A new M11 junction, saving money on energy bills, Essex part-night lighting, council house building and more were discussed at council on Tuesday 4 November 2014.
Duty to cooperate
Councillors Chris Whitbread, Leader of Council, and Richard Bassett, Planning Portfolio Holder, met representatives from neighbouring council areas to discuss issues of mutual interest in the production local plans. Among the items debated was a consensus of support for the development of a new Junction 7a on the M11.
Councils are required to meet and work together as far as possible in the coordination of local plans setting out housing, economic and environmental policies for the next 20 years or so. Known as the Duty to Cooperate Board, other councils in the group include Harlow, Uttlesford, Broxbourne, East Herts, Essex County Council, Hertfordshire County Council and the London Boroughs of Redbridge, Enfield and Waltham Forest.
Council Chairman Tony Boyce, outlined a packed schedule of recent civic activities. This included a trip on the Epping Ongar Railway and the promotion of the district as a visitor attraction to other council chairmen and mayors. He also opened the CAB annual general meeting, went on a trip with older residents on a Community Transport bus between North Weald and Epping, visited refurbished halls in Roydon and North Weald, attended community events at Waltham Abbey, spent an evening with the air-cadets and visited Chelmsford to learn more about the Territorial Army.
Residents will be given the opportunity to cut their energy bills. Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder Gary Waller recommended that anyone wishing to save money look out for more information to appear in the Christmas edition of The Forester and on the council website.
The second Essex Energy Switch starts on 2 December 2014. It is run in conjunction with Essex County Council and offers residents who want to switch providers the chance to pay less for their gas and electricity bills. A previous scheme earned savings of several hundred pounds for Essex residents.
Train diplomacy lights up district
District councillors called upon Essex County Council to think again on the part-night lighting scheme early in the morning when people are going to work. A motion was presented by councillor Stephen Murray. He briefly listed the number of trains taking local residents to work before 6am each day as well as early morning buses. Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder Gary Waller supported the motives of councillor Murray.
With tongue firmly in cheek, councillor Waller described how he and fellow district councillors had discussed the very same issue with County Council Portfolio Holder Rodney Bass in a first class carriage compartment on the Epping Ongar heritage railway visit hosted by council Chairman Tony Boyce. Surrounded by district councillors Gary Waller, John Philip, Anne Grigg, David Stallan and Will Breare-Hall in a scene reminiscent of an Agatha Christie novel, Councillor Bass was made aware of the feeling across the district council chamber in supporting of turning the lights on earlier. Councillors expected confirmation of good news from Essex County Council in the next few days.
Operations Partner – North Weald Airfield
Councillors agreed to set aside up to £60,000 to procure and appoint marketing agents to help the council seek an operational partner for aviation management at North Weald Airfield.
Overview and Scrutiny Chairman councillor Richard Morgan appealed to fellow councillors to get their questions ready for a presentation by Essex County Council on children’s services at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Monday 10 November. Members of the public can also submit a question to Essex County Council by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by 4pm on the day of the meeting.
Council house building
As the new council house building programme gathers momentum, the collaborative approach and consultation with ward members was welcomed by councillors. Reflecting the importance of the house building programme, the revised terms of reference were approved for the Council House Building Cabinet Committee.