North Weald Bassett community exhibition

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Local residents and everyone else interested in the future of North Weald Bassett village and airfield are invited to an exhibition showcasing the possible scenarios for the growth of North Weald Bassett, arising from the master-planning study commissioned by Epping Forest District Council.

North Weald Bassett Community Exhibition 28 June 2014

Development options

The exhibition in the North Weald Village Hall, North Weald High Road on Saturday 28 June 2014 from 11am to 3pm, is another opportunity for members of the local community to be updated on the master-plan progress. Visitors will be able to review a range of development options influenced by the feedback of residents and stakeholders received so far. These options flow from what local people identified as key issues and priorities for them in establishing a vision for the future of the village.

Please come along

Councillor Richard Bassett, Planning Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council wants to encourage as many people to attend as possible. He said: “The initial consultation was incredibly successful. Local residents, business people and airfield users all sat down with our planning experts to talk through the options. We listened hard but we are not rushing it and want to talk to everyone one more time. So if you are interested in the future of North Weald Bassett and the airfield, whether or not you participated in the last consultation, please come along to the Village Hall and see what you think.”

£5.1 million housing scheme discussed at Cabinet

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Councillor David Stallan presented a list of potential sites for new council houses at the Cabinet meeting of Epping Forest District Council on 3 March 2014.

Council housebuilding

Reporting back from the Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee, the Housing Portfolio Holder’s report identified a wealth of potential sites in towns and villages across the district.

12 sites, 6 of which could provide up to 185 dwellings were identified plus a potential £5 million scheme to provide 31 flats or more on the site of the council depot in Burton Road off the Broadway in Loughton. 6 small sites could accommodate another 26 homes for local people.

Cabinet approved recommendations of the committee to develop plans for various sites spread around the district’s towns and villages on a rotational basis so that all areas are able to benefit from new affordable housing.

Councillors also supported the development of sites in areas where most housing applicants live and that sites able to deliver greater numbers of new homes be prioritised over other areas where fewer homes can be developed.

Existing tenants and leaseholders can also look forward to a range of improvements to their homes after Cabinet agreed improvements and enhancements to the council’s housing stock.

Among the enhancements are

  • Front door fire safety replacement
  • Oakwood Hill Estate enhancements
  • Communal kitchen refurbishment – sheltered housing schemes
  • Mobility scooter stores – sheltered housing schemes
  • Garden maintenance for older and vulnerable tenants
  • WiFi at Norway House – homeless persons hostel
  • Feasibility study for replacement homeless persons accommodation at Norway House

Parking strategy

Local businesses and residents are to be consulted on Epping Forest District Council’s car parks strategy including tariffs for short and long-stay Pay and Display car parks.

Pay and Display tariffs have not been increased by the council for 5 years. However, Councillor Gary Waller reported with some regret ‘that all good things must come to an end’ and that some modest increase in Pay and Display was inevitable. Detailed long-term consideration of parking charges across short and long stay car parks would be incorporated into the consultation process of the new strategy.

Solar panels

Solar panels are to be installed at the main civic offices of Epping Forest District Council. The investment of £80,000 is expected to be recouped by the council through lower energy bills within 8 years. It will also reduce the council’s carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Planning workshop for North Weald

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Local residents are being invited to an interactive workshop on the future of North Weald Bassett.

The event is being held by Epping Forest District Council. It follows the decision by councillors to protect aviation in combination with limited housing development at North Weald Airfield over the next 20 years or so.

The views of residents at the workshop will feed into a council-led ‘Master planning study’ for the village of North Weald Bassett and the airfield which will also contribute to the new district-wide Local Plan.

North Weald Bassett community workshop 25 January 2014

Download the poster North Weald Bassett community workshop 25 Jan 2014 (pdf 6.2 MB)

Public participation

Councillor Richard Bassett, Planning Portfolio Holder wants to encourage maximum public participation. He said: “I think this is good news for North Weald. After years of uncertainty over the airfield, residents, airfield tenants and councillors are taking the initiative by producing the plans we want to see for the village. The workshop will be an intensive half-day of consultation and discussion designed to get the best ideas from local people who know the area best.”

