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

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

North Weald decision

Written on . Posted in Commercial properties, Consultation, Councillors, Democracy, Housing, Leader, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Meetings, North Weald Airfield, Private housing, Supporting business, Your council

The challenge to Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet decision to proceed to preferred options with a mixed aviation, residential, community and commercial development option at North Weald Airfield has been rejected.

Residents made their feelings known before the meetingA packed public gallery looked on as members of the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on 27 August 2013 upheld the original Cabinet decision.

More than 150 residents listened to the debate. With the public gallery full, other residents were invited to take spare seats in the council chamber itself. More residents watched via webcasting in an overspill area after a good natured demonstration outside the district council offices in Epping earlier in the evening.

Cabinet set a course for consultation as part of the Local Plan preferred options on a mix of continued aviation with some residential and commercial development on 22 July. Councillors challenging the Cabinet decision argued that further attention should have been given to issues around the rejection of full scale business aviation, and housing and commercial development options which would have led to the end of aviation.

Councillor Sylvia Watson introduced the case for the call in. She argued that the original Cabinet decision specifically gave

  • Insufficient weight given to the discount rate reflecting risk
  • No analysis of revenue implications versus capital
  • No district wide consultation on change to Issues and Options prior to the Preferred Options stage (of the Local Plan)
  • No options available without massive development with no aviation

Watch the debate


Councillor Anne Grigg, Asset Management Portfolio Holder defended the original decision rebuffing each of the grounds for challenge in turn. She also outlined that each option carried a degree of financial risk and drew attention to the estimates of financial returns to the Council in the original report. She argued that it was not possible to provide full development cost estimates until such time as detailed development proposals were produced.

Councillor Grigg also took issue with concerns expressed by Councillor Lesley Wagland that the decision would hamper the introduction of the Council’s new Local Plan. She believed the Cabinet decision would meet the requirements of the Local Plan process. Drawing attention to the consultant’s report, she emphasised the commitment to complete a high level master planning exercise focusing on feasibility and deliverability prior to incorporation into the Local Plan Preferred Options consultation process also approved by Cabinet on 22 July. 

Members of Overview and Scrutiny questioned Councillor Grigg and those councillors supporting the call in. Councillor Richard Bassett, Planning Portfolio Holder was also asked about potential delays to the Local Plan should additional options be considered. All councillors wish to have the Local Plan adopted as soon as possible. Councillor Bassett reminded councillors that the Council is not only the planning authority but also the owner of North Weald Airfield with all the responsibilities that entails such as protection of the heritage of the site.

Impassioned calls for and against the challenge were made by councillors across the chamber before Overview and Scrutiny upheld the Cabinet decision by 9 votes to 3. Councillor Richard Morgan, chairman of the committee concluded with thanks to residents for their attendance and interest.

Over 150 residents attended the debate

Over 150 residents attended the debate at the civic offices in Epping


Councillors support North Weald homes and aviation option

Written on . Posted in Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Consultation, Housing, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, North Weald Airfield, Private housing, Residents, Supporting business, Your community

The control tower built in the Cold War eraCouncillors are to consult residents on a mixture of development and continued general aviation at North Weald Airfield. The decision to continue with aviation and explore additional uses was taken at the cabinet meeting of Epping Forest District Council on Monday (22 July). Epping Forest District Council has owned North Weald Airfield since 1980. Residents will be able to have their say as part of ‘Preferred Options’, the next round of Local Plan consultation scheduled for next year. Councillor Anne Grigg, Asset Management and Economic Development portfolio holder introduced a report to cabinet prepared by Deloittes, which provided a detailed assessment of the Council’s three options:

1. An intensification of aviation
2. A non aviation solution based on residential or commercial development; and
3. A mixed aviation/development based option.

Each of the three options had been assessed in terms of:

• Technical feasibility – including planning and infrastructure
• Financial feasibility
• Market attractiveness
• Risk; and
• Community value

A panel of Deloitte representatives presented more detail to councillors. Consultation with residents and tenants recognised the council could not continue to manage the airfield indefinitely in the current way. Without non aviation activities, the cost of the airfield to the council and its residents could be as much as £900,000 a year. Viable long term sustainability means some form of change at North Weald is therefore essential.  

Deloitte presented an overview of the potential risks and rate of investment return required from aviation intensification to make it sustainable. There are significant barriers to intensification such as the proximity of Stansted Airport, the overall commercial outlook and considerable capital investment is required. Councillors also considered the community benefits of this option including protection of the heritage of the airfield which was founded in 1916 before coming to prominence in the Battle of Britain, and the local support for aviation.

