Cabinet 7 September 2017

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A new Police helicopter base, anti- social behaviour in Waltham abbey and the Oakwood hill depot were among items discussed at Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet meeting Thursday 7 September 2017.

North Weald set to become new Police helicopter base

North Weald Airfield is set to become a new base for the National Police Air Service. Three helicopters and a fixed-wing aircraft will be based at the council-owned airfield.

Police Helicopter

Police Helicopter

Asset Management Portfolio Holder Anne Grigg put forward recommendations for a 25 year lease with the helicopter service. The proposals would include a new hanger and buildings to support a range of police helicopter activities.

The Police will be joining a range of other aviation tenants including the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance which has operated very successfully from North Weald for several years. Receiving reassurances about flight lines and noise levels from members of the National Police Air Service at the meeting, councillors welcomed the report and the aspiration for continued development of aviation at North Weald.

Hillhouse Statement

Councillor Sam Kane was welcomed to his first Cabinet meeting as Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder by Council Leader Chris Whitbread. Councillor Kane has stepped into the role previous held by Councillor Gary Waller who recently passed away.

Councillor Kane’s first act was to deliver a strong statement regarding anti-social behaviour in Waltham Abbey.

Councillor Sam Kane’s Statement:

“Fellow Councillors will know that Epping Forest District Council is working in partnership with local residents and other organisations to improve the quality of life for everyone in and around Hillhouse on the Ninefields housing estate in Waltham Abbey.

Work has started in just the last few weeks on a brand new leisure centre. Health, housing and social facilities are coming together in a major multi-million pound investment.

The vast majority of residents in this area are the most decent and law-abiding citizens you could ever wish to meet. We also know there is an element of anti-social behaviour, a group of people who seem intent on making the lives of everyone else miserable. We are working with all our partners including Essex Police to tackle this behaviour but events in the last day or so have taken a new and very ugly twist.

Fishing line has been tied at knee height between posts and fences with the deliberate intention of tripping and hurting people. This mindless and stupid act has resulted in injury to a small child. Pictures of the serious cuts to his face have been circulated on social media.

I know this will come as a shock to you and I know every councillor would wish to send our sympathy to this innocent young child and his family.

Local residents and all right-minded people will be incensed by this latest incident. Through this meeting I want to let our residents know that we stand with them. The anti-social behaviour of the last few weeks must now stop.

A temporary dispersal order has been put in place from tonight. You will appreciate that many other things are going on behind the scenes that I cannot discuss in public.

Council staff have been working incredibly hard. Plans of action drawn up with Essex Police even before this latest event are being put into effect now. We believe we know who the perpetrators are. It saddens me to say that they are very young. We have been working with our local schools and have passed the identities of the perpetrators to Essex Police.

Enough is enough. Anti-social behaviour is a blight on our communities which must end. As the action plan goes into effect, I expect to see the situation improve significantly. I also know that you can never eliminate all crime, but with the support of my council colleagues I want to send out a clear message. We stand with all the decent and law-abiding residents of Waltham Abbey.

We will not let the few ruin the lives of the many.”

Oakwood Hill

New council office and depot facilities accommodating Grounds Maintenance, Fleet Maintenance and the MoT centre opened recently at Oakwood Hill in Loughton. Latest proposals for the transfer of the Council’s Housing Repairs service to Oakwood Hill were scrutinised at Cabinet.

Proposals for additional staff car parking received particular attention. A petition opposing the use of green space opposite the new facility was delivered by Councillor Chris Roberts.

Councillors agreed the recommendations in the Cabinet report with the proviso that alternatives to the proposals of additional parking would also be investigated. Full public consultation would also take place as part of any planning application process if the proposals for parking set out in the report went forward.

Customer Services

Council Leader Chris Whitbread updated fellow councillors on a range of projects geared towards improving customer service including a new public customer service reception, plans for which are due to come before Cabinet by the end of the year.

Decisions from Plans East 9 August 2017

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Planning application decisions from Area Planning Sub-Committee East meeting on Wednesday 9 August 2017.

