Counting the cost of irresponsible waste disposal

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countryside and wildlife, Crime and safety, Epping, Licensing, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Prosecutions, Recycling and waste, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

A Loughton resident incurred fines of more than £1,500 for not checking he was giving his waste to a reputable company.

Mr Vadims Tjoluskins of Hillyfields pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Magistrates Court last month to failing in his household waste duty of care, by giving his waste to somebody else to dispose of without carrying out the necessary checks to ensure that they were authorised by the Environment Agency to carry such waste.

Mr Tjoluskins admitted he handed over some large cardboard boxes which were later found fly tipped amongst a larger pile of waste in Oakley Court, Loughton at a bin store provided for local residents.

Magistrates fined Mr Tjoluskins £600 and ordered him to pay the Council’s prosecution costs of £900, together with a victim surcharge £60 and said that had he not pleaded guilty the fine would have been £900.

Fly tipping prosecution

“We take fly tipping, and residents’ responsibility to ensure they are disposing of their waste legitimately and responsibly very seriously,” said Cllr Nigel Avey, Portfolio Holder for Environment.

“Our message is simple: Before handing your waste to somebody else, always check, consider and record in order to protect yourself, and reduce fly-tipping by rogue traders. It is a crime not to care.”

Further information

Advice on how residents can protect themselves from rogue traders who fly-tip for profit is available on the Council’s Website. Click here for more information Crime Not to Care.

Watch a series of short films produced by the Cleaner Essex Group (a campaign group made up from representatives from local authorities across Essex), are also available to view on this web page.

Cabinet 6 September 2018

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Council tax, Councillors, Democracy, Epping, Housing, Licensing, Local business, Loughton, Meetings, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Parking, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

New tariffs for long stay parking, funding for the Citizens Advice Bureau, Corporate Enforcement Policy, Local Council Tax Support Scheme and Amenity Standards for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) were discussed at a meeting of Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet on 6 September.


New parking charges to encourage high street shoppers

New Pay and Display parking charges to encourage more shoppers into local town centres were approved by Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet meeting on 6 September.

Councillor Sam Kane, Cabinet Portfolio Holder responsible for parking responded to a public question from Loughton Town Councillor Tom Owen, speaking on behalf of Loughton Town Centre Partnership.

Anticipating a full report later in the agenda, Councillor Kane drew attention to the pressure on town centre carparks from all day commuter parking. Increasing the cost of all day commuter parking, Councillor Kane outlined the aim to encourage more shoppers into the District’s local high streets by freeing up spaces and keeping short stay charges low.

Existing tariffs of just 20p for 30 minutes, 80p or 90p for up to one hour and £1.60 or £1.80 for two hours are to be retained while long stay and season ticket tariffs will be brought more into line with local London Underground carparks.

Other Items

Council Leader, Councillor Chris Whitbread also asked fellow councillors to note the substantial funding provided by Epping Forest District Council to the Citizens Advice Bureau. This followed attendance by members of the Bureau at a meeting of the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Other items covered by Cabinet included the Council’s Corporate Enforcement Policy, Local Council Tax Support Scheme, Amenity Standards for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), Christmas and New Year staff working arrangements, the Council’s Staff Appeals Process and the latest report from the Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee.

Responding to reports from Housing Portfolio Holder, Syd Stavrou, Councillor Chris Whitbread also paid tribute to council staff for their quick and co-ordinated response to the fire in Burton Road.

New legislation around animal welfare

Written on . Posted in Animal welfare, Business, Commercial properties, Councillors, Licensing, Local business, Media, Out and about, Regulations, Supporting business, Your area, Your council, Your environment

New legislation for animal businesses is being introduced by the Government, taking effect from 1 October 2018.

The new rules cover animal boarding businesses (including home boarders and day carers), dog breeders, pet shops and riding establishments.

They will all be covered under a single type of license known as an ‘animal activity licence‘, with new nationally-set license conditions for businesses providing animal-related services.

More businesses will need a licence

“We cannot change these conditions as they are already set in the legislation,” said Councillor Nigel Avey, Portfolio Holder for Environment.

“Businesses operating with these activities will need to comply with the new conditions, and will be assessed before the license is granted to make sure they can meet them. It means more businesses will require a license and I would advise anyone who is unsure, to check now with our licensing team.”

