Confident and bold decisions taken at Cabinet

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A series of far-reaching decisions were taken at the meeting of Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet, meeting at the Civic Offices on 10 December.

New home for Council

Councillors have agreed in principle to relocate staff to North Weald. While customer services, civic and democratic functions will remain at the Civic Offices in Epping, new purpose-built offices will provide space for up to 380 staff at Blenheim Way, North Weald within three years.

New partners will join remaining council staff in Epping, ensuring the northern end of the town retains a strong employment focus and economic footfall for High Street shops and businesses.

Demolition of the 1960s Conder Building attached to the Civic Offices will clear the way for a mix of new homes behind the Civic Offices.

St John’s Road Cinema, Homes and Leisure Centre

As the Civic Offices evolve, the Council will also be transforming the southern end of Epping with a new leisure centre, cinema, homes, businesses and parking. Subject to detailed negotiation and agreement, Epping Forest District Council proposes to work in partnership with Epping Town Council and leisure provider Places Leisure (also known as Places for People) to deliver the development.

The existing sports centre in Epping will be redeveloped for housing following completion of the new St John’s facility, allowing the Council Offices, St John’s Road and Hemnall Street to make a substantial contribution to housing demand identified in the emerging Local Plan.

Council staff working from the current housing depot off Epping High Street will move to new facilities already built at Oakwood Hill, Loughton.

Harlow and Gilston Vision and Design

Three strategic housing locations at Water Lane, Latton Priory and East of Harlow have been identified in the Local Plan for large housing developments on the boundaries of Harlow but within Epping Forest District. Councillors approved the vision and design guide – working documents developed by Epping Forest District Council in partnership with Harlow and East Herts District Councils for Harlow and Gilston Garden Town.

£97 million Capital Programme

Ongoing development of new council houses form the major part of the five-year capital programme put before councillors at the start of the New Year budget setting process. Aside from approximately £8 million for the new Waltham Abbey Leisure Centre, completed in November 2018, around £80 million is identified for a combination of new council housing and improvements to the Council’s existing stock over five years.

Landmark Building

Councillors approved £140,000 to complete work necessary to let commercial units at the new Landmark Building in the Broadway, Loughton. Once let, rental income of around £250,000 a year will be used to support the Council’s public services.

A forward-thinking council fit for the future

After the meeting, Council Leader Councillor Chris Whitbread said: “This is probably one of the most significant Cabinet meetings in years. The strategic development of council services based in Epping, North Weald and our new depot at Oakwood Hill, Loughton dovetail with our determination to build much need new homes sympathetically and boost economic activity across the district.”

“These are bold decisions. They demonstrate vision, confidence in our council, commitment to our residents and belief in the future of our district.”

Decisions from Plans East on 5 December

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Planning application decisions from the Area Planning Sub-Committee East meeting Wednesday 5 December 2018.

Decisions 

  • EPF/1117/18 The Drive, Stapleford Road, Stapleford Abbotts, RM4 1EJ
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2060/18 61 Pancroft, Lambourne, RM4 1BX
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2120/18 Lindsey House, Lindsey Street, Epping, CM16 6RB
    Permission refused
  • EPF/2481/18 8 Garden Fields, Stanford Rivers, Ongar, CM5 9PL
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2503/18 Warreners, Theydon Road, Theydon Bois, CM16 4EE
    Permission granted

Planning application search

Chairman sleeps under the stars and raises £300

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Bedding down in the grounds of Chelmsford Cathedral on a cold, wet night is not something you would normally expect of a Council Chairman!

But last Friday night that’s exactly what Cllr Richard Bassett, Chairman of Epping Forest District did. He was taking part in a sponsored event, organised by Chess Homeless, a charity supporting homeless people in Essex, and was one of several civic leaders doing the same.

Humbling experience

“Sleeping outdoors on a cold, damp winter’s night really focusses your attention on what some people face EVERY night. Charities like Chess Homeless bring immediate relief and a sense of hope to those who have no homes to go to. I found this a very humbling experience.” Cllr Bassett raised £300 in sponsorship.

Night shelter

Chess provides a nine bedroom night shelter along with shared move on accommodation. During the winter months it runs a Winter project providing rough sleepers with food, drinks, sleeping bags and a bed for the night, normally in a local church hall.

