Free weekend parking in December 16

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There will be no pay and display car park charges in Epping Forest District Council car parks in the run-up to Christmas this year!

car parks

It will be free to park in Council car parks on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays throughout December 2016.

Making shopping locally easier

Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder, Councillor Gary Waller said: ”We have relaxed the car park charges throughout the month of December again this year, to make shopping as easy as possible for our residents in the run up to Christmas.”

Supporting local retailers

He continued: ”We hope that this will help to support our local retailers and town centres too, encouraging our residents to shop locally rather than taking their custom outside the district.”

Our civil enforcement officers will be patrolling as usual and all other conditions of the council car parks will still be in force.

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.

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.”

Join Active Epping Forest

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Consultation, Democracy, Epping, Health, Loughton, Media, Meetings, Older people, Olympics, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our performance, Out and about, Residents, Sports, Sports centres and pools, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

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

Confirm your voting details by 21 October 16

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Elections, Epping, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Every household that has not confirmed their voting details has been sent a third reminder to complete their Household Enquiry Form (HEF). Please look out for this letter and respond by registering your voting details online before 21 October 2016.

Complete your houshold enquiry form online

Your form will be in an envelope marked ‘Do not ignore this’, it is not junk mail.

If there have been no changes to your household, by law you still need to respond to confirm your details.

It is not necessary to return the form to us – in fact it’s far easier to confirm your details online, by freephone or text message. It only takes a couple of minutes and all you need is the 2 part security code on your form.

  • Confirm online

  • Confirm by phone 0800 197 9871

  • Text NOCHANGE – with your security number to 80212

Make changes online

If there are changes you can amend the information online easily and quickly. You will need the 2 part security code on the form.

You can also amend the form and return it to us in the prepaid envelope.

Individuals will then be contacted to verify the changes.

Just because you are eligible to vote, it doesn’t mean that you are registered to vote. You will need to register individually at this is separate from the Household Enquiry Form.

Help keep costs down

If you have received a third reminder, it is because we are yet to receive confirmation of your voting details. We will be moving to a final stage of the process within the next month, so please respond as soon as you can to help us keep costs down. If you have a query please contact the Electoral Office on 01992 564411.

Elections can be called with as little as 6 weeks’ notice. Registering to vote makes sure you can have your say. It also helps your credit rating as credit agencies can see you live where you claim to live. Electoral law means we have to do this every year, it’s known as the annual canvass.

Epping Forest Young Citizen of the Year award

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chairman, Chigwell, Civic events, Community, Councillors, Epping, Loughton, Media, Ongar, Our activities, Our performance, Residents, Travel, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

The search is now on for the Epping Forest Young Citizen of the Year 2017.

Now is your chance to help recognise young people’s exceptional contributions to the Epping Forest district and nominate them for the Young Citizen of the Year award.

Young Citizen of the Year 2017 poster

The award is presented annually to a young person who has shown outstanding courage, been of service to their community or shown extraordinary commitment, energy and effort in a particular field or towards achieving a goal.

The winner will be invited to attend our civic awards ceremony on 17 March 2017 to receive a certificate of achievement and award of £300.

Our community is full of incredible young people

Molly Gayler from Davenant Foundation School won the Epping Forest Young Citizen of the Year 2016 for her wonderful work supporting children with disabilities and her passion for sport. Molly referenced the American athlete Gail Devers who once said that ‘every accomplishment starts with the decision to try’.

Molly said: “If my form tutor had not made the decision to ‘Try’ with me, then I would not have been given the opportunity to participate in such a wonderful and humbling experience.”

“Our community is full of incredible young people who deserve to be recognised. Please nominate them for the Epping Forest Young Citizen of the Year award and open doors for a young person who really deserves it.”


Do you know a young person who lives in the district aged between 11 and 18 and deserve to be recognized?

Nominate them for the Young Citizen of the Year – applications close on Friday 25 November 2016.

More information

Contact Louis Walton, Youth Engagement Assistant



Shopping Park in Loughton underway

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Business rates, Chairman, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Councillors, Doing business with the council, Epping, Jobs, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Work has started on the construction of the Epping Forest Shopping Park at Langston Road,  Loughton.

Howard Parkes with (L-R) Councillor Jeane Lea, M and H Project Manager Alex McCalley, Councillor Anne Grigg and Derek Macnab

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

Site tour

Councillor Jeane Lea, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council and Councillor Anne Grigg, Cabinet Portfolio Holder responsible for the council-owned scheme met McLaughlin and Harvey construction project manager Alex McCalley and members of the workforce during a tour of the site on Monday 26 September 2016.

Accompanied by the Council’s Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Neighbourhoods Derek Macnab, Councillors Lea and Grigg inspected well-advanced demolition work as the former council depot buildings come down. The adjoining site bought by the council previously is already clear with excavations already evident where surface water storage tanks are to be installed.

