Cabinet 6 April 2017

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Cabinet meeting on 6 April 2017 discussed new council house build, highway funding, tourism, shopping and Waltham Abbey Police Station.

New council house building reaffirmed at Cabinet

Councillors reaffirmed their commitment to build more new council houses at the meeting of Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet on 6 April. Approving the recommendations of the Finance and Performance Management Cabinet Committee, Councillors agreed to proceed with Phases 3 to 6 of the house building programme.

Highway match-funding

Epping Forest District Council will match-fund local Essex County Council highway schemes. Cabinet approved capital funding of £50,000 to secure additional funding for highways schemes approved through the Epping Forest Local Highway Panel.

Investing in tourism

Cabinet also approved a number of recommendations of the Asset Management and Economic Development Cabinet Committee. These included the provision of way-markers from Waltham Abbey town centre for the Royal Gunpowder Mills and the Lea Valley White Water Centre as the Council encourages tourism within the local economy.

Shopping park and retail units

Councillors received updates on the construction before discussing commercial contracts for the new Epping Forest Shopping Park in private. The new park is due to open next summer. Commercial details remain confidential as the Council finalises the anchor tenants. However, negotiations are proceeding well. Income from the shopping park of between £2.2m and £2.7m is expected to make a considerable contribution to the funding of Epping Forest District Council services in coming years.

Councillors also noted progress on new ground-floor shop units at the former Winston Churchill site in Loughton and the purchase of the former school site in St John’s Road Epping from Essex County Council.

Sun Street police station

In private session Councillors also discussed the former Sun Street police station in Waltham Abbey. Essex Police Estates has indicated bids for the vacant building situated next to the District Council-owned museum should be lodged with their agent by 12 April.

 

Essex County Council election candidates

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Candidates for the election of 1 Essex county councillor for each of the 7 county divisions in the Epping Forest district to take place on Thursday 4 May 2017.

Local Elections #OnYourDoorstep

Candidates

  1. Buckhurst Hill & Loughton South (pdf 34KB)
  2. Chigwell & Loughton Broadway (pdf 34KB)
  3. Epping & Theydon Bois (pdf 34KB)
  4. Loughton Central (pdf 34KB)
  5. North Weald & Nazeing (pdf 34KB)
  6. Ongar & Rural (pdf 34KB)
  7. Waltham Abbey (pdf 34KB)

Election agents’ names and offices

Notice of election

 

Working better and working smarter

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Future proof – Epping Forest District Council is investing in people, processes and policies to produce the most efficient council we can – a council fit for the future.

Essex County Council Notice of Election

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Notice of Election of County Councillors for County Divisions within the Epping Forest District.

1 County Councillor to be elected per the following divisions:

  • Buckhurst Hill & Loughton South
  • Chigwell & Loughton Broadway
  • Epping & Theydon Bois
  • Loughton Central
  • North Weald & Nazeing
  • Ongar & Rural
  • Waltham Abbey

Notice of Election

  1. Forms of nomination for County Elections may be obtained at Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, CM16 4BZ from the Deputy County Returning Officer who will, at the request of an elector for any electoral area, can prepare a nomination paper for signature.
  2. Nomination papers must be personally delivered to the Deputy County Returning Officer, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, CM16 4BZ on any day after the date of this notice but no later than 4 pm on Tuesday, 4th April 2017.
  3. If any election is contested the poll will take place on Thursday, 4th May 2017.
  4. Applications, amendments or cancellations of postal votes must reach the Electoral Registration Officer at Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, CM16 4BZ by 5 pm on Tuesday, 18th April 2017.
  5. Applications to vote by proxy at this election must reach the Electoral Registration Officer at Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, CM16 4BZ by 5 pm on Tuesday, 25th April 2017.
  6. Applications to vote by proxy at this election applied for on grounds of physical incapacity, where that physical incapacity occurred after 5 pm on Tuesday, 25th April 2017, must reach the Electoral Registration Officer at Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, CM16 4BZ by 5 pm on Thursday, 4th May 2017.

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Tribute to London victims

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Flags outside the offices of Epping Forest District Council are flying at half-mast as a mark of respect for the victims of yesterday’s terrorist attack in London.

Flags flying at half-mast outside Epping Forest District Council offices as a mark of respect for the victims of yesterday’s terrorist attack in London

Letter to the Police Commissioner

Dear Commissioner,

It is with great sadness that I write to offer the condolences of Epping Forest District Council to family, friends and colleagues following the loss of PC Keith Palmer who fell in the line of duty yesterday.

