Transparent democracy – holding people to account

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Councillors, Crime and safety, Democracy, Epping, Garages, Housing, Loughton, Meetings, Older people, Ongar, Recycling and waste, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Residents can now tell Epping Forest District Council what subjects they want councillors to examine.

Healthy Democracy

Most business people will tell you that the best decisions are made by small groups or individuals. The same is true at Epping Forest District Council where a small group of councillors called the Cabinet take most of the decisions. However, unlike business, councils have to be open, inclusive and accountable to everyone who lives and works in the area. Healthy democracy requires a means of holding that small group of councillors to account to the rest of the Council and everyone who lives and works in the district. That is the job of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

How is O&S made up?

O&S is one of the most dynamic and important Council committees. Made up of councillors drawn from all the political groups on the Council, its job goes beyond holding the Cabinet to account. O&S also has the power to call any public sector organisation or public utility including the health, education, social care and the police for public examination. O&S meetings of Epping Forest District Council have looked critically at hospital services, cuts to the police and the provision of Broadband across the district.

You can nominate subjects for discussion

Until recently it was up to councillors to decide what issues O&S investigated. Now the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Councillor Richard Morgan is asking local people to nominate subjects or organisations for closer examination. He said: “O&S uses the spotlight of publicity to make its case. It can’t alter a Cabinet decision or make the health services reduce waiting times at A&E. That is for others to do, but the attention it can bring to a problem or debate is a powerful tool for change”.

Councillor Richard Morgan continued: “Quite a lot of our work is generated by councillors either unhappy with a decision of the Cabinet or concerned about an area of policy we think should be examined and possibly changed. We also spend quite a bit of time challenging the assumptions and decisions of other organisations. Bringing an organisation such as the Probation Service or London Underground in to explain themselves can focus the mind remarkably well. All our meetings are open to the public and webcast so you can see exactly what people are saying. Now you can tell us where you think we should be looking.”

How do I submit my topic for discussion?

O&S doesn’t cover planning or licensing applications but most other areas are open to review. If you want Epping Forest District Council to investigate a public service or issue relevant to the district contact

Next meeting

There will be a new work programme from June 2014, the overview and scrutiny committee will consider requests at their next meeting. To view the current work programme  for the latest overview and scrutiny committee agenda document pack and a look for work programme monitoring towards the end of the agenda.

Epping welcomes the Tour de France

Written on . Posted in Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Epping, Local business, Loughton, Media, Ongar, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Tour de France, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

As we prepare to welcome the Tour de France to the Epping Forest district on Monday 7 July 2014, we will be publish pictures of this great occasion here. Please check regularly as we will be updating throughout the day.

Jean-Marc Bideau finishes in front of Jan Bárta

View photos in a slideshow by clicking on a picture below and then click start slideshow.



Park your car for Tour de France

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Epping, Loughton, North Weald Airfield, Ongar, Our attractions, Tour de France, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Your area

Extra parking will be available for spectators planning to watch Stage 3 of the Tour de France in Epping Forest on Monday 7 July.

Many local people will need do no more that step out from their front doors or take a short walk to see the greatest cycle show on earth but if you are one of the thousands of visitors planning to come by car, make sure to plan your route carefully to avoid the road closures. Normal on-street parking restrictions will apply on all surrounding roads.

See the full list of Council-owned pay and display car parks and tariffs. Private and temporary car parking tariffs will vary.


Epping High Street will be closed from 9am

  • Access to Cottis Lane and Bakers Lane Pay and Display car parks will only be available via residential roads from Lindsey Street.
  • Alternative temporary parking at Shaftsbury Farm, Lindsey Street.
  • St John’s School temporary parking – booking advised.

North Weald

  • North Weald Airfield – temporary parking including overnight accommodation for campervans and caravans.
  • Toll House Field, Woodside – temporary parking, overnight camping and secure bike parking. Click here for more information.


  • Temporary parking at Willingale Cricket Club


  • Temporary parking at Bridge Road.


