Loughton man prosecuted for failing duty of care

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A shop in The Broadway, Loughton had rubbish dumped in it’s trade bin which was traced back to a resident living in Willingale Close.

Investigations by Epping Forest District Council led to the prosecution of Mr Christian Akinrinade. The waste included a number of cardboard boxes and a leather bag which were identified as having originated from Mr Akinrinade’s property in Willingale Close Loughton.

Mr Akinrinade pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court to transferring household waste to an unauthorised person. He told the Council he had given the waste to builders working at a property in his road and had paid them approximately £30 to do so.

He was fined £1153 and ordered to pay the Council’s prosecution costs of £627.82 together with a victim surcharge of £115.

Fly tipping prosecution

“We take fly tipping, and residents’ responsibility to ensure they are disposing of their waste legitimately and responsibly very seriously and will not hesitate to prosecute,” said Cllr Nigel Avey, Portfolio Holder for Environment.

“Our message is simple: Before handing your waste to somebody else, always check, consider and record in order to protect yourself, and reduce fly-tipping by rogue traders. It is a crime not to care.”

Advice on how residents can protect themselves from rogue traders who fly-tip for profit is available on the Council’s Website. Click here for more information Crime Not to Care. A series of short films produced by the Cleaner Essex Group (a campaign group made up from representatives from local authorities across Essex), are also available to view on this web page.

Council 1 November 2018

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Reports to Council on 1 November 2018 included updates on the newly completed Leisure Centre in Waltham Abbey, an Essex-wide fly-tipping campaign, additional Council homes built and an announcement about free weekend parking in Council run car parks in December.

Leisure Centre open ahead of schedule

It’s good news for Waltham Abbey, with the new Leisure Centre set to open ahead of schedule on Saturday 17 November 2018.

The new health and wellbeing hub boasts a six lane 25m pool along with a 15m learner pool with floor that is adjustable between 0m and 1.2m, virtual cycling classes and state of the art equipment.

Leisure partners Places for People are offering memberships with no joining fee until 14 November 2018.

Crime not to Care

The Council has been promoting the Essex-wide fly-tipping campaign, ‘Crime not to Care’.

Designed to educate residents about their duty of care when disposing of their waste, the campaign informs residents that they can be fined and prosecuted if their waste is fly-tipped by rogue traders.

In his report, Councillor Nigel Avey, Environment Portfolio Holder, informed members of the Councils most recent prosecution. The case of Loughton resident, Mr Tjoluskins, was heard by Magistrates on 13 September. He handed his waste to a scammer who fly-tipped in a bin store in Oakley Court in Loughton. The resident was fined £600 and ordered to pay the Councils prosecution costs of £900.

The campaigns message is simple – before handing over your waste to somebody else, always check, consider and record to protect yourself and reduce fly-tipping by rogue traders.

Universal Credit

In his report to members, Councillor Mohindra, Finance Portfolio Holder, presented an update about Universal Credit.

From 5 December, the Job Centre Plus in Loughton will roll out Universal Credit. Meaning that anyone of working age that needs help with their rent and is not already receiving Housing Benefit, will need to apply for Universal Credit instead of Housing Benefit.

Visit www.gov.uk/universal-credit for further information.

Council house-building programme

Councillor Syd Stavrou’s report informed members of the handover of four new Council homes in Coopersale, Epping on Wednesday 10 October. The two new 2 bedroom houses and two 1 bedroom flats will be let to applicants on the Councils housing register. A further seven new Council homes will be ready to handover in early November.

The Council has committed around £58 million for new housing since it restarted its council house building programme in 2014. So far, new homes have been built in Waltham Abbey, North Weald and Epping, with more in the pipeline.

Free parking in December

Councillor Sam Kane announced the Councils plan to relax parking fees in Council owned car parks on weekends throughout December 2018 ‘to help local traders’ and support our high streets this Christmas.

Parking will be free on Saturdays and Sundays throughout December in all of the Council owned car parks.

Nazeing nursery fined for contaminated water

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The owner of a Nazeing nursery has been fined £583 plus £500 costs and a £58 victim surcharge, after Epping Forest District Council found  E. coli and Enterococci in his water supply.

Mr. Derek Fawcett, one of the owners of Eastside Nursery, Nazeing, Essex pleaded guilty on 11th October 2018 at Chelmsford Magistrates Court, to not having complied with a Notice served on him on the 8th November 2017 by Epping Forest District Council for improvement work to be carried out to the private water supply serving the nursery.

Potential dangers

Inspection of the supply confirmed it to be high risk and samples of the water showed that it contained E. coli and Enterococci which posed a potential danger to human health. These bacteria are commonly associated with human or animal bodily waste and the concentrations found were the highest the council has encountered. Residents of the site would be using this water to wash, cook and clean with.

