Local economy and praise for young people at council meeting

Written on . Posted in Business, Chairman, Community, Councillors, Leader, Licensing, Local business, Meetings, Planning, Residents, Supporting business, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

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.

Park homes and the Mobile Homes Act 2013

Written on . Posted in Democracy, Housing, Licensing, Media, Meetings, Out and about, Planning, Private housing, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Want to know about park homes? Tune in to a live presentation by LEASE on Wednesday 2 October at 7pm.

Park homes and the Mobile Homes Act 2013The presentation will advise on issues such as buying or selling a park home, how the Mobile Homes Act 2013 affects park home residents and advice on the law relating to Park Homes.

It will focus on the new legal rights and protections available in relation to

  • Selling or gifting a home
  • Steps to prevent sales blocking
  • Pitch review
  • Site rules
  • Licensing

The event is being held in the council chamber at Epping Forest District Council. Attendance is by invitation only. It is being webcast live and will be available for viewing after the event.

LEASE are the Leasehold Advisory Service, funded by government to provide free advice on the law relating to Park Homes in England.

Watch the webcast live on Wednesday 2 October at 7pm

Planning application validation requirements checklist consultation

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Chigwell, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Consultation, Epping, Local plan / planning our future, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

The Department for Communities and Local Government recommend that Local Planning Authorities regularly review their own validation requirements. Our current validation checklist now needs to be updated to make sure our requirements remain relevant and appropriate to current policies and legislation. Therefore, we are reviewing our checklists and would appreciate your feedback.

A draft validation requirements list has been produced for consultation. The draft validation requirements have been simplified from our previous requirements so that it provides more explanation as to the instances when we should require information from you to support your planning applications. The format has also been converted into an easy to read table to make it user friendly. Some changes have also been made to bring the list up to date where changes have been made to planning legislation, policy and guidance upon which the requirements are based.

Epping Forest District Council is undertaking a 21 day consultation period commencing on 18 September 2013 so that the deadline for comments is 5pm on 9 October 2013.

View the consultation and comment upon it here

Or email us at contactdc@eppingforestdc.gov.uk for more details.


Park Homes event for residents on 2 October

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Epping, Gypsy and traveller, Housing, Loughton, Ongar, Planning, Private housing, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area

‘LEASE’ will be presenting at a Park Homes event for residents on 2 October at Epping Forest District Council. Please note that attendance at the event is by invitation only. However, the event will also be webcast live, and the recording will be available after the event.

The presentation will cover the Mobile Homes Act 2013, explaining the new legislation and how it affects park homes residents.

The Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE) is a Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB) funded by government to provide free advice on the law relating to Park Homes in England.

Click on this link for more information about the event

Charges for land drainage consent

Written on . Posted in Drainage, Planning, Your council

In line with the Flood & Water Management Act 2010 currently being implemented by local authorities who have responsibilities for surface water management, Epping Forest District Council, on behalf of Essex County Council, has introduced a charge from 5 August 2013 for issuing the required land drainage consent to undertake certain works affecting some ditches and watercourses.

The Land Drainage Act 1991 allows local authorities to charge for consenting to works that involve installing structures on, or to, or around ordinary watercourses, e.g. piping ditches associated with new vehicle crossings. Epping Forest District Council in consultation with Essex County Council has opted for a charge of £50 per structure per consent in relation to works as covered in Section 23 of the Land Drainage Act 1991 (as amended by the Flood & Water Management Act 2010).

It should be noted that all other consents issued under Epping Forest District Council’s Land Drainage Bye Laws remain free of charge in order to encourage residents and developers to engage with the council to ensure that ditches and watercourses are protected and maintained to help reduce the risk of flooding throughout the district.

For further information please refer to the Land Drainage pages on the council’s website, or contact the council on 01992 564068 and ask to speak to a land drainage officer, or contact the Engineering, Drainage & Water Team at edwteam@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.

Problems with Online Planning Applications through the Planning Portal 29 July 2013

Written on . Posted in Building control, Conservation and listed buildings, Planning, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Your council, Your environment

The Planning Portal has experienced a critical infrastructure failure today and as a result the Planning Portal website, which is used for the submission of electronic planning applications is currently unavailable since this morning.

The Department for Communities & Local Government who administer the Planning Portal have apologised for the inconvenience that this is causing and advised they are working resolve the issue as a priority to restore service as soon as possible.

Epping Forest Countrycare Volunteer Walk 2013

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Local plan / planning our future, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Residents, Sports, Travel, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Volunteering opportunities, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

As a thank-you to all our hardworking volunteers we organised a circular six mile guided walk last month. Led by Kevin Mason, an interesting and diverse route took the volunteers through woodlands, grasslands and green lanes.


Taking a break in Norton Heath

We were blessed with a fine sunny day, and set off from the Chipping Ongar heading east through the fields alongside Cripsey Brook. After crossing the River Roding we headed across the old landfill site at the former LECA works. The volunteers noticed the spread of the invasive plant Goats Rue (Galega officinalis) across the site, which they work hard to control on the EFDC’s nature reserve and former landfill site at Bobbingworth.  The walk next followed  St Peter’s Way besides arable fields and through overgrown field margins.

Volunteers identifying wildflowers found along the way

Several stops were made along the way to look at the flora and for anecdotes about the sites we were passing. The walk made its way to Norton Heath for lunch supplied by the Norton Heath Café.  The heath is formed on one of the smallest Essex outliers of gravel and in the early part of the 20th Century was heavily excavated to provide gravel for the Chelmsford to Ongar road A414.  Norton Heath was designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2010.