Waltham Abbey

Epping Ongar Railway and London Underground Central Line

  • Residents of Ongar can let the train take the strain with Epping Ongar Railway running steam trains in to North Weald.
  • Visitors to Epping can also travel by train on the Central Line. Visitors prepared for a moderate walk can also hope of the underground at Buckhurst Hill, Loughton, Debden and Theydon Bois.



Latest business briefing published

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Business rates, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Environmental health, Epping, Food safety, Health, Licensing, Local business, Loughton, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Regulations, Sports, Supporting business, Tour de France, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

To celebrate the Tour de France passing through our district this month, our latest Business Briefing is a special edition, available now to download for free.

The sporting event will provide a unique opportunity for business owners and shopkeepers alike. Thousands of spectators and tourists are expected to line the streets to catch a glimpse of the excitement as the eyes will focus on Epping Forest for a brief but invaluable time. An illustrated, pull-out route map can be found in this edition of the Briefing, as well as tips on how to make the most of this momentous occasion.

As well as highlights on what’s to come from Le Tour, July’s issue looks at the achievements of the Council’s apprenticeship scheme, which provides crucial opportunities for young people to gain the skills and experience they need to give them a helping hand in kick-starting their careers. In addition, are updates from the Chamber of Commerce, Town Centre Initiative Funding, the launch of the Investors in Youth Awards 2014 and more.

Le Tour edition of One Business Briefing (pdf 4.8MB)


Businesses prepared for Tour de France

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Epping, Local business, Loughton, Media, North Weald Airfield, Ongar, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Parking, Residents, Sports centres and pools, Supporting business, Tour de France, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council

From Willingale to Buckhurst Hill, local businesses are making final preparations for the arrival of the Tour de France on Monday 7 July 2014.

Months of planning is coming together as businesses large and small put their final arrangements in place. Some of the district’s most picturesque villages and rural communities will become the centre of attention including Willingale, Fyfield and Moreton. From village post offices, pubs and corner shops to farmers fields offering parking and camping, the rural areas of Epping Forest will be buzzing with activity.

Tour de France Essex Logo

As the Tour reaches North Weald, the crowds of spectators are expected to get very large. Epping Ongar Railway is planning to bring lots of spectators from Ongar to North Weald by steam train. The parking and campervan facilities at North Weald Airfield are sure to bring in more people. In addition to camping and parking, Toll House Field at Woodside, North Weald is also offering secure bicycle parking for the many cycling enthusiasts expected to line the route. Shops in North Weald and Epping are preparing for large crowds.

Visitors can get in to the Tour de France mood early on Sunday 6 July 2014 with a charity cycling event from North Weald Airfield organised by Epping Forest District Council’s chairman, Councillor Tony Boyce, while the annual Epping Town Show and funfair takes place at Stonards Hill.

With High Street parking off-limits on Monday 7 July, Shaftsbury Farm in Lindsey Street, is offering parking just a 10 minute walk from the action in Epping High Street. Parking can also be booked in advance with St John’s School.

Special arrangements to welcome spectators along the Epping New Road are in hand at Miller and Carter by the Wake Arms, The Robin Hood and The Warren Inn in Buckhurst Hill. Staff and customers are planning to celebrate the day in style at Glyn Hopkins Fiat and Nissan dealership in Buckhurst Hill. The ‘bikers’ café loved by motorcyclists, horse riders and walkers at the Robin Hood roundabout will be sure to have hot tea or ice-cold drinks by the gallon depending on the weather.

Town and Parish councils are also making final preparations. Epping Town, North Weald, Fyfield, Moreton, Waltham Abbey, Loughton and Buckhurst Hill are all taking delivery of Tour de France bunting to give the streets a festival feel. Epping Forest District Council has started to decorate the civic offices where the media centre will be based while Epping shops of every size and description are preparing to put on a real show for the day.

