Ongar leisure centre refurbishment unveiled

Written on . Posted in Community, Councillors, Health, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Sports, Sports centres and pools, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Ongar Leisure Centre unveiled its newly refurbished fitness suite on Saturday 9 September 2017.

Cllr Kane cutting the ribbon

Click on an image below to begin slideshow

State of the art equipment

The new suite now includes a state of the art cardio and strength kit, rowers, multifunctional training equipment and Watt bikes. It also features a new training rig which is ideal for rehabilitating an injury and high intensity training, as well as a Technogym Skillmill, which is a powerless treadmill that allows users of all abilities to perform at their own pace.

Official launch

An official launch event was held on Saturday 9 September 2017, which offered visitors free swimming, badminton and virtual cycling sessions, special deals on membership and the chance to see improvements made following the £450,000 worth of investment.

Track your swim technology

Investment into Ongar leisure centre has also included new energy saving technology, IT systems to enhance the customer experience as well as the introduction of state of the art equipment such as SWIMTAG, which is the latest wearable technology that helps customers track their swim activity.

Commitment to leisure

Epping Forest District Council Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Community Services Councillor Helen Kane said: ”It is such a pleasure to see the first major investment of the new leisure contract come to fruition at Ongar Leisure Centre. I know there has been some local concern about the future of the centre but this refurbishment and Places for People Leisure’s investment of £450,000 is a clear commitment to leisure services in Ongar.”

Major refurbishment across district

”Across the District major refurbishment works start in Epping and Loughton this Autumn while preliminary work has already started for the brand-new leisure centre at Waltham Abbey. I’m pleased to say that the outlook for leisure services is positive throughout the District.”

Opportunities for everyone

Geraint Hole, General Manager at Ongar Leisure Centre comments: ”We are delighted to be able to offer the local community a newly refurbished and equipped leisure centre that will provide opportunities for everyone to take part in physical activity and enjoy the wide range of facilities on offer. As a social enterprise, we aim to open up even more opportunities for people to adopt a healthier and more active lifestyle and are looking forward to offering customers free sessions as part of this event.”

Vote for VAEF

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Councillors, Epping, Grants, Local business, Media, Ongar, Our performance, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Uncategorized, Volunteering opportunities, Your area, Your community, Your money

Voluntary Action Epping Forest (VAEF) is bidding to bag a cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative.

Volunteer Essex new website launch

Tesco initiative

Tesco’s has teamed up with Groundwork to help fund community projects. The ‘bags of help’ initiative sees grants of £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000 being awarded, which is all raised through the sales of 5p bags.

3 groups in every Tesco region have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and shoppers are being invited to head along to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant.

Voluntary Action Epping Forest

VAEF is part of a nationwide network of independent agencies that act as “matchmakers” for people seeking volunteering opportunities for non-profit and charity groups needing volunteers.

They match the interests and skills of local people with the needs of groups operating in the Epping Forest district. They also encourage and support organisations to operate good practice in volunteer management.

VAEF aims to use the funding to reach more potential volunteers and increase recruitment of volunteers for community groups in the area.

Cast your vote

  • Voting is open throughout September and October
  • Cast your vote in Epping, Theydon Bois and Ongar Tesco stores

Alec Brown, Head of Community at Tesco said: “We are absolutely delighted to open the voting for September and October. There are some fantastic projects on the shortlists and we can’t wait to see these come to life in hundreds of communities.”

Groundwork’s National Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury said: “We’re looking forward to learning the results of the customer vote and then supporting each group to bring their project to life.”

Make a positive difference

Leisure and Community Services Portfolio Holder Councillor Helen Kane said: “We are thrilled to see VAEF shortlisted. The work they do for our community bringing people and services together through volunteering makes such a positive difference.”

“Along with Finance Portfolio Holder Gagan Mohindra, who through the grants service help fund the vital and much needed work, we urge you to cast your vote for VAEF. Allow them to continue to the vast and varied work throughout our district.”

Want to volunteer?

Interested in becoming a volunteer? VAEF has a variety of opportunities for you to get involved with, take a look.

Cabinet 7 September 2017

Written on . Posted in Community, Consultation, Councillors, Democracy, Doing business with the council, Housing, Housing repairs, Leader, Media, Meetings, North Weald Airfield, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Our performance, Out and about, Planning, Residents, Uncategorized, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

A new Police helicopter base, anti- social behaviour in Waltham abbey and the Oakwood hill depot were among items discussed at Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet meeting Thursday 7 September 2017.

