Council takes back management of car parks

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From 1 April 2017 Epping Forest District Council will take over the management of their 18 car parks, saving at least £58,600 each year for local taxpayers.

Car park

The District Council will now be responsible for processing season tickets, penalty charge notices (PCNs) and other associated functions run until now by the North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP).

New company to enforce

The Council has engaged a specialist company, NSL, to carry out day-to-day enforcement activities, as well as cash collection from the pay-and-display machines in the car parks.
Since 2011 Epping Forest District Council has partnered Essex County Council in NEPP, together with Harlow, Uttlesford, Braintree, Colchester and Tendring councils.

NEPP manage on-street parking

Until now NEPP has managed both on-street and off-street parking services in Epping Forest district for a number of years, and will continue to operate on-street parking enforcement and services in the district.

Efficiency improvements

The transfer of off-street management follows an analysis by the District Council which found that a number of efficiency improvements could be made, benefiting local taxpayers.

Councillor Gary Waller, Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder, commented: ”I am delighted that these new arrangements for our car parks are now being put in place. By taking functions back in-house and engaging the services of NSL, we can make very worthwhile savings, and I believe we shall provide a better service to the public as well.”

”Not only will the parking charges remain at the current level but we shall continue to operate car parks that have received the prestigious ParkMark award, demonstrating that they continue to attain the very highest standards in terms of safety and security.”

Cabinet 9 March 2017

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The Local Plan, better use of council assets, housing for homeless people, pay and display car parks and the investment of additional fees in the planning service dominated debate at Cabinet on 9 March.

Draft Local Plan consultation

Preliminary findings from the draft Local Plan consultation were presented by Planning Portfolio Holder Councillor John Philip to the meeting of Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet on 9 March.

Councillor Philip outlined some clear themes coming through for more work on infrastructure and employment sites including the wider area of East Herts and Harlow. New potential sites and changes to previously identified sites are also being reviewed and will be fed into the revisions of the draft plan. A new transport assessment is also being done in conjunction with Essex County Council.

Councillor Philip emphasised that publication of the next draft depended on full analysis and assessment of the additional work programmed in over the next year or so. Councillors noted the initial findings of the consultation, agreed progression of the Local Plan to the next stage and approved the publication of the Council’s updated Local Development Scheme online.

Better use of council buildings

The interests of residents and customers must remain at the heart of council services. Council Leader Chris Whitbread received Cabinet support for proposals to reduce the need for office space at the Civic Offices in Epping.

Reports show flexible working by staff including home and remote working, and use of other council buildings could allow the Council to move out of the older part of the Civic Offices known as the Conder Building. Councillor Whitbread described the proposals as part of the wider transformation programme to improve services.

Pay and Display set to save £58,000

Final preparations have been agreed for the transfer of the council’s off-street parking management from the North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) to NSL.

Portfolio Holder Gary Waller reminded fellow councillors of the improvements the change of contract will bring to residents and the Council. The Council will save £58,600 under the new arrangements even though Councillor Waller said that NSL did not submit the cheapest bid. They did submit the best quality bid. Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) rates remain the same.

Housing for Homeless People

Housing Portfolio Holder Councillor Syd Stavrou received approval to progress plans for a small pilot scheme of three ‘Pods’ to accommodate people at Norway House in North Weald. The pods containing individual living accommodation and shared kitchens are manufactured by a North Weald based company. Subject to planning approval, the Council plans to help homeless people who would otherwise find themselves in Bed and Breakfast.

Increased planning application fees

Cabinet accepted an offer by the Department of Communities and Local Government to increase planning fees. Governance Portfolio Holder Richard Bassett confirmed that any extra income would be reinvested in planning services.

Christmas contact information

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We are closed from 5pm on 23 December 2016 until 9am on 3 January 2017. There are still ways you can get in touch with us when you need to over the Christmas holiday period.

Christmas message from Chairman Jeane Lea

Report it

Report it online (non-emergency) – report missed bin, noise, flytipping, fraud, abandoned vehicle, etc.

