Young Citizen of the Year 2010 – Tom Peters

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The Young Citizen of the Year comes from Chigwell. He is 17 years of age, a keen sportsman, a member of Upper Clapton Rugby Club and working toward the Level 1 Football Association Coaching Certificate.

Our winner is a volunteer, working with the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation and Epping Forest District Council at the Limes Farm Social Inclusion Project in Chigwell. Young people need positive role models and our Young Citizen of the Year is among the finest examples.

Tom Peters with Chairman Penny Smith

He is an inspiration to the young people he works with, respected and admired. Through voluntary community work he has found a fulfilling vocation he intends to develop and sustain, having recently applied to work with the Children`s Charity, Barnardos and pursue a career as a youth worker supporting some of the most vulnerable young people in our society.

When asked how he would spend the £100 prize money attached to his award, he said the football club needs some extra equipment or it could be put towards a youth day out.

There were 8 nominations received for the Epping Forest Young Citizen of the Year. The judges awarded three high commendations to 17 year olds Samantha Saville, a student at Epping Forest College and member of Loughton Centre for Young People, O`Shea Marguerite, a former Waltham Forest College student and member of Limes Farm Youth Centre and eleven year old Billy Millham from West Hatch School in Chigwell.

Cabinet Spotlight on Child Protection

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The Cabinet meeting that took place on 8 March 2010 saw child protection proposals come under the spotlight as well as discussion on recycling and health.

Watch the webcastView the webcast of the Cabinet Meeting 8 March 2010

District Council seeks reassurance on Child Protection

Councillor Brian Rolfe, Leisure and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder introduced Mr Roger Bullen of Essex County Council to present a report on the Essex Children`s Trust Memorandum of Agreement.

Councillor Mitch Cohen questioned Mr Bullen closely on the purposes of the Memorandum. He explored the levels of independence Epping Forest District Council would retain to control its own policies and procedures in relation to children`s services.
Mr Bullen sought to reassure Councillors that the Memorandum would underpin the statutory obligations of the Essex Children`s Trust, rather than form an overarching influence.

Councillor Lesley Wagland, the Council`s elected representative on the West Essex Children`s Trust Board also expressed concerns. She drew comparison with Epping Forest District Council`s own policies and procedures particularly in relation to Safeguarding, which have been independently identified as `Best Practice`. Councillor Wagland felt that from a legal perspective, the Memorandum of Agreement as written was not specific enough in terms of expectations or requirements, leaving room for different interpretations by the various partners.

Councillor Ann Haigh, Chairman of the previous Children and Young People`s Strategic Partnership (CYPSP) echoed many of Councillor Wagland`s concerns and emphasised the need to place the safeguarding of children first. Councillor Haigh also drew attention to the needs of smaller areas within the context of the overall requirements of West Essex. Councillor Haigh felt the Memorandum was premature and supported Councillor Wagland`s call not to support the document as currently worded.

Councillor Chris Whitbread suggested the document should not be signed at this time. Rather he felt that the good practice identified by independent audit at Epping Forest District Council should be examined more closely by Overview and Scrutiny to see how it might be taken forward. In the meantime, the District Council would assure Essex County Council that it would meet its legislative requirements and continue to work in partnership, while seeking assurances from Essex County Council towards enhancements of children`s services across the County.

Free recycling for schools, halls and places of worship

Free recycling services are to be extended to schools, village halls and religious services at places of worship. Epping Forest District Council`s Cabinet agreed to support the extension of free recycling across the district, mirroring similar services already available on household recycling collections from residents. Councillor Mary Sartin, Environment Portfolio Holder recommended the report to Cabinet.

Commercial businesses continue to be liable for charges for the collection of `trade waste`.

Health Service Consultation

Councillor Ken Angold-Stephens reported to members on the latest North East London health service consultation. He outlined a number of concerns expressed at Overview and Scrutiny Committee including funding and mental health services. Members were also unhappy at the uneven spread of consultation across the southern area of the district.

Watch the webcast

View the Overview and Scrutiny presentation and debate

Sports Bursary Winner – Emma Hollis

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Emma Hollis, a young lady from Theydon Bois, is no stranger to the Council or to our local newspapers. She is making the headlines as one of our top hopes for a swimming medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Three years ago she was a recipient of a small sports bursary, receiving £500 towards her training and competition costs.

Now aged 18 and studying for her A-levels at Chigwell School, our Sports Bursary winner trains six evenings and two mornings each week. A member of Epping Forest District Swimming Club at Loughton Leisure Centre, she is a British record holder in the S8 400 metre Individual Medley, the S8 50 metre and S8 100 metre Breaststroke.

Chairman Penny Smith with Emma Hollis

Small bursaries can be a wise investment in our young people. This year, three smaller sports awards will also be made. One of £500 to Emma`s younger brother James who is also a swimmer. Another to Charlie Collins to develop his martial arts skills in Karate and the third to cyclist Edward Bird, each of whom will receive £250.

Voting Age Reduction Called For By Young People

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

Young residents have called for a reduction in the minimum voting age.

