Basildon woman guilty of housing fraud

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Housing, Media, Out and about, Performance, Private housing, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Uncategorized, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Fadimana Altinsoy of Basildon Essex was successfully prosecuted by Epping Forest District Council in March 2018 of three offences under the Fraud act 2006 and Money Laundering under the Proceeds of Crime act 2002.

Landscape

Change of plea

Initially pleading not guilty at Chelmsford Magistrates Court in February 2017, the Magistrates declined jurisdiction and transferred the matter to Chelmsford Crown Court.

Ms Altinsoy maintained her not guilty pleas at a number of hearings in that court but on the first day of a trial listed for six days in January 2018 she changed her pleas to guilty.

Fraudulent applications

The basis of the prosecution was when applying for Council housing in 2003 Fadimana Altinsoy had failed to declare her ownership of two properties jointly owned by herself and other relatives in Forest Gate London E7 and Grays in Essex RM17.

She was granted tenancy of a property in Copperfield Chigwell 22 January 2007, the following day she completed a further Housing Application form seeking a move from a flat to a house and again failed to state that she jointly owned the properties.

Had the Council been aware of her ownerships, she would not have been given the tenancy of the property at Copperfield Chigwell.

Home ownership grant

June 2010 Ms Altinsoy applied for a home ownership grant to assist her in purchasing a private property and again failed to reveal that she had an interest in two other properties.

Epping Forest District Council awarded Ms Altinsoy one of six available grants of £28,000 which she used to purchase a property in Basildon, SS13 in June 2011.

However having not been entitled to the tenancy of the property in Chigwell, she was  therefore not entitled to have received the home ownership grant.

Over £40,000 worth of fines

After the hearing in January Ms Altinsoy agreed to pay the sum of home ownership grant £28,000 back to the Council together with the prosecution costs of £12,500 before 5 March 2018 and a sentence hearing was fixed for 9th March 2018.

On that date she was given a 2 year suspended sentence, together with 200 hours unpaid work with a probation supervision order for 12 months.

Do you think someone is committing fraud?

Don’t let them get away with it. You can report it anonymously. You don’t have to give your name or contact details unless you want to.

Harlow and Gilston Garden Town Housing and Infrastructure Fund approved

Written on . Posted in Building control, Business, Community, Consultation, Democracy, Housing, Local plan / planning our future, Media, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Private housing, Regulations, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

East Herts Council, Harlow Council and Epping Forest Council are pleased that their Harlow and Gilston Garden Town Housing and Infrastructure Fund (HIF) bid has been approved by the Government to proceed to the next stage.

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The Councils have bid for funding to improve the existing River Stort crossing and provide a new river crossing in the Gilston area and also to deliver some of the sustainable transport corridor for the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town Project.

The next stage will be for us, along with Hertfordshire County Council and Essex County Council, to develop a detailed business case for this funding. This is a competitive process but we hope to be successful in bidding for HIF funding to accelerate infrastructure delivery for the Garden Town Project.

Decisions from DDMC 28 March 2018

Written on . Posted in Building control, Business, Community, Democracy, Housing, Meetings, Our performance, Out and about, Planning, Private housing, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your money

Planning application decisions from the District Development Management Committee Wednesday 28 March 2018.

Decisions

  • EPF/2662/17 – Chigwell Library, Victory Hall and Chigwell Members Club, Hainault Road, Chigwell
    Permission refused

Planning application search

Help to Buy Home Show coming to Chelmsford

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Epping, Housing, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Out and about, Private housing, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your environment, Your home, Your money

If you’re looking to get onto the property ladder, come along to the ‘Help to Buy Home Show’ on Saturday 24 March 2018 at Chelmsford City Racecourse, to explore your home buying options. This FREE event is an excellent opportunity to discover existing and upcoming developments and speak to friendly housing professionals, financial advisors and solicitors.

Essex Home Show 24 March

Event details

  • Saturday 24 March 2018
  • 10:30am – 3pm
  • Chelmsford City Racecourse, Moulsham Lane, Entrance (gate 11), Great Leighs, CM3 1PZ (View location on map)
  • FREE to attend

Help to Buy Schemes

Come and see housing associations and developers showcasing their shared ownership and equity loan homes they have available with Help to Buy.

  • Shared Ownership – buy a percentage of a property and pay rent on the rest
  • Equity Loan – buy a new property with as little as a 5% deposit

Even if you aren’t ready to buy yet, don’t miss this great opportunity to see what is available and review your options. Independent financial advisors and solicitors will be on hand to give you advice, guidance and help.

