New development to revitalise Waltham Abbey

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An approved new development at Hillhouse in Ninefields will revitalise heart of Waltham Abbey.

Plans for a new leisure centre, health centre and independent living scheme for older people in the heart of Waltham Abbey, in Hillhouse, have been given the go ahead at a meeting on 30 November 2016.

Hillhouse masterplan

The plans gained outline planning permission for a new development at Hillhouse on the Ninefields Estate, were brought forward through a partnership between

  • Epping Forest District Council
  • Essex County Council
  • NHS England

New community facilities

Councillor Helen Kane Epping Forest District Council’s portfolio holder for leisure and community services said: ”I am very pleased that planning approval has now been given for Waltham Abbey to receive these 3 fantastic new community facilities on the Ninefields Estate.”

“I know that some local residents were concerned about the reduction in recreation land, but the 3 development partners have worked hard to minimise the effects and to ensure that a significant amount of usable recreation land will still continue to be provided at Hillhouse, including a mini soccer grass pitch. A commitment has also been given by all 3 partners to fund the provision of alternative sports facilities in Waltham Abbey.”

”The district council will now be concentrating on working with its new leisure management contractor, when appointed early in the new year, to build a first-class modern swimming pool and leisure centre to replace the existing Waltham Abbey swimming pool in Roundhills, which is reaching the end of its life.”

”It is planned that detailed planning permission for the new facility will be submitted in Spring 2017, with construction commencing later in the year and completed around October 2018.”

Working together for the community

Councillor John Spence CBE Essex County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for housing added: “Land owned by the public sector is ultimately owned by taxpayers, and it is absolutely imperative that agencies where possible work together to the betterment of our community.”

”This development will not only provide well designed supported accommodation letting older people live independently for longer whilst reducing costs for the state, but will also give residents new and improved sporting and health facilities, something for all ages.”

Benefit local patients and residents

Welcoming the provision of new Health Facilities Alison Cowie Head of Commissioning at NHS England (Essex) said: ”There is a long established need to find sustainable premises for the relocation of the Maynard Court Surgery.”

”The approval of the outline planning application provides an exciting opportunity for us to work with the practice, local authority partners and the community to take the next steps to develop and deliver a new facility for the benefit of local patients and residents.”

Improving residents health and wellbeing

Tracy Manzi from West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group said: ”We support the proposed relocation of Maynard Court Surgery. The approval of an outline planning application for the development at Hillhouse, on the Ninefields Estate will allow us to work with the practice to deliver an increased number and type of services.”

“This new facility will enable the practice to develop and provides opportunities to work closely with our community partners, improving the health and wellbeing of local residents.”

“The next steps are for the 3 partners to progress details of the three separate elements of development for detailed planning permission during 2017.”


Cabinet 1 December 2016

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The draft Local Plan, changes to the district’s off-street parking and the Council Tax Support Scheme were all subjects for discussion at Cabinet on 1 December 2016.

Changes to draft Local Plan will be public

Responding to a public question at Cabinet on 1 December, Planning Portfolio Holder John Philip gave assurances that all changes to the draft Local Plan would be made public. Councillor Philips said that the council had factored in comments from previous consultation as well as new evidence in formulating the draft Local Plan. He expected further changes to the draft Plan following analysis of the latest consultation. Separately Councillor Philip provided a financial update on the production of the Local Plan.

Partnership savings

Governance Portfolio Holder Councillor Richard Bassett received Cabinet approval to extend the shared Internal Audit arrangements between Epping Forest District Council, Harlow and Broxbourne. Thanks to the partnership, savings of more than £58,000 a year for 2016/17 and 2017/18 have been achieved.

Amendments to Council Tax Support Scheme

Review and amendment to the Local Council Tax Support Scheme and capital budget were presented by Finance Portfolio Holder Councillor Gagan Mohindra. Major capital projects within the £124 million budget include Loughton Shopping Park, St John’s Road and improvements to council housing and new-build housing projects. Many of the Council’s capital projects are aimed towards long term revenue generation, helping Epping Forest District Council become financially self-supporting.

Councillor Mohindra also assured Cabinet colleagues of his determination to achieve value for money with a £100,000 fund to support joint working with other organisations.

