Cabinet 10 November 2008

Written on . Posted in Chigwell, Community, Democracy, Local land charges, Meetings, Older people, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Limes Farm Community Hall, Epping Forest Youth Council, Travellers and Domestic Violence were all featured at the meeting of Cabinet on Monday 10 November 2008.

Watch the webcastCabinet meeting 10 November 2008 webcast
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Limes Farm Community Hall

Epping Forest District Council has ensured the short-term continuation of community services from Limes Farm Hall. Members of the Cabinet agreed to take over management and funding up to the end of March 2010 after Chigwell Parish Council signalled its intention to relinquish the hall next March.

Leisure and Young People Portfolio Holder, Councillor Heather Harding, urged members to support the hall. In so doing, opportunities could be developed by the District Council with Essex County Council, West Essex Primary Care Trust and other partners to provide long-term facilities.

Epping Forest Youth Council

Councillor Harding asked members to note the success of the Youth Council since its formation less than a year ago. The Youth Council requested funding to ensure the continuation of its development and operation.

Members of the Cabinet were very supportive of the Youth Council and noted funding already provided by Epping Forest District Council and other agencies. Before agreeing to provide regular long-term funding, the cabinet asked for a report by the Youth Council to be presented to Overview and Scrutiny, setting out achievements and plans in greater detail.

Main River Management

Members of the Cabinet noted that the Council would no longer provide contracted services for the management of main river watercourses and flood alleviation schemes on behalf of the Environment Agency.

Despite a high quality bid, the Council had not matched the lower cost of the successful builder for the Environment Agency contract.

Local Land Charges

Councillor Mitch Cohen, Portfolio Holder for Corporate Support and ICT Services reported on the reduction in income from Local Land Charge searches, a service carried out on behalf of people preparing to buy a new home. The reduction reflected the general downturn in the housing market.

Car Park Investment

Bakers Lane Car Park in Epping will benefit from investment of £120,000. Among the proposed improvements supported by Cabinet were new lighting, CCTV, drainage, resurfacing and lining.

Travellers

In response to a question by a member of the public, Councillor Anne Grigg confirmed that alternative suggestions for potential traveller and gipsy sites to those in the consultation document would be considered.

Building Maintenance

Cabinet asked staff to do more work on prioritising planned maintenance work to council buildings and facilities.

Reduced Energy Cost and Carbon Footprint

Investment in new computer technology should lead to savings on fuel bills and reduction of the Council`s carbon footprint. With energy prices at high levels, the payback period for `virtualisation` of the Council`s computer storage solutions should be complete in four to five years.

Domestic Violence

Councillors supported the adoption of a policy to help members of staff suffering from or dealing with the effects of domestic violence.

Tree Maintenance and Sports Hall

Cabinet supported a bid for £64,000 which if successful will allow the Council to catch up on a backlog of tree maintenance. Members also agreed to £6,000 to fund a feasibility study on the provision of a new sports hall at Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool.

Capital Strategy

Cabinet agreed to recommend the draft Capital Strategy 2008 to 2013 to Full Council.

Report of Overview and Scrutiny

To see a transcript of report to Cabinet of Councillor Richard Morgan, Chairman of Overview and Scrutiny click on the link below.

Trust Branches Out with Rare Freewoods Offer

Written on . Posted in Community, Countrycare, Our countryside, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Your community, Your environment

Landowners across Essex are being offered a tree-mendous opportunity – the planting of a new native woodland, completely free of charge, with the Woodland Trust.

The Freewoods offer from the Woodland Trust, the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity, takes its woodland creation programme in a new direction by seeking new partners and new locations for tree planting. The offer is expected to strike a chord with environmentally-aware landowners wishing to enhance their land for wildlife. By spring 2009 selected landowners could see their own mini-forests planted of oak, ash, birch and cherry thanks to the Woodland Trust.

Picture of a 10 year old young forest

Essex is one of three counties to pilot the Freewoods opportunity, with the Woodland Trust working alongside Essex County Council to help the authority’s aim to plant an additional 250,000 trees as part of its “Essex Works” tree planting programme.

Councillor Tracey Chapman, Essex County Council cabinet member for environment and waste said: “Our tree pledge aims to help produce a fine sustainable countryside that benefits both wildlife and people. By working with local landowners we are helping to improve and develop land that may otherwise be lost. I would encourage anyone who fits the criteria to apply. The benefits for our landscape and environment are long lasting.”

The other Freewoods pilot counties are Lancashire and Yorkshire, with some individual projects already approved elsewhere including tree planting in a new nature reserve and a new wood on land purchased to save it from development. The Freewoods offer includes site survey and advice on tree species with the Trust then planting and looking after the trees for two years. The minimum planting area per applicant is one hectare (2.5 acres).

