Law and Order Budget set to bring first District Council Tax rise for 8 years

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

Epping Forest District Council is to vote on its first Council Tax increase in 8 years as councillors decide on whether to pay for various law and order initiatives. This includes 3 extra police officers employed by Essex Police who would be dedicated to the district.

Should the Cabinet recommendation agreed on 1 February 2018 receive Full Council approval, residents will be asked to pay an extra £3.69 a year on average for a Band D property.

Final decisions on the budget and setting of Council Tax will be taken at Full Council on 22 February 2018.

Cabinet 1 February 2018

Cllr Mohindra at cabinet

More resources to tackle law and order issues

Finance Portfolio Holder Councillor Gagan Mohindra is recommending the budget. He said: “Without these initiatives, we would have been putting another zero percent Council Tax increase forward. However, our residents are telling us they want more resources to tackle law and order issues, especially around anti-social behaviour. Essex Police is also putting extra resources in but we are fortunate we can add more. These officers will be based at the Civic Offices and work closely with our own Community Safety Team. They will be dedicated to our district and spend the vast majority of their time with us.”

Councillor Mohindra says this is a strong budget despite challenging financial times. Speaking ahead of the Council meeting to set the District Council budget and Council Tax, he explained how significant savings and increased income are being reinvested into services.

First increase since 2010

He said: “Our residents have seen their overall Council Tax bill increasing over the years and think Epping Forest District Council’s precept of the Council Tax has gone up too. This has not been the case – this is actually our first increase since 2010. The historic increases have been made by Essex County Council, Essex Police and local town and parish councils.”

“The District Council part of our Council Tax bill for a Band D property is going up from £148.77 to £152.46 a year. A 2.48% increase which represents incredible value considering the law and order costs we are taking on and a raft of other investments.”

Assets and investment

“Use of our assets and income from investments has helped us manage much better than most other councils. As the budget setting approaches, my council colleagues and I still have to make some tough choices. Refuse and recycling costs are going up as inflation and cuts in the price for recycled materials have hit income. Reductions in the central government Revenue Support Grant are bigger than previously expected. It is worth noting the grant will end completely by 2019/20.”

“It is not all doom and gloom – the successful completion of the Epping Forest Shopping Park is projected to add income of £2.5million, money the Council plans to spend on maintaining our local services. The recent re-letting of the Council’s Leisure Centre Management contract to Places for People is saving almost £1million a year as well as helping to fund the construction of a brand new leisure centre in Waltham Abbey plus major improvements to our centres in Loughton, Epping and Ongar.”

Commercial business

“Income from commercial activities is up, making a contribution of almost £3million to council services. North Weald airfield is preparing for the arrival of the National Police Air Service. The Herts and Essex Air-Ambulance is already a long-standing tenant. The addition of police aircraft will make the airfield a major emergency services aviation hub. Distribution companies and aircraft maintenance services are thriving alongside the continued success of the airfield’s Saturday market and other regular events.”

“The Broadway Landmark development in Debden is adding to the Council’s portfolio of shops. Income from our industrial estates is also up. The new Pay and Display management contract is now bedded in, providing further savings while additional parking spaces are adding to income.”

Smarter ways of working

“Smarter ways of working are also set to achieve savings. Long term reduction in the need for office space is being achieved through better use of technology. Major new IT investment is expected to be off-set by the benefits of flexible working and a possible reduction in staffing levels through the Council’s People Strategy.”

“Innovative cultural and sports services include the contract to manage Lowewood Museum on behalf of Broxbourne Borough Council, earning Epping Forest almost £20,000 a year while almost £90,000 in external funding has been added to the Sports Development Programme.”

Council house building

“The first phase of the new council house building programme has been completed with 23 new homes in Waltham Abbey. Further developments including new flats and houses in Loughton, Epping and Coopersale are on track for completion this year. Income from council houses is set to fall again as a further 1% reduction in line with Central Government policy brings the average rent down to £95.34 per week.”

