Health summit to build healthier future

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Councillors, Health, Leader, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council

One Epping Forest successfully hosted its first Health Summit for Epping Forest. The event brought together members of local government, the NHS and local communities to discuss how One Epping Forest can jointly influence healthy living in Epping Forest. The Health Summit provided an opportunity to share learning and ideas, develop connections and build a healthier future together.Andrew Gardner, Chief Executive of Age UK Essex, said: “The event exceeded my expectations. It was a great opportunity to hear about some really practical projects that showcased Age UK’s Fit as a Fiddle initiative. From speaking with delegates I know there is a collective will and enthusiasm to involve everyone to achieve a healthier future, the challenge for us now is how we do this.”

The focus of the Health Summit was to help define local health priorities and needs, as well as engaging with a wide range of local stakeholders. Delegates were also informed about the transition from PCT to CCGs and given the opportunity to steer future health initiatives and address health inequality.  In addition delegates had the opportunity to learn about and discuss healthy ageing matters and learning from fit as a fiddle projects, in particular Epping Forest District Council’s Active Health project.

The health summit was a great success with over 50 delegates from Essex attending the event the Marriott hotel, Waltham Abbey on 12 October 2012. The day began with a Tai Chi demonstration and a welcome speech by One Epping Forest Chairman and Leader of the District Council, Councillor Chris Whitbread. Following this were a number of key speakers from across the health field.

There were opportunities to view stalls from partner organisations throughout the day and workshops were held to discuss health priorities and to explore ways of working  closer together.  The day finished with a question and answer session where delegates were invited to put questions to a number of health experts.

The health summit was jointly organised by press red, One Epping Forest and funded by Age UK.

Full Council 27 September

Written on . Posted in Business, Chairman, Commercial properties, Consultation, Councillors, Epping, Housing, Leader, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Our performance, Performance, Planning, Sports centres and pools, Supporting business, Your council, Your money

Members of the Epping Forest Youth Council attended the Full Council meeting on 27 September 2012. On the agenda to be  discussed were Council Tax, the Local Plan consultation, annual accounts, the St Johns Road development and North Weald Airfield.

Watch the webcast in full

Chairman’s announcements

Councillor Brian Rolfe, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council began his announcements with a special welcome to Glen Chipp. Mr Chipp is due to take up his new duties as Chief Executive of Epping Forest District Council on 1 October 2012. North Weald Airfield featured prominently in the Chairman’s report of his activities during September.

The close ties of friendship between the district and the people of Norway was reinforced by a recent visit of Norwegian RAF veterans and serving members of the Royal Norwegian Air Force. The Chairman also formed part of the welcome to serving and veteran members of No 56 Squadron RAF on Battle of Britain Sunday. 56 Squadron served with distinction, flying from North Weald during the Battle of Britain. Battle honours of 56 Squadron are displayed on its old Standard which was dedicated to St Andrew’s Church in North Weald.

Epping Forest District Council lost the Annual Petanque match with Epping Town Council. Councillor Rolfe and Councillor David Stallan represented the District Council. ‘Dubious tactics’ were alleged before congratulations were offered to the Town Council represented by dual-hatted councillors Jon Whitehouse and Will Breare-Hall.

No increase for Council Tax

Councillor Syd Stavrou, Finance Portfolio Holder, briefed councillors on future financial settlements. She left councillors in no doubt of her belief in the desirability of a zero per cent council tax increase next year.

Local Plan consultation

Councillor Richard Bassett, Planning Portfolio Holder updated councillors on Community Choices. 224 formal responses have been received in response to the Local Plan consultation so far. Council staff have been meeting residents. Almost 1,000 people have attended the Community Choices meetings held across the district over the last six weeks or so.

Annual statement of accounts

The annual statement of accounts for 2011/12 was presented by the Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee, Councillor Antony Watts. Councillor Watts recommended interested councillors watch the webcast of Audit and Governance committee on 24 September where Finance Director Bob Palmer gave a comprehensive presentation.

Councillor Watts drew attention to a number of changes in production of the latest statement including assessments of depreciation on council assets and the pension fund. He also highlighted the major financial commitment of £185 million stemming from changes to the Housing Subsidy system. He concluded by thanking the Auditors and the Council’s own finance officers before recommending the report. Councillor Syd Stavrou responded to Councillor Watts. She assured councillors of the long term benefits to the Council by making a single one-off payment of £185 million instead of on-going annual payments to central government of £11 million.

