Cabinet 7 December 2017

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Savings, efficiencies and income generation are bridging the gap as reductions in government funding of approximately £700,000 over the next 4 years are being addressed in the Medium Term Financial Strategy. Reports to the Cabinet meeting held on 7 December 2017 included cabinet committee minutes noting the phasing out of the Revenue Support Grant.

Other items on the agenda included consultation on the Local Council Tax Support scheme, additional resources for homelessness prevention and investment in Loughton Leisure Centre. The Council’s staffing structure, the Capital Review, Local Plan, additional police, support for Epping Forest District Youth Council and a ‘Behavioural Insights’ project to help residents interact with the Council also featured on a packed agenda.

No extra crèche money but investment in changing facilities confirmed

Councillors agreed not to subsidise crèche facilities at Loughton Leisure Centre. Facilities at Loughton supporting the crèche are to be redeveloped as part of wider improvements to the Leisure Centre. However, councillors were able to support improvements to changing facilities at a cost of £324,000. Epping Forest District Council is better placed than many other councils to invest in leisure facilities.

Recognising the discretionary nature of the service and the competing demands for funding, councillors regretted being unable to support the crèche. However, in addition to other improvements to Loughton, the Council is building a new leisure centre in Waltham Abbey.

Welfare

Councillors backed amendments to the Local Council Tax Support scheme. Following consultation earlier in the year the scheme is being adapted to take account of Universal Credit and working practices of the Department of Work and Pensions. Councillors also welcomed government recognition of the growing demand with grant funding of an additional post within the homelessness prevention team.

Staff structures and service improvements

Councillors also approved provisional budget allocations to support long term staff realignment and service delivery. The Common Operating Model set out within the Council’s People Strategy is aiming to streamline and refocus management processes and staff. Councillors approved provisional funding for next year to meet redundancy and pension costs with commensurate salary budget savings leading to break even in a year or so and ongoing savings thereafter.

The Corporate Plan set out plans for the provision of future services based on the needs of local residents. Approval for regular satisfaction level surveys and research into ‘behavioural’ insights are set to track and accelerate improvements to services.

Working with Essex Police, councillors welcomed proposals for local funding to boost the number of police officers or uniformed presence patrolling the district. £25,000 is to be allocated for employment of Parkguard staff over the next 3 months with aspirations for more permanent recruitment of police officers to follow.

Councillors also approved a project funding budget of £8,000 for Epping Forest District Youth Council.

Strong financial performance continues to be reflected in the Council’s Capital Programme Review despite challenging circumstances. The Council is continuing to deliver commercial projects with community benefits such as Epping Forest Shopping Park and its associated highway improvement works, the new leisure centre for Waltham Abbey and the ongoing new council-house building programme.

Local Plan resourcing

Demand on the Council’s planning services is expected to increase as the new Local Plan moves forward. Councillors approved funding for the establishment of a new Strategic Sites Implementation Team with a bid for £278,000 per year over 2 years to assist the implementation of the Local Plan.

‘Submission’ version of Local Plan published

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The Epping Forest District Local Plan – Submission Version 2017 is available to view ahead of a special Council meeting to be webcast on 14 December.

Local plan time line

Epping Forest District Local Plan Submission Version 2017

Councillors will be asked to approve formal publication of the ‘Epping Forest District Local Plan Submission Version 2017’. If agreed, residents will be invited to make representations on the legality and soundness of the Plan during a six week period between 18 December and 29 January. Representations will then be submitted with the Local Plan for examination by a government-appointed planning inspector.

Consideration of the Local Plan has been brought forward following Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid’s announcement that councils failing to submit a Local Plan for examination before 31 March 2018 could see housing allocations significantly increased. If Epping Forest District’s Plan is not submitted in time, the 11,400 new housing requirement allocated for the District could increase to 20,000 over the Local Plan period up to 2033.

Subject to Council approval, the Plan and all supporting documents will be published to its website from 18 December with a special form for residents, developers and any other interested stakeholders to complete.

The Council hopes people will use the online form specially created for the purpose.

