Pair found guilty of damaging protected oak trees

Written on . Posted in Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Crime and safety, Democracy, Environmental health, Media, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Private housing, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Your area, Your council, Your environment, Your money

Mr Mark William Wright of Abridge and Mr Danny James Swift of Romford Essex were each found guilty of causing, or permitting works to 2 oak trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO).

Damaged Oak trees Abridge

Unauthorized works

In June 2017 tree and landscape officers were notified of work that had been carried out to the branches of 2 oak trees on land adjacent to Tudor Oak 9a London Road Abridge Essex.

Officers were aware in March 2017 permission had been granted for limited work to be carried out to the trees, but upon inspection in June they found branches on both oaks had been far more excessively cut than authorized.

This ultimately caused serious damage to both trees and increases the risk of decay. No consent would have been given for the extent of the work carried out.

Further investigation  

Further investigation revealed that permitted work had been carried out to the trees in May 2017 by council contractors, who had spoken to Mr Wright at that time and informed him that the trees were the subject of a Tree Preservation Order.

When interviewed under caution both confirmed Mr Wright had employed Mr Swift to carry out the unauthorized work and that neither had checked with the council as to whether the trees were protected.

Damaged Oak trees Abridge

Over £3000 worth of fines

8 February 2018 at Chelmsford Magistrates both Mr Mark William Wright of Tudor Oak 9a London Road Abridge Essex and Mr Danny James Swift of Highfield Road Collier Row Romford Essex were each found guilty of causing or permitting works to 2 oak trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order without the authorisation of Epping Forest District Council.

Having attended court although leaving before the hearing, the Magistrates accepted that Mr Wright had intended to plead guilty and he was fined £440 for each tree and ordered that he pay a contribution towards the Council’s prosecution costs of £600.

Mr Swift was fined £660 for each tree and ordered to pay a contribution towards the Council’s prosecution costs of £600.

More information

For any inquiries regarding tree protection orders (TPOs) and conservation areas please contact

Planned website maintenance on 4 March 2018

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Updated information posted 22 February 2018

The scheduled maintenance to our website and payment system will now take place on Sunday 4 March 2018.

We are sorry for any inconvenience that this maintenance work might cause you. If you experience problems please try again on Monday 5 March 2018.

Planned website maintenance

Information posted on 19 February 2018

Due to essential maintenance our website and online services, including reporting services, will be unavailable from 12pm to 11pm on Sunday 25 February 2018.

If you experience any problems accessing our online services, please try again on Monday 26 February 2018.

We apologise for any inconvenience that this maintenance work might cause you.

Decisions from Plans West 14 February 2018

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Media, Meetings, Our activities, Out and about, Planning, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your environment

Planning application decisions from the Area Planning Sub-Committee West meeting Wednesday 14 February 2018.

Decisions

  • EPF/2615/17 – Land to rear of 176 Honey Lane, Waltham Abbey, Essex, EN9 3BA
    Permission refused
  • EPF/3197/17 – 69 Farm Hill Road, Waltham Abbey, Essex, EN9 1NG
    Permission refused
  • EPF/3253/17 – Pine Lodge Riding Centre, Lippitts Hill, Loughton, Essex IG10 4AL
    Permission granted

Planning application search

Former Council Leader Di Collins passes away

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Epping, Leader, Loughton, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council

Di Collins, Epping Forest District Council’s former Conservative leader and District Councillor for a total of 19 years, passed away on 13 February 2018.

Di Collins

We offer our heartfelt condolences to Di’s family and friends at this most sad time. The District Council flag in Epping High Street has been lowered today as a mark of respect for the former leader of Council.

Our sincerest condolences

Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor David Stallan said: “My deepest condolences as Chairman of the council go out to her family for their sad loss. It was an absolute pleasure and an honour to serve in Di’s cabinet as Housing Portfolio holder. She was well respected politically across the chamber and for her charitable work across the district.

We will be inviting full Council to stand for a minute’s silence on 22 February in tribute to Di’s memory. Her passing is awful news and she will be sorely missed across large parts of the community in Epping Forest.”

