Epping Forest College Recycling

Written on . Posted in Community, Epping, Recycling and waste, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Councillors and student ambassadors for recycling

The Leader of Epping Forest District Council is delighted at the opportunity of working together with Epping College to introduce recycling in the new £38m College campus.

During a recent visit to the college the Leader of the Council Councillor Diana Collins and the Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services Councillor Mary Sartin were introduced to the recycling scheme within the college by the students of the Green Group, formed to champion environmental action starting with recycling.

Epping Forest District Council was able to assist the college in their recycling initiatives by extending the recycling services to the College.

Councillor Diana Collins said: I am pleased that we have been able to assist the college in introducing the new recycling scheme. This will enable those already recycling at home to continue their good habits in the College whilst also encouraging those who discover recycling at College to spread the word.

The Green Group has plans for recycling expansion and is already talking about collecting unwanted clothes from fellow students and staff.

Councillors, staff and students with the new recycling bins

The new scheme was launched as part of Positive Contribution Week at the College. Students from the Green Group have acted as ambassadors for recycling – wearing distinctive t-shirts they have been setting a good example and actively encouraging others to recycle their cans, paper, card and plastic bottles.

They have also manned stands in the College explaining the benefits of recycling, demonstrating the items that can be recycled, and giving away recycled pencils, pens, bags, mugs and other goodies as well as booklets with tips for further ways to recycle “ all provided by the Council.

The Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services Councillor Mary Sartin said: I am very impressed by the enthusiasm and hard work of the students. This is very encouraging and shows that our younger generation is keen to tackle the issues that affect our future.

Council Tax 2009 / 2010

Written on . Posted in Community, Council tax, Housing, Residents, Your community, Your home, Your money

Epping Forest District Council has set another low increase on its Council Tax precept.

Residents living in an average Band D property will see the amount they pay to the District Council go up by £3.60 for next year, less than seven pence a week. The increase of just 2.5 per cent will consolidate the Council`s position as second cheapest in Essex and our aim is to become the cheapest over the period covered by the Medium Term Financial Strategy.

The new rate was confirmed at the meeting of the District Council on 17 February 2009. It comes at a time of falling income from investments, fees and charges and a very low increase of only £46,000 overall in the Council`s grant settlement from the Government. However, being debt-free with some substantial investments still earning high rates of interest fixed before the recent Bank of England cuts, Epping Forest remains in a much better financial position than many other Councils.

Unlike many Councils, we are well prepared against the economic down-turn and that will help us through the next three to five years, said Councillor Chris Whitbread, Finance Portfolio Holder. We have managed our budgets carefully, putting money away in case of a `rainy day`. That day has arrived and we are well placed to weather the storm.

Councillor Whitbread continued: Our residents are our first priority. As well as keeping our Council Tax precept down, we will do whatever else we can to help our community through the rough economic times to come. Local businesses should benefit from the freeze on increases to car parking charges. The Council will try to source as much of our spending as locally as we can and we will pay our bills quickly. We continue to fund organisations such as the Citizens` Advice Bureau, new projects such as the proposed Furniture Exchange scheme to be based in Waltham Abbey and a range of Housing- related schemes to help people struggling to keep a roof over their heads.

He added: The budget also allows for improvements to a number of services, including year-round weekly collection of kitchen refuse for recycling.

As the collection authority, Epping Forest District Council also agreed the overall Council Tax at its meeting on 17 February 2009, including rates set by Essex County Council, the emergency services and Town and Parish Councils. Band D residents will pay an extra £19.89 to Essex County Council, £6.03 more to Essex Police and £2.34 to the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service. Combining the elements collected by Epping Forest District Council on behalf of all precepting authorities, the total for an average Band D Council Taxpayer would be £1,460.29, an overall increase of 2.4 per cent.
    Broken down into its constituent parts, the bill for an average Band D Council Taxpayer in Epping Forest district will be:

  • £1,066.50 to Essex County Council
  • £128.25 to Essex Police
  • £64.62 to Essex Fire Authority
  • £146.61 to Epping Forest District Council

An additional payment (depending on where you live) to the Town or Parish Council will range from £13.33 in Stapleford Abbotts to £91.79 in Waltham Abbey.

