Special Conservation Award – Alan Cox

Written on . Posted in Civic events, Conservation and listed buildings, Democracy, Media, Your council, Your environment

The Epping Forest district is rich in history and culture. Waltham Abbey, the Royal Gunpowder Mills, Blake Hall and North Weald enjoy high public profiles. Historic and literary figures as diverse as Winston Churchill, Charles Dickens and the infamous Dick Turpin have added colour and some notoriety. But nestling on the boundary between Upshire and Epping Upland, one of our oldest and most important historic buildings is once again becoming a centre for culture and the community.

The history of the Copped Hall Estate stretches back many hundreds of years. The first performance of A Mid-Summer Night`s Dream is said to have been performed in the grounds of the old Tudor mansion. For centuries, the lives of people for miles around were centred on the Estate.

Then, disaster struck. In 1917, the Hall was gutted by fire. It became a shell in danger of collapse and total loss.

Alan Cox with Chairman Penny Smith

But Copped Hall holds a special place in our imaginations. Battered and scarred, it still inspires. And none more so than in the mind of the winner of our next award, made this evening in recognition of his flair, passion and sheer determination to see Copped Hall restored to its former glory, though not this time as a seat of privilege but as a centre of history and culture for our whole community.

Since 1986 he has worked tirelessly, first to secure, then to stabilise, before beginning the long process of restoration. He has not been alone. There are now some 1,000 Friends of Copped Hall, many of whom are actively involved in the restoration work and community activities, a Board of Trustees and a range of other partners driving forward or supporting the process.

Copped Hall is coming back to life thanks in large part to the leadership of our award winner. Special Conservation Award goes to the Alan Cox, architect leading the restoration of Copped Hall.

Bell Common Conservation Area Character Appraisal

Written on . Posted in Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Older people, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Young people, Your community, Your environment

The final version of the Bell Common Conservation Area Character Appraisal & Management Plan has been published by Epping Forest District Council. This follows public consultation last year when local residents were invited to comment on the draft document.

Bell Common Conservation Area was first designated in 1985 and encompasses the open green space of Bell Common as well as all the buildings which surround it. The appraisal was compiled between August 2007 and December 2008 when the area was surveyed and photographed in detail.  A range of historic maps was consulted and documentary research carried out.

Bell Common Conservation Area

The purpose of a character appraisal is to define the character of the conservation area, review its boundaries and highlight any parts of it that may be in need of improvement. The character appraisal for the Bell Common Conservation Area covers topics such as public spaces, historical roots of the area and key views and characteristics as well as sites with potential for improvement or development.

  • A limited number of hard copies will also be available. These can be obtained by telephoning 01992 564582 (or 01992 564068) or by emailing contactLB@eppingforestdc.gov.uk. Alternatively, the appraisal will be available to view at the District Council`s Planning Reception from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, Civic Offices, Epping.

    The Council is currently working on Character Appraisal and Management Plans for the conservation areas within Loughton which are due to be available for public consultation in the near future.

Epping Conservation Area Character Appraisal

Written on . Posted in Conservation and listed buildings, Consultation, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Our countryside, Your area, Your council, Your environment

The final version of the Epping Conservation Area Character Appraisal has been published by Epping Forest District Council. This follows public consultation when local residents were invited to comment on the draft document.

Epping Conservation Area was first designated in 1969 and encompasses most of Epping Town Centre. When the appraisal was compiled, the area was surveyed and photographed in detail. A range of historic maps was consulted and documentary research carried out.

The purpose of a character appraisal is to define the character of the conservation area, review its boundaries and highlight any parts of it that may be in need of improvement. The character appraisal for the Epping Conservation Area covers topics such as public spaces, shop fronts, and highway signs as well as sites with potential for improvement or development.

A limited number of hard copies will also be available. These can be obtained by telephoning 01992 564582 or emailing contactLB@eppingforestdc.gov.uk. Alternatively, the appraisal will be available to view at the District Council`s Planning Reception in the Civic Offices in Epping from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

The Council is soon to be printing a character appraisal on Bell Common after public consultation earlier in the year.

Food and Garden Waste Wheelie Bins

Written on . Posted in Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Countrycare, Our countryside, Recycling and waste, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Green lidded wheelie bin for food and garden waste and black wheelie bin for non-recyclable waste

Following the introduction of new food and garden waste wheelie bins by Epping Forest District Council some residents with very large gardens have expressed concerns about the amount of their garden waste they will be able to recycle using the new bins.

