Celebrating 300 Years of Guruship

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On Sunday 2 November 2008 Councillor John Knapman, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council attended the Council of Gurdwaras South East celebrations of the 300th year of Guru Gaddi Divas (Gruship) of Guru Granth Sahib. The event which was held at the Guru Gobins Sing Khalsa College, Chigwell started on 31 October 2008 with the commencement of continuous reading of Guru Granth Sahib for 48 hours until Sunday 2 November 2008.

Chairman John Knapman joins visitors to the 300th Year of Guruship of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji

The Ceremony was attended by the Members of Parliament Mr Lee Scott and Mr Mike Gapes, Mayors, Deputy Mayors and Councillors from neighbouring boroughs, the Sikh Scholars including Inderjit Singh, OBE and many other dignitaries.

Speeches were delivered by many personalities to mark the occasion. Judge Mota Singh could not attend and his message was read by Epping Forest District Councillor Kewal Singh Chana. Awards were presented to various personalities in appreciation of their services to the local communities over many years. Mr Amarjit Singh Toor, the Principal of the College, also presented certificates of achievement to students of the college. On this occasion a Punjabi Poetry session was held and attended by many poets from London, Middlesex and the Midlands including radio and TV presenters Mr Chamanlal Chaman and Sathi Ludhianvi.

Stakeholders Rise to the Challenge

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Local MPs, the Leader of Epping Forest District Council, the Chief Executive of the West Essex Primary Care Trust and the Western Division Chief Superintendent of Essex Police are just some of the high-profile people who have accepted the invitation of the Epping Forest Youth Council to attend an evening of debate with young people from across the Epping Forest District.

Local MPs Eleanor Laing, Eric Pickles and Bill Rammell have all agreed to take a place on the panel that will face questioning by their young local constituents from various school councils, youth groups and other backgrounds.

On the panel will also be the Leader of Epping Forest District Council Councillor Diana Collins and Deputy Chief Executive Derek Macnab, as well as Essex County Council Cabinet member Councillor Ray Gooding, Children, Young People and Families Officer Lonica Vanclay and Transport Officer, Nick Roberts. In addition, the panel will include West Essex Primary Care Trust Chief Executive Aidan Thomas, Police Chief Superintendent Timothy Stokes and renowned Musician/Actor and Youth Charity Worker Shovell, of `M-People` fame.

The panel consists of individuals who are qualified to answer questions on all of the themed topics of a recent young people`s survey, conducted by Epping Forest Youth Council.

Youth Councillor Reece Williams said: We are really encouraged by how forthcoming the panel members have been in attending the Big Youth Debate. This really sends out a positive message that authorities such as the Police, the Health Service and our local Councils want to work with young people, which is really good. We, as young people, have to make sure that we make the most of this opportunity.

Councillor Diana Collins, who has been a big supporter of the Epping Forest Youth Council said: The Youth Council have done very well to consult with over 850 of their peers. I am looking forward with interest to hearing their conclusions regarding local crime and safety, environmental and transport issues.

There are still a few places available for young people aged 11 to 19 to attend the Big Youth Debate event, which takes place at Woolston Manor Golf Club, Chigwell on Wednesday 19 November 2008 from 6:30pm. Anyone interested should contact the Council`s Young Persons` Officer Nick Robinson on 01992 564365.

Chairman Taken on Blindfold Walk

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Chairman John Knapman with trainee guide dog Zaide

As part of national Guide Dog Week, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council Councillor John Knapman visited the Guide Dogs For the Blind Association`s London Centre in Woodford Green on Friday 10 October 2008.

Councillor Knapman saw at first hand how the dogs are trained to become the `eyes` of a blind or partially-sighted person. He had the opportunity to negotiate an obstacle course of traffic cones and barriers blindfold with the help of Flat Coat Retriever Zaide, a trainee Guide Dog.

Councillor Knapman said: Being led blindfold past many obstacles was an amazing experience. You really do have to put all your trust in your Guide Dog. They are fantastic animals that take their owners wherever they wish to go safely and independently. They even take into account obstacles at their owner`s head height so they do not walk them into overhanging branches or obstacles that they could easily pass underneath or through themselves but which their owner clearly would not.