The council has employed Allies and Morrison Urban Practitioners (AMUP) who are experts in the field to help produce the plan. The brief includes the identification of the viable mix of land uses and infrastructure for the village and wider area, long term Green Belt boundaries, potential development phasing, the relationship between the airfield  and the wider village, and ways to deliver the plans. Central to the master planning study is the commitment to maintaining aviation at the airfield while also planning for new homes, employment, services and infrastructure for local people.

Register

Residents need to register in advance if they want to attend the workshop scheduled for 10.15am to 1pm on Saturday 25 January 2014.

The workshop is being held at North Weald Village Hall, High Road, North Weald, Essex CM16 6BU.

Shape the future of North Weald Bassett

Councillor Bassett added: “We have made a commitment to protect aviation at North Weald. In realistic terms we also know the airfield is an obvious candidate for limited residential development but I cannot emphasise enough that no detailed decisions have been made. North Weald residents turned out in large numbers at the district council to support our proposals last summer and this is the next stage in keeping that dialogue going. This is a genuine opportunity for residents to shape the future of North Weald Bassett. The interactive workshop is specifically designed to understand what the community thinks.”

Results from the workshop will be reported to councillors and published on the Epping Forest District Council website. The study will form part of the evidence in support of the Local Plan. Further consultation opportunities will be available to residents wishing to contribute to the development of the Local Plan and the North Weald study during 2014 and 2015.

Background

North Weald Airfield covers 384 acres. It was established as part of the aerial defence of London in 1916. It played a major role in the Battle of Britain and will always be associated with the RAF Hurricane squadrons based there in the summer of 1940. The airfield is a symbol of national pride to the people of Norway. Strong cultural links later developed between the people of Norway and North Weald when the airfield became the main base for Norwegian pilots flying Spitfires under the flag of the RAF in WWII.

North Weald continued as an RAF fighter station into the 1960s, hosting a number of iconic ‘Cold-war’ jet squadrons. When the airfield became surplus to Ministry of Defence requirements in 1980 it was bought by Epping Forest District Council.

Today, the airfield is a thriving aviation hub and home for many rare and historic aeroplanes. It is also used by a number of other light industrial businesses including distribution companies. Various public events are regularly held at the airfield which is also home to one of Europe’s largest Saturday markets.

What is the Local Plan?

Find out more on planning our future – the new Local Plan.

 

Neighbourhood Development Plan for Chigwell

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Local shopping at Chigwell ParadeChigwell residents are being offered the opportunity to shape the future of their area. Chigwell Parish Council has taken the first steps towards preparing a Neighbourhood Development Plan covering the whole parish by submitting an application to Epping Forest District Council.

Any Parish or Town Council can prepare a Neighbourhood Plan. The Plans give communities an opportunity to shape the way in which their local area develops over the coming years. Neighbourhood Plans must take account of the District Council’s Local Plan and can be used to develop a shared vision for the local area by:

• Suggesting where new homes, community facilities and other forms of development should be built;
• Identifying and helping protect important local green spaces; and
• Influencing what new buildings should look like.

Epping Forest District Council has a duty to publicise the proposal for at least six weeks but the consultation period has been extended to eight weeks to allow for Christmas. A copy of the application, along with further information on neighbourhood planning, can be viewed here.

Councillor Richard Bassett, Planning Portfolio Holder for the District Council said: “Neighbourhood Plans can be a very useful tool in planning future development and I hope as many Chigwell residents will comment on the proposals as possible. 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. The consultation commenced on 16 December 2013 and, in order to allow for the Christmas period, will run for 8 weeks until 5.00pm on 10 February 2014.”

Comments can be sent by email to ldfconsult@eppingforestdc.gov.uk or by post to:

Forward Planning, Epping Forest District Council, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4BZ.

Councillor Bassett added: “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.”