Report by email (non-emergency) – emails sent here will not be looked at until 3 January 2017.

Phone (emergency) 01992 564000

Housing repairs (emergency) 01992 564199

Social media

We monitor our main Twitter and Facebook accounts every day.

Pay it

Pay online 24/7 – pay Council Tax, rent, business rates, leasehold charges, etc.

Pay by phone 24/7 01992 564600

Our Debden cash office & Epping kiosk will close at 4:30pm on 23 December 2016 and reopen 9am on 3 January 2017.

Our Waltham Abbey library kiosk is subject to Waltham Abbey library opening hours.

Waste and recycling

Christmas 2016 revised collection dates

  • Collection date Tuesday 27 December 2016 revised to Wednesday 28 December 2016
  • Collection date Wednesday 28 December 2016 revised to Thursday 29 December 2016
  • Collection date Thursday 29 December 2016 revised to Friday 30 December 2016
  • Collection date Friday 30 December 2016 revised to Saturday 31 December 2016

Recycling real Christmas trees

Leave your real Christmas trees with your food and garden waste in January 2017. Remove the pot, all decorations and if over 6ft, cut in half to ensure safe collection.

Special collections

Our special collections service closes at 5pm on 23 December 2016 and resume at 9am on 3 January 2017.

Lost or found dogs

Call 07815 512833 weekdays from 7am to 9pm, weekends and bank holidays from 10am to 7pm.

Car parks

Free weekend parking in December – all of our car parks are free on weekends throughout December and bank holidays.

Epping Forest District Museum

Epping Forest District Museum is closed from 4pm on 22 December 2016 and reopens 10am on 3 January 2017.

Housing benefit payments revised dates

  • Payments due 26 December 2016 will be now be available in bank accounts around 23 December 2016
  • Payments due 02 January 2017 will now be available in bank accounts around 29 December 2016

Normal payment cycle will resume from 9 January 2017.

 

Free weekend parking in December 16

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There will be no pay and display car park charges in Epping Forest District Council car parks in the run-up to Christmas this year!

car parks

It will be free to park in Council car parks on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays throughout December 2016.

Making shopping locally easier

Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder, Councillor Gary Waller said: ”We have relaxed the car park charges throughout the month of December again this year, to make shopping as easy as possible for our residents in the run up to Christmas.”

Supporting local retailers

He continued: ”We hope that this will help to support our local retailers and town centres too, encouraging our residents to shop locally rather than taking their custom outside the district.”

Our civil enforcement officers will be patrolling as usual and all other conditions of the council car parks will still be in force.

Cabinet 1 December 2016

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The draft Local Plan, changes to the district’s off-street parking and the Council Tax Support Scheme were all subjects for discussion at Cabinet on 1 December 2016.

Changes to draft Local Plan will be public

Responding to a public question at Cabinet on 1 December, Planning Portfolio Holder John Philip gave assurances that all changes to the draft Local Plan would be made public. Councillor Philips said that the council had factored in comments from previous consultation as well as new evidence in formulating the draft Local Plan. He expected further changes to the draft Plan following analysis of the latest consultation. Separately Councillor Philip provided a financial update on the production of the Local Plan.

Partnership savings

Governance Portfolio Holder Councillor Richard Bassett received Cabinet approval to extend the shared Internal Audit arrangements between Epping Forest District Council, Harlow and Broxbourne. Thanks to the partnership, savings of more than £58,000 a year for 2016/17 and 2017/18 have been achieved.

Amendments to Council Tax Support Scheme

Review and amendment to the Local Council Tax Support Scheme and capital budget were presented by Finance Portfolio Holder Councillor Gagan Mohindra. Major capital projects within the £124 million budget include Loughton Shopping Park, St John’s Road and improvements to council housing and new-build housing projects. Many of the Council’s capital projects are aimed towards long term revenue generation, helping Epping Forest District Council become financially self-supporting.

Councillor Mohindra also assured Cabinet colleagues of his determination to achieve value for money with a £100,000 fund to support joint working with other organisations.

