The draft Local Plan, changes to the district’s off-street parking and the Council Tax Support Scheme were all subjects for discussion at Cabinet on 1 December 2016.
Changes to draft Local Plan will be public
Responding to a public question at Cabinet on 1 December, Planning Portfolio Holder John Philip gave assurances that all changes to the draft Local Plan would be made public. Councillor Philips said that the council had factored in comments from previous consultation as well as new evidence in formulating the draft Local Plan. He expected further changes to the draft Plan following analysis of the latest consultation. Separately Councillor Philip provided a financial update on the production of the Local Plan.
Governance Portfolio Holder Councillor Richard Bassett received Cabinet approval to extend the shared Internal Audit arrangements between Epping Forest District Council, Harlow and Broxbourne. Thanks to the partnership, savings of more than £58,000 a year for 2016/17 and 2017/18 have been achieved.
Amendments to Council Tax Support Scheme
Review and amendment to the Local Council Tax Support Scheme and capital budget were presented by Finance Portfolio Holder Councillor Gagan Mohindra. Major capital projects within the £124 million budget include Loughton Shopping Park, St John’s Road and improvements to council housing and new-build housing projects. Many of the Council’s capital projects are aimed towards long term revenue generation, helping Epping Forest District Council become financially self-supporting.
Councillor Mohindra also assured Cabinet colleagues of his determination to achieve value for money with a £100,000 fund to support joint working with other organisations.
Update on Biffa collection costs
Councillor Gary Waller presented a report on domestic waste collection and recycling on behalf of Environment Portfolio Holder Will Breare-Hall. Collection costs have gone up since the introduction of the new Biffa contract. Provision of more recycling sacks combined with cross-contamination reducing income and additional collections due to the building of new houses has led to an increase of £343,000 in the contract.
Changes to off-street parking ahead
“Car parks are essential to our town centres” said Council Leader Chris Whitbread as he welcomed changes to off-street Pay and Display parking. Councillor Waller reported a saving of £58,600 a year from 2017/18 after moving off-street Pay and Display parking enforcement, cash collection and machine maintenance from the North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) to NSL Ltd.
Later on the agenda, Councillor Waller received Cabinet approval to manage Waltham Abbey car parks owned by the Lee Valley Regional Park. He also received approval to demolish and replace garages in Vere Road with 20 new parking spaces. A further 11 spaces are to be created behind shops 49 and 41 in The Broadway.
Planning wait times improved
Residents can expect to see planning decision times improved by up to five days. Councillor Richard Bassett secured Cabinet approval for a new officer and further computerisation to speed up the planning application and validation process.
Town and Village Centres Fund
The Town and Village Centres Opportunities Fund has been renamed the Epping Forest District Economic Opportunities Fund. The rebranding reflects widening the availability criteria beyond town and village centres.