Council Tax freeze agreed by cabinet

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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.

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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.

One Business Briefing – brimming with news for local businesses

Written on . Posted in Abandoned vehicles, Animal welfare, Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Business, Business rates, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Doing business with the council, Drainage, Energy efficiency, Epping, Grants, Gypsy and traveller, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Loughton, Media, Older people, Olympics, Ongar, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Travel, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

The January 2013 edition of ‘One Business Briefing’ is now available.

In this edition Reed in Partnership gives local businesses advice on how they can use Government funding to get staff job relevant qualifications at no cost to the employer or employee. It also introduces MP Eleanor Laing’s new Business Forum, reports on current tourism development work, including a key event on 31 January 2013 to develop tourism within the area and much more.

Read the January 2013 edition – One Business Briefing

Produced by Epping Forest District Council, One Epping Forest and local partners the briefing provides information for businesses and those looking to start up in business in the Epping Forest district. The briefing is designed to report on business funding opportunities / access to finance, business support, workshops / events for business, town centre news and other local economic development initiatives.

If you would like to receive future editions of ‘One Business Briefing’ by email please email economicdevelopment@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.

National Empty Homes Week

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Council tax, Epping, Grants, Housing, Local business, Loughton, Ongar, Out and about, Planning, Private housing, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your home

National Empty Homes week runs from 26 November to 1 December 2012 highlighting the waste of empty properties.

Each dwelling that stands empty is a wasted resource and the council is committed to bringing empty properties back to use.

  • An empty property can cost an owner up to £10,000 a year in maintenance, Council Tax, increased insurance and potential loss in rental
  • They act as a magnet for crime and anti-social behaviour including squatters, vandalism, arson and rubbish dumping
  • Run-down, derelict and abandoned properties bring down the appearance of a neighbourhood and give a sense of decay and decline
  • The house next door to an empty property may be devalued by as much as 10%

We can help owners of empty properties by giving advice and information and also by offering financial assistance.

Report an empty property

If you know of an empty property and want to make us aware of it, please complete the online form.

If you would like to discuss any property or issue relating to empty homes call the Empty Property Officer on 01992 564706. All calls and information received will be treated in confidence.

Read more on empty properties.

New super fast broadband available

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Epping, Grants, Housing, Local business, Loughton, Ongar, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Residents and businesses can now benefit from a new super fast broadband service thanks to the FibreWiFi Broadband Service provided by Buzcom.

Orders are now being taken for the new service which covers most of the Epping Forest district, with homes and businesses able to access speeds of up to 50 Mb.

FibreWiFi logoAll enquiries about the coverage, pricing and features should be sent to FibreWiFi

Epping Forest District Council provided assistance to help enable the network.

Arts and Sports Awards 2012 are now open

Written on . Posted in Arts, Community, Grants, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Sports, Young people, Your community, Your council

EFDC Arts and Sports Awards 2013 poster

 

The EFDC Arts and Sports Awards are given to young people aged between 13 and 25 years old, who live in the district and who are able to demonstrate outstanding talent in their art form or sporting activity.  The Awards range from £500 up to £1500 which is given to the overall winners.

The aim of the Awards programme is to recognise local talent and to assist young people in their creative development by providing funding support towards specialist equipment, materials, travel and accommodation costs and extra tuition fees.

To be eligible for an award you must;

– Demonstrate a high level of skill and have the potential to improve even further;

– In sports, you must be competing at county, regional or national level in a nationally governed sport

– In music, you must be at grade VIII if you are a jazz or classical musician, or receiving public or professional recognition for your work, if working in other genres.

– In the visual and performing arts, you must be pursuing a course of study at a higher educational level and/or receiving public or professional recognition for your work.

Overall winner of the 2011 Epping Forest DC Arts and Sports Awards, Holly Pattie-Belleli

 

The deadline for applications will be 1stDecember 2012.

If you, or anyone you know, is interested in receiving more information please email efa@eppingforestdc.gov.uk (Arts) or csreception@eppingforestdc.gov.uk (Sports) with your postal address and we will send you full details and an application form. Alternatively, you can ring us on 01992 564561 or follow the link below to download a copy of the application form.

Download the EFDC Arts and Sports Awards application form

Business Briefing hot off the press and brimming with news for local businesses

Written on . Posted in Abandoned vehicles, Animal welfare, Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Business, Business rates, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Doing business with the council, Drainage, Energy efficiency, Epping, Grants, Gypsy and traveller, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Loughton, Media, Noise, Older people, Olympics, Ongar, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Travel, Trees and landscapes, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

The October 2012 edition of ‘one business briefing’ is available. Produced by EFDC, One Epping Forest and local partners the briefing provides information for businesses and those looking to start up in business in the Epping Forest District.  The briefing  is designed to report on  business funding opportunities/access to finance, business support, workshops/events for business and local economic development initiatives.

The October edition highlights a new training grant available from Essex County Council which is available to businesses but those eligible must be quick as the grant is only available from now until March 2013. The briefing also highlights specific support available to manufacturing and construction businesses in the Epping Forest district.  If you are looking to set-up in business the briefing directs individuals to support being offered by HMRC, including its free and informal workshop sessions held in Epping.

Read the October 2012 edition – One Business Briefing

If you would like to receive future editions of ‘one business briefing’ directly to your email inbox please email vwillis@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Epping Forest District Sports Award 2011

Written on . Posted in Grants, Olympics, Our activities, Residents, Sports, Your community

With fewer than five hundred days before the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games 2012, the winner of the Epping Forest District Sports Award 2011 is James Hollis, a 16 year old from Theydon Bois studying at Davenant Foundation School in Loughton. He is currently part of the British Disability National Swimming Development Squad and junior captain of Epping Forest District Swimming Club.