The return trip was made through the fields and along Norton Lane in a westerly direction to reach Norton Mandeville. A stop was made at All Saint’s church and Norton Hall to admire the church and learn a little of its history. After the church we followed the farm track down to High Ongar.

We crossed the River Roding again at the footbridge and made our way back to

Heading home

Chipping Ongar passing the castle on route.  Fortunately we were back at the start before the rain came.

Despite the nettles the walk was thoroughly enjoyed by all and everyone is looking forward to next year’s volunteer treat.

The volunteers said:

“Very many thanks for such a lovely day today.  The walk was varied and interesting.”

“It was very interesting to hear some of the local history and to appreciate the splendid views.”

Tree Wardens undertake OPAL Tree Health Survey.

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Volunteering opportunities, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

The Council’s Tree Wardens have started undertaking the OPAL (OPen Air Laboratories)  survey into the health of the trees in the District.  The survey is being co-ordinated by Imperial College London together with Forest Research and the Food and Environment Research Agency.

Horse Chestnut Tree

With guidance from Tree Warden Co-ordinator Kevin Mason a member of the Countrycare team, nine Tree Wardens attended a training session on 12th June in Roughtalley’s Wood, North Weald.

By taking part in the national survey and submitting the results the Tree Wardens are helping to discover more about the general health of our trees and give vital information on some of the pests and diseases that affect Oak, Ash and Horse Chestnut trees. Instruction was also given on identifying other potential pests and diseases which whilst not present yet, or at least not widespread, could have a serious impact on our trees.  Tree Wardens are part of an important surveillance network of people across the country protecting our trees.

The recordings are used by Forest Research – the Forestry Commission’s research agency.  The results from the survey will show the condition and health of the trees in parks, streets and woodlands across the UK and provide important information about the possible presence of certain key tree pests and diseases.

A national survey like this has not been undertaken before and it is likely that the trees surveyed by the Tree Wardens will not have been surveyed before.

The survey covers the location and species of the tree, its characteristics in relation to the trees around it and its condition; this gives a general picture about the health of the tree. Also covered was up to date information of pests and diseases on three of the most recognisable tree species: Ash, Oak and Horse Chestnut.

Bleeding Canker


One of the Horse Chestnuts surveyed by the Tree Wardens was discovered to have Bleeding Canker.  This is a disease caused by a pathogen, Pseudomonas syringae pv aesculi, which infects and disfigures the tree.  If the disease is severe it can kill the tree so it needs to be regularly checked.  Fortunately none of the Ash trees in the wood were found to have.
The Tree Wardens were also shown an unusual Cappadocian Maple (Acer cappadocicum) which is growing in the wood and there is a fine display of Common Spotted Orchids (Dactylorhiza fuchsii)growing in the wet grassland area.

Cappadocian maple


 To help with the survey please go to http://www.opalexplorenature.org/TreeSurvey
for the full instructions or alternatively contact Kevin Mason at Epping Forest Countrycare on 01992 788203

Planning documents offline for upgrade works

Written on . Posted in Business, Consultation, Licensing, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Your council, Your environment

On Monday 8 July you will not be able to view planning or licensing application documents online due to essential upgrade works. We will start at 8am and hope to have the upgrade completed by 2pm. No other part of the Epping Forest District Council website will be affected.

You will be not be able to search for documents such as floorplans and application forms but details of applications will still be available.

The upgrade will

  • improve the usability of the page
  • remove issues experienced by some users with pop up blockers

We apologise in advance for any inconvenience this may cause.


Cabinet on 10 June 2013

Written on . Posted in Benefits, Business, Council tax, Councillors, Crime and safety, Democracy, Emergencies, Housing, Leader, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Media, North Weald Airfield, Out and about, Planning, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council

Members of Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet met on Monday 10 June 2013. The agenda was dominated by Planning issues with the first debate considering the impact of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) on local planning applications.

Watch the webcast

Leader of Council, Councillor Chris Whitbread spoke of the burst water pipe over the weekend and council services disruption and said: “This kind of event could hit any business or organisation and we have good business continuity plans in place. I would like to thank personally all the officers involved on Sunday and throughout today. They have really set a first class example for this local authority. It was so pleasing to be able to come in here at 9am and survey the damage and most importantly to see us up and running and serving the public once again.”

Councillors received presentations from the Council’s legal adviser Mark Beard and the Director of Planning and Economic Development John Preston discussing where current council planning policies complimented the NPPF until the new Local Plan supersedes them and where current policies might carry less weight.

Cabinet then went on to review the minutes of the latest North Weald Airfield and Asset Management Committee including the on-going consultation with airfield users and the local Parish and County councils.

Cabinet then moved on to consider responses to the Community Choices Local Plan consultation and the next steps forward.

The Council continues to improve the quality of its council housing. Reports on the award of contracts for new kitchens in council-owned properties and external wall insulation were approved. A tender sum of £612,933 was accepted as being the lowest received for the installation of new kitchens to council housing across the district. Successful application for grants to offset the cost of external wall cladding to older council properties is set to save the council £280,000 on energy efficiency works to 35 properties with considerable benefits to tenants.

New policies and procedures for using the Investigatory Powers Act were approved.