Every year it hosts a Sleep Out in the grounds of Chelmsford Cathedral to raise funds and last year netted more than £20,000.

Make someone’s Christmas special

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Each year, big hearted employees at Epping Forest District Council collect Christmas gifts for mums and their children living in refuges across Essex over Christmas and for the first time, we’re inviting residents to take part too!

We’re asking you to bring your unwrapped gifts to the Council Offices in Epping before midday on 14 December.

This year’s collection kicked off on Monday 26 November and was championed by Epping Forest District Council Chairman Councillor Richard Bassett, he said: “Please get involved this year and make someone’s Christmas special. Gifts must be unwrapped and suitable for women, and children aged 0-16. Please leave gifts in main reception of the Council Offices in Epping and don’t worry – they will be beautifully wrapped ready for delivery to refuges in time for Christmas!

“Please make sure your gift is new and isn’t sharp, broken, faith-based or toy weapons such as guns or swords.”

The deadline for accepting gifts is midday on 14 December.

J9 at Christmas Tree Festival in Epping

Councillor Bassett continued: “This year to further promote our support of the J9 initiative – which raises awareness and increases knowledge and understanding of domestic abuse – we are decorating a Christmas tree in pink as part of the Christmas Tree Festival taking place at St John’s Church, Epping between 7 and 10 December.

“So pop along and see the trees and to find out more about J9 and how you can help to support victims of domestic abuse visit: https://setdab.org/j9-initiative or donate a gift and make a child’s Christmas special.”

Tell us your views on old pool site proposal

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Epping Forest District Council want your views on the proposal to build new homes on the old Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool site in Roundhills before 10 December 2018.

Proposed development site outlined in red above

Background

The King Georges Fields were established and dedicated to the memory of King George V for the use and enjoyment of the people. The Waltham Holy Cross Urban District Council dedicated land at Waltham Abbey to be used as a King George Playing Field. The use of the playing field is regulated by the charity Fields in Trust.

In 1967 the Waltham Abbey swimming pool was built on the Trust land. Consent was obtained as the land was no longer to be used as playing fields. In recent years, the pool required extensive repairs and the Council decided that it should be demolished and replaced by the new Leisure Centre at Hill House.

Proposal

The site of the old pool remains part of the King Georges Field. However, instead of changing the use back to that of playing fields, the Council is proposing to use the site to bring much needed housing into the area.

It is therefore intended to dedicate an area of land adjoining the new Leisure Centre at Hill House as a replacement King Georges Field. This area is about 20% larger than the existing pool site and will ensure the continued provision of land held in trust for leisure purposes in the Hill House area. The area of land at the King Georges Playing Field adjoining Roundhills (next to the old swimming pool site) that is currently used for recreation will remain the same.

Access to the playing fields through the pool site from Roundhills will remain open until redevelopment works commence, then it will be closed while construction works take place. Other access points will not be affected.

Consultation and approval

The Council is now undertaking a consultation seeking comments from residents and anyone else with an interest in the proposal is welcome to comment before 10 December 2018.

Following the consultation period, the Council’s Housing Portfolio Holder will consider the responses and Cabinet will be asked to approve the proposal at its meeting in January.

Results will be presented on our website.

Further information

Please email housinginfo@eppingforestdc.gov.uk for further information about the proposals.

Ambitious council unveils plans

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Ambitious plans coordinating developments in Epping and North Weald with modernisation of Epping Forest District Council are set out in reports coming to the next Cabinet meeting on 10 December.

St Johns Road redevelopment

Councillors are being asked to approve the next steps in the redevelopment of St Johns Road, to include a new leisure centre, cinema, shops and houses. A planning application to demolish the former primary school site has already been submitted. At the same time, councillors are being asked in principle to approve the relocation of many district council staff to new offices at Blenheim Way in North Weald.

Site of the former Epping Junior School and Epping Hall

Site of the former Epping Junior School and Epping Hall

Retaining the newer part of the Civic Offices in Epping for civic, democratic and customer service functions, the proposals involve the demolition of older buildings in preparation for a new residential development identified in the draft Local Plan.

