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.

Housing Allocations Scheme review and new Tenancy Policy consultation

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Consultation, Epping, Housing, Housing repairs, Loughton, Ongar, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your community, Your home

The council is seeking views on its draft revised Housing Allocations Scheme and new draft Tenancy Policy.

Housing Allocations Scheme

The council operates a housing register. This is a list of ‘homeseekers’ who are waiting to be offered a council or housing association property. We are required by law to have a Housing Allocations Scheme for

  • deciding priorities and the procedure to be followed in selecting homeseekers for council accommodation, or
  • nominating homeseekers for housing association accommodation

The council’s current scheme has not been reviewed since its introduction in December 2010 (although it was amended in September 2012 to take account of new Armed Forces Regulations). This was due to new Government guidance that we were waiting for. The guidance was issued in July 2012 and it gives councils the power to decide how accommodation should be allocated, based on local priorities. Allocations can now be made in any way the council sees fit, but the scheme must be both legal and rational.

Tenancy Policy

Social housing providers (such as councils and housing associations) must now publish clear and accessible tenancy policies. They must outline their approach to tenancy management, including actions to sustain tenancies, prevent unnecessary evictions and tackle tenancy fraud. The policy should explain how the needs of vulnerable people are taken into account, and how advice and assistance will be provided.

Our draft Tenancy Policy also sets out

  • the lengths and types of tenancies, and the circumstances under which a particular type will be granted
  • how applicants or tenants can appeal against decisions that we make
  • discretionary rights to succeed to a tenancy

The Council’s Housing Scrutiny Member Panel has considered both documents and our Tenants and Leaseholders Federation is being consulted. The final draft documents will be considered by the cabinet on 15 April 2013. If you would like to comment on the draft revised Housing Allocations Scheme, or the draft Tenancy Policy, please write to:

The Assistant Director of Housing (Operations), Epping Forest District Council, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4BZ.

You can also phone our housing consultation hotline 01992 564762 (24 hour answerphone) or email housinginfo@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.

Information

The information you need can be found in the following documents

Responses are needed by Thursday 14 March 2013. The Council’s Cabinet and Housing Portfolio Holder will then consider the results of this consultation. When approved, the new scheme and policy will come into force on 1 July 2013.

Local Council Tax support scheme adopted

Written on . Posted in Benefits, Community, Consultation, Council tax, Councillors, Democracy, Housing, Meetings, Older people, Private housing, Residents, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

Epping Forest District Council’s Local Council Tax Support Scheme has been agreed and adopted by Full Council at its meeting on 18 December. From 1 April 2013 Council Tax Benefit will be replaced by the Local Council Tax Support Scheme (LCTS) as a consequence of the Welfare Reform Act.

From April 2013 people of working age who pay no Council Tax may have to pay some, and those who currently pay some may have to pay more. Key elements of the new scheme are:

  • The calculation of support based on 80% of the Council Tax bill, rather than 100% at present
  • Anyone of working age who lives in a higher Council Tax band, will have their support calculated as if their property was a Band D
  • Inclusion of child maintenance in the calculation (excluding the first £15 per week per family)
  • The capital limit (personal savings) will be reduced from the current level of £16,000 to £6,000
  • Second adult rebate will not be included in the scheme for people of working age
  • A minimum award of £0.50 per week. This is in line with the minimum award in housing benefit
  • The inclusion of an Exceptional Hardship Fund to help the most vulnerable customers affected by the changes

Pension age people are protected from any reduction to their benefit payments under the new scheme although they may need to pay more if Council Tax increases.

Residents who are currently in receipt of Council Tax Benefit will be contacted in the New Year with details of the impact of these changes. Residents are being advised to go online in advance of this communication to find out whether they will be affected by the introduction of LCTS at www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/index.php/residents/council-tax

Councillor Syd Stavrou, Finance Portfolio Holder said: “Councils across Essex have worked together to implement schemes that limit the impact of the central government grant cuts on our most vulnerable residents. The district is losing approximately £1 million a year compared with the old scheme. Pensioners are protected and people in some of the other most vulnerable groups. We have had to make some difficult decisions about who gets help and how much but we feel that the proposals are as fair as possible to the majority of people within the resources available.”

Funding allocated to Councils for LCTS has been cut by 10% and is frozen at 2011 levels; this results in a drop of £1m for Epping Forest District.

 

Proposed dog control orders update

Written on . Posted in Animal welfare, Consultation, Crime and safety, Out and about, Residents, Your area, Your community

Following public consultation, we are proposing to introduce 3 Dog Control Orders (DCO) using powers under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.

If adopted it will be an offence for a person in charge of a dog to

  1. fail to remove dog faeces deposited on any public land within the district
  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

We consulted residents on the proposed orders for a 2 month period between 2 August and 2 October 2012. The findings will be reported to the council’s cabinet meeting on 3 December 2012, with the recommendation that the council adopts the 3 dog control orders as proposed.