Licences in place by 1 October 2018

Those businesses operating under current licences will be able to continue to do so until the expiry date of their licence. All applications to renew licences will be under the new legislation.

New applicants will need to have their licences in place by 1 October 2018.

Contact our licensing team

Don’t fall foul of new licensing laws for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

Written on . Posted in Building control, Commercial properties, Community, Environmental health, Housing, Licensing, Media, Our performance, Private housing, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Uncategorized, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

New licensing laws for landlords, which further protect tenants in Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) from poor living conditions, come into effect on 1 October from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

HMO Licence
Landlords who let a property to five or more people – from two or more separate households – must be licensed by their local housing authority.

The move gives Epping Forest District Council more powers to crack down on those landlords who are renting out sub-standard and overcrowded homes.

The new rules set minimum size requirements for bedrooms in HMOs to prevent overcrowding, and landlords must adhere to council refuse schemes to reduce problems with rubbish.

If you’re a landlord of an HMO, here’s what to do

If you’re not sure whether the new requirements apply to you

And in time for your licence to be processed before 1 October 2018

What happens if I don’t?

  • Prosecution or a Civil Penalty of up to £30,000 for committing an offence
  • Banning Order – You may be banned from operating as a landlord or agent in the private rented sector
  • Up to 12 months’ rent and/or housing benefit can be claimed back by the tenant and/or the Council
  • Any Section 21 notice requiring a tenant to leave the property will not be valid.

Property standards

In addition to general requirements affecting all rented properties, a licensed HMO will need to meet the Essex HMO Amenity Standards.  These set the amount of bathroom, toilet and kitchen facilities, together with the sleeping and communal living space required, depending on the size of the property.

The property will also need to have adequate fire safety measures in place to protect the occupiers and meet the Management Regulations for cleanliness and maintenance of the property.

“Our Private Sector Housing Team is able to explain the new legislation and offer advice and support to landlords of HMOs,” said Cllr Syd Stavrou Portfolio Holder for Housing..

“Call or email them to arrange an informal discussion or to make an appointment to visit the property so that they can advise on any requirements and possible options.”

More information 

Updating our licensing policy

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Crime and safety, Emergencies, Licensing, Local business, Media, Out and about, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

A new licensing policy has been produced in consultation with Essex Police, Essex Fire and Rescue Service and other local organisations. Now it’s the turn of local businesses, residents and local organisations to have their say on the new policy.

Consulting

Ensure prevention of crime, disorder and nuisance

“We are required by law to review our policy at least every 3 years, or when there are changes to legislation or circumstances,” said Cllr Sam Kane, Portfolio Holder for Safer, Greener and Transport.

“The purpose of a licensing policy is to ensure prevention of crime, disorder and nuisance, as well as public safety and the protection of children from harm.”

How it is delivered

We deliver a wide range of enforcement services aimed at safeguarding the environment and the community, and the licensing policy falls within this remit. We are committed to the principles of good inspection and enforcement practice and to carrying out its regulatory functions in a fair, open and consistent manner.

We care responsible for the licensing of events, premises and individuals for alcohol and entertainment, along with those offering late night refreshments.

Comment now

Read the policy Licensing policy 2018

Comments on all aspects of the policy are invited with a closing date of 21 September. All comments received will be considered and the results of the consultation published on our website.

Statement – Fire at Burton Road, Loughton

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Updated Information – 13.15pm on 17 August 2018

Essex Fire and Rescue Service have announced that the fire is now out.

We cannot speculate on the cause of the fire at the moment, that will come out following an official investigation.

The photo below shows the building now that the fire is out and demonstrates how remarkably well the structure has stood up to the fire.

Council Leader, Chris Whitbread said: “You can always rebuild bricks and mortar, the important thing is that everyone appears to be safe and the fire is now out.”

Original statement made – 12:00pm 17 August 2018

A development of new flats in Burton Road, Loughton has caught fire and the fire service are in attendance.

This is a development of new council housing being built for Epping Forest District Council. A £10 million design and build mixed tenure residential development of 51 affordable rent units, comprising of 17 homes and 34 apartments.

Councillor Chris Whitbread Leader of Epping Forest District Council is at Burton Road.

