Ambitious council unveils plans

Written on . Posted in Building control, Business, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Consultation, Councillors, Democracy, Leader, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Media, Our activities, Our performance, Planning, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Ambitious plans coordinating developments in Epping and North Weald with modernisation of Epping Forest District Council are set out in reports coming to the next Cabinet meeting on 10 December.

St Johns Road redevelopment

Councillors are being asked to approve the next steps in the redevelopment of St Johns Road, to include a new leisure centre, cinema, shops and houses. A planning application to demolish the former primary school site has already been submitted. At the same time, councillors are being asked in principle to approve the relocation of many district council staff to new offices at Blenheim Way in North Weald.

Site of the former Epping Junior School and Epping Hall

Site of the former Epping Junior School and Epping Hall

Retaining the newer part of the Civic Offices in Epping for civic, democratic and customer service functions, the proposals involve the demolition of older buildings in preparation for a new residential development identified in the draft Local Plan.

Partnership opportunities

Epping Forest District Council is keen to explore partnership opportunities with Epping Town Council and North Weald Bassett Parish Council. Epping Town Council is already considering potential office sharing. The construction of a new leisure centre at St Johns Road would also pave the way for the redevelopment of the old site in Hemnall Street for housing.

Potentially only needing the ground floor of the Civic Offices in Epping, the district council is in the early stages of informal talks with other prospective partners to lease other parts of the Civic Offices. There will be further opportunities for commercial leases to small businesses on the top floor.

Protecting the High Street economy

Protecting the High Street economy is central to the council’s proposals.

Leader of Council, Councillor Chris Whitbread said: “Epping Forest District Council is modernising to ensure we are fit for the future. The overall number of staff we employ is reducing. Along with agile home working, we are radically reducing our need for office space.”

“Moving all but our customer facing, civic and democratic staff to North Weald will significantly reduce our office costs but that must not come at an economic price to Epping High Street. Bringing new commercial businesses and long-standing partners such as Essex Police into Epping will help to ensure a healthy lunchtime cashflow for High Street businesses. Leasing out the Civic Offices also gives the district council more income to spend on local services.”

“There will also be major investment at the other end of Epping High Street as we deliver the proposals residents said they wanted, including the new cinema and leisure centre, further boosting High Street footfall.”

“The redevelopment of the old Hemnall Street sports centre for housing, along with the residential developments at the council offices and St Johns will also make a significant contribution to meeting our housing obligations in the draft Local Plan.”

The Civic Offices in Epping

The Civic Offices in Epping

North Weald offices

On North Weald, Councillor Whitbread said: “This is also very good news for North Weald. Building offices on land we already own next to the airfield will bring new business and employment opportunities to the village. Rationalising our office needs also presents opportunities to talk to North Weald Bassett Parish Council.”

“We are already discussing office sharing possibilities with Epping Town Council at the Civic Offices that will cut everyone’s costs, particularly good news for our Council Tax payers. We will be keen to explore similar opportunities at North Weald.”

Exciting times

Councillor Whitbread continued: “It is rare for a district council to have the capacity and the ambition to deliver on proposals of this scale. Epping Forest District Council is different. Against the backdrop of falling central government spending, we have invested where it counts. We are funding additional police officers.”

“The Epping Forest Shopping Park, our brand-new leisure centre in Waltham Abbey, new council housing and new partners such as the National Police Air Service arrival at North Weald Airfield show what we can do.”

“Quietly, efficiently and effectively, we are delivering the projects and services our residents, businesses and customers want. This is an exciting time and I am very proud of the leading role Epping Forest District Council is taking in the delivery of a better future.”

Further information

Epping Forest District Council is in discussion with Epping Town Council regarding their involvement in the scheme.

As a precursor to development, a planning application has been registered on behalf of Epping Forest District Council for demolition of the former Epping Junior School and Epping Hall including adjacent ancillary buildings, fences and walls.

The locally listed former Cookery School Building and Centre Point building to be retained. Epping Town Council owns Epping Hall and they will decide whether Epping Hall will be involved in any development plans.

Negotiations are in the early stages and no decisions have been made by Epping Town Council at this stage.

Comment on the application

Residents have until 15 December to comment on the application:

Decisions from Plans East 10 October 2018

Written on . Posted in Building control, Business, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Equalities, Housing, Media, Meetings, Our countryside, Our performance, Performance, Planning, Private housing, Regulations, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

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

Decisions 

  • EPF/0282/18 – 12 Station Road Epping Essex CM16 4H
    Permission refused
  • EPF/1583/18 – 1 Buttercross Lane Epping Essex CM16 5AA
    Deferred to DDMC
  • EPF/1847/18 – 55 High Street Epping Essex CM16 4BA
    Permission refused
  • EPF/1556/18 – Site at Bansons Lane Ongar Essex CM5 9AR
    Permission granted
  • EPF/0429/18 – Hydes Riding School Abridge Road Theydon Bois Essex CM16 7NS
    Permission refused
  • EPF/1406/18 – 1 Mount End Mount End Road Theydon Mount Epping Essex CM16 7PS
    Permission refused
  • EPF/2212/18 – 15 Vicarage Lane North Weald Essex CM16 6ET
    Permission granted

Planning application search

National empty homes week

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Housing, Local business, Media, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

There is an increasing demand for housing in the district, where development on Green Belt is generally prohibited, so it is particularly important that as many empty properties as possible are brought back into use.

