Neighbourhood First Responders

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Older people, Residents, Supporting business, Uncategorized, Young people, Your area, Your community

At the beginning of the Full Council meeting of Epping Forest District Council on 25 July the Chairman, Mrs Ann Haigh presented certificates to members of the Epping Forest Neighbourhood First Responders. This volunteer group is one of the charities Mrs Haigh is supporting during her chairmanship of the Council.

The emergency medical unit provides care `for the people by the people` of the local district. The emergency calls dealt with include such things as diabetic emergencies, unconsciousness, chest pains and heart attacks. Volunteers who are trained in this area by St John Ambulance deal with Category A emergency calls and should be able to be with the patient within 8 minutes of being called.

Each set of equipment required costs in the region of £3,000 although the ambulance service replaces the oxygen cylinders and the defibrillator pads without charge as they are used. The more equipment they have in a unit the more volunteers can be on shift at any one time.

First responders with Councillor Mrs Ann Haigh after presentation of their service certificates. Left to Right:  David Read, Peter Marchant, Chairman of Council Mrs Ann Haigh, John Newman, Roger Salmon, Sandra Newman.

Councillor Mrs Haigh said: First Responders is a little known but marvellous charity made up of unpaid volunteers working for the good of the district whose life saving actions support the Ambulance Service. I hope that making First Responders one of my charities for the year will raise their profile and bring more resources to this excellent group of volunteers.

Housing U-Turn on East of England Plan

Written on . Posted in Housing, Your area, Your council, Your home

A mixture of shock, surprise and delight greeted the recommendations of the Examination in Public (EiP) Panel report on the East of England Plan as the proposal for new housing in Epping Forest District was slashed from 11,000 to 6,500. In most Districts in the region the total either went up or stayed the same.

There was good news for North Weald as the Panel Inspectors recommended dropping references to the development of 6,000 homes in an area on and around the airfield. However, many residents living along the southern, eastern and western boundaries of Harlow will have deep concerns about the potential expansion of Harlow into Green Belt areas of Epping Forest District, by up to 3,000 homes. The Panel Inspectors did not recommend that this development be deleted, although they did say that land North of Harlow should not be built upon.

While Councillors feel major victories have been won, further battles still lie ahead.

The original proposal in the first draft Regional Planning Guidance (RPG14) suggested as many as 18,600 new dwellings should be built in Epping Forest District, before organisations including the District and local Town and Parish Councils persuaded the East of England Assembly to reduce the number to 11,000. While the recommended further reductions to 6,500 by the EiP are welcome, there was shock when it emerged that rather than removing the 2,700 that had been suggested for the fringes of Harlow in Epping Forest District, the Panel had increased the figure to 3,000 new homes. Major concerns have been raised about the potential impact on rural communities such as Roydon, Nazeing, Epping Green and Jacks Hatch. The EiP Report of the Panel Inspectors also holds out the possibility of Harlow expansion east into the District near Sheering.

From the outset, we argued that it was vital for Epping Forest District Council to have planning control over the location of new homes in our District, regardless of the numbers finally allocated to us, said Councillor Mrs Anne Grigg, Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder. We believe we are best placed to know where they should go. I have great concerns that a solution will be imposed on us by unelected and remote civil servants that fail to appreciate and understand the needs of people living here now.

By not approving of expansion of Harlow to the North, but still recommending expansion into Epping Forest, the EiP Panel is effectively saying that we would have no choice but to develop significant areas of Green Belt land in our District.

The Report from the Panel of Inspectors who conducted the EiP makes recommendations but it will be for the Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Rt Hon Ruth Kelly MP to make the final decisions. These will be published in the Government`s Proposed Changes, due out in October. Ruth Kelly will hold a further period of public consultation for about 12 weeks before making her final decision on the East of England Plan. She is expected to approve the final version of the Regional Plan in Spring 2007. Councillor Mrs Grigg said: Nothing has been decided yet. We must remain cautious about the apparent good news for North Weald and continue to campaign against inappropriate developments elsewhere in the District.

