Call for St John’s development bids

Written on . Posted in Business, Commercial properties, Community, Consultation, Epping, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Media, Out and about, Planning, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council

Developers are to be asked to submit proposals for the redevelopment of the St John’s Road area of Epping.

The ‘Expressions of Interest’ exercise has been launched jointly by Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) on behalf of Essex County Council and Savills for Epping Forest District Council with both consultancies also supporting Epping Town Council.

St Johns Road Epping CM16 5DN

Councillor Anne Grigg, portfolio holder for Asset Management at Epping Forest District Council said: “I am very pleased to announce the start of the search for a St John’s Road development partner. We undertook extensive consultation with local residents and businesses last year to produce a Development Brief to benefit both local residents and businesses. The Expressions of Interest exercise takes us to the next stage where we invite developers to think about proposals as close to the aspirations of the brief as possible.”

The land under consideration includes the former school site, council depot and Town Council offices. As the main land owners in St John’s Road, the councils worked together with St John’s Church to produce the Development Brief. The whole site will be marketed by Savills and LSH on a joint sole agency basis with complete transparency between the 2 teams. Developers will get their first look at the potential of the site from a specially produced website. Anyone can look at the site directly and via links from the Epping Forest District Council and Essex County Council websites.


The website includes

  • a location plan
  • a site plan
  • communications and transport information
  • details of existing buildings and uses
  • local amenities
  • development opportunities
  • current ownership details
  • photographs of the area
  • contacts for more information and viewing arrangements

Visitethe website at


A brochure available in hard copy and as a download St Johns Road brochure (pdf 2.1MB) also identifies the site, location and local context as well as outlining the adopted planning brief and development potential of the site. Each expression of interest will be evaluated by LSH and Savills in consultation with Epping Forest District Council, Epping Town Council and Essex County Council before selected parties are invited to prepare bids.

Councillor Grigg added: “There is a great deal of public interest in achieving a successful outcome for the St John’s Road development area. The site has many complexities, not least of which is the ownership split between the different land owners. However, by co-ordinating our approach and making the Expressions of Interest exercise as open and transparent as possible, I hope we can reassure local people that the process is being handled properly.”

Councillor Derrick Louis, Cabinet Member for Transformation and Corporate Services at Essex County Council, said: “This is a great example of all tiers of local government working together to sensitively achieve ambitions for the rejuvenation of this part of Epping.”

Epping Town Mayor, Councillor Will Breare-Hall, speaking on behalf of Epping Town Council added: “The site offers a rare opportunity for an exciting town centre development and the Town Council remains very interested to see what proposals come forward as a result of this exercise.”

The Expressions of Interest exercise and the selection of a preferred development partner is not expected to be completed for several months. Councillor Grigg said: “We hope to have bids evaluated by the end of the Autumn but a great deal will depend on the range and quality of the Expressions of Interest followed by the bids we receive. Residents and local business people will be kept informed throughout.”


Voting age debate at youth conference

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Consultation, Councillors, Democracy, Elections, Residents, Young people, Your community, Your council

Young people from schools across Epping Forest district are set to debate lowering the voting age to 16. 80 young people packed the debating chamber at the district council for the Epping Forest Youth Council organised Youth Conference 2013 #efyconf13.

Proceedings were opened by Youth Councillor Natasha Miller and District Council Chairman Councillor Mary Sartin before the morning session got into full swing with Q&As to a panel of councillors and senior council managers.

Why don’t younger people vote? Senior Democratic Services Officer Simon Hill makes his point graphically. Older people are far more likely to vote than younger generations. He asks - how do you feel about older people making decisions for you?

Delegates took a break before splitting into smaller focus groups to discuss the priorities for the Youth Council next year.

Schools taking part include Davenant, Chigwell Public, West Hatch, Braeside, St John’s, Roding Valley and Woodford County.

Each focus group prepares a set of top-topics for debate back in the council chamber. The groups start with a question ‘What are the issues and experiences of living in the Epping Forest District?’ After a feedback session to the whole conference, delegates use electronic voting to establish the Youth Council’s top 3 priorities for the coming year, which are

  1. Stereotyping
  2. Substance misuse
  3. Bullying

Living in a beautiful area is a definite plus along with easy access to London but public transport and fear of crime are some of the other problems identified by delegates. Bus services come in for a lot of criticism. Delegates put forward potential solutions including better education, more trust in young people, combating negative media stereotypes and giving young people more constructive opportunities through activities and volunteering.