The Chairman and trainee guide dog start the blindfold walkThe Chairman and Zaide negotiate the obstacle course

After his blindfold walk, the Chairman enjoyed a tour of the kennels. Some dogs in advanced training are based there, with trainers collecting them to take them out for practical training such as in town centres and shops. Also on site is a hospital block which houses those dogs that have undergone surgery, such as for cruciate ligament injuries or neutering. A local Vet attends regularly to make sure all dogs are in the best of health.

The Chairman met two special kennel residents called Leo and Nina. They are two cats that also provide essential training for Guide Dogs. They help when a dog may be distracted by cats, for example. They remain very calm, do not run off and therefore the dogs soon learn not to chase!

Chairman John Knapman views the environmental enrichment area

Councillor Knapman also saw the Environmental Enrichment area. This is a series of specially-designed pens in which the dogs can unwind. When they are not working, they come into this area which includes a maze, agility equipment and an area of long grass, all of which are designed to keep the dogs amused and happy.

Dog Care and Welfare Manager Lyn Docherty said: We tend to go to the gym after a hard day`s work to unwind – this area is the dogs` equivalent of the gym. They really love to come out here and have a good run around and to play with all their friends and have fun. Some of the dogs are even better at negotiating the maze than our staff!

Welfare manager Lyn Docherty shows the Chairman around the kennels

Councillor Knapman concluded: I would like to thank everyone here at the Guide Dogs` London Centre for giving me the opportunity of finding out more about visual impairment. I was very impressed with the work that goes on here and even more so with the dogs.

Council 25 September 2008

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A report and link to webcast of the full Council meeting held in the Council chamber at the Civic Offices on Thursday 25 September 2008.

To view this webcast click on the link below and then click on the index points tab to go direct to the agenda item.

Watch the webcastCouncil meeting 25 September 2008 webcast
(opens in a new window)

Members of the Epping Forest District Council stood in silent tribute to former Councillor Roger Buddock who recently passed away. Councillor Stephen Murray, a fellow Loughton ward Councillor remembered Roger Buddock fondly as a man who still held a high reputation locally for the good work he carried out for his residents during two periods on the District Council between 1980 and 1988 and again from 1991 to 1995. Councillor Murray also thanked the current Vice Chairman of Council, Councillor Mrs Penny Smith for attending the funeral.

Councillor Knapman reported his thanks to everyone who contributed £6,000 to his charities at a recent golf day.

Portfolio Report – Local Education

Councillor Diana Collins, Leader of Council reported on a series of information gathering visits to local secondary schools and Epping Forest College where she met the new Principal. Further visits have been arranged for Councillor Collins, accompanied by the leader of Essex County Council, the local education Authority.

Community Wellbeing

Portfolio Holder Councillor Syd Stavrou was pleased to report a fall in crime across the District. She then drew attention to the ‘Not in my Neighbourhood’ initiative, safety testing of electric blankets and work with the Essex Fire and Rescue Service. Councillor Stavrou concluded by recommending Members to attend the next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at which representatives of West Essex Primary Care Trust would be answering questions.

Questions

Members of the Cabinet were quizzed by other Councillors in a series of questions without notice. Civil Engineering and Maintenance Portfolio Holder, Richard Bassett was particularly busy answering questions ranging from recent gridlock in Chigwell to parking restrictions in Loughton.

Credit Union

Councillor Mrs Janet Whitehouse placed a motion before Members, calling on the Council to support a local Credit Union. Credit Unions help people on low incomes to access loans at low interest rates and one supported by many voluntary and religious organisations. All Members supported the motives and after some debate and technical amendments the motion was carried unanimously.

    Other major items debated by Full Council included:

  • Adoption of the Essex Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy
  • Adoption of the Development and Design Brief for Loughton Broadway
  • Supplementary estimates for the completion of the Bobbingworth Tip project
  • Future options for North Weald Airfield
  • Re-approval of the Statutory Statement of Accounts for 2007 to 2008
  • Nominations for the Governing Body of Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust

Cabinet 6 October 2008

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Local residents filled the public gallery as the Cabinet met to discuss draft proposals to consult on Traveller and Gypsy site provision.