North Weald set to become new Police helicopter base

North Weald Airfield is set to become a new base for the National Police Air Service. Three helicopters and a fixed-wing aircraft will be based at the council-owned airfield.

Police Helicopter

Police Helicopter

Asset Management Portfolio Holder Anne Grigg put forward recommendations for a 25 year lease with the helicopter service. The proposals would include a new hanger and buildings to support a range of police helicopter activities.

The Police will be joining a range of other aviation tenants including the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance which has operated very successfully from North Weald for several years. Receiving reassurances about flight lines and noise levels from members of the National Police Air Service at the meeting, councillors welcomed the report and the aspiration for continued development of aviation at North Weald.

Hillhouse Statement

Councillor Sam Kane was welcomed to his first Cabinet meeting as Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder by Council Leader Chris Whitbread. Councillor Kane has stepped into the role previous held by Councillor Gary Waller who recently passed away.

Councillor Kane’s first act was to deliver a strong statement regarding anti-social behaviour in Waltham Abbey.

Councillor Sam Kane’s Statement:

“Fellow Councillors will know that Epping Forest District Council is working in partnership with local residents and other organisations to improve the quality of life for everyone in and around Hillhouse on the Ninefields housing estate in Waltham Abbey.

Work has started in just the last few weeks on a brand new leisure centre. Health, housing and social facilities are coming together in a major multi-million pound investment.

The vast majority of residents in this area are the most decent and law-abiding citizens you could ever wish to meet. We also know there is an element of anti-social behaviour, a group of people who seem intent on making the lives of everyone else miserable. We are working with all our partners including Essex Police to tackle this behaviour but events in the last day or so have taken a new and very ugly twist.

Fishing line has been tied at knee height between posts and fences with the deliberate intention of tripping and hurting people. This mindless and stupid act has resulted in injury to a small child. Pictures of the serious cuts to his face have been circulated on social media.

I know this will come as a shock to you and I know every councillor would wish to send our sympathy to this innocent young child and his family.

Local residents and all right-minded people will be incensed by this latest incident. Through this meeting I want to let our residents know that we stand with them. The anti-social behaviour of the last few weeks must now stop.

A temporary dispersal order has been put in place from tonight. You will appreciate that many other things are going on behind the scenes that I cannot discuss in public.

Council staff have been working incredibly hard. Plans of action drawn up with Essex Police even before this latest event are being put into effect now. We believe we know who the perpetrators are. It saddens me to say that they are very young. We have been working with our local schools and have passed the identities of the perpetrators to Essex Police.

Enough is enough. Anti-social behaviour is a blight on our communities which must end. As the action plan goes into effect, I expect to see the situation improve significantly. I also know that you can never eliminate all crime, but with the support of my council colleagues I want to send out a clear message. We stand with all the decent and law-abiding residents of Waltham Abbey.

We will not let the few ruin the lives of the many.”

Oakwood Hill

New council office and depot facilities accommodating Grounds Maintenance, Fleet Maintenance and the MoT centre opened recently at Oakwood Hill in Loughton. Latest proposals for the transfer of the Council’s Housing Repairs service to Oakwood Hill were scrutinised at Cabinet.

Proposals for additional staff car parking received particular attention. A petition opposing the use of green space opposite the new facility was delivered by Councillor Chris Roberts.

Councillors agreed the recommendations in the Cabinet report with the proviso that alternatives to the proposals of additional parking would also be investigated. Full public consultation would also take place as part of any planning application process if the proposals for parking set out in the report went forward.

Customer Services

Council Leader Chris Whitbread updated fellow councillors on a range of projects geared towards improving customer service including a new public customer service reception, plans for which are due to come before Cabinet by the end of the year.

Your rubbish, your responsibility

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Councillors, Environmental health, Epping, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, 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, Your money

Fly-tipping in Essex is draining more than £1 million of taxpayers’ money each year.

#CrimeNotToCare

Partnership working

This week, Love Essex, a partnership of councils, businesses and environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, is launching its #CrimeNotToCare campaign to inform residents they could unwittingly end up with a criminal record and face an unlimited fine, if a rogue trader dumps their waste illegally.

”Your rubbish is your responsibility”

Epping Forest District Council’s Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: “We need the public to understand their rubbish is their responsibility and they must do the right thing with it. Giving it to a man with a van who offers to get rid of it cheaply could prove costly for people and result in them getting a criminal record.”

Incidents on the rise

In the Epping Forest district there were 2,384  incidents in 2016 to 2017, a significant rise from the previous year’s figures of 1,944. The number of prosecutions of residents where fly-tipped waste has been traced back to them is also on the rise.