Packed into the debating Chamber of Epping Forest District Council, 54 per cent of the students representing the District Council area secondary schools and Epping Forest District Youth Councillors supported a motion to lower the voting age to 16.

Anti-social behaviour, stereotyping of young people, gangs and a lack of activities were also highlighted as the top areas of concern.

The day was organised by Epping Forest District Youth Council. Delegates were welcomed by Epping Forest District Council Chairman Councillor Penny Smith.

Local MPs Eleanor Laing and Bill Rammell then got down to business with a question and answer session. Youth Councillors Haris Duherich, Yasmin Levy-Miller, Connor Latimer and Trini Philip gave BBC Reporter Ben Bland a taste of the debate to come in an exclusive interview.

Connor Lattimer proposed lowering the voting age to 16

Yasmin Levy-Miller opposed lowering the voting age to 16

The motion that this House calls for the minimum voting age to be lowered to 16 was proposed by Connor and opposed by Yasmin.

Youth Councillor Holly Whitbread chaired the debate and kept order during a lively and robust discussion with many views expressed both for and against the motion.

Electronic voting equipment was used to display the debates resultThe debate was webcast live from the Council offices. It was also a chance for Epping Forest District Council to try out its new electronic voting equipment.

The Council`s Electoral Returning Officer Ian Willett gave a talk on his role in the forthcoming General Election.

The Vote

    Should the voting age be lowered from 18 to 16?

  • Yes – 54% – 41 votes
  • No – 46% – 35 votes

After the debate and lunch in the Council Members` Room, the young people broke up into smaller discussion groups to identify their top three priorities.

Youth Councillor Yasmin Levy-Miller said: For me it is really important to get young people`s voices heard. We are young people ourselves and we know about the issues we want to change.

Youth Councillor Connor Lattimer added: I was pleased we won the debate although in the back of my mind I thought we might get a bigger majority, maybe 60 or 70 per cent. I think Yasmin argued well against us. We should do something similar next year “ a progress check.

A lively and robust discussion with many views expressed both for and against the motion

Councillor Di Collins District Council Leader and Chairman of `One`, the Epping Forest Local Strategic Partnership, drew proceedings to a close with thanks to everyone for a fantastic day of debate.

Is the Council up to Standard?

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Do you want to have a say on the actions of our councillors? Two vacancies on the Epping Forest Standards Committee have arisen that will allow you to do just this.

The two positions must be completely independent of the District, Town and Parish Councils for which the Standards Committee has responsibilities. Along with a third independent member they will share responsibilities with six councillors drawn from the District and local Town or Parish Councils.

Although the most visible role of the Standards Committee members is to hear complaints and adjudicate on the conduct of councillors, there is much more to the position. Standards committee duties also include monitoring and advising on the code of conduct to which local councillors are bound. It promotes the code and offers training to councillors as well as advice on ethical issues.

There are four meetings of the full Standards Committee each year which are held in the evenings and are up to two hours in length. In addition, various sub committees meet for the purpose of dealing with complaints. These are usually held in the daytime and can vary in length.

Independent members of the Standards Committee may receive a small allowance in the sum of £500 to cover the personal costs of their role. A larger allowance is payable to the Chairman of the Committee, a position which must be held by one of the independent members.

Potential applicants should contact Ian Willett, Deputy Monitoring Officer at Epping Forest District Council by telephone on 01992 564243 or by email via iwillett@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Cafe Pays Price for Out of Date Food

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Food products including ham, cheese and shrimps have been seized from an Epping Cafe by Environmental Health Officers from Epping Forest District Council following a routine inspection on 2 February 2010. The Officers seized the products from Belgique after discovering them to be past their use by date – in one case by more than a month.

The issue was referred to a Justice of the Peace at Harlow Magistrates` Court who agreed the food should be condemned and destroyed. Belgique were not represented in court but will have to pay for the cost of disposal of the out of date food products.

Two Hygiene and Improvement Notices have been issued to Belgique on `food management safety` and `staff training`. They have 14 days to comply with the notices and failure to do so could lead to prosecution.

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

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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.

Nominations Wanted for Young Citizen

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Do you know someone who is kind, caring and helps others? If you do, nominate them for Epping Forest District Council’s Young Citizen of the Year.

Young Citizen of the Year 2010

Friends, relatives, neighbours or colleagues all have the chance to nominate a special young person for this award. It is presented annually to a young person, aged between 11 and 18 years, in recognition of their exceptional contribution to the Epping Forest community.

The winner will be invited to the civic awards ceremony on Thursday 18 March 2010 at Gilwell Park to receive their certificate and cheque for £100 from the Chairman of Council.

EFYC Councillors Daisy Morecroft, Tilly-Jo Morris, Haris Duherich and James Harrington with posters

Picture caption – Epping Forest Youth Councillors Daisy Morecroft, Tilly-Jo Morris, Haris Duherich and James Harrington showing the Young Citizen of the Year 2010 poster.

Nominees must be aged 11 to 18 years old and live in the Epping Forest District. Closing date for nominations is Friday 22 January 2010. For further information about the award please ring Diane Butler on 01992 564365.

Keeping High Streets Clear as Freeze Deepens

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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.