The Notice required the improvements to be completed by 5 March 2018. After the failure of one contractor to complete the work during the initial timescale, an application was made to the Council in February 2018 by Mr Fawcett to allow him extra time to complete the work.

The Council agreed to extend the time for completion of the project until 5 May 2018, however on the 4 May, Mr Fawcett informed the Council that the work had still not been started. On 7 May the owners were informed that prosecution proceedings would be commenced. Subsequently, a different contractor was instructed by Mr Fawcett on 14 May to undertake the tasks. The improvement work continued until the 9 October 2018 when an inspection confirmed it was substantially complete subject to final sampling and analysis of the supply by the Council.

Fined

The Magistrates stated that on consideration there had been some negligence on the part of Mr Fawcett notwithstanding his illness in 2018. He was fined £583 and ordered to pay £500 towards the Council’s prosecution costs and a Victim Surcharge of £58. It is important to note that this offence can be given higher fines and even custodial sentences.

Statutory duty to assess risk

Council Officers will continue to inspect all private water supplies that are judged to be a risk, and take the necessary enforcement action to safeguard human health. These bacteria can cause significant illness and in some cases even death, especially at such high concentrations. It is the Council’s statutory duty to risk assess and restore water quality to these supplies.

Councillor Nigel Avey, Cabinet member responsible for the environment said:  “The Council has a duty to protect the health and wellbeing of our residents.  It is disappointing that we had to take this case to prosecution rather than the work being undertaken during the notice period. There are a large number of private water supplies in the district. I would like to thank the Magistrates Court for supporting the Council. No one wants anyone to become ill through poor water and I hope this case sends out a clear message to all owners of private water supplies on the importance of ensuring they keep those supplies clean, fit and healthy for human consumption.”

#CrimeNotToCare campaign – it’s your responsibility!

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We spend £190,000 on clearing up fly tipping across our district…money that could be spent on other services. But did you realise that it’s not just the fly tippers that are liable to prosecution? We are all personally responsible for our waste and how it is disposed of.

Black sacks left outside the designated areas for refuse collection can constitute fly tipping as much as sofas, fridges, builders’ rubble etc, which we trust to a third party to dispose of.

Duty of care

As residents we have a duty of care to ensure our waste is disposed of responsibly and doesn’t find its way into the hands of rogue traders.

Just last month a Loughton man had to pay £1,500 in fines and costs because the person he asked to dispose of some cardboard fly tipped it. Our enforcement team traced it back to the man and he was prosecuted.

Check list

Here are a few simple checks to make before you enter into an agreement with someone to dispose of your waste:

  • Ask for their waste carrier number and vehicle details and contact the Environment Agency for a free instant waste carrier check
  • Ask for a transfer notice or receipt before your waste is taken away
  • Check where your waste is going. A legitimate waste carrier should not object to you asking these questions.
  • Make a note of who you have given your waste to, their waste carrier details and vehicle details.

You should never leave any waste such as an old washing machine or scrap metal on your drive or in the street for someone to remove. They may not be a registered waste carrier, and could take the bits they need and dump the rest.

You can donate good quality items to your local reuse organisation or charity shop , or give items to someone who could make use of them.

Further information

To find out more watch our Crime Not to Care film and please share the message to ensure your friends and family know how to protect themselves, and help us reduce fly-tipping.

Counting the cost of irresponsible waste disposal

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A Loughton resident incurred fines of more than £1,500 for not checking he was giving his waste to a reputable company.

Mr Vadims Tjoluskins of Hillyfields pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Magistrates Court last month to failing in his household waste duty of care, by giving his waste to somebody else to dispose of without carrying out the necessary checks to ensure that they were authorised by the Environment Agency to carry such waste.

Mr Tjoluskins admitted he handed over some large cardboard boxes which were later found fly tipped amongst a larger pile of waste in Oakley Court, Loughton at a bin store provided for local residents.

Magistrates fined Mr Tjoluskins £600 and ordered him to pay the Council’s prosecution costs of £900, together with a victim surcharge £60 and said that had he not pleaded guilty the fine would have been £900.

Fly tipping prosecution

“We take fly tipping, and residents’ responsibility to ensure they are disposing of their waste legitimately and responsibly very seriously,” said Cllr Nigel Avey, Portfolio Holder for Environment.

“Our message is simple: Before handing your waste to somebody else, always check, consider and record in order to protect yourself, and reduce fly-tipping by rogue traders. It is a crime not to care.”