Assisted by Alex McCalley of McLaughlin and Harvey, Councillor Lea posed for traditional ground-breaking photographs.

Biggest names in retail

Once completed, Loughton Shopping Park will potentially host some of the biggest names in retail including Next, Aldi, TK Maxx, Pets at Home and Hobbycraft.

New jobs

Around 200 permanent new jobs will be created while rental income from the park will help Epping Forest District Council provide public services to local residents and maintain one of the lowest Council Taxes in Essex. Associated highway improvements on Chigwell Lane will also ease congestion on one of Essex’s busiest roads. There will be on-site shopper car parking for up to 350 cars as well as excellent public transport links a short walk away at Debden Underground Station. With a footprint of 94,000 square feet (or almost 150,000 square feet taking account of mezzanine floors) there will be plenty of retail space with something for everyone including children with Smyths Toys expecting to be a big draw for families.

Boost to the local economy

Councillor Grigg said: ”I was delighted to see the progress. McLaughlin and Harvey has made a cracking start. The site is clean and the demolition work is being carried out with meticulous attention to safety. Now the barriers between the old council depot and the adjoining site have been removed you start to get a real perspective on the size and scale of the shopping park. It will be a fantastic asset and a tremendous boost to the local economy.”

Minimal disruption

During the tour, Alex McCalley explained some of the ways in which McLaughlin and Harvey will minimise disturbance to neighbours. He said: “Years ago we would have had hundreds of lorries coming on and off site as we transported the thousands of tonnes of hardcore rubble. These days we are much more environmentally friendly. Nearly all the rubble will be recycled into the foundations of the new retail park. We are using better methods of pile driving, drilling our way down to the London Clay rather than the old method of banging away with the pile-driver. We are also making contact with our neighbours, keeping people informed and setting up those vital lines of communication that let everyone work together.”

First shoppers next summer

Councillor Jeane Lea was also very impressed: she said: ”McLaughlin and Harvey are one of the most experienced retail park developers. They have worked with some of the biggest companies to deliver large schemes. I would like to thank Alex and his team for such an informative tour and  look forward to being invited back to review progress.”

Construction is expected to take around 40 weeks meaning the first shoppers through the doors next summer.

Help Countrycare bag Tesco’s ‘Bags of Help’ initiative

Written on . Posted in Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Media, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Volunteering opportunities, Working with the council, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Countrycare is bidding to bag a massive cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative.

Countrycare volunteers at Bobbingworth

£12.5million carrier bag charge fund

Tesco’s has teamed up with Groundwork on its Bags of Help initiative, which see grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the 5p bag levy – being awarded to environmental and greenspace projects.

Countrycare’s plans

Countrycare and their volunteers undertake a wide variety of community-based activities and coordinate a regular programme of practical conservation work in our District.

To view photos in a slideshow, click on a picture below and click start slideshow

If given the grant Countrycare will use the money to improve the pond at Nazeing Triangle Local Nature Reserve. The old dipping platform which has become rotten and unsafe will be replaced. The new platform will be wheel chair accessible and will allow people of all ages and abilities to enjoy the pond.

A new board to help people identify what they can see in the reserve will be installed. Pond margins will be planted up with native aquatic species. This will improve the habitat for invertebrates and amphibians encouraging a greater biodiversity in the pond.

Nicola Ceconi Assistant Countryside Manager said: “We are thrilled to have been shortlisted for this grant and are very excited for our project to get underway.”

Cast your vote

Voting is open in stores from

  • 31 October to 13 November
  • Tesco Epping
  • 77-79 High St, Epping CM16 4BA

Tesco customers can cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out in store each time they shop.

Tesco’s initiative

This is the second round of the initiative: the first round saw approximately eight million shoppers vote in Tesco stores up and down the country earlier this year.

Lindsey Crompton, Head of Community at Tesco, said: ”The first round of the Bags of Help initiative was a fantastic success.

We are absolutely delighted to open the voting for round two. There are some fantastic projects on the shortlists and we can’t wait to see them come to life in hundreds of communities”

Groundwork’s national Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury, said:”Bags of Help is giving our communities both the funding and the support to create better, healthier and greener places for everyone to enjoy.”

More info

Have your say on our trees and green spaces

Written on . Posted in Community, Consultation, Countryside and wildlife, Media, Meetings, Our countryside, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Working with the council, Your area, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Residents are being invited to take part in our Trees and Green Infrastructure – Community Consultation Meeting.

Views over Epping

Have your say

Epping Forest is a green district which is why it’s important to hear your views on our districts trees and green spaces.

We want to hear the issues that affect you, your family and neighbours, what is working well and what needs improving.

The meeting

  • Trees and Green Infrastructure – Community Consultation Meeting
  • Monday 12 September
  • 7pm
  • Epping Hall, St Johns Road, CM16 5JU

The result will feed into an action for the local area as well as influencing future strategy across the whole district.

Refreshment will be provided