Chairman’s quiz reaches new heights

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17 teams raised a record £1,032 for local life-saving charity the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance at the Chairman`s annual charity quiz on Friday 24 February 2017.

Chairman charity quiz 2017

 

Click to enlarge photo and click on photo to see more photos

Fun filled evening

Chairman Jeane Lea hosted the quiz at Waltham Abbey Town Hall. Teams came dressed as cowboys, indians, angels and Jeane’s Jeanies. A team made up of councillors from Waltham Abbey won the best dressed team award dressed as cowboys and indians.

`Scrambled Egg Heads’ were the quiz winners. The team from Buckhurst Hill was led by Councillor Steven Neville. This was the second win on a row for the Scrambled Egg Heads.

Digging deep for the Air Ambulance

Chairman Jeane Lea said: “Wow what an evening! Everyone who took part really had to dig deep for some of the answers but a good time was certainly had by all.”

“I’m delighted with the amount raised for my charity. So thank you to everyone who took part.

Cabinet 2 February 2017

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The budget, Careline, Epping Forest District Council’s 24 hour emergency monitoring service for older people and investment in the Council’s housing stock were among items discussed at Cabinet 2 February 2017.

Council Tax freeze recommended

Cabinet recommended another nil-percent increase on Epping Forest District Council’s share of the Council Tax when the budget goes to Full Council on 21 February.

Leader of Council Councillor Chris Whitbread complimented Finance Portfolio Holder Councillor Gagan Mohindra and his staff on the freeze for the seventh successive year.

Councillor Whitbread also updated Cabinet on the progress of the Council’s transformation programme which continues to look at more efficient ways of working and using the Civic Offices to its full potential.

Careline monitoring

Councillors have taken steps to protect the future provision of Carline, the Council’s 24 hour emergency monitoring service for elderly and vulnerable people living within the district.

Cabinet received a report presented by Communities Select Committee Chairman Councillor Yolanda Knight setting out proposals for the long term enhancement and protection of the service in partnership with an external provider, instead of providing the monitoring service by the Council itself.

Councillor Knight reassured councillors that the Careline service itself will still be provided by the Council, it was only the monitoring service that would be provided by a new provider, on behalf of the Council.

She said that the Council’s own Monitoring Control Centre has provided an excellent and reliable service since June 1984 and has always meet every requirement set by the TSA (Telecare Service Association). However, as the ageing population of the district continues to grow, demands upon Careline have increased leading to difficulty maintaining staff cover to the levels expected by the Council and now required by the TSA.

In line with the British Standard, moving the Careline monitoring services to another provider will increase the number of operators monitoring the network. It will also:

  • Ensure no gaps in service
  • Enhance capacity
  • Allow other Careline services to be offered
  • Enable more alarms to be fitted across the district
  • Bring safety, security and peace of mind to more residents across the district
  • Reduce the overall cost of the Careline Service

Housing Portfolio Holder Councillor Syd Stavrou, and Councillors Anne Grigg and Will Breare-Hall all spoke in support of the proposal, emphasising the importance of arranging a smooth transfer. They also complimented the service on the high standard that has been provided over the years, while looking forward to the continued expansion of its vital work under new arrangements.

£3.6m investment in repairs to empty Council Homes

Cabinet approved the letting of two major housing maintenance contracts worth £3.6 million over three years.

As existing tenants transfer into vacant Council properties, there is a need to repair, and the opportunity to improve and upgrade the properties, before they are re-let to new tenants.

Housing Portfolio Holder Councillor Syd Stavrou reported that following inviting tenders from six companies, Cabinet was being asked to appoint Graceland’s CMS LTD and Mears PLC. Cabinet approved the recommendations and were pleased to appoint both contactors as both have previously carried out work to empty properties for the Council to a high standard.

Meet your local police officers

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Essex Police are holding a local community meeting in Buckhurst Hill on Wednesday 22 March 2017.

Local Community Meeting Buckhurst Hill 22-3-17

Find out more about what’s going on in your local area and meet with your local policing team. This is an open meeting and all members of the public are welcome.

Date

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Time

6pm to 7pm

Venue

Roding Valley Hall, Station Way, Buckhurst Hill, IG9 6LN

Nu Bar license temporarily suspended

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Epping, Licensing, Local business, Loughton, Media, Ongar, Out and about, Residents, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your environment

The Nu Bar in Loughton has had its licence suspended pending a full hearing at Licensing Committee on 7 March 2017.

