North Weald Bassett masterplanning study

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Consultation, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Media, Meetings, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

The opportunity for further comments from local residents and stakeholders as part of the on-going North Weald Bassett masterplanning study has been welcomed by Councillor Richard Bassett, Planning Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council.

Further participation

North Weald Masterplan 3
He said: “Following the Council’s commitment to protect aviation activities at the Airfield, this study offers a genuine opportunity for the local community to help shape the future of North Weald Bassett. I would encourage those with an interest in the future development of North Weald Bassett to have their say and contribute to the development of the study.”

Members of the public and other stakeholders with an interest in the future development of North Weald Bassett and the airfield who perhaps did not contribute to the original masterplanning workshop are encouraged to have their say

Submit your comments by Wednesday 9 April 2014

  • Email
  • Post to Forward Planning, Epping Forest District Council, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4BZ

Councillor Bassett added: “Residents can find more information on the council website. We are basically looking for as much feedback as possible on how a limited amount of residential development focused on North Weald Airfield and North Weald Bassett could be accommodated without compromising aviation or the overall integrity and sustainability of the village. Most people agree some development is unavoidable. Our job is to find a way of doing it that protects the village, its existing residents and aviation at the airfield.”


In August 2013, following receipt of a development study into the future of the North Weald Airfield, Epping Forest District councillors agreed that a mixed use approach involving the development of parts of the airfield and the retention of aviation activities on site would be the most appropriate option for the airfield. Councillors also agreed that a high-level, comprehensive masterplanning study be prepared for the whole of North Weald Bassett including the village and airfield, focusing on the feasibility and deliverability of this approach and its incorporation as a development option for consideration in the Council’s new Local Plan.

The approach also fits in with general central government guidance for councils on ensuring the best use is made of publicly owned land and the significant area of land the airfield occupies in comparison to the nearby North Weald Bassett village.

In November 2013, Epping Forest District Council appointed a consultant team led by Allies and Morrison Urban Practitioners (AMUP) to undertake the masterplanning study. The aims of this study include the identification of the viable mix of land uses and associated infrastructure for the village, identifying long term Green Belt boundaries, potential phasing of development, the relationship between the airfield and the wider village area, and the potential mechanisms for delivering development.

It is envisaged that the findings of the study will form a key part of the Local Plan evidence base, and inform the development options process leading to the Local Plan Preferred Options consultation in 2014.

Study progress to date

Community workshop

Following a publicity campaign including leaflets to local households and press releases in local newspapers, 85 local residents and other people interested in North Weald attended a Community Masterplanning Workshop in January. The event format involved a presentation on the context and initial analysis undertaken for the study followed by an interactive workshop session during which members of the community were invited to identify priorities and discuss issues and the future of the village in relation to a number of themes including

  • The role of the airfield
  • Employment opportunities
  • Community services and open space
  • Transport and movement
  • Shops and services
  • Heritage
  • Possible benefits of new homes
  • Key issues involved in the provision of new homes

Community Workshop presentation by AMUP

Feedback from the workshop has been reviewed by AMUP and will inform the preparation of spatial options in stage 2 of the masterplanning study.

Landowners event

Epping Forest District Council and AMUP also held an event with landowners in the study area, identified through previous Call for Sites submissions for the Local Plan. AMUP presented the context for the study and the key messages from the initial baseline analysis covering village character, urban form, physical and social infrastructure, transport and movement and the property context. This was followed by a Question and Answer session.

Additional stakeholder consultation

In addition, Epping Forest District Council and AMUP have also held discussions with a number of key stakeholders involved in the study which include

  • Epping Forest District Council and Essex County Council councillors
  • Essex County Council Officers
  • Environment Agency
  • English Heritage
  • Epping Ongar Railway
  • Essex Wildlife Trust
  • Highways Agency
  • Natural England
  • North Weald Airfield
  • North Weald Airfield Users Group
  • North Weald Bassett Parish Council

Public exhibition

The draft development options for North Weald Bassett and the airfield, informed through the findings of the study and the views of the local community and key stakeholders, will be available to view at a public exhibition to be held this summer with further information on its date and content to be confirmed. This event will also provide yet another opportunity for interested parties to comment on the initial findings of the study. Further information on this event will be posted on the Epping Forest District Council website.


Planning workshop for North Weald

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Consultation, Councillors, Housing, Local plan / planning our future, Media, North Weald Airfield, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Private housing, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Local residents are being invited to an interactive workshop on the future of North Weald Bassett.

The event is being held by Epping Forest District Council. It follows the decision by councillors to protect aviation in combination with limited housing development at North Weald Airfield over the next 20 years or so.

The views of residents at the workshop will feed into a council-led ‘Master planning study’ for the village of North Weald Bassett and the airfield which will also contribute to the new district-wide Local Plan.

North Weald Bassett community workshop 25 January 2014

Download the poster North Weald Bassett community workshop 25 Jan 2014 (pdf 6.2 MB)

Public participation

Councillor Richard Bassett, Planning Portfolio Holder wants to encourage maximum public participation. He said: “I think this is good news for North Weald. After years of uncertainty over the airfield, residents, airfield tenants and councillors are taking the initiative by producing the plans we want to see for the village. The workshop will be an intensive half-day of consultation and discussion designed to get the best ideas from local people who know the area best.”

The council has employed Allies and Morrison Urban Practitioners (AMUP) who are experts in the field to help produce the plan. The brief includes the identification of the viable mix of land uses and infrastructure for the village and wider area, long term Green Belt boundaries, potential development phasing, the relationship between the airfield  and the wider village, and ways to deliver the plans. Central to the master planning study is the commitment to maintaining aviation at the airfield while also planning for new homes, employment, services and infrastructure for local people.


Residents need to register in advance if they want to attend the workshop scheduled for 10.15am to 1pm on Saturday 25 January 2014.

The workshop is being held at North Weald Village Hall, High Road, North Weald, Essex CM16 6BU.

Shape the future of North Weald Bassett

Councillor Bassett added: “We have made a commitment to protect aviation at North Weald. In realistic terms we also know the airfield is an obvious candidate for limited residential development but I cannot emphasise enough that no detailed decisions have been made. North Weald residents turned out in large numbers at the district council to support our proposals last summer and this is the next stage in keeping that dialogue going. This is a genuine opportunity for residents to shape the future of North Weald Bassett. The interactive workshop is specifically designed to understand what the community thinks.”

Results from the workshop will be reported to councillors and published on the Epping Forest District Council website. The study will form part of the evidence in support of the Local Plan. Further consultation opportunities will be available to residents wishing to contribute to the development of the Local Plan and the North Weald study during 2014 and 2015.


North Weald Airfield covers 384 acres. It was established as part of the aerial defence of London in 1916. It played a major role in the Battle of Britain and will always be associated with the RAF Hurricane squadrons based there in the summer of 1940. The airfield is a symbol of national pride to the people of Norway. Strong cultural links later developed between the people of Norway and North Weald when the airfield became the main base for Norwegian pilots flying Spitfires under the flag of the RAF in WWII.

North Weald continued as an RAF fighter station into the 1960s, hosting a number of iconic ‘Cold-war’ jet squadrons. When the airfield became surplus to Ministry of Defence requirements in 1980 it was bought by Epping Forest District Council.

Today, the airfield is a thriving aviation hub and home for many rare and historic aeroplanes. It is also used by a number of other light industrial businesses including distribution companies. Various public events are regularly held at the airfield which is also home to one of Europe’s largest Saturday markets.

What is the Local Plan?

Find out more on planning our future – the new Local Plan.


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