Further information

Advice on how residents can protect themselves from rogue traders who fly-tip for profit is available on the Council’s Website. Click here for more information Crime Not to Care.

Watch a series of short films produced by the Cleaner Essex Group (a campaign group made up from representatives from local authorities across Essex), are also available to view on this web page.

Don’t fall foul of new licensing laws for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

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New licensing laws for landlords, which further protect tenants in Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) from poor living conditions, come into effect on 1 October from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

HMO Licence
Landlords who let a property to five or more people – from two or more separate households – must be licensed by their local housing authority.

The move gives Epping Forest District Council more powers to crack down on those landlords who are renting out sub-standard and overcrowded homes.

The new rules set minimum size requirements for bedrooms in HMOs to prevent overcrowding, and landlords must adhere to council refuse schemes to reduce problems with rubbish.

If you’re a landlord of an HMO, here’s what to do

If you’re not sure whether the new requirements apply to you

And in time for your licence to be processed before 1 October 2018

What happens if I don’t?

  • Prosecution or a Civil Penalty of up to £30,000 for committing an offence
  • Banning Order – You may be banned from operating as a landlord or agent in the private rented sector
  • Up to 12 months’ rent and/or housing benefit can be claimed back by the tenant and/or the Council
  • Any Section 21 notice requiring a tenant to leave the property will not be valid.

Property standards

In addition to general requirements affecting all rented properties, a licensed HMO will need to meet the Essex HMO Amenity Standards.  These set the amount of bathroom, toilet and kitchen facilities, together with the sleeping and communal living space required, depending on the size of the property.

The property will also need to have adequate fire safety measures in place to protect the occupiers and meet the Management Regulations for cleanliness and maintenance of the property.

“Our Private Sector Housing Team is able to explain the new legislation and offer advice and support to landlords of HMOs,” said Cllr Syd Stavrou Portfolio Holder for Housing..

“Call or email them to arrange an informal discussion or to make an appointment to visit the property so that they can advise on any requirements and possible options.”

More information 

Seeking views on our new enforcement policy

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We are responsible for enforcement in a wide range of areas from planning to licensing.

In order to ensure consistency across our operations, and to continue to meet the standards of the statutory regulatory code, we are looking to update our enforcement policy and now seeking the views of the public.

Consulting

Enforcement can take many forms including inspections, investigating complaints, providing advice, licensing of activities, persons or premises, issuing statutory or fixed penalty notices and taking prosecutions.

A consistent approach

“The decision of when and what enforcement action to take – or not take – can have serious implications and it is important that there is an effective policy in place to ensure a consistent approach,” said Leader of the Council, Cllr Chris Whitbread,

“The updated Enforcement Policy encompasses the 5 principles of good regulation by being transparent, accountable, proportionate, consistent and targeted.”

Cllr Whitbread continued, “In short, the Council aims to treat compliant individuals and businesses with lighter, alternative interventions and other incentives, but for those who commit serious breaches or flout the law it will not hesitate to take all necessary enforcement action.”

Consultation information

We want to get this right, so the views of individuals, businesses and organisations on the proposed new enforcement policy would be greatly appreciated. Please send any comments on the 2018 version of the policy by 29 August 2018.

Comment

Read the policy Corporate enforcement policy 2018

Comments to Robin Ray at rray@eppingforestdc.gov.uk or call 01992 564146.

Post any correspondence to Robin Ray, Epping Forest District Council, Civic Offices, Epping, Essex, CM16 4BZ.

Next step – all submitted comments will be considered and where appropriate the policy amended prior to submission to Cabinet for approval and publication on our website.

Statement – Fire at Burton Road, Loughton

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Updated Information – 13.15pm on 17 August 2018

Essex Fire and Rescue Service have announced that the fire is now out.

We cannot speculate on the cause of the fire at the moment, that will come out following an official investigation.

The photo below shows the building now that the fire is out and demonstrates how remarkably well the structure has stood up to the fire.

Council Leader, Chris Whitbread said: “You can always rebuild bricks and mortar, the important thing is that everyone appears to be safe and the fire is now out.”

Original statement made – 12:00pm 17 August 2018

A development of new flats in Burton Road, Loughton has caught fire and the fire service are in attendance.

This is a development of new council housing being built for Epping Forest District Council. A £10 million design and build mixed tenure residential development of 51 affordable rent units, comprising of 17 homes and 34 apartments.

Councillor Chris Whitbread Leader of Epping Forest District Council is at Burton Road.

He said: “Our first concern is for the safety and welfare of all concerned. It looks like everyone is safe. Essex Fire and Rescue is on the scene and it is under control. These flats are still being built. This is a construction site and there are no tenants living here. However we are obviously concerned about everyone working on the site at the time the fire started.