Successful prosecutions

A man was recently fined £461 and ordered to pay £758 prosecution costs after pleading guilty to failing his ‘duty of care’, at Chelmsford Magistrates Court. The Loughton resident had allowed a man who knocked at his door to take 40 black sacks away for £70 cash, without checking he was authorised to transport the waste – rules he was unaware of.

The rubbish was then fly-tipped in a garage area in Loughton and traced back to the resident.

”Important campaign for our country”

Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton added: “#CrimeNotToCare is an important campaign for our country and we are delighted that Epping Forest District Council as part of Love Essex, is partnering with us.

“There are almost a million fly-tipping incidents in England every year and cleaning it all up costs us £50million a year. It blights communities and our countryside and is a menace.”

Seek advice

Ensure you don’t fall foul of the law, visit www.recycleforessex.com/crimenottocare for advice.

Top tips to dispose of waste correctly

  1. If you use a trader to remove your waste ask to see their waste carrier registration number issued by the Environment Agency. It is illegal for them to take your waste if they don’t have a permit. Check their credentials and vehicle details here
  2. Make sure you get a receipt or transfer notice before your waste is taken away
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask where your waste is going and request paperwork that shows where it will be disposed. A legitimate waste carrier will not object to this questioning
  4. Protect yourself by being careful with your waste. Never leave rubbish, such as old washing machines or scrap metal on your drive or in the street as it could end up in the wrong hands. You can donate working items to reuse organisations or charity shops

Report fly-tipping

Lower Sheering notice of vacancy

Written on . Posted in Community, Councillors, Democracy, Elections, Media, Our performance, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Notice is given that a vacancy has occurred in the office of District Councillor for the Lower Sheering Ward, by reason of the death of Councillor Gary Waller, Councillor for the Ward.

An election to fill the vacancy will be held within 35 days (computed in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972), after notice in writing has been given to me by two local government electors, requesting that an election be held.

Notice of vacancy

Decisions from Plans South 23 August 2017

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Planning application decisions from Area Planning Sub-Committee South meeting on Wednesday 23 August 2017.

Watch the webcast

Decisions

  • EPF/2446/16 – Buckhurst Hill FC, Roding Lane, Buckhurst Hill, Essex, IG9 6BJ
    Permission granted
  • EPF/3386/16 – Land West of Froghall Lane, South of Chigwell Cemetery, Chigwell, Essex, IG7
    Refused then deferred to DDMC
  • EPF/0877/17 – 55 Hainault Road, Chigwell, Essex, IG7 5DH
    Decision deferred
  • EPF/1011/17 – 80 Bracken Drive, Chigwell, Essex, IG7 5RD
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1012/17 – 12A Alderton Close, Loughton, Essex, IG10 3HQ
    Decision deferred
  • EPF/1514/17 – 51 Parkmead, Loughton, Essex, IG10 3JW
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1531/17 – St Merryn, Grove Lane, Chigwell, Essex, IG7 6JD
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1618/17 – Shepperd’s Nursery, Chase Lane, Chigwell, Essex, IG7 6JW
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1620/17 – Mirravale Court, 137 Queens Road, Buckhurst Hill, Essex, IG9 5BH
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1667/17 – 7 Beech Close, Loughton, Essex, IG10 2PH
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1818/17 – 102 Southern Drive, Loughton, Essex, IG10 3BX
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1844/17 – 240 The Broadway, Loughton, Essex, IG10 3TF
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1852/17 – 12 High Road, Buckhurst Hill, Essex, IG9 5HP
    Permission granted

Planning application search

Summer edition – One Business Briefing

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Councillors, Jobs, Local business, Media, Older people, Our activities, Our performance, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Volunteering opportunities, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

The One Business Briefing Summer edition 2017 is now available to download.

One business briefing 14

Included in this edition

  • Epping Young Traders Market
  • Epping Forest successes at Essex Digital Awards
  • Digital Innovation Programme launched
  • Ace Upcycling – Turning rubbish into treasured products
  • Essex Growth Programme supporting growing businesses
  • LoCASE: Delivering energy savings to Epping Forest businesses
  • Launch of Epping Forest College business unit

Enthusiasm for business

Councillor Anne Grigg, Economic Development Portfolio Holder said: “It is wonderful to read about the success of 2 town centre events that involved the young people and children of our district and it is hugely encouraging to see such enthusiasm for business amongst them. Hopefully, some will go on to run award winning businesses just like the successful local businesses at the Essex Digital Awards.”

