Tenants move into new council homes in Chigwell

Written on . Posted in Chigwell, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Housing, Media, Residents, Your area, Your council, Your home

Tenants moved into the district’s first new council homes on 7 December, just in time for Christmas.

The 10 converted flats at Marden Close and 2 new flats at Faversham Hall in Chigwell Row are the first of the council’s new house-building programme to be completed. The programme aims to build around 315 new council homes across the Epping Forest district in the next 10 years.

Miss Downes with councillors and housing officers

Pictured from left to right – Chigwell Row Councillor Brian Sandler, Paul Pledger (Assistant Director of Communities), Georgia Downes, Alan Hall (Director of Communities) and Housing Portfolio Holder Councillor David Stallan – congratulating Georgia Downes for being the first tenant to move into the new flats.

View photos in a slideshow by clicking on a picture below and then click start slideshow.

Marden Close, Chigwell Row

20 sheltered bedsits at Marden Close in Chigwell Row were converted into 10 one-bedroom general needs flats as the bedsits had become unpopular and difficult to let.

The 2-storey building has secure individual entrances to each flat, a small communal garden, energy efficient heating, insulation and new windows. They are being let at the usual council social rents.

The former Faversham Hall on the same site has also undergone a high quality refurbishment including new landscaping. It now provides 2 new general needs flats out of a previously underused community facility.

A hugely significant moment

Councillor David Stallan, Housing Portfolio Holder said: “This is a hugely significant moment for Epping Forest District Council and something I am immensely proud to be part of. After 30 years when government policy focused our affordable housing plans towards facilitating new homes built by housing associations, we are starting to provide new housing directly again.”

“These new homes have been converted to a good standard and are energy efficient. They are a great example of what we want to achieve across our district.”

I’m really happy

Georgia Downes said: “I’m really happy with the quality of my home and it’s a real pleasure to live here.”

 

First steps for Waltham Abbey Neighbourhood Plan

Written on . Posted in Community, Local plan / planning our future, Media, Planning, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Waltham Abbey Town Council has taken the first steps towards preparing a Neighbourhood Plan by informing Epping Forest District Council of their intentions and submitting an application for the designation of their parish as a Neighbourhood Area.

Any Parish or Town Council can prepare a Neighbourhood Plan if they wish.  The Plans give communities an opportunity to shape the way in which their local area develops over the coming years. Neighbourhood Development Plans, which must be prepared in accordance with the District Councils Local Plan, can be used to:

  • Develop a shared vision for the local area;
  • Choose where new homes, community facilities and other forms of development should be built;
  • Identify and protect important local green spaces; and
  • Influence what new buildings should look like.

Waltham Abbey Town Council has identified the area to be covered by the plan as the whole parish.  Under the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 (as amended) Epping Forest District Council, as the local planning authority, is required to publicise this proposed area for a period of at least four weeks so that people can comment on it.

View the application

A copy of the application, along with further information on neighbourhood planning, can be viewed.

This is a consultation on the identification of the potential plan area, not a formal consultation on the Neighbourhood Plan itself, which will come later as the Plan progresses. The consultation commences on 12 January 2016 and will run for 4 weeks until 5.00pm on 8 February 2016.

Comment on the application

  • Comments can be sent by email to ldfconsult@eppingforestdc.gov.uk
  • Post to: Forward Planning, Epping Forest District Council, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4BZ.

Please be aware that all comments received will be publicly available and may be included on our website. Personal details such as the respondents address, telephone number and signature will not be published.

Winter weather is on the way

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Emergencies, Media, Older people, Out and about, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Following the record breaking warm weather in December, wintry conditions are set to arrive with temperatures forecast to fall below zero, leading to the possibility of snow and icy conditions.

Get ready for winter

Get ready for winter

The Met Office get ready for winter campaign has lots of useful advice to make sure you’re prepared and don’t get caught out.

  • Communities
  • Keep warm, keep well
  • Protecting your home
  • Trains, planes and automobiles
  • Campaign partners

Health

“Residents should take extra care with their health in cold weather” said Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall.

“Stay warm, eat well, tread carefully and if you need winter health advice go online to NHS Choices Winter health.”

Roads

Councillor Breare-Hall added: “When driving in wintry conditions reduce your speed, allow extra time and make sure your windows are free from dirt and ice.”

“Residents can obtain great advice on winter driving on the AA website, and can find out more on salting routes and salt bins on Essex County Councils winter travel page.”