Images of Chigwell

What next

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 the eight week period, the District Council must decide whether to designate the proposed neighbourhood area. If agreed, 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 are already working on a Neighbourhood Plan for their area.

Financial update at Council meeting

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Announcements and decisions led to optimism for the long term financial forecast at the meeting of Epping Forest District Council on 17 December 2013.

 

 

Watch the webcast and read the agenda

Chancellors Autumn Statement

Finance Portfolio Holder, Councillor Syd Stavrou outlined the latest financial and economic issues facing the district following the Chancellors Autumn Statement to Parliament.

Councillor Stavrou reported that signs of improvement in the economy were also true for the public finances as a whole. However, the strategy to eliminate the deficit meant additional spending reductions of £1.1 billion in 2014/15 and £1 billion in 2015/16.

As local authorities have already achieved greater savings than other areas of government they are excluded from these reductions. The Chancellor also stated that in future local government will receive long term settlements. Councillor Stavrou said this would improve the council’s ability to make robust plans for the medium term.

Councillor Stavrou reported that the Chancellors confirmation of the rules on the New Homes Bonus meant income from it could be included in the Council’s Continuing Service Budget next year. This had closed the budget gap for 2014/15 but the council still needed to find savings and cost reductions to help ease the pressure on later years when significant savings are still required.

The Chancellor’s statement also included a £1.1 billion package of measures to assist growth through reducing the burden of business rates including

  • The inflationary increase for 2014/15 that would normally have been 3.2% has been capped at 2%
  • A £1,000 discount for retail, pubs and cafes with rateable values below £50,000 for 2 years
  • The doubling of Small Business Rate Relief for a further year
  • The business rates appeal process will be reviewed and action taken to clear the backlog

Councillor Stavrou welcomed the initiatives to help businesses and the Chancellor’s promise that councils would be fully refunded for any loss resulting from the changes.

Purchase of leasehold interest – properties in Torrington Drive, Loughton

Councillors later agreed to buy the head lease of the Debden Broadway Sainsbury’s store in Torrington Drive subject to the agreement of Sainsbury’s to refurbishment including the demolition of existing shop units and a new 49 space car park.

Should the deal go through, the council would receive yearly return on its investment of £224,424, representing a 6.44% net yield on the purchase price of £3,484,000. Full Council also heard that the arrangement would significantly simplify the arrangements between Sainsbury’s and the council as well as aiding long term regeneration aims for the Broadway.

Directorate restructuring

Annual savings of £354,000 will also be achieved following a review of the council’s top-management structure. Chief Executive Glen Chipp presented a report to Full Council which reduces the number of directorates from 7 to 4. Mr Chipp reported that after voluntary redundancy and early retirement costs involving 3 directors and 2 assistant directors, the restructure would pay for itself in just over 1 year.

Council Leader Chris Whitbread complimented Glen Chipp on the restructure and in particular the work with staff to deliver the proposals.

Christmas gift donations

In other items, the importance of sign language formed the introduction to Chairman’s Announcements at Council after Councillor Sartin described her attendance at the Deaf and Deaf Blind service at Chelmsford Cathedral.

As Christmas approached she also thanked residents who donated toys to children spending the holiday period in refuges from domestic abuse. Having collected many gifts donated by residents through a collection organised by Tesco in Waltham Abbey, she reported further donations form the Theydon Oak Public House and St Winifred’s Church in Chigwell.

Songs by The Clash and the Arctic Monkeys featured in a musical evening attended by the Chairman at Davenant Foundation School. Councillor Sartin also attended a very festive Christmas event at Waltham Abbey Town Hall and held her own Christmas Carol Service.

Transport

Transport issues dominated the report to Full Council by Councillor Chris Whitbread. He began with an outline of discussions surrounding Stansted Airport, its rail links and the economic impact of the airport on the Epping Forest district. He then went on to outline discussions held with the Leader of Redbridge Council as plans for Cross Rail 2 progress.