Di shaped the Council

Leader of the Council, Councillor Chris Whitbread said: “I’m saddened to learn of Di’s passing. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this very sad time. As leader, she was instrumental in shaping the Council in to what it is today and we are indebted to her for this.

She was dedicated to the people of Epping Forest and as the Chairman has said, Di will be greatly missed not only by her colleagues but for the work she has done for the people across the district.”

Political career

Di first became a District Councillor in 1991 and was elected to represent the Epping Hemnall ward, which she did until 1999. In 2001 she was elected to represent the Passingford ward and served her constituents until she retired in 2012.

She became Leader of the Conservative Group in 2004 and furthered her political success by becoming Leader of Epping Forest District Council in 2006, a role she undertook for 6 years.

She was a member of many committees and panels, she also represented the Council on many outside organisations such as, Epping Forest Local Strategic Partnership, the East of England Regional Assembly, the Corporation Board of Epping Forest College and the East of England Local Government Association.

Compassionate fundraiser

She was known to the Council as a dedicated and compassionate fundraiser. Di supported an incredible number of local charities and community groups. Di was Chairman of the Epping Forest Primary Care Trust, where she supervised the construction of a new building at St Margaret’s Hospital in Epping.

She also held positions such as; Chairman of the Board of Governors of Epping Forest College, Chairman and later President of the Epping Forest Conservative Association and Governor of Epping Junior School.

Citizen of the Year 2013

She was a major fundraiser for national and local charities including the RNLI, Abbeyfield Society, St Clare’s Hospice and the League of Friends of St Margaret’s Hospital. So much so that in 2013 one year after she retired from her role as Councillor, she was awarded the accolade of Citizen of the Year for her commitment to the district, its people and to the Council.

Decisions from Plans East 7 February 2018

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Consultation, Councillors, Democracy, Epping, Local business, Meetings, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Residents, Supporting business, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Planning application decisions from the Area Planning Sub-Committee East meeting Wednesday 7 February 2018.

Decisions

  • 1. EPF/2363/17 – Rozel, Loughton Lane, Theydon Bois, Essex, CM16 7JY
    Granted
  • 2. EPF/2666/17 – Land to rear of 40 -62 Hoe Lane, Abridge, RM4 1AU
    Deferred – site visit
  • 3. EPF/2771/17 – 21 Princes Close, North Weald, Epping, CM16 6EN
    Refused
  • 4. EPF/3007/17 – Oxford Lodge, Tysea Hill, Stapleford Abbotts, Romford, RM4 1JP
     Granted
  • 5. EPF/3025/17 – 43 Woodland Way, Theydon Bois, CM16 7DY
    Granted
  • 6. EPF/3135/17 – 7 Centre Avenue, Epping, CM16 4JU
    Granted
  • 7. EPF/3216/17 – Esperanza Nurseries, Stapleford Road, Stapleford Abbotts, RM4 1EJ
    Refused
  • 8. EPF/3124/17 – 2 Theydon Place, Epping, CM16 4NH
    Granted
  • 9. EPF/3219/17 – 1 Theydon Place, Epping, CM16 4NH
    Granted
  • 10. EPF/3259/17 – 121 Theydon Grove, Epping, CM16 4QB
    Refused
  • 11. EPF/3284/17 – 9 Church Hill, Epping, CM16 4RA
    Deferred – site visit

Planning application search

Businesses beware bogus Council Officers

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Epping, Food safety, Licensing, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Out and about, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Businesses beware, bogus Environmental Health Officers and Licensing Officers have visited businesses across Essex, issuing fake on the spot fines for non-compliance and asking for annual fee payments in cash.

Council tax scam warning

The Council has received 3 reports of individuals falsely presenting themselves as Epping Forest District Council Environmental Health Officer’s to food establishments within the Waltham Abbey area.

The imposters demanded the business owners pay fines for not complying with regulations.

Licensing scam

Licenced businesses within Essex have also received visits from individuals pretending to be Council Licensing Officers, requesting licence fees be paid in cash.

These people are very convincing as they know how much your licence is and they also use the names of real licensing officers.

Real Council Officers

Real Environmental Health Officers and any of the Council’s Licensing or Enforcement Officers will be happy to let you see their badges to check their identity.

