Countrycare Easter Scavenger Hunt

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Looking for something fun to do with the  kids Wednesday 3rd April? Why not Join Epping Forest Countrycare for an Easter Scavenger hunt!

10am until 12pm. No need to book just turn up. £4 per child. Starting point Reserve Entrance at the end of Pike Way, North Weald, CM16 6BL.

For more Countrycare events download our Coutnrycare Events List 2013

 

 

 

Proposed changes to charging for pre-planning application advice

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Business, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Epping, Housing, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Planning, Private housing, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

As from 1 April 2013, the Council’s charges on pre-planning application advice will be changing to include a greater scope of development types. Please see the attached document which sets out these new charges and the procedure for seeking advice.

View the new pre-planning application advice fees April 2013

 

Find out more about the planning process and pre-application advice

Countrycare Events For 2013

Written on . Posted in Animal welfare, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Environmental health, Epping, Loughton, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Playschemes, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Countrycare will be running a series of kids events again this spring and summer.

Join Countrycare on one of our Local Nature Reserves and branch out into birds on Roding Valley Meadows, go barmy over bugs at Weald Common or nutty over newts at Nazeing Triangle. Our kids events are aimed at ages 4 to 12, we aim to teach them a little about their surrounding countryside and the wildlife that lives there and have a lot of fun too!

We will be kicking off with an Easter Scavenger Hunt at Roughtalley’s Wood on 3rd April. Find and solve the riddles hidden around the reserve to win some chocolate eggs!

Click Countrycare Events 2013 for a list of all our events in 2013.

Shared Ownership Week

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Epping, Housing, Loughton, Ongar, Private housing, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your home, Your money

Shared Ownership Week aims to highlight the need for shared ownership (part buy, part rent) within today’s housing market. It could be an ideal solution for would-be first-time buyers who are increasingly frustrated by high house prices and deposit requirements.

Housing associations and councils are teaming up with the National Housing Federation for Shared Ownership Week from 18 to 24 March 2013 – to show the positive effects shared ownership can have on local economies and communities. Epping Forest District Council works in partnership with housing associations to develop shared ownership in the local area.

Shared ownership offers the most affordable route into home ownership, meeting families’ aspirations and allowing them to live and work in areas they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. Normally the homes are newly built and available for sale on a ‘part buy and part rent’ basis through housing associations. You can buy shares worth between 25% and 75% of the property’s market value, then pay a subsidised rent on the remaining share. You may need to raise a mortgage to purchase your share. But if you have enough money for a deposit, or equity from the sale of a property, this can also be used towards purchasing your share. Second-hand shared ownership properties are also available from existing owners and these are called resales.

An innovative scheme called “Open Market Shared Ownership” (OMSO) was launched last year by the  Council, in partnership with B3 Living. OMSO offers a lower cost alternative to other types of shared ownership. Buying a 50% share and paying a subsidised rent on the remaining share, can cost you a third less than if you bought the property outright. The deposit is lower too.  For an affordable way to own your own home, give the Home Ownership Team at B3Living a call on 01992 453700.

On 1st March a new development of 119 houses was officially opened at Gilwell Hill, Waltham Abbey – including 95 affordable homes. The Council worked closely with Genesis Housing Association to provide 38 two bedroom shared ownership houses on the ‘Abbey Meadows’ site, which have all been sold. There are 57 affordable rented homes as well. All applicants must be registered on the Epping Forest Housing Register.

Contact HomeBuy if you are looking for shared ownership homes, or resales.  HomeBuy options is the single website for the South East of England and is operated by Moat. You will find details of homes available to buy or rent in Essex – through affordable home ownership schemes – in the area you live or work.

Council Tax Benefit change is coming

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

A new scheme called Local Council Tax Support (LCTS) will replace Council Tax Benefit from the 1 April 2013. This new support scheme will be different from the current Council Tax Benefit scheme and is not so generous.

Local Council Tax Support poster
Local Council Tax Support poster

This scheme applies only to people of working age. People of pension age will continue to have their LCTS calculated in the same way as they currently have their Council Tax Benefit calculated.

