No increase in Council Tax

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Community, Council tax, Councillors, Housing, Leader, Local business, Loughton, Media, Meetings, Older people, Ongar, Out and about, Parking, Planning, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

Another freeze in Council Tax is being recommended by the Epping Forest District Council Cabinet on 2 February 2015.

The council has not increased its Council Tax charge of £148.77 for an average Band D property for 5 years. The zero increase in Council Tax has been achieved despite central government funding reduction of approximately 60% over the last 5 years.

Read the agenda

Central government funding

Finance Portfolio Holder Syd Stavrou also provided details of the significant income from investments. As central government funding continues to decline, councillors are looking long-term towards making Epping Forest District Council less dependent on grant.

Councillor Stavrou expressed delight that among the financial achievements was an investment budget of £33 million for new council housing, while stressing the duty to continue searching for savings on council budgets wherever possible.

Thanks to the robust and prudent management of the council’s finances, Councillor Stavrou received support to create a new ‘invest to save’ budget of £500,000. This will be used specifically to put money into projects designed to make long term savings. Epping Forest District Council remains a low-tax council.

Council Leader Chris Whitbread welcomed the budget report. He described it as a really good budget, protecting front line services while never forgetting that it is residents’ money. Every pound should be spent as carefully possible.

Council house building programme

Earlier in the meeting, Councillor David Stallan Housing portfolio holder updated Cabinet on the new council house building programme including progress at Faversham Hall and Marden Close, and ground-breaking for the first completely new properties in Waltham Abbey. Further consideration is being given to plans for the development of council housing at Burton Road in Loughton.

Councillor Whitbread invited Councillor Stallan and Assistant Director Paul Pledger to elaborate on the design standards being applied to new council housing. Councillor Whitbread went on to emphasise the importance of delivering high-quality homes in the shortest possible timeframe to meet the needs of local people.

Work continues to provide off-street parking on council housing estates. Councillor Stallan reported on the completion of 182 spaces at an average cost of £3,340 per bay. Councillors received an updated list of schemes to come including two new sites in Waltham Abbey.

The next 8 schemes subject to consultation with residents and planning applications are

  1. Roundhills (Red Cross site), Waltham Abbey
  2. Etheridge Green, Loughton
  3. Watermans Way, North Weald
  4. Alderwood Close, Abridge
  5. Tillingham Court, Waltham Abbey
  6. Sycamore House, Buckhurst Hill
  7. Roundhills (Site 4), Waltham Abbey
  8. Rochford Green, Loughton

Councillor Stallan stressed that schemes can only go forward with the support of local residents. Councillors are also to look carefully at the potential impact of new council house building projects on off-street parking schemes.

Car parking strategy

The revised pay and display car parking strategy was presented by Portfolio Holder Gary Waller. The strategy sees some modest increases in income from council-run car park tariffs. Parking charges will be kept lower in Waltham Abbey and Ongar which do not benefit from ready access to London Underground stations. The new structure seeks to protect local town centre businesses and shoppers while also investing in maintaining and improving the car parking services.

Weekend shoppers will continue to enjoy free parking for the first 2 hours of their stay where car parks were previously free, but will have to pay £1 after that. The half hour 10p weekday charge will increase to 20p. New ‘smart meters’ and additional CCTV are among the improvements to convenience and security.

Ongar Academy

There is good news for the district’s children. Cabinet provided support for the new Ongar Academy secondary school by agreeing the principle of selling 8.98 hectares of land next to Ongar Leisure Centre. The value of the site to be used by the new school is yet to be assessed.

 

Housing application withdrawn

Written on . Posted in Democracy, Media, Meetings, Out and about, Planning, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council

An application for the construction of 10 new dwellings on land off Hoe Lane in Nazeing has been withdrawn by planning officers following further advice from consultants.

EPF/0204/14 was item 1 on the agenda at Area Plans West Committee on Wednesday 28 January 2015. We have written to neighbours to let them know.

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Area Plans West Committee on Wednesday 28 January 2015

 

Nazeing housing application withdrawn

Written on . Posted in Community, Democracy, Media, Meetings, Planning, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

An application for the construction of 45 new dwellings on land off  St Leonards Road in Nazeing has been withdrawn by the applicant.

EPF/0202/14 was item 1 on the agenda at Area Plans West Committee on Wednesday 17 December 2014, but has now been withdrawn by the applicant. We have written to neighbours to let them know.