Councillor Anne Grigg, portfolio holder for economic development at Epping Forest District Council said: “As we enter the last few days of preparation, you can feel a sense of excitement and anticipation. On 7 July, Epping Forest District will have its own shop-window to the world. Residents and businesses are making their final plans for this once in a life time event. As visitors come to our towns and villages or see Epping Forest for the first time via the estimated 2.2 billion world-wide TV audience, the shops and businesses of Epping Forest are determined to make the day a fantastic success.”

View photos in a slideshow by clicking on a picture below and then click start slideshow.


Family cycle rides

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Epping, Health, Loughton, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Sports, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your council

With the Tour de France coming to our district, Epping Forest District Council is celebrating this great year of cycling. To promote the benefits of cycling to the whole family, there will be 2, day-long family rides as part of the cycling for health programme. As they involve long distances, any young people attending must be competent riders.

Family cycle rides poster

Ride 1 – Olympics Park ride

The second anniversary of the opening ceremony of the 2012 games is on Sunday 27 July. To mark the occasion and this year of cycling, a group cycle ride has been organised. Participants will ride down the Lee Valley to the Olympic Park in Stratford. The route will take in the Olympic White Water site and will then progress through the ever-changing industrial and residential landscape of East London.

After stopping for lunch and a brief tour of the Olympic Park, whilst soaking up some of the best views of the city, riders will head back to Waltham Abbey. The ride is approximately 26 miles long and is open to families. Why not bring a picnic and enjoy lunch in the shadow of the Olympic rings and the great architecture of the Velo Park?


The ride starts at 10am.


Riders should meet at Hooks Marsh Car Park, Fishers Green Lane, Crooked Mile, Waltham Abbey EN9 2ED.

Ride 2 – Tour de Epping Forest

The second ride, the Tour de Epping Forest takes place on Sunday 17 August. This ride will enable you to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of Epping Forest, whilst learning about its vast history and some of the interesting stories of people who call this great area their home.

The route will start at Debden House Campsite and will work its way to the south of the Forest. Lunch will be taken here in one of the most unspoilt areas of East London before climbing up to High Beach and some great views. Please feel free to bring a picnic.


The ride starts at 10am.


Riders should meet at Debden House Car Park, Debden Road, Loughton IG10 2NZ.


Bring your own bike £3 per adult/£2 per child (under 18). Bike hire £6 per adult/£6 per child (under 18).

If you would like more information or a programme of rides, please contact Fabrizio Ferrari on 01992 564567 or email


Dance show ‘eNgage’ is back

Written on . Posted in Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Epping, Health, Loughton, Media, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

eNgage 2014 is bursting with energy and talent from the Epping Forest district and beyond.

The annual dance platform ‘eNgage’ is on Tuesday 24 June at 7.30pm at Harlow Playhouse Theatre, it is hosted by the Epping Forest District Council Arts Development.

eNgage at Harlow PlayhouseWith diverse dance styles from contemporary to tap to hip hop and musical theatre and performers ranging from nine-years-old to adult, it guarantees an entertaining evening.

Many new groups are performing this year, including students from DNA Studios, Waltham Abbey and Epping St John’s, who have teamed up with Flashdancers from Ivy Chimneys Primary School for a fantastic routine.

As always eNgage welcomes groups from outside the Epping Forest district. This year sees Hip Hop Pop, Harlow College and Harlow Fields, all from Harlow perform.  Also performing, for the first time at eNgage, is The Boswells School with two all-male dance pieces.


This year the show offers more than dance by introducing a new project Sing!

‘Sing!’ aims to help primary schools develop and sustain extra curricular choirs. For the first time, pupils of Moreton CE Primary School will perform a melody of songs they have been learning with Choral Animateur Chris Wray.

Book now

Tickets are available from the Harlow Playhouse box office.

Call 01279 431945 or visit to book your ticket.

Tickets are £10 full price and £7 concessions for under 16s / students / over 60s - please note this includes a £1 booking fee.


Residents warned after spate of break-ins

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Older people, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your home

Essex Police are urging residents in Waltham Abbey to increase vigilance after a series of daytime house burglaries.

Essex PoliceEssex Police want to hear from you

Essex Police Crime Prevention Officer, Tony Ellis said, “During daytime burglaries thieves need to establish if their intended target is occupied. This is normally carried out by knocking at the front door.”