“As a starting point all you need is the land and to share our commitment to increase native woodland cover,” said Trust project manager Peter Leeson. “The project is designed to have minimal paperwork and no bureaucracy. The pilot project has limited funds, however, and we will be choosing the best project sites from the applications we receive.”

Peter Leeson continued: “We are passionate about the need to increase native woodland cover, not only to help wildlife prosper but also to increase the quality of everyone’s lives. Of the UK’s total woodland, only one third is native broadleaf trees. An ideal new woodland area would be near ancient woodland or a site of ecological value on arable or improved grazing land. We will not plant trees on sites of high existing ecological value. We know from our work that creating new woodland can be a big decision for landowners – but we also know that more and more people want to plant or manage woods and to help wildlife and biodiversity.”

Research shows that reversing historically low woodland also offers green space for people for exercise and mental relaxation, improves water quality, reduces localised flooding, acts as a cooling influence locally and can play a role in mitigating the effects of climate change.

“Planting new native trees is vitally important to us,” Peter added. “Since the 1930’s England and Wales have lost half of their native woodland cover. England is now one of the least wooded countries in Europe, second from the bottom of the European woodland cover league.”

The Freewoods programme aims to plant trees by the end of March 2009 and has a limited budget. Interested parties should contact: Naomi Fox at the Woodland Trust by telephone on 01476 581111 or by email to naomifox@woodlandtrust.org.uk.

The Woodland Trust is the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity with 300,000 members and supporters.

    The Trust has four key aims:

  1. No further loss of ancient woodland
  2. Restoring and improving the biodiversity of woods
  3. Increasing new native woodland
  4. Increasing people’s understanding and enjoyment of woodland.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering approximately 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres). Access to its sites is free. Further news can be found on the Woodland Trust website.

Woodland Trust website (opens in a new window)

Spurs Star Gets Tenants Active

Written on . Posted in Community, Older people, Our activities, Out and about, Sports, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community

Match of the Day came to Waltham Abbey on Monday 27 October 2008. Spurs and England defender Jonathan Woodgate was the star attraction at the launch of a new project designed to get older residents fit and active. Mr Woodgate launched the HOPE (Helping Older People Exercise) project at Jubilee Court, Epping Forest District Council`s sheltered housing scheme in Waltham Abbey, 24 hours after the announcement of Harry Redknapp`s appointment as the new Spurs manager and the team`s first Premier League win of the season.

Spurs and England defender Jonathan Woodgate with Jubilee Court residents

Match of the Day presenter Mark Bright who scored over 200 goals during a glittering football career with teams including Charlton, Leicester, Millwall, Sheffield Wednesday and Crystal Palace put the questions to Jonathan Woodgate. HOPE is being delivered by the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation in partnership with Epping Forest District Council via funding from the Football Foundation and Comic Relief. Football stars and Jubilee Court tenants were invited to take part in seated exercises led by the District Council`s Active Health Development Officer, David Hogg, as well as golf, bowling and baseball on the Nintendo Wii.

Match of the Day presenter Mark Bright playing the Nintendo Wii (image © Guardian Newspapers)

After the workout with tenants Jonathan Woodgate and Mark Bright also tried out a special back massage therapy.

Chairman John Knapman at the launch of the HOPE project (image © Guardian Newspapers)Councillor John Knapman, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council demonstrated his golfing skills on the Wii and took part in the seated exercise. He thanked Spurs and congratulated the club on the expansion of its work within the local community.

He said: I am very proud of the close links forged in recent years between Spurs and Epping Forest District Council. We already have a very strong track record working with young people on housing estates such as Limes Farm in Chigwell. This latest initiative with our older people is very welcome. Spurs is much more than `big business`. It is showing it takes its community role seriously too.

HOPE is a 30 week programme being delivered at Jubilee Court by Spurs in partnership with Epping Forest District Council and other organisations. Tenants will also get the chance to try out yoga and visit the home of Tottenham at White Hart Lane. If the scheme proves successful, it is hoped to expand it into the London Boroughs of Haringey and Enfield.

Celebrating 300 Years of Guruship

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Democracy, Your area, Your council

On Sunday 2 November 2008 Councillor John Knapman, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council attended the Council of Gurdwaras South East celebrations of the 300th year of Guru Gaddi Divas (Gruship) of Guru Granth Sahib. The event which was held at the Guru Gobins Sing Khalsa College, Chigwell started on 31 October 2008 with the commencement of continuous reading of Guru Granth Sahib for 48 hours until Sunday 2 November 2008.