Further information

Update on council services

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Councillors, Crime and safety, Epping, Housing, Local business, Loughton, Media, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Recycling and waste, Residents, Supporting business, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Updated plans for refuse and recycling collections

As the severe weather continues into Friday 2 March 2018, we are adapting operations to maintain waste collection services, making allowances for reduced resources and challenging conditions for our waste collection crews.

We are continuing to focus on fortnightly black wheelie bin, recycling sacks and blue box collections. Access to residential roads can vary in these conditions with properties located in rural areas or down narrow lanes are likely to experience more disruption than others.

Black wheelie bins, recycling sacks and blue boxes

  • Please leave your waste out on the boundary of your property until 5pm on Friday 2 March
  • If your waste is not collected by 5pm, please bring it in over the weekend
  • On Monday 5 March extra crews have been laid on to try and catch up any missed areas, so please make sure your bins are out again by 7am
  • If your bins have not been collected by 5pm on Monday, please take them back in and out in time for your next scheduled collection

Please accept our apologies for this disruption. We will endeavour to collect any waste that has been missed.

Food and garden waste

We will continue to focus our resources on the fortnightly collections throughout Friday 2 March as above. Therefore

  • We are not collecting any green lidded bins for food and garden waste
  • If you were expecting a collection this week, please take it back and put it out again on your next normal collection day.

Our customer service team is continuing to operate with fewer staff  due to the adverse weather so you may experience longer hold times on the phone than usual, so please only call if it is urgent.

Minimising disruption to residents

Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: “I want to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to Biffa’s tremendously dedicated and hardworking staff. Despite the terrible weather we’ve experienced over the past few days they’ve been out on our streets, battling the elements, doing their best to ensure our waste and recycling is still collected.”

“I want them to know that their commitment to delivering the service and minimising disruption to our residents is greatly appreciated. I’d also like to thank our residents for the understanding and patience they have shown as we contend with these very difficult conditions.”

Contacting the Council

Not urgent?

If your enquiry is not urgent, please contact us by email or use our online reporting tool to contact us to help us reduce waiting times. Someone will be in touch with you as soon as they can.

If your enquiry is urgent and you need to speak to someone, please call us on the telephone numbers below.

If it’s urgent

  • General and refuse – 01992 564000
  • Benefits – 01992 562059
  • Council Tax – 01992 564188
  • Council housing – 01992 564716
  • Housing repairs – 01992 564199

Please keep checking the website and our social media channels for updates and further information.

Check for updates

New proposals for housing in Epping Forest

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Democracy, Epping, Housing, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Regulations, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your money

Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet has agreed a range of exciting new proposals for housing in the Epping Forest District, setting out the council’s vision for rented, social and affordable housing in the area for the next five years.

Housing Strategy

Proposals

The proposals include:

  • Continuing with the Council’s Housebuilding Programme, providing more than 300 new homes over the next ten years
  • Setting out how the Council will try to reduce homelessness and deal with homeless people
  • The approach to be taken to the provision of affordable housing – including both rented housing and shared ownership (“part rent – part buy”)
  • A review and provision of supported housing for older and vulnerable people, such as sheltered housing
  • Explaining how the Council will help people living in the private sector, including those with empty homes, and try to help improve the conditions of such homes

These and many other important proposals are included in the Council’s new Housing Strategy 2017 – 2022.

Strategy plays crucial role

Councillor Syd Stavrou, Portfolio Holder for Housing said: “The new Housing Strategy has a crucial role in ensuring that the varying housing needs of our residents are met. We want to work with our partners and residents to improve the quantity, quality and access to housing in Epping Forest, ensuring the district is a great place to live, work and do business.”

Action to overcome challenges

The Housing Strategy sets out the housing-related challenges the district faces and identifies the actions the Council will take to overcome these challenges. This takes the form of an annual key action plan which will be updated every year, with progress continually monitored over the five year period.

Further information

Access a range of services over Christmas

Written on . Posted in Abandoned vehicles, Animal welfare, Arts, Benefits, Buckhurst Hill, Business, Business rates, Chigwell, Community, Council tax, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Epping, Food safety, Health, Housing, Housing repairs, Local business, Loughton, Museum, Noise, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Parking, Playschemes, Recycling and waste, Residents, Sports, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Our building may be closed from 5pm on Friday 22 December 2017 until 9am Tuesday 2 January 2018, but we are still providing a wide range of services by phone and online throughout the Christmas break.

