Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Meeting

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Democracy, Epping, Local business, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council

Councillor Chris Whitbread, Deputy Leader of Epping Forest District Council and newly appointed ` Business Champion ` addressed a packed business breakfast meeting hosted by Epping Forest Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday 21 July 2009 at the Bell Hotel in Epping.

The portfolio holder for Economic Development said I want to build a strong relationship with the Chamber of Commerce. We want to hear what you have to say and how we can help. Partnership may be a buzzword but we are keen to encourage you to partner us and work together.

Mr Whitbread knows all about being a local businessman, particularly in this poor economic climate, as he heads up Millers estate agents in Epping based in the High Road since 1974. Reference was made to the Council`s ambitious vision for the future of Debden Broadway and the consultation underway in partnership with Essex County Council in Epping.

He also set out some of what the Council is already doing to help in these difficult times. We have taken on board concerns about parking from local traders and we believe our decision to provide free Saturday parking in some of our car parks has been beneficial. This year we froze parking charges. We want to encourage residents to support their local shops. The Council has also acted by reducing payment terms on invoices and wants to use local suppliers wherever possible.`

We see the Epping Forest Chamber as an important partner and we look forward to working positively together in the future. On my part I will do all I can to make it easier to contact us and get information.

Sam Gooday, of chartered accountants Blitz Gooday, also gave a talk packed with topical tax tips providing details about recent tax developments and planning opportunities particularly relevant for small businesses.

Iggy Quazi, Chair of the Epping Forest Chamber said It was good to see the interest in this meeting. Contrary to the present economic climate, there is a positive vibrancy in small businesses in the district and this Chamber aims to play a key role in helping to facilitate vital communication and engage with SMEs to achieve joint goals.

The next event is a 60th Anniversary dinner being held at the Piano Lounge on Wednesday 23 September 2009.

Gypsy and Traveller Reduction

Written on . Posted in Community, Countrycare, Democracy, Gypsy and traveller, Leader, Local plan / planning our future, Our countryside, Residents, Your community, Your council, Your environment

The Secretary of State published the final East of England Plan policy (H3) for Gypsy and Traveller pitch provision on 20 July 2009. Epping Forest District Council is required to provide an additional 34 pitches in the period 2006 to 2011. This would mean that the minimum number of authorised pitches in the district should total 128 by 2011. The policy expects pitch provision to be made through a combination of Development Plan Documents (DPD) and development control decisions and that opportunities should be taken to secure provision within major developments.

Councillor Di Collins Leader of Epping Forest District Council said: “We argued long and hard that the overall number of extra gypsy and traveller pitches allocated to our district was unfair in comparison to other Council areas. I am pleased we had some success. From an original draft allocation of 49, it was no mean feat to get the Government to reduce the figure to 34. However, I think the vast majority of Epping Forest residents will agree with me that the allocation is still too high and should have been much lower.

“Having confirmed our allocation, I think it is now up to the Government to listen very carefully to the views of local people about where the extra pitches should go in the district. Those decisions should be taken locally in conjunction with the needs of all our residents and not imposed by Government-appointed Inspectors.

The District Council is continuing to analyse responses made to the consultation for additional pitch locations within the district, which ran from November 2008 to February 2009. Discussions with GO-East about a revised timetable for submitting a draft DPD continue. Beyond 2011 the East of England Plan policy requires additional provision based on an annual 3% compound increase and advises that DPDs should consider the need for rural exception sites and the alteration of Green Belt boundaries.

The County of Essex and the Unitary Authorities of Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock are also required to make provision for 30 transit pitches by 2011.

Policy H4 deals with pitch provision for travelling show people and requires Essex, Southend and Thurrock to make provision for an additional 103 plots by 2011 with an annual 1.5% compound increase thereafter. Councils are again advised to consider rural exception sites and changes to Green Belt boundaries.

The implications of these two policies will be considered in the Autumn by the Council’s Local Development Framework Cabinet.