Although the Government has introduced the LCTS scheme, they have reduced the funding that we receive and therefore we have had to reduce the amount of help that we can give working age people towards their Council Tax.

Changes from 1 April 2013

If you currently do not pay any Council Tax you will now have to pay something.

If you already pay Council Tax after your benefit entitlement has been deducted you will have to pay more than you have previously towards your Council Tax.

Council Tax Support will fall by over £1 million in Epping Forest.

If you have questions about this new scheme, come along to one of our Local Council Tax Support surgeries where you can talk to our Benefit and Council Tax team about the scheme and the payment options available to you.

Local Council Tax Support surgeries

  • Monday 25 February 2013
    Debden, Little Oaks Children’s Centre, IG10 3TD – 1.30pm to 3.30pm
  • Tuesday 26 February 2013
    Waltham Abbey, Waltham Abbey Town Hall, EN9 1DE – 9.30am to 12.30pm
  • Wednesday 27 February 2013
    Chigwell, The Limes Centre, IG7 5LP – 9.30am to 4.30pm
  • Friday 1 March 2013
    Ongar, Ongar Adult Community Learning, CM5 0GA – 9.30am to 11.30am
  • Monday 4 March 2013
    Buckhurst Hill, Little Buddies Children’s Centre, IG9 5ES – 2pm to 4pm
  • Wednesday 6 March 2013
    Epping, Epping Forest District Council Offices, CM16 4BZ – 9.30am to 3.30pm
  • Thursday 14 March 2013
    Waltham Abbey, Hazelwood Children’s Centre, EN9 3EL – 12.30pm to 3pm

Love our British birds on Valentines Day

Written on . Posted in Animal welfare, Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Environmental health, Epping, Loughton, Older people, Olympics, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Travel, Trees and landscapes, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your environment

National Nest Box Week is great for birds. Starting on 14 February, St Valentine’s Day, it’s the time we remind ourselves to provide homes for dozens of species, from Blue Tits to Barn Owls.

Nesting Blue Tit
Nesting Blue Tit

The natural nest sites on which many of our bird species depend, such as holes in trees and buildings, are fast disappearing as gardens and woods are ‘tidied’ and old houses are repaired.

National Nest Box Week was launched in 1997 and since then thousands of enthusiastic naturalists across the UK have put up boxes to compensate for this loss. It is estimated that there are now 5 to 6 million boxes in gardens across the UK.

Whether you’re a family with space for a box in your garden, a teacher, a member of a local wildlife group, or you belong to a bird club and could organise a work party, National Nest Box Week gives you the chance to contribute to the conservation effort in the UK whilst giving you the pleasure of observing any breeding birds that you attract to your garden.

Build a nest box

If you’ve never built a nest box before, why not give it a go this year? Or if you haven’t got the time, it’s easy to buy one. Go on, give Britain’s birds a valentines day gift this year!

Making your own nest box

If you want more information about nests and nest boxes, contact nnbw@bto.org.

Financial assistance to help you improve your home

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Business, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Epping, Grants, Housing, Housing repairs, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Planning, Private housing, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your community, Your home, Your money

Do you know that Epping Forest District Council offers financial assistance and grants to home owners and private tenants?

We may be able to assist if you need house repairs, energy efficiency works, or adaptations to your home because you are disabled. We also offer assistance to home owners wanting to bring an empty home back into use.

Financial assistance to help you improve your home

The types of financial assistance available include

  • disabled facilities grants up to £30,000
  • decent homes repayable assistance up to £10,000
  • small works repayable assistance up to £3,000
  • empty homes repayable assistance up to £10,000

Find out more

Full details of the eligibility criteria, and how you can apply, are available from the Private Sector Grants Team

  • email PSHGrantsandCare@eppingforestdc.gov.uk
  • phone 01992 564092
  • write to – Private Sector Grants Team, Housing Directorate, Epping Forest District Council, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4BZ

Information Service Partnership

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

Visitors to Epping Forest District Council’s Information Centres in Loughton and Waltham Abbey will find new arrangements in place. Under the terms of a new arrangement with Essex County Council, information about the District Council will be made available via libraries in Waltham Abbey, Loughton, Chipping Ongar and Buckhurst Hill.