Responding to a question from Councillor Penny Smith, Councillor Whitbread described his meeting with the Chief Executive of Stansted as the most positive he could have had. He saw the outlook for jobs and recruitment within Epping Forest district as being very encouraging.

Residents and traders are to be consulted on the introduction of taxi meters and fares to Hackney Carriages licensed in Epping Forest district.

 

Broadway ‘gateway’ building approved

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Planning permission has been granted for the redevelopment of the Sir Winston Churchill public house site in Debden Broadway.

Foul language and interruptions from the public gallery forced a temporary suspension of the District Development Control Committee at Epping Forest District Council on Wednesday 11 December 2013. Committee Chairman, Councillor Brian Sandler repeatedly appealed for members of the public to respect the process of the debate before other councillors voted to suspend the meeting and clear the public gallery. The meeting continued after a short delay with members of the press present. The debate was also webcast for live and subsequent viewing. Those members of the public choosing to stay were able to watch the debate from the council’s ground floor reception area.
Artists impression of the new development

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

The controversy surrounded a planning application at the Broadway in Debden. It comprised redevelopment of the site of the Sir Winston Churchill pub, and a number of lock-up garages owned by the council. The applicant planned to build a new 7 storey building with parking. 64 new flats were proposed for the upper floors with retail, food and drink units on the ground floor. 62 parking spaces, a service yard, access and car parking completed the plan of development.

Watch the webcast

Read the agenda

A section 106 legal agreement would require a contribution of £192,000 towards local primary and secondary school facilities as well as £14,400 towards health services.

Former councillor Joan Davis spoke on behalf of objectors to the proposal. She argued that it was an overdevelopment and out of keeping with other parts of the Broadway. She felt that parking and traffic congestion would be detrimental to existing residents and objected to the lack of an affordable housing element to the proposed scheme.

Local resident Christopher Holt argued that the height of the development was out of proportion and the shadow cast by the building could be dangerous to road safety. He called for further traffic assessments.

Town Councillor Jill Angold-Stephens spoke for Loughton Town Council. She referred back to earlier proposals for housing at a lower density and the inclusion of affordable housing. She described the current public house as an iconic gateway to the Broadway and asked the developer to think again.

Mr Simmons for the applicant referred to the council’s own development brief calling for more retail and business. He asserted that it would not mean the loss of a pub. He argued that the development would bring jobs and regeneration as well as new housing. He asserted that ‘affordable’ housing would make the scheme unviable but that the section 106 contribution of over £200,000 would bring much needed community investment. He felt that the development was in line with council policy and would stimulate future ‘affordable’ housing opportunities.

Mr Simmons said that the changes in traffic would be small and the development would bring many benefits to the area.

Councillor Jennie Hart, a local ward member spoke of the concerns around the loss of the Sir Winston Churchill. She also expressed concerns about the size and scale of the proposed development which she felt was out of keeping with the wider area. She was concerned about the potential disturbance to existing local residents and felt the lack of affordable housing in a deprived area was unacceptable. She asked the committee to consider a redesign on a much smaller scale with screening and landscaping.

Councillor James Hart felt that the Broadway would benefit from some redevelopment but he had concerns about the height and scale of this particular proposal. He noted that while it might be ‘much-loved’ the pub was not profitable. He proposed refusal based on the height and bulk of the proposed building.

Councillor Gary Waller felt that the proposal had merit. He said that it would make a very interesting addition to the Broadway scene and would also bring a considerable number of new residents with ‘purchasing power’ to the benefit of the wider area. Over time he felt it would benefit the area.

Councillor David Stallan supported the proposal and the comments of Councillor Waller while acknowledging some of the points made by Councillor Jennie Hart. Councillors debated the scope for landscape planting.

Councillor John Markham felt that the proposed building was a ‘decent piece of work’ but felt the architects should think again about where it should go. He also expressed concern about the omission of affordable housing from the proposal.

Councillor John Knapman described the decision as a ‘much closer call’ than people might think. He asked if the pub could be nominated as an asset of community value. It was reported that Loughton Town Council had discussed the idea but had not as yet reached a decision.

