Council house-building makes a comeback

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Councillors, Housing, Leader, Local business, Media, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

A ground breaking ceremony in Waltham Abbey marked the start of Epping Forest District Council’s house-building programme.

The new developments in the first phase of the programme will provide a mixture of accommodation on ‘brownfield’ garage sites and a former Red Cross Hall site in Waltham Abbey. This phase is expected to cost around £4 million, mainly raised by the council.
Ground breaking ceremony

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The ceremony was held on Friday 13 November at Harveyfields in Waltham Abbey, 1 of 4 sites. The other 3 are in nearby Roundhills and Fairways.

In total the sites will provide

  • 4 1-bedroom flats
  • 5 2-bedroom flats
  • 6 2-bedroom houses
  • 6 3-bedroom houses
  • 2 1-bedroom duplex houses

Local MP Eleanor Laing attended, and the Chairman and Leader of the Council, along with ward councillors and the council’s partner organisations working on the project.

Affordable rents

East Thames – a registered housing provider and social regeneration charity – is development agent for the council’s house-building programme. They are working with Pellings LLP, a firm of construction consultants, and our newly appointed contractor Broadway Construction Ltd.

The council has not built any new housing of its own for around 30 years. So expertise was needed from organisations with recent experience of new affordable housing development. East Thames was chosen because they have a track record in developing homes in the small areas available on housing estates, such as difficult-to-let garage sites.

All the new properties will be let to families on the council’s housing register at ‘affordable rents’. These are different to the social rents that existing council tenants pay, and compare to about half of the rent that a similar property would cost at the full market rate. Residents who rented the garages previously have all been offered alternative arrangements.

Second phase of house-building programme

Plans are already in place for the second phase of the council’s house-building programme. A grant of £0.5 million from the Homes and Communities Agency’s ‘Affordable Homes Programme’ will subsidise the development costs of 40 new affordable homes, based on £12,500 per home. The council will provide the remaining funding for this phase.

This grant is conditional on the council being able to achieve ‘Investment Partner Status’, and being able to deliver the new affordable homes within the timescale of the bid programme.

The second phase of the programme will be concentrated on council-owned land at Burton Road in Loughton. It is expected to provide a total of 52 new affordable rented homes and a detailed planning application has been made. In all, the council has 65 sites across the district on which it hopes to be able to deliver around 30 new affordable homes, per annum, over the next 10 years.

 

Question Time at the Youth Conference

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Consultation, Councillors, Democracy, Epping, Leader, Loughton, Media, Ongar, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Stress, bullying and drugs were top of the agenda when young people met in Epping for the Epping Forest District Youth Council Conference.

The 11 to 17 year olds quizzed some of the most influential people in the district in a Question Time style debate.

Watch the Question Time debate

On the panel

  • Jacqui Foile – Chief Officer Voluntary Action Epping Forest
  • Gareth Clement – Chief Executive Alcohol and Drugs Advisory Service
  • Helen Roberts – Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
  • Michael O’Brien – Head of Commissioning Education and Lifelong Learning Essex County Council
  • Councillor Helen Kane – Cabinet Member for Leisure and Community Services Epping Forest District Council
  • Councillor Chris Whitbread – Leader of Epping Forest District Council
  • Council Chris Seward – Chair of the Secondary Schools Group and Head Teacher Davenant Foundation School
  • Lindsay Whitehouse – Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex
  • Donna Martin – Drugs and Alcohol Partnership Trainer EYPDAS The Children’s Society
  • Inspector Andy Fusher – Essex Police

Watch short videos of the youth conference panel

Auditors give council clean bill of health

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Leader, Residents, Your community, Your council

The latest meeting of Epping Forest District Council took place on 30 September 2014.

New Councillors

Two new councillors were welcomed to the first meeting of Epping Forest District Council since the By-Elections at Broadly Common, Epping Upland and Nazeing and Epping Henmnall. Councillor Tony Boyce, Chairman of Council extended greetings to Councillor Robert Glozier and Councillor Kim Adams following their election.

