Chairman’s Golf Day Raises Money for Charity

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Councillors, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Sports, Your community, Your council

Chairman Penny Smith thanked all involved for taking part

Golfers raised close to £600 for charity in the annual Chairman`s Charity Golf Day on Tuesday 16 June 2009 at Chigwell Golf Club. Twenty-one golfers comprising of Councillors, Officers and Guests of the Chairman of Council, Councillor Penny Smith took to the fairways to raise money for the Epping Forest branch of the Alzheimer`s Society, the Chairman`s chosen charity for 2009 to 2010.

The winner and champion golfer for 2009 with a score of 34 points was David Clifton from the Housing Directorate.

He received the much coveted Don Spinks Shield. Both Councillor Anthony Watts and former EFDC employee Trevor Johnson scored 33 points with Trevor Johnson declared as runner-up on the count-back rule.

Wendy Macleod from Democratic Services won the Robert O`Mallby Cup for ladies golfers with a score of 31 points, followed by the winner of the Longest Drive competition, Julie Chandler from the Office of the Deputy Chief Executive, with a score of 28 points.

Chairman Penny Smith and champion golfer for 2009, David CliftonChairman Penny Smith and the Robert O Mallby Cup for ladies golfers winner, Wendy Macleod

Nearest the Pin prize was awarded to Councillor Ricki Gadsby and Ron Sutcliffe won the award for being the highest placed Guest of the Chairman. Former Council employee Bill Brooks scored 32 points with Council Officers Tony Cooper also scoring 32 points and both James Warwick and Gary Woodhall scoring 31 points.

The Chairman of Council, Councillor Penny Smith provided strawberries and lemonade to contestants from the hut on the 9th green at the halfway stage.

Chairman of Council Councillor Penny Smith thanked all those involved for taking part and raising £568.67 for her nominated charity.

Land Army Girls Honoured

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Community, Councillors, Older people, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council

Former Chairman Cllr John Knapman thanked the Land Girls on behalf of the District

Over thirty surviving `Land Girls` who toiled on the Home Front to provide food for Britain were officially honoured at a reception host by Epping Forest District Council at Theydon Bois Village Hall.

Official recognition of their role has been woefully late in coming. When the Women`s Land Army was disbanded in 1950 the members were shabbily treated, receiving neither medals nor gratuities, and being required to return most of their uniforms.

It was not until the new millennium that members of the Women`s Land Army and Women`s Timber Corps were allowed to join the annual Remembrance Day march in London to the Cenotaph, despite the fact that other national service organisations had for some time been part of the parade.

Chairman Cllr Penny Smith listens to stories of happy memories and comradeship

It took a further eight years of pressure before the British Government agreed to officially recognise the efforts of Land Girls in 2008 and award a specially designed badge to commemorate their service.

The badge has been specially designed by the Garter King at Arms and bears the Royal Crown. It shows a gold wheat sheaf on a white background surrounded by a circlet of pine branches and pine cones to indicate the work of both the Land Army and the Timber Corps.

Each `Land Girl` was represented with her official badge and a specially designed certificate by former Chairman of Council, Councillor John Knapman and the Deputy Lieutenant of Essex, Michael Chapman.

Former Chairman Cllr John Knapman enjoys a cup of tea with the Land Girls

The afternoon reception was a very happy occasion with many of the guests getting a chance to recall their wartime memories with fellow `Land Girls`, of whom many are now over 80 years of age. Stories told were of the incredibly hard work, long hours and even some of romance. But overwhelmingly it was a time of happy memories and comradeship.

Following the presentations Florence Harrison 86 from Theydon Bois said I`m very proud to be given this medal, although I didn`t think about what I was doing at the time. We just got on with it and had a thoroughly enjoyable time – just like this afternoon`.

A full list of the Epping Forest District Land Girls who received an official badge is listed below with links to photographs of those who attended the reception.