District Council information is now available at librariesThe new arrangement is set to benefit residents and both councils. Access to information about Epping Forest District Council will become more widely available with later opening on week-nights and access on Saturdays. The District Council will also make savings on accommodation and staff costs.

Essex County Council will receive a regular income for providing the service as well as a potential increase in residents visiting and making use of other core library services.

The District Council will continue to manage its own main information and reception desk at the Civic Offices in Epping. Cash payments to Epping Forest District Council at Waltham Abbey Town Hall are expected to transfer to Waltham Abbey Library later in the year following the installation of a special kiosk.

Councillor Hal Ulkun, Support Services Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council said: “I am delighted to announce this new partnership with Essex County Council. Money is tight for everyone and it makes great financial sense for both Epping Forest District and Essex County Council to co-operate by reducing costs and providing services more efficiently together. Even more importantly, people rely more than ever on access to council services during tough economic times. Working together we can enhance services in Ongar and Buckhurst Hill, too.”

Library staff received training in December. They will be able to act as an advice and signposting service for residents to Epping Forest District Council services. Residents will also be able to access District Council services via library-based computers with the assistance of library staff and contact staff at the main District Council offices via dedicated phones in each of the four libraries.

Other local District Council services such as the Broadway Housing Office and Limes Farm Community Hall in Chigwell will continue to provide specialist services as normal.

Councillor Ulkun added: “With modern technology we can use electronic links, backed up by good old-fashioned methods such as the District Council ‘Messenger’ collecting and delivering post between the District in Epping and the libraries in Loughton, Waltham Abbey, Ongar and Buckhurst Hill. Library staff are already experts in searching and providing information for residents. Many of our older and more vulnerable residents are especially reliant on the information service and I am very confident the libraries will continue the fine traditions of service previously provided by our own staff.”

County Councillor Jeremy Lucas Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Customer Services, Environment and Culture said: “I am very pleased to add Epping Forest District Council to the growing list of partners who are sharing space in our libraries for the benefit of their local community. Libraries should remain the hub of communities and Essex County Council is always keen to discuss ways of working with partners to find savings while improving services to our residents.”

Learning with Countrycare

Written on . Posted in Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Chairman, Chigwell, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Councillors, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Doing business with the council, Epping, Health, Loughton, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Playschemes, Procurement, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Countrycare launches environmental education service to show young people the value of the green spaces and wildlife around them.

The Countrycare team is offering an environmental education service to schools that can work with their curriculum, in both science and arts, to help engage young people with the environment. Environmental education sessions can be run on Local Nature Reserves, in classrooms or in school grounds, and we cater for all ages.

We want young people to grow up not just enjoying the countryside but respecting it as well.

Learning with Countrycare

We offer a range of projects including

  • Creating wildlife sanctuaries in school grounds
  • Building bird boxes
  • Practical projects on Local Nature Reserves
  • Tree ecology
  • Tree planting
  • Invertebrate identification
  • Guided walks

If none of these activities fit in with your syllabus we can mould lessons to fit your needs.

Find out more

Download the brochure Learning with Countrycare (pdf 1MB)

For more information about the environmental education service at Countrycare and the competitive costs call 01992 788203 or email contactcountrycare@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.

Find out what other work Countrycare does the website at http://www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/

You can also follow Countrycare on Twitter at https://twitter.com/EFcountrycare/

Countrycare volunteer day Tuesday 22 January cancelled

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Chigwell, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Loughton, Older people, Olympics, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your environment, Your home

Due to the adverse weather the Countrycare volunteer day on Tuesday 22 January 2013 has been cancelled.

Countrycare is sorry to disappoint those of you who were intending to jump in a pond and clear some reeds tomorrow in North Weald, but the task has been cancelled due to weather conditions. We apologise to anyone who had been looking forward to an ice cold dip. Thursday’s volunteer task is still expected to go ahead.