Update on Biffa collection costs

Councillor Gary Waller presented a report on domestic waste collection and recycling on behalf of Environment Portfolio Holder Will Breare-Hall. Collection costs have gone up since the introduction of the new Biffa contract. Provision of more recycling sacks combined with cross-contamination reducing income and additional collections due to the building of new houses has led to an increase of £343,000 in the contract.

Changes to off-street parking ahead

“Car parks are essential to our town centres” said Council Leader Chris Whitbread as he welcomed changes to off-street Pay and Display parking. Councillor Waller reported a saving of £58,600 a year from 2017/18 after moving off-street Pay and Display parking enforcement, cash collection and machine maintenance from the North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) to NSL Ltd.

Later on the agenda, Councillor Waller received Cabinet approval to manage Waltham Abbey car parks owned by the Lee Valley Regional Park. He also received approval to demolish and replace garages in Vere Road with 20 new parking spaces. A further 11 spaces are to be created behind shops 49 and 41 in The Broadway.

Planning wait times improved

Residents can expect to see planning decision times improved by up to five days. Councillor Richard Bassett secured Cabinet approval for a new officer and further computerisation to speed up the planning application and validation process.

Town and Village Centres Fund

The Town and Village Centres Opportunities Fund has been renamed the Epping Forest District Economic Opportunities Fund. The rebranding reflects widening the availability criteria beyond town and village centres.

Applications open for Creativity Awards

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Applications are open for Epping Forest District Council’s Creativity Awards 2017. The award aims to help further young people aged 13 – 25 with grants ranging from £50 to £1000.

Creativity Awards 2017

If you are an individual or part of a group with an interest in the arts, culture and heritage, we would like to support you in further developing your skills with The Creativity Award 2017.

To be eligible you must be aged 13 – 25 and either live, volunteer or are part of a group in the district. The award is open to:

  • Individuals
  • Groups (a minimum of 3 people)
  • Heritage projects
  • Young people who are involved in ‘EFDC’s museums Young people’s programmes’

Groups can already be established such as art clubs, theatre groups, choirs or orchestras or have formed especially to apply for this funding.

Make an application

To be considered for an award applicants are required to:

  • Show their commitment to their area of interest and explain how the award will help them develop their talent
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they are actively pursuing their area of interest, e.g.  Through volunteering, education, exhibition, performance

Apply for the Creativity award 2017:

  • Make an application online

Helping to achieve goals

Councillor Helen Kane, Leisure and Community Services Portfolio Holder said ‘The creativity award is a great opportunity for talented people in the district to further develop their craft.

The award through grants can range from £50 – £1000 and aims to help people with a range of issues they may face, whether it is fees for courses or buying specialist equipment.

If you think this award could help you or your group, make an application today, don’t delay’

For more information:

Applications close midnight Wednesday 30 November 2016. Awards will be presented to the winner at the civic awards ceremony Friday 17 March 2017.

Cabinet 3 November 2016

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Energy consumption at the Council offices in Epping has been cut dramatically. That and other items including Council Tax discounts, on-street car parking, and the creation of three new small pay and display car parks were among the items discussed at the meeting of Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet on 3 November.

Watch our council meetings online

Solar Energy

The installation of new windows and solar panels has led to significant reductions in energy consumption at the Council’s headquarters in Epping. The report by Technology and Support Services Portfolio Holder Councillor Alan Lion noted the generation of 35,760 KWh in the first seven months of panel operation. Electricity consumption was reduced by 13.4% in 2015 compared to 2014.

Incentive to reduce empty housing

Councillors agreed reductions in the Council Tax discount available for empty homes. Finance Portfolio Holder Gagan Mohindra presented the report. He said that the changes would make a relatively small difference to the amount of tax collected. However, the Council hopes that the reductions will incentivise local landlords to speed up the re-letting or sale of empty houses for occupation.

County Council Parking Enforcement

Councillor Gary Waller, Portfolio Holder responsible for working with Essex County Council and the North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) assured fellow councillors that he would pass on their dissatisfaction with on-street parking enforcement across the district.

Essex County Council is set to extend the current NEPP contract for a further four years. Supported by fellow Councillors Chris Whitbread and Chris Pond, Councillor Waller said that his criticisms were aimed at the operation of NEPP rather individual members of staff working within the district.

