Green Flag award for Roding Valley Meadows

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

Countrycare and EWT announce the award
Countrycare and EWT announce the award

A flag-raising ceremony took place in November attended by members of Epping Forest District Council, Essex Wildlife Trust (EWT), the Grange Farm Centre Trust (GFCT) and Roding Valley volunteer group.

The group was welcomed by Abigail Oldham, Countryside Manager, Countrycare. Then Patrick Bailly, EWT Warden of the Reserve, explained the importance of the Reserve for nature, wildlife, recreation and education.

The Reserve, in Loughton, is the largest area of traditional river-valley landscape left in Essex. Bounded by thick hedgerows, the herb-rich meadows, marsh and scrub woodland follow the meanders of the River Roding for a mile-and-a-half. More than 200 species of wildflowers thrive in the meadows.

The plant assemblage is so rare that the Reserve was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1986.

Countrycare, EWT and GFCT raise the flag together
Countrycare, EWT and GFCT raise the flag together

Lush hedgerows and veteran trees attract many species of bird, such as woodpeckers and Sparrowhawk. The ponds, river and fen attract numerous dragonflies and birds, such as Kingfisher, Snipe and Reed Bunting.

The Reserve is owned by the District Council and the Grange Farm Centre Trust and managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust.
The Green Flag recognises UK green spaces that are well-managed, sustainable, of conservation and heritage value and of high quality. The Reserve was judged on a searing hot day in July when Patrick Bailly lead a guided tour of the site, impressing the judge with his management methods.
And the flag is up!
And the flag is up!

After the volunteers were thanked for their contribution to making the Reserve the beautiful place it is today, John Hall, EWT’s Chief Executive, Alex Pelican, Grange Farm Centre Trust and Abigail Oldham, together raised the flag.

Refreshments were served in a marquee on one of the Reserve’s meadows where an exhibition about Countrycare and the Roding Valley Meadows was displayed.

Read more about Roding Valley Meadows.

Interested in volunteering? Volunteer with Countrycare.

Read more about the Essex Wildlife Trust.

National Empty Homes Week

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Council tax, Epping, Grants, Housing, Local business, Loughton, Ongar, Out and about, Planning, Private housing, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your home

National Empty Homes week runs from 26 November to 1 December 2012 highlighting the waste of empty properties.

Each dwelling that stands empty is a wasted resource and the council is committed to bringing empty properties back to use.

  • An empty property can cost an owner up to £10,000 a year in maintenance, Council Tax, increased insurance and potential loss in rental
  • They act as a magnet for crime and anti-social behaviour including squatters, vandalism, arson and rubbish dumping
  • Run-down, derelict and abandoned properties bring down the appearance of a neighbourhood and give a sense of decay and decline
  • The house next door to an empty property may be devalued by as much as 10%

We can help owners of empty properties by giving advice and information and also by offering financial assistance.

Report an empty property

If you know of an empty property and want to make us aware of it, please complete the online form.

If you would like to discuss any property or issue relating to empty homes call the Empty Property Officer on 01992 564706. All calls and information received will be treated in confidence.

Read more on empty properties.

New super fast broadband available

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Epping, Grants, Housing, Local business, Loughton, Ongar, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Residents and businesses can now benefit from a new super fast broadband service thanks to the FibreWiFi Broadband Service provided by Buzcom.

Orders are now being taken for the new service which covers most of the Epping Forest district, with homes and businesses able to access speeds of up to 50 Mb.

FibreWiFi logoAll enquiries about the coverage, pricing and features should be sent to FibreWiFi

Epping Forest District Council provided assistance to help enable the network.

Youth Plus in Ongar win Youth Project of the Year Award 2012

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chairman, Civic events, Councillors, Epping, Loughton, Ongar, Our activities, Playschemes, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community

Epping Forest Youth Council organised the third Youth Project of the Year Award at the Civic Offices in Epping on 30th October.

YPOTY Award Winners 2012
YPOTY Award Winners 2012

The evening was a celebration of youth work and voluntary work for the benefit of young people in the community. The Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Brian Rolfe, presented the awards and commended the work of all the youth projects across the district.

Youth Councillor Ella Foster said, “One of the main issues we hear is there isn’t anything to do for our age group so, once again, the Youth Council set about locating local youth projects to put them on the map.  This year we found 16 youth projects running in the district. ”

Youth Councillors personally visited 14 of the 16 youth projects over a three month period. Ella  explained, “When visiting each youth club, we assessed the atmosphere in the centre, the opportunities to learn; we looked at the location, disabled access and street lighting. All of these factors we feel are important for young people. Where possible, we then returned to each project to meet with staff and discuss our findings. This was really helpful as it gave us the opportunity to feed back and listen to their future plans”.

Winners trophies were awarded to three projects for their outstanding youth work. They were; third place, The Box in Epping,  secondly place “We Don’t Do Bored” in Waltham Abbey and first place went to Youth Plus in Ongar who were formally crowned the ultimate winner of the Youth Project of the Year Award 2012. Youth Plus also won the award in 2010!