Councillor Boyce included news on the annual Pétanque challenge between Epping Forest District and Epping Town Council – won following a ‘gritty’ performance by District Councillors Anne Grigg and Dave Stallan.

On a more serious note Councillor Boyce reminded councillors of the recent commemorations marking the outbreak of World War One. Among his other activities was a visit to the Gifford Gardens in Harlow – a marvellous tourist attraction neighbouring the district. Councillor Boyce also mentioned the North Weald Community Day at the Council’s own Battle of Britain airfield.

Councillor Boyce described his gratitude for the invitation to a ‘wonderful wonderful’ ceremony at Waltham Abbey Holy Cross weekend, and the London Costermingers event at the Guildhall. Flowers are to be sent to Greta O’Donnell of Buckhurst Hill  who celebrates her 100th birthday next week.

Economic Development

Councillor Chris Whitbread, Leader of Council reported on recent meetings with the Leader of Braintree District Council and regional forums to promote economic development across Essex. Partnership working included meetings with Eleanor Laing MP and participation in the Local Strategic Partnership. Councillor Whitbread was delighted to report the confirmation of the successful application for a new school for Ongar.

Councillor Helen Kane brought Council up to date with news of developments at the Royal Gunpowder Mills in Waltham Abbey. Waiting until the end of the meeting, Councillor Kane spoke in both her capacity as Leisure Portfolio Holder and member of the Board of Trustees.

Crime and Safety

Recent issues of crime and public safety were raised at Full Council. Responding to questions by Councillors Stephen Murray and Janet Whitehouse, Councillor Chris Whitbread empathised as a father of two children growing up in the district and as a fellow member of the community. Councillor Gary Waller noted the support for the police investigations by the Council in the form of CCTV images.

Motions and debates

Councillor Lesley Wagland reminded councillors of her previous work to persuade government ministers of the desirability for anyone submitting a planning application to declare that the information they were submitting is true. In so doing, should the council subsequently find that it had been misled, it’s hand would be significantly strengthened. Councillor Wagland received assurances from Governance and Development Management portfolio holder John Philip that he well remembered the work to change the planning rules and undertook to promote awareness of the new conditions by the Council with anyone thinking of submitting a planning application.

Councillors put political differences aside to vote unnanimously in support of a motion regretting the closure of Epping Forest Home-Start. The Council resolved to thank Home-Start and it’s many volunteers for its 24 years of outstanding service to over 1,000 young families in the Epping Forest area. Councillors also entered into a passionate debate before voting against a motion by Councillor Steven Neville on Business Rates.

Annual Statement of Accounts

The Council’s auditors have given the Annual Statement of Accounts for 2013/14 the green light. Councillor Anthony Watts, chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee described the outcome as a clean bill of health before recommending the report for the approval of the Council. Finance Portfolio Holder Syd Stavrou thanked Councillor Watts and the Council’s Director of Resources, Bob Palmer for another successful financial year.

Councillors approved further items including additional resources for economic development, the work of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the district-wide review of polling districts and polling places.

Council commitment to low-tax at O&S

Written on . Posted in Community, Consultation, Council tax, Councillors, Elections, Leader, Local plan / planning our future, Meetings, Our performance, Parking, Performance, Planning, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

Epping Forest District Youth councillors looked on as members of Epping Forest District Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee quizzed Cabinet portfolio holders on Tuesday (16 September).

Members of the Youth Council who were welcomed to the meeting by committee chairman Councillor Richard Morgan, represent young people across the district. They range in age from 13 to 17 and are drawn from local schools, colleges and the local community.

Items on the agenda included progress on Epping Forest District Council’s corporate plan objectives, the forward plan of the Cabinet, and reviews of the recent local election procedures and polling stations. Councillors were reminded of the Council’s responsibility for running the local General Election counts next May and the need to identify a count centre large enough. Councillors highlighted the extremely smooth conduct of recent elections and paid tribute to staff including the recently retired Returning Officer Ian Willett.