On the back of their badges, you will find a list of their authorisations and a telephone number, which you can call to verify they are who they say they are. Remember you are well within your rights to request to check their authorisations and be especially careful if they do not allow you to do this.

Environmental Health Officers and Licensing Officers will not ask you to pay an on the spot fine or take cash from you.

If a scammer calls

If you are in any doubt as to whether someone demanding money from you is legitimate, you should contact the Council as soon as possible to check his or her identity. Do not pay them.

Report it

If you suspect you have been visited by a bogus caller please contact the Council and the Police as soon as possible.

Law and Order Budget set to bring first District Council Tax rise for 8 years

Written on . Posted in Business, Business rates, Commercial properties, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Local business, Media, Meetings, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council

Epping Forest District Council is to vote on its first Council Tax increase in 8 years as councillors decide on whether to pay for various law and order initiatives. This includes 3 extra police officers employed by Essex Police who would be dedicated to the district.

Should the Cabinet recommendation agreed on 1 February 2018 receive Full Council approval, residents will be asked to pay an extra £3.69 a year on average for a Band D property.

Final decisions on the budget and setting of Council Tax will be taken at Full Council on 22 February 2018.

Cabinet 1 February 2018

Cllr Mohindra at cabinet

More resources to tackle law and order issues

Finance Portfolio Holder Councillor Gagan Mohindra is recommending the budget. He said: “Without these initiatives, we would have been putting another zero percent Council Tax increase forward. However, our residents are telling us they want more resources to tackle law and order issues, especially around anti-social behaviour. Essex Police is also putting extra resources in but we are fortunate we can add more. These officers will be based at the Civic Offices and work closely with our own Community Safety Team. They will be dedicated to our district and spend the vast majority of their time with us.”

Councillor Mohindra says this is a strong budget despite challenging financial times. Speaking ahead of the Council meeting to set the District Council budget and Council Tax, he explained how significant savings and increased income are being reinvested into services.

First increase since 2010

He said: “Our residents have seen their overall Council Tax bill increasing over the years and think Epping Forest District Council’s precept of the Council Tax has gone up too. This has not been the case – this is actually our first increase since 2010. The historic increases have been made by Essex County Council, Essex Police and local town and parish councils.”

“The District Council part of our Council Tax bill for a Band D property is going up from £148.77 to £152.46 a year. A 2.48% increase which represents incredible value considering the law and order costs we are taking on and a raft of other investments.”

Assets and investment

“Use of our assets and income from investments has helped us manage much better than most other councils. As the budget setting approaches, my council colleagues and I still have to make some tough choices. Refuse and recycling costs are going up as inflation and cuts in the price for recycled materials have hit income. Reductions in the central government Revenue Support Grant are bigger than previously expected. It is worth noting the grant will end completely by 2019/20.”

“It is not all doom and gloom – the successful completion of the Epping Forest Shopping Park is projected to add income of £2.5million, money the Council plans to spend on maintaining our local services. The recent re-letting of the Council’s Leisure Centre Management contract to Places for People is saving almost £1million a year as well as helping to fund the construction of a brand new leisure centre in Waltham Abbey plus major improvements to our centres in Loughton, Epping and Ongar.”

Commercial business

“Income from commercial activities is up, making a contribution of almost £3million to council services. North Weald airfield is preparing for the arrival of the National Police Air Service. The Herts and Essex Air-Ambulance is already a long-standing tenant. The addition of police aircraft will make the airfield a major emergency services aviation hub. Distribution companies and aircraft maintenance services are thriving alongside the continued success of the airfield’s Saturday market and other regular events.”

“The Broadway Landmark development in Debden is adding to the Council’s portfolio of shops. Income from our industrial estates is also up. The new Pay and Display management contract is now bedded in, providing further savings while additional parking spaces are adding to income.”

Smarter ways of working

“Smarter ways of working are also set to achieve savings. Long term reduction in the need for office space is being achieved through better use of technology. Major new IT investment is expected to be off-set by the benefits of flexible working and a possible reduction in staffing levels through the Council’s People Strategy.”