In a report, councillors heard that the Council had been directed to identify land for 49 pitches up to 2011. More pitches are required thereafter.

To view this webcast click on the link below and then click on the index points tab to go direct to the agenda item.

Watch the webcastCabinet meeting 6 October 2008 webcast
(opens in a new window)

Portfolio Holder for Planning and Economic Development, Councillor Ann Grigg made it clear that the Council had no choice. She explained that 27 potential sites had been identified using criteria such as schools, health and employment. None of these sites was agreed or set in stone. The consultation process would allow local people to express their views before the Council made recommendations to the Government. She added that any proposals would be assessed in a formal Examination in Public (EiP).

The Council`s Planning Consultant Andrew Lainton acknowledged how sensitive and controversial the process could be. He outlined the steps in consultation including public exhibitions, work with town and parish councils as well as dealing directly with landowners and concerned residents.

Mr Lainton emphasised that objections needed to be based on evidence. The inspectors at the EiP would be looking for reasons why one site might be better or worse than another.

Councillor Richard Bassett said that it was very important for people to have their say. He felt they must have good guidance. Andrew Lainton replied that guidance notes would form part of the consultation document.

Councillor David Stallan asked for reassurances that exhibitions would be given maximum publicity. Councillor Grigg said she would try to reach every single person in the district.

Councillor Mrs Grigg said that this was not a definitive list and hoped people would come forward with their own suggestions.

Responding to further questions, Mrs Grigg said that failure to carry out consultation would lead to the Government sending an Inspector to impose a solution.

Councillor Richard Bassett raised the issue of the number of pitches, and the influence of large concentrations in small areas. The debate then broadened out with some councillors expressing feelings about the way in which the Government was directing the process.

At the conclusion of the report to Cabinet, Councillor Mrs Grigg answered public questions. She explained that where two large potential sites lay side-by-side at Crooked Mile both could not go ahead.

Rumours of an imminent compulsory purchase were also dismissed by John Preston, the Director of Planning and Economic Development.

    Other items debated by Cabinet included:

  • reports of the Finance and Performance Cabinet Committee
  • funding for the Local Development Framework
  • playing fields at Ongar Leisure Centre
  • waste management
  • the Capital Programme
  • cost awards following a recent planning appeal
  • fire cover at North Weald Airfield

Golf Day Boost for Local Charities

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On Monday 22 September 2008 Theydon Bois Golf Club again played host to the Chairman of Epping Forest District Council Councillor John Knapman and teams from local businesses at the Council`s Charity Business Golf Day. Two local charities will receive a cash boost thanks to this annual fundraising event sponsored by Higgins Group PLC in Loughton, which raised £6,000.

Winning Team Stace with Councillor John Knapman

This year the Chairman`s is raising money for St Clare Hospice, Hastingwood which cares for people and their families who are affected by life-threatening incurable diseases and Vitalise Jubilee Lodge, Chigwell which offers a variety of accessible residential respite breaks and other services designed for disabled people and their carers.

Individual Winner Matthew Knight with Councillor John KnapmanWinning Team Captain, Mike Hutchins from Stace, receiving the John Gilliham Shield

Councillor Knapman said: I thank Higgins Group and Theydon Bois Golf Club for their support again this year and the continued support from local clubs, societies and businesses. During the years that this event has been running over £70,000 has been raised for many local causes. The Business Golf day plays a fantastic part in the Chairman`s charity events calendar helping to provide comfort to local people through local charities in a hugely positive way.

The overall winner of the individual competition was Matthew Knight and for the second year in succession, the winning team was from Stace, based in Epping. The Business Golf Day continues to provide a valuable contribution to the Chairman`s Charity each year and I am delighted that so many local businesses have been able to support the Chairman`s Charity again this year, said Councillor Knapman.

Citizens of the Year Nominations Sought

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The search is on to find the Epping Forest District Council Citizens of the Year 2009.

