Green light for draft Local Plan consultation

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Epping Forest District’s Full Council met on Tuesday 18 October 2016 and approved the draft Local Plan for public consultation.

Next stop for the Epping Forest1

Consultation with residents

The Council will now run a consultation on the draft Local Plan for six weeks from 31 October to 12 December 2016 to gain feedback from the Epping Forest district community.

A dedicated website (www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/planningourfuture) has been available since 15 September, and acts as a one stop shop for information on the draft Local Plan and the consultation process. A questionnaire will also be available on the website for people to feedback to the Planning Policy team.

Visit an exhibition in your area

The Council is organising public exhibitions in Epping, Chigwell, Waltham Abbey, Loughton, Ongar and North Weald in early November, with a number of static information points available throughout the consultation period across the district so people can find out more. More information about these events will be published on the website and through a district wide newsletter.

The draft Local Plan sets out the proposed strategy to meet the economic and housing growth in the district up until 2033, identifying potential sites for development and regeneration and sets out proposed draft development management policies. It also outlines the necessary infrastructure to support the development.

Influence how the district grows

Councillor John Philip, Epping Forest District Council Planning Policy Portfolio Holder, explained: ”A Local Plan is your best opportunity to guide how the district grows and to protect ourselves from inappropriate development. Without a Local Plan we are vulnerable to developers taking the opportunity to submit applications for sites that we do not consider appropriate or sustainable.

“This Plan has been progressed with over 130 pieces of evidence and technical work, and has been shaped through thousands of pieces of feedback we received from residents through consultations in 2010/2011 and 2012.

“The draft Local Plan represents a balance between the requirement from Government to deliver the identified and evidenced need for economic and housing growth, and the need to protect the greenness of our district. We are trying to do this by ensuring it is delivered in as sensitive, sustainable and fair a way as possible across the whole district.

“With 92% of Epping Forest district designated as Metropolitan Green Belt, we have been clear all along we will do our best to follow what you told us and so it seeks to ensure that, as far as possible, the Green Belt is protected for future generations, whilst providing for our housing needs.”

Working with neighbouring councils

Epping Forest District Council has been working with neighbouring authorities in Harlow, East Hertfordshire and Uttlesford in order to achieve a cross border understanding of the level of growth needed up until 2033.

With a growing and ageing population, current evidence shows that Epping Forest district needs to deliver approximately 11,400 new homes over the draft Local Plan period. However, with around 2,500 new homes already built or in the pipeline with planning permission, the main aim of the Plan is focused on where the remaining 8,900 or so properties and infrastructure should go.

The draft Local Plan proposes the allocation of approximately 3,900 new homes on strategic sites within Epping Forest district on the edge of Harlow and the remaining number distributed across the district.

Get involved

Epping Forest District Council is urging as many people to get involved as possible in the next stage of the consultation for the draft Local Plan.

Councillor John Philip commented: ”This will be your Local Plan and the consultation is our opportunity as a community to ensure development in Epping Forest district takes place how and where we want it to.”

Find out more

You can find out more information at the consultation events across the district and by visiting the website www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/planningourfuture before providing your feedback. The council can only accept feedback on the draft Local Plan until 12 December 2016.”

We will listen and there will be changes

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Councillors had their first chance to debate future development policy following the publication of the draft Local Plan at Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet on 6 October.

EFDC Local Plan logos

Cabinet supported recommendations asking Full Council on 18 October to endorse the plan for public consultation.

Councillor John Philip, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Planning assured fellow councillors that the document before them was for full consultation. The Council would listen and he was sure that there would be changes. However, to be persuasive, Councillor Philip said that arguments for change to the Plan had to be backed up with clear evidence. For example, evidence could include information about issues such as;

  • Flooding
  • Access arrangements
  • Contamination
  • Utilities
  • Other infrastructure
  • Availability of the site

The Leader of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Chris Whitbread thanked Councillor Philip, his predecessor Councillor Richard Bassett and council staff for all the hard work that had gone into the draft.

