Sports award deadline looming

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Epping, Health, Loughton, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Sports, Sports centres and pools, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community

Want to reward your club, coach or volunteer for the great work they do in the community? If you do, get your nominations to us by 6 September 2013 as the deadline for the Epping Forest District Council sports award is fast approaching.

Community sports awards categories

  • Club of the year
    £1,000 for a local club that is able to demonstrate that is has made a significant contribution to community sport over the previous year
  • Community coach of the year
    £500 to use for continuing professional development (CPD) for a local coach (they must coach in the Epping Forest district) who has made a significant and positive contribution to their club or to sport, health and fitness in the district
  • Volunteer of the year
    £500 for CPD to a local volunteer whose contribution helps make a positive impact to sport health and fitness in the district

Nominate now

To request a nomination form or for information on the categories, contact Fabrizio Ferrari by telephone on 01992 564567 or by email fferrari@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.

 

Three Billy Goats Gruff visit District Museum

Written on . Posted in Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Epping, Loughton, Museum, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community

This Saturday (3rd August) the Three Billy Goats Gruff will be trip-trapping their way to the District Museum in Waltham Abbey for the Family Fun Day!  Come along too and enjoy the puppet show version of this great story, with lots more entertainment for all the family. 

Out in the garden, local artist Georgia Wisbey will be helping you weave a willow herb crown, and if the sun shines we’ll also have sandcastles and shrimping. 

Activities take place between 11am and 4pm, with the puppet show taking place three times during the day at 11.30am, 1pm and 3pm.

Entry is free of charge, but donations are very much appreciated.

Summer Family Fun at District Museum

Written on . Posted in Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Epping, Loughton, Museum, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community

Summer Family Activities

Summer Family Activities

On Tuesday afternoons between 12noon and 3pm throughout the Summer holidays, fun family art and crafts activities are taking place at the District Museum in Waltham Abbey.  Many of the activities have a Tudor theme, to go with our latest exhibition.

On Tuesday 30th July you can design and make your own Tudor knight’s shield.  On Tuesday 6th August the shield might be useful to go with the hobby horse you can make for the Tudor joust.  We will be modelling Tudor clay pots on  Tuesday 13th August, then print making on Tuesday 20th August.  Bringing the holidays to a close, the last activity on Tuesday 27th August will be making a bookmark, using a Tudor quill pen to write your name and a lucet fork to weave a tassel to hang from it.

There’s no need to book, you can just drop in.  Most activities take about 20 minutes to complete.

Children need to be accompanied by adults as it is a family activity.  Cost £1.25 per child.

Epping Forest Countrycare Volunteer Walk 2013

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Local plan / planning our future, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Residents, Sports, Travel, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Volunteering opportunities, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

As a thank-you to all our hardworking volunteers we organised a circular six mile guided walk last month. Led by Kevin Mason, an interesting and diverse route took the volunteers through woodlands, grasslands and green lanes.

 

Taking a break in Norton Heath

We were blessed with a fine sunny day, and set off from the Chipping Ongar heading east through the fields alongside Cripsey Brook. After crossing the River Roding we headed across the old landfill site at the former LECA works. The volunteers noticed the spread of the invasive plant Goats Rue (Galega officinalis) across the site, which they work hard to control on the EFDC’s nature reserve and former landfill site at Bobbingworth.  The walk next followed  St Peter’s Way besides arable fields and through overgrown field margins.

Volunteers identifying wildflowers found along the way

Several stops were made along the way to look at the flora and for anecdotes about the sites we were passing. The walk made its way to Norton Heath for lunch supplied by the Norton Heath Café.  The heath is formed on one of the smallest Essex outliers of gravel and in the early part of the 20th Century was heavily excavated to provide gravel for the Chelmsford to Ongar road A414.  Norton Heath was designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2010.

The return trip was made through the fields and along Norton Lane in a westerly direction to reach Norton Mandeville. A stop was made at All Saint’s church and Norton Hall to admire the church and learn a little of its history. After the church we followed the farm track down to High Ongar.

We crossed the River Roding again at the footbridge and made our way back to

Heading home

Chipping Ongar passing the castle on route.  Fortunately we were back at the start before the rain came.

Despite the nettles the walk was thoroughly enjoyed by all and everyone is looking forward to next year’s volunteer treat.

The volunteers said:

“Very many thanks for such a lovely day today.  The walk was varied and interesting.”

“It was very interesting to hear some of the local history and to appreciate the splendid views.”

eNgage 2013

Written on . Posted in Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Epping, Health, Loughton, Ongar, Our activities, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your community

Dance showcase, eNgage, came back with a bang for 2013 with fresh new talent from Epping Forest and beyond.