Option two looked at residential development of up to 3,400 homes and associated facilities or alternatively a focus on commerce and employment, with less housing and community facilities. These approaches would see the end of aviation, the biggest investment costs in terms of the necessary infrastructure, but also the biggest return and lower levels of financial risk. Improvements to surrounding road networks would require significant investments. In particular, attention would need to be given to the A414 and M11 access.

Finally, Deloitte presented a mixed aviation and residential option with some employment, open space and community facilities. Mixed use offers many of the advantages of the earlier options but on a lower scale. Ensuring compatibility between residential development and retaining existing aviation is perhaps the biggest challenge. Careful management of the airfield would still be necessary to ensure aviation moved to a sound financial footing and did not continue to require ongoing levels of subsidy. More work will be needed to investigate the feasibility of this option.

Webcasting was suspended and members of the public were asked to leave the meeting while councillors listened to confidential commercial information including potential costs and income from each option.

North Weald from the air

North Weald from the air

Cabinet voted on each option in turn before agreeing to take forward option three for a mixed aviation and development approach for integration into the next round of public consultation on the Local Plan Preferred Options in May 2014. The decision should also be good news for the Saturday Market and many of the other non aviation businesses at North Weald which would continue to have a secure base of operations. A spokesperson for the Council said: “Employment and services for local people are two of the Council’s priorities. The option to retain aviation in combination with limited development of new homes at  the airfield should also allow plenty of capacity for other businesses including the Saturday market to remain and prosper at North Weald.”

Putting goods to good use

Written on . Posted in Business, Epping, Housing, Local business, Media, Private housing, Recycling and waste, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your environment, Your home

Epping Forest ReUse is a great way to recycle your unwanted furniture and white goods by giving them a new home instead of throwing them away.

Opened in May 2013 in partnership with the Lighthouse Furniture Project Ltd., a registered charity, it is a not-for-profit social enterprise that aims to serve the local community.

More information about Epping Forest ReUse can be found by visiting their website

Councillor Will Breare-Hall, Environment Portfolio Holder, said “Epping Forest ReUse is a fantastic scheme that is great not only for the environment but also the local community. It demonstrates the benefits of residents, organisations and the Council working together to reduce waste and recycle more.”


Home Energy Conservation Act Further Report 2013

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Business, Chigwell, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Energy efficiency, Epping, Housing, Loughton, Older people, Olympics, Ongar, Planning, Private housing, Recycling and waste, Regulations, Residents, Travel, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your environment, Your home

As part of the amended Home Energy Conservation Act, Local Authorities are required to submit a further report on planned energy efficiency measures in their area.

Read the Epping Forest District Council HECA further report 2013

Find out more about energy efficiency


Proposed changes to charging for pre-planning application advice

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Business, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Epping, Housing, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Planning, Private housing, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

As from 1 April 2013, the Council’s charges on pre-planning application advice will be changing to include a greater scope of development types. Please see the attached document which sets out these new charges and the procedure for seeking advice.

View the new pre-planning application advice fees April 2013


Find out more about the planning process and pre-application advice

Shared Ownership Week

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Epping, Housing, Loughton, Ongar, Private housing, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your home, Your money

Shared Ownership Week aims to highlight the need for shared ownership (part buy, part rent) within today’s housing market. It could be an ideal solution for would-be first-time buyers who are increasingly frustrated by high house prices and deposit requirements.

Housing associations and councils are teaming up with the National Housing Federation for Shared Ownership Week from 18 to 24 March 2013 – to show the positive effects shared ownership can have on local economies and communities. Epping Forest District Council works in partnership with housing associations to develop shared ownership in the local area.

Shared ownership offers the most affordable route into home ownership, meeting families’ aspirations and allowing them to live and work in areas they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. Normally the homes are newly built and available for sale on a ‘part buy and part rent’ basis through housing associations. You can buy shares worth between 25% and 75% of the property’s market value, then pay a subsidised rent on the remaining share. You may need to raise a mortgage to purchase your share. But if you have enough money for a deposit, or equity from the sale of a property, this can also be used towards purchasing your share. Second-hand shared ownership properties are also available from existing owners and these are called resales.

An innovative scheme called “Open Market Shared Ownership” (OMSO) was launched last year by the  Council, in partnership with B3 Living. OMSO offers a lower cost alternative to other types of shared ownership. Buying a 50% share and paying a subsidised rent on the remaining share, can cost you a third less than if you bought the property outright. The deposit is lower too.  For an affordable way to own your own home, give the Home Ownership Team at B3Living a call on 01992 453700.