“Innovative cultural and sports services include the contract to manage Lowewood Museum on behalf of Broxbourne Borough Council, earning Epping Forest almost £20,000 a year while almost £90,000 in external funding has been added to the Sports Development Programme.”

Council house building

“The first phase of the new council house building programme has been completed with 23 new homes in Waltham Abbey. Further developments including new flats and houses in Loughton, Epping and Coopersale are on track for completion this year. Income from council houses is set to fall again as a further 1% reduction in line with Central Government policy brings the average rent down to £95.34 per week.”

Myth-busting

Councillor Mohindra said: “I would like to do some myth-busting. Some people have got the wrong idea about pay and display car parks identified for housing in the Local Plan. Our Pay and Display car parks are a direct source of income to the Council. Any redevelopment proposal must include full re-provision of parking spaces.”

“Similarly, we also own the Broadway shop units in Debden and have increased our investment with the new Gateway shops. As landlord of Epping Forest Shopping Park we have ensured its new shops bring more customers, money, employment and wealth into our District. The Broadway has a healthy outlook with a waiting list of new prospective tenants as soon as vacancies arise.”

Councillor Mohindra added: “At a time when public sector organisations are generally cutting services we are bucking the trend by investing in new and better services from health, culture and wellbeing to employment, housing and law and order. This could only have been achieved with years of financial prudence and planning.”

Other items at Cabinet

The Council’s sheltered housing schemes reserved for older residents are to be reviewed. Initial scoping reports will be produced to see how some capacity in the sheltered housing stock can be replaced or converted into general needs housing available to people of all ages on the Council’s housing waiting list.

The preliminary nature of the scoping study was repeatedly emphasised with much more investigation required before any decisions on whether and how any redevelopment might take place. The needs of tenants are a top priority and would be handled with the greatest sensitivity. Approval of the proposals followed acceptance of the annual review of the Housing Allocation Scheme. Councillors also approved the Council’s Pay Policy for 2018/19, Transformation updates, Treasury Management Statements and calendar of meetings for 2018/19.

Essex wide Livewell campaign launched

Written on . Posted in Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Democracy, Environmental health, Epping, Equalities, Food safety, Health, Loughton, Media, Museum, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Our performance, Out and about, Residents, Sports, Sports centres and pools, Supporting business, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Livewell, a countywide website to get Essex healthy has been launched.

Livewell campaign image

Working collaboratively to promote health

The Livewell campaign sees all local authorities, including Epping Forest District Council and health partners, work collaboratively to promote positive health and wellbeing by providing public health advice, activities and events tailored to the needs of local residents.

The Council’s local museum, arts, sports, social and Forest Countrycare events will be available on the site.

Check out how to Livewell

The website aims is to encourage Essex residents to be more active and to make healthier lifestyle choices for themselves and their families. It focuses on more effectively tackling county-wide issues affecting the 12 local authority areas together.

Take the #21 Challenge

To celebrate the website launch, residents are being encouraged to take part in a number of #21 challenges – a nod to the fact that it takes 21 days to break or create a new habit.

The first part of the campaign is #21situps21days, Residents can find out more information on:

Post-Christmas is a good time to think about improving lifestyle choices, lose weight and live a happier, healthier and longer life. The 21 day theme of the project, the number of days it is thought we need to break a bad habit or establish a new one also has the support of Public Health England. Anyone can try and it is fine to start with an easy goal. An occasional day off is also fine but the message is ‘don’t stop, just let that go and do as best you can towards the 21 days’.

CSE campaign to raise awareness in Essex

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Crime and safety, Epping, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Monday 29 January 2018 marks the start of 2 weeks of action in Epping, Braintree and Basildon to raise awareness of the vulnerability of young people to exploitation and abuse within stations and transport networks in Essex.

Joint initiative

The joint initiative is being run by Essex Safeguarding Children Board, British Transport Police, Essex Police, Transport For London (TFL), Rail Operators and Braintree, Basildon and Epping District Councils and the Children’s Society.

Why transport networks?

Multi-agency data reports that public transport networks across Essex are often used by young people who may be vulnerable to child sexual exploitation (CSE) and other types of abuse.