Results of the survey

Comment on potential changes to planning permission for extensions

Written on . Posted in Building control, Business, Business rates, Commercial properties, Conservation and listed buildings, Consultation, Gypsy and traveller, Housing, Housing repairs, Licensing, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Planning, Private housing, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has issued a consultation document for 6 weeks seeking comments on possible temporary changes to permitted development rights on extensions.

Among its proposed course of action is to allow homeowners and businesses to make larger extensions to their homes and business premises without needing to submit a planning application. For example, this could allow a maximum 8 metre depth for a single storey rear extension to a detached house and 6 metre depth for any other type of house, without needing planning permission. If approved, this would be a temporary measure for 3 years.

You can comment on this consultation direct to the DCLG, which ends on 24 December 2012, on a downloadable response form by following the link below. This form also includes details of the proposals.

Comment on the DCLG consultation document

First reflections on the Local Plan consultation

Written on . Posted in Building control, Business, Consultation, Councillors, Gypsy and traveller, Housing, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Private housing, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Anyone who wants to know what local residents and stakeholders said during the recent ‘Community Choices’ public consultation can find out in our latest video update.

Councillor Richard Bassett, Planning Portfolio Holder has chosen Chipping Ongar as the location for his second Local Plan blog. He gives an initial assessment of the evidence submitted to Epping Forest District Council on the issues and options facing the district as it continues to prepare a Local Plan covering the next 20 years.

More than 5,500 responses were made in response to the Council’s appeal for evidence and opinions. It will be several months before detailed analysis is completed.

In addition to online consultation documents and a questionnaire, the Council organised a number of evening drop-in sessions throughout the district at which local people discussed the issues and options with councillors and staff face to face. Presentations were made to Town and Parish Councils, several of whom invited district council representatives to talk about the consultation at their public meetings. The district council received letters and emails as well as several petitions, all of which are being incorporated into the body of evidence.

Councillor Bassett said: “We received a great deal of interest and I would like to thank everyone who participated in the consultation. The new Local Plan will be our district’s best defence against inappropriate development as well as enabling us to provide homes and employment opportunities for our children. The evidence and opinions provided by our residents are vital in making it as strong and robust as possible.”

The next stage in the public consultation process will be the publication of a ‘preferred options’ document containing draft policies based on evidence from ‘Community Choices’ and forecasts of population growth and housing need. Eventually this will lead to a ‘submission’ Local Plan for further scrutiny by a government-appointed inspector at an ‘Examination in Public’. Only by successfully passing all these stages will the final Local Plan be adopted as the blueprint for appropriate development over the next 20 years.

Epping Forest Sports and Physical Activity Club Forum

Written on . Posted in Community, Consultation, Health, Older people, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Sports, Sports centres and pools, Young people, Your community

On 19 November Epping Forest District Council and Upper Clapton Football Club will be hosting the Epping Forest Club Forum.

The forum is an informal opportunity for you to hear about local projects, meet partners and gain vital information to help develop your club.

This meeting of the forum will see guest speakers from Active Essex discussing local funding opportunities and coaching bursary schemes. As well as representatives from the District Council’s Sports and Health Development Team talking about partnership working in order to grow sporting opportunities for people with disabilities. There will also be the opportunity to have your say in the future of the forum and a chance for you to network with other clubs and partners from across the district.

Attendance is free and a buffet and refreshments will be provided. To book a place, or for more information, please contact Fabrizio Ferrari on 01992 564567 or  Email fferrari@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Epping Forest Inclusion Forum (Sport and Leisure)

Written on . Posted in Community, Consultation, Health, Residents, Sports, Sports centres and pools, Your community

The next meeting of Epping Forest District Council’s Parents Forum (Sport and Leisure) will take place at Lambourne End Activity Centre on 6 November between 6.30pm and 8.30pm.  Parents, guardians, carers and supporters of disabled people are invited to attend.

The Forum, which is being co-ordinated by the Community Services department of Epping Forest District Council, will be the steering group for the Epping Forest Inclusion Project.  It will give people who know and understand the needs of disabled people the opportunity of having their say in the development of leisure opportunities for disabled people.

At this meeting, the key objectives of the project over the next two years will be discussed, as well as the short-term action plan. In addition, roles within the Forum will be assigned.

For more information or to register with the Forum, please contact Fabrizio Luca Ferrari on 01992 564220, or email fferrari@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

 

Consultation on revised proposals goes live

Written on . Posted in Consultation, Elections, Your council

Boundary Commission for England logoThe Boundary Commission for England has launched an  8 week consultation on its revised proposals for new Parliamentary constituency boundaries in England. Residents can view the proposed boundaries on the Commission website or at Epping Forest District Council’s Civic Offices in Epping until the consultation deadline of 10 December. The consultation is the last chance for people to have their say before the Commission prepares its final report.