One of the most important factors the Council considered in developing the new system was the need to reduce the total amount of waste being collected. Although the food and garden wheelie bin only holds the equivalent of four or five of the former sacks, unlike the old sacks system, the food and garden waste will be collected weekly. In the vast majority of cases this should be sufficient, especially where residents are also composting waste at home and storing the garden waste to allow it to dry out and reduce in weight and volume.

The Green lidded wheelie bin is for food and garden waste and the black wheelie bin is for non-recyclable waste.

However, the Council recognises that there may be exceptional circumstances where a second wheelie bin is appropriate, and therefore at the Cabinet meeting on the 7 September 2009 Councillors looked again at the particular problems of a small number of residents who have very large gardens and agreed that in these exceptional circumstances a second food and garden wheelie bin might be made available, following an individual assessment.

People who think they might qualify for a second wheelie bin will need to talk to the Council first to make sure other options, such as garden composting and storage of garden waste have also been considered.

In addition, the Council will consider, again on an individual basis, providing a garden wheelie bin to residents in flats who are currently maintaining garden areas themselves and who wish to continue to do so. This will enable residents to continue to keep their surroundings tidy and ensure that garden waste is recycled.

Youth Council Energy Saving Initiatives

Written on . Posted in Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Energy efficiency, Epping, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Members of the Epping Forest Youth Council are encouraging schools across the district to save energy. All the secondary schools that completed a recent survey about their environmental practices, conducted by the Youth Council`s Environmental Group, will be awarded with an Owl Wireless Energy Monitor System.

St John`s School in Epping became the first in the district to be presented with one of these devices at the beginning of July. The systems monitor how much energy is used in a particular area and, in turn, how much money may be being wasted needlessly.

Youth Councillor Kaylee Orchard said: The survey we carried out revealed that most schools in the district carry out recycling, along with a number of other positive green practices. By providing these energy monitoring devices, pupils will become more aware of the amount of energy used in their schools and, I hope, to consider the effect this may be having on the environment.

The Youth Council secured the funding for a number of Owl Wireless Energy Monitor Systems from the West Essex Area Forum. They will be awarding them to the other secondary schools across the district over the next few months.

Councillors Wowed on Copped Hall Visit

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Conservation and listed buildings, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Our countryside, Your area, Your council, Your environment

After more than 90 years, the gutted remains of Copped Hall are rising from the ashes thanks to a band of dedicated volunteers and trustees. Members of Epping Forest District Council including the Chairman, Councillor Penny Smith, were treated to an extensive tour of the restoration works as the Hall returns to its former glory. Where only a short while ago there were no floors or roof, councillors were able to walk from room to room, admiring the restoration work in warmth and comfort as thunderstorms lashed the building outside.

Copped Hall on a stormy day, it is hard to imagine the vast amount of restoration work going on

The current Copped Hall was built in 1753 near the site of an earlier Tudor palace. It was extended and embellished but disaster struck when fire ripped through the building in 1917. What remained was left to decay and the Hall could have been demolished entirely. However, unlike so many English stately homes, it was not knocked down. In 1993 the Copped Hall Trust was established to save the house and surrounding gardens.

Councillors see where new floors will be laid across fire resistant steel beamsArchitect Alan Cox by one of the restored fireplaces

With support of organisations including Epping Forest District Council and the dedicated hard work of many individuals, Copped Hall, the gardens and associated buildings are gradually being brought back to life. The Trustees hold events including the Copped Hall Run with Epping Rotary, music and open-air theatre productions. Tours around the inside of the building are being held for members of the public and local schools.

The cellars at Copped HallCouncillors visit the stables at Copped Hall

Councillor Penny Smith`s family has farmed land in nearby Epping Upland and she remembers some of the people who used to work on the Copped Hall Estate.

She said: Today, many people have no idea about the hall or estate. Most only catch a glimpse as they speed past on the M25. However, there was a time when the lives of people in Epping, Epping Upland and Upshire revolved around Copped Hall. It is steeped in history with records as far back as the Doomsday Book.

The restoration still has a very long way to go but walking through the rooms is incredibly atmospheric. From the great dining and bedrooms to the servants` quarters, kitchens and stables, you get a sense of the generations that lived, worked and died there. Small touches such as the restoration of a fireplace, paintings on a wall and the occasional piece of period furniture add to the impression that this was once a very special place and is becoming so again.

Chairman Penny Smith with Councillor Mary Sartin and Copped Hall Trustee John Padfield

Although there are public footpaths across the Copped Hall Estate, entry to the House is by appointment with the Trustees only who run regular tours, proceeds from which go towards the restoration work.