He said: “Our first concern is for the safety and welfare of all concerned. It looks like everyone is safe. Essex Fire and Rescue is on the scene and it is under control. These flats are still being built. This is a construction site and there are no tenants living here. However we are obviously concerned about everyone working on the site at the time the fire started.

“The development is being built for us by Mulalley – a large construction company with a long and successful track record of building major projects. It is too early to say what caused the fire but it is clearly large. Essex Fire and Rescue has cordoned the site off.

“Our first priority is to ensure people are safe. Neighbouring residents are being asked to stay in their homes. This is bound to cause some travel disruption and people are being asked to avoid the area if they can.

“The council has several roles: we are the client and this is a serious setback for us and all those people we are building these new homes for. More importantly in the short term we have a supporting role to the emergency services and would be in a position to set up rest centres nearby if required for neighbouring residents. At this stage our staff are on standby if rest centres are needed. We also employ specialist building control officers who will be at the disposal of Essex Fire and Rescue to assess the damage and ensure the buildings are made safe once the fire is out.

“In the longer term we will recover. Bricks and mortar can always be replaced and we will rebuild these much needed homes for local people. For now, our thoughts are focused on the safety of everyone living and working in the area.

Please visit the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service website for reliable advice and up to date information about the incident http://www.essex-fire.gov.uk/incidents/i7458/

 

Epping Forest District Council wins Local Plan challenge

Written on . Posted in Building control, Business, Commercial properties, Community, Consultation, Councillors, Democracy, Housing, Leader, Licensing, Local plan / planning our future, Media, Our countryside, Our performance, Planning, Private housing, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Uncategorized, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your money

The High Court has dismissed the legal challenge to the Epping Forest District Council’s Local Plan Submission Version 2017 paving the way for the Council to submit the Local Plan to the Secretary of State for Independent Examination. The Court rejected all four grounds of challenge brought by property development company CK Properties (Theydon Bois) Ltd, endorsing the lawfulness of the Council decision to approve the Local Plan for 11,400 new homes over the Plan period up to 2033.

Updated 22 August 2018

However the Council cannot currently submit the plan for examination due to an injunction placed by Mrs Justice Lang in the High Court on 21 March 2018 restraining the Council from submitting the Local Plan until final determination of the legal proceedings.  The claimants made an application for permission to appeal to the High Court which was refused on 13 July 2018.  The order made by Mr Justice Supperstone accepted that final determination of the legal proceedings included any application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal.  The claimants have now submitted an application to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal.  We are currently waiting for that application to be determined by the Court of Appeal.  We understand it is being expedited but we do not currently have a timeline for the decision.

EFDC local plan logos

The Council’s Planning Portfolio Holder, Councillor John Philip described the Court’s decision as “good news” and the positive outcome is also seen as vindication of the Council’s approach by its Leader, Councillor Chris Whitbread.

John Philip expressed his gratitude to the Court saying: “The production of the Local Plan is possibly the most difficult thing the Council has ever had to do. The issues involved in planning for growth in the District are very sensitive and, inevitably, emotions often run high, but the Court has endorsed the Council’s approach having scrutinised the decision-making process.”

Chris Whitbread was also pleased. He said: “As Councillors we take a balanced view between the protection of the character of the District we love and the need to provide decent homes for local people. We burnt a great deal of ‘midnight oil’ to understand and balance complex issues while collectively studying and guiding the evolution of the Plan through workshops, meetings and engagement before making some really difficult decisions.”

Councillor Philip continued: “I hope CK Properties will see the sense of the Court’s judgment, and pursue their arguments through the Local Plan Examination process, which has always been the proper place to air their concerns, and spare Council Tax payers any additional expense by resorting to the legal appeal process.”

Shared accommodation standards survey

Written on . Posted in Business, Commercial properties, Community, Consultation, Licensing, Local business, Media, Out and about, Private housing, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council

If you live in, manage or own shared accommodation, let us know what you think of our proposed Essex-wide amenity standards. This covers bedroom sizes and living space, kitchen and bathroom facilities, number of toilets and other amenities like heating and washing and drying facilities.

Essex HMO consultation

Take the survey

The survey should only take 10 minutes and will close on 19 June 2018.