Myth-busting

Councillor Mohindra said: “I would like to do some myth-busting. Some people have got the wrong idea about pay and display car parks identified for housing in the Local Plan. Our Pay and Display car parks are a direct source of income to the Council. Any redevelopment proposal must include full re-provision of parking spaces.”

“Similarly, we also own the Broadway shop units in Debden and have increased our investment with the new Gateway shops. As landlord of Epping Forest Shopping Park we have ensured its new shops bring more customers, money, employment and wealth into our District. The Broadway has a healthy outlook with a waiting list of new prospective tenants as soon as vacancies arise.”

Councillor Mohindra added: “At a time when public sector organisations are generally cutting services we are bucking the trend by investing in new and better services from health, culture and wellbeing to employment, housing and law and order. This could only have been achieved with years of financial prudence and planning.”

Other items at Cabinet

The Council’s sheltered housing schemes reserved for older residents are to be reviewed. Initial scoping reports will be produced to see how some capacity in the sheltered housing stock can be replaced or converted into general needs housing available to people of all ages on the Council’s housing waiting list.

The preliminary nature of the scoping study was repeatedly emphasised with much more investigation required before any decisions on whether and how any redevelopment might take place. The needs of tenants are a top priority and would be handled with the greatest sensitivity. Approval of the proposals followed acceptance of the annual review of the Housing Allocation Scheme. Councillors also approved the Council’s Pay Policy for 2018/19, Transformation updates, Treasury Management Statements and calendar of meetings for 2018/19.

Essex wide Livewell campaign launched

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

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

Livewell campaign image

Working collaboratively to promote health

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

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

Check out how to Livewell

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

Take the #21 Challenge

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

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

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

Young people, we need you

Written on . Posted in Community, Councillors, Democracy, Elections, Media, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

We’re looking for young people to nominate themselves to join Epping Forest Youth Council (EFYC) and be the voice of Epping Forest’s young people.

If you’re aged 12 to 17 and want to ensure young people’s views are listened to and want to be at he heart of decision-making, EFYC is for you.

Youth councillor Annabelle Yaman with Youth Engagement Officer Diane Gilson-Butler at Epping St Johns School promoting the upcoming youth council elections

What do I need to do to join?

First, you need to win your school election. Elections are being held in the district’s secondary schools and Epping Forest College between 22 January and Friday 9 February 2018.

Each school will have 2 Youth Council seats as well as 5 independent seats for candidates who either attend school or college outside the district, or are excluded from school, or being home educated or working.

The election results will be announced live online on 27 March 2018

What will be expected of me?

You will be expected to be enthusiastic, reliable and have a desire to make a difference in your school and community.

You will be elected for a 2 year term and will be required to attend 2 evening meetings a month in Epping.

Successful candidates will be trained to develop their skills in public speaking, debating, presenting and teamwork. It’s a great opportunity to make new friends, learn new skills and gain experience to help you in the future.

How do I nominate myself?

Nominations close Friday 16 February 2018. There are 2 ways to nominate yourself to stand as a Youth Councillor

  1. complete the online nomination form

  2. complete the nomination form on page 8 of the Epping Forest Youth Council candidate information booklet (also available from your school, local library and Epping Forest District Council Civic Offices)

Get skills for life

“I’ve had an amazing 2 years being a youth councillor” said Epping Forest Youth Councillor Charley Brooks. “Every meeting I’m faced with different challenges to overcome.”

“I’ve met some amazing people and I now have skills for life that I couldn’t have learned anywhere else.”

Championing our young people

Councillor Helen Kane, Leisure and Community Services Portfolio Holder said: “We’re very proud of our Youth Council. They do fantastic work representing the views, issues and opinions of young people across the Epping Forest district.”

“I’m looking forward to working with the successful candidates, listening to what they have to say and helping them to make a difference to the lives of young people their age.”

Want more information

Contact Diane Gilson-Butler, Youth Engagement Officer

Decisions from Plans South 24 January 2018

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Planning application decisions from the Area Planning Sub-Committee South meeting Wednesday 24 January 2018.