Over 100 young people with a passion to perform came together at Harlow Playhouse, on Thursday 27 June to dance the night away in front of a packed audience.

Groups from the district included three of the local primary schools and BTEC Dance and music students from Epping Forest College, who opened the show with a powerful piece; paying tribute to the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989.

eNgage welcomed new groups from outside the district including Scene II Theatre School with a spooky musical theatre piece from The Addams Family and Jason Theatre School who performed a funky tap number to get everyone in the party mood.

The show also played host to the première screening of the Map The Move film, created as part of the Make a Move legacy.  Map The Move was a digital media project, involving many community groups from the district.

Photographs by Melissa Page.

Tree Wardens undertake OPAL Tree Health Survey.

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Volunteering opportunities, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

The Council’s Tree Wardens have started undertaking the OPAL (OPen Air Laboratories)  survey into the health of the trees in the District.  The survey is being co-ordinated by Imperial College London together with Forest Research and the Food and Environment Research Agency.

Horse Chestnut Tree

With guidance from Tree Warden Co-ordinator Kevin Mason a member of the Countrycare team, nine Tree Wardens attended a training session on 12th June in Roughtalley’s Wood, North Weald.

By taking part in the national survey and submitting the results the Tree Wardens are helping to discover more about the general health of our trees and give vital information on some of the pests and diseases that affect Oak, Ash and Horse Chestnut trees. Instruction was also given on identifying other potential pests and diseases which whilst not present yet, or at least not widespread, could have a serious impact on our trees.  Tree Wardens are part of an important surveillance network of people across the country protecting our trees.

The recordings are used by Forest Research – the Forestry Commission’s research agency.  The results from the survey will show the condition and health of the trees in parks, streets and woodlands across the UK and provide important information about the possible presence of certain key tree pests and diseases.

A national survey like this has not been undertaken before and it is likely that the trees surveyed by the Tree Wardens will not have been surveyed before.

The survey covers the location and species of the tree, its characteristics in relation to the trees around it and its condition; this gives a general picture about the health of the tree. Also covered was up to date information of pests and diseases on three of the most recognisable tree species: Ash, Oak and Horse Chestnut.

Bleeding Canker

 

One of the Horse Chestnuts surveyed by the Tree Wardens was discovered to have Bleeding Canker.  This is a disease caused by a pathogen, Pseudomonas syringae pv aesculi, which infects and disfigures the tree.  If the disease is severe it can kill the tree so it needs to be regularly checked.  Fortunately none of the Ash trees in the wood were found to have.
The Tree Wardens were also shown an unusual Cappadocian Maple (Acer cappadocicum) which is growing in the wood and there is a fine display of Common Spotted Orchids (Dactylorhiza fuchsii)growing in the wet grassland area.

Cappadocian maple

 

 To help with the survey please go to http://www.opalexplorenature.org/TreeSurvey
for the full instructions or alternatively contact Kevin Mason at Epping Forest Countrycare on 01992 788203

Check out the Map The Move film!

Written on . Posted in Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Epping, Health, Loughton, Older people, Olympics, Ongar, Out and about, Sports, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community

This short film is the final step in a digital media project created as part of the Make A Move legacy.

Local groups of all ages and abilities contributed to the film by dancing a small part of choreography, created by Vanessa Gayton and Vicky Quirke, Dance Development Artists based on sporting moves.

The film takes you around the district to watch a small clip of each group perform their piece.  Look at for staff members of Epping Forest District Council!

The film had its premiere screening at dance showcase eNgage at Harlow Playhouse on Thursday 27 June.

Rus Pearson of Drake Music composed the music for the film with unused sound bites from the Make A Move soundtrack.  Videographer Erato Tzavara brought all the different clips together to make this wonderful film.

Make A Move was an amazing en-masse community dance project, bringing together over 200 people from the district to celebrate the 2012 London Olympic Games. 

Watch the video below for more information.

Improving your health is as easy as riding a bike with ‘Cycle For Health’

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Health, Loughton, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Sports, Sports centres and pools, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community

Cycling For Health FlyerStarting on 19th June we will be running a new daytime cycling programme called “Cycle For Health”. The programme is a series of weekly lead rides in Epping Forest and the Lee Valley.

