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.

Bakers Lane Car Park Improvements

Written on . Posted in Community, Older people, Out and about, Residents, Travel, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Bakers Lane Car Park in Epping is to be upgraded by Epping Forest District Council. The improvement works are due to start on Tuesday 9 November 2009 and will last for two weeks.

The upgrade works to be carried out consist of resurfacing the entire area of the car park, providing new improved surface drainage, improving the lighting and installing CCTV.

During the two weeks` work, 50 per cent of Bakers Lane Car Park will remain open. However, spaces will be limited to permit holders only. The work will begin on Tuesday so only one market day is affected, causing as little disruption to stallholders and their customers as possible.

A letter has been sent to all local residents and businesses close to this Car Park, providing details of the works due to be carried out and advising of the times they may be affected.

Cashback Success for Ninefields

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

Ninefields Estate in Waltham Abbey has successfully been awarded funding from the Community Cashback Scheme. The Community Development Team at Epping Forest District Council submitted a bid back in August and asked local people to pledge their support.

Community Cashback is a new scheme launched by the National Criminal Justice Board to enable local people to have a say in how £4 million of recovered criminal assets, for example, confiscated cash or property, should be spent in their communities.

Members of the local community were encouraged to vote for the project online and various television and radio interviews were undertaken. Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Wellbeing Councillor Brian Rolfe said: It is a direct result of the fantastic amount of support registered by members of the local community that we were able to secure this funding. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who took the time to vote as the projects being planned will benefit the whole of the Ninefields community.

The funding secured will be used to improve the entrance to Ninefields Community Hall and facilitate a young people`s community art project, culminating in the production of a 3D sculpture for the front wall. Local young people will work with an artist to develop, design and consult publicly on the piece of artwork.

Councillors Hit Streets with New Clean-up Teams

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

Senior Councillors joined Epping Forest District Council`s Environment and Neighbourhood Officers (ENOs) on patrol in Ongar, Theydon Bois and Waltham Abbey last week. From small-scale littering to fly-tipping and graffiti, they saw some of the problems the new service has been set up to tackle.

Councillor Di Collins with ENOs at the Borough Car Park in Chipping Ongar

Picture caption – Councillor Di Collins, Leader of Epping Forest District Council with Richard Gardiner, Kevin Bagshaw and Richard Thomason (ENOs) at the Borough Car Park in Chipping Ongar

We have a beautiful district and the vast majority of our residents want us to keep it that way, said Councillor Di Collins, Leader of Epping Forest District Council. Unfortunately, there is a small minority that feels differently and it is a constant struggle to clean up after the fly-tippers, vandals and graffiti vandals. The introduction of our new Environment and Neighbourhood Officers along with the Environmental Response Unit will make a major contribution to tackling such problems.

Environment Portfolio Holder Councillor Mary Sartin accompanies ENOs on patrol in Waltham Abbey

Picture caption – Environment Portfolio Holder Councillor Mary Sartin accompanies Environment and Neighbourhood Officers John Heppell and Steve Anstiss on patrol in Waltham Abbey.

Plans for the new service were drawn up by Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Mary Sartin last year. With savings identified from efficiencies across other parts of the Council, £250,000 has been invested in the team and equipment. The new Environment and Neighbourhood Officers received their uniforms last month. With the highly-recognisable response vehicle and uniformed staff, Councillor Sartin hopes people will talk to the Officers on patrol to report problems.

She said: We want to be high profile and accessible so people will tell us where the problems are. The Environment and Neighbourhood Officers have a range of resources to call on and we aim to deal with them as quickly as possible.

Councillor Penny Smith with ENOs in Theydon Bois looking for evidence

Picture caption – Councillor Penny Smith in Theydon Bois with members of the Environment and Neighbourhood Team (Chris Smith, Richard Gardiner and Kevin Bagshaw) looking for evidence that could link dumped rubbish back to the fly-tippers.

Contractors such as Sita UK, the Council`s domestic waste collector can handle many jobs such as fly-tipping on highway land. The Environment and Neighbourhood Officers can also call upon contractors to remove graffiti. Many of the jobs are relatively small and can be completed quickly by the Council`s own Neighbourhood Response Officers, who can be seen around the District in their distinctive response vehicle. Councillor Penny Smith, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, met some members of the Team at the site of some fly-tipping near Theydon Bois. She said: Fly-tipping is a big problem for private landowners, too. They are often innocent victims who bear the cost of this anti-social behaviour. If the rubbish is dumped on their land, they have to pay for the cost of removal which seems unfair but is the law. I can`t understand the mentality of people who cause this kind of damage and cost to their fellow citizens. It is such a shame.

Councillor Smith said: Sometimes it is not immediately obvious who the landowner is and it can therefore take much longer to clear.

The Neighbourhood Response Officers and Environmental Response Vehicle are additional resources to help deal quickly with small, normally visible problems that are often difficult and time consuming to follow up, whilst the ENOs investigate, raise the issue with the landowner to try and prevent the problem recurring and pursue or educate offenders. ENOs have Community Safety Scheme Accreditation which means they can also require people to give them their names, issue fixed penalty notices and carry out investigations.

Councillor Smith added: Our Officers have a range of powers. Householders also need to make sure they employ reputable contractors. If our Environment and Neighbourhood Officers find evidence linking a fly-tip to you, expect them to ask you for evidence that you have acted reasonably. Remember, fly-tipping carries a fine of up to £50,000.

Councillor Smith concluded: We all want to keep our district clean and green. Please help us to succeed.

ENOs have Community Safety Scheme Accreditation

Picture caption – ENOs have Community Safety Scheme Accreditation which means they can also require people to give them their names, issue fixed penalty notices and carry out investigations.

    To contact the Environment and Neighbourhood Team:

  • call our dedicated reporting number on 01992 564500
  • email ess@eppingforestdc.gov.uk