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Area Plans West Committee on Wednesday 17 December 2014

 

Plans East applications adjourned

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Epping, Media, Meetings, Ongar, Out and about, Planning, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Half of the planning applications due to be discussed at Area Planning Sub-Committee East on Wednesday 10 December 2014 have been adjourned to Monday 5 January 2015 due to the unusually large agenda.

Agenda items 1 to 10 will still be discussed on 10 December but items 11 to 19 will now be discussed on 5 January.

Wednesday 10 December 2014

  1. EPF/1975/14 Blake Hall, Stoney Lane, Ongar, Essex CM5 0DG
  2. EPF/1976/14 Blake Hall, Stoney Lane, Ongar, Essex CM5 0DG
  3. EPF/2056/14 Broadbanks, Ivy Chimneys, Epping, Essex CM16 4EL
  4. EPF/2124/14 Allotment Ground to rear of 1-7 Rodney Road, 2-22 Fairfield Road and 2-6 Glebe Road, Ongar, Essex, CM5 9HJ
  5. EPF/1875/14 Brook House Farm Barn, Epping Lane, Stapleford Tawney, Romford, Essex RM4 1ST
  6. EPF/1910/14 Dame Annys Farm, Norwood End, Fyfield, Essex CM5 0RW
  7. EPF/2006/14 The Retreat, Market Place, Abridge, Romford, Essex RM4 1UA
  8. EPF/2040/14 Sixteen String Jack, Coppice Row, Theydon Bois, Essex CM16 7DS
  9. EPF/2103/14 3 London Road, Lambourne, Romford, Essex RM4 1UT
  10. EPF/2223/14 20 St. Peters Avenue, Ongar, Essex CM5 0BT

Monday 5 January 2015

  1. EPF/2270/14 The Old Rectory, Mount Road, Theydon Mount, Epping, Essex CM16 7PW
  2. EPF/2285/14 Wind Hill Cottage, Wind Hill, Magdalen Laver, Ongar, Essex CM5 0EX
  3. EPF/2358/14 Ground Floor Unit, 134 High Street, Ongar, Essex CM5 9JH
  4. EPF/2386/14 Red House Farm, Little Laver Road, Little Laver, Harlow, Essex CM5 0JH
  5. EPF/2400/14 Red House Farm, Little Laver Road, Little Laver, Harlow, Essex CM5 0JH
  6. EPF/2456/14 134 – 136 High Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4AG
  7. EPF/2514/14 Tilegate Lodge, High Laver, Ongar, Essex CM5 0EA
  8. EPF/2527/14 Misterton, Kendal Avenue, Epping, Essex CM16 4PN
  9. EPF/2528/14 10 Lower Swaines, Epping, Essex CM16 5ER

Both meetings will be webcast live from the civic offices in Epping, starting at 7:30pm.

 

Cabinet supports homes for local people

Written on . Posted in Arts, Benefits, Business, Consultation, Council tax, Councillors, Grants, Health, Housing, Local business, Our activities, Out and about, Planning, Playschemes, Sports, Supporting business, Your council, Your home, Your money

Proposals for 15 affordable rented housing units on the site of hard to let garages in Vere Road, Loughton received the backing of councillors at the meeting of Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet on 3 November.

  • Due to technical issues there is no sound in the first few minutes of the webcast.

Affordable homes plan for brownfield site

The proposals to lease the land to Moat Housing Association were presented by Housing Portfolio Holder David Stallan. Subject to planning permission Moat Housing would develop 1 and 2 bedroom flats with associated parking on the site. Epping Forest District Council would receive £425,000 in exchange for a 999 year lease of the land to be used to fund the council’s own house building programme and other regeneration schemes.

Moat and the council would also aim to provide 14 additional car parking spaces for lease to residents of the new development being built next to the site on land formerly occupied by the Sir Winston Churchill public house.

Councillor Stallan assured councillors that full consultation on the proposed development would be carried out with local residents through the planning application process.

Leisure strategy and business loans

Other items debated at cabinet included the council’s leisure and cultural strategy, Council Tax and Local Council Tax Support Scheme, Non Domestic Rates and the Essex voluntary and community sector framework.

The Council is to support a scheme by start-up loans, a Government backed agency that offers loans of up to £10,000 to new businesses in the start up phase or first year of trading. Meetings are being held with the aim of taking the project forward in the next few months. Start-up is one of a series of initiatives to be publicised to local businesses at the Council’s Access to Funding Roadshow to be held at the Civic Offices on 17 November.