Watch the webcast

Decisions

  1. EPF/0947/17 – 1-5 Stonards Hill, Epping, Essex, CM16 4QE
    Permission refused
  2. EPF/0567/17 – 9 Orchard Drive, Theydon Bois, Epping, Essex, CM16 7DH
    Permission granted
  3. EPF/1170/17 – 27 Barnfield, Epping, Essex, CM16 6RL
    Permission granted
  4. EPF/1397/17 – Willow House, The Street, Sheering, Essex, CM22 7LR
    Permission refused
  5. EPF/1400/17 – 41 Bowes Drive, Ongar, Essex, CM5 9AX
    Decision deferred
  6. EPF/1414/17 – 7 Harrison Drive, North Weald Bassett, Essex, CM16 6JD
    Decision deferred
  7. EPF/1454/17 – 91 Tower Road, Epping, Essex, CM16 5EW
    Permission granted
  8. EPF/1471/17 – The Retreat, Market Place, Abridge, Essex, RM4 1AU
    Permission granted

Planning application search

Do you know a cheat in your street?

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“If you know or suspect someone is committing fraud you should report them straight away” urges Finance Portfolio Holder Councillor Gagan Mohindra.

Fraud affects everyone. Money stolen by housing tenancy fraud, council tax fraud or business rates fraud is depriving our public services of the vital resources they need.”

Know a cheat in your street?

Report someone you think 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.

Fraudsters are cheating us all

Housing tenancy fraud – someone who has committed a social housing fraud by

  • illegally sub-letting
  • not living in the property and leaving it empty
  • making a fraudulent Right to Buy application
  • taking (or making) a payment for a mutual exchange
  • living in a property after the tenant has died, where they had no right to succeed
  • giving false or misleading information to get the tenancy

Council Tax fraud – someone who gets a Council Tax discount by falsely

  • stating the property is empty
  • claiming they live alone
  • claiming they are a student
  • claiming Council Tax Support falsely by doing undeclared work or having capital/property in excess of the limit

Business rates fraud – a person or business liable for Business Rates who falsely

  • claims an exemption or relief they are not entitled to

Not a victimless crime

Cllr Mohindra said: “Fraud is not a victimless crime. Don’t think that reporting benefit fraud is wrong or underhand. If a fraudster commits fraud in the Epping Forest district we will use the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to seize and confiscate their assets.”

We need your help

“We constantly look for fraud but no matter how hard we try, we cannot do it alone – we need your help” said Councillor Mohindra.

“Please tell us if you suspect someone is committing fraud by filling in our online form or by calling our fraud investigation team on 01992 564444.”

Decisions from Plans South 26 July 2017

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Planning application decisions from Area Planning Sub-Committee South meeting on Wednesday 26 July 2017.

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Decisions

  • EPF/1325/17 to modify the S106 agreement linked to planning permission reference EPF/1097/09 re Oaklands School, 8 Albion Hill, Loughton, Essex IG10 4RA
    Agreed
  1. EPF/3386/16 – Land West of Froghall Lane, South of Chigwell Cemetery, Chigwell, Essex IG7
    Decision deferred
  2. EPF/2446/16 – Buckhurst Hill FC, Roding Lane, Buckhurst Hill, Essex IG9 6BJ
    Decision deferred
  3. EPF/0329/17 – Land adjacent to The Paddock Grove Lane, Chigwell, Essex IG7 6JF
    Permission granted
  4. EPF/0897/17 – 1 Ollards Grove, Loughton, Essex IG10 4DJ
    Permission refused
  5. EPF/1054/17 – 246-250 High Road, Loughton, Essex IG10 1RB
    Permission granted
  6. EPF/1152/17 – 2A Goldings Road, Loughton, Essex IG10 2QN
    Permission granted
  7. EPF/1229/17 – 32 Woodland Road, Loughton, Essex IG10 1HJ
    Permission granted
  8. EPF/1344/17 – 5 Greenfield Close, Loughton, Essex IG10 3HG
    Permission granted
  9. EPF/1426/17 – 33 Amberley Road, Buckhurst Hill, Essex IG9 5QW
    Permission granted
  10. EPF/1430/17 – 4 The Crescent, Loughton, Essex IG10 4PY
    Permission granted
  11. EPF/1479/17 – 27 Fallow Fields, Loughton, Essex IG10 4QP
    Permission granted
  12. EPF/1540/17 – 18 Albion Park, Loughton, Essex IG10 4RB
    Permission granted

Planning application search

Decisions from Plans West 19 July 2017

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Planning application decisions from Area Planning Sub-Committee West meeting on Wednesday 19 July 2017.

