Councillors discussed many issues at the cabinet meeting of Epping Forest District Council on 3 December 2015.
Cabinet agrees new Housing depot plan
Eighty-four members of staff are expected to relocate from Epping to North Weald following Cabinet approval of a scheme to relocate Epping Forest District Council’s housing maintenance depot. Subject to the grant of planning permission, the £3.3million Repairs and Maintenance Hub will be built on council-owned land at Blenheim Way. The transfer will free up land at the existing depot for the proposed redevelopment of St John’s Road. A decision on the Hub planning application is expected in the first half of next year.
Local Plan Budget
A combination of changes in government policy and a determination to prepare the best possible submissions to the Examination in Public persuaded councillors of the need to confirm spending of almost £1.5million (over four years up to 2018/19) to complete the adoption of the new Local Plan. Cabinet supported the need for comprehensive public engagement with residents as well as ensuring supporting evidence is as up to date and robust as possible.
Council Leader Councillor Chris Whitbread told Cabinet colleagues that easy efficiencies had all been made and it was now time to scope out a more substantial Transformation Programme for the delivery of Epping Forest District Council services. Cabinet noted the appointment of the Council’s first Head of Transformation and the potential need to make significant investment to implement changes to service delivery.
Among the proposals coming through for better use of office accommodation was a suggestion by Councillor John Philip for councillors to give up their Members Room and share canteen space with staff. Council Chief Executive Glen Chipp agreed with suggestions about greater partnership working and use of technology to streamline services. Councillors Alan Lion, Richard Bassett and Gary Waller emphasised the importance of better customer services delivered in partnership with staff as well as co-location with other community-based organisations such as Essex Police.
Other reports approved at Cabinet included the adoption of a Council CCTV strategy and completion of extension of Epping Forest Museum. Councillor David Stallan drew attention to the inclusion of conditions for the provision of carbon monoxide alarms as part of the revised licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation. Councillor Syd Stavrou presented the new Local Council Tax Support Scheme and the Council’s Capital Review. Other items included Youth Engagement and the Town and Village Centres Opportunities Fund.