Five projects received a 5 star ‘Centre of Excellence’ Awards: XL Youth in Buckhurst Hill, Fusion in Loughton, The Box in Epping, We Don’t Do Bored in Waltham Abbey and Youth Plus in Ongar.

Healthworks in Waltham Abbey, Limes Farm Youth Centre in Chigwell, Theydon Youth in Theydon Bois, X Bus in Debden and the mobile Youth Bus each received a 4 Star award.

The Loughton Youth Centre in Loughton, ignite , St Mary’s Church, Loughton, New Images WAY 2000 in Waltham Abbey each received a 3 Star award.

The Space in Loughton won a 2 Star award. 

Youth Plus YPOTY Winners 2012
Youth Plus Youth Project of the Year 2012 Winners receiving their trophy from Chairman, Brian Rolfe

Brenda Rugeley from Youth Plus thanked the Youth Council for the amazing award and for organising a really inspiring evening; “We all really enjoyed meeting everyone tonight and learning about other projects. It has been a re- energising experience! We all so enjoyed the evening when you visited us at Youth Plus and our members had the opportunity to talk to you, show you around, and tell you about our group. Young people with learning disabilities can often feel isolated from other young people and in the community, and cannot easily access the activities that other young people do. Youth Plus was set up 13 years ago to help to address this situation. We now have a membership of 125 young people who have an opportunity to make friends and with the support of parents and volunteers they can arrange to take part in activities that they would normally not be able to do.

Everyone here is welcome to come over to the Ongar Youth Centre to see what we do. We would also love to have you come and do a spot of volunteering for us. We would be pleased to keep in touch and join in with any of the other groups in anything that is going on. We are so thrilled with this award.”

Youth Councillor Jaymey McIvor said “Youth Plus in Ongar is an excellent centre for young people with learning disabilities, they run an extensive programme of activities for their members, they are involved in their local community and develop opportunities for their members to engage and embrace them. They rely on volunteers, so please contact Youth Plus if you are interested in volunteering with this group.” 

Youth Councillor Catie Barry  went on to explain “Our map promoting all youth projects in the Epping Forest district has been updated for 2012, and this is available from schools, libraries, clubs and Epping Forest District Council Information Points. You can also download a copy of the map by clicking on the image below:

Braeside girls get volunteer project off to a great start!

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Our activities, Our countryside, Young people

Last Tuesday, pupils from Braeside School, including Epping Forest Youth Councillor, Aysia Leigh donned their wellies and waterproofs to kick start a series of volunteering days for young people in the Epping Forest district. The Council’s Community Development Team is currently organising volunteering events for all secondary schools in the district. Braeside’s volunteers chose to do conservation work with the Council`s CountryCare team at the Linders Field Nature Reserve in Buckhurst Hill.

Braeside pupils at Linders Field Nature Reserve during their volunteer day

Following a tour of the Linders Field area, the young people were instructed on health and safety, and then wrote their own risk assessments. With these formalities out of the way, it was time to get their hands dirty … or head to foot dirty in some cases! The young people split into two teams, working under the direction of Nicola and Kevin from CountryCare. One team worked with Nicola to complete a board walk. The young people painted the area, attached chicken wire, nailed on the safety batons, then dispensed and levelled some areas of gravel. Kevin had the second team clearing brambles, digging a drainage ditch, and laying pipe! After munching packed lunches, the group all helped to mulch the base of some young trees.

Everyone got into the spirit of the project and was surprised by how much had been achieved at the end of the day – and how good it felt! Many of the Braeside girls said that they would consider volunteering again in the future.

Business Briefing hot off the press and brimming with news for local businesses

Written on . Posted in Abandoned vehicles, Animal welfare, Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Business, Business rates, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Doing business with the council, Drainage, Energy efficiency, Epping, Grants, Gypsy and traveller, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Loughton, Media, Noise, Older people, Olympics, Ongar, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Travel, Trees and landscapes, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

The October 2012 edition of ‘one business briefing’ is available. Produced by EFDC, One Epping Forest and local partners the briefing provides information for businesses and those looking to start up in business in the Epping Forest District.  The briefing  is designed to report on  business funding opportunities/access to finance, business support, workshops/events for business and local economic development initiatives.

The October edition highlights a new training grant available from Essex County Council which is available to businesses but those eligible must be quick as the grant is only available from now until March 2013. The briefing also highlights specific support available to manufacturing and construction businesses in the Epping Forest district.  If you are looking to set-up in business the briefing directs individuals to support being offered by HMRC, including its free and informal workshop sessions held in Epping.

Read the October 2012 edition – One Business Briefing

If you would like to receive future editions of ‘one business briefing’ directly to your email inbox please email vwillis@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

2013 Citizens of the Year campaigns are underway

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chairman, Chigwell, Civic events, Community, Epping, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Epping Forest District Council Citizen of the Year 2013 poster

The search is on to find the Epping Forest District Council Citizen of the Year 2013 and Young Citizen of the Year 2013.

Do you know someone who has shown outstanding courage, or has done something of great benefit to you or your community?  Perhaps someone who has shown extraordinary commitment, energy and effort in their particular field or towards achieving a particular goal?