Young people often gravitate towards train stations because they are busy, anonymous places that also provide some form of shelter and access to food and drink. A young person may use a station or public transport as a way to try to ‘disappear’ during a missing episode. In addition, bus and rail networks can also be used by perpetrators to traffic young people for the purpose of sexual and criminal exploitation.

Identify and recognise concerns

All staff working within and around a station, from ticket collectors to engineers, and coffee shop workers to cleaners, play an important role in safeguarding vulnerable young people. This campaign includes an important element of work in which transport network staff will be educated to ensure they are able to identify and recognise potential concerns and know how and where to report such concerns.

Targeting stations

Outreach workers will be targeting stations over this 2 week campaign period, through visible attendance and via phone consultancy to station staff to provide support and signposting. At  stations there will be stalls to raise awareness to the public around child exploitation, trafficking and missing episodes. Outreach workers will also be engaging with all station staff from food, drink and retail businesses to network rail staff, ticketing staff and cleaners to ensure they have access to resources around spotting vulnerable young people and what to do if they have concerns.

Please share the message

Epping Forest District Council’s Safer, Greener & Transport Portfolio Holder, Councillor Sam Kane said: ”Throughout the 2 week campaign there will be key messages posted on social media using the hashtag #KnowAboutCSE and videos on what to look out for and how to report concerns. Child exploitation is an unspeakable crime. Please help us share these messages to make sure that this campaign is successful.”

Anyone can support the campaign by following and sharing on social media.

Information passed to Essex Police and British Transport Police will be looked into and further action taken where necessary. The two forces will also be working together to identify and locate any vulnerable children who are reported missing and might be using the transport networks.

Contact

  • The Police: If you have any intelligence or wish to report concerns please call 101. If you think a child or young person is in immediate danger always call 999
  • British Transport Police can be contacted by phone on 0800 40 50 40 or members of the public can report a crime or an incident that occurred on your train via text 61016
  • Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org

Further information

Young people, we need you

Written on . Posted in Community, Councillors, Democracy, Elections, Media, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

We’re looking for young people to nominate themselves to join Epping Forest Youth Council (EFYC) and be the voice of Epping Forest’s young people.

If you’re aged 12 to 17 and want to ensure young people’s views are listened to and want to be at he heart of decision-making, EFYC is for you.

Youth councillor Annabelle Yaman with Youth Engagement Officer Diane Gilson-Butler at Epping St Johns School promoting the upcoming youth council elections

What do I need to do to join?

First, you need to win your school election. Elections are being held in the district’s secondary schools and Epping Forest College between 22 January and Friday 9 February 2018.

Each school will have 2 Youth Council seats as well as 5 independent seats for candidates who either attend school or college outside the district, or are excluded from school, or being home educated or working.

The election results will be announced live online on 27 March 2018

What will be expected of me?

You will be expected to be enthusiastic, reliable and have a desire to make a difference in your school and community.

You will be elected for a 2 year term and will be required to attend 2 evening meetings a month in Epping.

Successful candidates will be trained to develop their skills in public speaking, debating, presenting and teamwork. It’s a great opportunity to make new friends, learn new skills and gain experience to help you in the future.

How do I nominate myself?

Nominations close Friday 16 February 2018. There are 2 ways to nominate yourself to stand as a Youth Councillor

  1. complete the online nomination form

  2. complete the nomination form on page 8 of the Epping Forest Youth Council candidate information booklet (also available from your school, local library and Epping Forest District Council Civic Offices)

Get skills for life

“I’ve had an amazing 2 years being a youth councillor” said Epping Forest Youth Councillor Charley Brooks. “Every meeting I’m faced with different challenges to overcome.”

“I’ve met some amazing people and I now have skills for life that I couldn’t have learned anywhere else.”

Championing our young people

Councillor Helen Kane, Leisure and Community Services Portfolio Holder said: “We’re very proud of our Youth Council. They do fantastic work representing the views, issues and opinions of young people across the Epping Forest district.”

“I’m looking forward to working with the successful candidates, listening to what they have to say and helping them to make a difference to the lives of young people their age.”

Want more information

Contact Diane Gilson-Butler, Youth Engagement Officer