Councillor Knapman discussed the potential income from the redevelopment of the site towards future provision of affordable housing. However, he was more concerned about the commercial viability of the current pub. He balanced the merits of housing development on a brown-field site with the potential demand for future development sites elsewhere. He felt the economic advantages of redevelopment were clear. He asked if this was the ‘right’ building design.

Councillor Yolanda Knight felt that such a development could be a catalyst for regeneration. She drew comparisons with examples in Harlow and Chelmsford which she felt lifted the businesses around them.

Councillor John Philip explored some of the Highways issues. He felt that the shadow would not cause problems. He liked the design but raised issues about the size and particularly the height. Like Councillor Knapman, he felt the arguments were finely balanced.

Councillor Jon Whitehouse recalled the Broadway Development Brief which had supported the replacement of the existing pub but he was not certain that a development on the scale of the proposal had been foreseen.

Councillor Caroline Pond said that she felt the building was too big for the site. The college on the opposite side of Rectory Lane was set back from the road and landscaped whereas the proposed building would be more prominent.

Councillor John Markham also felt the section 106 contribution of £14,000 towards health services was insufficient.  

Councillor Leon Girling was not a member of the committee but spoke as a ward councillor. He argued that the residents of Debden wished to keep the essential character of the area. He agreed that some form of development on the site was necessary but not a building of this bulk and height.

Other non-committee members also spoke. Councillor David Wixley and Councillor Ken Angold-Stephens both felt the building was too large. Councillor Lance Leonard appealed to members of the committee to consider the principles of ‘localism’ in reaching their decision.

A motion to refuse the application on the basis of excessive height, bulk and lack of soft landscaping was lost by 5 votes to 8 with 2 abstentions. Committee Chairman, Councillor Brian Sandler then called a second vote in which councillors were reminded to set aside personal feelings and vote purely according to planning considerations. The committee voted 9 to 6 in favour of the planning application.

 

First new council houses for 30 years

Written on . Posted in Housing, Planning, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your community, Your council, Your home

There is good news for local residents in need of council housing. Planning approval has been given to start building new council homes in Epping Forest for the first time in nearly 30 years. The first site to receive approval is at Harveyfields, Waltham Abbey, where nine flats will be built. Demand for affordable housing in this district continues to increase, and the new properties will be let to families on the Council’s Housing Register.

The new development at Harveyfields will comprise four 1 bedroom flats and five 2 bedroom flats, and the Council is hoping to start work on site in the spring of 2014. There will be 18 parking spaces and a cycle store included as part of the development. Currently there are difficult to let garages on the site, but residents who do use the garages will be offered alternative arrangements. Separately, an off-street parking scheme has recently been approved for the Harveyfields estate and work should commence on this very shortly as well.

Over the next six years, the Council is planning to develop around 120 new homes across the district, to be let at ‘affordable rents’.

Councillor Dave Stallan, Housing Portfolio Holder said: “This is a hugely significant moment for Epping Forest District Council and something I am immensely proud to be part of. After 30 years when government policy focused our affordable housing plans towards facilitating new homes built by housing associations, we are starting to provide new housing directly again. It is a modest start but we have 120 potential new homes in the pipeline and as these come on stream we will be looking for opportunities to do more. We will also continue to work with our housing association partners and encourage affordable housing as part of any private sector planning applications we receive as we strive to provide more homes for local people who need them most.

Councillor Stallan continued: “All our planning applications for new council houses are on our own land and they are all on brown-field sites. We are not touching the green belt. As the Council has no recent experience of building new homes, East Thames Housing Group has been appointed as Development Agent to take on this task. East Thames is working with Pellings, a firm of architects chosen because they are experienced at developing housing in small areas, such as garage sites. They worked with us to identify five potential sites for Phase 1 of the house building programme, all in Waltham Abbey. The other four sites are on the Roundhills estate. Garages on all these sites are difficult to let, with over 50 garages currently vacant. This first phase should see the Council deliver 25 new Council homes for an estimated cost of around £4 million.”

