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.

Waltham Abbey Bible in Top 10

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

The Waltham Abbey Bible, on display at Epping Forest District Museum, has been selected as one of the top ten most important museum objects to reflect Essex`s history.

BBC Essex has joined up with museums across the county to choose a number of objects the people involved feel best reflect its unique place and past in the world. This is part of the BBC`s Nationwide history of the world project. A series of television and radio programmes will be broadcast on the BBC throughout 2010 with a vision to tell the history of the world through man-made objects.

Epping Forest District Museum Officer Tony O`Connor was interviewed about the significance of the Waltham Abbey bible by BBC Essex radio on Thursday 28 January. He said: The bible is one of our star items on display at the Museum. It dates back to about 1200 AD and is all that survived from the library in the Abbey Church, the last in the country to be dissolved by King Henry VIII in 1540.

A BBC reporter interviews District Museum Officer Tony O'Connor about the Waltham Abbey Bible

Inscriptions inside the Bible tell us it was the property of the Prior (the second most important official in the Abbey). The lack of rich decoration suggests this book was used for private study and not for display within the church. Both the Old and New Testaments are written in tightly-packed Latin script on 238 pages of Vellum (Parchment), the standard writing material in medieval England, made from treated animal skins.

Tony O`Connor added: It is a real privilege for the Bible to be chosen as one of the most important objects in Essex`s history. The Bible does not just belong to the Museum but to all the residents of the Epping Forest district and represents an important part of local and national history.

The Waltham Abbey Bible, which was acquired with support form the Victoria & Albert Museum Purchase Fund can be viewed at Epping Forest District Museum. For opening times, please call 01992 716882 or visit the Epping Forest Museum Website. More information about A history of the world can be found at the BBC Essex Website.

Keeping High Streets Clear as Freeze Deepens

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Older people, Residents, Travel, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

As temperatures remain below freezing, Essex County Council continues the battle to keep the district`s main roads free of ice and snow. Although not strictly part of its role, Epping Forest District Council is also helping by diverting staff and contractors from normal duties to grit heavily-used pedestrian areas.

The District Council is set to take delivery of another three tonnes of grit on Friday 8 January 2010, supplementing supplies already being used in town and shopping centres, car parks and sheltered housing schemes for older people.

District Council staff gritted the most heavily-used pedestrian areas in Epping High Street 7 January 2010

Picture caption – Epping Forest District Council staff gritted the most heavily-used pedestrian areas in Epping High Street 7 January 2010.

Councillor Mary Sartin, Environment Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council said: Although Essex County Council Highways is responsible for gritting, we are working well in partnership. District Council grounds maintenance staff and street cleaners employed by our contractor Sita are supporting the County efforts on the roads by targeting the most heavily-used pedestrian areas of the district.

It is hard work but our teams are doing all they can, shovelling snow to the sides of pavements and laying down salt. They can`t do every path and pavement, we don`t have enough people. It is very low-tech but is of great benefit to high street businesses and local residents in need of shopping supplies during the freeze.

Staff are also gritting local pay and display car parks. Earlier this week Councillors agreed in principle to hold Pay and Display car park charges at current levels for another year and maintain free parking in the Council`s Long Stay Car Parks on Saturdays. Councillor Sartin said: It is another example of our commitment to supporting residents and local businesses.

Snow Disruption to Refuse and Recycling

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Older people, Recycling and waste, Residents, Travel, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Severe weather continues to cause disruption to the Council`s waste and recycling collection services. Today should have seen waste and recycling collections for Abridge, Chigwell and Waltham Abbey. However, despite the best efforts of our refuse and recycling contractors, it has not been possible to collect from a large number of roads.

For some residents this means storing large volumes of waste including the extra waste generated in the Christmas holiday period. Residents are requested to place all waste at the normal collection point. Due to the exceptional circumstances the Council will collect any side waste (this is waste placed next to your normal wheelie bin).

For as long as access is difficult and until the weather improves we will use all available resources to collect as much waste as we can. Once the weather improves and normal operations commence we will prioritise collections and collect from those properties that have been waiting the longest for a collection.