The next stage in the process

Planning Portfolio Holder, Councillor John Philip said: “We held extensive consultation on the Local Plan last year. The next stage in the process restricts representations to legal compliance and soundness of the Plan. The online form is designed to help everyone follow the guidelines and submit comments in the right format for the planning inspector who will ultimately hold the public examination and approve or reject the Plan. Using the form will give you the best chance of ensuring the inspector takes your views into account.”

However, Councillor Philip added: “We know online forms are not for everyone. We will also provide a printable version if you prefer paper as well as accepting email submissions on behalf of the inspector.”

Watch the meeting online

The ‘Submission Version 2017’ of the Local Plan has been published online as part of the Council agenda.

Due to the nature and complexity of the Plan, the meeting is scheduled to start earlier than usual at 6pm. Limited public viewing is available in the Council chamber and the Council will also provide access via breakout TV screens in the atrium of the Civic offices.

The meeting will also be webcast and residents will be able to watch live and recorded online from the comfort of their own homes.

Councillor Philip added: “Publication over the Christmas period is not ideal but the government consultation leaves little choice if we are to hit the 31 March deadline. However, by sharing the Plan through the Council agenda as early as possible, we can effectively give people an extra two weeks to think about any comments and submissions before the formal representations period starts.”

The Council is also writing to everyone who previously expressed interest in the Local Plan.

Decisions from Plans West 15 November 2017

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Planning application decisions from Area Planning Sub-Committee West meeting on Wednesday 15 November 2017.

Decisions

  • EPF/1232/16 – Chimes Garden Centre, Old Nazeing Road, Nazeing, Waltham Abbey Essex, EN10 6RJ
  • Permission granted
  • EPF/1492/16 – The Chimes Nursery, Old Nazeing Road, Nazeing, Waltham Abbey, EN10 6RJ
  • Deferred to DDMC
  • EPF/1782/17 – Marydel, Copt Hall Green, Waltham Abbey, Essex, EN9 3TB
  • Permission refused
  • EPF/2047/17 – Land at Burleigh Lodge, Hoe Lane, Nazeing, Essex, EN9 2RJ
  • Permission granted

Planning application search

 

Decisions from Plans East 8 November 2017

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Planning application decisions from Area Planning Sub-Committee East meeting on Wednesday 8 November 2017.

Decisions

  1. EPF/0852/17 – Ashleam House, Lyngs Farm, Nupers Hatch, Stapleford Abbotts, Essex, RM4 1JR
    Permission refused
  2. EPF/1762/17 – Land to the rear of Mountford and Bishops Bron, Oak Hill Road, Stapleford Abbotts, Essex, RM4 1JL
    Permission granted
  3. EPF/1926/17 – 15 Theydon Place, Epping, Essex, CM16 4NH
    Permission granted
  4. EPF/1990/17 – 2 Theydon Place, Epping, Essex, CM16 4NH
    Permission refused
  5. EPF/2265/17 – 2 Creeds Cottages, High Road, Epping, Essex, CM16 4DE
    Permission refused
  6. EPF/2272/17 – 56 Longfields, Ongar, Essex, CM5 9BZ
    Permission granted
  7. EPF/2378/17 – Newford Barn, Tysea Hill, Stapleford Abbotts, Essex, RM4 1JS
    Permission granted

Next meeting

The next Plans East meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 6 December 2017.

Overview and Scrutiny 31 October 2017

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There are signs of improvement in services provided by Whipps Cross Hospital. Part of the Barts Health NHS Trust, the hospital has been in special measures following poor Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspections. A presentation to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee of Epping Forest District Council following the latest CQC inspections in May suggest the hospital has improved from ‘inadequate’ to ‘overall requires improvement’. However, as one first-hand account of patient care at the end of the presentation demonstrated, there is still some way to go.

View the webcast

  • Dr Heather Noble – Medical Director, Whipps Cross Hospital
  • Alan Gurney – Managing Director, Whipps Cross Hospital

Signs of improvement at hospital trust

Alan Gurney, Managing Director said that any further CQC inspections today would see more improvements. However, he added that the condition of operating theatres was still a cause for concern. Investment in theatre refurbishments is scheduled for next year.