Youth Councils Big Lunch

Written on . Posted in Community, Democracy, Residents, Young people, Your community, Your council

As part of a national event, The Big Lunch,  Youth Councillors from Epping Forest and Harlow districts came together on Sunday 19 July 2009. At the youth cafe in Harlow they enjoyed a roast dinner and exchanged ideas and looked into ways of working closer together.

A total of 24 Youth Councillors attended and ideas raised included working on joint projects to benefit the local communities of Epping Forest and Harlow and organising a debate about current issues.

Events were organised up and down the country as part of The Big Lunch on 19 July. The aim was to aid community cohesion by getting neighbours to sit down and have lunch together to exchange their thoughts on local issues. Increasingly people are leading more independent lives and not taking into account the local community they live in.

Epping Forest Youth Councillor Sam Clarke said: The discussions were very productive and both groups of Youth Councillors came away feeling that the talks over lunch had been positive, showing that The Big Lunch really does begin to achieve its wider aim of bringing communities together.

In Latin, community means together, in gift and the goal of these events is to create a wider neighbourhood, realising how many good people there are.

Council Cash to Support Homeless

Written on . Posted in Community, Democracy, Housing, Local plan / planning our future, Planning, Residents, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

A scheme that has helped over 200 families rent a home in the private sector is to be boosted with more money. Epping Forest District Council will pass the full benefit of a £7,500 Government grant to Epping Forest Housing Aid, enabling the local charity to guarantee more rent deposits on behalf of local people. The Council is also extending the value of underwriting Epping Forest Housing Aid`s guarantees from £40,000 to £60,000. Together, the measure will allow more local people to take the first steps to renting a new home. Twenty families are expected to benefit almost immediately.

In a separate move, the Cabinet of Epping Forest District Council also authorised the provision of £47,500 to provide small interest-free loans to residents who might otherwise be in danger of losing their homes due to the economic downturn. Loans of between £1,000 and £3,000 are envisaged although Government guidance allows for loans of up to £5,000 under the scheme.

Nazeing Playground

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Democracy, Our activities, Out and about, Playschemes, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council

The sun came out to shine on Thursday 16 July 2009 as children from Nazeing celebrated the opening of their new £50,000 playground with Councillor Penny Smith, the Chairman of Epping Forest District Council. The new facilities at Hoe Lane are a collaborative venture between Epping Forest District Council and Nazeing Parish Council, using money from the Big Lottery Children`s Play Programme Fund.

After the official ribbon cutting with Madison Lang, Tyree Zengini, Josh and Freya Lock, Councillor Smith helped to test the new roundabout and climbing frames. She could then not resist joining the older children for some shots with the new basketball hoop.

Councillor Smith congratulated everyone involved in the project including local children and parents involved in the design consultation and Council staff from Community Development and Housing. Asking the children if they liked their new playground, she was rewarded with cheers of agreement.

Nazeing is one of three areas to benefit from improvement to playgrounds by Epping Forest District Council using £243,000 of Big Lottery funding. After spending more time with 12 year-old Keiran Poonwassie and his friends at the basketball hoop, Councillor Smith headed to St Giles` Church Hall where local people were meeting to discuss plans for another playground at Elizabeth Close in Nazeing.

New ‘Slimmed-Down’ Cabinet Meets

Written on . Posted in Community, Councillors, Democracy, Housing, Parking, Recycling and waste, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

News and video from the first Cabinet meeting of the new Council year including the announcement of the new slimmed-down Cabinet, parking on Council estates and recycling among others.

New Cabinet

Business resumed for District Councillors at the Cabinet meeting of Epping Forest District Council on Monday 8 June 2009 following last week`s County and European Elections. It was the first meeting of the new slimmed-down Cabinet following its reduction from nine to eight members at the Annual Council meeting in May.