 

First steps towards a Neighbourhood Plan for North Weald Bassett Parish Council

Written on . Posted in Consultation, Local plan / planning our future, Media, Planning, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

North Weald Bassett Parish Council has taken the first steps towards preparing a Neighbourhood Plan by informing Epping Forest District Council of their intentions and submitting an application for the designation of their parish as a Neighbourhood Area.

Any Parish or Town Council can prepare a Neighbourhood Plan if they wish. The Plans give communities an opportunity to shape the way in which their local area develops over the coming years. Neighbourhood Development Plans, which must be prepared in accordance with the District Councils Local Plan, can be used to

  • Develop a shared vision for the local area
  • Choose where new homes, community facilities and other forms of development should be built
  • Identify and protect important local green spaces
  • Influence what new buildings should look like

North Weald Bassett Parish Council

North Weald Bassett Parish Council has identified the area to be covered by the plan as the whole parish. Epping Forest District Council, as the local planning authority, is required to publicise this proposed area for a period of at least 6 weeks so that people can comment on it.

A copy of the application, along with further information on neighbourhood planning, can be viewed at www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/neighbourhoodplanning

This is a consultation on the identification of the potential plan area, not a formal consultation on the Neighbourhood Plan itself, which will come later as the Plan progresses.

The consultation will run for 6 weeks from 22 September 5pm on 31 October 2014.

Comments

Please be aware that all comments received will be publicly available and may be included on our website. Personal details such as the respondents address, telephone number and signature will not be published.

About Neighbourhood Plans

Neighbourhood Plans were introduced by Government through the Localism Act in 2011.

Once they have successfully completed the preparation process, Neighbourhood Plans will legally have policy status and will be used to help decide planning applications. Within the parameters set by the district-wide local plan, a neighbourhood plan must be used to positively encourage sustainable development.

Following the end of this 6 week period, the District Council must decide whether to designate the proposed neighbourhood area. It should be noted that once a designation is made no other organisation or body may be designated for that neighbourhood area until that designation expires or is withdrawn. One designated, the Parish Council may commence work on preparing the Neighbourhood Plan.

A draft Plan must be subject to a formal 6 week public consultation before being submitted to the District Council for examination by an independent Examiner. If the Plan is approved, a referendum is held within the Parish to decide whether the Plan should be used by the District Council to decide upon planning applications within the neighbourhood area.

Within Epping Forest District, Moreton, Bobbingworth and the Lavers Parish Council, Chigwell Parish Council, Theydon Bois Parish Council are already working on a Neighbourhood Plan for their area.

 

Council commitment to low-tax at O&S

Written on . Posted in Community, Consultation, Council tax, Councillors, Elections, Leader, Local plan / planning our future, Meetings, Our performance, Parking, Performance, Planning, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

Epping Forest District Youth councillors looked on as members of Epping Forest District Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee quizzed Cabinet portfolio holders on Tuesday (16 September).

Members of the Youth Council who were welcomed to the meeting by committee chairman Councillor Richard Morgan, represent young people across the district. They range in age from 13 to 17 and are drawn from local schools, colleges and the local community.

Items on the agenda included progress on Epping Forest District Council’s corporate plan objectives, the forward plan of the Cabinet, and reviews of the recent local election procedures and polling stations. Councillors were reminded of the Council’s responsibility for running the local General Election counts next May and the need to identify a count centre large enough. Councillors highlighted the extremely smooth conduct of recent elections and paid tribute to staff including the recently retired Returning Officer Ian Willett.

The electoral registration process has changed. Councillor Brian Surtees asked if the introduction of Individual Elector Registration might cause difficulties. Assistant Director Simon Hill noted that a great deal of advanced preparation by the elections team had eased the process. However, Mr Hill acknowledged that a significant level of ongoing work would be necessary to maintain the highest voter registration levels. An amendment to the polling station review to combine voting for all Waltham Abbey North East residents at the Community Centre in Saxon Way will go with the report for final determination by Full Council.

Councillors also responded to an invitation by the Mayor of London to comment on infrastructure growth. They supported the prioritisation of transport schemes on the West Anglia and Central Line as a means of encouraging job growth, delivering commuters and in support of the London-Cambridge-Stansted Corridor. Emphasis was placed on the need for greater infrastructure in the form of railway station car parks.

District Councillors raised issues around Central Line capacity, and bus services. They supported Mayor Boris Johnson’s approach to keeping London growth within current boundaries and hoped that Essex County Council might also support this objective.

Planning Portfolio Holder Councillor Richard Bassett assured members of Overview and Scrutiny following a request by Councillor Brian Surtees for continuing information to the public on Local Plan progress. Council Leader Chris Whitbread followed up by encouraging all Councillors to attend forthcoming Local Plan events and to share information with their residents.