The electoral registration process has changed. Councillor Brian Surtees asked if the introduction of Individual Elector Registration might cause difficulties. Assistant Director Simon Hill noted that a great deal of advanced preparation by the elections team had eased the process. However, Mr Hill acknowledged that a significant level of ongoing work would be necessary to maintain the highest voter registration levels. An amendment to the polling station review to combine voting for all Waltham Abbey North East residents at the Community Centre in Saxon Way will go with the report for final determination by Full Council.

Councillors also responded to an invitation by the Mayor of London to comment on infrastructure growth. They supported the prioritisation of transport schemes on the West Anglia and Central Line as a means of encouraging job growth, delivering commuters and in support of the London-Cambridge-Stansted Corridor. Emphasis was placed on the need for greater infrastructure in the form of railway station car parks.

District Councillors raised issues around Central Line capacity, and bus services. They supported Mayor Boris Johnson’s approach to keeping London growth within current boundaries and hoped that Essex County Council might also support this objective.

Planning Portfolio Holder Councillor Richard Bassett assured members of Overview and Scrutiny following a request by Councillor Brian Surtees for continuing information to the public on Local Plan progress. Council Leader Chris Whitbread followed up by encouraging all Councillors to attend forthcoming Local Plan events and to share information with their residents.

Responding to comments by Councillor John Knapman, Councillor Chris Whitbread agreed that the Council’s drive to keep Council Tax down could be more prominently identified within the Council’s Key Objectives. Epping Forest District Council has not increased its Council Tax precept to residents for 4 years and strives to be one of the lowest in Essex.

Friends remembered at Council meeting

Written on . Posted in Building control, Chairman, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Elections, Housing, Leader, Local plan / planning our future, Media, Meetings, Planning, Private housing, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council

The latest meeting of Epping Forest District Council began in sombre terms as councillors paid tribute to former councillors, Penny Smith, Ken Avey and Joan Davis who all recently passed away.

Tributes

Council Chairman, Councillor Tony Boyce invited Councillor Stephen Murray to offer his reflections about Joan. He described her as the Good Samaritan in action and the first non-conservative chairman of the Council. He recalled the aplomb with which she rose to the challenge of the chairmanship. Coming from a London political family, Stephen Murray said it was our good fortune that she chose to raise her own family and make her life in our district. In conversations with local people, Councillor Murray reported how the word ‘passionate’ so often described Joan in their reminiscences.

Councillor Chris Whitbread, Leader of the Council echoed the words of tribute by Councillor Murray. He then went on to speak in moving terms of sitting Councillors Penny Smith and Ken Avey. Recalling, some of his most recent conversations with Ken, he brought a smile to the face of fellow councillors as he described Ken’s campaign for parking. Councillor Whitbread said that Epping Forest was a better place for Joan, Penny and Ken.

Councillor Penny Smith represented the neighbouring ward to Councillor Mary Sartin. Councillor Sartin described Penny as her mentor and friend. Councillor Ken Angold-Stephens speaking as a fellow resident of Loughton, recalled with warmth the dedication with which Joan worked on behalf of the community of Debden. He felt her passing represented the end of an era.

Councillor Antony Watts brought another smile to a subdued council chamber by recalling the mischievous way in which he would ‘press Joan’s buttons’ with his references to her beloved ‘Debden – or Loughton’, and their common interest in Queens Park Rangers.

Further smiles were to be seen as Councillor Will Breare-Hall reminisced about his early experiences of Ken Avey. Councillors Jon Whitehouse, Maggie McEwen, Peter Gode and Gary Waller added to the tributes before Council Chief Executive Glen Chipp offered his condolences and reminiscences on behalf of the council’s staff.

Councillor Boyce thanked everyone for the heartfelt tributes which had united councillors across the political groups of the chamber.

