Key aims and objectives over the next 5 years were considered by councillors at Epping Forest District Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 10 February. Key elements of the high-level strategy include a continuing low Council Tax, the Local Plan and a modern and responsive approach to service delivery.
The Corporate Plan 2015–2020 also includes a vision of how the council sees the district and its services evolve over the 5-year period, performance monitoring and working with partner agencies.
Overview and Scrutiny Panel framework review
A new themed ‘select committee’ structure was approved at Overview and Scrutiny. Councillor Mary Sartin explained that the 4 panels reporting to Overview and Scrutiny would reflect the council’s new structure with a clear reporting route for each service. There would be clear scope for activities of each select committee. Efficiencies are also envisaged by streamlining of the committee structure from 5 panels to 4.
Lea Valley Regional Park consultation
The Lea Valley Regional Park came under the spotlight of district councillors as they responded to consultation on the Parks proposals for a new Park Development Framework. While supporting the Park and recognising the benefits it brings to the district, councillors expressed concerns regarding some of the proposals in the consultation.
Overview and Scrutiny agreed
- To support the overall approach of the proposals in the context of the statutory functions of the Park Authority, ie in relation to sport and recreation, leisure, education and landscape, heritage and nature conservation
- To express concern about the possible extent of new building being proposed in the Green Belt, especially in Area 6 (the Park is divided into 8 areas with area 1 being at the southern end and area 8 being the very most northern tip in Ware)
- To object to proposals, as currently worded, concerning the use of compulsory purchase powers in relation to a number of glasshouse sites and other long-standing commercial uses within the Park
- To encourage the Park Authority to work more closely with the Lea Valley Growers Association and individual growers to advance schemes for land swaps to benefit both the Park and the glasshouse industry
- To encourage the Park Authority to reconsider its attitude towards the glasshouse industry in the light of the National Planning Policy Framework, the on-going work of the Lea Valley Food Task Force, the Authority’s stated support for continued agricultural use of land, and the potential educational and heritage resource which the industry could represent within the Park