A WOW of a Gift

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Democracy, Older people, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council

Councillor John Knapman, Chairman of Council visited Vitalise – Jubilee Lodge in Chigwell for the official opening of the new `Wow` room. Vitalise – Jubilee Lodge is one of the charities to benefit from his fundraising during his year in office. At Vitalise they believe that everyone deserves a break and they offer respite options with real freedom and choice to disabled people and carers alike. They provide an alternative to traditional respite care by offering breaks in a relaxed, holiday environment but with nursing care and personal support available. The new interactive room is specially equipped with a large 46 LCD screen connected to a Nintendo Wii, which Councillor Knapman has donated from his charity fundraising. The Wii will be used by the centre`s visiting guests with physical disabilities.

Chairman John Knapman with guests at Jubilee Lodge

Councillor Knapman said: I am delighted to see the `Wow` room in use. This addition is a great asset to the facilities at Jubilee Lodge as the Wii is very versatile and can be used by guests of all ages and all abilities. I am really glad that my charity fundraising has been able to supply this additional facility to a very worthy local charity.

Centre Manager Steve Trump commented: There are quite a number of the games that can be played and enjoyed by people with limited mobility and after an initial reticence at using the new technology, the Wii with its widescreen TV has quickly become a favourite pastime of many of our guests.

He went on to say: With very little guidance and support required from the staff, racing and bowling games are proving a hit. There are now more opportunities for both guests and volunteers to interact with each other and to use the enhanced computer room facilities at Jubilee Lodge.

Celebrating Success

Written on . Posted in Business, Chairman, Councillors, Meetings, Our performance, Performance, Your council

Chairman of Council, Councillor John Knapman recently presented Epping Forest District Council staff with certificates following their success in training and qualifications.

Chairman John Knapman and Council staff

Celebrating Success is an annual event organised by the Council at which staff who have attained professional accreditations, completed in-house training and development programmes and also achieved vocational qualifications receive their awards. Also invited are staff who have either completed, or are soon to complete, 25 years` service with the Council or its predecessor Authorities.

Councillor John Knapman said: As a Council we have invested heavily in staff training and development and have been an Investor in People since 2001. This year, in March, we were re-accredited against the Investors in People standard for the third time, achieving very high standards. The Council sees staff development as a key link to improving services to our residents and I was delighted to present certificates to those staff who have achieved success in their training over the last year.

Chairman Opens New Playground

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Chigwell, Community, Grants, Out and about, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Ribbon cutting at the new Limes Farm Playground

Some of the district`s youngest residents put the latest play equipment to the test when they joined Councillor John Knapman, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council at Limes Farm on Tuesday 18 November 2008.

Pictured right – from left to right are Councillor John Knapman, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council with Lee, Mark, Rianna and Lily Jo open the new Limes Farm Playground

Proving he is no slouch when it comes to climbing frames, Councillor Knapman entered into the spirit of the occasion by testing some of the equipment for himself. Also celebrating the official opening of the new playground, funded with a grant of £58,000 from the National Lottery, was Chigwell Parish Council Chairperson, Councillor Christine Buttling.

The refurbished bridge forms the centre-piece of the new Limes Farm Playground

Chairman John Knapman with residents by the climbing wallThe new play equipment is part of the ongoing community investment by Epping Forest District Council and our partners at Limes Farm, said District Council Leisure and Young People Portfolio Holder, Councillor Heather Harding. Everything except the play-bridge is brand new. There are new swings and swivels of different kinds, a climbing wall, slides and rocking horses. I hope local children will enjoy many happy days of play.

Pictured right – District Council Chairman, Councillor John Knapman shows he still has his playground skills with Limes Farm residents Lily Jo, Lee and Angel, District Council Leisure and Young People Portfolio Holder, Heather Harding and Chigwell Parish Council Chairperson, Councillor Christine Buttling

Councillor Harding added: The project has been well received by local residents who were consulted on what equipment they thought the playground should have. This is exactly what the Big Lottery Funding is aimed at – enhancing the opportunities for local children to enjoy free play activities in an exciting and stimulating environment.

Limes Farm residents enjoying the new facilities

Epping Forest District Council was recently awarded a total of £243,000 from the Big Lottery Fund Children`s Play Programme to provide and improve play opportunities in the District. Following an audit of play facilities, three areas were selected to benefit from playground refurbishment schemes; Limes Farm in Chigwell, Nazeing and Abridge. The Limes Farm children`s playground was the first to be completed.

Lee, Mark, Rianna, Lily Jo and Angel were not put off by the rain as they played on the new equipment supervised by their mums and dads. Councillor Knapman said: The weather was pretty bad but no-one seemed to mind. It was a very enjoyable morning.

Remembrance Services in the Epping Forest District

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Your council

Councillor John Knapman, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council and Councillor Ben Murphy, Mayor of Epping attending the Garden of Remembrance Service today at Epping War Memorial Friday 7 November 2008.

John Knapman attending the Garden of Remembrance Service at Epping War Memorial

The Chairman of Council, Councillor John Knapman will be attending both Chigwell and Epping Remembrance Services on Sunday 9 November 2008. Past Chairman and other serving Councillors will be representing the Council at various services throughout the district. For times and services please see below.

Remembrance Services

Friday 7 November 2008

  • 10.45am Dedication of the Garden of Remembrance at the War Memorial Epping – Chairman Councillor J Knapman
  • 11.30am Service of Remembrance at Epping Cemetery (by the Commonwealth War Graves) – Chairman Councillor J Knapman


Sunday 9 November 2008

  • Ongar
    10am – St Mary`s Church, High Ongar – Past Chairman D Kelly
    2.30pm – Community Remembrance Service – Past Chairman D Kelly
  • Chigwell
    10.40am – St Mary`s Church, Chigwell – Chairman Councillor J Knapman
  • North Weald
    10.55am – St Andrew`s Church, North Weald – Past Chairman Councillor R Morgan
    12.15pm – Airfield Memorial, North Weald – Past Chairman Councillor R Morgan
  • Loughton
    12.15am – Kings Green, Loughton – Past Chairman Councillor C Pond
  • Waltham Abbey
    9am – Upshire Church – Councillor L Webster
    10am – Waltham Abbey War Memorial – Councillor  L Webster
    10.45am – Waltham Abbey Church Service – Councillor L Webster
  • Epping
    2.10pm – Epping War Memorial – Chairman Councillor J Knapman
    3pm – St John`s Church, Epping – Chairman Councillor J Knapman
  • Nazeing
    10.45am – All Saints Church, Nazeing – Vice-Chairman Councillor P Smith
  • Buckhurst Hill
    9.50am – St John`s Church, Buckhurst Hill – Past Chairman Councillor A Haigh
  • Theydon Bois
    10.30am – St Mary`s Church, Theydon Bois – Councillor R Frankel
  • Roydon
    10.30am – St Peter`s Church, Roydon – Councillor Mrs M Sartin
  • Chigwell Row
    10.15am – All Saints Church, Chigwell Row – Past Chairman Councillor B Sandler
  • Abridge
    10.30am – Holy Trinity, Abridge – Councillor B Rolfe

Celebrating 300 Years of Guruship

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Democracy, Your area, Your council

On Sunday 2 November 2008 Councillor John Knapman, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council attended the Council of Gurdwaras South East celebrations of the 300th year of Guru Gaddi Divas (Gruship) of Guru Granth Sahib. The event which was held at the Guru Gobins Sing Khalsa College, Chigwell started on 31 October 2008 with the commencement of continuous reading of Guru Granth Sahib for 48 hours until Sunday 2 November 2008.

Chairman John Knapman joins visitors to the 300th Year of Guruship of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji

The Ceremony was attended by the Members of Parliament Mr Lee Scott and Mr Mike Gapes, Mayors, Deputy Mayors and Councillors from neighbouring boroughs, the Sikh Scholars including Inderjit Singh, OBE and many other dignitaries.

Speeches were delivered by many personalities to mark the occasion. Judge Mota Singh could not attend and his message was read by Epping Forest District Councillor Kewal Singh Chana. Awards were presented to various personalities in appreciation of their services to the local communities over many years. Mr Amarjit Singh Toor, the Principal of the College, also presented certificates of achievement to students of the college. On this occasion a Punjabi Poetry session was held and attended by many poets from London, Middlesex and the Midlands including radio and TV presenters Mr Chamanlal Chaman and Sathi Ludhianvi.

Chairman Taken on Blindfold Walk

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Democracy, Your council

Chairman John Knapman with trainee guide dog Zaide

As part of national Guide Dog Week, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council Councillor John Knapman visited the Guide Dogs For the Blind Association`s London Centre in Woodford Green on Friday 10 October 2008.

Councillor Knapman saw at first hand how the dogs are trained to become the `eyes` of a blind or partially-sighted person. He had the opportunity to negotiate an obstacle course of traffic cones and barriers blindfold with the help of Flat Coat Retriever Zaide, a trainee Guide Dog.

Councillor Knapman said: Being led blindfold past many obstacles was an amazing experience. You really do have to put all your trust in your Guide Dog. They are fantastic animals that take their owners wherever they wish to go safely and independently. They even take into account obstacles at their owner`s head height so they do not walk them into overhanging branches or obstacles that they could easily pass underneath or through themselves but which their owner clearly would not.

The Chairman and trainee guide dog start the blindfold walkThe Chairman and Zaide negotiate the obstacle course

After his blindfold walk, the Chairman enjoyed a tour of the kennels. Some dogs in advanced training are based there, with trainers collecting them to take them out for practical training such as in town centres and shops. Also on site is a hospital block which houses those dogs that have undergone surgery, such as for cruciate ligament injuries or neutering. A local Vet attends regularly to make sure all dogs are in the best of health.

The Chairman met two special kennel residents called Leo and Nina. They are two cats that also provide essential training for Guide Dogs. They help when a dog may be distracted by cats, for example. They remain very calm, do not run off and therefore the dogs soon learn not to chase!

Chairman John Knapman views the environmental enrichment area

Councillor Knapman also saw the Environmental Enrichment area. This is a series of specially-designed pens in which the dogs can unwind. When they are not working, they come into this area which includes a maze, agility equipment and an area of long grass, all of which are designed to keep the dogs amused and happy.

Dog Care and Welfare Manager Lyn Docherty said: We tend to go to the gym after a hard day`s work to unwind – this area is the dogs` equivalent of the gym. They really love to come out here and have a good run around and to play with all their friends and have fun. Some of the dogs are even better at negotiating the maze than our staff!

Welfare manager Lyn Docherty shows the Chairman around the kennels

Councillor Knapman concluded: I would like to thank everyone here at the Guide Dogs` London Centre for giving me the opportunity of finding out more about visual impairment. I was very impressed with the work that goes on here and even more so with the dogs.

Allo Allo, Who’s at Lunch then?

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Media, Your council

Guests at the civic luncheon at Gaynes Park Barns

The Chairman of Council, Councillor John Knapman hosted a Civic Lunch on 2 October 2008 at Gaynes Park Barns in Coopersale with a special guest speaker, local actress Vikki Michelle from Loughton.

Mayors and Chairmen from Essex and Boroughs surrounding the Epping Forest District attended the lunch which was a chance for `the chain gang` to get together and discuss areas of mutual interest in a relaxed an informal manner.

Chairman John Knapman and guests at the civic luncheon

Pictured above from left to right are Chairman John Knapman, Suzie Michelle, Lord Petre Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Vikki Michelle, Ann Michelle, Chairman of Essex County Council Elizabeth Hart and Debra Knapman.

Following lunch Ms Michelle gave a wonderful insight to her life as an actress and recounted stories of working with the great comic icons such as Ken Dodd, Les Dawson and Dick Emery. She also recalled how fate plays a large part in her been given her most famous part of Yvette Carte-Blanche in the long running comedy series `Allo Allo` after she had stared in `The Kenny Everett Show` as a robotic French maid which made a big impression on one of the writers of `Allo Allo`.

Debra Knapman, Chairman John Knapman and Vikki MichelleCouncillor Knapman said: “I would like to thank Vikki for coming along today and giving us a fantastic insight into her life and to pay tribute to her personally for giving so much of her time to working with local charities. Without her support many charities would not be able to supply the much needed support and care they offer to our community.”

Pictured left from left to right are Debra Knapman, Chairman John Knapman and Vikki Michelle.

Council 25 September 2008

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

A report and link to webcast of the full Council meeting held in the Council chamber at the Civic Offices on Thursday 25 September 2008.

To view this webcast click on the link below and then click on the index points tab to go direct to the agenda item.

Watch the webcastCouncil meeting 25 September 2008 webcast
(opens in a new window)

Members of the Epping Forest District Council stood in silent tribute to former Councillor Roger Buddock who recently passed away. Councillor Stephen Murray, a fellow Loughton ward Councillor remembered Roger Buddock fondly as a man who still held a high reputation locally for the good work he carried out for his residents during two periods on the District Council between 1980 and 1988 and again from 1991 to 1995. Councillor Murray also thanked the current Vice Chairman of Council, Councillor Mrs Penny Smith for attending the funeral.

Councillor Knapman reported his thanks to everyone who contributed £6,000 to his charities at a recent golf day.

Portfolio Report – Local Education

Councillor Diana Collins, Leader of Council reported on a series of information gathering visits to local secondary schools and Epping Forest College where she met the new Principal. Further visits have been arranged for Councillor Collins, accompanied by the leader of Essex County Council, the local education Authority.

Community Wellbeing

Portfolio Holder Councillor Syd Stavrou was pleased to report a fall in crime across the District. She then drew attention to the ‘Not in my Neighbourhood’ initiative, safety testing of electric blankets and work with the Essex Fire and Rescue Service. Councillor Stavrou concluded by recommending Members to attend the next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at which representatives of West Essex Primary Care Trust would be answering questions.


Members of the Cabinet were quizzed by other Councillors in a series of questions without notice. Civil Engineering and Maintenance Portfolio Holder, Richard Bassett was particularly busy answering questions ranging from recent gridlock in Chigwell to parking restrictions in Loughton.

Credit Union

Councillor Mrs Janet Whitehouse placed a motion before Members, calling on the Council to support a local Credit Union. Credit Unions help people on low incomes to access loans at low interest rates and one supported by many voluntary and religious organisations. All Members supported the motives and after some debate and technical amendments the motion was carried unanimously.

    Other major items debated by Full Council included:

  • Adoption of the Essex Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy
  • Adoption of the Development and Design Brief for Loughton Broadway
  • Supplementary estimates for the completion of the Bobbingworth Tip project
  • Future options for North Weald Airfield
  • Re-approval of the Statutory Statement of Accounts for 2007 to 2008
  • Nominations for the Governing Body of Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust

Cabinet 6 October 2008

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

Local residents filled the public gallery as the Cabinet met to discuss draft proposals to consult on Traveller and Gypsy site provision.

In a report, councillors heard that the Council had been directed to identify land for 49 pitches up to 2011. More pitches are required thereafter.

To view this webcast click on the link below and then click on the index points tab to go direct to the agenda item.

Watch the webcastCabinet meeting 6 October 2008 webcast
(opens in a new window)

Portfolio Holder for Planning and Economic Development, Councillor Ann Grigg made it clear that the Council had no choice. She explained that 27 potential sites had been identified using criteria such as schools, health and employment. None of these sites was agreed or set in stone. The consultation process would allow local people to express their views before the Council made recommendations to the Government. She added that any proposals would be assessed in a formal Examination in Public (EiP).

The Council`s Planning Consultant Andrew Lainton acknowledged how sensitive and controversial the process could be. He outlined the steps in consultation including public exhibitions, work with town and parish councils as well as dealing directly with landowners and concerned residents.

Mr Lainton emphasised that objections needed to be based on evidence. The inspectors at the EiP would be looking for reasons why one site might be better or worse than another.

Councillor Richard Bassett said that it was very important for people to have their say. He felt they must have good guidance. Andrew Lainton replied that guidance notes would form part of the consultation document.

Councillor David Stallan asked for reassurances that exhibitions would be given maximum publicity. Councillor Grigg said she would try to reach every single person in the district.

Councillor Mrs Grigg said that this was not a definitive list and hoped people would come forward with their own suggestions.

Responding to further questions, Mrs Grigg said that failure to carry out consultation would lead to the Government sending an Inspector to impose a solution.

Councillor Richard Bassett raised the issue of the number of pitches, and the influence of large concentrations in small areas. The debate then broadened out with some councillors expressing feelings about the way in which the Government was directing the process.

At the conclusion of the report to Cabinet, Councillor Mrs Grigg answered public questions. She explained that where two large potential sites lay side-by-side at Crooked Mile both could not go ahead.

Rumours of an imminent compulsory purchase were also dismissed by John Preston, the Director of Planning and Economic Development.

    Other items debated by Cabinet included:

  • reports of the Finance and Performance Cabinet Committee
  • funding for the Local Development Framework
  • playing fields at Ongar Leisure Centre
  • waste management
  • the Capital Programme
  • cost awards following a recent planning appeal
  • fire cover at North Weald Airfield

Golf Day Boost for Local Charities

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Councillors, Democracy, Doing business with the council, Leader, Meetings, Your council

On Monday 22 September 2008 Theydon Bois Golf Club again played host to the Chairman of Epping Forest District Council Councillor John Knapman and teams from local businesses at the Council`s Charity Business Golf Day. Two local charities will receive a cash boost thanks to this annual fundraising event sponsored by Higgins Group PLC in Loughton, which raised £6,000.

Winning Team Stace with Councillor John Knapman

This year the Chairman`s is raising money for St Clare Hospice, Hastingwood which cares for people and their families who are affected by life-threatening incurable diseases and Vitalise Jubilee Lodge, Chigwell which offers a variety of accessible residential respite breaks and other services designed for disabled people and their carers.

Individual Winner Matthew Knight with Councillor John KnapmanWinning Team Captain, Mike Hutchins from Stace, receiving the John Gilliham Shield

Councillor Knapman said: I thank Higgins Group and Theydon Bois Golf Club for their support again this year and the continued support from local clubs, societies and businesses. During the years that this event has been running over £70,000 has been raised for many local causes. The Business Golf day plays a fantastic part in the Chairman`s charity events calendar helping to provide comfort to local people through local charities in a hugely positive way.

The overall winner of the individual competition was Matthew Knight and for the second year in succession, the winning team was from Stace, based in Epping. The Business Golf Day continues to provide a valuable contribution to the Chairman`s Charity each year and I am delighted that so many local businesses have been able to support the Chairman`s Charity again this year, said Councillor Knapman.