    The new Cabinet comprises:

  • Councillor Di Collins – Leader of the Council
  • Councillor Chris Whitbread – Finance and Economic Development
  • Councillor Richard Bassett – Performance Management
  • Councillor Mitch Cohen – Legal and Estates
  • Councillor Heather Harding – Leisure and Wellbeing
  • Councillor Mary Sartin – Environment
  • Councillor David Stallan – Housing
  • Councillor Syd Stavrou – Community Safety and Transport

Councillor Mitch Cohen briefed members on the impact of the recession on local businesses following a meeting with business tenants. Epping Forest District Council is taking steps to assist local businesses. Councillor Richard Morgan, Chairman of Overview and Scrutiny briefly outlined the latest work of his committee including public consultation on the format of the Forester and local calls for free Tube travel into London for residents of pensionable age.

Cabinet went on to discuss the issue of free Tube travel with members expressing concern about the potential cost to the Council. Councillor Richard Bassett, Performance Management Portfolio Holder listened to the views of councillors. While free travel proved not to be a viable option, Councillor Bassett noted that older residents could still travel very cheaply using the Oyster Card and gave a commitment to publicise it within the Forester.

Church Hill Car Park

A proposal by Councillor Mitch Cohen, Legal and Estates Portfolio Holder to market Church Hill Car Park, Loughton for retail development was agreed. Councillor Cohen received approval to market the site for freehold sale or long lease agreement and report back to Cabinet on the outcome. Affordable housing could be incorporated into a scheme.

Parking on Council Estates

Cabinet endorsed a flexible approach to tackling unauthorised parking on its housing estates. Councillor David Stallan, Housing Portfolio Holder received support for enforcement on an ad hoc basis in conjunction with local consultation and good management of parking areas. Where problems persisted and local residents complained, methods of controlling unauthorised parking could include the installation of jockey rails and shrubs.

Recycling

Extension of door step recycling collection services has led to a decline in use of local recycling points. Cabinet agreed to remove 26 local points saving £10,000 a year but to retain 21 District Recycling Centres. Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Mary Sartin indicated that some of the savings could be used to extend textile recycling.

In response to a question, Councillor Sartin confirmed that recycling services are being extended to households living in flats.

Councillor Penny Smith Elected as New Chairman

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Leader, Your community, Your council

Epping Forest District Council has elected Councillor Penny Smith, ward member for Broadley Common, Epping Upland and Nazeing, as its new Chairman. The Annual Meeting of Epping Forest District Council began with outgoing Council Chairman, Councillor John Knapman thanking Councillors and staff for all their support during his year of office. He announced that he had raised more than £40,000 for his Chairman`s Charities. He concluded by thanking his wife Debbie and Vice-Chairman Councillor Penny Smith for all their support.

Councillor Di Collins, Leader of Council led praise for Councillor Knapman. Her comments were echoed by Liberal Democrat Group Leader Jon Whitehouse and BNP Group Leader Pat Richardson.

Councillor Knapman added that he was very proud of the Council and its Members. Following an invitation for nominations, Councillors Di Collins and Stephen Murray proposed Councillor Penny Smith as the new Chairman of Council, describing her fairness, competence and respect across the Council. Councillors unanimously agreed.

New Chairman Penny Smith signs the Declaration of Acceptance of Office, counter signed by Peter Haywood

New Chairman Penny Smith receives the Chain of Office from outgoing Chairman John Knapman

Councillor Smith thanked Members for the honour and announced that the Alzheimer`s West Essex Branch, based in Waltham Abbey which operates across the District will be the Chairman`s Charity for the forthcoming year. She asked Members to continue to provide the levels of support enjoyed by Councillor Knapman. One of her first fund-raising events will be the Annual Members and Officers Golf Day at Chigwell Golf Club on Tuesday 16 June. Not being a golfer, Councillor Smith will be offering her services as a Caddy for the day.