Partnership opportunities

Epping Forest District Council is keen to explore partnership opportunities with Epping Town Council and North Weald Bassett Parish Council. Epping Town Council is already considering potential office sharing. The construction of a new leisure centre at St Johns Road would also pave the way for the redevelopment of the old site in Hemnall Street for housing.

Potentially only needing the ground floor of the Civic Offices in Epping, the district council is in the early stages of informal talks with other prospective partners to lease other parts of the Civic Offices. There will be further opportunities for commercial leases to small businesses on the top floor.

Protecting the High Street economy

Protecting the High Street economy is central to the council’s proposals.

Leader of Council, Councillor Chris Whitbread said: “Epping Forest District Council is modernising to ensure we are fit for the future. The overall number of staff we employ is reducing. Along with agile home working, we are radically reducing our need for office space.”

“Moving all but our customer facing, civic and democratic staff to North Weald will significantly reduce our office costs but that must not come at an economic price to Epping High Street. Bringing new commercial businesses and long-standing partners such as Essex Police into Epping will help to ensure a healthy lunchtime cashflow for High Street businesses. Leasing out the Civic Offices also gives the district council more income to spend on local services.”

“There will also be major investment at the other end of Epping High Street as we deliver the proposals residents said they wanted, including the new cinema and leisure centre, further boosting High Street footfall.”

“The redevelopment of the old Hemnall Street sports centre for housing, along with the residential developments at the council offices and St Johns will also make a significant contribution to meeting our housing obligations in the draft Local Plan.”

The Civic Offices in Epping

The Civic Offices in Epping

North Weald offices

On North Weald, Councillor Whitbread said: “This is also very good news for North Weald. Building offices on land we already own next to the airfield will bring new business and employment opportunities to the village. Rationalising our office needs also presents opportunities to talk to North Weald Bassett Parish Council.”

“We are already discussing office sharing possibilities with Epping Town Council at the Civic Offices that will cut everyone’s costs, particularly good news for our Council Tax payers. We will be keen to explore similar opportunities at North Weald.”

Exciting times

Councillor Whitbread continued: “It is rare for a district council to have the capacity and the ambition to deliver on proposals of this scale. Epping Forest District Council is different. Against the backdrop of falling central government spending, we have invested where it counts. We are funding additional police officers.”

“The Epping Forest Shopping Park, our brand-new leisure centre in Waltham Abbey, new council housing and new partners such as the National Police Air Service arrival at North Weald Airfield show what we can do.”

“Quietly, efficiently and effectively, we are delivering the projects and services our residents, businesses and customers want. This is an exciting time and I am very proud of the leading role Epping Forest District Council is taking in the delivery of a better future.”

Further information

Epping Forest District Council is in discussion with Epping Town Council regarding their involvement in the scheme.

As a precursor to development, a planning application has been registered on behalf of Epping Forest District Council for demolition of the former Epping Junior School and Epping Hall including adjacent ancillary buildings, fences and walls.

The locally listed former Cookery School Building and Centre Point building to be retained. Epping Town Council owns Epping Hall and they will decide whether Epping Hall will be involved in any development plans.

Negotiations are in the early stages and no decisions have been made by Epping Town Council at this stage.

Comment on the application

Residents have until 15 December to comment on the application:

Decisions from Plans South on 21 November

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

Decisions

  • EPF/2019/18 – 229 Fencepiece Road, Chigwell, IG7 5EB

         Permission granted

  • EPF/1950/18 – Woodberrie, Kings Hill, Loughton, IG10 1JE

          Referred to District Development Management Committee

  • EPF/2040/18 – 69 Church Hill, Loughton, IG10 1QP

         Deferred pending site visit

  • EPF/2114/18 – 89 Princes Road, Buckhurst Hill, IG9 5DZ

         Referred back to officers (Parish Council did not attend)

  • EPF/2624/18 12 Albion Park, Loughton, IG10 4RB

         Permission granted

Planning application search

Decisions from Plans West on 14 November

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Planning application decisions from the Area Planning Sub-Committee West meeting Wednesday 14 November 2018.