“The development is being built for us by Mulalley – a large construction company with a long and successful track record of building major projects. It is too early to say what caused the fire but it is clearly large. Essex Fire and Rescue has cordoned the site off.

“Our first priority is to ensure people are safe. Neighbouring residents are being asked to stay in their homes. This is bound to cause some travel disruption and people are being asked to avoid the area if they can.

“The council has several roles: we are the client and this is a serious setback for us and all those people we are building these new homes for. More importantly in the short term we have a supporting role to the emergency services and would be in a position to set up rest centres nearby if required for neighbouring residents. At this stage our staff are on standby if rest centres are needed. We also employ specialist building control officers who will be at the disposal of Essex Fire and Rescue to assess the damage and ensure the buildings are made safe once the fire is out.

“In the longer term we will recover. Bricks and mortar can always be replaced and we will rebuild these much needed homes for local people. For now, our thoughts are focused on the safety of everyone living and working in the area.

Please visit the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service website for reliable advice and up to date information about the incident http://www.essex-fire.gov.uk/incidents/i7458/

 

Man fined for failing to clear nature reserve site

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A man from Waltham Abbey has been prosecuted by Epping Forest District Council for failing to clear waste that was adversely affecting the character and visual attractiveness of land within Roding Valley Meadow Local Nature Reserve.

Prosecution

Click on an image below for slideshow

Former underground bunker site

Mr Raymond Sturgess of Stanford Court in Waltham Abbey was successfully prosecuted in June 2018. He failed to respond to a notice served on him requiring him to remove waste, plastic, card, building materials and household items from the former Royal Observer Corps underground bunker site, which he originally intended to renovate when it was bought in 2015.

Fined

Sturgess pleaded guilty and received a reduced fine of £200, was ordered to pay £200 towards the Council’s prosecution costs together with a statutory victim surcharge of £30.

Ample time to comply

During mitigation Mr Sturgess told the Magistrates that was unable to comply with the notice because he had injured his knee, he claimed that vandals and fly-tippers had gained access to the site and were responsible for the mess.

The Magistrate concluded that Sturgess had ample time to comply with the notice and they did not accept everything he had told them.

Largest remaining water meadow

The bunker site sits within the Roding Valley Meadow Local Nature Reserve. The Wildlife Trust manage the site and describe it as ‘the largest remaining water meadow in Essex’.

It is reputedly famous for it’s beautiful wild flowers, butterflies, invertebrates and birds. It is important that this site is preserved for its resident wildlife and for future generations to enjoy.

Epping Forest District Council wins Local Plan challenge

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The High Court has dismissed the legal challenge to the Epping Forest District Council’s Local Plan Submission Version 2017 paving the way for the Council to submit the Local Plan to the Secretary of State for Independent Examination. The Court rejected all four grounds of challenge brought by property development company CK Properties (Theydon Bois) Ltd, endorsing the lawfulness of the Council decision to approve the Local Plan for 11,400 new homes over the Plan period up to 2033.

Updated 22 August 2018

However the Council cannot currently submit the plan for examination due to an injunction placed by Mrs Justice Lang in the High Court on 21 March 2018 restraining the Council from submitting the Local Plan until final determination of the legal proceedings.  The claimants made an application for permission to appeal to the High Court which was refused on 13 July 2018.  The order made by Mr Justice Supperstone accepted that final determination of the legal proceedings included any application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal.  The claimants have now submitted an application to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal.  We are currently waiting for that application to be determined by the Court of Appeal.  We understand it is being expedited but we do not currently have a timeline for the decision.

EFDC local plan logos

The Council’s Planning Portfolio Holder, Councillor John Philip described the Court’s decision as “good news” and the positive outcome is also seen as vindication of the Council’s approach by its Leader, Councillor Chris Whitbread.

John Philip expressed his gratitude to the Court saying: “The production of the Local Plan is possibly the most difficult thing the Council has ever had to do. The issues involved in planning for growth in the District are very sensitive and, inevitably, emotions often run high, but the Court has endorsed the Council’s approach having scrutinised the decision-making process.”

Chris Whitbread was also pleased. He said: “As Councillors we take a balanced view between the protection of the character of the District we love and the need to provide decent homes for local people. We burnt a great deal of ‘midnight oil’ to understand and balance complex issues while collectively studying and guiding the evolution of the Plan through workshops, meetings and engagement before making some really difficult decisions.”

Councillor Philip continued: “I hope CK Properties will see the sense of the Court’s judgment, and pursue their arguments through the Local Plan Examination process, which has always been the proper place to air their concerns, and spare Council Tax payers any additional expense by resorting to the legal appeal process.”