The Celebration of Youth event organised by Epping Forest Youth Council drew praise from senior councillors at the meeting of the Full Council on 4 November. Councillor Chairman, Councillor Mary Sartin led the tributes to young people who transformed the council chamber the previous week from its usual sober atmosphere with the application of lights and music. Council Leader, Councillor Chris Whitbread agreed, saying that the event was absolutely outstanding.
Councillor Whitbread also congratulated nine new apprentice members of staff on their appointment to the Council and reported on further discussions with council colleagues across Essex on additional support for young people and the development of workplace skills.
The local economy is increasingly turning towards tourism as a means of generating jobs and inward investment. Councillor Whitbread reported on a recent tour of local tourist attractions with the Deputy Leader of Essex County Council, Councillor Kevin Bentley, and the launch of the Phoenix facility on the site of the former North Weald Little Chef, which is being used as a base for developing closer business and investment ties with China.
Support for the local economy featured in a number of questions at the Council meeting. Portfolio Holder Councillor Anne Grigg responded to Councillor Jon Whitehouse by outlining a number of ways the Council was working towards the creation of new jobs and investment.
The purchase of the second floor of Bridgeman House in Sun Street, Waltham Abbey to preserve the office accommodation above the museum for local jobs and businesses was warmly welcomed by members of the Council.
Portfolio Holder Councillor Gary Waller fielded questions ranging from energy consumption to car parking. He was able to report that the Buckhurst Hill parking review was proceeding well, leaving the prospects looking good for the Debden review to go forward next year.
Council officers are authorised to make certain decisions regarding planning applications under delegated powers within the Council’s constitution. Detailed debate took place concerning recommendations by members of the District Development Control Committee on the merits of proposed changes. While Councillors approved the report, they also raised issues for further consideration by District Development Control.
Taxis and drivers are licensed by the Council. Councillors approved a new Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy to ensure residents are transported in a safe and secure manner.