Watch the webcast

Decisions

  1. EPF/1232/16 – Chimes Garden Centre, Old Nazeing Road, Nazeing, Waltham Abbey, Essex EN10 6RJ
    Application withdrawn
  2. EPF/1492/16 – The Chimes Nursery, Old Nazeing Road, Nazeing, Waltham Abbey EN10 6RJ
    Application withdrawn
  3. EPF/2881/16 – Pine Tree Nursery, Avey Lane, Waltham Abbey, Essex EN9 3QH
    Permission granted
  4. EPF/0517/17 – Land to north of 8 Old House Lane, Roydon, Harlow, Essex CM19 5DH
    Permission granted
  5. EPF/0792/17 – Red Roofs, Low Hill Road, Roydon, Essex CM19 5JN
    Permission granted
  6. EPF/1153/17 – Units 20-21, Former Mushroom Farm, Laundry Lane, Nazeing, Essex EN9 2DY
    Permission granted
  7. EPF/1221/17 – 1 Hansells Mead, Roydon, Essex CM19 5HY
    Decision granted

Planning application search

Influence change in housing policy

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

Become a member of the Epping Forest District Council Tenants and Leaseholders Panel and influence change in your local area!

Tenant & leaseholders panel p1

Click on an image below to begin slideshow

Influence housing decisions

If you would like to have a say in how your housing service is run, or would like an opportunity to influence housing related decisions before policies are made, then why not join the Tenants and Leaseholders Panel.

Resident led group

Members of the panel are Epping Forest District Council tenants or leaseholders. The group meets several times a year, has an elected chair, the Housing Portfolio Holder (the lead councillor for housing) and council officers attend each meeting.

Fair representation

Epping Forest District Council Housing Portfolio Holder, Councillor Syd Stavrou said: ”We would like to increase our panel’s membership, in the hope that we give our tenants and leaseholders fair representation and a chance to have their say, before changes or new policies are introduced.”

Comment on services

”The panel are able to comment on our housing services and on our performance too. We are looking for people who would be willing to attend evening meetings dedicated to improving decisions that affect tenants and leaseholders across the district. Please contact us if you’re interested in getting involved!”

Contact

Social media story wrong

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Housing, Housing repairs, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

A social media story about tenants trashing a council house in Waltham Abbey that went viral with 700,000 views in two days was wrong. Epping Forest District Council is publicising details of what actually happened to set people’s minds at rest.

Vacant property

The property is actually vacant, the former tenant having recently passed away. The Council got the keys back at the beginning of the month and contractors were clearing it out ready for refurbishment as part of routine maintenance and upgrade before re-letting.

Mistaken assumption

Councillor Syd Stavrou, Housing Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council said: “Councillors became aware of a social media storm over the weekend. A very strongly worded video showing old appliances, bath, sink and other rubbish piled in the back garden was being shared very widely. It was based on the completely mistaken assumption that new tenants had moved into the house and were ripping it apart. Blame was being attached to ‘foreign’ tenants with comments about people from other countries being put before local people.”

Working hard

“In fact, the contractor clearing the house did not speak good English, leading to some confusion. However, they were actually working extremely hard to ensure the house was ready for the old fixtures and fittings to be cleared away on Monday, ready for work on the refurbishment to start with the minimum of delay.”

Must live in district for 5 years

“The Council’s housing policy says council housing applicants must have been resident in the district for a minimum of 5 years. Once the house has been refurbished, it will be let to a family in need of a new home on our housing waiting list.”

The power of social media

Councillor Stavrou, continued: “I am sorry for all the anxiety and inconvenience this has caused. These kinds of works are routine and usually cause no trouble. However, this instance shows how powerful social media can be and how careful people need to be before leaping to conclusions. We can all take lessons from it.”

Concerned? Contact the council

”I have asked our contractor to apologise to the neighbours. I will ask our contractors in future to post an explanatory card through the letter boxes of neighbouring residents before carrying out this type of work, and hopefully, next time residents have concerns, they will ring us first, before such misleading messages go viral.”

Timeline of events

1 June – The Council received the empty property keys.
2 June – The Council’s contractor inspected the property.
5 June – Asbestos report (always required before refurbishment work) requested.
9 June – AM Asbestos report received.
9 June – PM Contractors go in.

  • This property had lots of the former tenant’s (deceased) household items to be removed before refurbishment work could start.
  • Items including the bath, basin and WC are being removed and renewed.
  • Items placed in garden for collection via back gate.