The East of England Plan proposes that almost half a million new homes be built in the region. Large numbers have been recommended for Essex and Hertfordshire. Epping Forest District Council has voiced concerns not only about the District`s capacity to accommodate large new developments but also Government promises to provide the infrastructure to cope with so many extra people.

Councillor Mrs Grigg said: Wherever these new homes go, it is vital that the Government meets its promises on basic infrastructure. I don`t only mean obvious things like health, education, leisure, public transport and work opportunities. I am talking about basic essentials like water, sewage, gas and electricity. It is vital that we get the fundamental infrastructure in place before any new homes are built.

For more information log on to the East of England website www.eera.gov.uk The Report of the Panel is on the website. It can also be inspected at Planning Reception in the Civic Offices at Epping, or in Public Libraries.

Ongar Town Plan 2006

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Local plan / planning our future, Ongar, Your area, Your council

Councillor Brian Sandler, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council congratulated Ongar Town Councillor Jill Coward and John Wimslow on the Ongar Town Plan. He said: A great deal of time, energy and imagination has been put into the production of the Ongar Town Plan. It has clearly been thoughtfully and professionally produced and I would like to congratulate not only Ongar Town Council but all the local agencies and individual people involved in its production. I believe this is the first such Town Plan produced within Epping Forest District and sets a very high standard for other local councils to follow.

 

Councillor Brian Sandler, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council being presented with the Ongar Town Plan by Ongar Town Councillors Jill Coward and John Wimslow

Picture shows Councillor Brian Sandler, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council being presented with the Ongar Town Plan by Ongar Town Councillors Jill Coward and John Wimslow.

For more information on the Ongar Town Plan please contact Mrs J Abel, Ongar Town Council clerk by email at ongar.parishcouncil@virgin.net or by telephone on 01277 365348.

 

Chairman Opens Museum Exhibition

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Museum, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your council

Epping Forest District Council Chairman Brian Sandler opened the new exhibition ‘Changing Perceptions’ at the Epping Forest District Museum. The exhibition explores the enormous changes to everyday life over the last hundred years, through the voices and memories of local people.

EFDC Chairman Brian Sandler and his wife Brenda being 'protected' by a 1950's policeman! - click to enlarge image'

The exhibition is the result of a three-year project, in which the Museum has collected first hand accounts of the dynamic changes that have taken place in the working and domestic lives of people in the District during the 20th Century.

Chairman Brian Sandler said “The 20th Century has witnessed profound changes to the way we live and work, on a scale and with a pace not experienced before. At the start of the Century, the Epping Forest District was still very much a rural area, consisting of small villages, towns, farmland, and forest. Today`s towns have large housing estates in their midst. The agricultural traditions have been transformed. Improvements in transport have revolutionised people`s lives, motorways and air travel have shrunk the world around us. Yet despite all these changes, the Epping Forest District has managed to hold on to its rural character. Agriculture is still an important part of local life and community life remains strong and vibrant.”

“What also remains, are the people who lived through these events. Their memories and experiences represent a unique record of the transformation of the District. By recording their stories, the Museum hopes to ensure that this important source of local knowledge is preserved for future use. Therefore, over the past three years, the Museum has been recording and collecting oral history accounts. The interviews you see on display tonight offer a flavour of the collection and show the wealth of the stories in the archive.”

 

Waltham Abbey Next Step On Recycling

Written on . Posted in Recycling and waste, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your environment, Your home

Recycling is set to receive another major boost from the beginning of February. Following the successful delivery of around 4,500 new wheelie bins, Waltham Abbey is to become the next area of Epping Forest district to transfer to the new domestic refuse and recycling service. From 30 January, households on the Monday collection day have started to use their new wheelie bins for residual waste, collected on an alternate weekly basis with a wide range of recyclable material.

Doorstep collection of recyclable waste will now include glass, steel and aluminium cans, paper, card, plastic bottles (without lids) and garden refuse. Full details are provided in a special information pack supplied by the Council with each new wheelie bin.