Responding to comments by Councillor John Knapman, Councillor Chris Whitbread agreed that the Council’s drive to keep Council Tax down could be more prominently identified within the Council’s Key Objectives. Epping Forest District Council has not increased its Council Tax precept to residents for 4 years and strives to be one of the lowest in Essex.

One Shops Local champions local business

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Business, Business rates, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Doing business with the council, Epping, Grants, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Loughton, Media, Older people, Ongar, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Travel, Trees and landscapes, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Support local business in Epping Forest – add your business to or join the One Shops Local mailing list.

As the world around us changes, so must we and the world of business is no exception. One Shops Local was created to support local independent businesses within Epping Forest, and help them to survive and thrive in today’s tough market.

The campaign was created nearly 3 years ago by the One Epping Forest Local Strategic Partnership, in the belief that independently owned businesses play a vital role in ensuring we have a vibrant, resilient economy.

One Shops Local logo

How can shopping locally benefit me?

Many people may be concerned that shopping locally is more expensive and less convenient, however this is not necessarily the case. In fact shopping locally can benefit the community, not just the business owner.

When you spend money in locally run, independent businesses, more of your money is returned to the local economy than if you were to spend the same amount in a national chain. Putting money into the local economy, rather than displacing it elsewhere creates jobs for local people, and helps fund many things from the maintenance of the local infrastructure to the emergency services.

Despite all this, you may still be asking how can shopping locally directly benefit me? The answer is that local shops can tailor their business to suit the specific needs of local people, create  unique, bespoke items to suit you, and often give you a great deal to boot. After all, they want you to come back again, and what better incentive than VIP treatment?

Get involved

So how can you get involved? Whether you are a business owner or a resident or visitor, you can help your local economy to thrive by being part of the One Shops Local campaign.

If you own your own independent business within Epping Forest you can sign up for free and have free advertising to over 1,250 subscribers and 2,000 monthly website visitors. If you’re a resident or visitor, your support is still greatly needed. You can do this by

You will get access to many great deals and offers as well as unique shops and businesses that you may not yet have discovered.

Visit www.oneshopslocal.com, add your business or join our mailing list, support local business in Epping Forest.

 

First steps towards a Neighbourhood Plan for Epping Town Council

Written on . Posted in Consultation, Epping, Local plan / planning our future, Media, Planning, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Epping Town Council has taken the first steps towards preparing a Neighbourhood Plan by informing Epping Forest District Council of their intentions and submitting an application for the designation of their parish as a Neighbourhood Area.

Any Parish or Town Council can prepare a Neighbourhood Plan if they wish. The plans give communities an opportunity to shape the way in which their local area develops over the coming years. Neighbourhood Development Plans, which must be prepared in accordance with the district councils Local Plan, can be used to

  • Develop a shared vision for the local area
  • Choose where new homes, community facilities and other forms of development should be built
  • Identify and protect important local green spaces
  • Influence what new buildings should look like

Epping Town Council

Epping Town Council has identified the area to be covered by the plan as the whole parish. Epping Forest District Council, as the local planning authority, is required to publicise this proposed area for a period of at least 6 weeks so that people can comment on it.

A copy of the application, along with further information on neighbourhood planning, can be viewed at www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/neighbourhoodplanning.

This is a consultation on the identification of the potential plan area, not a formal consultation on the Neighbourhood Plan itself, which will come later as the plan progresses.

The consultation will run for 6 weeks from 11 August 2014 until 5pm on 19 September 2014.

Comments

Please be aware that all comments received will be publicly available and may be included on our website. Personal details such as the respondents address, telephone number and signature will not be published.

About Neighbourhood Plans

Neighbourhood Plans were introduced by the Government through the Localism Act in 2011.

Once they have successfully completed the preparation process, Neighbourhood Plans will legally have policy status and will be used to help decide planning applications. Within the parameters set by the district-wide local plan, a neighbourhood plan must be used to positively encourage sustainable development.

Following the end of this 6 week period, the district council must decide whether to designate the proposed neighbourhood area. If agreed, the town council may commence work on preparing the Neighbourhood Plan.

A draft plan must be subject to a formal 6 week public consultation before being submitted to the district council for examination by an independent Examiner. If the plan is approved, a referendum is held within the parish to decide whether the plan should be used by the district council to decide upon planning applications within the neighbourhood area.