“If the door is answered thieves will usually make some excuse such as, asking for a fictitious person and then leave. However, if no answer is obtained they will normally look to access either the side or rear of the house out of sight where they can then break in.”

“Essex Police want to hear from you if you experience a caller as described.”

“Don’t wait before you report it as we need to be able to check out cold callers straight away.”

Report a crime

Police can be contacted on the non-emergency 101 number or if the call is urgent always dial 999. You can find out more information on the Essex Police website.


Countrycare records it’s 3,000th veteran tree

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Loughton, Media, Ongar, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Last month our Countrycare team recorded the 3,000th veteran tree in the Epping Forest district. By the end of May 2014 the total number of veterans trees recorded is 3,112. This figure includes ancient trees and together with 883 notable trees, the total number of recorded tress is 4,045.

Since 2006 Countrycare and its volunteers and tree wardens have been recording veteran trees in the District as part of a competition to find the 50 Favourite Trees in the district. Trees were nominated by members of the public and judged. 50 trees were selected and a book was produced. This evolved into a project to record as many of the district’s veteran trees as possible.

You can see the database of trees on the 50 Favourite Trees website.

Chigwell Oak

An Oak in Chigwell - 5.9m girth and over 500 years old

Willingale Oak

An Oak in Willingale - 5.7m girth and over 500 years old

Theydon Garnon Oak

Veteran tree in Theydon Garnon - 6.5m girth and over 500 years old

The data shared with the Essex Wildlife Trust to contribute to their biological records database, used to help in planning decisions. It also goes to the Ancient Tree Hunt who map the country and plot the trees on.

Epping and Hainault Forests

The Epping Forest District is blessed with the remnants of the great forests of Essex, which now survive as Epping and Hainault Forests. These 2 areas form a collection of veteran trees of European importance with Epping Forest having over 50,000 veteran trees. These areas were pollarded woodlands (the successive cutting of trees above the browsing height of deer and cattle).

Other woods, such as the Lambourne Woods near Abridge, were coppiced. But the widespread practice of pollarding was not confined to the forests and has left us with a legacy of many old worked trees. They mark the skeleton of the ancient countryside as they are found in the oldest hedgerows and mark the boundaries of the oldest woodlands. 

Even one veteran native tree can be a wildlife habitat in its own right. It is well known that Oaks host a huge variety of species, but it is only the big old trees with holes in the stem and decayed heartwood, that do this. Recording and mapping these trees will inform us of habitat connectivity between ancient woodlands and allows us to view the District at a landscape level. 

Veteran tree

Helen Read, Veteran Tree Initiative 1999 – “The term veteran tree is one that is not capable of precise definition but encompasses trees defined by three guiding principles. Firstly, they are of interest biologically, aesthetically or culturally because of their age. Secondly, they are in the ancient stage of their life (the last third) and lastly that they are old relative to others of the same species.”


Transitions project successfully delivered

Written on . Posted in Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Epping, Loughton, Media, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council

Following on from Transitions Epping Forest 2013, Transitions Essex brought together artists and staff from four Essex care homes to work together, share ideas and create ways to engage with people living with dementia.

TE Launch 38

The project has encouraged care staff to bring creativity into their work with the aim of improving the quality of life, wellbeing and health of their residents. 4 artists worked on the project over an 8-month period; Nicola Esson, David Little, Helen Morse Palmer and Amanda Westbury. They were partnered with 2 care staff from Anisha Grange, Billericay; Beech House, Basildon; Evelyn May House, Langdon Hills and Woodbury Court, Laindon.

A free online resource pack entitled ‘Journeys in the Moment: Engaging Older People and People Living with Dementia’ will be available at the end of June 2014 for other care homes to use as inspiration.  It will include over 30 ideas and tips to use with a group or on a one to one basis to enhance interaction and improve wellbeing of care home residents.

Transitions Essex was delivered by Epping Forest District Council and funded by Essex County Council.