Only a few days ago, we reaffirmed the support of our district to the men and women of our emergency services at our annual Civic Awards. Each year we make a special point of recognising the contributions of our local police, fire and ambulance services with the presentation of medals to individual officers who place themselves in harm’s way with dedication and service above and beyond the call of duty.

This year as chairman, it was my privilege to present an Epping Forest Community Service Medal to Sergeant Simon Dear of Essex Police. It is a token of our esteem for an individual but also a recognition of the debt of gratitude we owe to all the men and women of our emergency services as protectors and defenders of our community.

Please accept my best wishes on behalf of the community of the Epping Forest district at this difficult time.

Councillor Jeane Lea
Chairman of Epping Forest District Council

Terrorist incident in London

Essex Police Acting Assistant Chief Constable Andy Prophet said: “On behalf of Essex Police I want to offer the thoughts and prayers of the entire force to members of the public killed, injured or affected by the incident in London today. We of course also join our colleagues in the Metropolitan Police Service in grief for the loss of a serving officer.”

“This has been declared a terrorist incident in London and is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command.”

“In Essex tonight, and until further notice, there will be increased visible police patrol including additional armed officers and other specialist resources.”

“I urge the public to be alert but not alarmed. Police forces and our partners are doing everything we can to help protect the security of our citizens, public institutions, critical national infrastructure, and businesses and places.”

Remain resilient, compassionate and supportive

“This is a time for communities in Essex to remain resilient, compassionate and supportive of each other. Should anyone have any concerns or see anything suspicious I would urge them to report it immediately by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency.”

Cabinet 9 March 2017

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The Local Plan, better use of council assets, housing for homeless people, pay and display car parks and the investment of additional fees in the planning service dominated debate at Cabinet on 9 March.

Draft Local Plan consultation

Preliminary findings from the draft Local Plan consultation were presented by Planning Portfolio Holder Councillor John Philip to the meeting of Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet on 9 March.

Councillor Philip outlined some clear themes coming through for more work on infrastructure and employment sites including the wider area of East Herts and Harlow. New potential sites and changes to previously identified sites are also being reviewed and will be fed into the revisions of the draft plan. A new transport assessment is also being done in conjunction with Essex County Council.

Councillor Philip emphasised that publication of the next draft depended on full analysis and assessment of the additional work programmed in over the next year or so. Councillors noted the initial findings of the consultation, agreed progression of the Local Plan to the next stage and approved the publication of the Council’s updated Local Development Scheme online.

Better use of council buildings

The interests of residents and customers must remain at the heart of council services. Council Leader Chris Whitbread received Cabinet support for proposals to reduce the need for office space at the Civic Offices in Epping.

Reports show flexible working by staff including home and remote working, and use of other council buildings could allow the Council to move out of the older part of the Civic Offices known as the Conder Building. Councillor Whitbread described the proposals as part of the wider transformation programme to improve services.

Pay and Display set to save £58,000

Final preparations have been agreed for the transfer of the council’s off-street parking management from the North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) to NSL.

Portfolio Holder Gary Waller reminded fellow councillors of the improvements the change of contract will bring to residents and the Council. The Council will save £58,600 under the new arrangements even though Councillor Waller said that NSL did not submit the cheapest bid. They did submit the best quality bid. Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) rates remain the same.

Housing for Homeless People

Housing Portfolio Holder Councillor Syd Stavrou received approval to progress plans for a small pilot scheme of three ‘Pods’ to accommodate people at Norway House in North Weald. The pods containing individual living accommodation and shared kitchens are manufactured by a North Weald based company. Subject to planning approval, the Council plans to help homeless people who would otherwise find themselves in Bed and Breakfast.

Increased planning application fees

Cabinet accepted an offer by the Department of Communities and Local Government to increase planning fees. Governance Portfolio Holder Richard Bassett confirmed that any extra income would be reinvested in planning services.

Pub to replace Nu Bar

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As part of a crackdown on crime and disorder in Loughton, Essex Police asked Epping Forest District Council for a summary licence review after a serious assault at Nu Bar in February 2017.

Licensing noticeCCTV evidence

The review hearing took place on 7 March 2017.  The police evidence referred to CCTV footage, which showed that Nu Bar had not only failed to manage the incident effectively, but that management had been operating outside the permitted hours of their licence.

Illegal activity

Patrons were seen leaving more than 3 hours later than the licence allowed, via the back exit, in an attempt to conceal the illegal activity.

At the hearing the premises licence owners, Greene King, informed the licensing sub-committee that it had taken steps to change management.

