great success.”

The Youth Councillors persuaded local businesses such as The Co-operative, Bassett Service Station, North Weald Chemist and Tesco to donate prizes or to contribute towards the catering.


Tell us about crime in your area

Written on . Posted in Abandoned vehicles, Consultation, Crime and safety, Emergencies, Media, Our countryside, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Worried about crime and disorder in your area? Dealing with crime and disorder is everyone’s responsibility, not just the police. With your help we can improve the quality of life in our district for all our residents and businesses.

Tell us your concerns by completing this short survey and help us identify our next set of priorities – it should take no more than 5 to 10 minutes!

Crime and disorder survey

The Epping Forest District Community Safety Partnership includes the police, fire service, probation, county council, district council and health service, all working together to reduce crime and disorder in our district.

Please complete the survey online now and encourage as many of your family and friends to do so, it’s your area have a say in the way we deal with the problems that concern you most.

When answering we consider ‘your local area’ to be within 15 to 20 minutes walking distance from your home.

Crime and disorder survey 2012

Last year you helped us identify 4 main issues of concern

  1. Domestic abuse
  2. Anti-social behaviour
  3. Burglary of people’s homes
  4. Car crime

The plan we produced is helping us to reduce repeat victimisation and repeat offending, creating safer neighbourhoods and town centres and helping to divert young people away from crime.

Paul Gardener Safer Communities Officer said: “I would encourage everyone to fill in our survey. Please be assured that we do take everyone’s comments into account when formulating our Plan. We want to make sure we are working on the areas of most concern to residents of the district, so make sure you have your say. Please encourage your friends and family to complete it as well.”

If you prefer a hard copy survey to fill in you can collect one from

  • Epping Forest District Council Civic offices, High Street, Epping, CM16 4BZ
  • Leisure services offices (next to Epping Sports Centre), 25 Hemnall Street, Epping, CM16 4LZ
  • Loughton Broadway Housing office, 63 The Broadway, Loughton, IG10 3SP
  • Limes Centre housing office, Limes Avenue, Chigwell, IG7 5LP