Cabinet 5 February 2009

Written on . Posted in Community, Consultation, Council tax, Councillors, Democracy, Gypsy and traveller, Housing, Meetings, Residents, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

A Council Tax increase of 2.5 per cent is being recommended by Cabinet for adoption at the next full meeting of Epping Forest District Council. Members of the Cabinet also agreed a further extension of the ongoing public consultation on future provision of sites for Gypsies and Travellers.

Watch the webcastView webcast of Cabinet meeting on 5 February 2009 (opens in a new window)


Against a very difficult national economic backdrop, Epping Forest District Council is set to achieve a low Council Tax precept increase of 2.5 per cent. For a family in an average Band D property, it means an increase of just £3.60 in the District Council precept for the entire year, or less than seven pence per week. It is likely to be one of the lowest Council Tax precepts set in Essex.

This comes despite reductions in income from investments, a very low financial settlement increase from Central Government of just £46,000, no increase in car parking charges and lower income from fees and charges. Drawing on reserves and finding compensatory savings of £300,000 per year, the Cabinet is charting a medium term strategy designed to bring the budget back into balance whilst assisting local businesses and residents through the forecast economic turndown.

Councillors re-iterated recent commitments to make faster payments for services provided by local businesses, an increase in rental loans to homeless people and introduction of a mortgage rescue scheme in partnership with the Citizens` Advice Bureau and Moat Housing Association.

The District Council will re-allocate money from the defunct Lighthouse Furniture Project in Epping Forest to Voluntary Action Epping Forest (VAEF). If successful in bidding for the tenancy of 15 Market Square, Waltham Abbey, VAEF will use District Council funding to support a new Furniture Exchange Scheme designed to help people on lower incomes who need good second-hand furniture and are unable to afford normal High Street prices. Long-term, the project aims to become self-financing.

Major investment in the domestic waste and recycling service is included within the budget. Councillors previously agreed to implement the favoured option of residents in recent public consultation. Enhancements to the service will see extension of recycling to include kitchen waste, collected weekly with garden refuse in a new wheelie bin.

Traveller and Gypsy Consultation

Rescheduled training, originally planned for late 2008 but actually received in January prompted Members to agree a further extension to the consultation period on traveller and gypsy site provision. The extension to 20 February will give local residents an additional two weeks in which to submit their views.

Customer Transformation

In a far-reaching report, Members of the Cabinet considered proposals for changing the way Epping Forest District Council serves its residents. Councillor Brian Rolfe Chairman of the Customer Transformation Task and Finish Panel outlined improvements the Council could make in how it deals with the public. The report looks directly at face to face contact, contact by phone and through other channels such as The Forester magazine and website.

Recognising current financial constraints, Councillor Mitchell Cohen proposed a temporary increase in resources to the Council website, engaging a second member of staff to support the website for a fixed three-year term.

Councillor Diana Collins Leader of the Council congratulated Councillor Rolfe on the Panel report and supported the principles. She asked Councillor Rolfe for a further report providing guidance to Cabinet on the priorities of the Panel.

Councillors Visit The Broadway

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Leader, Local business, Loughton, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council

Councillors Diana Collins and Anne Grigg lend a hand

The Leader of Epping Forest District Council Councillor Diana Collins and the Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder Councillor Anne Grigg visited The Broadway in Loughton on Wednesday 28 January 2009. They met with representatives of local traders and reassured them that every effort is being made to reduce the impact on local businesses whilst work to regenerate the area is being carried out.

This is following concerns expressed earlier by local traders and residents at a Town Centre Partnership meeting that steps should be taken to minimise disruption to businesses and residents. A number of steps have been taken to keep the Broadway accessible for traders and shoppers.

Access is being maintained to all the shops on The Broadway, only the eastbound carriageway has been shut for now. Crossing over points have been provided so shoppers can get from one side of The Broadway to the other, Vere Road Car Park has been re-designated for short-stay and permit holders only and free parking has been retained for The Broadway.

Councillors and local traders view work at the Broadway

Councillor Diana Collins said: I understand the concerns of local traders but every effort is being made to minimise the impact of this scheme to local traders and shoppers. Unfortunately large engineering projects can cause disruption but at the end we will have a much improved and enhanced town centre.