Susanna Andrewes Ivy Grant Christine Rumball
Frances Astrella Lillian Griffiths Muriel Rush
Marjorie Bird Joan Hammond Doris Sage
Evelyn Bolden Dorothy Harris Margaret Saggers
M P Butcher Florence Harrison Rosetta Saville
Edna Campion Queenie Harvey Doris Seaman
Doreen Childs Betty Holland Joan Sleet
Joan Cloughton Sheila Horsham W M Smith
Sylvia Cole Constance Jackson Myrtle Stallan
Frances Cray Gladys Kempton Margaret Starling
Elsie Dearson Phyllis Kennerley Sylvia Studwick
Irene Edwards Kathleen Knott Mary Trower
Amy Eldridge Rita Lea Lilian Twaites
Joan Everett Jenny Lowe Violet Webb
Lilian Fensom Joan Lynes Barbara Williams
Doreen Fitzpatrick Constance McPhail Rita Williams
Ivy Gaze Jean Ann Murray Joan Wood
Mollie Gingell Joyce Pollard Jessie Wood
Bessie Goss Gwendoline Rae Marcia Wood
Jane Gottschalk Flora Rideout

New ‘Slimmed-Down’ Cabinet Meets

Written on . Posted in Community, Councillors, Democracy, Housing, Parking, Recycling and waste, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

News and video from the first Cabinet meeting of the new Council year including the announcement of the new slimmed-down Cabinet, parking on Council estates and recycling among others.

New Cabinet

Business resumed for District Councillors at the Cabinet meeting of Epping Forest District Council on Monday 8 June 2009 following last week`s County and European Elections. It was the first meeting of the new slimmed-down Cabinet following its reduction from nine to eight members at the Annual Council meeting in May.

    The new Cabinet comprises:

  • Councillor Di Collins – Leader of the Council
  • Councillor Chris Whitbread – Finance and Economic Development
  • Councillor Richard Bassett – Performance Management
  • Councillor Mitch Cohen – Legal and Estates
  • Councillor Heather Harding – Leisure and Wellbeing
  • Councillor Mary Sartin – Environment
  • Councillor David Stallan – Housing
  • Councillor Syd Stavrou – Community Safety and Transport

Councillor Mitch Cohen briefed members on the impact of the recession on local businesses following a meeting with business tenants. Epping Forest District Council is taking steps to assist local businesses. Councillor Richard Morgan, Chairman of Overview and Scrutiny briefly outlined the latest work of his committee including public consultation on the format of the Forester and local calls for free Tube travel into London for residents of pensionable age.

Cabinet went on to discuss the issue of free Tube travel with members expressing concern about the potential cost to the Council. Councillor Richard Bassett, Performance Management Portfolio Holder listened to the views of councillors. While free travel proved not to be a viable option, Councillor Bassett noted that older residents could still travel very cheaply using the Oyster Card and gave a commitment to publicise it within the Forester.

Church Hill Car Park

A proposal by Councillor Mitch Cohen, Legal and Estates Portfolio Holder to market Church Hill Car Park, Loughton for retail development was agreed. Councillor Cohen received approval to market the site for freehold sale or long lease agreement and report back to Cabinet on the outcome. Affordable housing could be incorporated into a scheme.

Parking on Council Estates

Cabinet endorsed a flexible approach to tackling unauthorised parking on its housing estates. Councillor David Stallan, Housing Portfolio Holder received support for enforcement on an ad hoc basis in conjunction with local consultation and good management of parking areas. Where problems persisted and local residents complained, methods of controlling unauthorised parking could include the installation of jockey rails and shrubs.

Recycling

Extension of door step recycling collection services has led to a decline in use of local recycling points. Cabinet agreed to remove 26 local points saving £10,000 a year but to retain 21 District Recycling Centres. Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Mary Sartin indicated that some of the savings could be used to extend textile recycling.

In response to a question, Councillor Sartin confirmed that recycling services are being extended to households living in flats.

Councillor Penny Smith Elected as New Chairman

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Leader, Your community, Your council

Epping Forest District Council has elected Councillor Penny Smith, ward member for Broadley Common, Epping Upland and Nazeing, as its new Chairman. The Annual Meeting of Epping Forest District Council began with outgoing Council Chairman, Councillor John Knapman thanking Councillors and staff for all their support during his year of office. He announced that he had raised more than £40,000 for his Chairman`s Charities. He concluded by thanking his wife Debbie and Vice-Chairman Councillor Penny Smith for all their support.

Councillor Di Collins, Leader of Council led praise for Councillor Knapman. Her comments were echoed by Liberal Democrat Group Leader Jon Whitehouse and BNP Group Leader Pat Richardson.