Properties are left empty for a variety of reasons and they can be the source of much misery to neighbours. It is estimated that a home next door to an empty property can be devalued by 10% or more, and there is the additional worry of nuisance, vermin, arson, vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

Empty homes week

For the owner, an empty property is a wasted resource in terms of potential rental income and can be costly in terms of disrepair, higher insurance costs, increased council tax premiums of 150%, property mortgage fraud, emergency repairs and break-ins.

Financial help

We are committed to reducing the number of empty properties across the district and can offer financial help in certain circumstances. A stumbling block can be that the empty property is in disrepair and cannot be lived in, let, or easily sold in its condition.

We can therefore offer the following schemes.

Empty homes repayable assistance

  • offers up to £10,000 if there is an empty property in poor condition that you intend to live in yourself, or let to a tenant. The money is repaid when you eventually sell the property.

PLACE loan

  • offers up to £25,000 if you have a property that you would like to have renovated in order that you can sell or rent it. This is an interest free loan and is paid back within 2 years in the case of a loan to sell, or 5 years in the case of the loan to let.

Whilst we always prefer to work with owners in a constructive way, it has certain enforcement powers to ensure that an empty property is brought back to use, particularly if it has been empty a long time and is problematic to the local community. As a council we are fully committed to bringing empty properties back into use and are looking to help owners in every way we can. However where all other measures have failed, we are prepared to take enforcement action.

Report an empty property

Please let us know if you are aware of an empty property. Provide us with the address and any other information you may have and we will do our best to contact the owner, to try to bring the property back to use. All calls are treated in confidence.

For further information contact the Empty Property Officer

Decisions from Plans South 26 September 2018

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Local business, Loughton, Media, Out and about, Planning, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community

Planning application decisions from the Area Planning Sub-Committee South meeting Wednesday 26 September 2018.

Decisions

  • EPF/0727/18 – Vere Road garages, Loughton
    Permission granted
  • EPF/0840/18 – 1 Tomswood Road, Chigwell
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1072/18 – Phig Na Vira, 64 High Road, Chigwell
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1242/18 – 143-149 High Road and 2 Old Station Road, Loughton
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1453/18 – 142 Buckhurst Way, Buckhurst Hill
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1610/18 – Forest Place, Roebuck Lane, Buckhurst Hill
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1691/18 – 30 Barrington Green, Loughton
    Permission refused
  • EPF/1911/18 – 57 Southern Drive, Loughton
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1965/18 – Regency House, Kings Place, Buckhurst Hill
    Permission granted

Planning application search

Watch out for deer, the rutting season is here

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Epping, Loughton, Media, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your environment, Your home

Motorists and dog walkers are being warned that the deer mating season, also known as the rutting or breeding season, has begun.

During the rutting season male deer can become highly aggressive as they attempt to fight off rivals to attract female deer. This makes them less aware of dangers around them, such as cars and bikes on the roads.

Watch out for deer the rutting season is here

Take extra care

“At this time of year its especially important for motorists to take extra care when driving through the forest and rural parts of the district” said Councillor Sam Kane, Portfolio Holder for Safer, Greener and Transport.

Accidents involving deer increase during rutting season, which lasts until late November. Deer are particularly active at dawn and dusk, which unfortunately coincides with commuting hours and the busiest times of day on our roads.

Deer are particularly active at dawn and dusk. Unfortunately this coincides with commuting hours which are often the busiest times of the day on our roads.

Wild animals can behave unpredictably

“Deer are pack animals and often move in groups, if you see one, others are likely to follow. They can appear without warning and present a greater risk than other wildlife because of their large size.”

Cllr Kane has advice for dog walkers: “Keep your dogs on a lead. Deers are wild animals and can behave unpredictably if they feel threatened, so don’t get too close.”

Be deer aware

“Please read the safety advice and be more ‘deer aware’ during this time of year” says Cllr Sam Kane, “Whether you’re driving in our district or walking in our beautiful forest, I want everyone to complete their journey safely and without incident.”

Working together in suicide prevention

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Crime and safety, Equalities, Health, Media, Older people, Our performance, Residents, Uncategorized, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Suicides are more prevalent among men than women in Essex and the most vulnerable age group is men between the ages of 35 and 64.

10 September is World Suicide Prevention Day – an annual event to raise awareness of the 800,000 suicides worldwide every year.

Epping Forest District Council is part of the West Essex Stay Safe team which is today launching a ‘call to action’ of partner organisations in the area to not only raise awareness of suicides, but also to encourage people to talk about suicide and feel confident in doing so.

  • Suicide is among the top 20 causes of death globally
  • 135 relatives, friends, colleagues, are profoundly affected by each suicide
  • Everyone can make a contribution to preventing suicide

Everyone can help

“Don’t be afraid to approach someone you think isn’t coping. Just showing that you care will be a positive step towards supporting them,” said Cllr Sam Kane, Portfolio Holder for Safer, Greener and Transport.