Subject to the approval of Full Council, public consultation on the draft Local Plan will take place between 31 October and 12 December.

Planning our future

To view all the latest Local Plan information go to the consultation website

Get involved

Join in the conversation

Car parks essential says councillor

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We need car parks” says Planning Portfolio Holder Councillor John Phillip. “Including London Underground and council-owned car parks in the list of potential Local Plan development sites does not mean getting rid of the current parking provision” he added.

Epping Forest district Local Plan

Developing local car parks

Councillor Philip said: “References in the draft Local Plan to developing local car parks have caught people’s attention. There is an assumption that you can’t have public car parks and residential development together.”

“In fact some of the district’s London Underground and council-owned car parks could be redeveloped with public parking beneath or beside residential housing.”

“None of our proposals suggest any net loss of car parking spaces. As sustainable brownfield sites in town centre locations, car parks could be one of the most suitable locations for new housing.”

Planning Our Future video

Blueprint for development

The Local Plan is the blueprint for the development of future housing and employment in Epping Forest district. It will protect the district from unsuitable development. However, before the new Local Plan can be adopted, the draft is set to go through a major public consultation from 31 October to 12 December 2016.

Councillor Philip is encouraging people to respond from 31 October 2016. Comments by local residents will be gathered by the council as a vital part of the process of persuading a Government inspector it has met requirements for additional population growth, housing and employment up to 2033.

Based on careful analysis

  • 11,400 additional homes are necessary between 2011 and 2033
  • 1,173 homes are already built
  • 1,194 have been granted planning permission up to March 2016
  • 595 windfall developments allowance

Almost 3,000 new homes are already accounted for

  • 3,900 new homes are proposed at strategic sites on the edge of Harlow

Leaving a balance of approximately 4,550 homes to be developed across the rest of the district

Residents have as much opportunity to have their say as possible.

The Local Plan is our plan

Councillor Philip said: “The Local Plan is our plan. It belongs to everyone who lives and works in our district. I want as many comments and contributions as possible.”

“Online consultation is at the core of our strategy. Our website makes it easy to find all the information and respond to us. We are raising awareness through email and social media too, but we also recognise not everyone is online.”

The conversation has already started

“We are mailing a leaflet district-wide, holding public information events and exhibitions, handing postcards to commuters at local tube stations, giving interviews and briefings to reporters and putting adverts in the local press. The conversation has already started. We are well underway.”

 

Changes to pre-application advice fees

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From 1 October 2016 we’re changing our pre-application planning advice charges.

Image of plans

Pre-application advice fee changes

The householder pre-application advice fee is increasing to £80 (including VAT) and we’re introducing a fee of £120 (including VAT) for listed building pre-application advice.

All highway related pre-application advice must be sought from Essex County Council direct.

Costs recovered directly from applicant

We are making these changes to ensure that pre-application advice costs are recovered directly from the landowner or developer, and not as a general cost to the Council Tax payer.

 

First look of our draft Local Plan

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Residents and councillors have their first chance to view an advance version of the draft Local Plan before Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet meeting on 6 October 2016.

Website launch infographic

The plan, available to view on the Cabinet agenda from 27 September, is subject to change at Cabinet and the meeting of Full Council on 18 October 2016. Only once agreed with any further amendments at Full Council will the draft be ready for public consultation from Monday 31 October 2016.

First chance to see

Planning Portfolio Holder John Philip said: “This is everyone’s first chance to see what the Plan for consultation will look like but it is important to remember that things could still change between now and the end of October. It won’t be finalised until all councillors have had their final say at Full Council.”

“However, by getting this early draft out a month before the official consultation starts, we are ensuring everyone has as much time as possible to consider the issues before the deadline for responses on 12 December 2016. We don’t want your views yet – not until the draft plan is finalised, but we are looking for as much feedback as we can possibly get once the consultation starts on 31 October 2016.”