The Commission has revised its initial proposals, which were published in September 2011, following earlier consultation where it received nearly 50,000 responses with people’s views. All the comments received have been considered and have contributed towards the reports and maps that were published on 16 October. People now have the opportunity to comment on the revised proposals before the final proposals are put to the Government next year.

Of particular interest to local residents will be the Commission’s preference for continuing with its proposal to transfer the Lambourne Ward to the Epping Forest Constituency from Brentwood and Ongar Constituency.

The Commission says that if they go back on their original idea and reinstate Lambourne as part of  Brentwood and Ongar, this would require several other ward moves between Epping Forest, Brentwood and Ongar, Harlow and Billericay and Great Dunmow constituencies in order to ensure each remained within five per cent of their electoral quotas. It says compelling evidence provided by the District Council has swayed its view, in particular the links identified between Lambourne and Theydon Bois, local transport infrastructure and simple proximity. This was in spite of representations from some quarters that this alteration should not be made.

The review of constituency boundaries is being carried out by the independent Boundary Commission for England after Parliament decided that there should be a reduction in the number of constituencies across the UK and that there should be similar numbers of electors in each constituency. The number of constituencies in England is being reduced from 533 to 502. Every constituency must have an electorate (as at the review date) that is no less than 95% and no more than 105% of the UK electoral quota of 76,641 electors.

The Commission has published a set of regional reports and maps, which are available on its website and at the Civic Offices Epping and Ongar Library and at other councils and libraries in the eastern region. Details of the Commission’s consultation process are also available on its website and everyone is encouraged to look at the proposals and send in their views on them. Simon James, Secretary to the Commission, says the Commission is open to feedback. He continues: “We were really encouraged by the response to the consultation on our initial proposal.  Now that we have published our revised proposals we continue to welcome people’s participation until the consultation closes on 10 December 2012.”

For more information go to the boundary commission website.

Council thanks community for choices

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Consultation, Councillors, Gypsy and traveller, Housing, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Our countryside, Parking, Planning, Private housing, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

We wish to thank all of the 5,255 residents and businesses who presented their views on future housing and development before the close of the Community Choices consultation on Monday 15 October.

Since the start of the consultation on 30 July, councillors and staff have been talking, and listening to the views of, residents and businesses across the district. Planning Portfolio Holder Councillor Richard Bassett concluded his part of the marathon consultation during the last week with public local council meetings in Sheering and Nazeing.

Planning our future - local planCouncillor Bassett said: “I would like to thank everyone who has taken a constructive part in the process. The more information we can gather from local people, the stronger the Local Plan will be and the better able we will be as a community to protect our district from inappropriate development. It’s a long process and there will be several more rounds of consultation before the final Plan can come into force.”

Over the course of the past 11 weeks, the Council has been doing everything in its power to engage with residents and businesses.

Councillor Bassett said: “We are pleased to report that more than three thousand people replied to the consultation. We are now starting to work through those submissions. They have been received in a variety of ways including an online questionnaire, email, exhibitions, petitions and public meetings.”

During the next phase, the Council staff will collate and sift through all the evidence working with District Councillors to produce a first draft of the Local Plan called ‘Preferred Options’. This will contain proposals for policies to meet future population, housing and development growth and it will again go out to public consultation. Many people chose to use handwritten paper forms to make their submissions. Extra time will be factored in for inputting these alongside the online submissions made via the website.

Councillor Bassett said: “This is the next part of the long process to create a formally accepted Local Plan for the District. The final version of the Local Plan has to be approved by the planning inspectorate and it is important that the widest ranges of options are considered during the total process. This ‘Issues and Options’ part of the consultation has gathered evidence that will help us reject unsuitable sites and concentrate on appropriate development opportunities.”

It will take the council many weeks to work through all the evidence submitted during Community Choices but several key themes are already clear.

Councillor Bassett said: “Very few people support the idea of development in the Green Belt. Councillors share that view but recognise that our children will need somewhere to live. We must accept that a small proportion of the Green Belt will be required to provide enough land for the population growth forecasts over the next twenty years.”

He continued: “Most people would prefer to see any new development take place on previously developed or derelict Brownfield sites. The council has worked hard to try to identify such Brownfield opportunities through the ‘Call for Sites’ exercise. However we may not have been able to identify enough of this type of land and we are appealing to anyone who thinks they may know of any Brownfield site, not included in Community Choices, to let the council know.”

Councillor Bassett concluded: “Everyone wants to protect the environment and special character of the district which makes it such a popular area in which to live. Councillors feel strongly that the district needs to be protected as much as possible. Without a Local Plan, developers would only have to satisfy the general guidance contained in the National Planning Policy Framework, which comes into effect in April 2013 and this may not pay regard to local concerns.”

For more information go to Planning our Future or email ldfconsult@eppingforestdc.gov.uk or call 01992 564517.