The Council apologises for this continued disruption to normal waste and recycling services. Residents have been very understanding and co-operative during this difficult period and this is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

High Satisfaction and Low Rents for Council Tenants

Written on . Posted in Benefits, Community, Housing, Older people, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

An independent regulator says tenants of Epping Forest District Council have the lowest average rent and highest satisfaction levels in the district compared to the tenants of the six main housing associations that operate within the District. District Council tenants currently pay, on average, £74.86 per week and have an overall satisfaction rating of 84 per cent. The best performing housing association in the District charges, on average, £81.50 and has a tenant satisfaction level of 79.7 per cent. The figures can be found on the recently launched website of the Tenant Services Authority (TSA).

The TSA is the new regulator for housing associations and, from April 2010, local authority landlords. Its website enables tenants and landlords to compare rent levels and tenant satisfaction within any local authority area, simply by inserting their postcode.

Councillor David Stallan, Housing Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council welcomed the latest findings. He said: We aim to do the best we can for our tenants. Although we work closely with housing associations in the District, which with our help have grown significantly, the Council is still the major provider of affordable housing in Epping Forest. We work very hard to provide the best quality housing service at the lowest possible rent. I would like to thank all those staff in Housing and associated areas of the Council for the great job they do.

In 2007, the Council`s Housing Directorate received the Cabinet Office`s Charter Mark for Customer Service Excellence in the Public Sector for a second time – for a further three years. In 2008, the Housing Directorate was also awarded the international ISO 9001 Quality Assurance Standard for the quality of its housing service for the third time.

Celebrating 25 Years of New Horizons

Written on . Posted in Community, Older people, Our activities, Residents, Sports, Your community

Around 100 people congregated at Epping Hall on Thursday 3 December to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of New Horizons, the Council`s highly popular 50+ Leisure scheme.

The scheme has been in operation since August 1984. It provides a whole host of activities and opportunities for people aged over 50 to be active including sport, dancing and the ever-popular Stepping Out Club, which provides two trips per month to stately homes, gardens and other places of interest.

The celebration event, which was organised by the Council`s Sports and Health Development Section, was an opportunity for existing and founder New Horizons members from the 1980s and 90s to meet up again and share their appreciation along with three of the original staff who have worked on the scheme over the past 20-25 years.

Chairman of Council Councillor Penny Smith joined the celebration and presented gifts for long service with New Horizons to Malcolm Wollin from High Beach, who has organised and taught bowls for 20 years; Margaret Weston from Loughton, who has taught yoga for 20 years; and Hettie Williamson from Epping, who has organised the Stepping Out Club and local tea dances for 20 years.

The original New Horizons Co-ordinator Julie Chandler was also at the event in her capacity as Assistant Director of Community Services and Customer Relations. She was delighted to see so many of the original members of the scheme, many of whom are now in their 80s and 90s and still keeping fit.

If you are interested in getting fit, being active, or simply making new friends through New Horizons, please contact Sports and Health Development on 01992 564567.

Loughton Broadway Election Notice of Poll

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

Election of a Town Councillor for Loughton Broadway.

    Notice is hereby given that:

  1. A poll for the election of a Town Councillor for Loughton Broadway will be held on Thursday 10 December 2009, between the hours of 7am and 10pm.
  2. The number of Town Councillors to be elected is one.
  3. The names, home addresses and descriptions of the candidates remaining validly nominated for election and the names of all persons signing the candidates nomination paper are as follows:Name of Candidate BOSTOCK Jill Elizabeth
    Home Address 91 Queens Road, Loughton, IG10 1RR
    Description Labour
    Name of Proposer Davis Joan
    Name of Seconder Dare Edwin H

    Name of Candidate KALKAT Iqbal Singh
    Home Address 5 Richmond Park, Loughton, IG10 4PQ
    Description Conservative
    Name of Proposer Fenn Patrick S
    Name of Seconder Hylton Owen

    Name of Candidate LONG Edward John
    Home Address 81 Grosvenor Drive, Loughton, IG10 2LA
    Description British National Party
    Name of Proposer Harding Nicola
    Name of Seconder Dextor Alex

    Name of Candidate NICHOLSON Katie
    Home Address 13A The Broadway, Loughton, IG10 3SX
    Description Loughton Residents Assiociation
    Name of Proposer Walker Claire
    Name of Seconder Bartels Rachel M

  4. The situation of Polling Stations and the description of persons entitled to vote thereat are as follows:Situation of Polling Station Thomas Willingale School, The Broadway, Loughton
    Station Number 1
    Ranges of electoral register numbers of persons entitled to vote thereat AV-1 to AV-1792

    Situation of Polling Station St Thomas More RC Church Hall, Willingale Road, Loughton
    Station Number 2
    Ranges of electoral register numbers of persons entitled to vote thereat AW-1 to AW-1439/1

Published by Ian Willett, Returning Officer.

