Join Active Epping Forest

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Residents are being invited to join Active Epping Forest on 19 October 2016 to help shape the future of the districts sports and leisure facilities.

Former British 100m record holder, Commonwealth gold medal winner and Olympian Montell Douglas will be there for you meet.

Active Epping Forest

Active Epping Forest aims to be a group that represents local people, meeting to discuss the development of local sport, physical activity and leisure provision in the district.

The Active Epping Forests group’s main aims will be to help make ideas a reality by:

  • Delivering new projects locally
  • Applying for funding
  • Deciding how funding will be spent

Get involved

  • 19th October 2016
  • 6.30pm
  • Loughton Cricket Club, High Road, The Uplands, Loughton IG10 1NQ

The launch event will be a chance for people to sign up and have their say on the work the group should be doing.

The event will also be an opportunity for people to enquire about sports and leisure in the district, and what’s currently available.

Be inspired by an Olympian

Leisure and Community services portfolio holder Councillor Helen Kane said: ‘Active Epping Forests is a great opportunity for people to get involved in their community and have their say about leisure and sports in their area.

Montel Douglas is proof of what can be achieved through hard work and dedication, and we hope she will inspire residents to have their say on leisure in the district.’

More information

For more information please contact:

  • Fabrizio Ferrari 01992 564567
  • James Warwick 01992 564530

We will listen and there will be changes

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Councillors had their first chance to debate future development policy following the publication of the draft Local Plan at Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet on 6 October.

EFDC Local Plan logos

Cabinet supported recommendations asking Full Council on 18 October to endorse the plan for public consultation.

Councillor John Philip, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Planning assured fellow councillors that the document before them was for full consultation. The Council would listen and he was sure that there would be changes. However, to be persuasive, Councillor Philip said that arguments for change to the Plan had to be backed up with clear evidence. For example, evidence could include information about issues such as;

  • Flooding
  • Access arrangements
  • Contamination
  • Utilities
  • Other infrastructure
  • Availability of the site

The Leader of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Chris Whitbread thanked Councillor Philip, his predecessor Councillor Richard Bassett and council staff for all the hard work that had gone into the draft.

Subject to the approval of Full Council, public consultation on the draft Local Plan will take place between 31 October and 12 December.

Planning our future

To view all the latest Local Plan information go to the consultation website

Get involved

Join in the conversation

First look of our draft Local Plan

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Residents and councillors have their first chance to view an advance version of the draft Local Plan before Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet meeting on 6 October 2016.

Website launch infographic

The plan, available to view on the Cabinet agenda from 27 September, is subject to change at Cabinet and the meeting of Full Council on 18 October 2016. Only once agreed with any further amendments at Full Council will the draft be ready for public consultation from Monday 31 October 2016.

First chance to see

Planning Portfolio Holder John Philip said: “This is everyone’s first chance to see what the Plan for consultation will look like but it is important to remember that things could still change between now and the end of October. It won’t be finalised until all councillors have had their final say at Full Council.”

“However, by getting this early draft out a month before the official consultation starts, we are ensuring everyone has as much time as possible to consider the issues before the deadline for responses on 12 December 2016. We don’t want your views yet – not until the draft plan is finalised, but we are looking for as much feedback as we can possibly get once the consultation starts on 31 October 2016.”

Consultation website

A special consultation website has been created to support the Local Plan consultation process. It has been designed to make consultation feedback as simple and straightforward as possible.

Epping Forest District Council is also preparing a leaflet for district-wide delivery to households and businesses in the next few weeks to encourage feedback, as well as holding exhibitions, placing adverts in the local press, handing information cards out at railway stations and sending frequent reminders out on social media.

Local town and parish councils are helping the district council with articles in local magazines, posters on noticeboards and more social media.

Everyone’s Local Plan

John Philip said: “This is everyone’s Local Plan. It is the plan for our future, the future of our children and the future of our grandchildren. It will guide development across the district including where to build new homes and employment for a growing population right up to 2033.”

“It will also seek to protect all the most important things we love and cherish about our district including natural spaces and the Green Belt. Please get involved. Follow the process and give us your feedback.”