12 June – Garden scheduled to be cleared today (Monday 12 June).

  • The garden will be returned to its existing condition on completion of the refurbishment.
  • Photographs are taken before work starts to make sure the house and garden are returned a good standard at the end of the refurbishment.

23 June – Planned completion date.
26 June – Inspection and return of keys for re-letting.

Essex new homes show

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Do you need help to buy your perfect home?

Find out more about the different Help To Buy (HTB) schemes, existing and upcoming developments and get advice from independent financial advisors and solicitors at this free event in Chelmsford.

Chelmsford flyer June 2017

When

  • Sunday 11 June 2017

Time

  • 10:30am to 3:30pm

Location

Cost

  • Free

Find out more

For more information about Help to Buy in the East and South East

Want to move to a smaller council home?

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Epping, Grants, Housing, Loughton, Media, Older people, Ongar, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

If you want to move to a smaller council home, our downsizing scheme is designed to help tenants move to a home with fewer bedrooms.

Do you want to move to a smaller council home?

Downsizing scheme

If you are an under-occupier living in a council home that has more bedrooms than you need, or you want help moving to a home that’s easier to maintain, our downsizing scheme can help.

This scheme has all sorts of incentives to help you

  • Removal costs and practical help to move
  • Cash incentives for each bedroom you give up
  • Help with decoration costs

Who is eligible

  • Council tenants
  • Housing association tenants (downsizing incentive payment does not apply)
  • You must be living in a property with 1 or more bedrooms and want to move into either general needs or sheltered accommodation
  • Tenants with rent arrears will be considered but the arrears will be deducted from your incentive payment

What are the benefits

  • Downsizers will be prioritised for a move to an area of your choice
  • You will get £1,000 for each bedroom you give up (up to £4,000)
  • You will get help with removal costs (£500)
  • Your heating and gas charges may be greatly reduced if you move into a smaller home
  • Your rent could be lower
  • Practical help with changing your doctor, contacting utility companies, and more

How to apply

Contact our Rehousing Support Officer. Terms and conditions will apply.

Find out more

Cabinet 9 March 2017

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Epping, Housing, Leader, Local plan / planning our future, Loughton, Media, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Parking, Planning, Residents, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your money

The Local Plan, better use of council assets, housing for homeless people, pay and display car parks and the investment of additional fees in the planning service dominated debate at Cabinet on 9 March.

Draft Local Plan consultation

Preliminary findings from the draft Local Plan consultation were presented by Planning Portfolio Holder Councillor John Philip to the meeting of Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet on 9 March.

Councillor Philip outlined some clear themes coming through for more work on infrastructure and employment sites including the wider area of East Herts and Harlow. New potential sites and changes to previously identified sites are also being reviewed and will be fed into the revisions of the draft plan. A new transport assessment is also being done in conjunction with Essex County Council.

Councillor Philip emphasised that publication of the next draft depended on full analysis and assessment of the additional work programmed in over the next year or so. Councillors noted the initial findings of the consultation, agreed progression of the Local Plan to the next stage and approved the publication of the Council’s updated Local Development Scheme online.

Better use of council buildings

The interests of residents and customers must remain at the heart of council services. Council Leader Chris Whitbread received Cabinet support for proposals to reduce the need for office space at the Civic Offices in Epping.

Reports show flexible working by staff including home and remote working, and use of other council buildings could allow the Council to move out of the older part of the Civic Offices known as the Conder Building. Councillor Whitbread described the proposals as part of the wider transformation programme to improve services.

Pay and Display set to save £58,000

Final preparations have been agreed for the transfer of the council’s off-street parking management from the North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) to NSL.

Portfolio Holder Gary Waller reminded fellow councillors of the improvements the change of contract will bring to residents and the Council. The Council will save £58,600 under the new arrangements even though Councillor Waller said that NSL did not submit the cheapest bid. They did submit the best quality bid. Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) rates remain the same.

Housing for Homeless People

Housing Portfolio Holder Councillor Syd Stavrou received approval to progress plans for a small pilot scheme of three ‘Pods’ to accommodate people at Norway House in North Weald. The pods containing individual living accommodation and shared kitchens are manufactured by a North Weald based company. Subject to planning approval, the Council plans to help homeless people who would otherwise find themselves in Bed and Breakfast.

Increased planning application fees

Cabinet accepted an offer by the Department of Communities and Local Government to increase planning fees. Governance Portfolio Holder Richard Bassett confirmed that any extra income would be reinvested in planning services.