Free activities at Healthy Living Festival launch

Written on . Posted in Arts, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Health, Loughton, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Our performance, Out and about, Playschemes, Residents, Sports, Sports centres and pools, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Thursday 30 June 2016 marks the launch of the Debden Festival of Healthy Living and we are offering you and your family free taster activity sessions from 3pm to 7pm at Debden Campsite and Conference Centre.

There will be a number of activities for children, adults, the over 50’s and the whole family to enjoy

  • a forest buggy walk
  • a lifewalk
  • Taoist Tai Chi session
  • Play in the forest
  • Family yoga
  • Orienteering
  • Mountain biking

With the longer days and warmer weather coming, there’s no better time to improve your health and wellbeing by getting active!

Try it for free

Yes! You read correctly – try all of the above for free! So why not come with your friends and family for the day, bring a picnic or enjoy our tasty BBQ? Whether your aim is to try something new or spend some quality time with your family, come along and enjoy the day with us!

Summer activities for all

Leisure and Community Services Portfolio Holder, Councillor Helen Kane said: “The event on 30 June is the perfect opportunity to showcase all of the exciting activities that will be available to all over the summer. The Council are offering activities for children, adults, the over 50’s and the whole family from 30 June – 24 July, there is something for everyone and for all abilities.”

Councillor Kane continued: “Don’t be shy, come and try something new and plan to get active this summer! Many activities are offering free first sessions too, so book now!”

Debden Festival of Healthy Living

Cabinet 9 June 2016

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Councillors, Democracy, Doing business with the council, Leader, Media, Our performance, Residents, Your area, Your council, Your home

Housing, parking and listed building were among items discussed at Cabinet on 9 June 2016.

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Council Housing Update

In her first Cabinet meeting since transferring to the Housing Portfolio from Finance, Councillor Syd Stavrou announced the intention to move toward planning application stage for 12 small sites in Waltham Abbey earmarked for phase 6 of the new Council House-Building programme.

Negotiations have begun with P A Finlay, who undertook the refurbishment works at Marden Close, to complete the new build of four other sites in Waltham Abbey after a notice was served on Broadway Construction immediately terminating the contract with them for Phase 1 of the Council’s House-building programme. This follows a default notice that was served on 26 April; the reason being that they were not carrying out the works regularly and diligently, contrary to their contract obligations.

The Council has now taken over responsibility for safety and security on each of the 4 sites and put in place arrangements with a security company to carry out 24-hour patrols until a new contractor is appointed.

The Council’s agent Pellings LLP, is undertaking a thorough and detailed inventory of materials and equipment on site and recording the works that have yet to be completed. In the meantime, the discussions have begun with P A Finlay, with a view to them completing the works subject to satisfactory negotiations. Appointment will be subject to a separate Housing Portfolio Holder decision.

Off-Street Parking Pay and Display

Transport Portfolio Holder Councillor Gary Waller secured Cabinet approval as the Council moved towards transferring the management of its Pay and Display car parks from the North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) to a new provider. Councillors agreed methods of tendering and length of contract as well as agreeing in principle to manage an additional car park in Waltham Abbey at the request of the Lee Valley Regional Park.

PwC to review Council Accommodation

Councillor Chris Whitbread, Leader of Council updated the Cabinet on the Transformation project. Among the projects designed to improve council efficiency and customer services, Councillor Whit  bread was pleased to announce the start of work by PricewaterhouseCoopers looking at the future office accommodation needs of the Council.

Steps to protect historic building

Thrifts Cottage, a Grade II listed building in very poor condition should be renovated and brought back to life. Councillor Gary Waller obtained the support of fellow councillors to use the Council’s powers to return it to a good state of repair. The building adjacent to Thrifts Hall in Sewardstone Road dates back to the 18th century.

Nu Bar opening hours cut following review

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Licensing, Local business, Loughton, Noise, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Our performance, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Councillors are cracking down on anti-social behaviour and criminal activity associated with Nu Bar in Loughton. Following a review of evidence from local residents and Essex Police, councillors have cut the opening hours by moving the closing time from 02:30am to 00:30am, with no alcohol to be served after midnight. The only exceptions to the new closing times are special occasions such as Christmas and New Year.

Chance to appeal

The Licence Holder, Greene King, has 21 days from the date of the decision to appeal. If Greene King accept the new conditions, Nu Bar remains closed until the time permitted for an appeal has ended or any appeal is completed.

Conditions re-emphasized and reinforced

In addition to the reduction in opening hours, Epping Forest District Council has re-emphasized and reinforced a raft of other conditions designed to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour. These include high quality CCTV and facial recognition technology, door staff, dress codes to prevent people hiding their identity, training for staff in matters as diverse as sales to underage children and drug abuse, maintenance of an incident register, the banning of glass drink ware, digital ID scanning and restrictions on the number of people that can be in the smoking area at any one time.