East Thames has been looking at 65 garage sites right across the district, to consider the potential for developing new council homes. In addition to the house building programme, there are plans to convert 20 existing bedsits into 10 ‘general needs’ flats at Marden Close, Chigwell. These properties were previously rented as sheltered housing but they had become very difficult to let. The scheme has planning permission and the Council hopes to be on site by the summer 2014.

Housing issues dominate cabinet meeting

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Housing issues and council tax were on the agenda at cabinet on 2 December 2013.

Lower population growth estimates

Lower levels of housing growth than previously predicted were reported as a ‘good news story’ after a new Epping Forest District Council commissioned report updated earlier government projections. The report endorsed at Cabinet on 2 December suggests the population might grow by 6,000 fewer than previous studies. With less pressure on population growth, the report suggests the Council will need to plan for fewer new houses in the lifetime of the new Local Plan up to 2033.

The population of the district is still predicted to grow by nearly 23,000 people between 2011 and 2033.

Councillor Richard Bassett, Planning Portfolio Holder has welcomed the new study. Speaking before the meeting, he said: “We still need new homes for a growing population. Even if no new families moved into the district, the fact that we are generally living longer and in smaller households means we would need more homes. After preparing an objective forecast for population growth as required by the Government, I am pleased to see our new forecast still comes out significantly lower than the earlier projections produced before the 2011 census.”

The study will be used by the council as evidence in the preparation of the new Local Plan for consideration at an ‘Examination in Public’ by a Government-appointed Inspector.

Councillor Bassett also gave a clear ‘health warning’ when asking cabinet to endorse the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) which looks at other issues such as housing market trends and affordability. Councillor Bassett reported that as a joint report produced for other councils it was already in the public domain, but he added that the SHMA was based on older population data and would require further updates before presentation as final evidence in support of the Local Plan.

Residents are to be consulted next year. ‘Preferred Options’, the next stage in the Local Plan public consultation process, takes place in 2014.

Council Tax held

Cabinet agreed to recommend that council tax for the district council be frozen again in 2014/15. It is now almost 4 years since the last increase which has remained at £148.77 for a Band D property since 2010. The final decision on council tax and budgets for 2014/15 will be made at full council in February.

Local Council Tax Support Scheme

Cabinet agreed to recommend the continuation of the Local Council Tax Scheme in its current form after consultation with residents brought forward very few responses. The decision will be referred to full council for approval.

Car park site sale for housing

A decision to hold on to Church Hill Car Park, Loughton until an upturn in the economy and property values has been vindicated. Cabinet approved the sale of the site which previously had planning permission for eight 1 bed and two 2 bed flats to Constable Homes Ltd for £858,000.

Councillors also supported a bid of £160,000 for specialist consultants to assist the council with further strategic decisions and practical steps on the future use, sale and development opportunities of its property portfolio.

Receipts from the sale of Church Hill Car Park will be invested in further services for residents.

 

Minister sets out support for town centres

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The future form and function of high streets will be debated when the Leader of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Chris Whitbread shares a platform with Government Minister Brandon Lewis MP and other key opinion formers. The debate is set to focus on the strategic thinking that will be needed to help high streets and town centres thrive.

The conference on December 2, at Sadlers Wells in London, gives the opportunity to hear from veteran retailer Bill Grimsey, author of the controversial Grimsey Report; Matthew Hopkinson, of the Local Data Company; and Dr Julie Grail of British BIDs.

Councillor Chris Whitbread outside Argus Lighting, a mainstay of Epping High Street for decades

Councillor Chris Whitbread outside Argus Lighting which has illuminated Epping High Street for decades

Along with case studies from successful town centres, and a selection of political representatives, delegates will have an opportunity to hear cutting edge thinking on managing town centres, and to hear the very latest in the debate around their future – how restoring community uses and reducing retail footprint could help, what trends can be seen in the data, and how businesses of all types can be encouraged to take the lead in managing the future.