Consultation website

A special consultation website has been created to support the Local Plan consultation process. It has been designed to make consultation feedback as simple and straightforward as possible.

Epping Forest District Council is also preparing a leaflet for district-wide delivery to households and businesses in the next few weeks to encourage feedback, as well as holding exhibitions, placing adverts in the local press, handing information cards out at railway stations and sending frequent reminders out on social media.

Local town and parish councils are helping the district council with articles in local magazines, posters on noticeboards and more social media.

Everyone’s Local Plan

John Philip said: “This is everyone’s Local Plan. It is the plan for our future, the future of our children and the future of our grandchildren. It will guide development across the district including where to build new homes and employment for a growing population right up to 2033.”

“It will also seek to protect all the most important things we love and cherish about our district including natural spaces and the Green Belt. Please get involved. Follow the process and give us your feedback.”

Local Plan infographics

View the infographics in a slideshow by clicking on a picture below and then click start slideshow

 

Local Plan Planning our Future – website launched

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Epping Forest District Council has launched a new Planning Our Future website, so that residents in the District can find out how to get involved in the upcoming consultation for the next stage in the Local Plan process.

Website launch infographic

Planning our future 

Every district is required to have an up-to-date Local Plan, and with a renewed emphasis from Central Government on the need for a Local Plan to be in place in early 2017, Epping Forest District Council will be consulting on its Draft Plan during November and December 2016.

The new Planning Our Future website, will be a one stop shop for all the information about the Local Plan and what it means for Epping Forest District, registering for updates, as well as a quick and easy way to provide feedback.

Give us your feedback

Councillor John Philip, Cabinet Member for Planning Policy at Epping Forest District Council,stated: “This is your Local Plan. Get involved and give us your feedback. Our new Planning Our Future website has been launched two months before the start of the consultation, so that everyone who wants to can get involved in the different events we are holding across the District in November and December.”

Epping Forest District’s Full Council will meet on 18 October to agree whether the Draft Local Plan can go out to consultation for six weeks. If approved, the consultation on the Draft Plan is expected to run between 31st October and 12th December.

This will be a chance to have a say over the direction of the Local Plan document before it is submitted to the Government. The document will be a blueprint for all development in the District up until 2033.

The Local Plan is not simply about how many homes are needed, but guides where the new homes are most sustainably and suitably located in Epping Forest District. It also supports the success of local businesses. It sets out the retail and leisure requirements. It will ensure the right facilities and infrastructure are delivered by developers. It will protect and enhance the District’s natural environment.

Keep updated 

In addition to the new Planning Our Future website, regular updates about the Local Plan will be available via;

Use the #EFDCLocalPlan to join in the conversation.

Hillhouse planning application submitted

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An outline planning application for a new development in the heart of Waltham Abbey has been submitted. The plans for a new leisure centre, health centre and sixty independent living properties for older people would see the development at Hillhouse, on the Ninefields Estate.

Plans developed in partnership

Drawn up in partnership by Epping Forest District Council, Essex County Council and NHS England, the plans come following a community engagement weekend held earlier in the year involving local residents, businesses and other interested parties.

Milestone reached

Councillor Helen Kane, Epping Forest District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Community Services said: “This is another milestone reached in bringing forward fantastic new facilities for Hillhouse and Waltham Abbey, as well as the Epping Forest District as a whole.”

She continued: ”We have listened carefully to what residents have been telling us and, at a recent meeting that local councillors and senior officers held with local residents, we heard loud and clear that there was only limited support for a new play area and outdoor gym trail, and that residents would prefer to keep at least one playing pitch in the area.  So we have changed some of our plans for the planning application as a result, and now intend to provide a mini soccer grass pitch for use by under 7/8 year olds instead.”

A plan that will truly benefit the community

Cllr John Spence CBE, Essex County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Housing added: “Land owned by the public sector – whichever part of the public sector – is owned by the taxpayers, so it is critical that all public agencies work together, either to dispose of such land or to ensure it is used to best effect, and this is a great example of partners working collaboratively towards a development that will truly benefit the community.”