Licensing notice

Alleged breach of licence

An expedited review was brought by Essex Police after an incident took place in the bar in the early hours of the morning on 5 February 2017, alongside an alleged breach of licence conditions.

Temporarily suspended

A council spokesperson said: ”The decision was taken by Licensing Sub-Committee Councillors to temporarily suspend the licence, which means any licensable activities are not permitted to take place in the interim period between now and the full Licensing Committee hearing unless an interim hearing is applied for by the licence holder.”

Final decision on 7 March

They continued: “A final decision will be reached at this meeting, which is scheduled for 7 March 2017. At the hearing Councillors will assess the evidence brought by Essex Police and make the decision to either amend the licence or it’s conditions, allow it to remain in place or revoke the licence completely.”

The applicant, Essex Police Chief Inspector Lewis Basford said: ”Essex Police is continuing to work around the issue of public safety and crime and disorder in the night-time economy.”

New phone system rings in changes

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New phone connections saving Epping Forest District Council and its tax payers £12,000 a year are set to go live this weekend (17 February to 20 February).

Cllr Lion promoting EFDC's new phone connections

Out of hour’s services

Subject to go ahead, temporary emergency numbers will be used during the switch.

The council has planned the switch at the quietest time of the week to minimise service disruption.

During the switch the two emergency out of hours contact numbers (01992 564000 and 01992 564199 for housing) will temporarily change while the council works with BT.

To contact EFDC out of hours from 5pm on Friday 17 February to 9am on Monday 20 February please call:

  • Housing Repairs Emergency 0203 589 3012

  • Any other Emergency   0203 589 3013

Protecting services

Moving phone connections from an analogue to a digitally based internet system will:

  • Make an annual saving of £12,000
  • Makes it easier to move phone answering to other locations
  • Improve phone resilience
  • Protect vital services

There will be no difference in how residents contact the council via phone as all phone numbers will remain the same and there will be no increase any call charges.

Small changes making a big difference

Technology and Support Services Portfolio Holder Councillor Alan Lion said: “We are planning another 0% increase in Council Tax this year. This is the latest in a series of investments. From double glazing to LED lighting and solar panels it all adds up. Relatively small savings like our new connections to our phone system can play a large part in keeping Council Tax down at the end of the year.”

Council Tax frozen for 7th year

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Good financial planning over many years is being credited with keeping Epping Forest District Council’s share of the Council Tax down for a record 7th year.

Chris Whitbread and Gagan Mohindra at Oakwood Hill Depot

Keeping Council Tax frozen

The average payment of a Band D property to the District Council is set to remain at £148.77 until at least April 2018. Rents for Council House tenants are also set to come down by 1% in line with national guidelines.

The District has not increased its share of Council Tax since 2010.

Protecting services

Finance Portfolio Holder Gagan Mohindra presented the 2017/18 budget to Cabinet on Thursday 2 February. Confirmation of the nil-increase is expected to follow at Full Council on 21 February 2017.

Epping Forest District Council has successfully managed to maintain low taxes and the protection of frontline services against a background of long term reductions in central government funding and public sector service cuts elsewhere.

Councillor Mohindra said: ”This hasn’t been achieved overnight. Even before the financial crisis of 2008, Epping Forest District Council was setting out our stall as an efficient low-tax council. As central government funding has reduced year on year, we set our sights on becoming financially independent.”

Remaining as efficient as possible

The Council has managed the process through a combination of reduced costs and increased income.

Councillor Mohindra said: ”Over the years we have cut our costs dramatically. Our Revenue budget not many years ago was over £18million. That has been reduced to a little over £13million for next year.”

”We have adapted and moved with the times. We have changed the way we work, making better use of technology wherever possible, changing our structures and streamlining our services to ensure we remain as lean and efficient as possible. That process is ongoing. We are now embarking on a more intensive transformation which may see much more use of flexible and home working, reductions in office space and more productivity.”

Working in partnership

He continued: ”We have also embraced private sector partnerships wherever we believed it could deliver better services. Next month Places for People takes on the management of our Sports and Leisure Centres. We already had a good track record with our previous provider. This new contract will see not only reductions in the cost to the council but will also potentially see the development of a brand new leisure centre in Waltham Abbey and improvements to other facilities. This is against a backdrop of other councils cutting back and closing down their leisure offering.”