Decisions 

  • EPF/3359/17 Land to the rear of 54 Sun Street, Waltham Abbey, EN9 1EJ
    Deferred to next meeting
  • EPF/0530/18 38 Honey Lane, Waltham Abbey, EN9 3BS
    Refused
  • EPF/1169/18 Pipers Farm, Lippitts Hill, Waltham Abbey, IG10 4AL
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2227/18 ‘Tomworld’, Shottentons Farm, Pecks Hill, Nazeing, EN9 2NY
    Permission refused
  • EPF/Curtilage of Yew Tree Cottage, High Road, Epping, CM16 4DJ
    Permission granted

Planning application search

Drug raid action across district

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Updated information – 15 November 2018

Eighteen people appeared in court yesterday morning and faced drug-related charges following a day of action across Epping Forest District.

The 18 were arrested on Tuesday 13 November, following the execution of warrants in Debden, Loughton, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Limes Farm and Hainault.

They appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court yesterday, Wednesday November 14, to face the charges.

They are

  • A 17-year-old from Ilford was charged with conspiring to supply a Class A drug.
  • Junior Lawrence, 19, of New Road, Hainault was charged with conspiring to supply a Class A drug.
  • Zaclee Purcell-Matthews, 27, of Brocket Way, Redbridge was charged with conspiring to supply a Class A drug.
  • A 17-year-old boy from Ilford was charged with conspiring to supply a Class A drug.
  • James Jackson, 19, of Robinia Close, Hainault was charged with supplying a Class A drug.
  • Cameron Morrison, 18, of Copperfield, Chigwell was charged with conspiring to supply a Class A drug.
  • A 17-year-old from Murtwell Drive, Chigwell was charged with conspiring to supply A Class A drug.
  • Jamie Jacobson, 27, of Tylers Close, Loughton was charged with supplying a Class A drug.
  • Hakeem Hearne, 22 of Queens Road, Buckhurst Hill, was charged with supplying a Class A drug.
  • Reece Phinn, 20, of St Francis Way, Ilford was charged with four counts of supplying a Class A drug.
  • Chad Morris, 20, of The Mile End, Walthamstow was charged with three counts of supplying a Class A drug.
  • Glen O’Brien, 48 of The Plain, Epping was charged with supplying a Class A drug.
  • Tom King, 37 of Colson Road, Loughton was charged with supplying a Class A drug.
  • Barry Gilbody, 48, of Paley Gardens, Loughton was charged with supplying a Class A drug.
  • Robert White, 32 of New North Road, Ilford was charged with supplying a Class A drug.
  • Joel Young, 22 of Elmsdale Road, Walthamstow was charged with possession with intent to supply Cannabis.
  • A 17-year-old boy from Buckhurst Hill was charged with possession of cannabis.
  • Tommy Shatford, 19, of Tylers Close, Loughton was charged with being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.

A further six people, also arrested, have been released under investigation.

 

Chairman starts Remembrance Sunday march

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Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Richard Bassett, took part in the Parish Great War Youth March event held in Moreton on Sunday 11 November, held in honour of the sacrifice made by parishioners who fell in the Great War.

The commemoration began at Bovinger Church, where the Chairman of Council began the procession of Moreton School pupils, their parents and parishioners.

The march continued cross country to Bobbingworth Nature Reserve. Great War curiosities including donkeys, pigeons, terriers and horses, lined the route to the last post, the memorial in Moreton churchyard.

Those that gathered observed a 2 minute silence and the Parish Roll of Honour was read by school children and parishioners laid wreaths.

Image: Chairman of Council, Councillor Richard Bassett

“As someone whose family suffered a personal loss at the Battle of the Somme in 1916, it was a great honour to have been asked to take part in this procession,” said Chairman Richard Bassett.

“It was heart-warming to see the young people of our district so actively involved, learning about the Great War and taking part in Remembrance which is so important. I’d like to thank the Moreton, Bobbingworth and the Lavers Parish Great War Commemoration Committee, Moreton School, Bovinger Church, Moreton Church and all of the participants such a beautifully balanced commemoration.

“I was sorry I could not stay for the whole of the Remembrance Parade and Service as I was impressed with the way the organisers combined the education of the young people on life in those troubled times with the Act of Remembrance.”

Image: Group gathering for the procession