Decisions

  • EPF/2499/17 – 13 -15A Alderton Hill, Loughton, Essex, IG10 3JD
    Application withdrawn
  • EPF/3078/17 – 2 Connaught Avenue, Loughton, Essex, IG10 4DP
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1536/17 – Epping New Road, Buckhurst Hill, Essex, IG9 5UA
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2751/17 – 37 Loughton Way, Buckhurst Hill, Essex, IG9 6AS
    Permission refused
  • EPF/2803/17 – 72 Princes Road, Buckhurst Hill, Essex, IG9 5DZ
    Permission refused
  • EPF/3133/17 – 83 Grange Crescent, Chigwell, Essex, IG7 5JD
    Permission granted

Planning application search

Decisions from Plans West 17 January 2018

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Planning application decisions from the Area Planning Sub-Committee West meeting Wednesday 17 January 2018.

Decisions

  • EPF/2413/17 – 1 Bentons Cottages, Middle Street, Nazeing, Essex, EN9 2LN
    Decision deferred to DDMC
  • EPF/2878/17 – Land at Epping Long Green, Epping Green, Epping, Essex, CM16 6QN
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2902/17 – 2 High Street, Roydon, Essex, CM19 5HJ
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2906/17 – 2 High Street, Roydon, Essex, CM19 5HJ
    Permission granted

Planning application search

Decisions from Plans East 10 January 2018

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Planning application decisions from the Area Planning Sub-Committee East meeting Wednesday 10 January 2018.

Decisions

  • EPF/2363/17 – Rozel, Loughton Lane, Theydon Bois, Essex CM16 7JY
    Decision deferred to DDMC
  • EPF/2364/17 – Rozel, Loughton Lane, Theydon Bois, Essex CM16 7JY
    Permission refused
  • EPF/2388/17 – 47 Sunnyside Road, Epping, Essex, CM16 4JW
    Permission refused
  • EPF/2564/17 – Spain End, The Street, Willingale, Ongar, Essex, CM5 0SJ
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2748/17 – Part of Popplewell Coachworks Popplewells Coach Works Ltd, High Road, Thornwood, North Weald, Essex, CM16 6LP
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2869/17 – Rear of 8 to 22 Institute Road, Coopersale, Epping, Essex, CM16 7QY
    Permission granted

Planning application search

New proposals for housing in Epping Forest

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Democracy, Epping, Housing, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Regulations, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your money

Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet has agreed a range of exciting new proposals for housing in the Epping Forest District, setting out the council’s vision for rented, social and affordable housing in the area for the next five years.

Housing Strategy

Proposals

The proposals include:

  • Continuing with the Council’s Housebuilding Programme, providing more than 300 new homes over the next ten years
  • Setting out how the Council will try to reduce homelessness and deal with homeless people
  • The approach to be taken to the provision of affordable housing – including both rented housing and shared ownership (“part rent – part buy”)
  • A review and provision of supported housing for older and vulnerable people, such as sheltered housing
  • Explaining how the Council will help people living in the private sector, including those with empty homes, and try to help improve the conditions of such homes

These and many other important proposals are included in the Council’s new Housing Strategy 2017 – 2022.

Strategy plays crucial role

Councillor Syd Stavrou, Portfolio Holder for Housing said: “The new Housing Strategy has a crucial role in ensuring that the varying housing needs of our residents are met. We want to work with our partners and residents to improve the quantity, quality and access to housing in Epping Forest, ensuring the district is a great place to live, work and do business.”

Action to overcome challenges

The Housing Strategy sets out the housing-related challenges the district faces and identifies the actions the Council will take to overcome these challenges. This takes the form of an annual key action plan which will be updated every year, with progress continually monitored over the five year period.

Further information

Decisions from Plans South 20 December 17

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Planning application decisions from Area Planning Sub-Committee South meeting on Wednesday 20 December 2017.