Council meeting Monday 28 July 2014

Questions to members

Questions to members of the cabinet included the issues of new sixth forms for the district, highways, the recent flash flooding, leisure, business rates, housing and the ongoing involvement of Parish and Town Councils in the preparation of the Local Plan.

Individual Electoral Registration (IER)

Major changes to the way in which residents register to vote are progressing well. Governance Portfolio Holder Councillor John Philip provided an update on Individual Elector Registration. He was very pleased to announce that the process of registering voters was going extremely well. 96 percent of residents are due to receive confirmation letters after successful ‘data matching’. Less than 4,000 matches will require further investigation, an extremely good success rate at this stage in the new process.

The General Election in 2015 is expected to be the first major test of the new registration process.

St John’s Road, Epping

Council agreed a budget of £35,000 to meet the cost of legal fees associated with the ongoing St John’s Road negotiations.

The freehold of the area is currently divided between Essex County Council (the former Epping Junior School – 2.59 acres), Epping Forest District Council (the Housing Depot – 0.59 acres) and Epping Town Council (Epping Hall – 0.54 acres). The councils agreed a joint Development Brief to co-ordinate development and ensure the maximum economic and community benefit for Epping.

Following twelve bids from residential developers, 2 bids from Care Home operators, and three mixed use bids the councils agreed to an exclusive fixed negotiating period of 4 weeks with Frontier Estates.

The Frontier Estate proposal is for a food store of approximately 12,900 square feet, a public car park with an estimated 173 spaces, a small cinema, restaurants, ancillary commercial uses and residential development. Part of the Centrepoint building would be refurbished at the developer’s cost and the freehold granted to Epping Town Council. The main access to the food store would be from Epping High Street, whilst there would be access for servicing from St John’s Road.

Straw bale award

Straw Bale award
The pioneering partnership that used straw bales as the main construction material in new affordable houses at High Ongar received another award at Full Council. Kevin Hartnett and Ulrike Maccariello of Hastoe housing association received the Local Authority Building Control East Anglia Building Excellence Award from Cabinet Portfolio Holders John Philip, David Stallan with Stephanie Newton of the Council’s Building Control section.

The High Ongar development now goes through to the national finals to be announced in November.

 

New faces join Cabinet

Written on . Posted in Councillors, Democracy, Leader, Media, Meetings, Your council

There was a fresh look to the Cabinet of Epping Forest District Council on 23 June.

Taking their seats for the first meeting since the local elections in May, Council Leader Chris Whitbread welcomed Councillors John Philip, Helen Kane and Alan Lion to the team.

New Cabinet

The new 10 person Cabinet is

  1. Councillor Chris Whitbread – Leader of Council
  2. Councillor Anne Grigg – Asset Management and Economic Development
  3. Councillor Will Breare-Hall – Environment
  4. Councillor Syd Stavrou – Finance (and Deputy Leader)
  5. Councillor John Philip – Governance and Development Management
  6. Councillor David Stallan – Housing
  7. Councillor Helen Kane – Leisure and Community Services
  8. Councillor Gary Waller – Safer, Greener and Transport
  9. Councillor Richard Bassett – Planning Policy
  10. Councillor Alan Lion – Technonolgy and Support Services

Council house building

Cabinet began in very upbeat terms with a progress report on the new council house building programme by Councillor David Stallan. Phase 1 of a 10 year programme will see 23 new homes developed for rent at 4 sites in Waltham Abbey. The works centring on Roundhills and Harveyfields are expected to start in September with completion in 14 months.

Phase 2 will involve a planning application for a 56 home scheme at Burton Road off Debden Broadway. If the planning application is approved, Councillor Stallan hopes works will start on the £9 million scheme around March 2015. Recalling his initial appointment as Housing Portfolio Holder in 2006, councillor Stallan said that he was particularly pleased to note the receipt of planning approval for the redevelopment of bedsits into self-contained 1 bedroom flats at Marden Close and Faversham Hall in Chigwell Row, with a start on site in July.