Do you know someone who has shown outstanding courage, or has done something of great benefit to you or your community? Perhaps someone who has shown extraordinary commitment, energy and effort in their particular field or towards achieving a particular goal?

If that person is a resident of the District, why not show your appreciation and nominate them for Epping Forest District Council`s accolade, a Citizen of the Year Award? The Citizens of the Year 2009 will receive their award at the Annual Civic Reception in March 2009.

If you know someone who fits the bill and deserves to be recognised, fill in a nomination form and make sure it reaches the Civic Offices by Friday 28 November 2008.

 

Annual Canvass of Electors 2008 Reminder

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Epping Forest District Council will be sending out annual canvass of electors form reminders to all properties that did not respond to the original form. The forms will be in an envelope addressed to The Present Occupier which is also clearly marked `Register of Electors form`.

Registration Officer Ian Willett is urging everyone to fill in and return the form as soon as possible. He said: If you do not return your form and your name is not on the register, you will not be able to vote.

Mr Willett continued: You need to register to vote every year so please fill in and return the form as soon as possible in the envelope provided. It is compulsory to register but whether you vote on polling day is up to you. Completed forms must be returned to the Electoral Services Office at the Council by 16 October 2008.

The Register is published on 1 December 2008 and those eligible to vote should check that the entry for their property is correct. The Electoral Register may be viewed at the Civic Offices, Epping; Waltham Abbey Town Hall; or at the Council`s Information desk inside Loughton Library.

Mr Willett concluded: If you have not received a form or you think you have mislaid it, please contact 01992 564411 for more information.

Why complete the form?

Completion of these forms is a legal requirement and failure to do so may result in prosecution with a maximum fine of £1,000.

It is extremely important that forms are returned. Not only is it essential for the right to vote but also because credit-referencing agencies use the register as proof of residency, so anyone who is not listed may be affected if applying for credit. In this country, the law states that everyone who is eligible to vote must be registered. Anyone who has not registered will automatically forfeit the opportunity to vote on election day.

Even if you are registered for Council Tax, this does not automatically mean your name is on the register.

Report from the Cabinet

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Free swimming, the development of the second runway for Stansted and consultation with local residents of the Broadway featured in a packed Cabinet agenda on Monday 1 September 2008.

Watch the webcast

Watch a webcast of the 1 September 2008 Cabinet meeting

Free Swimming

Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Councillor Heather Harding invited John Gilbert, Head of Environment and Street Scene to outline proposals for free swimming to people over 60 and under 16 years of age. Councils were being asked to apply for Government grants. Not all the information was available. The Government had quantified support for those over 60s but not under 16 at this stage. Discussions with the Council`s Leisure Management Contractor are ongoing.

Loughton Pool

Councillor Chris Whitbread was concerned about what would happen after the initial two years of Government funding. Would the Government continue to fund the scheme or would costs fall to the Council?

The Cabinet agreed in principle to participate subject to further discussion with SLM and information from Government.

Value for Money Review

Members of the Cabinet agreed the recommendations of the Finance and Performance Management Cabinet Committee. Councillor Chris Whitbread, Portfolio Holder for the report agreed that the Council provided Value for Money but drew out the Committee`s concerns regarding some of the information used by the Audit Commission.

Aircraft in flight over EppingSecond Stansted Runway Application

Members of the Cabinet gave Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder Councillor Ann Grigg the go ahead to make formal objections to Stansted Airport`s application for a second runway. There was support for a detailed report which included objections ranging from disruption for local people through to environmental concerns over global warming. The application has been called in by the Government and will be reviewed at a Public Inquiry.

Responding to a question, Planning Officer Ian White said that the possibility of Stansted being sold by BAA did not necessarily remove the prospect of a second runway.

Councillor Jon Whitehouse supported opposition to the runway saying that he was pleased the Council was standing up to be counted.

Loughton Leisure Centre

Councillor Heather Harding obtained consent for £46,000 to deal with hot water heating problems at Loughton Leisure Centre.

Housing

Members of the Cabinet noted progress on the Springfield Improvement scheme in Waltham Abbey. Housing Portfolio Holder, Councillor David Stallan also recommended the acceptance of tenders for the upgrade of communal TV aerial systems for Council schemes in further preparation for the switch from analogue to digital TV broadcasting.