The Council’s financial position is better than anticipated despite cuts in central government funding. Councillor Stavrou also recommended acceptance of the annual statement of accounts which met with the approval of the Council. 

St John’s Road design and development brief

Asset Management Portfolio Holder Anne Grigg recommended approval of the St John’s Road Design and Development brief to Full Council. Fellow cabinet member and Epping Councillor, Will Breare-Hall welcomed the brief as amended following consultation earlier in the summer. In particular he drew attention to the shift in emphasis from retail to leisure provision in line with the views expressed by local residents.

Councillor Chris Whitbread, Leader of Council looked forward to discussion based on the brief with other landowners. Ward Councillor Tony Church sought reassurance on the issue of a supermarket. Councillor Grigg responded by drawing a distinction between a supermarket which drew wide-spread public opposition and other forms of retail such as a department store which found favour with some local residents. Councillor Janet Whitehouse asserted that she would have preferred a stronger plan and abstained when councillors voted in favour of the adoption of the Brief.

North Weald Airfield

A budget of £150,000 was agreed to enable Epping Forest District Council to commission further work on the future of North Weald Airfield. Referring to recommendations by Ernst and Young, Asset Management Portfolio Holder Anne Grigg encouraged councillors to approve the two-stage process looking at aviation and non-aviation options.

Cabinet discuss St John’s Road development

Written on . Posted in Business, Commercial properties, Community, Consultation, Councillors, Epping, Leader, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Meetings, Planning, Private housing, Residents, Sports, Sports centres and pools, Supporting business, Your community

A meeting of the Cabinet, on Monday 10 September, began with a series of public questions concerning the recently-published draft St John’s Road design and development brief. Asset Management and Economic Development Portfolio Holder, Councillor Anne Grigg responded to each in turn including:

  • Retail and leisure use
  • Ownership
  • Access
  • Impact on neighbouring property values
  • Character and environmental impact of options
  • Public feedback on the options in the recent consultation

View questions and the debate

Councillor Grigg reminded Cabinet of the ownership of St John’s Road, in particular Essex County Council which controls the future of the former primary school, library and registry office.

Turning to the substantive report, Councillor Grigg reported the significant public opposition to a large supermarket. She introduced Mr Steve Walker to present the Development and Design Brief prepared by Allies Morrison Urban Practitioners.

Mr Walker noted the relocation of the primary school as a driving factor and took Cabinet through a description of the recent public consultation. 4 options were tabled for public consideration:

  1. Retail led
  2. Leisure led
  3. Retail and leisure
  4. Residential

More than 800 responses were received. Online responses were particularly popular with residents. Improved sport and leisure was by far the most important consideration raised by residents. Protection of existing historic buildings and the character of town were also very important. Also provision for adult education.

Options for a large supermarket drew the most significant opposition. Retail uses could have potential, provided they complement the existing town centre.

The brief leaves open the possibility of leisure and sports provision, potentially in conjunction with redevelopment of the Hemnall Street sports centre site. Further work is being carried out to assess the viability and impact of such a proposal. Mr Walker reminded Cabinet that as the major landowner, Essex County Council is seeking to realise as much money from the sale of its land holdings as possible having provided the new school .

Councillor Will Breare-Hall recognised the value of the consultation and welcomed the inclusion of  sports and leisure in response to public wishes. Councillor Richard Bassett Planning Portfolio Holder wished to know if Essex County Council as the major land owner had acknowledged local feeling.

Responding to Councillor John Philip, Councillor Bassett, noted the links between St John’s Road and the work going on to produce a new Local Plan.

Councillor Anne Grigg summed up by saying that this was an opportunity for Epping. Subject to any further minor changes, the draft St John’s Road Development Brief will be recommended for approval by Full Council on 27 September.

Appointment of Chief Executive

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

Glen Chipp has been appointed Chief Executive of Epping Forest District Council. Councillors confirmed the recommendation of a special recruitment committee at the meeting of full council on Monday 18 June 2012.

A start date has yet to be confirmed, but Councillor Jon Whitehouse, who chaired the recruitment committee, reported the likelihood of Mr Chipp having to work his full notice period of 3 months with Bath and North East Somerset Council before joining Epping Forest.

In the intervening period, Derek Macnab will continue as Acting Chief Executive, before reverting back to his Deputy Chief Executive role.