Councillor Knapman added that he was very proud of the Council and its Members. Following an invitation for nominations, Councillors Di Collins and Stephen Murray proposed Councillor Penny Smith as the new Chairman of Council, describing her fairness, competence and respect across the Council. Councillors unanimously agreed.

New Chairman Penny Smith signs the Declaration of Acceptance of Office, counter signed by Peter Haywood

New Chairman Penny Smith receives the Chain of Office from outgoing Chairman John Knapman

Councillor Smith thanked Members for the honour and announced that the Alzheimer`s West Essex Branch, based in Waltham Abbey which operates across the District will be the Chairman`s Charity for the forthcoming year. She asked Members to continue to provide the levels of support enjoyed by Councillor Knapman. One of her first fund-raising events will be the Annual Members and Officers Golf Day at Chigwell Golf Club on Tuesday 16 June. Not being a golfer, Councillor Smith will be offering her services as a Caddy for the day.

Councillor Smith invited nominations for Vice-Chairman. Councillor David Stallan proposed his Cabinet and North Weald colleague, Councillor Anne Grigg, seconded by Councillor Brian Rolfe. Mrs Grigg accepted the nomination, promising to serve with integrity and enthusiasm.

Anne Grigg was appointed Vice-Chairman

Councillors then moved to the appointment of the new Leader, Cabinet and Committee appointments.

Councillor Di Collins was re-elected as Council Leader and Chairman of the Cabinet. The Cabinet has been reduced from nine members to eight following the appointment of former Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder Councillor Anne Grigg as Vice-Chairman.

Cabinet Members

Leader – Councillor Di Collins
Finance and Economic Development – Councillor Chris Whitbread
Leisure and Wellbeing – Councillor Heather Harding
Community Safety and Transport – Councillor Syd Stavrou
Performance Management – Councillor Richard Bassett
Environment – Councillor Mary Sartin
Housing – Councillor David Stallan
Legal and Estates – Councillor Mitch Cohen

Councillor Richard Morgan was re-elected Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Councillor Brian Sandler will continue to Chair meetings of the District Development Control Committee. Councillor Richard Bassett became the first Chairman of the new Local Highways Panel.

Tribute to former Councillor Howard Kleyn

Written on . Posted in Councillors, Democracy, Your council

Councillors stood in silence at the meeting of Epping Forest District Council on Tuesday 28 April 2009 to remember former councillor Howard Kleyn who passed away recently. Tributes were made, remembering the contribution of former councillor Kleyn who represented the Loughton Forest Ward on the District Council from 1984 to 1988. He also served as Essex County Councillor for the Loughton St Mary`s Division between 1981 and 1985.

Gypsy and Traveller Pitch Provision Reduced

Written on . Posted in Community, Councillors, Countrycare, Democracy, Gypsy and traveller, Our countryside, Planning, Residents, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Epping Forest District has bucked the regional trend with another reduction in the number of Gypsy and Traveller pitches allocated to the area. The number of proposed new pitches has been reduced by a further five to 34 by 2011 in the latest consultation issued by the Secretary of State on 27 March. The reduction follows an earlier recommendation to cut the number from 49 to 39.

The latest figures are published by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Overall the Secretary of State proposes to increase the number of new pitches in the East of England from 1,187 to 1,237. Epping Forest is one of two Councils in Essex to argue successfully for further reductions. Basildon has had its provisional allocation cut by 19 to 62.

Both Councils remain top of the list for Gypsy and Traveller provision, Epping Forest forecast to accommodate 128 and Basildon 174 by 2011. Thurrock is next with 124. At the other end of the scale, Southend and Castle Point have been asked to provide 15 each.

The Secretary of State was commenting on the latest stage in the review of the Regional Spatial Strategy, a planning document that looks at the need for development, including housing. Residents have eight weeks to comment and respond to the Secretary of State. Submissions must be received by 5.00pm on Friday 22 May 2009.

Councillor Anne Grigg, Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council welcomed the latest reduction but felt there was still scope for further reductions. She said: This is a very sensitive issue. The Gypsy and Traveller communities have rights to adequate site provision but this needs to be balanced against the equally important needs of the settled community. Slowly but surely, our arguments for a fairer allocation of pitches across the region is gaining some success. There is still some way to go but we have clearly made progress. Everyone now has the chance to tell the Secretary of Sate directly what they think.

