Report on the cabinet meeting held on Thursday 11 June.
The cabinet meeting kicked off with 2 pieces of good news – a temporary reduction in parking charges to help kickstart a return of shoppers to local High Streets and refurbishment works at Ongar Leisure Centre while it’s been closed due to COVID-19.
Discretionary top-up grant for businesses
Leader of Council Cllr Chris Whitbread said:
These are 2 good and positive outcomes for local people and local businesses.
The Government’s Discretionary Top-Up Policy for Business Grants was a key agenda item with members discussing how best to allocate the £1.49m to small businesses that had missed out in the first round of Government support.
Chris Whitbread emphasised the need to ensure that allocations go to businesses with viable links to the district and those offering local employment.
Government grants so far have been very generous and I think that if it hadn’t been the case many shops would not be re-opening next week.
Members agreed the process for applying for these new grants and details of who can apply and how to apply.
More than bricks and mortar
Service charges for blocks of flats in the district came under the spotlight. Last reviewed in 2003 they have been running at a loss of around £1.3m to the council.
The review comes under a new scheme More than bricks and mortar – EFDC Creating great places where people want to live.
Charges relate to things like cleaning and community utility services and money recouped through new charges would be re-invested.
Cllr Holly Whitbread, Cabinet Member for Housing and Community said:
Charges will be reviewed in a sensitive way particularly under the current circumstances. There will be consultation with residents’ groups and tenants around what they think will make their estates better.
Members agreed to the review.
Modern and innovative telecare service
Plans for a more modern, innovative Telecare service for elderly residents in their own homes were discussed. Essex County Council, which has historically contributed to the EFDC service, is planning a new county-wide system. Members agreed that EFDC should switch to the new system and staff would transfer with it.
Praise for staff
And finally … council staff and contractors came in for more praise for the way they have kept services operating during coronavirus lockdown, with a special mention for Biffa employees for maintaining refuse and recycling collections across the district.
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