Update on Biffa collection costs

Councillor Gary Waller presented a report on domestic waste collection and recycling on behalf of Environment Portfolio Holder Will Breare-Hall. Collection costs have gone up since the introduction of the new Biffa contract. Provision of more recycling sacks combined with cross-contamination reducing income and additional collections due to the building of new houses has led to an increase of £343,000 in the contract.

Changes to off-street parking ahead

“Car parks are essential to our town centres” said Council Leader Chris Whitbread as he welcomed changes to off-street Pay and Display parking. Councillor Waller reported a saving of £58,600 a year from 2017/18 after moving off-street Pay and Display parking enforcement, cash collection and machine maintenance from the North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) to NSL Ltd.

Later on the agenda, Councillor Waller received Cabinet approval to manage Waltham Abbey car parks owned by the Lee Valley Regional Park. He also received approval to demolish and replace garages in Vere Road with 20 new parking spaces. A further 11 spaces are to be created behind shops 49 and 41 in The Broadway.

Planning wait times improved

Residents can expect to see planning decision times improved by up to five days. Councillor Richard Bassett secured Cabinet approval for a new officer and further computerisation to speed up the planning application and validation process.

Town and Village Centres Fund

The Town and Village Centres Opportunities Fund has been renamed the Epping Forest District Economic Opportunities Fund. The rebranding reflects widening the availability criteria beyond town and village centres.

Cabinet 3 November 2016

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Energy consumption at the Council offices in Epping has been cut dramatically. That and other items including Council Tax discounts, on-street car parking, and the creation of three new small pay and display car parks were among the items discussed at the meeting of Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet on 3 November.

Watch our council meetings online

Solar Energy

The installation of new windows and solar panels has led to significant reductions in energy consumption at the Council’s headquarters in Epping. The report by Technology and Support Services Portfolio Holder Councillor Alan Lion noted the generation of 35,760 KWh in the first seven months of panel operation. Electricity consumption was reduced by 13.4% in 2015 compared to 2014.

Incentive to reduce empty housing

Councillors agreed reductions in the Council Tax discount available for empty homes. Finance Portfolio Holder Gagan Mohindra presented the report. He said that the changes would make a relatively small difference to the amount of tax collected. However, the Council hopes that the reductions will incentivise local landlords to speed up the re-letting or sale of empty houses for occupation.

County Council Parking Enforcement

Councillor Gary Waller, Portfolio Holder responsible for working with Essex County Council and the North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) assured fellow councillors that he would pass on their dissatisfaction with on-street parking enforcement across the district.

Essex County Council is set to extend the current NEPP contract for a further four years. Supported by fellow Councillors Chris Whitbread and Chris Pond, Councillor Waller said that his criticisms were aimed at the operation of NEPP rather individual members of staff working within the district.

New Pay and Display

Later on the agenda, Councillor Waller received Cabinet approval for three small new pay and display car parks in Debden. Two short stay car parks accommodating a total of 40 spaces are to be created at the northern and southern ends of Oakwood Hill Industrial Estate. Fifteen new long stay spaces are to be created behind Loughton Broadway in Burton Road.

Untaxed vehicles crackdown

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In a national drive to crack down on untaxed vehicles on public roads, Epping Forest District Council will be working in partnership with the DVLA from 1 August 2016.

Untaxed vehicles

Clamped or seized

With the assistance of the DVLA, Council officers will be able to check the road tax record of any vehicle. If the vehicle is not taxed, it will be either clamped or seized and taken to a DVLA contractors depot.

The owner could have to pay as much as £160 (plus storage costs) and will have to prove the vehicle has valid road tax before the vehicle can be reclaimed.

Delighted to be working in partnership

Epping Forest District Council’s Environment Portfolio holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: ‘’I am delighted that the council is working in partnership with the DVLA. Untaxed vehicles are often difficult to trace, but with our help, the DVLA will broaden their ability to find the offenders and reduce the number of untaxed vehicles within our district.”

