The new council housebuilding programme is to be accelerated by Epping Forest District Council. Housing Portfolio Holder David Stallan reported progress on a host of new schemes at various stages of planning and development to the meeting of Cabinet on 23 July 2015.
New council housing is being planned and developed across the district including Nazeing, High Ongar, Chipping Ongar, Theydon Bois, Matching Green, Roydon, Buckhurst Hill and Loughton.
Finance Portfolio Holder Syd Stavrou continued the Housing theme with Councillor Stallan as they outlined measures to protect and retain housing related assets within the district.
Councillor Stavrou reported a 97.79 per cent Council Tax collection rate for 2014/15. Councillors then went on to approve the terms of consultation with residents for the Local Council Tax Support Scheme for 2016/17.
The special status of Copped Hall was noted when Portfolio Holder Councillor Gary Waller reported on the latest Character Appraisal for the Copped Hall Conservation Area. Councillor Waller referred to the rich history of Copped Hall as far back as the 13th century and its connections with William Shakespeare and the first performance of A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream. Cabinet approved the Appraisal and amendments to the Conservation Area boundary.
Safeguarding local people
Councillor Waller described the Council’s Safeguarding Strategy and Action Plan as a comprehensive piece of work produced with meticulous care and attention. Councillors and Staff of all councils are required to meet duties of care under Section 11 Children Act and Care Act 2014. Many different people may be considered vulnerable and both councillors and staff receive training in recognising and reporting their concerns.
Cabinet went on to confirm the adoption of the Prevent Policy and Action Plan as part of the Safeguarding agenda directed particularly against radicalisation and extremism. Epping Forest District Council has invested in ‘first-class’ individuals to support safeguarding. Cabinet approved a request by Councillor Waller to include a bid for future staff funding in the next budget.
Continuing the theme of protecting local residents, Cabinet agreed a report proposing to review CCTV funding. Councillors heard that around 480 CCTV cameras at around 40 separate sites are currently monitored and maintained by the Council.
Cameras installed several years ago are reaching the age at which replacement will become necessary. Pressure for the installation of additional cameras continues. Cabinet authorised the Director of Communities to prepare a fully costed CCTV Strategy and Funding Plan for future consideration.
Cabinet approved the latest steps for introduction of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). Progress forms an important part of the development of Local Plan policies on which the Council will consider planning applications. Money paid by developers to CIL as part of planning permissions would help to meet the costs of providing smaller infrastructure items to meet local need.
Waste and recycling service improving
Cabinet welcomed recent improvements to the waste and recycling service since the problematic introduction of the four-day collection weeks in May. Portfolio Holder John Philip repeated the Council’s apology to residents. He said that people had suffered difficulties and not all problems had been resolved although the situation was much improved.
Cabinet approved a report that individual compensation to a small number of complainants was not suitable. Further reviews of progress would follow and once the service was working properly it would be more appropriate to look at the issue district-wide.
Broadway and Langston Road developments
Portfolio Holder Councillor Ann Grigg received Cabinet approval to allow Higgins Homes PLC to take responsibility for the construction of a new land-mark building on the site of the Winston Churchill pub in Loughton Broadway.
Cabinet went on to note progress on the Epping Forest Retail Park at Langston Road following the purchase of the T11 site adjoining the Council-owned depot, and a licence to enable temporary car parking on T11 pending development.
Discussions are at an advanced stage with a number of potential retail tenants while plans are progressing for highway improvement works.