Local Plan infographics

View the infographics in a slideshow by clicking on a picture below and then click start slideshow

 

Have your say on our trees and green spaces

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Residents are being invited to take part in our Trees and Green Infrastructure – Community Consultation Meeting.

Views over Epping

Have your say

Epping Forest is a green district which is why it’s important to hear your views on our districts trees and green spaces.

We want to hear the issues that affect you, your family and neighbours, what is working well and what needs improving.

The meeting

  • Trees and Green Infrastructure – Community Consultation Meeting
  • Monday 12 September
  • 7pm
  • Epping Hall, St Johns Road, CM16 5JU

The result will feed into an action for the local area as well as influencing future strategy across the whole district.

Refreshment will be provided

Hillhouse planning application submitted

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An outline planning application for a new development in the heart of Waltham Abbey has been submitted. The plans for a new leisure centre, health centre and sixty independent living properties for older people would see the development at Hillhouse, on the Ninefields Estate.

Plans developed in partnership

Drawn up in partnership by Epping Forest District Council, Essex County Council and NHS England, the plans come following a community engagement weekend held earlier in the year involving local residents, businesses and other interested parties.

Milestone reached

Councillor Helen Kane, Epping Forest District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Community Services said: “This is another milestone reached in bringing forward fantastic new facilities for Hillhouse and Waltham Abbey, as well as the Epping Forest District as a whole.”

She continued: ”We have listened carefully to what residents have been telling us and, at a recent meeting that local councillors and senior officers held with local residents, we heard loud and clear that there was only limited support for a new play area and outdoor gym trail, and that residents would prefer to keep at least one playing pitch in the area.  So we have changed some of our plans for the planning application as a result, and now intend to provide a mini soccer grass pitch for use by under 7/8 year olds instead.”

A plan that will truly benefit the community

Cllr John Spence CBE, Essex County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Housing added: “Land owned by the public sector – whichever part of the public sector – is owned by the taxpayers, so it is critical that all public agencies work together, either to dispose of such land or to ensure it is used to best effect, and this is a great example of partners working collaboratively towards a development that will truly benefit the community.”

“Within the Epping Forest area, as in other parts of the county, there is a real need for independent living properties designed to support older people, and with an ageing population in Essex we will see an emphasis by the County Council on this type of development in the future.”

Sustainability

Alison Cowie, Head of Commissioning, NHS England (Essex) said, “There is a long established need to find long term sustainable premises for the relocation of the Maynard Court Surgery. The current premises do not meet current standards and no longer provide the space required for the current list size of the practice, which has seen substantial growth over the last few years and is set to continue to grow with future development plans in the area.”

West Essex CCG said: “West Essex CCG supports the regeneration of the Ninefields site as an ideal opportunity for a new health centre without the need to move services from the current area. It will enable an increased number and type of services, while at the same time providing opportunities to improve the health and wellbeing  of local residents.”

Have your say

The plan will now go through the planning process with the opportunity for residents to comment, with a decision likely in November.  If approved, the three public sector partners will then seek detailed planning permission for their element of the overall development next year.

Dementia awareness session success

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Do you want to increase your awareness and get to know more about dementia? We are hosting Dementia Friends Awareness Sessions for local groups, in partnership with Epping Forest District Museum, in their new community area called ‘the space’.

The sessions are being lead by the Community and Wellbeing Team in conjunction with  Epping Forest District Dementia Action Alliance. The alliance are part of an initiative to make the district of Epping Forest a ‘Dementia Friendly Community’.

Successful sessions

The first Dementia Friends awareness sessions have already been held for the council’s apprentices, housing team, the Limes Farm Community Group and for many of those involved with the council’s walking for health scheme, Lifewalks.

Lifewalks leader, Erika Needham said: “The session helped me see how challenging it can be for those living with dementia and how we can help to alleviate this. Bringing dementia to the attention of the public can help us all to make small changes in our behaviour towards those living with dementia, which in turn will make life easier for them and their carers”.

View photos in a slideshow by clicking on a picture below and then click start slideshow

Focus on increasing awareness

Epping Forest District Council’s Leisure and Community Services Portfolio Holder, Councillor Helen Kane said: ”The information sessions focus on increasing people’s knowledge and awareness of dementia. We hope that this new knowledge and understanding will have a positive effect on the local area – for local people living with dementia and their carers”.