Careline control centre

Following a review of Careline, Cabinet also agreed recommendations by Councillor Stallan to retain and enhance the service. Councillor Mrs Diana Collins and Councillor Jon Whitehouse praised the service.

Councillor Whitehouse enquired if further expansion of Careline in the future could lead to even more enhancements to associated housing services in the future.

Prudential Indicators – Investments

Councillor Chris Whitbread was pleased to report the very good performance of the Council`s investments and the continued debt-free status.

Essex Waste Management Strategy

The long-term aims of achieving 60% recycling across Essex were supported by Cabinet as members endorsed the Essex Joint Municipal Waste Mangement Strategy. Environmental Protection Portfolio Holder, Councillor Mary Sartin also reported delays on completion of remedial work to Bobbingworth Tip. The former landfill site will ultimately become a pocket park but a shortage of topsoil caused by the current reduction in other construction work across the area has delayed completion. Councillor Sartin received support for a recommendation to Council for an extra £112,000 allowing completion of the scheme to an enhanced level.

Green Biodegradable Sacks

Demand for green sacks could lead to an overspend on budgets this year. Councillor Mrs Sartin outlined predicted usage showing a potential extra cost of £163,000. However, much of that cost could be offset by income from recycling credits with the final shortfall possibly being as little as £21,000. Members discussed the forthcoming consultation with residents which could lead to reduced reliance on sacks.

Ongar Lorry Park

Members of the Cabinet agreed to terminate the lease for the Borough Lorry Park site in Ongar hoping this would clear the way for Essex County Council to make proposals for the long term, possibly in partnership with Ongar Town Council.

Loughton Broadway Development Brief

Cabinet authorised Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder Councillor Ann Grigg to make amendments to the Loughton Broadway Development Brief following the successful conclusion of the recent public consultation. Twelve amendment headings including references to the Gateway development, petrol station, links to Langston Road, parking, housing and cycling will be incorporated for presentation to Full Council on 25 September 2008.

 

Vacancy for Independent Remuneration Panel Member

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Appointment of Member to the Independent Remuneration Panels for Members’ Allowances.

The Epping Forest District Council is seeking applicants for a vacancy on its Independent Remuneration Panels. The Panels, which consist of three members, undertakes research and makes recommendations to the Council about the allowances to be paid to elected Councillors of the Authority. There is one Panel for the District Council and another for Parish Councils. It is intended that the membership of both Panels should be the same.

    The Panel is established under the Local Authorities (Members’ Allowances) (England) Regulations 2003, to report with recommendations on:

  • the amount of basic allowance which should be payable to District Councillor Members
  • the roles and responsibilities for which a special responsibility allowance should be payable and as to the amount of each such allowance for District Councillors
  • basic allowances for Parish Council members
  • other miscellaneous expenses, such as travel allowances (including cars, cycles and public transport), dependent carer’s allowance and a co-optees allowance.

This is an opportunity for conscientious persons to influence the way in which elected Members are reimbursed for their public service. Knowledge or experience of finance or local government would be helpful and political impartiality is essential.

Serving District and Parish Council members are excluded from membership of these Panels.

Applications must be received by 31 August 2008.

Information and Application Details

Information for Applicants (pdf 85 KB)
Person Specification (pdf 70 KB)
Application Form (pdf 78 KB)
Members’ Allowance Scheme 2007/2008 (pdf 230 KB)
Travelling / Subsistence Allowances Rates (pdf 83 KB)
Model Parish Council Remuneration Scheme (pdf 91 KB)
Notice re Parish Council Remuneration Scheme (pdf 66 KB)
District and Parish Remuneration Panels Annual Report 2005/2006 (pdf 20 KB)
    Application forms and further details can be obtained from:-

  • Mr I Willett
    Assistant to the Chief Executive
    Civic Offices
    High Street
    Epping
    Essex
    CM16 4BZ
  • Telephone 01992 564243
  • Email IWILLETT@eppingforestdc.gov.uk