“Countries as diverse as Austria, Argentina and now Scotland have given the vote to 16 year olds” says Youth Councillor Evie Dolan at the start of chairing the debate on lowering the voting age. Youth Councillor Jaymey  McIvor proposes the motion. Youth Councillor Edward Gokmen opposes. The motion is carried. 55% vote in favour of lowering the voting age to 16.

Youth Councillors felt the conference was a great success with some unexpected outcomes. Youth Councillor Victoria Armitage felt the day had brought better connections between young people. Natasha Miller added that the issues of school group rivalries needed to be addressed. Youth Councillor Ella Foster said: “It was really good and some key issues came out such as speed limits, discrimination against young people and the way adults see us. It was a great insight for the Youth Councillors about the issues facing young people now.


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


Follow the day on Twitter using hashtag #efyconf13.


Planning documents offline for upgrade works

Written on . Posted in Business, Consultation, Licensing, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Your council, Your environment

On Monday 8 July you will not be able to view planning or licensing application documents online due to essential upgrade works. We will start at 8am and hope to have the upgrade completed by 2pm. No other part of the Epping Forest District Council website will be affected.

You will be not be able to search for documents such as floorplans and application forms but details of applications will still be available.

The upgrade will

  • improve the usability of the page
  • remove issues experienced by some users with pop up blockers

We apologise in advance for any inconvenience this may cause.


The Police and Crime Commissioner wants to talk with you

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Consultation, Crime and safety, Media, Meetings, Older people, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Nick Alston, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Essex is holding a public meeting in Epping on Thursday 23 May 2013. This is an open meeting and all members of the public are welcome.


Thursday 23 May 2013 from 6pm to 8pm – you may join or leave the meeting at any time.


In the council chamber at Epping Forest District Council, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4BZ.


Don’t worry if you can’t make it, the meeting will be webcast so you will be able to watch the meeting from the comfort of your own home, either live or at a more suitable time.

Watch the PCC meeting online here

Want to know more

For more information on the Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex visit or call 01245 291600.

Full Council 23 April 2013

Written on . Posted in Benefits, Business, Community, Consultation, Councillors, Democracy, Licensing, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Meetings, Our attractions, Out and about, Parking, Recycling and waste, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Welfare reforms, broadband access, recycling and the Local Plan were discussed at Full Council on 23 April, the last meeting before the local elections on 2 May.

Short stay parking to support high street

100 or more Epping car parking spaces are to be re-designated short stay. The 3 hour maximum stay in these spaces will free up parking for shoppers visiting local high street businesses.

The pay and display parking changes are being made after a council survey linked the increased London Underground Limited (LUL) parking charges to displacement of commuters to cheaper council car parks. Councillors heard that this caused an unacceptable reduction in parking availability for shoppers and a reduction in business for high street shops. Local councillors are to be consulted on the changes.

Councillors remembered

Councillors remembered 2 former members of Epping Forest District Council. Ian Beattie served the residents of Buckhurst Hill and Buckhurst Hill West for 21 years from 1974 until 1995. One of the longest serving and most senior councillors, he was also Chairman of Council in 1980/81. Councillors also paid tribute to former councillor Joan Ormston who served as a member for the Debden Green Ward from 1990 to 1994.

Other items

Key Objectives in the Corporate Plan were agreed by councillors. Among other issues debated at Full Council were welfare reforms, broadband access, town centre partnerships, recycling, pay policy, licensing and the Local Plan. There was very good news following a council bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for money to expand Epping Forest District Council’s museum in Waltham Abbey.

Watch the Full Council meeting

Council Tax Benefit change is coming

Written on . Posted in Benefits, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Consultation, Council tax, Epping, Housing, Loughton, Ongar, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

A new scheme called Local Council Tax Support (LCTS) will replace Council Tax Benefit from the 1 April 2013. This new support scheme will be different from the current Council Tax Benefit scheme and is not so generous.