Self serve online

Contact us

Non emergency

You can report missed bin collections, noise complaints, fly tipping, fraud, abandoned vehicles online

Emergency

If you need to report an emergency, please contact us on the below details.

  • Call 01992 564199 for housing related emergencies (loss of power, blockages, uncontainable leaks, if you are locked out of your home)
  • Call 01992 564000 for all other emergency enquiries

Your call will connect to the Mears support desk which will be manned 24/7 until the offices reopen on Tuesday 2 January 2018.

Social media

We will be able to assist you through the council’s social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook from 9am until 9pm every day throughout the Christmas period.

Pay for it

You are able to pay your council tax, rent, business rates and leasehold charges via the online payment portal and by phone 24/7.

  • Pay online
  • Pay by phone 01992 564600
  • The Debden Broadway cash office will close at 4:30pm on Friday 22 December 2017 and reopen 9am on Tuesday 2 January 2018
  • The payment kiosks in the civic offices, Epping will close at 4:40pm on Friday 22 December 2017 and reopen at 9am on Tuesday 2 January 2018
  • The payment kiosk in Waltham Abbey library is subject to Waltham Abbey library opening hours

Benefit payments revised dates

2 scheduled Benefit payments will be made earlier than usual over the Christmas period.

  • Payments due on 25 December 2017 will be made on Friday 22 December 2017
  • Payments due on 1 January 2018 will be made on Wednesday 27 December 2017

Please remember that the period until the next payment will be slightly longer because it will revert to the original schedule.

Apply for it

Apply for planning permission, building regulations, council housing, licensing, jobs applications and more online. Applications made throughout this time will be processed when the offices reopen on Tuesday 2 January 2018.

Waste and recycling

Revised collections

  • Collections due Tuesday 26 December 2017 will be collected on Wednesday 27 December 2017
  • Collections due Wednesday 27 December 2017 will be collected on Thursday 28 December 2017
  • Collections due Thursday 28 December 2017 will be collected on Friday 29 December 2017
  • Collections due Friday 29 December 2017 will be collected on Saturday 30 December 2017

Your usual collection dates will resume on Tuesday 2 January 2018.

Recycling REAL Christmas trees

Leave your real Christmas trees with your food and garden waste throughout January 2018.

Remove the pot, all decorations and if over 6ft, cut in half to ensure safe collection. We are unable to recycle your fake Christmas trees, so please leave us real trees only!

Special collections

Our special collections service will close at 5pm on Friday 22 December 2017 and will resume at 9am on 2 January 2018.

Lost or found dogs

If you have lost or found a dog within the area, please contact us on the below number. Calls are monitored and handled by the Waltham Forest dog team.

  • Call 07815 512833

Car parks

Free weekend parking in December! All of our car parks are free on weekends throughout December and bank holidays.

Epping Forest District Museum

Epping Forest District Museum is closed from 4pm on Friday 22 December 2017 and reopens 10am on Tuesday 2 January 2018.

Need help with your housing repairs?

Written on . Posted in Building control, Community, Energy efficiency, Grants, Housing, Housing repairs, Media, Our activities, Out and about, Private housing, Residents, Uncategorized, Working with the council, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

Need a housing repair, energy efficiency works or disabled adaptations? Got an empty home? Financial assistance for home-owners and private tenants is available.

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Am I eligible?

Under the Housing Assistance Policy there are several types of financial assistance available to home owner and private sector tenants.

What type of assistance is available?

  • Mandatory Disabled Facilities Grants are available to provide adaptations for disabled home owners and private tenants. Subject to qualifying criteria the mandatory grant will be for the full cost of the work up to a maximum of £30,000.

The Council also gives 3 main types of discretionary assistance; Decent Homes Repayable Assistance, Empty Homes Repayable Assistance and Small Works Repayable Assistance.

  • Decent Homes Repayable Assistance is financial assistance available to owner occupiers and long leaseholders to bring private homes up to the ‘Decent Homes Standard’. Subject to qualifying criteria the Assistance will be for the full cost of the work up to a maximum of £10,000.
  • Small Works Repayable Assistance is financial assistance available to owner occupiers and long leaseholders to remove hazards or repair defects that are likely to damage the fabric of a property. Subject to qualifying criteria the Assistance will be for the full cost of the work up to a maximum of £3,000.
  • Empty Homes Repayable Assistance is financial assistance available to persons intending to bring empty properties back into use and live in them as their home. Assistance is to a maximum of £10,000.