Links to the Government Office and online Government consultation can be found via Epping Forest District Council`s website www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk. Alternatively, write to:

Regional Planning Team
Go-East
Eastbrook
Shaftesbury Road
Cambridge
CB2 8DF

or e-mail gtproposedchanges@goeast.gsi.gov.uk

Cabinet 5 February 2009

Written on . Posted in Community, Consultation, Council tax, Councillors, Democracy, Gypsy and traveller, Housing, Meetings, Residents, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

A Council Tax increase of 2.5 per cent is being recommended by Cabinet for adoption at the next full meeting of Epping Forest District Council. Members of the Cabinet also agreed a further extension of the ongoing public consultation on future provision of sites for Gypsies and Travellers.

Watch the webcastView webcast of Cabinet meeting on 5 February 2009 (opens in a new window)

Budget

Against a very difficult national economic backdrop, Epping Forest District Council is set to achieve a low Council Tax precept increase of 2.5 per cent. For a family in an average Band D property, it means an increase of just £3.60 in the District Council precept for the entire year, or less than seven pence per week. It is likely to be one of the lowest Council Tax precepts set in Essex.

This comes despite reductions in income from investments, a very low financial settlement increase from Central Government of just £46,000, no increase in car parking charges and lower income from fees and charges. Drawing on reserves and finding compensatory savings of £300,000 per year, the Cabinet is charting a medium term strategy designed to bring the budget back into balance whilst assisting local businesses and residents through the forecast economic turndown.

Councillors re-iterated recent commitments to make faster payments for services provided by local businesses, an increase in rental loans to homeless people and introduction of a mortgage rescue scheme in partnership with the Citizens` Advice Bureau and Moat Housing Association.

The District Council will re-allocate money from the defunct Lighthouse Furniture Project in Epping Forest to Voluntary Action Epping Forest (VAEF). If successful in bidding for the tenancy of 15 Market Square, Waltham Abbey, VAEF will use District Council funding to support a new Furniture Exchange Scheme designed to help people on lower incomes who need good second-hand furniture and are unable to afford normal High Street prices. Long-term, the project aims to become self-financing.

Major investment in the domestic waste and recycling service is included within the budget. Councillors previously agreed to implement the favoured option of residents in recent public consultation. Enhancements to the service will see extension of recycling to include kitchen waste, collected weekly with garden refuse in a new wheelie bin.

Traveller and Gypsy Consultation

Rescheduled training, originally planned for late 2008 but actually received in January prompted Members to agree a further extension to the consultation period on traveller and gypsy site provision. The extension to 20 February will give local residents an additional two weeks in which to submit their views.

Customer Transformation

In a far-reaching report, Members of the Cabinet considered proposals for changing the way Epping Forest District Council serves its residents. Councillor Brian Rolfe Chairman of the Customer Transformation Task and Finish Panel outlined improvements the Council could make in how it deals with the public. The report looks directly at face to face contact, contact by phone and through other channels such as The Forester magazine and website.

Recognising current financial constraints, Councillor Mitchell Cohen proposed a temporary increase in resources to the Council website, engaging a second member of staff to support the website for a fixed three-year term.

Councillor Diana Collins Leader of the Council congratulated Councillor Rolfe on the Panel report and supported the principles. She asked Councillor Rolfe for a further report providing guidance to Cabinet on the priorities of the Panel.

Councillors Visit The Broadway

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Leader, Local business, Loughton, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council

Councillors Diana Collins and Anne Grigg lend a hand

The Leader of Epping Forest District Council Councillor Diana Collins and the Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder Councillor Anne Grigg visited The Broadway in Loughton on Wednesday 28 January 2009. They met with representatives of local traders and reassured them that every effort is being made to reduce the impact on local businesses whilst work to regenerate the area is being carried out.

This is following concerns expressed earlier by local traders and residents at a Town Centre Partnership meeting that steps should be taken to minimise disruption to businesses and residents. A number of steps have been taken to keep the Broadway accessible for traders and shoppers.

Access is being maintained to all the shops on The Broadway, only the eastbound carriageway has been shut for now. Crossing over points have been provided so shoppers can get from one side of The Broadway to the other, Vere Road Car Park has been re-designated for short-stay and permit holders only and free parking has been retained for The Broadway.

Councillors and local traders view work at the Broadway

Councillor Diana Collins said: I understand the concerns of local traders but every effort is being made to minimise the impact of this scheme to local traders and shoppers. Unfortunately large engineering projects can cause disruption but at the end we will have a much improved and enhanced town centre.