The CQC has seen an increase in the quality of the working environment and culture of the hospital. Bullying was previously identified as a major issue with high turnover of staff and heavy reliance on agency support. Significant improvements have been made in these areas. The hospital is also old. Many of its buildings pre-date the creation of the NHS. Investment is needed in new buildings.

Dr Heather Noble assured Councillor Steven Neville that issues around radiation exposure to staff had been resolved. Councillor David Stallan received assurances that Alan Gurney had no plans to relocate Whipps Cross, although the hospital is on a large site and could potentially operate from a smaller footprint.

Councillor Roger Baldwin asked about bed-blocking and capacity. Alan Gurney used the phrase ‘delayed discharge’ for which he had 11 cases at that moment. He assured councillors that he was working with partners to reduce discharge delays. No bed spaces had been closed this year and Mr Gurney considered it to be a lesser challenge than some other issues facing the hospital.

Councillors Mitchell and Sartin received further information in response to questions about bullying. Councillor Chambers explored the depth of hospital planning for the winter. Alan Gurney confirmed additional investment in building work and weekend cover arrangements to enhance winter cover. There is also additional ‘step-down’ coverage and coordination with partners in the ambulance service and care homes. The staff flu vaccination campaign is part of steps to prepare staff for the winter season.

Councillor David Wixley followed up on the issues of bullying and culture. Councillor Nigel Bedford focused on staff retention and reusing the defunct nursing home for other purposes. Alan Gurney provided assurance that recruitment and retention improvements are ongoing. He also felt that the site had plenty of capacity for development including accommodation for staff.

Responding to Councillor Gagan Mohindra, Dr Noble said that the Council could provide support by communicating the message about the need for redevelopment of outdated buildings.

Developing staffs careers

Dr Noble emphasised that managers as such ‘were not bad’ after Alan Gurney described how Whipps Cross was focusing on continual recruitment of nurses and a requirement for more doctors.

Dr Noble said that further work was needed in developing career and employment links with local schools and colleges. Responding to Councillor Holly Whitbread, she described good examples of work in Newham which could be adopted for Whipps Cross.

Mortuary facilities are old and in need of replacement but Dr Noble assured Councillor Bedford that the dignity of the deceased and care for the bereaved was a high priority.

Responding to Councillor Baldwin, Alan Gurney said that it would be wrong to say the use of Private Finance Initiative funding (PFI) was not an option but he added that there was no appetite for it.

Dementia care is also a priority. Responding to Councillor Aniket Patel, Dr Noble outlined some of the programmes including Dementia Friends and creating clinical areas more dementia ‘friendly’. Alan Gurney added that with the focus on older patients, dementia care was critical.

Councillor Mary Sartin, chairman of Overview and Scrutiny thanked Mr Gurney and Dr Noble, concluding questions with reference to the caring and compassionate approach of staff recognised in the latest CQC report.

Learning from the past

Mr Gurney and Dr Noble were invited to stay at the end of their presentation questions for a statement by a local resident. Janis Crowder gave an emotional account of her mother’s poor experience as a patient of Whipps Cross last year. Accepting improvements have since been made, Ms Crowder felt it was important to explain to hospital managers the difficulties and inadequacies of her mother’s care.

A copy of the CQC report summary is available within the Overview and Scrutiny agenda.

Transport for London 9 January 2018

Transport for London managers have agreed to attend the meeting of Overview and Scrutiny Committee to discuss various public transport issues in January. Essex County Council is also to be invited to attend the Neighbourhoods Select Committee to discuss County bus services.

Epping Forest College 27 February 2018

Committee councillors also noted the scheduled attendance of the Principal of Epping Forest College at the meeting of Overview and Scrutiny on 27 February 2018.

Remember, remember, stay safe on 5 November

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We want you to stay safe during this year’s bonfire night celebrations on 5 November. Bonfire night is also known as Guy Fawkes Night and firework night.

The Squadron fireworks and bonfire party 2016

Stay safe this bonfire night

The safest way to enjoy bonfire night is always at an organised event. The fireworks are bigger, better and always safer.