Bursary Deadline for the Sports and the Arts

Written on . Posted in Arts, Community, Residents, Sports, Your community, Your council

Sports and Arts Activities

Epping Forest District Council is reminding the district`s talented young people that the deadline for leisure bursary applications is fast approaching. Each year this scheme provides two awards of £1,500, one to the arts and one to sports. Applications for this year`s bursaries need to be in by Friday 30 January 2009 as interviews are due to be held in Mid-February.

Applicants need to be aged between 13 to 25 years and live in the Epping Forest district to be eligible for these bursaries and must demonstrate an outstanding talent for their activity. These bursaries are intended to pay for additional opportunities to enable young people to reach their potential.

Last year`s winners included Somalia Seaton who used the funds to support her theatre productions at the national student festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Sharing the arts bursary with Somalia, Nichola Miles spent her funds on equipment to help her complete her college course and gain a place at University to study graphic design. Jim Lewis was awarded the sports bursary and purchased a bespoke bike to help him achieve his goal of competing in the 2012 Olympics.

Full information on eligibility and what the bursary funds can be used for are detailed in the application pack available from Lynne Hague on 01992 564551 or James Carstairs on 01992 564567.

European Elections 2009

Written on . Posted in Community, Democracy, Elections, Older people, Residents, Your community, Your council

It has been confirmed that European Parliamentary elections will take place across Europe between 4 and 7 June 2009. The UK polling day is Thursday 4 June 2009. Epping Forest District residents will be voting to elect seven Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) for the Eastern region. Those elected will represent the Region for a five-year term. A total of 500 million European citizens in 27 countries will be voting for 736 MEPs on the same date. The election will be run from a regional policy centre in Huntingdon by the Regional Returning Officer. On the same date an election for seven the County Councillors for the Epping Forest District will also be held.

The Electoral Services Team at Epping Forest District Council would like to remind residents that if your name does not appear on the Register of Electors 2009, you will not be able to vote in either election. There are no scheduled elections for District Councillors this year.

The Register of Electors (also known as the Electoral Register, the Electoral List, the Electoral Roll or even the Voters’ Register) was published on 1 December 2008 following the Annual Canvass of Electors. If you moved house after 15 October 2008 your name might not appear on the Register at your new address. To update your registration call the Electoral Services Team on 01992 564411 for a voter registration form (even if you are paying Council Tax at your new address it does not automatically mean you are on the Register of Electors). You can check your entry in the Register of Electors by contacting the Electoral Services Team on 01992 564411 or view the Electoral Register at the Civic Offices in Epping, Waltham Abbey Town Hall or at the Council`s Information desk inside Loughton Library.

The Council must receive voter registration forms by 5pm on 19 May 2009 for them to take effect for the 2009 European elections. If you are unable to vote in person on polling day and you have not already registered for a postal or proxy vote, please contact Electoral Services for details about how to apply. If you have moved or changed your name since applying for a postal vote, it will now be invalid so you will need to complete a new application. The closing date for completed postal applications is 5pm on 19 May 2009 and for proxy applications is 5pm on 27 May 2009.

Epping Forest District Council`s Ian Willett is the local / deputy Returning Officer for these elections said: “This year polling day is on 4 June 2009 and not the usual day in May. This is because the Government has decided to delay the County Council elections so that they are held on the same day as those for the European Parliament. Voters should bear this in mind if they want a postal or proxy vote and make sure they are registered to vote on polling day.

Mr Willett continued: “The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy but if you don’t register and obtain a postal or proxy vote if you need one, you lose that right and won’t be able to vote. If you don’t have a vote, you can’t have your say. If you are not sure about what you need to do, call the Electoral Services Team on 01992 564411 now.”

Provisional Site Allocation Reduced

Written on . Posted in Community, Countryside and wildlife, Democracy, Gypsy and traveller, Leader, Local plan / planning our future, Older people, Our countryside, Planning, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Go East, the regional office of the Government says the provisional allocation of additional gypsy and traveller site pitches for Epping Forest district has been reduced by ten from 49 to 39. The announcement is contained in the Examination in Public (EiP) Report into the Review of Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation in the East of England published on 18 December 2008. The EiP report now forms the basis of recommendations to the Government which will hold further consultation before issuing its final allocations next year.

Councillors and Planning Officers have consistently argued for a reduction in the number of pitches allocated to Epping Forest district. While Councillors feel the allocation remains unfairly high for Epping Forest in comparison to other districts, the reduction is a vindication of their stance. The Council will continue to press for further reductions.