Get involved

She continued: ”Anyone of any age can come to a Dementia Friends Information Session. Help us to ensure local people with dementia are appreciated and feel valued members of their community. If you or your local group would benefit from attending a session or would like some further information,  please contact Karen Murray the council’s Engagement Officer on the details below, alternatively you can find your nearest session on the Alzheimer’s society website.”

Cabinet 21 July 2016

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Economic support, local plan and new council housing were among items discussed at Cabinet on 21 July 2016.

Watch our council meetings online

Council moving forward

A range of exciting developments are in the pipeline. New housing, sports, and economic developments are being matched by an internal transformation programme at Epping Forest District Council. A very upbeat Cabinet meeting confirmed progress on a number of fronts. Councillor Chris Whitbread, Leader of Epping Forest District Council, emphasised how the District Council is leading in partnership with other organisations.

Cabinet agrees Retail Park contract

The £10.2m contract to build Epping Forest Shopping Park was awarded to McLaughlin & Harvey Construction at the latest meeting of Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet on Thursday (21 July). Assets and Economic Development Portfolio Holder Anne Grigg recommended McLaughlin and Harvey as the best tender after receiving bids in competition with RG Carter and Higgins Construction. The retail park on the site of the former council depot in Langston Road, Loughton is due to open in August 2017.

Cabinet also agreed additional spending on associated highway works, bringing the cost of the improvements contract for Chigwell Lane and Langston Road awarded to Walkers Construction to £2.978m. Epping Forest District Council is in negotiation with a number of well-known retailers.

Local Plan and Local Council Tax Scheme

The draft Local Plan will be in the public domain up to five weeks before formal consultation starts in late October. Planning Portfolio Holder Councillor John Philip said the advance availability would effectively give local residents 11 weeks to consider the draft with responses being received in the final six week period.

Finance Portfolio Holder Councillor Gagan Mohindra reported on consultation to be undertaken between August and October to update the Local Council Tax Support Scheme.

New Council Housing

Housing Portfolio Holder Councillor Syd Stavrou secured the approval of Cabinet for revisions to the Council House Building Development Strategy. In addition to building new homes made available to local residents, Epping Forest District Council is also planning to buy houses on the open market for rent at ‘affordable’ rates.

Leisure and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder Councillor Helen Kane followed with a report on the Hillhouse Masterplan and Development Scheme, a partnership with Essex County Council and NHS England. Cabinet supported the draft proposals including a new public swimming pool, independent living homes and health facilities on the Ninefields estate in Waltham Abbey which will be subject to further public consultation and planning applications.

Parish Neighbourhood Plan – help offered

Planning Portfolio Holder John Philip advised fellow councillors not to endorse a local referendum for the Moreton, Bobbingworth and the Lavers Parish Council Neighbourhood Plan. Following an independent planning examiner’s refusal to recommend the Plan, Epping Forest District Council will continue to advise and assist the parish council should it chose to revise it.

Economic support to towns and villages

Cabinet approved the Town and Village Centre Opportunities Fund Policy, funded by Epping Forest District Council with £35,000 in 2016/17.

Scrutiny receives children’s centre update

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Proposals by Essex County Council to radically change Children’s Services came under the spotlight again at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee of Epping Forest District Council on Tuesday 19 July 2016.

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Changes to children’s services 

Scrutiny Vice-chairman Councillor Leon Girling updated councillors following the Essex County Council (ECC) rejection of a call in of its decision to procure new services around a central hub in Epping with the reduction or closure of services in Loughton, Buckhurst Hill, Waltham Abbey and Ongar. Councillor Girling is working with Leisure and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder Councillor Helen Kane to change the county council decision.

Councillor Girling informed fellow district councillors that Councillor Dick Madden, ECC portfolio holder for Children’s Services was due to visit Epping the following day to hear the concerns of local councillors. District councillors also hope to persuade Councillor Madden to visit all the areas of concern at a later date.

Presentations on health, public transport and social services

Councillors reaffirmed the importance of bringing representatives of other public service organisations before the committee. Particular concern was expressed regarding local health services, roads, bus and London Underground services.