James Hollis accepts the sports award 2011 from chairman Anne Grigg

He is ranked number one in the UK and eighteen in the world for 100 metre backstroke, second in the UK and thirteenth in the world for hundred metre butterfly and second in the UK and eighteenth in the World for the 200 metre individual medley The award of £1,500 will help this outstanding young swimmer gain more training pool time in London as well as paying for other expenses as his preparations focus on the 2012 Paralympics.

Three further sports awards of £500, £750 and £1,000 are to be made to Marc Brenner, a 15 year old golfer from Chigwell, 15 year old athlete Joseph Lascaris from Loughton and 19 year old Cross Country runner Ronnie Sparks from Waltham Abbey.

Epping Forest District Arts Award 2011

Written on . Posted in Arts, Grants, Olympics, Our activities, Residents, Your community

Each year the council plays its part in encouraging the arts by presenting awards to support the most gifted and talented young people in our district. Four awards were made this year totalling more than £4,000 to aspiring local performing artists and musicians.

Guitarist Tom McHenry and actor Daniel Smith from Loughton both received awards of £1,000 while Stephen Pemble, also of Loughton received £750 toward his performing arts development. Antony Camillo is the overall winner of the Epping Forest District Arts Awards 2011.

Youth Councillor Ellis Spicer accepts the arts award 2011 for Antony Camillo and chairman Anne Grigg

Aged 22 from Waltham Abbey, he is currently studying at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Antony is a highly-gifted pianist who recently won a place on the prestigious Master of Music postgraduate course at the Royal Academy of Music.

His music has reached a wide audience through performances broadcast by Radio Three and BBC Radio Scotland. Unfortunately, due to illness Antony was unable to attend the awards reception to receive his award of £1,500. However Ellis Spicer of the Epping Forest Youth Council agreed to accept a certificate on Antony`s behalf.

Chairman Opens New Playground

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Chigwell, Community, Grants, Out and about, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Ribbon cutting at the new Limes Farm Playground

Some of the district`s youngest residents put the latest play equipment to the test when they joined Councillor John Knapman, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council at Limes Farm on Tuesday 18 November 2008.

Pictured right – from left to right are Councillor John Knapman, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council with Lee, Mark, Rianna and Lily Jo open the new Limes Farm Playground

Proving he is no slouch when it comes to climbing frames, Councillor Knapman entered into the spirit of the occasion by testing some of the equipment for himself. Also celebrating the official opening of the new playground, funded with a grant of £58,000 from the National Lottery, was Chigwell Parish Council Chairperson, Councillor Christine Buttling.

The refurbished bridge forms the centre-piece of the new Limes Farm Playground

Chairman John Knapman with residents by the climbing wallThe new play equipment is part of the ongoing community investment by Epping Forest District Council and our partners at Limes Farm, said District Council Leisure and Young People Portfolio Holder, Councillor Heather Harding. Everything except the play-bridge is brand new. There are new swings and swivels of different kinds, a climbing wall, slides and rocking horses. I hope local children will enjoy many happy days of play.

Pictured right – District Council Chairman, Councillor John Knapman shows he still has his playground skills with Limes Farm residents Lily Jo, Lee and Angel, District Council Leisure and Young People Portfolio Holder, Heather Harding and Chigwell Parish Council Chairperson, Councillor Christine Buttling

Councillor Harding added: The project has been well received by local residents who were consulted on what equipment they thought the playground should have. This is exactly what the Big Lottery Funding is aimed at – enhancing the opportunities for local children to enjoy free play activities in an exciting and stimulating environment.

Limes Farm residents enjoying the new facilities

Epping Forest District Council was recently awarded a total of £243,000 from the Big Lottery Fund Children`s Play Programme to provide and improve play opportunities in the District. Following an audit of play facilities, three areas were selected to benefit from playground refurbishment schemes; Limes Farm in Chigwell, Nazeing and Abridge. The Limes Farm children`s playground was the first to be completed.

Lee, Mark, Rianna, Lily Jo and Angel were not put off by the rain as they played on the new equipment supervised by their mums and dads. Councillor Knapman said: The weather was pretty bad but no-one seemed to mind. It was a very enjoyable morning.

Bursary Scheme for Sports and the Arts

Written on . Posted in Arts, Community, Grants, Our activities, Out and about, Young people, Your area, Your council

Sports and Arts Activities

Epping Forest District Council is encouraging applications from talented young people in the district to apply for Leisure Bursary Awards. The Scheme provides two £1,500 awards each year – one for the Arts and one for Sport. Applicants must be aged 13 to 25 and be able to demonstrate an outstanding talent for their activity. The Awards are intended to help pay for additional opportunities to further develop this talent.

Last year the Bursary for Arts was awarded jointly to Somalia Seaton and Nichola Miles. Somalia received funding to support her theatre production at the National Student Drama Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Her work received great reviews and Somalia gained a wealth of experience. Nichola was a winner of a competition to design marketing material for St Clare Hospice and the Bursary Award helped to fund much-needed equipment for her to enable her to complete her course at Harlow College. She has since gained a place at Hertford University where she is studying Graphic Design and Illustration.

Jim Lewis was the 2008 Sports Bursary Winner. Jim is part of the British Cycling Talent Team and races at international level. The award enabled Jim to purchase a bespoke bike which will help him towards his ultimate goal of representing GB at the 2012 Olympics.

Full details and application forms are available from Lynne Hague, on 01992 564551. Closing date for applications is 30 January 2009 and interviews will be held mid-February.