More financial options now available

Leader of the Council Councillor Chris Whitbread said: “Needing adaptations or repairs to your home can really put a strain on your finances, we want to give people a fair opportunity to carry out the works they need.”

“Under our new Housing Assistance Policy there are now more financial options available to home owners and private sector tenants.

So don’t put it off, get in touch today to see if you are eligible.”

More information

For more details on eligibility criteria and how to apply please contact

Help us bring empty homes back into use

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Epping, Housing, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Private housing, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community

Did you know that in the Epping Forest District there are approximately 447 properties which have been empty for more than 6 months?

We are asking for your help this National Empty Homes Week (16 to 23 October 2017) – report empty homes to us, so that we can help the owners bring them back into use.

Empty homes week

Why are properties left empty?

Properties are left empty for a variety of reasons but they can be the source of much misery to neighbours who have to live nearby. It is estimated that the home next door to an empty property can be devalued by 10%.

There is also the worry of nuisance, vermin, arson, vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

For the owner, an empty property is a wasted resource and can be costly in terms of increased insurance, increased council tax premiums, property fraud, emergency repairs and break-ins.

Financial assistance

We are committed to reducing the number of empty properties in the district and can offer financial help in certain circumstances. It is recognised that a stumbling block can be that the empty property is in disrepair and cannot be lived in, let or easily sold in its condition.

We can offer the following schemes:

  • The Empty Homes Repayable Assistance offers up to £10,000 if there is an empty property that you intend to live in yourself, but is in poor condition. The money is repaid when you eventually sell the property.
  • The PLACE Loan offers up to £25,000 if you have a property that you would like to have renovated in order that you can sell or rent it out. This is an interest free loan and is paid back within two years in the case of a loan to sell, or five years in the case of the loan to let.

We always prefer to work with owners in a constructive way. We have certain enforcement powers that we may use to ensure an empty property is brought back to use, particularly if it has been empty a long time and is problematic to the local community.

Help for empty home owners

Councillor Syd Stavrou, Housing Portfolio Holder, said: “As a council we are fully committed to bringing empty properties back into use and are looking to help owners in every way we can. However where all other measures have failed, we are prepared to take enforcement action as a last resort.”

She added: ”If you are aware of an empty property or own one yourselves, please let us know. We will need the address and any other information you think might be helpful. We will do our best to contact the owner and work with them to bring the property back to use, and all calls are treated in confidence.”

Report an empty property

Further information

Decisions from Plans East 11 October 2017

Written on . Posted in Commercial properties, Councillors, Democracy, Housing, Media, Meetings, Our performance, Out and about, Planning, Private housing, Regulations, Residents, Uncategorized, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Planning application decisions from Area Planning Sub-Committee East meeting on Wednesday 11 October 2017.

Watch the webcast

Decisions

  • EPF/2523/16 – Brent House Farm, Harlow Common, North Weald, Essex CM17 9JD
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1629/17 – 13 Vicarage Lane, North Weald Bassett, Essex CM16 6ET
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2057/17 – 95 High Road, North Weald, Epping, Essex CM16 6HS
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1913/17 – Ellensmead, Stondon Road, Ongar, Essex CM5 9BU
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1762/17 – Land to the rear of Mountford and Bishops Bron, Oak Hill Road, Stapleford Abbotts, Essex RM4 1JL
    Deferred for a site visit
  • EPF/2041/17 – 1 Curtis Mill Lane, Stapleford Abbotts, Romford, Essex RM4 1HS
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2174/17 – Trade Winds, Oak Hill Road, Stapleford Abbotts, Essex RM4 1EH
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1973/17 – Newstead, 19 Coopersale Common, Coopersale, Epping, Essex CM16 7QS
    4 members stood so will go to D.D.C
  • EPF/2086/17 – 49 Ash Groves, Sheering, Essex CM21 9LN
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1824/17 – The Downtons, 114 Crown Close, Sheering, Essex CM22 7NE
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2591/15 – Belgique (Theydon) Ltd, 14 Forest Drive, Theydon Bois, Epping, Essex CM16 7EY
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1628/17 – 56 Dukes Avenue, Theydon Bois, Essex CM16 7HF
    Permission granted

Planning application search