Local Council Tax Support poster
Local Council Tax Support poster

This scheme applies only to people of working age. People of pension age will continue to have their LCTS calculated in the same way as they currently have their Council Tax Benefit calculated.

Although the Government has introduced the LCTS scheme, they have reduced the funding that we receive and therefore we have had to reduce the amount of help that we can give working age people towards their Council Tax.

Changes from 1 April 2013

If you currently do not pay any Council Tax you will now have to pay something.

If you already pay Council Tax after your benefit entitlement has been deducted you will have to pay more than you have previously towards your Council Tax.

Council Tax Support will fall by over £1 million in Epping Forest.

If you have questions about this new scheme, come along to one of our Local Council Tax Support surgeries where you can talk to our Benefit and Council Tax team about the scheme and the payment options available to you.

Local Council Tax Support surgeries

  • Monday 25 February 2013
    Debden, Little Oaks Children’s Centre, IG10 3TD - 1.30pm to 3.30pm
  • Tuesday 26 February 2013
    Waltham Abbey, Waltham Abbey Town Hall, EN9 1DE - 9.30am to 12.30pm
  • Wednesday 27 February 2013
    Chigwell, The Limes Centre, IG7 5LP - 9.30am to 4.30pm
  • Friday 1 March 2013
    Ongar, Ongar Adult Community Learning, CM5 0GA - 9.30am to 11.30am
  • Monday 4 March 2013
    Buckhurst Hill, Little Buddies Children’s Centre, IG9 5ES - 2pm to 4pm
  • Wednesday 6 March 2013
    Epping, Epping Forest District Council Offices, CM16 4BZ - 9.30am to 3.30pm
  • Thursday 14 March 2013
    Waltham Abbey, Hazelwood Children’s Centre, EN9 3EL - 12.30pm to 3pm

Call to build local tourism economy

Written on . Posted in Business, Consultation, Councillors, Leader, Local business, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Supporting business, Travel, Your area, Your council

Businesses have been urged to tap into the tourism market after figures indicate it was worth over £180m in 2010 to the local economy.

The call to everyone associated with local tourism in the Epping Forest district – from visitor attractions, sporting facilities, restaurants, festivals and events was answered on 31 January when more than 80 delegates attended the district’s first-ever tourism workshop.

Representatives from every sector of the industry met with key policy makers from the district and neighbouring local authorities to plan the future of the tourism on offer in Epping Forest.

Visit Epping Forest website

Delegates heard from speakers setting out the current value of this sector to the local economy in terms of income and jobs and forecasts of how this might grow. Individual members of the One Epping Forest Tourism Taskforce including the Corporation of London and Epping Ongar Railway set out what they thought the key opportunities were for the district before all the delegates broke into workshops to come up with the key components of a longer-term development plan.

Chairman of the Epping Forest District Tourism Development Taskforce Councillor Tony Boyce said: “I am really impressed with the large number of colleagues from the business, voluntary and government sector who turned out today for this important event. Clearly Tourism is already a significant contributor to the economy of the district worth over £180m in 2010 but today delegates were clear that we had opportunities to bring in even more. In terms of the future, lots of new ideas were put forward, it was clear that we need a mechanism for enabling all elements of the sector to work better together and to co-ordinate promoting the whole district as well as individual attractions. I think we all know that Epping Forest district is an absolutely lovely place with bags and bags of tourism potential. Our job is to unlock fully that potential.”

Councillor Tony Boyce continued: “The Taskforce’s key emphasis is on ‘doing’. For starters, we have developed to promote what the area has to offer. We are also producing a promotional leaflet, collectively promoting ourselves at trade fairs and exploring other joint working opportunities. Going forward we want and need the input of all providers locally. It is clear that our partners believe there is massive untapped potential for inward investment and jobs through greater promotion of tourism across the district.”

Councillor Chris Whitbread, Leader of Epping Forest District Council and Chairman of One Epping Forest was delighted with the response to the tourism summit. Having lived in the Epping area all his life, Chris said: “It always surprises me how much Epping Forest district has to offer. From rafting at the Lee Valley White Water Centre in Waltham Abbey to our historic towns and of course the green open spaces of our beautiful Forest and the Lea Valley Regional Park, there is so much on offer for visitors to our district.”