Councillor Chris Whitbread knows all about local high streets, having run his own business in Epping for many years. He said: “The way we use our high streets is changing and businesses need to change with us. Out-of-town retail and online shopping have revolutionised the way we use our high streets. For some businesses, that means our online presence is now just as important as our shop fronts. For others we may have to look even more fundamentally at what we are doing and why.”

He continued: “High streets and town centres need to reinvent themselves. Today’s customer is looking as much for a social and leisure experience as for bargains and deals. Many people believe bars, restaurants and coffee shops are becoming some of the new ‘High Street Kings’. They draw people in and encourage them to spend their money. It is then up to the rest of us to make the best offer we can to deliver the full modern High Street experience.”

The conference is being organised by The London Stansted Cambridge Corridor Consortium, a partnership of public and private organisations covering the area north of Tech City, the City Fringe, Kings Cross, and the Olympic Park, up through the Lee Valley and M11/A10, and West Anglia Rail corridors to Harlow and Stansted, and through to Cambridge. The partnership was formed to organise and promote what is the economic area, with strong inter-connections; commuting to work and learn patterns, clusters of industries and supply chains. 

Councillor Whitbread believes councils have a very important part to play. He said: “Thriving town centres are an essential element in the lives of our local communities. They provide investment and employment that can lift whole communities out of deprivation into prosperity. At Epping Forest we always try to be on the side of our High Streets.  We can do practical things such as keeping our parking charges low and offering incentives such as free parking on Saturdays in the run up to Christmas. We can use our powers as the Planning Authority to encourage a mix of uses that compliment each other and stimulate trade. We can draw people in from outside our area by promoting ourselves as a visitor and tourist destination. We can contribute to the infrastructure and care of our town centres whether that means decent pavements, good lighting or frequent street cleansing.”

He concluded: “It is a full partnership between the public and private sector. We understand the changing face of our High Streets and will do our best to encourage residents to shop local wherever possible.”

Local economy and praise for young people at council meeting

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The Celebration of Youth event organised by Epping Forest Youth Council drew praise from senior councillors at the meeting of the Full Council on 4 November. Councillor Chairman, Councillor Mary Sartin led the tributes to young people who transformed the council chamber the previous week from its usual sober atmosphere with the application of lights and music. Council Leader, Councillor Chris Whitbread agreed, saying that the event was absolutely outstanding.

 

Councillor Whitbread also congratulated nine new apprentice members of staff on their appointment to the Council and reported on further discussions with council colleagues across Essex on additional support for young people and the development of workplace skills.

The local economy is increasingly turning towards tourism as a means of generating jobs and inward investment. Councillor Whitbread reported on a recent tour of local tourist attractions with the Deputy Leader of Essex County Council, Councillor Kevin Bentley, and the launch of the Phoenix facility on the site of the former North Weald Little Chef, which is being used as a base for developing closer business and investment ties with China.

Support for the local economy featured in a number of questions at the Council meeting. Portfolio Holder Councillor Anne Grigg responded to Councillor Jon Whitehouse by outlining a number of ways the Council was working towards the creation of new jobs and investment.

The purchase of the second floor of Bridgeman House in Sun Street, Waltham Abbey to preserve the office accommodation above the museum for local jobs and businesses was warmly welcomed by members of the Council.

Portfolio Holder Councillor Gary Waller fielded questions ranging from energy consumption to car parking. He was able to report that the Buckhurst Hill parking review was proceeding well, leaving the prospects looking good for the Debden review to go forward next year.

Council officers are authorised to make certain decisions regarding planning applications under delegated powers within the Council’s constitution. Detailed debate took place concerning recommendations by members of the District Development Control Committee on the merits of proposed changes. While Councillors approved the report, they also raised issues for further consideration by District Development Control.

Taxis and drivers are licensed by the Council. Councillors approved a new Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy to ensure residents are transported in a safe and secure manner.

View the full agenda and reports here.