Council Pays Tribute to Local Hero

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Leader, Meetings, Older people, Young people, Your community, Your council

Tributes to Georgie Sparks at the Epping memorial

Councillors from Epping Forest District Council stood in silence at the beginning of the Council meeting on Tuesday 16 December 2008 in tribute to Royal Marine Georgie Sparks who was killed in action in Afghanistan.

 

Tributes at the Epping memeorial

Personal tributes were paid by Chairman of Council John Knapman and Council Leader Diana Collins. The Council offered its condolences to his family and friends including his sister Katie.

Watch the webcastwebcast of Council meeting on Tuesday 16 December 2008 (opens in a new window)

The following article first appeared on the website www.everythingeppingforest.co.uk (opens in a new window)

Epping came to a standstill on Saturday morning as the town remembered Royal Marine Georgie Sparks who was killed in action in Afghanistan. Hundreds of people packed into St John’s Church to pay tribute to the serviceman, on what would have been his 20th birthday.

A guard of honour stood outside as Royal Marine colleagues carried his coffin, draped in a Union flag, into the church. Georgie died along with Marine Tony Evans after both were on foot patrol with J Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines. They were north-west of Lashkar Gah, in Helmand province, when they moved on to the roof of a compound. There was an attack by insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades and both were badly wounded.

Colleagues and war veterans joined members of Georgie’s family and local dignitaries – including Epping mayor Ben Murphy and Epping Forest District Council chairman John Knapman for his funeral service which included tributes from Georgie’s sister, Katie. She described how proud she was to have a brother like Georgie – who was known as Sparky to his friends – and also paid tribute to the four Marines who just hours earlier had also been killed in Afghanistan.

Mr Murphy told the everythingeppingforest website: “Today was obviously a highly emotional day for our town, the Royal Marine Corps, and for a family who have had to say goodbye to their brave son on his 20th birthday, just a week before Christmas.” He added: “Family, friends and comrades paid tribute to a remarkable, dedicated young man who valued his family enormously. This young man chose coming home to see his family every weekend he could over going out on the town with his fellow Marines.”

Epping High Street was closed to traffic as shoppers stood in silence. Several men removed their hats as a mark of respect as Georgie’s coffin, flanked by Royal Marines, made its way to the church. Mr Murphy said: “Today, Epping was shown the hard reality this country faces from fighting in a war against terrorism and injustice on behalf of those who are unable to defend themselves. We are all so proud of this young man who wasn’t afraid to stand up and be counted and who sadly lost his life doing so. May he rest in peace eternal.”

Georgie and colleague Tony Evans both received immediate medical attention after they were injured and were moved to a secure location before being put on a helicopter to be transferred back to Camp Bastion. However both died during the flight.

Georgie joined the Royal Marines in June 2006 and passed out from training in July 2007, joining 42 Commando a few days later. During his time at 42 Commando he qualified as a sniper. His parents, Wayne and Toni, and sister, Katie, said: “We have lost our best friend as well as our son. We are so very proud of Georgie – he always wanted to be a Royal Marine. Georgie loved the outdoors – fishing, shooting, paintballing – and was very close to his family.

We miss him so much.” Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Stickland Royal Marines, Commanding Officer, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said: “Marine Georgie Sparks was a quiet, understated professional. He lost his life fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with his comrades, covering their actions with his expert sniper skills.”

Celebrating Success

Written on . Posted in Business, Chairman, Councillors, Meetings, Our performance, Performance, Your council

Chairman of Council, Councillor John Knapman recently presented Epping Forest District Council staff with certificates following their success in training and qualifications.

Chairman John Knapman and Council staff

Celebrating Success is an annual event organised by the Council at which staff who have attained professional accreditations, completed in-house training and development programmes and also achieved vocational qualifications receive their awards. Also invited are staff who have either completed, or are soon to complete, 25 years` service with the Council or its predecessor Authorities.

Councillor John Knapman said: As a Council we have invested heavily in staff training and development and have been an Investor in People since 2001. This year, in March, we were re-accredited against the Investors in People standard for the third time, achieving very high standards. The Council sees staff development as a key link to improving services to our residents and I was delighted to present certificates to those staff who have achieved success in their training over the last year.