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

Decisions from Plans South 24 January 2018

Written on . Posted in Building control, Business, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Media, Meetings, Our activities, Our performance, Out and about, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Planning application decisions from the Area Planning Sub-Committee South meeting Wednesday 24 January 2018.

Decisions

  • EPF/2499/17 – 13 -15A Alderton Hill, Loughton, Essex, IG10 3JD
    Application withdrawn
  • EPF/3078/17 – 2 Connaught Avenue, Loughton, Essex, IG10 4DP
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1536/17 – Epping New Road, Buckhurst Hill, Essex, IG9 5UA
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2751/17 – 37 Loughton Way, Buckhurst Hill, Essex, IG9 6AS
    Permission refused
  • EPF/2803/17 – 72 Princes Road, Buckhurst Hill, Essex, IG9 5DZ
    Permission refused
  • EPF/3133/17 – 83 Grange Crescent, Chigwell, Essex, IG7 5JD
    Permission granted

Planning application search

Food for feet relaxation evening

Written on . Posted in Community, Epping, Health, Older people, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your home

Join us for a treat for your feet at our ‘Food for feet relaxation evening’ for adults on Tuesday 30 January 2018.

Food for feet night

We all lead busy lives and do not have much time to maintain a healthy body. Start this year by following some simple steps that will leave you feeling amazing by joining us at our feet relaxation evening.

Walk away with lovely soft feet just by following our self treatment   instructions. Learn how natural home remedies can be used quickly and easily to give you fresh revitalised feet.

Event details

Date: Tuesday 30 January 2018

Time: 7.00pm -9.00pm

Venue: Community Services training room (next door to Epping Sports Centre), 25 Hemnall Street, Epping, Essex, CM16 4LU

Cost: £10 per person

This is a workshop for those aged over 16. Booking is essential

Book your place

  • Call 01992 564226

Further information

Decisions from Plans West 17 January 2018

Written on . Posted in Building control, Business, Community, Democracy, Media, Meetings, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Private housing, Regulations, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Planning application decisions from the Area Planning Sub-Committee West meeting Wednesday 17 January 2018.

Decisions

  • EPF/2413/17 – 1 Bentons Cottages, Middle Street, Nazeing, Essex, EN9 2LN
    Decision deferred to DDMC
  • EPF/2878/17 – Land at Epping Long Green, Epping Green, Epping, Essex, CM16 6QN
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2902/17 – 2 High Street, Roydon, Essex, CM19 5HJ
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2906/17 – 2 High Street, Roydon, Essex, CM19 5HJ
    Permission granted

Planning application search

Claypit Hill fly tip led to arrest and prosecution

Written on . Posted in Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Prosecutions, Recycling and waste, Regulations, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Mr Loredan Ilias of Gascoyne House, London, was ordered to pay a fine and costs amounting to £1686.81 after pleading guilty to flytipping on forest land in Claypit Hill, Waltham Abbey.

Waltham Abbey Fly tipping

Evidence gathered by the Council’s Environment & Neighbourhood team led to a prosecution in Chelmsford Magistrates Court on 14 December 2017.

Found guilty

Mr IIias pleaded guilty to the offence of fly tipping paving stones, rubble and roofing material. He had failed to attend a number of hearings in 2016, leading to a warrant being issued for his arrest. Mr Ilias admitted to fly tipping from a Mercedes Sprinter van on 10 January 2016.

The Magistrates stated that it was a serious offence and a reckless act in a place of Special Scientific Interest.

Fined and prosecuted

He was ordered to pay a fine of £739 together with the Council’s prosecution costs of £724.81 and a Victim Surcharge of £73. The Magistrates also ordered Mr Ilias to pay compensation for clearance of the waste of £150 to the Corporation of London.

‘Blight on environment’

Environment Portfolio holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: “Fly tipping is a selfish and criminal act and a blight on the environment. We recognise it is a growing problem across Essex but it will never be tolerated in Epping Forest and we will continue to pursue the offenders. Those convicted of breaking the law in this way can expect to receive heavy fines.”

Further information

Decisions from Plans East 10 January 2018

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

Planning application decisions from the Area Planning Sub-Committee East meeting Wednesday 10 January 2018.

Decisions

  • EPF/2363/17 – Rozel, Loughton Lane, Theydon Bois, Essex CM16 7JY
    Decision deferred to DDMC
  • EPF/2364/17 – Rozel, Loughton Lane, Theydon Bois, Essex CM16 7JY
    Permission refused
  • EPF/2388/17 – 47 Sunnyside Road, Epping, Essex, CM16 4JW
    Permission refused
  • EPF/2564/17 – Spain End, The Street, Willingale, Ongar, Essex, CM5 0SJ
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2748/17 – Part of Popplewell Coachworks Popplewells Coach Works Ltd, High Road, Thornwood, North Weald, Essex, CM16 6LP
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2869/17 – Rear of 8 to 22 Institute Road, Coopersale, Epping, Essex, CM16 7QY
    Permission granted

Planning application search