“Within the Epping Forest area, as in other parts of the county, there is a real need for independent living properties designed to support older people, and with an ageing population in Essex we will see an emphasis by the County Council on this type of development in the future.”

Sustainability

Alison Cowie, Head of Commissioning, NHS England (Essex) said, “There is a long established need to find long term sustainable premises for the relocation of the Maynard Court Surgery. The current premises do not meet current standards and no longer provide the space required for the current list size of the practice, which has seen substantial growth over the last few years and is set to continue to grow with future development plans in the area.”

West Essex CCG said: “West Essex CCG supports the regeneration of the Ninefields site as an ideal opportunity for a new health centre without the need to move services from the current area. It will enable an increased number and type of services, while at the same time providing opportunities to improve the health and wellbeing  of local residents.”

Have your say

The plan will now go through the planning process with the opportunity for residents to comment, with a decision likely in November.  If approved, the three public sector partners will then seek detailed planning permission for their element of the overall development next year.

Cabinet 21 July 2016

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Economic support, local plan and new council housing were among items discussed at Cabinet on 21 July 2016.

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Council moving forward

A range of exciting developments are in the pipeline. New housing, sports, and economic developments are being matched by an internal transformation programme at Epping Forest District Council. A very upbeat Cabinet meeting confirmed progress on a number of fronts. Councillor Chris Whitbread, Leader of Epping Forest District Council, emphasised how the District Council is leading in partnership with other organisations.

Cabinet agrees Retail Park contract

The £10.2m contract to build Epping Forest Shopping Park was awarded to McLaughlin & Harvey Construction at the latest meeting of Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet on Thursday (21 July). Assets and Economic Development Portfolio Holder Anne Grigg recommended McLaughlin and Harvey as the best tender after receiving bids in competition with RG Carter and Higgins Construction. The retail park on the site of the former council depot in Langston Road, Loughton is due to open in August 2017.

Cabinet also agreed additional spending on associated highway works, bringing the cost of the improvements contract for Chigwell Lane and Langston Road awarded to Walkers Construction to £2.978m. Epping Forest District Council is in negotiation with a number of well-known retailers.

Local Plan and Local Council Tax Scheme

The draft Local Plan will be in the public domain up to five weeks before formal consultation starts in late October. Planning Portfolio Holder Councillor John Philip said the advance availability would effectively give local residents 11 weeks to consider the draft with responses being received in the final six week period.

Finance Portfolio Holder Councillor Gagan Mohindra reported on consultation to be undertaken between August and October to update the Local Council Tax Support Scheme.

New Council Housing

Housing Portfolio Holder Councillor Syd Stavrou secured the approval of Cabinet for revisions to the Council House Building Development Strategy. In addition to building new homes made available to local residents, Epping Forest District Council is also planning to buy houses on the open market for rent at ‘affordable’ rates.

Leisure and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder Councillor Helen Kane followed with a report on the Hillhouse Masterplan and Development Scheme, a partnership with Essex County Council and NHS England. Cabinet supported the draft proposals including a new public swimming pool, independent living homes and health facilities on the Ninefields estate in Waltham Abbey which will be subject to further public consultation and planning applications.

Parish Neighbourhood Plan – help offered

Planning Portfolio Holder John Philip advised fellow councillors not to endorse a local referendum for the Moreton, Bobbingworth and the Lavers Parish Council Neighbourhood Plan. Following an independent planning examiner’s refusal to recommend the Plan, Epping Forest District Council will continue to advise and assist the parish council should it chose to revise it.

Economic support to towns and villages

Cabinet approved the Town and Village Centre Opportunities Fund Policy, funded by Epping Forest District Council with £35,000 in 2016/17.

First steps for Waltham Abbey Neighbourhood Plan

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

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

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

Waltham Abbey Town Council has identified the area to be covered by the plan as the whole parish.  Under the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 (as amended) Epping Forest District Council, as the local planning authority, is required to publicise this proposed area for a period of at least four weeks so that people can comment on it.