New Pay and Display

Later on the agenda, Councillor Waller received Cabinet approval for three small new pay and display car parks in Debden. Two short stay car parks accommodating a total of 40 spaces are to be created at the northern and southern ends of Oakwood Hill Industrial Estate. Fifteen new long stay spaces are to be created behind Loughton Broadway in Burton Road.

Green light for draft Local Plan consultation

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Epping Forest District’s Full Council met on Tuesday 18 October 2016 and approved the draft Local Plan for public consultation.

Next stop for the Epping Forest1

Consultation with residents

The Council will now run a consultation on the draft Local Plan for six weeks from 31 October to 12 December 2016 to gain feedback from the Epping Forest district community.

A dedicated website ( has been available since 15 September, and acts as a one stop shop for information on the draft Local Plan and the consultation process. A questionnaire will also be available on the website for people to feedback to the Planning Policy team.

Visit an exhibition in your area

The Council is organising public exhibitions in Epping, Chigwell, Waltham Abbey, Loughton, Ongar and North Weald in early November, with a number of static information points available throughout the consultation period across the district so people can find out more. More information about these events will be published on the website and through a district wide newsletter.

The draft Local Plan sets out the proposed strategy to meet the economic and housing growth in the district up until 2033, identifying potential sites for development and regeneration and sets out proposed draft development management policies. It also outlines the necessary infrastructure to support the development.

Influence how the district grows

Councillor John Philip, Epping Forest District Council Planning Policy Portfolio Holder, explained: ”A Local Plan is your best opportunity to guide how the district grows and to protect ourselves from inappropriate development. Without a Local Plan we are vulnerable to developers taking the opportunity to submit applications for sites that we do not consider appropriate or sustainable.

“This Plan has been progressed with over 130 pieces of evidence and technical work, and has been shaped through thousands of pieces of feedback we received from residents through consultations in 2010/2011 and 2012.

“The draft Local Plan represents a balance between the requirement from Government to deliver the identified and evidenced need for economic and housing growth, and the need to protect the greenness of our district. We are trying to do this by ensuring it is delivered in as sensitive, sustainable and fair a way as possible across the whole district.

“With 92% of Epping Forest district designated as Metropolitan Green Belt, we have been clear all along we will do our best to follow what you told us and so it seeks to ensure that, as far as possible, the Green Belt is protected for future generations, whilst providing for our housing needs.”

Working with neighbouring councils

Epping Forest District Council has been working with neighbouring authorities in Harlow, East Hertfordshire and Uttlesford in order to achieve a cross border understanding of the level of growth needed up until 2033.

With a growing and ageing population, current evidence shows that Epping Forest district needs to deliver approximately 11,400 new homes over the draft Local Plan period. However, with around 2,500 new homes already built or in the pipeline with planning permission, the main aim of the Plan is focused on where the remaining 8,900 or so properties and infrastructure should go.

The draft Local Plan proposes the allocation of approximately 3,900 new homes on strategic sites within Epping Forest district on the edge of Harlow and the remaining number distributed across the district.

Get involved

Epping Forest District Council is urging as many people to get involved as possible in the next stage of the consultation for the draft Local Plan.

Councillor John Philip commented: ”This will be your Local Plan and the consultation is our opportunity as a community to ensure development in Epping Forest district takes place how and where we want it to.”

Find out more

You can find out more information at the consultation events across the district and by visiting the website before providing your feedback. The council can only accept feedback on the draft Local Plan until 12 December 2016.”

Compass Club make proud finalists

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Epping Forest District Council primary school project, The Compass Club, were proud finalists at the recent NHS West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group run ‘Best of West Awards 2016’ in the Best Team/Project category.

Best of west awards 2016

Chief Officer at NHS West Essex CCG, Deborah Fielding said: “The Best of Awards celebrates the exceptional work being done in west Essex to keep people well. The finalists for these awards come from all sectors of the community, demonstrating the commitment and enthusiasm local people have to deliver the best health and care services.”

Confidence boost

The Compass Club is a 10 week project uses a mixture of theory and physical activity to boost confidence, social skills and behaviour management for children in Years 3 & 4 with Special Educational Needs.

Compass club in 12 schools across the district

The project is now in its second year and has worked with 148 children in 12 Primary Schools across the district. The project is currently free for schools and is funded by Local Delivery Group.