Within the Epping Forest district, Moreton, Bobbingworth and the Lavers Parish Council are already working on a Neighbourhood Plan for their area.

 

Friends remembered at Council meeting

Written on . Posted in Building control, Chairman, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Elections, Housing, Leader, Local plan / planning our future, Media, Meetings, Planning, Private housing, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council

The latest meeting of Epping Forest District Council began in sombre terms as councillors paid tribute to former councillors, Penny Smith, Ken Avey and Joan Davis who all recently passed away.

Tributes

Council Chairman, Councillor Tony Boyce invited Councillor Stephen Murray to offer his reflections about Joan. He described her as the Good Samaritan in action and the first non-conservative chairman of the Council. He recalled the aplomb with which she rose to the challenge of the chairmanship. Coming from a London political family, Stephen Murray said it was our good fortune that she chose to raise her own family and make her life in our district. In conversations with local people, Councillor Murray reported how the word ‘passionate’ so often described Joan in their reminiscences.

Councillor Chris Whitbread, Leader of the Council echoed the words of tribute by Councillor Murray. He then went on to speak in moving terms of sitting Councillors Penny Smith and Ken Avey. Recalling, some of his most recent conversations with Ken, he brought a smile to the face of fellow councillors as he described Ken’s campaign for parking. Councillor Whitbread said that Epping Forest was a better place for Joan, Penny and Ken.

Councillor Penny Smith represented the neighbouring ward to Councillor Mary Sartin. Councillor Sartin described Penny as her mentor and friend. Councillor Ken Angold-Stephens speaking as a fellow resident of Loughton, recalled with warmth the dedication with which Joan worked on behalf of the community of Debden. He felt her passing represented the end of an era.

Councillor Antony Watts brought another smile to a subdued council chamber by recalling the mischievous way in which he would ‘press Joan’s buttons’ with his references to her beloved ‘Debden – or Loughton’, and their common interest in Queens Park Rangers.

Further smiles were to be seen as Councillor Will Breare-Hall reminisced about his early experiences of Ken Avey. Councillors Jon Whitehouse, Maggie McEwen, Peter Gode and Gary Waller added to the tributes before Council Chief Executive Glen Chipp offered his condolences and reminiscences on behalf of the council’s staff.

Councillor Boyce thanked everyone for the heartfelt tributes which had united councillors across the political groups of the chamber.

Council meeting Monday 28 July 2014

Questions to members

Questions to members of the cabinet included the issues of new sixth forms for the district, highways, the recent flash flooding, leisure, business rates, housing and the ongoing involvement of Parish and Town Councils in the preparation of the Local Plan.

Individual Electoral Registration (IER)

Major changes to the way in which residents register to vote are progressing well. Governance Portfolio Holder Councillor John Philip provided an update on Individual Elector Registration. He was very pleased to announce that the process of registering voters was going extremely well. 96 percent of residents are due to receive confirmation letters after successful ‘data matching’. Less than 4,000 matches will require further investigation, an extremely good success rate at this stage in the new process.

The General Election in 2015 is expected to be the first major test of the new registration process.

St John’s Road, Epping

Council agreed a budget of £35,000 to meet the cost of legal fees associated with the ongoing St John’s Road negotiations.

The freehold of the area is currently divided between Essex County Council (the former Epping Junior School – 2.59 acres), Epping Forest District Council (the Housing Depot – 0.59 acres) and Epping Town Council (Epping Hall – 0.54 acres). The councils agreed a joint Development Brief to co-ordinate development and ensure the maximum economic and community benefit for Epping.

Following twelve bids from residential developers, 2 bids from Care Home operators, and three mixed use bids the councils agreed to an exclusive fixed negotiating period of 4 weeks with Frontier Estates.

The Frontier Estate proposal is for a food store of approximately 12,900 square feet, a public car park with an estimated 173 spaces, a small cinema, restaurants, ancillary commercial uses and residential development. Part of the Centrepoint building would be refurbished at the developer’s cost and the freehold granted to Epping Town Council. The main access to the food store would be from Epping High Street, whilst there would be access for servicing from St John’s Road.

Straw bale award

Straw Bale award
The pioneering partnership that used straw bales as the main construction material in new affordable houses at High Ongar received another award at Full Council. Kevin Hartnett and Ulrike Maccariello of Hastoe housing association received the Local Authority Building Control East Anglia Building Excellence Award from Cabinet Portfolio Holders John Philip, David Stallan with Stephanie Newton of the Council’s Building Control section.

The High Ongar development now goes through to the national finals to be announced in November.