The reduction for Epping Forest district is in marked contrast to most other parts of the region. Overall, the EiP has increased the regional allocation of extra traveller and gypsy pitches by a further 50 from 1,187 to 1,237.

The Government announcement comes as residents continue to respond to local consultation on the future provision of traveller and gypsy sites in the district.

Councillor Mrs Anne Grigg, Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council said: The announcement is a move in the right direction but I don`t think it goes far enough. Local residents are very concerned about the high number of extra traveller and gypsy pitches the district is being asked to accommodate. Epping Forest district already has more gypsy and traveller accommodation than most other areas. Even with the potential reduction from 49 to 39 extra pitches, we are still being asked to take substantially more than many other areas. We will continue to argue for further reductions.

The Secretary of State will consider the Review of Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation in the East of England and the recommendations of the EiP before issuing any proposed changes in the Spring. There will then be a further period of consultation. Go East says that the Secretary of State will publish the finalised policy in the Summer of 2009.

Cabinet Decisions 15 December

Written on . Posted in Community, Democracy, Leader, Meetings, Residents, Your community, Your council

In a step that Councillors hope will help local retailers, the Cabinet of Epping Forest District Council has agreed that there will be no increase in pay and display car park prices next year. Instead, any increased spending on car parks will be met from a further £60,000 of savings identified within the Council`s current budget. The Cabinet also reaffirmed its intention not to increase the District`s Council Tax precept by more than 2.5 per cent.

Watch the webcastwebcast of cabinet meeting on 15 December 2008
(opens in a new window)

Epping Forest District Council already provides some of the lowest pay and display car parking fees in Essex and the surrounding area, with the cheapest ticket costing 10 pence. Some free parking is also available in each of the district`s principle towns on Saturdays. All of the district`s pay and display car parks are also free on Saturdays in the run up to Christmas.

Councillor Richard Bassett, Civil Engineering and Maintenance Portfolio Holder confirmed that the freeze on charges would not mean any cuts in other services. He said: Council staff have managed to find savings in the budget and we will still continue with our improvement plans. Bakers Lane Car Park in Epping will benefit from investment of £120,000 including new lighting, CCTV, drainage, resurfacing and lining. Everyone knows that the Country is facing difficult economic times in the New Year. I hope that these measures will go some way towards helping our businesses by encouraging people to shop locally.

In another move to address the problems of people finding themselves victims of the economic downturn, the Cabinet recommended a bid to the Full Council of £20,000 for a scheme to help people afford rental payments in the private sector. Housing Portfolio Holder, Councillor David Stallan hopes the extra money will go to the Rental Loan Scheme from next April and will help to deal with any potential increase in people forced to register with the Council as homeless after home-repossessions.

In other matters discussed by the Cabinet held on 15 December, Councillor Mary Sartin gained approval for the Council to take on powers to remove untaxed cars from the district`s roads. National statistics suggest that 80 per cent of untaxed cars also lack insurance and many are also found to be unroadworthy. The presence of such vehicles is also linked to criminal activity and it is hoped that their removal will lead to a reduction in crime and anti-social behaviour.

Council Pays Tribute to Local Hero

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Leader, Meetings, Older people, Young people, Your community, Your council

Tributes to Georgie Sparks at the Epping memorial

Councillors from Epping Forest District Council stood in silence at the beginning of the Council meeting on Tuesday 16 December 2008 in tribute to Royal Marine Georgie Sparks who was killed in action in Afghanistan.


Tributes at the Epping memeorial

Personal tributes were paid by Chairman of Council John Knapman and Council Leader Diana Collins. The Council offered its condolences to his family and friends including his sister Katie.

Watch the webcastwebcast of Council meeting on Tuesday 16 December 2008 (opens in a new window)

The following article first appeared on the website www.everythingeppingforest.co.uk (opens in a new window)

Epping came to a standstill on Saturday morning as the town remembered Royal Marine Georgie Sparks who was killed in action in Afghanistan. Hundreds of people packed into St John’s Church to pay tribute to the serviceman, on what would have been his 20th birthday.

A guard of honour stood outside as Royal Marine colleagues carried his coffin, draped in a Union flag, into the church. Georgie died along with Marine Tony Evans after both were on foot patrol with J Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines. They were north-west of Lashkar Gah, in Helmand province, when they moved on to the roof of a compound. There was an attack by insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades and both were badly wounded.