He continued: ‘’Untaxed vehicles contribute to congestion, take up valuable parking spaces and use resources paid for by others. Their drivers are more likely to commit traffic offences such as speeding, illegally parking and driving without insurance, which presents risks for other drivers. Untaxed vehicles are often abandoned and eventually become vandalised. Working alongside the DVLA will help to improve road conditions for our residents and other road users.’’

Cabinet 11 January 2016

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Epping Forest Shopping Park, North Essex Parking Partnership, trainee planning officers and aerial cameras were discussed at Cabinet on Monday 11 January 2016.

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Epping Forest Shopping Park 

A £2 million highway works contract associated with improvements to the junction of Chigwell Lane and Langston Road, Loughton was approved by Cabinet at Epping Forest District Council on Monday 11 January 2016.

Councillors approved the tender of £2,070,029 from Walker Construction (UK) Ltd for road works relating to the development of the Epping Forest Shopping Park, due to open at Easter 2017.

Pay and display car parks

The management of Epping Forest District Council’s off-street Pay and Display car parks came under the spotlight at Cabinet. A report by RTA Associates suggested the council could get better value for money if it withdrew from its current management arrangement with the North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP).

Councillors agreed the principle of giving the NEPP 12 months notice during which time councillors will be able to choose between another contractor and in-house operation by council staff. Portfolio Holder Councillor Gary Waller said that further reports would come to Cabinet. Savings could range from £31,000 up to £113,000 depending on detailed evaluation of the alternative options.

Planning

Cabinet approved budget provision of £90,000 over 2 years to cover the legal costs awarded against the council at planning appeals. Councillors also supported funding proposals for 2 new trainee Planning Officers and a trainee Contaminated Land Officer to be paid from planning income received during 2015/2016.

Aerial cameras

2 aerial cameras are to be bought by Epping Forest District Council from its special ‘Invest to Save’ budget. The cameras and associated training will enable the council to carry out its own photographic surveys. Uses as diverse as planning enforcement, housing repairs, and land drainage, surveys are expected to benefit from the equipment costing £3,500 plus £1,500 for training and software expenses.

 

Limes Centre office soon open all day

Written on . Posted in Abandoned vehicles, Animal welfare, Benefits, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Council tax, Crime and safety, Epping, Housing, Housing repairs, Media, Parking, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council

The council’s office at The Limes Centre in Chigwell will soon be open all day.

Tenants and other residents living on the Limes Farm Estate and in surrounding areas can visit the office for advice on a whole range of issues including

  • rent
  • council tax payments
  • repairs
  • refuse
  • pets
  • parking
  • tenancy conditions
  • anti-social behaviour
  • estate
  • environmental issues

Limes Farm EFDC local office

Longer opening hours and new services

Until now the office has been open during the mornings only, but from 4 January 2016 the hours will be

  • Monday to Friday 9am to 4.30pm.
  • Benefits and council tax advice service everyday
  • Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)  advice services on Wednesday and Thursday mornings

We are also extending the range of services available to include

  • A new facility to pay your rent and council tax by debit or credit card
  • An Epping Forest District Council and Essex County Council information kiosk
  • Community services, tenant participation and advice on repairs, estates and environmental issues

The longer opening hours will be trialled for 18 months with a review after 12 months and the extended service may continue if it is popular with residents.

Further details

Please contact us for more information on the new hours and services, or for any of your housing enquiries

 

Free weekend parking for December

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Consultation, Councillors, Local business, Media, Out and about, Parking, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Pay and Display Car Park charges will be relaxed in the Epping Forest District in the run-up to Christmas this year.

It will be free to park in Council car parks on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays throughout the month of December.

Support our local shops

Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder, Councillor Gary Waller said: “The relaxation of charges will offer our residents a more convenient way to do their Christmas shopping. We want to encourage our residents to shop locally where possible, rather than taking their custom out of the district. This will help support our local shops and high streets throughout the Christmas period.”

It should be noted that all other conditions in respect of Epping Forest District Council’s car parks will remain in force and civil enforcement officers (ENOs) will be patrolling as usual.

Pay and display car parks