On 1st March a new development of 119 houses was officially opened at Gilwell Hill, Waltham Abbey – including 95 affordable homes. The Council worked closely with Genesis Housing Association to provide 38 two bedroom shared ownership houses on the ‘Abbey Meadows’ site, which have all been sold. There are 57 affordable rented homes as well. All applicants must be registered on the Epping Forest Housing Register.

Contact HomeBuy if you are looking for shared ownership homes, or resales.  HomeBuy options is the single website for the South East of England and is operated by Moat. You will find details of homes available to buy or rent in Essex – through affordable home ownership schemes – in the area you live or work.

Financial assistance to help you improve your home

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Business, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Epping, Grants, Housing, Housing repairs, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Planning, Private housing, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your community, Your home, Your money

Do you know that Epping Forest District Council offers financial assistance and grants to home owners and private tenants?

We may be able to assist if you need house repairs, energy efficiency works, or adaptations to your home because you are disabled. We also offer assistance to home owners wanting to bring an empty home back into use.

Financial assistance to help you improve your home

The types of financial assistance available include

  • disabled facilities grants up to £30,000
  • decent homes repayable assistance up to £10,000
  • small works repayable assistance up to £3,000
  • empty homes repayable assistance up to £10,000

Find out more

Full details of the eligibility criteria, and how you can apply, are available from the Private Sector Grants Team

  • email
  • phone 01992 564092
  • write to – Private Sector Grants Team, Housing Directorate, Epping Forest District Council, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4BZ

Council Tax freeze agreed by cabinet

Written on . Posted in Business, Business rates, Community, Council tax, Councillors, Democracy, Grants, Housing, Local business, Meetings, North Weald Airfield, Out and about, Planning, Private housing, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Council Tax freeze, new homes and disabled toilets were on the agenda when Epping Forest District Council’s cabinet met on Monday 4 February 2013.

Watch the webcast

Council Tax Frozen

There will be no increase in the Council Tax precept set by Epping Forest District Council if the recommendations of the cabinet are accepted by all councillors when the budgets are set later in February. The annual charge for a Band D property will remain the same for the third year in succession at £148.77.

Cabinet agreed the recommendations to full council despite further decreases in Government grant thanks in part to a number of savings reducing the next financial year’s ongoing revenue budget target to £14.37 million.

Councillor Syd Stavrou Finance Portfolio Holder emphasised Epping Forest District was and would remain a ‘low-tax’ council for the long term.

Councillor Chris Whitbread, Leader of the Council described the report as a ‘good news budget’ with £800,000 of savings coming mostly from ‘back offices’, no enforced redundancies, and fees and charges such as car park pay and display prices kept down. He acknowledged challenges ahead but remained upbeat about the council’s prospects.

After the meeting, Councillor Stavrou said: “At the current time with money so tight, it has never been so important to support local business and keep costs down for hard working local residents. Each member of the cabinet has played an important part in examining all service costs to reduce spending wherever possible while continuing to protect local services. Working with staff, we have found many new and better ways to deliver services without cutting quality and I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the process.”

Obsolete bedsits to be converted to new homes

Marden Close, a scheme of 20 bedsit flats developed for older residents in the 1960s is to be converted into 10 modern one-bedroom flats. The vacant buildings had previously proved very unpopular and difficult to let. Cabinet favoured retaining Marden Close rather than pursuing earlier options to transfer it to a social housing landlord. Proposals also found favour with cabinet for the lease of Faversham Hall to Chigwell Parish Council. East Thames Housing Group will project manage the conversions. Works could start on site within 6 months.

Councillors welcomed the scheme which will create much needed accommodation for people on the housing waiting list.

North Weald consultants appointed

Drivers Jonas Deloitte has been appointed to take forward the review of North Weald Airfield. The £145,000 brief is expected to make recommendations for consideration by councillors for the future of the airfield.

Council to fund CAB debt advisors

Cabinet agreed £67,000 to Epping Forest Citizens’ Advice Bureau for the appointment of 2 full-time debt advisors. The funding will cover 2 18 month contracts to begin in April. The agreement includes a commitment from the CAB to support residents through the Limes Centre in Chigwell. This funding is additional money to support homelessness prevention over and above the council’s regular CAB funding of more than £100,000 a year.

Better disabled toilet facilities for Epping and Buckhurst Hill

The accessible superloo currently provided in Bakers Lane Epping is set to be relocated to Buckhurst Hill once a major refurbishment of the Bakers Lane public toilet block has been completed. Cabinet approved additional expenditure of £85,000 for Bakers Lane and £21,000 towards relocating the superloo. The improvements are expected to be especially welcomed by people with disabilities who will find accessibility much improved through the initiative.