”Our residents also play a huge role in our success. Recent fluctuations in recycling have seen the cost of our waste collection service increase, but overall, with the help of our residents diverting domestic waste from landfill to recycling, our new contract is saving many thousands of pounds every year. ”

Members of the Cabinet and senior officers inspected progress on Epping Forest Shopping Park just before Christmas. Yearly income from the park could be as much as £2.7 million and will be used to support local public services.

”And while our costs are coming down, we are increasing our income. Epping Forest District Council is one of the biggest land owners in our area. Our portfolio of shops, industrial estates, commercial units, car parks and North Weald Airfield brings in a significant rental income. This money is ploughed back into providing local services. That income is set to be boosted by as much as £2.7million per annum when Epping Forest Shopping Park opens later this year.”

”These major contracts, developments and investments are years in the planning and delivery but they are paying tremendous dividends.”

Bucking the trend

Councillor Chris Whitbread, Leader of Epping Forest District Council congratulated Cllr Gagan Mohindra and thanked the finance team for their hard work on another strong budget.

He said: ”The hallmark of a good council is to be low tax whilst protecting front line services. Councillor Gagan Mohindra and his team have done a marvellous job in bringing forward this budget. Times are tough. We are seeing substantial increases in Council Tax everywhere else. But we have been able to buck the trend at Epping Forest District Council.”

”The foundations of our financial strength can be found in years of careful management and investment. It has been a job well done but we must continue to look forward. Later this year I hope to see new changes to the management of our Pay and Display Car Parks which will cut costs without increasing charges. Longer term we are also looking at better use of our offices in Epping.”

”We have excellent management and staff committed to getting the best value out of every penny. It is by far the best way to balance the books but we never forget our purpose is to provide the best possible service at the least possible cost to our local residents.”

Step up your Spring Clean

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With Spring on its way many of us will be thinking about spring cleaning our house and getting rid of unwanted items.

Step Up your Spring Clean

You don’t have to throw it away

‘You don’t have to throw it away’ says Environment Portfolio Holder Councillor Will Breare-Hall, ‘one person’s junk may be another person’s treasure. Why not try these ideas to avoid your unwanted belongings going to waste.’

Give it away

Ask your family and friends if they can make use of it.

Swap it

Freegle and Freecycle are great for swapping items with people who will want to collect your unwanted stuff.

Donate it

Most charity shops accept clothing and bric-a-brac type items. Reuse organisations such as Epping Forest ReUse will reuse good quality furniture and appliances.

Sell it

Websites like ebay and gumtree make it easy for you to sell your unwanted items.

Save a trip to a recycling centre

Councillor Will Breare-Hall ended with: ‘Whether you are decluttering or simply making room for this year’s Christmas presents, there are lots of things you can do with your old stuff to save you a trip to a recycling centre. Seize the opportunity to step up your Spring Clean!’

Community Transport saves Nazeing bus service

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A vital bus route for Nazeing has been saved. Councillor Jeane Lea, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council went to see the C392 for herself after Epping Forest Community Transport stepped in to save the Nazeing-Hoddesdon service.

The 392 Little White Bus is connecting communities across Essex and Hertfordshire

Community Transport

Since January the C392 Little White Bus runs daily between Tylers Cross, Nazeing and Hoddesdon Rye Park via Broxbourne between about 7am and 7pm replacing an axed earlier commercial service.      

Community Transport trustee and District Councillor for Nazeing Richard Bassett was instrumental in organising the new service. He joined Councillor Lea and other commuters at Nazeing Crossroads to meet the 10.10 bus driven by volunteer Amy Carter.

Providing an essential service

Councillor Bassett said: ”We are seeing more and more the value of community transport in our district and in this case we would have seen no bus services in a village and surrounding area of 5000 people until Community Transport saved the day by putting together this service in record time.”

Councillor Bassett worked with Essex Passenger Transport and Nazeing and Roydon Parish Councils after both the 392 and 505 bus services were withdrawn. In addition to the C392, he helped to get the 86 service run by EOS diverted via Bumbles Green and St Leonards before resuming its route from Harlow down the Crooked Mile towards Waltham Abbey.