Extremely proud

Leisure and Community Services Portfolio Holder, Councillor Helen Kane said: ”We are extremely proud to have been nominated for this award and to make the finals is excellent recognition for the programme and the hard work the team put in to delivering it.”

She continued: ”The Compass Club is a great way for many of the children and their families to find out more about the work our Inclusion Project does outside of school, opening up many opportunities for learning and development.”

Find out more

For schools or families who want to find out more about the councils disability provision or the Compass Club please contact Olivia Worsfold on or 01992 564 220

Follow ‘Epping Forest Disability Forum’ on Facebook

Join Active Epping Forest

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Residents are being invited to join Active Epping Forest on 19 October 2016 to help shape the future of the districts sports and leisure facilities.

Former British 100m record holder, Commonwealth gold medal winner and Olympian Montell Douglas will be there for you meet.

Active Epping Forest

Active Epping Forest aims to be a group that represents local people, meeting to discuss the development of local sport, physical activity and leisure provision in the district.

The Active Epping Forests group’s main aims will be to help make ideas a reality by:

  • Delivering new projects locally
  • Applying for funding
  • Deciding how funding will be spent

Get involved

  • 19th October 2016
  • 6.30pm
  • Loughton Cricket Club, High Road, The Uplands, Loughton IG10 1NQ

The launch event will be a chance for people to sign up and have their say on the work the group should be doing.

The event will also be an opportunity for people to enquire about sports and leisure in the district, and what’s currently available.

Be inspired by an Olympian

Leisure and Community services portfolio holder Councillor Helen Kane said: ‘Active Epping Forests is a great opportunity for people to get involved in their community and have their say about leisure and sports in their area.

Montel Douglas is proof of what can be achieved through hard work and dedication, and we hope she will inspire residents to have their say on leisure in the district.’

More information

For more information please contact:

  • Fabrizio Ferrari 01992 564567
  • James Warwick 01992 564530

Nominations open for Young Sports Award

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Nominate a young person for the Epping Forest Young Sports Award. The award recognises our district’s young athletes and aims to help them develop further in their chosen sports.

Epping Forest Sports Awards poster

Do you know a young person in the district who is dedicated to a sport and deserves a helping hand to further their achievements? Why not nominate them.

To be eligible for the award your nominee must:

  • Be aged 13-25 on or before the closing date for applications 30 November 16
  • Competing at county, regional or national level in a nationally governed sport
  • Live in the Epping Forest District
  • If at College or University, return ‘home’ to Epping Forest District during the holidays

Helping push through

Last year’s winner Naomi Harryman used her bursary to help pay for specialist coaching in her discipline, the Heptathlon, and physiotherapy, to help her overcome injuries.

The coaching and extra support has allowed her to train regularly, despite injuries preventing her from competing.

Naomi’s mother said: ”The award has definitely helped Naomi this year. It has inspired her to keep pushing through!”

Great opportunity

Leisure and Community services portfolio holder Councillor Helen Kane said: ”The Epping Forest Sports Awards are a great opportunity for young athletes to further themselves in their chosen discipline.”

She continued: ”Awards can range from between £100 to £1000, which can help young people pay for any costs associated with their sporting activity. So if you know anyone that could benefit, make sure to nominate them.”

Make a nomination

Applications close Wednesday 30 November 2016. Your nominee must be able to attend the Civic Awards reception on Friday 17 March 2017.

If you would like more information please contact;

Fabrizio Ferrari

We will listen and there will be changes

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Councillors had their first chance to debate future development policy following the publication of the draft Local Plan at Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet on 6 October.

EFDC Local Plan logos

Cabinet supported recommendations asking Full Council on 18 October to endorse the plan for public consultation.

Councillor John Philip, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Planning assured fellow councillors that the document before them was for full consultation. The Council would listen and he was sure that there would be changes. However, to be persuasive, Councillor Philip said that arguments for change to the Plan had to be backed up with clear evidence. For example, evidence could include information about issues such as;

  • Flooding
  • Access arrangements
  • Contamination
  • Utilities
  • Other infrastructure
  • Availability of the site

The Leader of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Chris Whitbread thanked Councillor Philip, his predecessor Councillor Richard Bassett and council staff for all the hard work that had gone into the draft.

Subject to the approval of Full Council, public consultation on the draft Local Plan will take place between 31 October and 12 December.