Encouraging business ideas

She continued: “I hope that the Social Enterprise pull-out encourages people with business ideas that could make a positive contribution to society to explore this as a potential business model for making their concept a reality. Social enterprises play an important role in the local economy.

And there is so much more advice, guidance and interesting content in this packed issue. I hope you find it all an interesting read.”

Decisions from Plans West 16 August 2017

Written on . Posted in Building control, Business, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Local plan / planning our future, Meetings, Our countryside, Out and about, Private housing, Regulations, Residents, Uncategorized, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Planning application decisions from Area Planning Sub-Committee West meeting on Wednesday 17 August 2017.

Watch the webcast

Decisions

  1. EPF/1129/17 – 25 Shooters Drive, Nazeing, Essex, EN9 2QA
    Permission granted
  2. EPF/1322/17 – Redwood, Epping Road, Epping Upland, Essex, CM16 6PU
    Permission granted
  3. EPF/1418/17 – Cressage – now known as Lady Oak House, Low Hill Road, Roydon, Essex, CM19 5JN
    Permission granted
  4. EPF/1436/17 – The Estate Office, Hayleys Manor, Upland Road, Epping, Essex, CM16 6PQ
    Permission granted

Planning application search

Decisions from Plans East 9 August 2017

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Planning application decisions from Area Planning Sub-Committee East meeting on Wednesday 9 August 2017.

Watch the webcast

Decisions

  1. EPF/0947/17 – 1-5 Stonards Hill, Epping, Essex, CM16 4QE
    Permission refused
  2. EPF/0567/17 – 9 Orchard Drive, Theydon Bois, Epping, Essex, CM16 7DH
    Permission granted
  3. EPF/1170/17 – 27 Barnfield, Epping, Essex, CM16 6RL
    Permission granted
  4. EPF/1397/17 – Willow House, The Street, Sheering, Essex, CM22 7LR
    Permission refused
  5. EPF/1400/17 – 41 Bowes Drive, Ongar, Essex, CM5 9AX
    Decision deferred
  6. EPF/1414/17 – 7 Harrison Drive, North Weald Bassett, Essex, CM16 6JD
    Decision deferred
  7. EPF/1454/17 – 91 Tower Road, Epping, Essex, CM16 5EW
    Permission granted
  8. EPF/1471/17 – The Retreat, Market Place, Abridge, Essex, RM4 1AU
    Permission granted

Planning application search

Council 27 July 2017

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In a sombre council meeting on 27 July 2017 tributes were paid to current Councillor Gary Waller and 3 former councillors who passed away recently.

Gary Waller 1945-2017

Council remembers Gary Waller

Council Chairman David Stallan and Council Leader Chris Whitbread led emotional tributes to Councillor Gary Waller who passed away just a few days earlier.

Gary Waller was one of the most active and senior members of Epping Forest District Council, holding one of the most responsible cabinet roles as Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder. So sudden was his passing that his reports still featured on the council agenda.

A former MP with a wealth of experience, good humour, and friends across the council, councillors offered their heartfelt condolences to all he knew and loved.

Ian Abbey, Stan Goodwin and Keith Wright

In a sombre council meeting, councillors also fondly remembered former councillors Ian Abbey, Stan Goodwin and Keith Wright who all passed away in recent weeks. Councillor Stallan thanked all those who spoke so movingly in memory of ‘4 great councillors’.

Good progress reported to councillors

Council Leader Chris Whitbread and fellow members of the cabinet reported on a range of recent successes.

Reports included

  • Epping Forest Shopping Park
  • Tourism website and conference
  • Fly tipping prosecutions
  • Progress on a new leisure centre for Waltham Abbey following the letting of a new leisure centre management contract with Places for People
  • MiLife mental health and awareness programme for school children
  • Grant aid to 11 local organisations totalling £29,667
  • Updating information on the draft Local Plan
  • Council CCTV cameras helping the police

Council housing safety

Following the Grenfell Tower fire, Housing Portfolio Holder, Councillor Syd Stavrou also provided councillors with extensive information and reassurance on the safety of local council housing.

There are no high-rise council properties in Epping Forest and very few with any form of cladding (checks suggest this cladding is safe). All council properties are low enough to be reached by Essex Fire and Rescue vehicle platforms. Councillors were invited to attend future meetings to satisfy themselves of the fire safety measures and procedures in place.

Annual reports

Annual reports of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Audit and Governance Committee were also noted along with the council’s anti-fraud and corruption policy.