Chairman John Knapman joins visitors to the 300th Year of Guruship of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji

The Ceremony was attended by the Members of Parliament Mr Lee Scott and Mr Mike Gapes, Mayors, Deputy Mayors and Councillors from neighbouring boroughs, the Sikh Scholars including Inderjit Singh, OBE and many other dignitaries.

Speeches were delivered by many personalities to mark the occasion. Judge Mota Singh could not attend and his message was read by Epping Forest District Councillor Kewal Singh Chana. Awards were presented to various personalities in appreciation of their services to the local communities over many years. Mr Amarjit Singh Toor, the Principal of the College, also presented certificates of achievement to students of the college. On this occasion a Punjabi Poetry session was held and attended by many poets from London, Middlesex and the Midlands including radio and TV presenters Mr Chamanlal Chaman and Sathi Ludhianvi.

Safer Communities Team Provide Halloween Treat

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Your area, Your community, Your home

Epping Forest District Council`s Safer Communities Team joined forces with the Police for Hallowe`en to tackle complaints of nuisance. Safer Communities Officers Paul Gardener, Katie Sparks and Paul Southgate together with Tony Ellis the Police Crime Reduction Officer for the district responded to calls from the public to provide help, advice and re-assurance.

Safer Communities Officer Paul Southgate (top right) with Trick or Treaters and their parentsYoungsters with their blinky lights

The evening started with Officers speaking to groups of young people Trick or Treating to remind them not to call at addresses displaying `No Trick or Treat` posters and to encourage them to act responsibly. As an added road safety measure, officers handed out red flashing lights to make them more visible in the dark. During the course of the evening a number of addresses were attended across the whole district and Officers were able to give advice and re-assurance to residents who had reported youth nuisance.

Tony Ellis Epping Forest District Police Crime Reduction Officer said: Traditionally, Hallowe`en produces a high demand for the increased number of Police Officers on patrol. However, many of the calls we receive relate to instances of nuisance rather than an actual crime. The reason I and Safer Communities staff from Epping Forest District Council patrolled together was to relieve the pressure on Police units by attending minor incidents leaving them to deal with the more serious ones.”

Paul Gardener said: We provided support to the Police allowing Officers to deal with the more urgent calls. The co-ordination between organisations worked very well and this is a service we hope to provide each Hallowe`en.

Go Sport Volunteer Evening

Written on . Posted in Community, Loughton, Our activities, Sports, Young people, Your area, Your community

Epping Forest District Council, in conjunction with Sport Essex and Davenant Foundation School are hosting an event to link local sports organisations with potential volunteers. The Go Sport Volunteer Evening is being held between 7pm and 9pm on 19 November 2008 at Davenant Foundation School in Loughton.

Anyone aged 14 or over who is interested in sport and would like to offer their time to help others is welcome to attend this free event. This is an excellent opportunity for meeting people and possibly signing up to volunteer for a local sports club where new skills can be learned.

Following on from a club development convention earlier this year, the event will include stalls and demonstrations throughout the evening by local sports clubs and organisations trying to recruit local volunteers.

All sports across Essex rely on support and time given by volunteers. Through the Go Sports Volunteer Project, the Council and its partners have dedicated resources to increase the numbers of people volunteering in sport.

Stakeholders Rise to the Challenge

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

 

Local MPs, the Leader of Epping Forest District Council, the Chief Executive of the West Essex Primary Care Trust and the Western Division Chief Superintendent of Essex Police are just some of the high-profile people who have accepted the invitation of the Epping Forest Youth Council to attend an evening of debate with young people from across the Epping Forest District.

Local MPs Eleanor Laing, Eric Pickles and Bill Rammell have all agreed to take a place on the panel that will face questioning by their young local constituents from various school councils, youth groups and other backgrounds.

On the panel will also be the Leader of Epping Forest District Council Councillor Diana Collins and Deputy Chief Executive Derek Macnab, as well as Essex County Council Cabinet member Councillor Ray Gooding, Children, Young People and Families Officer Lonica Vanclay and Transport Officer, Nick Roberts. In addition, the panel will include West Essex Primary Care Trust Chief Executive Aidan Thomas, Police Chief Superintendent Timothy Stokes and renowned Musician/Actor and Youth Charity Worker Shovell, of `M-People` fame.

The panel consists of individuals who are qualified to answer questions on all of the themed topics of a recent young people`s survey, conducted by Epping Forest Youth Council.

Youth Councillor Reece Williams said: We are really encouraged by how forthcoming the panel members have been in attending the Big Youth Debate. This really sends out a positive message that authorities such as the Police, the Health Service and our local Councils want to work with young people, which is really good. We, as young people, have to make sure that we make the most of this opportunity.

Councillor Diana Collins, who has been a big supporter of the Epping Forest Youth Council said: The Youth Council have done very well to consult with over 850 of their peers. I am looking forward with interest to hearing their conclusions regarding local crime and safety, environmental and transport issues.