Councillors were also anxious to ensure the committee continues to scrutinise social services.

 

Hillhouse masterplan to be submitted

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A planning application for a new development in the heart of Waltham Abbey is to be submitted next month.

The masterplan for a new leisure and community development at Hillhouse, on the Ninefields Estate, has been drawn up by landowners Epping Forest District Council, Essex County Council working alongside NHS England.

Hillhouse masterplan

Hillhouse masterplan

The plan follows community planning events held earlier in the year and will see

  • A new NHS health centre providing modern, fit-for-purpose accommodation to replace the current Maynard Court Surgery
  • An ‘Independent Living’  scheme adjacent to the proposed health centre, providing housing to help people over 55 years old who may need care and support and whose current home no longer meets their needs
  • A new Swimming Pool and Leisure Centre to replace the existing Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool at Roundhills. It is envisaged that this will include a 25m pool with 6 lanes, plus a learner pool, studio for movement/dance activities, fitness suite and a space for community use.

The masterplan will now go through the planning process with the opportunity for residents to comment, with a decision likely in January 2017

Read the masterplan

Re-vitalise this part of Waltham Abbey

Councillor Helen Kane, Epping Forest District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Community Services, said: “This is really exciting – for Ninefields, Waltham Abbey and the Epping Forest district.”

“The current Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool is coming to the end of its life, and the proposed new swimming pool will provide a sports and recreational facility for the next generation, whilst ensuring that there will be no loss in continuity of provision.”

“Together with the new Independent Living Scheme and the Health Centre, the new development will re-vitalise this part of Waltham Abbey and provide fantastic new facilities for local people. I am particularly pleased that we took the time to consult local residents and businesses on what they would like to see, and have been able to incorporate many of their suggestions in the masterplan.”

Work alongside the local community

Councillor John Spence CBE, Essex County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Housing added: “Land owned by the public sector – whichever part of the public sector – is owned by the taxpayers, so it is critical that all public agencies work together, either to dispose of such land or to ensure it is used to best effect in terms of impact and values.”

“This is an excellent example of what can be done when organisations come together and work alongside the local community.”

Real benefits for the community

Kelvin Rowland-Jones, Head of Commissioning for South and West Essex at NHS England said: “The new Health Centre will provide a much needed up-to-date purpose built GP surgery for the residents of Ninefields. This is a result of close co-operation between NHS England, councils and other partners to deliver real benefits for the community.”

 

Epping Forest present findings to Overview and Scrutiny

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Paul Thomson, Superintendent of Epping Forest and Judy Adams, Chairman of the Friends of Epping Forest, presented the outcome of the City of London’s recent consultation to the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday (7 June).

COL EppingForest

Ensuring the forests future

Forest Management costs £5 million and attracts 4.4 million visitors each year. The Friends of Epping Forest have been active for 45 years and encourage enjoyment of the Forest. They see this as the best method of ensuring its future.

Consultation

Pressure to open up the Forest for cycling, access for all and creating a safe place for visitors were among the top issues to emerge.

Maintenance of the forest including mowing and grass cutting were a main issue. The consultation found the concept of commoners’ rights and cattle grazing were mostly supported. An Introduction of fees and charges to car parks as well as speeding was also a big concern. Mr Thompson also expressed unhappiness at the granting of some recent planning applications.

Litter is an ongoing problem. 150,000 bags of rubbish are removed each year. People want to see more bins. Fly-tipping costs thousands of pounds a year. People do not want to ban commercial dog-walking. There is support for encouraging filming as a means of income generation.

Copped Hall is one historic site prompting debate about conservation. Paul Thompson and Judy Adams agreed that the Forest is not a park.

Moving forward

Horses have been part of the Forest landscape for centuries. Paul Thomson acknowledged that current licensing arrangements could be improved. He also recognised the need to look at the deer sanctuary in Theydon Bois and also advised management of the deer population is linked closely to road safety.

Following a long and detailed question and answer session, Overview and Scrutiny Committee Chairman Councillor Mary Sartin thanked Paul Thomson and Judy Adams for a very informative presentation.