He added: “Tourism is very important to our area. We need to build upon the Olympic legacy, the opportunities of the Tour de France coming to our area in 2014 and the canoeing world championships at the White Water Centre in 2015. We look forward to welcoming more and more visitors to our local area.”

Mobile website launched

Written on . Posted in Arts, Business, Consultation, Councillors, Emergencies, Environmental health, Health, Media, Meetings, Museum, North Weald Airfield, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Playschemes, Residents, Sports, Sports centres and pools, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

If you’re visiting our website from your smartphone you can now choose to use Mobile EFDC - our optimised, cross platform mobile friendly version for news, events, meetings and to report problems when out and about.

Mobile EFDCGo and try it out at

Mobile EFDC is simpler, clearer, faster - designed to access information when you are out and about,  focusing on our most popular online services.

A third of our users access information using a mobile device, Mobile EFDC makes it easier to navigate on small screens.

By adding a browser bookmark, or adding a shortcut on your phone homepage you can easily interact or contact us with the press of a button.

Embracing the new Government’s digital by default strategy, Mobile EFDC is part of the ongoing project to improve digital services. The update of the council website in-house using Joomla and WordPress open source software saved the council at least £75,000 in development costs and reduced its annual costs by £20,000.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep up-to-date with the latest news.

New Chief Executive endorses Youth Council work

Written on . Posted in Community, Consultation, Democracy, Media, Meetings, Our performance, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

The new Chief Executive endorses the work of Epping Forest Youth Council and says “Be the voice of young people. Hold the main council to account.”

It was back down to business for the Epping Forest Youth Council last night, as they held their first full meeting since the Christmas break. On the agenda for the first time was a presentation from Epping Forest District Council`s new Chief Executive, Glen Chipp, followed by a question and answer session.
Youth councillors with new Chief Executive Glen Chipp

Mr Chipp shared his views with the Youth Councillors on what he perceived the council’s strengths and weaknesses are, and set out the changes that would need to be made in the future.

Youth councillors Edward Gokmen and Olivier TinkerMr Chipp went on to tell the Youth Council how impressed he was with the work they have been doing, and offered some encouraging advice. When asked by Natasha Miller “Do you think the Council consults enough with the Youth Council?”, Mr Chipp responded “Don’t wait for us to come to you … bang on our door, about what you think is important”. Equally, when asked by Carina Sander “What advice would you give us, so we are not used as a tick box exercise?” he said “I’m not interested in ticking boxes. I want young people to challenge, as you are doing now”.

Other issues raised by the Youth Council included making information that Council department’s produce, such as the Local Plan consultation, easier for young people to understand. Mr Chipp agreed whole heartedly, telling the Youth Council that it isn’t just young people that struggle to understand it!

Finally, the good news continued when Edward Gokmen, Chair for the meeting, asked Glen Chipp if he would support the Youth Council’s plan to hold a youth conference at the civic offices this summer. Mr Chipp gave his consent, so all that remains to say is – watch this space!

Watch the webcast

New dog control orders start today

Written on . Posted in Animal welfare, Business, Consultation, Countryside and wildlife, Crime and safety, Our countryside, Out and about, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

From Monday 14 January 2013, 3 new Dog Control Orders come into force for all publicly-accessible land in the Epping Forest district. The new orders are being adopted under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.

Dog control orders

It is now an offence for a person in charge of a dog to

  1. fail to remove any dog fouling on publicly-accessible land in the Epping Forest district, including Epping Forest which is owned by the City of London Corporation
  2. fail to put a dog on a lead when directed to do so by an authorised officer, on any public land within the district
  3. fail to limit the number of dogs which a person may take onto public land within the district to 4 dogs

Councillor Will Breare-Hall, Portfolio Holder for the Environment, said: “These Dog Control Orders received support from the vast majority of respondents to the public consultation. On behalf of all our residents, it’s important that the council uses the powers available to it to deal with the small number of irresponsible dog owners who still fail to control and clear up after their dogs, despite the recognised health risks.“

More information, including a copy of the orders and maps identifying the land where the orders apply (the whole of the Epping Forest district) are on the Dog Control Orders page or by calling 01992 564608 for advice.