Planning our future

To view all the latest Local Plan information go to the consultation website

Get involved

Join in the conversation

Super Summer

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The summer holidays saw a fun packed schedule, with activities taking place all over the District.

Summer Activities 16

Dancing round the district

Children learnt a whole range of dances in the ‘Dance like a Dinosaur’ workshop at North Weald Village Hall, Tuesday 26 July. Based on Jane Clarke and Lee Wildish’s book Dance Together Dinosaurs participants were getting ready for a competition and tried their claws at the tango, ballet, breaking dancing, disco and samba.

They made some fang-tastic dinosaur masks and performed a small routine for parents.

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

Kids were moving and grooving at Budworth Hall, Ongar in our ‘Street Dance Crash Course’ led by Hip Hop Pop dancer Jenny Bater.

Street dance crash course

Dancers learnt hip hop moves like Bartman, Smurf, Tip Tap Toe and the Melbourne Shuffle as well as break dancing moves W Drop, Thread and Rolling Tread, which all tied up in a great routine performed to family and friends.

A packed workshop of 30 children worked very hard at our new musical theatre workshop; ‘Musical in a Day’ to learn and perform three songs, from Tim Minchin’s hit West End musical Matilda based on Roald Dahl’s beloved book, as well as the accompanying choreography and two scenes.

Teddy Bear Tales

Theydon Bois Village Hall was filled to the brim with bears on Wednesday 28 July as Freehand Theatre performed their latest show, Frogs, Snails and Teddy Bear Tales.

Bear was having terrible sleeping with all the excitement of his birthday the next day.  The audience brought along their teddy bears to enjoy the show too and were wowed by a season changing washing line and a monster picnic basket.

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

Audience members said: ‘Beautiful production. Wonderful story and the children were mesmerised’

‘Most enjoyable and enchanting’

‘A Lovely sweet show with excellent use of laundry’

More bears came to visit the district at Loughton Library on Thursday 4 August for Booster Cushion Theatre’s wacky production of Goldilocks and the Three Bears Plus.

All told through a giant book and physical humour, the show was a hit with all ages.

Audience members said: ‘Great fun.  My 3 year old giggled through it all as did my 7 year old and me!’

‘Really wonderful show, very funny and kids were really entertained.’

‘Very funny and entertaining for all ages, thoroughly enjoyed it.’

Getting creative

Over the holidays children got to channel their inner artists, in new workshop for 2016 ‘discover your Inner Artist’.

Taking inspiration from the collection at Epping Forest District Museum, children learnt about;

  • Artist William Morris
  • Create classic ancient Chinese willow patterns
  • Design and create their own short stories,
  • Design fabric using silk

The ‘How to Draw’ workshop was taken to the next level with ‘How to Draw More’, which explored the world of drawing a bit further by drawing in different ways using: tiny pencils, pencils on the end of long sticks, with their shut and in the hand they don’t normally draw with.

The children got to study Henry Moore’s drawing of a sheep and experiment with different techniques and used tips and tricks they learnt from the ‘How to Draw’ as well as discovering new ones.

‘How to Paint’ returned this year, with watercolour and acrylic, which explored different effects of watercolour and texture of acrylic paint.

At ‘Be an Animator’ children spent the day making their own clay models and stories to turn into a short animated film.

There was a wide range of characters and stories including; snakes fighting amongst the leaves, a multi-coloured giraffe crossing a river and water squirting elephant.  All the short films are currently being edited into one and will be available to view in a few weeks.

In ‘Be a Textile Artist’ at the newly refurbished Epping Forest District Museum, children got to experiment with printing on to fabric, applique and designing their own patterns taking inspiration from the museum’s collections.

Families had great fun at the drop-in sessions, held at the both Epping Forest District Museum and Lowewood Museum, experimenting with clay, printing and model making.  Over 200 people attended the Family Fun Day held at both museums and enjoyed puppet shows and willow weaving, African drumming and mask making.

Travel with the museum passport

The Passport Project returned this summer encouraging families to visit new museums, to take part in activities and get their passports stamped. This year even more museums from Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Essex were involved in the project.

Get involved

Keep up to date with cultural events in the district by following

Be the first to know about Epping Forest District Museum talks, exhibition and events.

Always keep up to date with what’s on through the Epping Forest District Council website