It has been proven that regular cycling can help you lose weight, reduce stress and improve your fitness because, contrary to popular belief, it is not an activity that solely involves the legs. Furthermore it is one of the only whole body activities that involves very low impact and low risk of muscle strain. This makes it excellent if you have joint issues or even a problem with your weight.  In fact it has been found that steady cycling burns approximately 300 calories per hour. Therefore, if you cycle for 30 minutes every day, you would burn 11 pounds of fat in a year.

The rides are open to all and we put an emphasis on fun and friendship. To join the programme you don’t even need to worry about a bike as one of our officers can arrange for bike and helmet hire (if you contact them before the ride) so all you need to do is turn up at the meeting point ready to ride and meet new people.

Should you have your own mountain bike and helmet we are more than happy for you to bring them along, but please ensure it is safe to ride as our instructors may turn you away from the session should your bike not be deemed suitable.

The weekly rides will take place every Wednesday morning at 10am. Rides will generally last two hours with breaks, refreshments (not provided so please bring your own) and time for a bit of socialising.

The sessions cost £3 if you bring your own bike and £6 if you wish to hire one.

You can download a copy of the diary of rides that we have planned using the link below.

Cycling For Health Ride Diary Summer 2013

Full details of each of the Cycling For Health rides can also be found on our Sporting Events pages.

If you would like more information please contact Fabrizio Ferrari on 01992 564567 or email fferrari@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Proposed changes to the planning rules – new permitted development rights

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Business, Chigwell, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Epping, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

As from 30 May 2013, new changes have come into force in respect of further permitted development rights for certain building works and changes of use without the need to apply for planning permission. Despite most Council’s, including ourselves, having raised objections to these planned changes, this has nationally been brought in to encourage development to take place and speed up its delivery by removing local authority control in an attempt to revive the economy. There are a number of changes, which are as follows:

Single storey rear extension to houses:

At present, it is possible to build a 4 metre deep single storey rear extension onto the original rear wall of a detached house and a 3 metre deep single storey rear extension onto an attached house as permitted development, i.e. without the need for planning permission. This right remains, but a new procedure (called “prior approval”) is to be introduced which may allow extensions up to double this size without planning permission (up to 8 metres deep for a detached house and 6 metres deep for an attached house). This does not apply in conservation areas, though.

The process for all other extension works under Part 1 of the GPDO will remain the same (i.e. no more than half the garden area around the house etc), but anyone proposing a 3m-6m or 4m-8m extension must write and provide a plan and written description of the proposal. There is no planning application fee.

The Council is required to consult the immediately adjoining premises only, with a minimum consultation period of 21 days. If no objections are received from the consulted adjoining neighbours, the development can go ahead. If an adjoining neighbour objects, then the prior approval of the local planning authority is required. Planning Officers will then need to consider the impact of the development only on the amenity of the immediate neighbours. Other factors, such as green belt, design and appearance cannot be considered under this prior approval procedure. Only where there is clearly excessive harm to neighbouring amenity will Officers be in a position to refuse prior approval.

This whole process has to be done within a total of 42 days from first receipt of the information submitted, otherwise, no matter whether there is an objection from an immediate neighbour or from the Council, the development can proceed. There is a right of appeal against a refusal.

The legislation requires that any 3m-6m or 4m-8m extension “shall be completed on or before 30th May 2016″.  It is therefore a temporary additional permitted development right for 3 years only.

The legislation also requires that “the developer shall notify the local planning authority of the completion of the development as soon as reasonably practicable after completion”.

Download the application form – Prior Notification of a Proposed Larger Home Extension

Download the guidance notes – Prior Notification of a Proposed Larger Home Extension

Change of Use

(please note that none of the below changes of use are relevant to listed buildings, but they can be carried out in conservation areas).

•  Premises in Class B1(a) office use will be able to change to Class C3 residential use so long as the C3 use starts on or before 30 May 2016. This is only subject to a prior approval process whereby the developer shall apply to the Council for a determination as to whether prior approval is required only in respect of flooding, highway and transport issues and contamination. There are no other considerations. The determination will have to be made by the Council within 56 days and in this case, a fee, believed at this stage to be £80.00, is required. There was an opportunity to be exempt from this permitted change of use and we as a Council made a strong case in order to protect our local town centre and employment areas. However, we, along with many others, were unsuccessful and only 17 authorities across England (including 11 inner London boroughs) have been given change of use exemption. Again, this is a temporary additional permitted development right in that no change of use can take place after 30 May 2016, but if the use has started before then, it can continue.

•  Parts of buildings under 150 metres within Class A1 – A5, B1, D1 and D2 will be permitted to change to a flexible use falling within Class A1 (shops), A2 (financial and professional services), A3 (restaurants) or B1 (business). For a one off period of up to 2 years, the developer only needs to notify (and therefore there is no prior approval considerations) the Council beforehand and in this time period, it can move between other uses in this flexible use. After 2 years, the use reverts back. This applies even in the Local Plan key retail frontages. 