Protecting residents

A spokesperson for Epping Forest District Council said: “We would like to thank local residents and Essex Police for their hard work in pulling the evidence together. We have a legal duty as the licensing authority to take an impartial independent view based on law. Licensing Committee councillors listened very carefully to all sides of the argument but felt a clear need to impose these restrictions and protect our residents from the nuisance and harm caused by late-night rowdy behaviour at Nu Bar.”

He continued: “We expect Nu Bar’s owners to take heed of this tough stance and understand that the kind of behaviour associated with their premises over the last few months is intolerable and unacceptable. Essex Police catalogued eight separate incidents in the last few months, including one involving 40 people. Local residents have the right to a reasonable degree of peace, quiet and security.”

Youth councillors shine at O&S

Written on . Posted in Community, Consultation, Councillors, Democracy, Equalities, Media, Meetings, Our performance, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Working with the council, Young people, Your community, Your council, Your home

Presentations from Epping Forest Youth Councillors and Essex County Council were given to the Overview and Scrutiny panel on 19 April 2016.

Democracy live

Successful year for Epping Forest Youth Council

Epping Forest youth councillors confidently and eloquently updated the panel on their achievements over the past year.

Youth conference

The youth council’s highest profile event this year was their youth conference. This involved 90 young people from local secondary schools and was attended by guest speaker Eleanor Laing MP. Their aim was to promote Local Democracy Week, raise the profile of the youth council and involve other young people in the debate about the current issues.

Promoting mental health awareness

The young councillors explained their plans to develop mental health workshops for young people at schools within the district, promoting mental health awareness amongst young people and addressing the lack of support services for young people across the country.

The Epping Forest Youth Council have been involved in many other projects this year, including promoting youth volunteering and assisting with 14 consultations including a national consultation on the living wage for young people, racism and emotional wellbeing and mental health.

They have been representatives on various strategy groups and have organised Youth Volunteering days in partnership with the City of London. The Youth Council informed councillors that they got external funding of £6,750, enabling them to deliver high quality projects.

Highly Commended

Councillors were deeply impressed by the quality of their presentation and highly commended their many excellent achievements throughout the year.

Redesign of Children’s Centre Services

Essex County Council plans to redevelop and improve Children’s Centre services across the County, following their public consultation which ended on 10 April 2016.

Coordinated approach to support services

Chris Martin, (Integrated Commissioning Director) and Gill Holland (Lead on Children’s Centre Performance in West Essex) explained to Councillors that the changes made will improve the accessibility of children’s services across the County. They will do this by making services flexible, increasing the age range, targeting the most vulnerable and disadvantaged and by providing a more coordinated approach to support services.

Accessible ‘Family Hubs’ for each district

One ‘Family Hub’ will be introduced into each authority area across Essex. The hubs will provide children’s support services and will be open for 50 hours per week. Their opening hours will be staggered, to enhance accessibility for families that are unable to visit during normal working hours.

 

Council tax frozen for sixth year running

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Council tax, Councillors, Democracy, Leader, Local business, Media, Meetings, Our activities, Our attractions, Our performance, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your money

Epping Forest District Council bucks national and local trends by freezing its portion of council tax for the sixth year running.

The Council achieved this despite most other government services increasing Council Tax costs for Epping Forest district residents. The freeze was confirmed at the meeting of full council on 18 February 2016.

Frontline services protected

Leader of the Council Chris Whitbread said: ‘This is the sixth District Council Tax freeze that we have had and it doesn’t come easily. At a time when other Councils are making drastic savings and putting their Council Tax up, we have maintained a nil-increase for our residents whilst protecting our frontline services. We have successfully budgeted and made prudent investments and continue to make Epping Forest a better place to live and work – a place to be proud of.’

Supporting the economy and residents

Councillor Whitbread discussed the Council’s continued investments to the Town Centre Fund; which supports special events for our town centres. He explained that resources have been put into CCTV monitoring, tourism and into the renovation and reopening of Waltham Abbey District Museum, all of which support the District’s economy and benefit residents.

Lowest District Council Tax in Essex

Councillor Whitbread updated others on the plans for transformation, he said that he has ‘ambitious visions for this Council’s future’ and stated that the Council are going to maintain themselves as a ‘low Council tax authority’ and his ‘aspiration is to have the lowest District Council Tax in Essex one day.’

Cabinet 4 February 2016

Written on . Posted in Civic events, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Leader, Media, Our performance, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council

Finance, tourism and the need for housing were among issues discussed at Cabinet on 4 February at Epping Forest District Council civic offices.