Councillor Smith invited nominations for Vice-Chairman. Councillor David Stallan proposed his Cabinet and North Weald colleague, Councillor Anne Grigg, seconded by Councillor Brian Rolfe. Mrs Grigg accepted the nomination, promising to serve with integrity and enthusiasm.

Anne Grigg was appointed Vice-Chairman

Councillors then moved to the appointment of the new Leader, Cabinet and Committee appointments.

Councillor Di Collins was re-elected as Council Leader and Chairman of the Cabinet. The Cabinet has been reduced from nine members to eight following the appointment of former Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder Councillor Anne Grigg as Vice-Chairman.

Cabinet Members

Leader – Councillor Di Collins
Finance and Economic Development – Councillor Chris Whitbread
Leisure and Wellbeing – Councillor Heather Harding
Community Safety and Transport – Councillor Syd Stavrou
Performance Management – Councillor Richard Bassett
Environment – Councillor Mary Sartin
Housing – Councillor David Stallan
Legal and Estates – Councillor Mitch Cohen

Councillor Richard Morgan was re-elected Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Councillor Brian Sandler will continue to Chair meetings of the District Development Control Committee. Councillor Richard Bassett became the first Chairman of the new Local Highways Panel.

Election Results

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Democracy, Elections, Epping, Loughton, Ongar, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your council

Results for the Essex County Council elections, Epping Forest District Council by-election and Buckhurst Hill Parish Council by-election held on 4 June 2009 can be seen from the link ‘elections results’ below.

A quick summary of the successful candidates are:

Essex County Council election

  • Buckhurst Hill and Loughton South
    Valerie Metcalfe – Conservatives
  • Chigwell and Loughton Broadway
    John Knapman – Conservatives
  • Epping and Theydon Bois
    Janet Whitehouse – Liberal Democrat
  • Loughton Central
    Chris Pond – Loughton Residents Association
  • North Weald and Nazeing
    Anthony Jackson – Conservatives
  • Ongar and Rural
    Gerard McEwen – Conservatives
  • Waltham Abbey
    Liz Webster – Conservatives

Epping Forest District Council by-election

  • Waltham Abbey Honey Lane
    Adam Clark – Conservatives

Buckhurst Hill Parish Council by-election

  • Buckhurst Hill East
    Janice Curd – Liberal Democrat

Full details of all the above election results (including number of votes for each candidate, turnout and voting summary) can be found from the link below.

Elections Results

The results for the European Parliamentary election also held on 4 June 2009 will be announced on Sunday 7 June 2009 by the Regional Returning Officer for the Eastern Region David Monks.

Election Information

Election Nominations Confirmed

Written on . Posted in Community, Democracy, Elections, Older people, Residents, Your community, Your council

Nominations have been confirmed for the combined European Parliamentary elections and the Epping Forest District County Council elections to be held on Thursday 4 June 2009.

On the same date by-elections for a District Councillor for the Waltham Abbey Honey Lane Ward and a Parish councillor for the Buckhurst Hill East Ward will also be held.

    Click on the links below for a list of the persons nominated for the 4 June 2009 elections.

  • European Parliamentary elections for the Eastern Region statement of persons nominated pdf (58 KB)

    (Pdf provided by Huntingdonshire District Council)

  • County Council elections statement of persons nominated pdf (540 KB)
  • District Council by-election statement of persons nominated pdf (69 KB)
  • Parish Council by-election statement of persons nominated pdf (66 KB)

The deadline for the withdrawal of candidates is noon on Tuesday 12 May 2009.

Tribute to former Councillor Howard Kleyn

Written on . Posted in Councillors, Democracy, Your council

Councillors stood in silence at the meeting of Epping Forest District Council on Tuesday 28 April 2009 to remember former councillor Howard Kleyn who passed away recently. Tributes were made, remembering the contribution of former councillor Kleyn who represented the Loughton Forest Ward on the District Council from 1984 to 1988. He also served as Essex County Councillor for the Loughton St Mary`s Division between 1981 and 1985.