Councillor Penny Smith thanked Alan Cox and Denys Favre of the Copped Hall Trustees for showing the Councillors the Hall. She said: It is marvellous to see the fantastic work taking place. The Copped Hall Trust is a charitable organisation. It relies upon an army of dedicated volunteers led by Alan, Denys and the other trustees. They have done a tremendous job and I look forward to seeing the restoration progress over the next year or so.

Waltham Abbey Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme

Written on . Posted in Business, Commercial properties, Conservation and listed buildings, Local business, Planning, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your environment

Click to enlarge image

The Conservation Section of Epping Forest District Council`s Planning Services has produced a final summary booklet of the Waltham Abbey Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme (HERS). Heritage Economic Regeneration Schemes are conservation-led initiatives launched by English Heritage in 1998 to provide financial assistance with building repairs and enhancement within Conservation Areas.

The Waltham Abbey HERS, which was jointly funded by English Heritage, Epping Forest District Council, Tesco and Sainsbury`s was initiated in 2001 and successfully completed earlier this year having provided grant aid totalling £375,000 to 18 properties within the Waltham Abbey Conservation Area. This scheme allowed for considerable progress towards enhancing the character and appearance of Waltham Abbey Town Centre.

The final summary booklet, which has been produced by the Conservation Section of the District Council’s Planning Services, provides details on each of the grant aided projects, with before and after photographs, as well as background information on the aims of the HERS and related initiatives of the scheme.

The booklet is available by calling the Conservation Section on 01992 564119, via email to psutton@eppingforestdc.gov.uk or by writing to the Conservation Section, Planning Services, Civic Offices, Epping Forest District Council, High Street, Epping, CM16 4BZ.

 

 

 

 

 

Council Objects to East of England Plan

Written on . Posted in Business, Conservation and listed buildings, Countryside and wildlife, Local plan / planning our future, Our countryside, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your environment

Development of North Weald on the scale proposed in the East of England Plan is not only excessive but could also undermine the regeneration of Harlow according to Epping Forest District Council. Councillors met at the Civic Offices in Epping on Tuesday (8 March) and Thursday (10 March) to agree their response to the East of England Plan consultation.

If the Government goes ahead with proposals to develop North Weald Airfield and surrounding land at the same time as developments in Harlow, Councillors believe the effect would be for people and businesses to gravitate towards North Weald. Harlow would struggle to attract the same people and businesses the Government believes the town needs for effective regeneration.

Councillor Robert Glozier, Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder said that undermining the regeneration of Harlow was one of many reasons why the number of new houses and businesses proposed for North Weald and other parts of the district should be reduced.

He said: Aside from the potential damage to Harlow, development at North Weald and to the South West of Harlow does not look sustainable. The impact on the environment from so much development in the Green Belt would be immense. There are fundamental issues ranging from basic health, welfare and education service provision through to concerns about the supply of water. Even if promises of huge investment in infrastructure such as public transport and roads can be afforded, many other questions remain unanswered.

Councillor Glozier continued: There is an enormous amount of concern among local people. They range from those who believe the great historic significance of the Airfield should prevent development to those who fear the scale of development overall would destroy the fundamentally rural character of our local environment.

Councillors voted to tell the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) and the Office of John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister that the overall proposals of 11,000 extra households plus employment developments were too much for Epping Forest district. They specifically rejected the proposal for 6,000 houses at North Weald and 2,700 to the South West of Harlow. District Councillors also believe that whatever the final number of houses allocated to the district, planning control should be retained by the Council and not transferred to a non-elected organisation such as an Urban Development Corporation.

Councillor Glozier said: We are not saying no to any development in the district. By our own assessment we know we need to find capacity for something like  3,000 new houses over the next 16 or so years. We are particularly concerned about the cost of housing and the need to provide affordable homes for young families and key workers such as nurses and teachers. We want to provide homes for these people.

He concluded: We are saying to the Government that we believe their assumptions about the needs and capacity of our district are wrong. They need to stop and rethink their whole strategy.

Residents demonstrated their opposition to the East of England Plan before listening to the debate in the Council meeting. Epping Forest District Council`s objections to the Plan were sent to the Regional Assembly before the deadline for submission of comments on 16 March.

The next main stage in the process will be an Examination in Public (EiP) starting on 13 September. A Panel of Inspectors will identify topics for consideration and may call local people and organisations to give evidence. The Government will expect to receive the recommendations of the Panel in early 2006.