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District bucks trend with Council Tax freeze

Epping Forest District councillors are bucking national and local trends by recommending no increase in the District Council Tax for 2016/17. Finance Portfolio Holder Councillor Syd Stavrou made the recommendation to members of the District Council Cabinet meeting on 4 February. The zero increase will now go to Full Council for the final decision on 18 February. The Council also announced its aspiration to maintain the freeze for at least the next four year.

Tenants are also set to enjoy a rent reduction of one percent

The District Council Tax freeze comes against a background of cuts in central government funding and Council Tax increases elsewhere announced by Essex County Council, Essex Police, Essex Fire and Rescue and several local town and parish councils.

Councillor Stavrou said ‘Epping Forest District Council’s long track record of very prudent financial management should allow it to maintain services yet again without having to increase Council Tax. There will be relatively small amount of savings on the 2016/17 budget rather than cuts to services.’

She said: ‘We are not underplaying the difficult financial climate. We are a low-tax, pro-business, pro-environment council but we are walking a tightrope between protecting front line services and keeping Council Tax down. Central government grants are expected to continue falling until the Council is wholly reliant on its own income. So far we have been very successful but it has needed a lot of innovation.’

Councillor Stavrou continued: ‘We are very frugal. We have made some very significant savings but we also try to use our assets to the best advantage of our residents. For example, the re-letting of the domestic waste and recycling contract last year saved many hundreds of thousands of pounds. Solar panels on our office roof are the latest in a series of investments to cut fuel costs. The completion of the Epping Forest Shopping Park next year will create another major new source of income. If we continue to invest to accumulate in this way I am confident we can continue to keep the District Council Tax down and more money in the pockets of our residents where it belongs.’

Should the Cabinet recommendations be approved at Full Council, the annual Band D cost of Council Tax for Epping Forest District Council of £148.77 will not have increased since 2010.

Council Leader Councillor Chris Whitbread concluded the debate by echoing the sentiments of fellow cabinet members by thanking Councillor Stavrou and the team of supporting officers. He emphasised the importance of teamwork and careful planning that meant Epping Forest District Council could continue to invest and protect front line services.

Other Items

Creating jobs and business opportunities within the local economy concentrated the minds of councillors as they agreed further funding for visitor and tourism development  at Cabinet. Steps to provide landlord deposits and rental loans to help local people in housing need and the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Investment Strategy for 2016/17 to 2018/19 were all also agreed.

Stroke survivor wins InstructAbility award

Written on . Posted in Arts, Community, Health, Older people, Our activities, Our performance, Sports, Sports centres and pools, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your council

Everyone Active along with Level 3 qualified Exercise and Disability Trainer Lee Cartwright have been presented with an InstructAbility award for their work, setting up a Stroke Survivors fitness group.

The InstructAbility awards is a programme created in 2010 by Aspire, the spinal injury charity and YMCAfit training provider. The award recognises successful partnerships between disabled fitness professionals and their employers.

They engage with disabled people within fitness activities, led by qualified instructors who are experts due to their own experiences. The programme has supported over 200 disabled people to qualify as fitness professionals  and their instructors have contributed 20,000 hours of voluntary service to the leisure industry to encourage more disabled people to feel welcome and supported in the gym environment.

InstructAbility Award

(Photo above Lee Cartwright being presented with his award by Centre Manager Chris McCarthy)

Three and a half years ago Lee Cartwright had a major stroke which left him with left side paralysis. Whilst training to try and regain movement he was disappointed with the lack of support for stroke rehab. This led him to qualify as a gym and disability instructor through the InstructAbility programme and set up his own Stroke Survivors fitness group with Louise Bonfield, a friend who had also had a stroke and suffers from epilepsy.

The group meets every Friday in a fitness studio at Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool from 12:00-14:00 and offers accessible fitness sessions, as well as support and a friendly social atmosphere. On Monday and Wednesday, a functional training class also offers exercise sessions for all those with disabilities.

“We are delighted and very proud to have been given the InstructAbility award alongside Lee,” says Everyone Active Centre Manager Chris McCarthy. “He is a fantastic instructor and role model for many people with disabilities, and we hope that the classes will give people with similar conditions the support they need to help them recover.”

Leisure and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder Helen Kane said:

‘’I am absolutely delighted to hear that Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool and Lee Cartwright have been presented with this award. Their commendable work means that stroke survivors in the District are supported by an instructor that understands their condition first hand, encouraging successful rehabilitation. I would like to extend my congratulations to both and thank them for making fitness accessible within the Epping Forest District.’’

More information

Find out more about Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool

More information on InstructAbilty

 

Nominate your Young Citizen of the Year

Written on . Posted in Community, Democracy, Media, Our attractions, Our countryside, Our performance, Out and about, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Working with the council, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

The search for Epping Forest’s Young Citizen of the Year is on!