Last orders 11pm

District councillors reduced the licencing hours, with last orders at 11pm Monday to Sunday and applied the stringent conditions agreed between Essex Police and Greene King.

Overview and Scrutiny 28 February 2017

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The newly-appointed principal of Epping Forest College, Saboohi Famili came before councillors at the meeting of Epping Forest District Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 28 February to discuss the damning recent OFSTED report.

Principal sets out college improvement plans

Ms Famili joined the college a matter of weeks before the inspection and is addressing the wide range of short-comings identified in the report. She was joined in Overview and Scrutiny by Councillor Gagan Mohindra in his capacity as the newly-appointed chairman of governors.

A new senior leadership team is in place. Ms Famili confirmed that recruitment of the next level of high-quality leadership and management was already underway. Action plans monitored and assessed on a monthly basis are being introduced. The Board of Governors led by Councillor Mohindra are undertaking regular scrutiny. Ms Famili also confirmed OFSTED will be making frequent repeat inspections to ensure changes are implemented. Councillor Mohindra confirmed that the board of governors would be ‘robust’.

OFSTED carried out its inspection during November 2016. Councillor Stephen Murray suggested the problems were deeply ingrained and asked Ms Famili how she felt these issues had come about. Ms Famili described a previous culture of ‘blame and fear’. This resulted in a tendency to hide problems. Ms Famili said the new culture could be characterised as ‘Proud to share and not afraid to ask’. By bringing issues into the open and recognising the problems she believed the cultural was changing.

Councillors applauded the accessible approach being adopted Ms Famili.

Highways, rail and health scrutiny

Councillors also noted the latest responses of Transport for London, Essex County Council Highways and Princess Alexandra Hospital to previous scrutiny enquiries.

TFL reported on the evolving organisational structure and engagement with non-Greater London councils. It supplied further information on the provision of Oyster cards and improvements to the line between Epping and Loughton.

Councillors noted difficulties in resolving issues with highways and disappointment with the County Council’s reluctance to attend a meeting of Overview and Scrutiny. In the absence of the County Portfolio Holder, councillors supported the formation of a delegation to attend County Hall in order to put the district’s concerns in person.

Councillor Ricky Gadsby updated fellow councillors regarding the concerns of the Care Quality Commission on the performance of Princess Alexandra Hospital. Councillors noted the commitment of the Chairman and Chief Executive of Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust to attend Overview and Scrutiny on 6 June 2017.

Full Council 21 February 2017

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A council meeting dominated by budgets and finances took time out to remember one of its finest public servants and wish another a speedy recovery from illness.

Ron Barnes OBE

Council Chairman Jeane Lea invited councillors and staff to join her in a minute’s silence as Epping Forest District Council remembered former chairman Ron Barnes OBE. Tributes were led by Council Leader Chris Whitbread who remembered Ron as a most decent man as well as an excellent councillor.

Councillor Liz Webster said he was admired by all while Councillor Richard Morgan recalled Ron as a great friend to everyone and offered the council’s condolences to his wife Felicity. Councillor Caroline Pond spoke of the opening of Barnes Court in Cripsey Avenue, named after Ron Barnes and the anecdotes of his many friends.

Councillor Brian Surtees reminded colleagues of his strength of character and his ability to endure, as a young man on the Atlantic convoys but also towards the end of his life as illness took hold.

Ron Barnes represented the people of Ongar through the Shelley ward from 1979 to 2003.

Councillor Tony Boyce

Councillors were delighted to learn of the continuing recovery of Councillor Tony Boyce who was taken ill in October. Councillors agreed unanimously to grant an extension to his leave of absence until August 2017.

Epping Forest Youth Council

Among the announcements by Councillor Jeane Lea was a recommendation of fellow councillors to follow the example of the district’s youth council currently supporting the MiLife mental health initiative.

Budget 2017/18

Epping Forest District councillors confirmed Cabinet recommendations not to increase the council’s share of Council Tax. Setting another low budget, councillors extended the freeze on Council Tax for a 7th year.

Councillors then noted the Council Tax precepts for Essex County Council, Essex Police, Essex Fire and Rescue and local town and parish councils for 2017/18. Residents will pay the new rates from April.

Good outcomes

Safer Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder Gary Waller reported with satisfaction on excellent progress in tackling anti-social behaviour in Epping. He reported on the joint work with Essex Police using CCTV images of young people to persuade their parents to take action.

He was also happy to report plans for electric vehicle charging points at the new Epping Forest Shopping Park.

Councillor Chris Whitbread was also happy to report progress following the purchase of former St John’s Road school site in Epping as well as good news on the council’s latest treasury management financial strategy reports.