The report was welcomed by Councillor Whitbread. He was especially pleased that after a break of 30 years, Epping Forest District Council is building its own council housing again. He congratulated Councillor Stallan on progress which is hoped to deliver over 300 new affordable homes over the next 10 years.

Green Belt review

Achieving the right balance between future housing need and the protection of the environment remains at the top of the agenda. Councillor Richard Bassett, Planning Policy Portfolio Holder updated colleagues on the forthcoming Green Belt Review. Epping Forest District Council continues to work on the production of the new Local Plan. Feedback from the Government-appointed inspectorate tasked with examining all council local plans suggest a review of the Green Belt is an essential requirement. Councillors welcomed Councillor Bassetts description of the proposed methodology including close consultation with town and parish councils.

Baldwins Hill conservation area

Baldwins Hill is one of a number of areas of special architectural heritage in the District. Cabinet approved a report by Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder Gary Waller to adopt and publish the new Character Appraisal and Management Plan for the Baldwins Hill Conservation Area in Loughton. Councillor Waller reported that these appraisals protect conservation areas, helping to ensure future changes to existing properties or new developments are in keeping with the historic character of an area.

Councillors welcomed news of further conservation area reviews across the district.

 

Councillor Penny Smith dies

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Councillors, Democracy, Epping, Leader, Media, Your area, Your council

Councillor Penny SmithIt is with deep regret that we have learned Councillor Penny Smith has passed away.

Councillor Penny Smith was ward councillor for Broadley Common, Epping Upland and Nazeing.

Penny lost her battle against a serious illness at the young age of 55. Councillors and members of staff at Epping Forest District Council have been deeply shocked and saddened by this news.

We would like to offer our most sincere condolences to Councillor Smith’s family and friends.

Tributes have already started to come in for Councillor Smith who was a former Chairman of Council and member of the Cabinet.

A dear friend

Chairman of the Council, Councillor Tony Boyce said: “We have not only lost a great councillor this morning, but a dear friend has passed away. Penny Smith was a great asset to the council, she listened and campaigned for her constituency for many years, she believed she could enhance our district into a better place to live. My thoughts are now with her family.”

Tremendous councillor

Leader of Council, Councillor Chris Whitbread said: “We are very saddened to hear the news of the passing of Councillor Penny Smith. Penny has been a tremendous councillor, representing her constituency with commitment and compassion for over 15 years.”

One of our very best councillors

Councillor John Knapman said: “Penny has held almost every important office within the council and was one of our very best councillors. As Chairman of Council she found her true niche and was a credit to us in everything she did. Councillors are both shocked and saddened at the news of her death.”

 

Get ready for Le Tour

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Community, Epping, Leader, Local business, Loughton, North Weald Airfield, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Tour de France, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Your community

The Tour de France comes to Epping Forest on Monday 7 July. Residents and business people can find out more about Stage 3 of the Tour de France at Epping Forest District Council. A team of officers at the Civic Offices in Epping High Street will be available between 6.30pm and 8.30pm on Thursday 12 June to answer questions about the route and the management of the race.

Tour de France Essex Logo

The Tour de France is the world’s third largest sporting event. It is customary to start the race outside France and the Grand Depart returns to the UK this year for the first time since 2007. Stage 1 and 2 will cover large areas of Yorkshire before the Tour heads south for the start of Stage 3 in Cambridge.

The race will be preceded by a Caravane Publicitaire, a carnival of media and sponsors vehicles full of colour and noise. Travelling through Saffron Walden and Finchingfield before skirting Chelmsford and Roxwell, the Caravane is expected to enter Epping Forest District near Willingale at about 12.25pm. The race itself is expected about 2 hours later.

Cycling is now one of the biggest sports in the UK. Many thousands of enthusiasts are expected to join residents and visitors lining the roads of the District to cheer the riders on. The Tour is completely free to view.