Council Apology for Information Breach

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

Epping Forest District Council has written letters of apology and notified the Information Commissioner after mistakenly including personal details of five Hackney Cab Licence applications on an online agenda. The Licensing Sub-Committee agenda for the 3 December meeting was taken off-line for correction and has since been re-published.

Assistant to the Chief Executive, Ian Willett offered his apologies to each of the individuals. He said: I am very sorry for this mistake. As well as offering my apologies to each of the applicants concerned, I have also informed the Information Commissioner of the details and the steps we are taking to try to ensure this cannot happen again. The Commissioner is completely independent of the Council. He holds a range of powers to investigate and hold councils to account.

Printed copies of the agenda did not contain the confidential information but the online copy was available via the Council`s website for approximately 24 hours before it was removed.

The Council publishes agenda for most of its meetings through its website. Sometimes it is necessary to produce two versions, one containing details which it would not be proper to make freely available.

Mr Willett said: We use a publishing system supplied by a private company. Our philosophy whenever possible is to make reports and information freely available to the public. We will now have to review the electronic publication system to ensure there are adequate checks to prevent a recurrence of this mistake. We will also look at the rest of our procedures to see if any further improvements are possible.

Bowls Gala Day at Sports Centre

Written on . Posted in Community, Epping, Older people, Our activities, Residents, Sports, Your area, Your community

Epping Forest District Council`s New Horizons 50+ Scheme hosted the 20th Annual Bowls Gala Day on Thursday 29 October 2009. Over 50 short mat bowlers and their supporters from the district and surrounding areas attended the event, which was held at Epping Sports Centre. The competition attracted 12 teams from short mat bowls clubs as far as Sheering in the north to Woodford in the south. Chairman of Council Councillor Penny Smith and Portfolio Holder for Leisure Councillor Brian Rolfe watched the semi-final and final game.

Councillor Penny Smith with the victorious Woodford Wells C Team

Picture caption – Chairman of Council, Councillor Penny Smith with the victorious Woodford Wells `C` Team.

A fun and competitive day was had by all but the players from Woodford Wells Short Mat Bowls Club were certainly on top form on the day. Their `C` team successfully won their half, resulting in them facing the Sheering team in the final.

Councillor Penny Smith said: I was delighted to attend part of the day to watch the very closely-fought matches between all of the teams taking part. Everyone seemed to enjoy the competition, including the spectators. It was clear to see why short mat bowls is a very popular sport.

Councillor Smith added: I would like to thank the Council`s Sports Development Team for organising the event, which was a tremendous success. I would also like to thank the many helpers, all of whom were of retirement age themselves, who provided teas, raffles, scoring and umpiring on the day.

The Chairman then took pleasure in presenting Woodford Wells `C` Team with the Bowls Gala Championship Trophy and the Sheering team with their `Runners-Up` awards.

Safety Tests Uncover Faulty Blankets

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Older people, Residents, Your community, Your home

The free electric blanket testing service provided by Epping Forest District Council and Essex County Council has been hailed as a success and worthwhile service. On 20 October 2009 residents were invited to bring their electric blankets along to Loughton library to be tested.

Eleven blankets were tested on the day, two of which failed. A faulty electric blanket can be the cause of a house fire and having it tested is a quick and easy way for people to ensure they are safe.

This free service is organised by Epping Forest District Council`s Safer Communities Team in partnership with Essex County Council`s Trading Standards. It takes place every year and always proves to be a beneficial service to local residents.

Also at Loughton Library on the day were staff from Voluntary Action Epping Forest (VAEF), C.A.R.E. – Caring and Repairing in Epping Forest – the Council`s Sports Development Team and Essex Police. They provided support and advice to people on how to keep themselves safe and promote community wellbeing.