Decisions

  • Item 1 (EPF/2127/17 72) Greenfields, Loughton, Essex, IG10 3HF
    PERMISSION GRANTED
  • Item 2 (EPF/2636/17) 126 Manor Road, Chigwell, Essex, IG7 5PR
    PERMISSION GRANTED
  • Item 3 (EPF/2650/17) Adj Garage Block, Pentlow Way, Buckhurst Hill, Essex, IG9 6BZ
    PERMISSION GRANTED
  • Item 4 (EPF/2706/17) Royal Oak, Forest Road, Loughton, Essex, IG10 1EG
    PERMISSION GRANTED
  • Item 5 (EPF/2707/17) 2 Danbury Road, Loughton, Essex, IG10 3AI
    PERMISSION GRANTED
  • Item 6 (EPF/2725/17) 2 Goldingham Avenue, Loughton, Essex, IG10 2JF
    PERMISSION REFUSED
  • Item 7 (EPF/2660/17) 69 Lechmere Avenue, Chigwell, Essex, IG10 2JF
    PERMISSION GRANTED
  • Item 8 (EPF/2792/17) 2 Honeycroft, Loughton, Essex, IG10 5EZ
    PERMISSION GRANTED
  • Item 9 (EPF/2572/17) Car park rear of 12-14 The Broadway, Loughton, Essex, IG10
    PERMISSION REFUSED
  • Item 10 (EPF/2398/17) Stanmores/Little Stanmores, Clays Lane, Loughton, Essex, IG10 2RZ
    PERMISSION GRANTED

Planning application search

Decisions from Plans East 6 December 2017

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Planning application decisions from the Area Planning Sub-Committee East meeting Wednesday 6 December 2017.

Decisions

  • EPF/1401/17 – Hartlands, 4A Kendal Avenue, Epping, Essex, CM16 4PN
    Permission refused
  • EPF/2162/17 – Plot 3, Ashlings Farm, Ashlings Farm Lane, High Ongar, Ingatestone, Essex, CM4 0JU
    Permission refused
  • EPF/2173/17 – 16 Kendal Avenue, Epping Essex, CM16 4PW
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2185/17 – NHS Radio Mast Site, New Road, Lambourne End, Essex, RM4 1AR
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2441/17 – 54 Rayfield, Epping, Essex, CM16 5AH
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2448/17 – 38 High Road, North Weald Bassett, Epping, Essex, CM16 6BU
    Permission refused
  • EPF/2500/17 – Oakbank, Theydon Park Road, Theydon Bois, Essex, CM16 7LS
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2504/17 – Land to rear of 1-7 Rodney Road, 2-22 Fairfield Road and 2- 6 Glebe Road Ongar, Essex, CM5 9HJ
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2735/17 – Merlin Way, North Weald, Epping, Essex, CM16 6HR
    Permission granted

Planning application search

Epping Forest Shopping Park open for Christmas

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The new Epping Forest Shopping Park in Loughton is up and running and open for Christmas.

Epping Forest Shopping Park

Stores open

Stores open in time for Christmas are

The new shopping park at Langston Road in Loughton is owned by Epping Forest District Council. It’s a short walk from Debden tube station with over 300 parking bays including 10 charging points for electric vehicles. There’s cycle racks for 34 bikes as well.

A fantastic range of well-known and popular retailers

“I’m delighted to see our new shopping park open,” said Councillor Anne Grigg, Economic Development portfolio holder at Epping Forest District Council. “We’ve got a fantastic range of well-known and popular retailers, and for many it’s their first store to open in the Epping Forest district.”

“Analysis showed us 75% of local residents travelled out of the district to shop. Now the Epping Forest Shopping Park can plug that gap and residents can now shop locally at the stores they want.”

Epping Forest Shopping Park logo

New jobs for the local area

Councillor Grigg ended with: “The retail park not only provides new jobs for the local area, it’s rental income will be put back into local services, contributing to keeping Epping Forest District Council a low Council Tax council.”