Come and join us at North Weald Airfield on 3 November 2017, for a spectacular evening of fireworks and fun! Tickets are available on the night.

Firework safety

If you do wish to enjoy the festivities at home or at friends make sure you understand firework safety.

Follow these top tips from the Essex Fire and Rescue service.

  • Only buy fireworks marked with the British Standard Kitemark BS7114
  • Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box and always follow the instructions carefully when using them
  • Light them at arm’s length using a taper and stand well back
  • Never go back to them once they are lit. Even if a firework hasn’t gone off, it could still explode
  • Never throw fireworks and never put them in your pocket
  • Respect your neighbours, don’t let off fireworks late at night and remember there are laws to follow
  • Take care with sparklers ,never give them to children under five. Even when they have gone out they are still hot so put sparklers in a bucket of water after use
  • Keep your pets indoors throughout the evening

Know the laws on fireworks and don’t set any off after 11pm. On 5 November, displays can continue until 12am and on certain occasions, such as New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, fireworks can be set off until 1am.

Bonfire safety

If you are planning to have a bonfire make sure to:

  • Build your bonfire clear of buildings, garden sheds, fences and hedges
  • Never use flammable liquids to start a bonfire
  • Never burn dangerous items such as aerosol cans, paint tins, foam furniture or batteries
  • Don’t leave bonfires unattended
  • An adult should supervise it until it has burnt out
  • If it has to be left, damp it down with plenty of water
  • Always keep a bucket of water or a hosepipe nearby in case of fire

Stay safe and look out for other

“Bonfire night is always a busy time for our emergency services so wherever you are, remember to stay safe and look out for others” said Safer, greener and transport portfolio holder Councillor Sam Kane.

“Organised events are always the safest way to enjoy fireworks and North Weald Airfield is holding another fantastic event on Friday 3 November. There are many other organised events across the district, but if you do choose to have your celebrations at home, please follow the safety tips so that you and your family remember the night for all the right reasons.”

Take care not to scare!

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Halloween is a fun time of the year for many people but not everyone wants to take part. We ask trick or treaters if they see a poster similar to the posters below not to disturb that house.

  • To print a poster, download by clicking on a poster and right click save image as.

Not for everyone

“Trick or treating at Halloween has become increasingly popular and for most people it’s harmless fun. While many love to dress up as a ghost or zombie, it’s not for everyone” said Sam Kane, Safer, Greener and Transport portfolio holder.

“Some people would rather not have trick or treaters call at their home. They may not want to open their door to strangers at night time. They may have pets who are afraid of strangers, or small children asleep inside. We know that some elderly or vulnerable people can get distressed by unexpected callers.”

Respect their wishes and do not disturb

Councillor Kane asked trick or treaters: “If you’re out trick or treating and see a poster like this, please respect their wishes and do not disturb them. I hope that everyone taking part has a fun and safe Halloween, but not at the expense of those who wish to ignore it.”

Halloween advice

Decisions from Plans West 18 October 2017

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Planning application decisions from Area Planning Sub-Committee West meeting on Wednesday 18 October 2017.

Watch the webcast

Decisions

  • EPF/1058/17 – The Vicarage, Epping Road, Epping Upland, Essex CM16 6PN
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1820/17 – 7 Langland Place, Roydon, Harlow, Essex CM19 5FS
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1956/17 – Broxlea Nursery, Nursery Road, Nazeing, Essex EN9 2JE
    Decision deferred to DDMC
  • EPF/1957/17 – 52 Barnard Acres, Nazeing, Essex EN9 2LZ
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2183/17 – Meadow View, High Street, Roydon, Harlow, Essex CM19 5EA
    Permission refused

Planning application search

State of the art centre for Waltham Abbey

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On Thursday 12 October 2017 local school children, councillors and business members gathered to mark the start of construction for Waltham Abbey’s brand new state of the art leisure centre, which is due to open in Winter 2018.