There are still a few places available for young people aged 11 to 19 to attend the Big Youth Debate event, which takes place at Woolston Manor Golf Club, Chigwell on Wednesday 19 November 2008 from 6:30pm. Anyone interested should contact the Council`s Young Persons` Officer Nick Robinson on 01992 564365.

Chairman Taken on Blindfold Walk

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Democracy, Your council

Chairman John Knapman with trainee guide dog Zaide

As part of national Guide Dog Week, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council Councillor John Knapman visited the Guide Dogs For the Blind Association`s London Centre in Woodford Green on Friday 10 October 2008.

Councillor Knapman saw at first hand how the dogs are trained to become the `eyes` of a blind or partially-sighted person. He had the opportunity to negotiate an obstacle course of traffic cones and barriers blindfold with the help of Flat Coat Retriever Zaide, a trainee Guide Dog.

Councillor Knapman said: Being led blindfold past many obstacles was an amazing experience. You really do have to put all your trust in your Guide Dog. They are fantastic animals that take their owners wherever they wish to go safely and independently. They even take into account obstacles at their owner`s head height so they do not walk them into overhanging branches or obstacles that they could easily pass underneath or through themselves but which their owner clearly would not.

The Chairman and trainee guide dog start the blindfold walkThe Chairman and Zaide negotiate the obstacle course

After his blindfold walk, the Chairman enjoyed a tour of the kennels. Some dogs in advanced training are based there, with trainers collecting them to take them out for practical training such as in town centres and shops. Also on site is a hospital block which houses those dogs that have undergone surgery, such as for cruciate ligament injuries or neutering. A local Vet attends regularly to make sure all dogs are in the best of health.

The Chairman met two special kennel residents called Leo and Nina. They are two cats that also provide essential training for Guide Dogs. They help when a dog may be distracted by cats, for example. They remain very calm, do not run off and therefore the dogs soon learn not to chase!

Chairman John Knapman views the environmental enrichment area

Councillor Knapman also saw the Environmental Enrichment area. This is a series of specially-designed pens in which the dogs can unwind. When they are not working, they come into this area which includes a maze, agility equipment and an area of long grass, all of which are designed to keep the dogs amused and happy.

Dog Care and Welfare Manager Lyn Docherty said: We tend to go to the gym after a hard day`s work to unwind – this area is the dogs` equivalent of the gym. They really love to come out here and have a good run around and to play with all their friends and have fun. Some of the dogs are even better at negotiating the maze than our staff!

Welfare manager Lyn Docherty shows the Chairman around the kennels

Councillor Knapman concluded: I would like to thank everyone here at the Guide Dogs` London Centre for giving me the opportunity of finding out more about visual impairment. I was very impressed with the work that goes on here and even more so with the dogs.

Recycling Consultation Reminder

Written on . Posted in Community, Consultation, Older people, Recycling and waste, Residents, Your community, Your council, Your home

Epping Forest District Council is reminding all residents that the chance to have their say about how they recycle is approaching its deadline. The closing date for completing the waste and recycling service questionnaire is 24 October 2008.

The survey is included in the autumn edition of the Forester and can be completed online.

You could win £100 cash prize or a home composter if you include your home address details when completing the questionnaire. Questionnaires should be returned to Environment and Street Scene, Epping Forest District Council, Freepost CL3360, Epping, CM16 4YA (no need for a stamp).

Collection of wheelie bin residual waste

However, the Council has been made aware of Royal Mail distribution difficulties with this issue and so some properties may not have received a copy. If this is the case, they are available from the Council`s Information Desks or by calling 01992 564140.

The questionnaire invites everyone to express their views on the Council`s current waste and recycling service and outlines three proposed options for change. Changing the service is necessary to enable the District to recycle more and reduce the amount of rubbish going to landfill. The Council will take all comments and ideas into consideration when developing the new service.

Black History Month

Written on . Posted in Community, Museum, Older people, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community

James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw an African Prince

As part of Black History Month, the Epping Forest District Museum website is showing a film it commissoned for last year`s commemoration of the the Abolition of Slavery. The film is a narrative of the most remarkable particulars in the life of James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw an African prince, written by himself.

James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw was captured into slavery when he was a child. Many years later, when he was living in England, he recorded his life story. His memories of Africa, New York, London, Colchester and Norwich were published in 1774. The book is believed to be the first slave narrative to be published in Britain.

Watch the webcastWebcast of James Akawsaw Gronniosaw – an African Prince (opens in a new window)

This film shows extracts from the book and is part of the touring exhibition `The Longest Journey: from Slavery to Abolition`, by Epping Forest District Museum, which looks at Essex links with the slave trade and its abolition.