Do you know a young person who lives in Epping Forest District aged between 11 and 18 who has shown extraordinary commitment in a particular field? Shown great energy and effort towards achieving a particular goal? Or has been of great benefit towards the community?

If so you can nominate them for the Young Citizen of the Year.

Young Citizen on the Year 2016

If you know a young person living in the district who you feel deserves recognition for their contribution to Epping nominate them, the winner will be invited be invited to attend the District Councils’ Civic Awards ceremony to receive their reward, £100 and a certificate.

How to nominate 

Please ensure

  • Your nominee is aged between 11-18
  • Lives in Epping Forest district

Closing date for all applications is Friday 27 November 2015 and the awards ceremony to be held 18 March 2016.

More information 

If you need any more information or if you would like a nomination form sent in the post please contact Louis Walton at lwalton@eppingforestdc.gov.uk or Diane Butler at dbutler@eppingforestdc.gov.uk or alternatively call 01992 564365.

 

Councillors discuss Local Plan and elections

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Consultation, Councillors, Democracy, Elections, Housing, Local plan / planning our future, Media, Meetings, Our performance, Recycling and waste, Residents, Your area, Your council, Your home

Councillors received updates on a wide range of projects when Cabinet Portfolio Holders reported to the meeting of Epping Forest District Council on 28 July 2015.

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Local Plan

Items included a comprehensive report on the Local Plan, progress on major schemes at Langston Road (Epping Forest Retail Park) and St John’s Epping, significant improvements following the troubled introduction of the new 4-day domestic waste collection contract and a summary of the council’s latest financial position following the Chancellor’s first budget since the General Election in May.

Individual Electoral Registration (IER)

Councillor John Philip reported on successful introduction of Individual Electoral Registration before the last General Election. Epping Forest District Council produced the best electoral register in the country according to statistics released by the Electoral Commission. Councillor Philip made the announcement as the canvass for the first update to the register begins.

More than half of all households have already responded to the update, although that means some 25,000 households are still to reply. Councillor Philip was pleased to say that the vast majority of replies have been received electronically saving time and money. He appealed to fellow councillors to encourage residents to complete the canvass by returning all outstanding forms electronically as soon as possible.

Council housing rent reductions

Housing Portfolio Holder David Stallan responded to concerns raised about the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s announcement on council housing rent reductions. One per cent per cuts per year over the next 4 years could impact on the council’s ability to build more new homes.

Further concerns were raised regarding plans to make councils sell high value houses. Councillor Stallan said that further evaluation would help to assess the impact on the Epping Forest district.

St John’s Road development

Assets Portfolio Holder Councillor Mrs Anne Grigg said that consultation would take place as the St John’s Road development reached planning application stage.

Overview and Scrutiny

Councillors welcomed the annual report of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee which highlighted the investigative role of the council in checking the work of its own cabinet and other organisations as diverse as the police, public transport, health, education and social services.

Mick Merrick

Council Chairman Councillor Liz Webster paid tribute to Mick Merrick, one of the council’s best known and popular members of staff who passed away earlier in the year. Flowers and condolences are to be sent to his family.

 

Epping Forest Youth Council receive awards

Written on . Posted in Community, Media, Our performance, Out and about, Volunteering opportunities, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Youth Councillors receive awards from the Jack Petchey Foundation for their community and volunteering work at Lowewood Museum and Swaines Green.

Jack Petchey Awards

Joseph Pascoe, Matthew Tinker, Leonora Troshupa, Julie Turrell, along with King Harold Academy pupil Aaron Rogan and Charlie Luxford from Epping St John’s School, each received a Jack Petchey Outstanding Achievement Medallion and £200 to spend on their chosen project.

Staff from Epping Forest District Council’s Communities Services Team’,  Gill Wallis, Alexia Doherty and Louis Walton, were awarded Outstanding Leader certificates and each received a Jack Petchey Medallion at the presentation evening held at Sir James Hawkey Hall in Woodford Green on 7 July.

Youth councillors, pupils and staff accomplishments recognised

Youth Councillors and pupils were all delighted with the recognition for their Social Action and Volunteering work.

Louis Walton said: “It was an honour to have received the Jack Petchey Achievement award last night. The evening was an amazing opportunity to see so many inspiring young people be recognised, valued and rewarded for their achievements.”

Youth Councillor Matthew Tinker added: “Receiving a Jack Petchey Award is a real honour and it does give you a confidence boost.”

Jack Petchey Foundation

Established in 1999, the Jack Petchey Foundation makes grants to programmes and projects that benefit young people aged 11 to 25. The Foundation exists to raise the aspirations of young people, to help them take advantage of opportunities and to play a full part in society.

Since being established the Foundation has awarded grants totalling more than  £100 million.

Find out more at the Jack Petchey Foundation website.