If that person is a resident of the district, why not show your appreciation and nominate them for Epping Forest District Council’s accolade, a Citizen of the Year Award?  The Citizen of the Year 2013 and the Young Citizen of the Year 2013 will receive their awards at the Annual Civic Reception in March 2013.

The Young Citizen of the Year Award is presented annually to a young person, aged 11-18, in recognition of an exceptional contribution to the Epping Forest community.

Youth Councillors Jaymey McIvor and Sam Cascarina promoting the Young Citizen of the Year campaign poster

If you know someone who fits the bill and deserves to be recognised, fill in a nomination form and make sure it reaches the Civic Offices by Friday 30 November. 

The forms can be obtained at Council Information Desks at Epping, Loughton or Waltham Abbey and Buckhurst Hill Parish Council Information Centre, or by contacting Pat Seager at the Civic Offices on 01992 564427 (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday only) for the Citizen of the Year or Di Butler on 01992 564365 for the Young Citizen of the year. Alternatively, you can download each of the forms using the links below.

 Download Young Citizen of the Year 2013 nomination form

 Download Citizen of the Year 2013 nomination form

Older people’s day

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

Celebrate “older people’s day” with Epping Forest District Council

You are invited to visit one of our sheltered housing schemes on Monday 1 October 2012.

The UK’s Older People’s Day coincides with the UN International Day for Older Persons. The day is a national celebration of the achievements and contributions that older people make to our society. It is a great way to build new relationships between people of all ages and bring together the local community.

As part of the celebrations, events are being held at nine of the Council’s sheltered housing schemes. You may know somebody who lives in one of our schemes, or maybe you are thinking about sheltered housing for yourself (or someone else). Perhaps you’d just like to celebrate with us. Come and join us, you will be very welcome at one of our events, whatever your reason.

  • Coffee Morning at Barrington Close Centre, Barrington Road, Loughton IG10 2AX from 10am to 12 noon
  • Bingo and Afternoon Tea at Buckhurst Court, Albert Road, Buckhurst Hill IG9 6BD from 2pm to 4pm
  • Bingo and Afternoon Tea at Chapel Road, Epping CM16 5DS from 2pm to 4pm
  • Afternoon Tea at Frank Bretton House, Bansons Way, Ongar CM5 9EY from 2pm to 4pm
  • Tea and Cakes at Jubilee Court, Ninefields, Waltham Abbey EN9 3JB from 3pm to 5pm
  • Tea, Cakes and Tombola at Jessopp Court, Shernbroke Road, Waltham Abbey EN9 3LF from 2pm to 4pm
  • Tea and Cakes at Leonard Davis House, Kiln Road, North Weald CM16 6BS from 2pm to 4.30pm
  • Cream Tea at Parsonage Court, Rectory Lane, Loughton IG10 2BB from 2pm to 4pm
  • Games and Afternoon Tea at Pelly Court, Hemnall Street, Epping CM16 4NA from 2pm to 4pm

There will be a small charge for refreshments, all proceeds go to the residents of the sheltered schemes and will be used to fund communal activities.

We hope that you will able to attend and help celebrate the contribution older people make to our communities.

For further information please contact Epping Forest District Council, Older Peoples Services Manager on 020 8508 8596.

Proposed Fieldes Lock Power Station

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Business, Chigwell, Community, Doing business with the council, Energy efficiency, Epping, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Planning, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Land at Ratty’s Lane, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire

Veolia Environmental Services (UK) is proposing to construct and operate a rail-linked power station at this site and have submitted a Development Consent Order to the Secretary of State via the Planning Inspectorate (application reference number EN010046).

It falls within the definition of a “nationally significant infrastructure project” under Section 52(2) of the Planning Act 2008 and therefore will be determined by the Secretary of State, not the local planning authority. The site is within Broxbourne Borough Council but is close to the western boundary of Epping Forest District Council.

Any comments must be made direct to the Planning Inspectorate by no later than 19 October 2012. Please follow the attached links for details of the application, where the information is available to view and how to make comments.

Read a brief summary of the project

View the detailed application documents at the Planning Inspectorate’s website

Comment on the application at the Planning Inspectorate’s website

Read the guidance notes on the responding to the application

Proposed changes to the need for planning permission for home extensions

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Business, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Epping, Housing, Local business, Loughton, Olympics, Ongar, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

The Government announced its intention to allow larger extensions to be built to houses than presently permitted on Thursday 6 September 2012. The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government advised that local authorities will be consulted on the proposed changes – but to date the extent of the changes, or the date of their implementation, are not known.

Guidance relating to works which may presently be undertaken without the need to seek express planning permission from the Council can be obtained from the council’s website – view the planning permission guidance notes.

Epping Forest District Council can also determine whether or not planning permission is required for an extension to a dwelling following the submission of an application for a ‘Certificate of Lawful Development’ (the relevant application form can be downloaded here).

For enquiries relating to whether or not planning permission is required, please contact the Duty Planner between the hours of 10.30 am and 1 pm by telephoning 01992 564477, or by sending an email to contactdc@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.