Council to make decision on new chief executive

Written on . Posted in Business, Councillors, Democracy, Leader, Your council

Epping Forest District councillors will be asked to approve the appointment of Glen Chipp (52) as permanent chief executive at their meeting next Monday 18 June 2012.

The appointment is being recommended by a cross-party recruitment panel following a rigorous selection process which included two days of tests and interviews earlier in June.

He was one of 5 shortlisted candidates after 43 potential candidates applied for the post back in April.

Councillor Jon Whitehouse, Chairman of the Committee for the Appointment of the Chief Executive said: “We were fortunate to be able to choose from a high quality field. All of the shortlisted candidates were of a very high calibre. After a rigorous selection process Glen Chipp was the unanimous choice of the appointment committee.”

Formal confirmation of appointment to the £112,000 post rests with a special meeting of all 58 councillors on Monday 18 June.

Glen Chipp is a chartered accountant with an honours degree in chemistry and a background in the holiday and airline business who moved into a high profile public sector role with Bath and North East Somerset Unitary Council. His CV includes senior roles with Deloitte, ICI, Whirlpool and the regional newspaper group Thomson. From there he moved to The Scotsman, one of Scotland’s leading newspapers. He entered tourism and aviation as managing director of Inspiration Holidays, became Group Aviation Director for Thomas Cook Ltd then Managing Director of Thomas Cook Airlines UK.

Glen briefly became the chief operating officer with Save and Invest Ltd. He is also a member of the board of governors at the City of Bath College. If councillors agree the recommendations of the appointment committee, Mr Chipp is expected to join the council in the early autumn. Derek Macnab will continue to act as chief executive in the interim.

Councillor Chris Whitbread, Leader of Epping Forest District Council said: “Epping Forest District Council is one of the most efficient, low-tax councils in Essex. We are looking to build on that record. The next few years are unlikely to be easy. The economy continues to struggle and there will be more savings in public spending. Glen is not a typical local government officer. He has wide-ranging private sector expertise as well as experience at the highest levels in the public sector. I am sure that if the recommendations of the recruitment committee are accepted, Glen will bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to one of the most demanding roles in local government.”

Councillor Whitbread added: “I would also like to thank Derek Macnab for the terrific job he has done as acting chief executive. He is held in the highest regard by councillors and we look forward to the significant contribution he will continue to make as the council moves forward.”

Cabinet on 11 June 2012

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

Planning budgets, new council housing and ride on mowers were discussed at the latest meeting of the cabinet on 11 June 2012.

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Budgets for planning

Cabinet approved budget expenditure for two key planning projects at its meeting on 11 June. First on the agenda was the St John’s Road, Epping – Development Brief. Council Anne Grigg, Asset Management and Economic Development Portfolio Holder outlined expenditure including the recent consultation which stimulated many public responses.

Councillor Richard Bassett, Planning Portfolio Holder then asked members to note funding estimates for the completion of the new Local Plan over the next three years. Drawing attention to the costs of the Government Direction on Gypsies and Travellers, Councillor Bassett explained how timing of Local Plan delivery and associated costs had been revised over a period of years.

It is anticipated that the draft Local Plan will go before a Government inspector at the examination in public before coming into force in 2014.

Separately Councillor Bassett presented a report proposing to publish a comprehensive timetable for the development and implementation of the Local Plan on the council website.

New-build council housing

Councillors took another step towards re-starting council house building when they approved an agreement with the Department of Communities and Local Government for the use of money received from Right to Buy sales. Under the agreement, the Council will be able to spend receipts from Right to Buy sales on building new houses rather than passing the money to the Government.

New ride-on mowers

Council operated ride-on mowers travel thousands of miles back and forth across the district keeping the verges and playing fields neat and tidy. The current five mowers are nearing the end of their operational lives. Councillors weighed up the advantages and disadvantages of leasing or buying new machines outright before agreeing to seek a supplementary capital estimate of £123,750 to buy five new mowers.

Furniture exchange

Cabinet agreed to carry forward £20,000 set aside for the new furniture exchange scheme. The scheme will aim to recycle furniture, making it available to residents on low incomes. Money was originally allocated to the scheme for 2011/12 but following delays, councillors agreed to keep the money in the budget for 2012/13. The privately operated scheme is expected to become self-financing in due course.