Preparing to place the Waltham Abbey Leisure Centre time capsule

Click on an image below to begin slideshow

Exciting times for Waltham Abbey

Councillor Helen Kane, Portfolio Holder for Leisure said: “These are exciting times for Waltham Abbey. The first new council housing in 30 years has just been completed in Harveyfields, Roundhills and surrounding roads as we start the construction of this fantastic new leisure centre. Sixty independent living accommodation units providing a positive alternative to residential care and new health facilities replacing the old surgery accommodation in Maynard Court are set to follow in partnership with Essex County Council and NHS England.”

”The leisure centre will be for everyone. Working with Places for People and their construction partners Pellikaan, we are set to deliver a top class leisure facility that will promote health and wellbeing, and provide a place for people to enjoy physical activity and socialise within the community.”

Investing in our community

Councillor Kane continued: “We are investing in our community and our future. Coming hard on the heels of the recently refurbished and extended museum in Sun Street and the development of the brand new Epping Forest Shopping Park in Loughton, Epping Forest District Council is signalling its intent in the best possible way.”

Councillor Sue Lissimore, Cabinet member for housing at Essex County Council added: “These plans breathe new life into taxpayer-owned land. We’ve pledged £42m over the next five years to bring sites like this forward for much needed homes with multi-use developments that also help to drive economic growth. The leisure centre ground-breaking is a fantastic milestone and a great example of public and private sector partners working together across Essex.”

Design, build, operate and maintain

Places for People Leisure were awarded the 20-year Design, Build, Operate and Maintain contract for the new Waltham Abbey Leisure Centre by Epping Forest District Council, along with their construction partners Pellikaan Construction and architects Pozzoni.

£9.5m investment in centre

The new £9.5m leisure centre has been designed with a green roof to complement the surrounding recreational ground and will feature an 80-station fitness suite, 25m six lane pool with 15m learner pool, exercise and group cycling studio, a community room, and café.

Virtual cycling & Les Mills

The Centre will also feature a dedicated Virtual Cycling studio with classes led by Les Mills virtual master trainers, enabling customers to participate at their own convenience when it suits them.

Fantastic community leisure facility

John Bates, Business Development Director at Places for People Leisure said: “We are extremely excited to begin work on what will be a fantastic community leisure facility. Through our partnership with Epping Forest District Council we are looking forward to providing a leisure operation that will capture the local community’s imagination and encourage even more people to adopt a love of physical activity.”

Time capsule

Those in attendance yesterday included pupils from Hillhouse Church of England Primary School as well as representatives from the Epping Forest District Swimming Club who buried a time capsule as part of the ceremony which included the old set of keys to the previous community centre.

The current Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool recently received investment to improve the customer experience and will remain open and fully operational until the new centre opens.

Decisions from Plans East 11 October 2017

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Planning application decisions from Area Planning Sub-Committee East meeting on Wednesday 11 October 2017.

Watch the webcast

Decisions

  • EPF/2523/16 – Brent House Farm, Harlow Common, North Weald, Essex CM17 9JD
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1629/17 – 13 Vicarage Lane, North Weald Bassett, Essex CM16 6ET
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2057/17 – 95 High Road, North Weald, Epping, Essex CM16 6HS
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1913/17 – Ellensmead, Stondon Road, Ongar, Essex CM5 9BU
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1762/17 – Land to the rear of Mountford and Bishops Bron, Oak Hill Road, Stapleford Abbotts, Essex RM4 1JL
    Deferred for a site visit
  • EPF/2041/17 – 1 Curtis Mill Lane, Stapleford Abbotts, Romford, Essex RM4 1HS
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2174/17 – Trade Winds, Oak Hill Road, Stapleford Abbotts, Essex RM4 1EH
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1973/17 – Newstead, 19 Coopersale Common, Coopersale, Epping, Essex CM16 7QS
    4 members stood so will go to D.D.C
  • EPF/2086/17 – 49 Ash Groves, Sheering, Essex CM21 9LN
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1824/17 – The Downtons, 114 Crown Close, Sheering, Essex CM22 7NE
    Permission granted
  • EPF/2591/15 – Belgique (Theydon) Ltd, 14 Forest Drive, Theydon Bois, Epping, Essex CM16 7EY
    Permission granted
  • EPF/1628/17 – 56 Dukes Avenue, Theydon Bois, Essex CM16 7HF
    Permission granted

Planning application search