Landlords and tenants – tell us your views

“It’s really important that both landlords and tenants tell us their views” said Councillor Syd Stavrou, Deputy Leader and Housing Portfolio Holder. “If landlords don’t respond they risk having standards imposed on them that they don’t like and which may be costly. Equally for tenants this is their opportunity to let us know what they would reasonably expect when living in shared accommodation.”

Councillor Syd Stavrou ended by asking landlords and tenants to complete the survey: “It only takes 10 minutes to complete and closes on 19 June 2018, this is your chance to help us better understand your views.”

Clear space and amenity standards

Essex Councils want to ensure that clear space and amenity standards for HMOs are in place across Essex so that landlords and tenants know what is expected.

Please have your say as we seek to ensure that HMOs are safe, suitable and well-managed.

Decisions from Plans South 21 March 2018

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Planning application decisions from the Area Planning Sub-Committee South meeting Wednesday 21 March 2018.

Decisions

  • EPF/1012/17 – 12A Alderton Close, Loughton, Essex, IG10 3HQ
    Permission refused
  • EPF/2625/17 – 40 York Hill, Loughton, Essex, IG10 1HU
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2984/17 – 26 Murtwell Drive, Chigwell, Essex, IG7 5ED
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2989/17 – 35 Forest Lane, Chigwell, Essex, IG7 5AF
    Permission granted
  • EPF/3058/17 – 67 Newmans Lane, Loughton, Essex, IG10 1TN
    Permission granted
  • EPF/3264/17 – Grange Court, 72 High Road, Chigwell, Essex, IG7 6PT
    Permission granted
  • EPF/3275/17 – Grange Court, 72 High Road, Chigwell, Essex, IG7 6PT
    Permission granted
  • EPF/3436/17 – Cornerways, Turpins Lane, Chigwell, Essex, IG8 8BA
    Permission granted

Planning application search

Landlord fined £21,575 for illegal HMO

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Councillors, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Epping, Licensing, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Private housing, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Epping Forest District Council successfully prosecuted and fined Mr Veli Bunul £21,575, when found operating an unlicensed house in multiple occupation (HMO) and breaching legislation designed to protect tenants.

HMO Licence

The Council was called to inspect a three storey family town house in Tillingham Court Waltham Abbey, found to be occupied by three separate families, each with young children, all sharing one kitchen and two bathrooms.

Potential tragedy

Housing 11 occupants, the property was overcrowded, had inadequate fire precautions or a safe means of escape in event of an emergency.

Basildon Magistrates court was particularly concerned about these failings which could have potentially led to lives being at risk and tragic circumstances.

The Court heard that Mr Bunul of Chase Side, London E14 had ignored all of Epping Forest District Council’s warnings about his responsibilities to licence the property and his obligation to make it safe.

He alleged he was unaware that the property was being occupied by several families, claiming someone else collected the rent on his behalf. The court did not find this a reasonable excuse and so carried his conviction alongside a hefty fine.

Zero tolerance

Housing Portfolio Holder, Councillor Syd Stavrou said, “We will not tolerate landlords who rent properties which fail to meet standards.  The Council has a commitment to ensure that private landlords in the Epping Forest district do not take financial advantage of vulnerable tenants and put their lives at risk.  We will not hesitate to prosecute landlords who show a disregard for the law and their responsibilities towards occupants”.

New licensing rules

The Government are bringing in an extension to the  current licensing regime. From 1 April 2018, any property with five or more people from two or more households will require a licence regardless of how many floors there are in the property.

Landlords must comply with licence conditions to ensure properties are safe for the amount of people occupying them. In addition, minimum space requirements are to be imposed to prevent exploitation by overcrowding.

Advice to Landlords

Landlords that currently operate a licensable HMO in Epping Forest District (3 or more storeys, occupied by 5 or more people living as 2 or more households) but do not currently hold a licence should contact the Council’s Private Sector Housing Team immediately to avoid prosecution.

Anyone operating such an HMO without the appropriate licence is committing an offence, risks a criminal record and an unlimited fine on summary conviction.

Other landlords operating or thinking of operating an HMO that will fall under the new licensing regime from 1 April 2018 are encouraged to contact the Private Sector Housing Team for further information and advice.

Advice to tenants

If you think you may be living in a property that requires a licence and one is not displayed in the property, or you are concerned about the property conditions, please contact the Private Sector Housing team on the details below.

Contact