The Earl of Wessex visits the Epping Forest district

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Community, Councillors, Leader, Out and about, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council

The Earl of Wessex, HRH Prince Edward, came to visit the Epping Forest District on Wednesday 23 November.  It was a proud moment for Zinc Arts and Tolpuddle House in Ongar and the Grange Farm Centre Trust in Chigwell, which has been hailed as a ‘great day’ for the local community.

The Earl of Wessex formally opened both facilities, with great admiration for all those who have worked so hard in bringing these delightful projects together for the people of Essex.

The Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Ken Angold-Stephens was also in attendance and expressed has gratitude on such a prestigious event and said: “I was hugely impressed by the hard work, enthusiasm and dedication of so many people and organisations who worked together to bring Zinc Arts and Tolpuddle House to fruition.  The result is a facility of which they can be very proud and the new young residents, who all have disabilities, are clearly very excited by this new opportunity that gives them the best possible chance in life for independent living. This facility is not just for the residents of Tolpuddle House but will be a wonderful local resource for the Town as well.  We are proud of our own involvement in helping, with others, to facilitate this project”.

The Earl of Wessex, HRH Prince Edward, went on to visit the Grange Farm Centre, Chigwell which marks the completion of a £2.25m project which will benefit Chigwell and the wider community.

The occasion marked the culmination of an ambitious project undertaken by the Grange Farm Centre Trust over six years to restore land adjacent to the former Grange Farm Camp Site and which was opened by Princess Elizabeth in 1951.

On his arrival, the Earl of Wessex was greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Lord Petre and presented to Epping Forest District Council acting Chief Executive Derek Macnab and his wife Donna; Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing and Grange Farm Centre Trust chairman Alex Pelican.

The Earl of Wessex was shown the visitors’ book signed by his mother 60 years ago and was invited to sign the new visitors’ book during his 80-minute visit. He unveiled a commemorative plaque to open the pavilion officially on the site which has undergone a complete transformation since the days when it was used for camping.

Today, in addition to the pavilion, the land features a range of community facilities – one senior football pitch or two junior pitches on the top field and two junior pitches on the lower field. There is also a picnic area and ample space for parking.

Leader replies to government weekly bin collection funding

Written on . Posted in Democracy, Leader, Recycling and waste, Residents, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Councillor L WaglandCouncillor Lesley Wagland leader of Epping Forest District Council has responded to the news that the Government intends to provide funding should councils wish to re-introduce weekly bin collections.

She said: “Epping Forest District Council already collects kitchen and garden waste weekly, 52 weeks of the year. It is only any other waste, which is not recyclable together with dry recyclables such as paper, tins, glass and plastic that is collected every other week.

“This council introduced fortnightly collections for everything some years ago. However, our residents soon told us that they struggled with kitchen waste – especially when it was in a bin for up to two weeks during the hot summer months. We listened and switched back to weekly collection for kitchen and garden waste.

“The important thing is to strike a good balance that works for our residents, is affordable and maximises recycling. We think we have a good compromise being able to offer weekly collections for food and garden while also managing to hit one of highest domestic recycling rates in Essex. We currently recycle around 60 per cent, which is the second highest in the county and I know from the feedback I receive that residents are proud of our recycling rates.

“Our initial rough calculations indicate that should this council introduce an extra weekly residual waste (black bin) collection round, it would cost in the region of £900,000 per year. It would cost the same amount again to introduce an additional round of recycling collection.

“I am also concerned that should we provide extra capacity for residual waste, we would be using up already diminishing landfill space and our recycling rates could be affected.

“This, too, would affect our income from recycling credits and other income streams and therefore it is estimated that for every percentage drop in our recycling rates, the council would lose approximately £50,000.

“I know that we are providing the service that works for our residents and that the vast majority are happy with this service. Our level of complaint is currently less than 0.1% and so I am confident that our residents would not want us to spend money unnecessarily on providing weekly collections, particularly during these difficult times. Nor would they want to see a reduction in our present excellent recycling rates. These have helped us to save money on our waste collection service without reducing the quality of the service to residents.

“I would like to thank all our residents for their fantastic efforts recycling and for helping us to reduce the amount of rubbish that ends up in landfill. Please keep up the good work.”