Cllr Bassett added that ”Thanks to some very speedy actions the C392 is running under the section 22 license which means all concessions are valid on the service.

Reducing fairs

We have reduced the single fare to £3 and the return to £5 with children getting a reduced fare of £2. I have received some early comments that people are very pleased with the service and the friendly drivers and the little white community bus.”

He also added ”I am very concerned that many rural services are finding they are having bus services reduced or cancelled. Community Transport is stepping up to provide services to dependant villages to prevent social exclusion and help with hospital and other appointments which otherwise people would struggle to attend.”

Local people working together

Councillor Lea was delighted to meet Councillor Bassett, the driver Amy Carter and fellow travellers. She said: ”I want to congratulate everyone involved in the project. Rural bus services are under pressure everywhere but the C392 shows just what can be done when local people organise and act together.”

More information

For Community Transport Timetables please visit:

For more information about Community Transport or to volunteer in the office or as a driver please call:

  • Community transport office on 01992 579556

Anti-litter campaign cleans up for third year

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An anti-litter campaign across Essex, Kent and Suffolk #BinIt has resulted in a reduction of litter for the third year in a row, an amazing drop in litter of 43%.

Don't toss it - #BINIT

Littering is a criminal offence

The Love Essex campaign, run by the Cleaner Essex Group, is made up of local authorities and local business partners throughout Essex.

This year’s Don’t toss it – #BinIt campaign aims to remind people that:

  • Littering is a criminal offence
  • It comes with a fixed penalty notice from £75
  • And a maximum fine on conviction in court of £2,500

Spreading the message

The ‘Don’t toss it – #BinIt’ message has appeared throughout Essex on

  • Refuse vehicles
  • Bus shelters
  • Petrol pumps
  • 86 McDonald’s restaurants
  • 15 KFC restaurants
  • Spread to 2.4 million social media accounts

This has so far seen an average drop in litter of 43% and helped to reduce branded fast food litter by 63 per cent, in the areas monitored, and independently verified by Keep Britain Tidy.

Tackling litter

Councillor Will Breare-Hall, Environment Portfolio Holder said: “Litter is an issue that costs around £17 million across Essex. Not only does this take resources away from other much needed council services it also damages our environment.”

“It is important for people to remember that littering is a criminal offence that comes with a maximum fine of up to £2,500.”

“As a community we need to come together and tackle this important issue by behaving responsibly and reporting incidents so we can investigate further and take action.”

Working together

Cherry Lewis-Taylor, McDonald’s franchisee added: “I believe that working together and campaigning against littering at our restaurant locations helps remind people to dispose of their litter responsibly.”

“Between McDonald’s and KFC’s participating restaurants and drive-thru’s, we have reached millions of customers. Adding this to the number of people who saw the other campaign material, including social media, it is likely that the Don’t toss it … #Binit message will have been seen at least 6 million times.”

Do the right thing

Huw James, Director of Kefco, the KFC Franchisee in Essex commented: “I am proud that we at KFC can work with councils and other business partners to actively promote that people should do the right thing and bin their litter. As a business, we are committed to looking at ways we can help reduce the amount of litter that ends up on our streets.”

Report it

If there are large amounts of litter in your street or fly-tipped rubbish near where you live, let us know

Please give as much detail as possible so we can investigate what further action can be taken.

Staying well this winter

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Stay well this winter events took place across the district, advising residents on how to prepare for colder months.

Preparing for cold weather

Epping Forest District Council and NHS West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group bought together professionals from across West Essex aiming to advise the elderly on how to prepare for winter, promoting available services and how to practising good self-care.

Helpful advice

The roadshows speakers gave information on selecting the correct services. Including how to prepare you in case of an emergency, tips on keeping in good health and how to manage health conditions.

Speakers included:

Great range of services

Councillor Helen Kane Leisure and Community Portfolio Holder said: “Events like this showcase emphasise the range of services we have available in West Essex, and prove that there is help available if needed.”

“The stay well this winter events also highlight the importance of good self-care and how vital is to be prepared in staying well and making sure you’re ready for any kind of emergency you may face, not only in winter but all year round.”

“It’s great to see services across West Essex coming together and working in partnership, looking out for our community’s safety and wellbeing.”

More information

For more information on how to stay well please visit