•  Agricultural buildings (cumulatively)|under 500 square metres in floor space used solely in agriculture before 3 July 2012 or for 10 years after that date, can change to a flexible use falling within Class A1-A3, B1 (business), B8 (storage and distribution), C1 (hotel) or D2 (assembly and leisure). This flexible use will then be classed as “sui generis” such that any further changes of use outside the flexible uses require planning permission. In the case where the floor space does not exceed 150 metres, the developer merely has to notify the Council of the change. If it exceeds 150 metres, the developer has to apply to the Council for a determination as to whether prior approval is required and we can only take account of flooding, highway and transport issues, noise and contamination can be considered through consultation with statutory undertakers. Therefore there are no other considerations. The determination has to be made by the Council within 56 days.  

•  Buildings within Class B1, C1, C2, C2a, D1 and D2 will be able to change to a state funded school. The developer shall apply to the Council for a determination as to whether prior approval but we can only consider against  highway and transport issues, noise and contamination. There are no other considerations. The determination will have to be made by the Council within 56 days.

•   The use of any building as a state-funded school for a single academic year will be permitted. It then reverts back to its previous use at the end of the academic year. The site must however, be approved for such purpose by the relevant Minister.

Temporary Increased Thresholds for Offices

 Increases Permitted Development threshold to erect, extend or alter office premises from 25% of gross floor space or 100 square metres (whichever is the lesser) to 50% or 200 square metres. The new permitted development right is temporary and will expire on 30th May 2016. The developer must notify us in writing when the development is complete

Temporary Increased Thresholds for Shops, Catering, Professional or Financial Services 

Increases PD threshold to erect, extend or alter a shop, catering, professional or financial services establishment from 25% of gross floor space or 100 square metres (whichever is the lesser) to 50% or 200 square metres. The new permitted development right is temporary and will expire on 30th May 2016.
 The exclusion of development within 2 metres of the boundary of the curtilage is removed during the same period except in relation to premises which adjoin land or buildings in residential use. The developer must notify us in writing when the development is complete.

Temporary Increased Thresholds for Industrial and Warehouse Use Classes 

 Increases PD threshold to erect, extend or alter industrial and warehouse premises from 25% of gross floor space or 100 square metres (whichever is the lesser) to 50% or 200 square metres. The new permitted development right is temporary and will expire on 30th May 2016. Developers must notify us of completion.

Telecoms Installations

The construction, installation or replacement of telegraph poles, cabinets or lines for fixed-line broadband services will not require prior approval in Conservation Areas for a 5 year period. Development must be completed before 30th May 2018.

Extensions permitted to temporary schools

Buildings which qualify for the right to change temporarily to school use are also given the benefit of existing permitted development rights which allow schools to carry out building works (including the erection, extension or alteration of buildings and the provision of hard surfaces) subject to various conditions and limitations.
 This will apply from the date we are notified by the relevant Minister that the site has been approved for school use.

 

Find out more about the planning process and planning applications

 

Essential Living Fund and changes to the social fund

Written on . Posted in Benefits, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Council tax, Epping, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your home, Your money

The Essential Living Fund or ELF is a new scheme for awarding emergency grants and loans for vulnerable groups.

Launched on 1 April 2013, it replaces 2 parts of the social fund from The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)

  1. Crisis Loans
  2. Community Care Grants

Essex County Council is responsible for the Essential Living Fund in Essex with individual applications being administered by Southend On Sea Borough Council.

What is the ELF?

The Essential Living Fund is operated as a grant system (and not as a loan as the crisis loans), and if awarded, it will be paid by goods or vouchers.

It can provide you with essential items in an emergency such as

  • Furniture and furnishings
  • White goods
  • Household equipment
  • Fuel connection or re-connection charges
  • Clothing and footwear
  • General living expenses

Who can get the ELF?

To be considered for support you must be

  • Aged 16 or over
  • In receipt of state benefits or on a low income
  • Permanently live in Essex

How to apply for the ELF

To apply for general living expenses (such as groceries, nappies, toiletries, hygiene products and fuel), phone the ELF team on 0300 7900124 between 8.45am and 5.15pm (this number is charged at local rates from any number including mobiles).

To apply for furniture / white goods / clothing and footwear / household equipment use the online application form.

You will be asked questions about your income, earnings and savings. You will also be required to provide proof of your financial situation.