 

Unsung hero gets award

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Housing repairs, Media, Older people, Out and about, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Congratulations to Christopher Bullock from Epping Green on receiving a highly commended award in the unsung hero category in the Pride of Essex Awards 2015.

Pride of Essex 2015 "Unsung Hero" Highly Commended and award winners - Chris Bullock centre

Chris is the Handyman Project Coordinator for Voluntary Action Epping Forest (VAEF), a service funded by Epping Forest District Council (EFDC).

He is a handyman who does jobs for tenants of EFDC properties who are over 60 and or disabled who often have no one else who can help them. Chris does basic jobs like replacing tap washers, flat pack assembly, fitting curtain rails and putting up shelving, plus a lot more!

Extremely courteous and invaluable

Chris was nominated for the award by Mr and Mrs Burton. They moved to the Epping Forest district in 2013 and asked EFDC if anyone could help with basic jobs as both are registered disabled. They were referred to the Handyman Service and introduced to Chris.

The couple now regard Chris as a personal friend  and describe Chris as “Extremely courteous and invaluable.” Mrs Burton added: “We cannot thank him enough for all he does, we wanted him and his work recognised, which is why we’re nominating him for an award.”

Humbled by the nomination

At the Pride of Essex Awards Chris said: “I am genuinely humbled by the nomination. I was really taken back by the incredible efforts nominees had gone to in order to help others, many in the face of their own adversities.”

“The Burtons are just one example of many whose situation compels me to go even further, often working into the evenings in my own time, just to improve their lives. I was the only person nominated who provided a hands on practical support service which highlights how rare the work we do really is.”

“This Award should be shared by all who support the Handyman Service at EFDC and VAEF, as really I’m just the front man. Without this team I wouldn’t have known of their struggles and been able to help them, so thank you from me.”

Volunteer with VAEF

If you would like to find out more about volunteering please contact Voluntary Action Epping Forest

 

Waste and recycling contract reviewed

Written on . Posted in Community, Councillors, Democracy, Media, Meetings, Recycling and waste, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

The Neighbourhoods and Communities Select Committee met on Thursday 17 December to review the changes made to the district’s waste and recycling service in May of this year.

New dustcarts

Introducing the main item, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Neighbourhoods Derek Macnab confirmed that, despite extensive local publicity, few public questions had been received, with only two members of the public in the Council Chamber. Major improvements to the service were believed to account for this.

Highlighting issues 

Waste and Recycling Consultant Len Attrill offered the first evidence to members of the committee for review, taking councillors through the thinking behind the use of Competitive Dialogue and the selection of the most economically advantageous contract during procurement.

Senior managers Roger Edwards, Peter Dickson, Les Smith and Simon Crook for the Council’s contractor Biffa Municipal attended the committee to explain what went wrong during the implementation of new arrangements during the summer months. The Council’s cabinet portfolio holder Councillor Will Breare-Hall was also available to answer questions.

Councillors cross-examined the witnesses in depth, asking about issues as diverse as the HR policies of Biffa during the contract handover, the advantages of the four day collection week, the move to a new depot, the size of the new vehicles, the composition of the rounds and the software problems. Councillor Will Breare-Hall said that with hindsight more lead-in time should have been allowed for the introduction of the change to the four day week. He would also have introduced other changes more gradually rather than all in one go.

Waste Manager David Marsh identified the lack of understanding and local knowledge transferred from old crews to new crews. Roger Edwards said that although it could be difficult to transfer knowledge, with hindsight more could be done in the future to achieve it.

Contact Centre Manager Julie Barnard said that the main problem for her staff was the number of missed collections and the repeated failure to collect missed collections once reported. Major improvements in communications between Biffa and the Council since the introduction of the new service have been achieved.

Committee Chairman, Councillor Mary Sartin focused on comments about the failure of assisted collections for residents with special requirements. Simon Crook for Biffa said that a lot of work had since been done to improve this process on behalf of the district’s more vulnerable residents.

Biffa manager Les Smith promised to look personally into problems around contamination of recycling identified by members of the public present at the meeting. Derek Macnab also summarised a list of written questions submitted by members of the public relating to the manner in which Biffa returned emptied bins to households, side-waste and waste separation.

Looking to the future

In summing up, Assistant Director Kim Durrani said that the Council had been in a difficult place but was in a much better position now. Looking to the future he said that the Council was striving with Biffa to improve recycling targets. Simon Crook for Biffa said that he was confident the service was now moving quickly towards the levels everyone would expect. Les Smith of Biffa assured Councillor Heather Brady that Biffa was well prepared for the next few weeks – Christmas – the busiest period of the year.