Villages and towns on the route are planning different ways to welcome the Tour. In France, the Tour is turned into a festival over several days. Epping Town Show takes place on Sunday 6 July and the Fun Fair is staying overnight to extend the celebrations into Monday. North Weald is expecting day-trippers from Ongar to arrive via steam train on the heritage Epping and Ongar Railway while visitors by car will be able to park at North Weald Airfield. Special celebrations are being planned in smaller villages on the route including Moreton (including extra temporary parking) and Fyfield. At Willingale Cricket Club, the organisers of temporary parking are also laying on hot food and drink at the Village Hall .

People are expected to make their way on foot from as far as Theydon Bois, Waltham Abbey, Loughton and Buckhurst Hill to watch the race which travels through the Forest from the Wake Arms roundabout down the A104 Epping New Road to Woodford.

Epping High Street is expected to draw the biggest crowds, many arriving by train via the Central Line to Epping Underground Station. Forklift trucks and delivery vehicles will be working from early in the morning as the race organisers and world’s media prepare for the excitement of the sprint section down the length of the High Street.

Road closures will make travel across the District difficult. The route following country lanes north of Ongar and the A414 to the Talbot roundabout at North Weald will be closed from 8am. The route south of the Talbot closes at 9am and is not scheduled to reopen until 5pm.

Essex County Council and Epping Forest District Council are working together with many partners including the Tour organisers and Government to raise public awareness. Detailed information is available on a range of websites. Leaflets and letters have been sent out while posters have been distributed to local shops and businesses.

Councillor Chris Whitbread, Leader of Epping Forest District Council said: “7 July is going to be truly amazing. The District has never seen anything like it and might well never do so again. Thousands of residents and visitors are preparing to enjoy the day with family and friends but if you run a business or are a resident with special concerns, the staff at the Council will do their best to help you organise yourself around the day. Just pop in to see us between 6.30pm and 8.30pm on 12 June for an informal chat.”

 

Tour de France market day offer declined

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Commercial properties, Community, Consultation, Epping, Leader, Local business, Loughton, North Weald Airfield, Our attractions, Parking, Residents, Supporting business, Tour de France, Your community, Your council

Tour de France Essex LogoUpdate – Traders have declined an offer to hold Epping Market in Cottis Lane Car Park when the Tour de France comes to the District on 7 July 2014.

 

Tour de France market day offer

Epping Market looks set to go ahead when the Tour de France comes to Epping on 7 July. There were fears that the thousands of spectators in Epping High Street would make it impossible for the market to go ahead. Epping Town Council had been left with no choice but to cancel the regular High Street event. Now, an offer has been made by Epping Forest District Council to provide an alternative venue at Cottis Lane Car Park.

The announcement came at the meeting of Epping Town Council on Tuesday 25 March where Epping Forest District Council’s Emergency Planning Officer, Peter Charman was giving an update on the latest Tour related developments. The District Council has been working with many partners behind the scenes to ensure market traders don’t lose out. Following news that St John’s School would be able to provide additional parking facilities, senior district councillors agreed that Epping Forest District Council can put the Cottis Lane car park at the disposal of Epping Town Council for the market.

The Tour de FranceEpping Market has a charter going back to medieval times. The deal to use Cottis Lane as a one-off is still subject to detailed discussions but Councillor Chris Whitbread, Leader of Epping Forest District Council is confident the market can now go ahead.

Natursports/Shutterstock.com

He said: “Overall, the arrival of the Tour de France in Epping Forest is one of the biggest boosts to the economy we could wish for. It will be a bonanza for High Street shops as thousands of extra visitors arrive early for the Epping Show on Sunday and take up their positions for the sprint on Monday. The problem has always been what to do with the market. It was clear that for health and safety reasons there wasn’t enough room for the anticipated 20,000 spectators and the market in the High Street. Cottis Lane Car Park behind Marks and Spencer’s is only a few seconds walk from the High Street and should make an excellent temporary location for the day.”