“You don’t have to be able to solve their problems but if you feel you can, offer support and encourage them to talk about how they’re feeling. Ask direct questions and don’t be afraid of frank discussions. Many people do want a chance to talk but don’t want to burden anyone around them.”

Organisations providing support

Further links

Decisions from Plans East 5 September 2018

Written on . Posted in Building control, Business, Community, Councillors, Media, Meetings, Our performance, Out and about, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Planning application decisions from the Area Planning Sub-Committee East meeting Wednesday 5 September 2018.

Decisions

  • EPF/0282/18 – 12 Station Road, Epping
    Deferred for a site visit
  • EPF/0712/18 – Cornerways, The Green, Theydon Bois
    Permission refused
  • EPF/0763/18 – Stationbridge House, Blake Hall Road, Ongar
    Permission granted
  • EPF/0904/18 – Barn Adjacent Great Notts, Moreton Road, Bobbingworth, Ongar
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1062/18 – Land Adj no 24 Vicarage Road, Coopersale, Epping
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1339/18 – Land Adj Hoppit The Street Sheering
    Permission refused
  • EPF/1406/18 – 1 Mount End Mount End Road Theydon Mount
    Withdrawn
  • EPF/1556/18 – Site at Bansons Lane, Ongar
    Deferred for a site visit
  • EPF/1583/18 – 1 Buttercross Lane Epping
    Deferred for a site visit
  • EPF/1834/18 – 171 High Road North Weald
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1847/18 – 55 High Street Epping
    Deferred for a site visit

Planning application search

New legislation around animal welfare

Written on . Posted in Animal welfare, Business, Commercial properties, Councillors, Licensing, Local business, Media, Out and about, Regulations, Supporting business, Your area, Your council, Your environment

New legislation for animal businesses is being introduced by the Government, taking effect from 1 October 2018.

The new rules cover animal boarding businesses (including home boarders and day carers), dog breeders, pet shops and riding establishments.

They will all be covered under a single type of license known as an ‘animal activity licence‘, with new nationally-set license conditions for businesses providing animal-related services.

More businesses will need a licence

“We cannot change these conditions as they are already set in the legislation,” said Councillor Nigel Avey, Portfolio Holder for Environment.

“Businesses operating with these activities will need to comply with the new conditions, and will be assessed before the license is granted to make sure they can meet them. It means more businesses will require a license and I would advise anyone who is unsure, to check now with our licensing team.”

Licences in place by 1 October 2018

Those businesses operating under current licences will be able to continue to do so until the expiry date of their licence. All applications to renew licences will be under the new legislation.

New applicants will need to have their licences in place by 1 October 2018.

Contact our licensing team

Applications open for Creativity Award 2019

Written on . Posted in Arts, Community, Equalities, Grants, Media, Our activities, Our performance, Residents, Uncategorized, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Applications are open for the Creativity Award 2019. The award is open to every young person in the district, aged between 13 and 25 years.

Creativity Award 2019

Support developing your skills

If you or your group have a real talent or interest in the arts, culture and heritage, we would like to support you in developing your skills.

A single award, of up to £1000, is available to individuals and groups (with a minimum of 3 people) who are looking for support for their creative activity. A group can already be established (i.e. art clubs, theatre groups, choirs or orchestras) or be newly formed. The award is also open to heritage projects and all young people’s programmes through our museum service.

Apply 

Applicants are required to show their commitment to their area of interest and explain how the award will help them develop their talent. They must be able to demonstrate that they are actively pursuing their interest through volunteering, education, exhibition or performance.

The deadline for applications is midnight on Sunday 16 December 2018.

Decisions from Plans South 22 August 2018

Written on . Posted in Business, Commercial properties, Housing, Media, Out and about, Planning, Private housing, Regulations, Residents, Uncategorized, Your area, Your community, Your council

Planning application decisions from the Area Planning Sub-Committee South meeting Wednesday 22 August 2018.

Decisions

  • EPF/2758/17 – 12 High Elms, Chigwell, IG7 6NF
    Permission refused
  • EPF/0612/18 – 14 Ely Place, Chigwell, IG8 8AG
    Permission refused
  • EPF/0999/18 – Flat The Firs, 191 High Road, Chigwell, IG7 5AS
    Permission refused
  • EPF/1242/18  – 143-149 High Road and 2 Old Station Road, Loughton, IG10 4LY
    Deferred for site visit
  • EPF/1293/18 – Pay and Display Car park, Vere Road, Loughton IG10
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1325/18 – 37 Hanson Drive, Loughton, IG10 2EF
    Referred to DDMC
  • EPF/1450/18 – Haylands, 48 High Road, Chigwell, IG7 6DL
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1590/18 – 4 Coolgardie Avenue, Chigwell, IG7 5AU
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1610/18 – Forest Place, Roebuck Lane, Buckhurst Hill, IG9 5QL
    Deferred for site visit
  • EPF/1902/18 – 104 Southern Drive, Loughton, Essex, IG10 3BX
    Permission granted

Planning application search