Watch an interview with Councillor Wagland by Channel 4 news first aired on Saturday 11 June 2011 on the same subject.
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View report on the Channel 4 website

Police praised by council leader

Written on . Posted in Crime and safety, Democracy, Leader, Your community, Your council

The Leader of Epping Forest District Council has expressed support for Essex Police Service and sought to reassure local residents and business people. Councillor Lesley Wagland praised local police after the disturbances in London. She said: All decent people will have watched the scenes of violence and disorder unfolding on our TV screens with shock and abhorrence. Perhaps even worse than the original law-breaking was the copycat violence on subsequent nights.

Councillor Wagland is keen to reassure local residents and business people that everything is in place. So far, it is business as usual and Epping Forest District has remained largely free of the disturbances although the clouds of smoke drifting over London have been clearly visible from the district. Whilst Epping Forest District Council is not an emergency service, its emergency plans are well tested. The council is well prepared to react positively to any request for assistance from the police or other emergency services.

Councillor Wagland said: Essex Police are obviously monitoring the situation in London, neighbouring counties and our own area closely. They appear well prepared to nip potential attacks in the bud. I have received briefings on two small-scale incidents in Buckhurst Hill and Loughton on Monday night. I want to offer my congratulations to our local police for the swift action that left the alleged perpetrators under arrest and further damage averted.

In a statement issued on Tuesday 10 August Derek Benson, Deputy Chief Constable for Essex Police elaborated.

He said: We have seen no violent disorder in Essex akin to what has been happening in larger cities across the country. Where there has been minor disorder, Essex Police has acted quickly to make arrests. On Monday following a burglary in Buckhurst Hill, 13 men were arrested, and following minor damage to a police vehicle in Loughton, two male youths were arrested. In Harlow, four people were arrested for minor damage in the town centre.  We have seen a number of young people gathering in large groups in various places across the county, but Essex Police has taken immediate action by deploying public order officers to disperse such groups. This early intervention has meant we have not seen any large scale disorder.

Councillor Wagland said: I would like to add my whole-hearted support to Essex Police for the work they are doing. If any good is to come of the dreadful scenes played out on the streets of London recently, it is that the decent people in our communities must stand together in total rejection of this mindless criminality and support our police in the difficult and dangerous work they are doing on our behalf.

Residents can assist the police by calling 999 if they witness any incidents taking place or to call the non emergency number 101 or 0300 333 4444 to pass on information or intelligence.

The Essex Police website is updated with the latest information throughout the day and night, and is the best place to look should the situation change.

 

Council Leader to meet Essex FSB

Written on . Posted in Business, Democracy, Leader, Local business, Supporting business, Your council

Councillor Lesley WaglandThe new Leader of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Lesley Wagland, is to meet with the Essex FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) on Friday 22 July 2011 for a special two-way briefing.

Essex FSB representative for Epping Forest, Tina Dulieu, said: Essex FSB has a good working relationship with Epping Forest District Council and we wish to see that positive partnership continue with the new Council Leader.

We are delighted that Councillor Wagland has been able to find time in her busy schedule for a meeting with Essex FSB representatives and we have a number of issues where we think by working together we can bring benefits for local businesses.

Among the topics of mutual interest on the agenda, will be initiatives for high speed, reliable broadband to be available across the district and also what encouragement can be given to local communities to make better use of the shopping centres that are at the heart of the communities which make up Epping Forest, including Chigwell, Debden, Epping, Loughton, Ongar and Theydon Bois, and to retailers to provide the service local people want.

We are looking forward to what we are sure will be the start of a good working relationship for the benefit of the Epping Forest economy.

Leader of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Lesley Wagland, said: More than 95 per cent of businesses in Epping Forest District are SMEs providing many hundreds of jobs and generating considerable wealth for the local economy.

“As the UK’s largest business organisation the FSB is a strong voice for such businesses and Essex FSB has a very good reputation for the positive way it works with local councils for the benefit of local businesses.”

“I have sought an early meeting with Essex FSB representatives to discuss the needs of our small businesses as I am sure that by working together we have a much stronger voice which can bring improvements for our area.”

Essex Region of the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) website

The FSB represents more than 200,000 business people across the United Kingdom and is the largest single organisation representing business interests in the country.

The South West Essex Branch of the FSB represents the interest of small businesses in the following postcode areas – CM13 to CM16, SS17, RM1 to RM20, and IG1 to IG11 – which includes Brentwood, Epping Forest, Havering, Redbridge and Thurrock Councils