Epping MarketCouncillor Whitbread continued: “I agreed the principle with Cabinet Portfolio Holder Councillor Gary Waller and we will now be talking through the details with Epping Town Council.”

The next edition of the District Council magazine, The Forester due out in April, will provide local residents and businesses with more information about the arrival of the Tour. The message to all residents and businesses from the Council is to plan ahead. The Tour enters the District from Chelmsford and will follow country lanes past Willingale, Fyfield and Moreton before crossing the A414 at the Talbot roundabout. The route north of the Talbot will be closed to all other traffic from 8am.

After crossing the A414, the racers will continue through North Weald. The District Council is developing plans to handle many of the expected spectators by opening up North Weald Airfield as a ‘Park and Walk’ facility after persuading the organisers to keep access between the M11 and the airfield open. Limited caravan and campervan facilities will also be available to allow people to stay overnight at the airfield. Additional temporary campsites and car parks are being planned by a number of farmers to cater for visitors along the route.

The route south of the A414 will be closed to all traffic from 9am in another concession by the organisers to Epping Forest District Council. From North Weald, the racers will sprint down Epping High Street, race to the Wake Arms roundabout and then follow the A104 Epping New Road all the way past Loughton and Buckhurst Hill before leaving the District. The Stage finishes on the Mall outside Buckingham Palace.

Councillor Whitbread said: “It is going to be an incredible day. The Tour is one of the World’s greatest sporting events and it is entirely free to watch. There will be a carnival atmosphere unlike anything we have seen since the Olympics. It certainly won’t be business as usual, but by getting into the spirit of the occasion and making plans now, I am confident it will be a terrific boost to the District.”

Photos

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£5.1 million housing scheme discussed at Cabinet

Written on . Posted in Councillors, Democracy, Energy efficiency, Housing, Housing repairs, Leader, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Media, Meetings, Parking, Planning, Private housing, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Councillor David Stallan presented a list of potential sites for new council houses at the Cabinet meeting of Epping Forest District Council on 3 March 2014.

Council housebuilding

Reporting back from the Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee, the Housing Portfolio Holder’s report identified a wealth of potential sites in towns and villages across the district.

12 sites, 6 of which could provide up to 185 dwellings were identified plus a potential £5 million scheme to provide 31 flats or more on the site of the council depot in Burton Road off the Broadway in Loughton. 6 small sites could accommodate another 26 homes for local people.

Cabinet approved recommendations of the committee to develop plans for various sites spread around the district’s towns and villages on a rotational basis so that all areas are able to benefit from new affordable housing.

Councillors also supported the development of sites in areas where most housing applicants live and that sites able to deliver greater numbers of new homes be prioritised over other areas where fewer homes can be developed.

Existing tenants and leaseholders can also look forward to a range of improvements to their homes after Cabinet agreed improvements and enhancements to the council’s housing stock.

Among the enhancements are

  • Front door fire safety replacement
  • Oakwood Hill Estate enhancements
  • Communal kitchen refurbishment – sheltered housing schemes
  • Mobility scooter stores – sheltered housing schemes
  • Garden maintenance for older and vulnerable tenants
  • WiFi at Norway House – homeless persons hostel
  • Feasibility study for replacement homeless persons accommodation at Norway House

Parking strategy

Local businesses and residents are to be consulted on Epping Forest District Council’s car parks strategy including tariffs for short and long-stay Pay and Display car parks.

Pay and Display tariffs have not been increased by the council for 5 years. However, Councillor Gary Waller reported with some regret ‘that all good things must come to an end’ and that some modest increase in Pay and Display was inevitable. Detailed long-term consideration of parking charges across short and long stay car parks would be incorporated into the consultation process of the new strategy.

Solar panels

Solar panels are to be installed at the main civic offices of Epping Forest District Council. The investment of £80,000 is expected to be recouped by the council through lower energy bills within 8 years. It will also reduce the council’s carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions.