Residents are warned to be on their guard against a recent Council Tax scam.
Cold caller scam
We have been made aware of a cold call scam in which a resident received a call from a person that falsely presented themselves as an employee of a company called GFM, claiming they can the resident a Council Tax refund of £5,000 for an upfront cost of £150.
This is a scam.
GFM are a legitimate Marketing company based in Colchester and are not responsible for any of these calls. GFM are now aware that they are being impersonated.
Be mindful of cold callers that contact you, especially if they ask for money up front to get a refund or cash back and be especially vigilant if you have vulnerable relatives, friends or acquaintances.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
If you are unsure whether a call is genuine, please report them to Action Fraud
Chairman of Council Councillor Dave Stallan celebrated the district’s tourist attractions at North Weald Airfield and on the Epping Ongar railway recently.
A host of distinguished guests from authorities across Essex and the newly appoint Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst enjoyed a trip on a vintage bus to North Weald Station.
From there, guests were taken on a Diesel Multi Unit (DMU) train to Coopersale. On return to North Weald they changed trains and enjoyed a trip on a magnificent steam engine the Metropolitan E Class No. 1, which was built around 1901.
Rodger Green a long-serving volunteer at the railway gave a fascinating tour and talk on the history of Ongar Station and the Epping Ongar Railway. Everyone then returned to North Weald Station and onwards again on the bus to North Weald Airfield.
Showcasing what the district has to offer
The Chairman of Council, Councillor Stallan who was given the opportunity to ride the steam engine said: “As a North Weald resident, I often hear the trains pass along the track, whilst on the train I was amazed at the heat and the amount of work it takes to keep the coal fire fed to keep the steam at the correct pressure.”
“From the train I was able to enjoy a glorious view of the surrounding countryside and the beautiful Autumnal colours of the forest along the line.”
Councillor Stallan also added “This was a fantastic opportunity to showcase all that the district has to offer to residents and visitors alike.”
I am most grateful to the Epping Ongar Railway for hosting us on the day. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves but more importantly, many more people are now aware of this attraction and will spread the word about our marvellous district and all it has to offer.”
Managing Director of the Epping Ongar Railway, who was also the bus driver for the day, Roger Wright said: “We are all very proud of the Epping Ongar Railway and hope that we will be welcoming many more visitors soon.”
£500 raised for Chairman’s charities
On the day the Chairman raised a total of £500 for his charities and local causes
The Norway House Garden Project
Epping & Ongar Air Cadets
Epping Ongar Railway
Enjoy the Epping Ongar railway for yourself. More information can be found at:
Do you want to increase the levels of policing in Essex? Willing to pay more Council tax to do so? The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (PFCC) want your views.
Roger Hirst, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex is asking Essex residents to fill in an online survey to gauge whether or not residents would be happy to pay more, so more resources can be invested in policing across the county.
Essex Police’s Funding comes from two sources
Local Council Tax
Essex Police receives the lowest funding per resident of any police force in the country and has the sixth lowest council tax for policing.
The survey will be live from 01.00 am Monday 6 November to 00.00am on Sunday 19 November.
The PFCC want you to join in the conversation on social media by using the #yourviews.
Providing the best service possible
PFCC Mr Hirst said: “I want to provide the best service possible for the people of Essex and increasing investment will help me deliver this. I’m not expecting any increase in central Government funding for this year but I can raise the police precept. However, before I make that decision I want to know what the views of the public are so I can take them into account.”
He added: “At every public meeting I attend I hear that the residents want more police on the streets and whilst both Essex Police and I are doing everything we can to make that happen, we don’t have the money or resources to deliver it in the best way that we want to. The demand on the police service is rising. New crime types are emerging and existing crime is rising in its complexity, this is against a backdrop of an unprecedented shift in the national security environment. My question to the public is this – do they want to pay more for those extra resources?”
Owners of R&A Waste Removal Limited of Pick Hill, Waltham Abbey were prosecuted by Epping Forest District Council on 14 September 2017 for storing an estimated 100 – 150 tonnes of waste, when only licensed by the Environment Agency to store 10 tonnes.
Click on an image below to begin slideshow
Alfie Smith and Richard McGuire, directors of a waste removal company in Waltham Abbey were prosecuted for depositing waste without a permit or an exemption and falling in their duty of care.
Over 10 times the limit
Portfolio Holder for Environment, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: ”R&A Waste Removal Limited was registered with an exemption administered by the Environment Agency, allowing the company to sort up to 10 tonnes of mixed recyclable waste at any one time.”
”However, following an investigation by the Council’s Neighbourhoods team, it was found that the company was storing an estimated 100 to 150 tonnes of waste, ten times the amount they were licenced to store. They were also sorting significant quantities of non-recyclable waste that was not covered by the exemption either.”
”Storing large piles of unregulated waste is not only illegal, it also poses a fire hazard, presents pollution risks, and looks unsightly. The Council will not tolerate the growth of unregulated waste disposal site”.
The defendants each pleaded guilty to depositing waste on the site without a permit or in accordance with an exemption administered by the Environment Agency. R & A Waste Removal Limited also pleaded guilty to failing their waste duty of care.
Fines in excess of £4,000
Alfie Smith and Richard McGuire were each fined £1,000 and ordered to pay a contribution towards the Council’s prosecution costs of £500 and a Victim Surcharge of £120. Their company R & A Waste Removal Limited were fined £2,000 and ordered to pay a contribution towards the Council’s prosecution costs of £1,000 and a Victim Surcharge of £170.
Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder Councillor Sam Kane said: “If you have a concern or wish to know more about the way our district is policed these meetings are a great opportunity to ask your questions.”
“The district has such a strong sense of community, and events like these are vital in ensuring we all feel safe and protected.”
“So come along and help the police understand the issues you’re facing, let’s work together to make our district a safer place to live.”
There are signs of improvement in services provided by Whipps Cross Hospital. Part of the Barts Health NHS Trust, the hospital has been in special measures following poor Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspections. A presentation to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee of Epping Forest District Council following the latest CQC inspections in May suggest the hospital has improved from ‘inadequate’ to ‘overall requires improvement’. However, as one first-hand account of patient care at the end of the presentation demonstrated, there is still some way to go.
Dr Heather Noble – Medical Director, Whipps Cross Hospital
Alan Gurney – Managing Director, Whipps Cross Hospital
Signs of improvement at hospital trust
Alan Gurney, Managing Director said that any further CQC inspections today would see more improvements. However, he added that the condition of operating theatres was still a cause for concern. Investment in theatre refurbishments is scheduled for next year.
The CQC has seen an increase in the quality of the working environment and culture of the hospital. Bullying was previously identified as a major issue with high turnover of staff and heavy reliance on agency support. Significant improvements have been made in these areas. The hospital is also old. Many of its buildings pre-date the creation of the NHS. Investment is needed in new buildings.
Dr Heather Noble assured Councillor Steven Neville that issues around radiation exposure to staff had been resolved. Councillor David Stallan received assurances that Alan Gurney had no plans to relocate Whipps Cross, although the hospital is on a large site and could potentially operate from a smaller footprint.
Councillor Roger Baldwin asked about bed-blocking and capacity. Alan Gurney used the phrase ‘delayed discharge’ for which he had 11 cases at that moment. He assured councillors that he was working with partners to reduce discharge delays. No bed spaces had been closed this year and Mr Gurney considered it to be a lesser challenge than some other issues facing the hospital.
Councillors Mitchell and Sartin received further information in response to questions about bullying. Councillor Chambers explored the depth of hospital planning for the winter. Alan Gurney confirmed additional investment in building work and weekend cover arrangements to enhance winter cover. There is also additional ‘step-down’ coverage and coordination with partners in the ambulance service and care homes. The staff flu vaccination campaign is part of steps to prepare staff for the winter season.
Councillor David Wixley followed up on the issues of bullying and culture. Councillor Nigel Bedford focused on staff retention and reusing the defunct nursing home for other purposes. Alan Gurney provided assurance that recruitment and retention improvements are ongoing. He also felt that the site had plenty of capacity for development including accommodation for staff.
Responding to Councillor Gagan Mohindra, Dr Noble said that the Council could provide support by communicating the message about the need for redevelopment of outdated buildings.
Developing staffs careers
Dr Noble emphasised that managers as such ‘were not bad’ after Alan Gurney described how Whipps Cross was focusing on continual recruitment of nurses and a requirement for more doctors.
Dr Noble said that further work was needed in developing career and employment links with local schools and colleges. Responding to Councillor Holly Whitbread, she described good examples of work in Newham which could be adopted for Whipps Cross.
Mortuary facilities are old and in need of replacement but Dr Noble assured Councillor Bedford that the dignity of the deceased and care for the bereaved was a high priority.
Responding to Councillor Baldwin, Alan Gurney said that it would be wrong to say the use of Private Finance Initiative funding (PFI) was not an option but he added that there was no appetite for it.
Dementia care is also a priority. Responding to Councillor Aniket Patel, Dr Noble outlined some of the programmes including Dementia Friends and creating clinical areas more dementia ‘friendly’. Alan Gurney added that with the focus on older patients, dementia care was critical.
Councillor Mary Sartin, chairman of Overview and Scrutiny thanked Mr Gurney and Dr Noble, concluding questions with reference to the caring and compassionate approach of staff recognised in the latest CQC report.
Learning from the past
Mr Gurney and Dr Noble were invited to stay at the end of their presentation questions for a statement by a local resident. Janis Crowder gave an emotional account of her mother’s poor experience as a patient of Whipps Cross last year. Accepting improvements have since been made, Ms Crowder felt it was important to explain to hospital managers the difficulties and inadequacies of her mother’s care.
Transport for London managers have agreed to attend the meeting of Overview and Scrutiny Committee to discuss various public transport issues in January. Essex County Council is also to be invited to attend the Neighbourhoods Select Committee to discuss County bus services.
Epping Forest College 27 February 2018
Committee councillors also noted the scheduled attendance of the Principal of Epping Forest College at the meeting of Overview and Scrutiny on 27 February 2018.
6 local community and voluntary groups have been awarded £12,840 in grants helping the district’s social and physical wellbeing.
Hertfordshire Boat Rescue £830 for radio equipment for use by volunteers on rescue missions and events
Playground at Theydon Association (PAT) £5,000 contribution towards the refurbishment of the Theydon Bois playground
Fyfield Bridge Club £1,200 contribution towards the cost of new scoring equipment for the club
Ongar & Villages Voluntary Care £1,770 to support their transporting service which supports older people
Loughton Voluntary Care £1,540 to support their transporting service which supports older people
Fyfield Village Hall £5,000 contribution towards the refurbishment of the gentleman’s toilets and cloakroom
Keeping our communities thriving
Leisure and Community Services Portfolio Holder Councillor Helen Kane said: “Our grants go on to help such a wide variety of people throughout our community, giving our parents and children a social place to be active in new playgrounds, to giving our older resident’s opportunities to get out of the house and gain more independence with Loughton’s voluntary care community transport service.”
“I am proud that these grants are actively helping people in our district, giving much needed and valued services the boost they need to go on and keep our communities thriving. Can you think of a community group or voluntary service that could use a cash boost? Don’t delay, apply now.”
Apply for a £5k grant
If your community group could use up to £5,000 to help with your one-off project, initiative or even the further development of an existing scheme, apply now.
Three Acres and a Cow connect the Norman Conquest and Peasants’ Revolt with current issues like fracking and the food sovereignty movement via the Enclosures, English Civil War, Irish Land League and Industrial Revolution.
It draws a compelling narrative through the history of England in folk song, stories and poems.
History, sing a-long & storytelling
The performance will include a history talk, folk club sing-a-long, poetry slam and storytelling session. Come and share in these tales as they have been shared for generations.
Paths Unseen project
Paths Unseen shows how poetry can be a shared sociable activity. Over the past 18 months performance poet Keely Mills and illustrator Jef Winter have engaged with many individuals and groups from across the local community enabling them to write, tell their own stories and share their work in their own voices.
Inspiration has also come from local folklore, encouraging museum audiences to consider art as a medium for rediscovering local history. Paths Unseen project has been funded by Arts Council England.