The extension of the new scheme to Waltham Abbey comes three months after residents in Chigwell and Lambourne first started to use the service which has seen a huge increase in domestic recycling. If residents in Waltham Abbey follow the trend set in Chigwell, Epping Forest District Council expects to see household waste sent for landfill waste disposal fall dramatically. In Chigwell and Lambourne, domestic recycling is up by 50 per cent and landfill disposal has been cut by 20 per cent. With the district as a whole producing around 50,000 tonnes of domestic waste annually, the Council believes the potential increase in recycling will produce major environmental and financial benefits.

Councillor Derek Jacobs, Environmental Protection Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council said: The feedback from residents following the delivery of the new wheelie bins in Waltham Abbey has been very positive. People see the enormous environmental benefits of switching to the new system of refuse collection as well as the long-term financial benefit of avoiding costly increases in landfill disposal costs. For many people, wheelie bins also represent a much more practical, secure and convenient means of waste disposal than the old black sack method.

Residents who have their refuse collected on Tuesdays are to be in the next phase of the transfer to the new refuse and recycling scheme. People living in Buckhurst Hill, Nazeing and Roydon as well as part of Waltham Abbey and Epping are due to receive wheelie bins in February. A leaflet will be delivered to each household, letting residents know roughly when to expect their new bins and how the new scheme works.

For more information log on to www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk or call Environmental Services on 01992 564608.

 

 

 

 

 

Ongar Information Centre Partnership

Written on . Posted in Ongar, Residents, Your area, Your community

The introduction of new technology and joint working arrangements by two councils will improve local communication services. Internet and face to face information services are receiving a boost to resources as part of a plan by Epping Forest District Council and Essex County Council. By working together, the two councils are freeing up staff time for reallocation to the District Council`s website, Ongar Information Centre and Ongar Library.

New technology at Ongar Library later this year will allow library staff to take on more customer focused information roles, including information about Epping Forest District Council. By providing Ongar Information Service in partnership with Essex County Council rather than directly, Epping Forest District Council will be able to reallocate staff time in support of the District Council`s website.

Sue Dobson has been the part-time information assistant at the District Council Information point in Ongar Library since November 2001. From 16 January Mrs Dobson will begin a phased relocation to Epping, completing a plan to increase the Council`s web support staffing. Initially her hours at Ongar will be reduced from three half days per week to one half day (Wednesday). Library Manager Sandra Dear and her staff will ensure a smooth continuation of the service. The introduction of new self-service technology will release library staff for more customer support roles.

The transitional handover phase will be completed following work to redesign the interior layout of Ongar Library scheduled for the Summer.

Councillor Stephen Barnes, People First Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council said: I am delighted with the plans for Ongar and our website. This is an excellent example of two Councils embracing new technology and working together for the benefit of the whole community.

County Councillor Iris Pummell Cabinet Member for Community Services said: I am very pleased that by continuing to work in partnership with Epping Forest District Council we are able to provide aseamless council information service to the people of Ongar.

Epping Forest District Council Information Assistant Sue Dobson will be available at Ongar Library from 9.30am to 1pm on Wednesdays. To visit the Epping Forest District Council Website go to www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk. Information Centres are also provided directly by Epping Forest District Council at the Civic Offices in Epping, the Town Hall in Highbridge Street, Waltham Abbey, adjacent to Loughton Library at Traps Hill, and in partnership with the Parish Council at Queens Road in Buckhurst Hill.

Recycling Boost As Wheelie Bin Rollout Reaches Waltham Abbey

Written on . Posted in Recycling and waste, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your environment, Your home

Recycling levels are expected to receive another major boost later this month when the next phase on the introduction of wheelie bins for domestic refuse collection gets underway in many parts of Waltham Abbey. A leaflet asking residents (on the Monday collection round) to look out for their new bins is being delivered by Epping Forest District Council`s contractor this week. Delivery of the new bins is due to start on 16 January with the first collections under the new scheme starting on Monday 30 January.