Colleagues and war veterans joined members of Georgie’s family and local dignitaries – including Epping mayor Ben Murphy and Epping Forest District Council chairman John Knapman for his funeral service which included tributes from Georgie’s sister, Katie. She described how proud she was to have a brother like Georgie – who was known as Sparky to his friends – and also paid tribute to the four Marines who just hours earlier had also been killed in Afghanistan.

Mr Murphy told the everythingeppingforest website: “Today was obviously a highly emotional day for our town, the Royal Marine Corps, and for a family who have had to say goodbye to their brave son on his 20th birthday, just a week before Christmas.” He added: “Family, friends and comrades paid tribute to a remarkable, dedicated young man who valued his family enormously. This young man chose coming home to see his family every weekend he could over going out on the town with his fellow Marines.”

Epping High Street was closed to traffic as shoppers stood in silence. Several men removed their hats as a mark of respect as Georgie’s coffin, flanked by Royal Marines, made its way to the church. Mr Murphy said: “Today, Epping was shown the hard reality this country faces from fighting in a war against terrorism and injustice on behalf of those who are unable to defend themselves. We are all so proud of this young man who wasn’t afraid to stand up and be counted and who sadly lost his life doing so. May he rest in peace eternal.”

Georgie and colleague Tony Evans both received immediate medical attention after they were injured and were moved to a secure location before being put on a helicopter to be transferred back to Camp Bastion. However both died during the flight.

Georgie joined the Royal Marines in June 2006 and passed out from training in July 2007, joining 42 Commando a few days later. During his time at 42 Commando he qualified as a sniper. His parents, Wayne and Toni, and sister, Katie, said: “We have lost our best friend as well as our son. We are so very proud of Georgie – he always wanted to be a Royal Marine. Georgie loved the outdoors – fishing, shooting, paintballing – and was very close to his family.

We miss him so much.” Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Stickland Royal Marines, Commanding Officer, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said: “Marine Georgie Sparks was a quiet, understated professional. He lost his life fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with his comrades, covering their actions with his expert sniper skills.”

Call for Sites Provisional List Published

Written on . Posted in Community, Local plan / planning our future, Older people, Planning, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your environment

Around 200 suggestions from local residents, landowners and developers have been received by Epping Forest District Council since it asked people to nominate potential sites for all types of future development including housing.

Residents can see the list below.

Call for sites provisional list pdf (349 KB)

The list will eventually help the Council formulate plans for accommodating around 3,500 new homes allocated by the Government to the district under the East of England Plan.

Information from the `Call for Sites` will inform the preparation of the Local Development Framework (LDF), a series of documents setting out future planning policies for the district. As a result of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, the LDF is the new form of plan making in England and Wales and replaces the Local Plan. In Epping Forest district the priority for the LDF is to provide sufficient land allocations to meet the housing, employment and other targets in the East of England Plan and to meet the requirements for Gypsy and Traveller provision given by the Single Issue Review of the East of England Plan.

Sites identified and evaluated through the `Call for Sites` exercise will be particularly relevant to some of the documents that will make up the LDF. These include the Core Strategy and a Land Allocations Development Plan Document. The `Call for Sites` exercise assists the process of finding the most suitable and deliverable sites for the LDF.

The `Call for Sites` is the first step for the Council in identifying potential land for new development. While making the provisional list public, the Council stresses that being on the list does not indicate support by Councillors, or that the land will ultimately be found suitable for development purposes.

Some residents asked us if they could see the provisional list so we have made it available on the website. However, it is still incomplete and unevaluated. Some of the suggestions will not be viable. Others will need serious consideration but that process is not likely to take place for many months. We still need to add some of our own land holdings into the mix as well as other potential sites, says Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder, Councillor Anne Grigg.

Councillor Grigg added: The official deadline for suggestions was 18 July but we are continuing to get occasional additions.

No action will be taken on considering whether the land that has been submitted is suitable for development in the long term, until preparation of the Core Strategy has been commenced. Any land that is promoted for development from the `Call for Sites` must be in accordance with the strategy of development distribution across the district. Public consultation on the Core Strategy including consideration of the development options available for the district is likely to occur during Summer 2009.