View the application

A copy of the application, along with further information on neighbourhood planning, can be viewed.

This is a consultation on the identification of the potential plan area, not a formal consultation on the Neighbourhood Plan itself, which will come later as the Plan progresses. The consultation commences on 12 January 2016 and will run for 4 weeks until 5.00pm on 8 February 2016.

Comment on the application

  • Comments can be sent by email to ldfconsult@eppingforestdc.gov.uk
  • Post to: Forward Planning, Epping Forest District Council, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4BZ.

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.

Council 15 December 2015

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Tributes to a recently deceased former councillor, an update on the refuse and recycling service, voting registration, councillors allowances and more were discussed at Council on 15 December 2015.

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Former councillor Daphne Borton

Councillors remembered former councillor Daphne Borton at the meeting of Epping Forest District Council on Tuesday 15 December 2015. Chairman of Council, Councillor Liz Webster invited fellow councillors to observe a minutes silence in memory of Daphne Borton who sat on the Council from 2002 to 2007.

Councillor Richard Bassett who succeeded Mrs Borton as ward councillor for Nazeing led tributes. Mrs Borton served the residents of Nazeing for more than 22 years on the Parish and District Councils. Councillors Richard Morgan, Caroline Pond, John Knapman and Brian Surtees gave further praise and offered sympathy for her husband Ed. Councillors also sent the good wishes to fellow councillor Stephen Murray who recent suffered a broken leg in a car accident.

Investment strategy

A series of questions by Councillors Chris Pond and Steven Neville provided Finance Portfolio Holder Syd Stavrou with the opportunity to update fellow councillors on the council’s investment strategy and training opportunities available to all councillors in the New Year. Councillor Chris Whitbread, Leader of Council updated fellow councillors about the potential devolution of services from central to local government and meetings with neighbouring councils. He assured colleagues of his intention to protect the best interests of Epping Forest District Council residents.

Refuse and recycling

Difficult decisions and timely responses back in the summer have led to a stabilised refuse and recycling contract with no further additional expenditure about £13,000 allocated at the time. Environment Portfolio Holder congratulated council staff on the successful turn-around in fortunes for the refuse and recycling service.

Planning

Planning Portfolio Holder Richard Bassett reported on recent Central Government guidance on future planning for starter homes and affordable housing as well as possible relaxation of Green Belt policy and use of Brown-Field sites.

Voting

The number of people registered to vote in Epping Forest has increased. Portfolio Holder for electoral registration Councillor Jon Philip said that the Council has achieved returns of its Household Enquiry Forms of 98.1% at 1 December 2015.

23,641 (43%) of households used online technology to confirm their registration. A further 2,800 people used the system to confirm personal changes online. This saved taxpayers money on postage and time for staff in back office processing. As a result of the canvass, the electorate will grow from 99,575 to 100,862 for this year, a gain of 1,287 people. Less than 200 non-responders from last year’s canvass will be removed from the register.

Councillors allowances

5 reports by the Cabinet covering the Housing Repairs and Maintenance Hub, Local Plan budget, Calendar of Council meetings, Capital Review and Local Council Tax Support Scheme were all agreed by Full Council.

Councillors voted to agree the report of the independent remuneration panel which sets the level of councillors allowances. Historically councillors have only given themselves 80% of the recommended allowance. This equates to a payment of £3,435 per year.

The report of the panel was presented by Mr Stephen Lye. Comparisons with other councils showed the levels of remuneration to be far lower at Epping Forest. Councillors decided the reduction of 20% on the basic allowance had become unsustainable and agreed a bid for full implementation of £4,300 subject to final approval at the setting of the council budget in February.

Councillors also agreed that responsibility for setting the level of special responsibility allowance paid to the Vice-Chairman and Chairman should be transferred to the Remuneration Panel.