Residents should receive the leaflet `Don`t Rubbish Our Future` explaining how the new domestic refuse and recycling collection scheme will work using a combination of blue box and sacks for recycling and the new wheelie bin to take any waste left over. The scheme has been up and running successfully since October in Chigwell and Lambourne where recycling levels have risen dramatically, click to enlarge image.

 

Click to enlarge image

 

 

Pic: Each wheelie bin delivered to Waltham Abbey has a unique reference number linked to the property address as it is delivered. Only official wheelie bins issued by the Council will be emptied once the new system is operational

The introduction of the new scheme in Waltham Abbey will be followed in February by further deliveries of wheelie bins to residents in Buckhurst Hill, Nazeing,  Roydon and a small part of Epping.

The standard 180 litre wheelie bin will have enough capacity to hold two weeks worth of non-recyclable rubbish produced by most households. Residents will be able to ask for a smaller 140 litre bin. Larger bins will also be available to families with more than two children and residents with special needs.

Once the new scheme is in place, domestic refuse collections will alternate each week between recycling and non-recyclable refuse. Calendars will be included in special wheelie bin delivery packs giving residents full details of how the new collections will work. Among the materials that can be recycled are plastic bottles, glass bottles and jars, steel and aluminium cans, and paper and card.

Councillor Derek Jacobs, Environmental Protection Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council welcomed the introduction of the new scheme to Waltham Abbey. He said: In the long run, increased recycling could save Epping Forest Taxpayers £1 million a year in reduced landfill disposal costs. However, the new scheme is not just better for our pockets. Cutting the amount of waste sent to landfill is also good for the environment. It reduces the emission of greenhouse gasses and other pollutants and reduces the impact on the landscape. The raw materials of recycled waste also cut energy consumption and provide the ingredients used by industry to cerate new products.

For more information click on the wheelie bin at www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk or contact Environmental Services at Epping Forest District Council on 01992 564608. Wheelie bins will also be on display with Council staff on hand to answer questions at a roadshow on 17 January. The show will be outside the shops on Roundhills from 10am to 1pm and Princesfield shops from 2pm to 4pm.

 

 

 

 

Waltham Abbey Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme

Written on . Posted in Business, Commercial properties, Conservation and listed buildings, Local business, Planning, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your environment

Click to enlarge image

The Conservation Section of Epping Forest District Council`s Planning Services has produced a final summary booklet of the Waltham Abbey Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme (HERS). Heritage Economic Regeneration Schemes are conservation-led initiatives launched by English Heritage in 1998 to provide financial assistance with building repairs and enhancement within Conservation Areas.

The Waltham Abbey HERS, which was jointly funded by English Heritage, Epping Forest District Council, Tesco and Sainsbury`s was initiated in 2001 and successfully completed earlier this year having provided grant aid totalling £375,000 to 18 properties within the Waltham Abbey Conservation Area. This scheme allowed for considerable progress towards enhancing the character and appearance of Waltham Abbey Town Centre.

The final summary booklet, which has been produced by the Conservation Section of the District Council’s Planning Services, provides details on each of the grant aided projects, with before and after photographs, as well as background information on the aims of the HERS and related initiatives of the scheme.

The booklet is available by calling the Conservation Section on 01992 564119, via email to psutton@eppingforestdc.gov.uk or by writing to the Conservation Section, Planning Services, Civic Offices, Epping Forest District Council, High Street, Epping, CM16 4BZ.

 

 

 

 

 

Community Action in Waltham Abbey

Written on . Posted in Crime and safety, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community

The Epping Forest Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership organised two community action days in Waltham Abbey. The first action day took place on Thursday 6 October at Ninefields, Hillhouse Square Community Hall and the second took place on Friday 14 October at Roundhills, Brookfield’s Community Hall.

Whilst at the Ninefields community action day, Essex Police Crime Reduction Officer Tony Ellis and EFDC Crime Reduction Assistant Beth Knight were walking around the Ninefields area talking to residents about local issues, when a youth drove past on a motorised scooter. Tony and Beth called after the youth to stop, but the youth made off. The youth was spotted later walking across the estate, he was identified by the crime reduction officers to the police officers patrolling nearby who promptly reported him for Section 59, warning him should he ride any vehicle in a manner that causes alarm, harassment or distress within a 12 month period the motorised vehicle would be confiscated.

Older residents enjoyed the days and were able to take advantage of the Handyvan scheme to obtain free window and door locks or smoke alarms.

At the Roundhills estate, Epping Forest District Council’s cash injection into the area had improved the security, quality of life and general appearance of the shopping area and new CCTV cameras were clearly visible.

Roundhills resident Mr Slade said, “This is a good idea, the noise from the youths used to be terrible, but now it has really quietened down. I do see a policeman and lady going round checking the area.” Another resident added, “There used to be a lot of yobs here at night but it is much better now.”

Crime reduction officer Tony Ellis said, “The feedback we have got from the residents that attended both venues was extremely positive.
The measures we have taken regarding anti-social behaviour have clearly made an impact but there is much work still to be done. I thoroughly enjoyed the two days, there was a great community atmosphere.”

 

 

Council Objects to East of England Plan

Written on . Posted in Business, Conservation and listed buildings, Countryside and wildlife, Local plan / planning our future, Our countryside, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your environment

Development of North Weald on the scale proposed in the East of England Plan is not only excessive but could also undermine the regeneration of Harlow according to Epping Forest District Council. Councillors met at the Civic Offices in Epping on Tuesday (8 March) and Thursday (10 March) to agree their response to the East of England Plan consultation.

If the Government goes ahead with proposals to develop North Weald Airfield and surrounding land at the same time as developments in Harlow, Councillors believe the effect would be for people and businesses to gravitate towards North Weald. Harlow would struggle to attract the same people and businesses the Government believes the town needs for effective regeneration.

Councillor Robert Glozier, Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder said that undermining the regeneration of Harlow was one of many reasons why the number of new houses and businesses proposed for North Weald and other parts of the district should be reduced.

He said: Aside from the potential damage to Harlow, development at North Weald and to the South West of Harlow does not look sustainable. The impact on the environment from so much development in the Green Belt would be immense. There are fundamental issues ranging from basic health, welfare and education service provision through to concerns about the supply of water. Even if promises of huge investment in infrastructure such as public transport and roads can be afforded, many other questions remain unanswered.

Councillor Glozier continued: There is an enormous amount of concern among local people. They range from those who believe the great historic significance of the Airfield should prevent development to those who fear the scale of development overall would destroy the fundamentally rural character of our local environment.

Councillors voted to tell the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) and the Office of John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister that the overall proposals of 11,000 extra households plus employment developments were too much for Epping Forest district. They specifically rejected the proposal for 6,000 houses at North Weald and 2,700 to the South West of Harlow. District Councillors also believe that whatever the final number of houses allocated to the district, planning control should be retained by the Council and not transferred to a non-elected organisation such as an Urban Development Corporation.

Councillor Glozier said: We are not saying no to any development in the district. By our own assessment we know we need to find capacity for something like  3,000 new houses over the next 16 or so years. We are particularly concerned about the cost of housing and the need to provide affordable homes for young families and key workers such as nurses and teachers. We want to provide homes for these people.

He concluded: We are saying to the Government that we believe their assumptions about the needs and capacity of our district are wrong. They need to stop and rethink their whole strategy.

Residents demonstrated their opposition to the East of England Plan before listening to the debate in the Council meeting. Epping Forest District Council`s objections to the Plan were sent to the Regional Assembly before the deadline for submission of comments on 16 March.

The next main stage in the process will be an Examination in Public (EiP) starting on 13 September. A Panel of Inspectors will identify topics for consideration and may call local people and organisations to give evidence. The Government will expect to receive the recommendations of the Panel in early 2006.