A series of independent reports aimed at re-invigorating the district’s town centres were considered by councillors at this week’s Cabinet meeting.
Watch the meeting
Town centre reports
The reports on Epping, Buckhurst Hill and Loughton High Street and Broadway were prepared by the new town centres’ manager after consultation with local people and businesses.
Recognising that each town centre has its own character, strength and challenges they recommend a series of actions.
A number of ‘quick wins’ such as replacing and repainting street bollards, re-laying broken and uneven paving and sprucing up seating has already been achieved by the council’s Highway Rangers.
The reports were well received by members who said it was good to have a fresh set of eyes on the local high streets and emphasised the need for partnership working to achieve the aims of this regeneration process.
Leader of the Council Chris Whitbread said:
Our high streets are the life blood of our communities. Working in partnership with town and parish councils and local people and businesses that trade on our high streets, will generate new ideas and energy and we have a really good basis to start from.
Regeneration of housing estates
Regeneration of housing estates was also up for discussion, looking at the wider focus of community benefits available through a holistic approach to planned maintenance and upgrades of the Council’s estates.
Members were asked to endorse plans for a greater emphasis on working directly with residents and tenants to build healthy, happy, cohesive and resilient communities.
The Limes Farm Estate is already part of a pilot project and a new residents association with block champions has been set up as a direct communication channel between the Council and residents on the estate.
Cllr Holly Whitbread, Cabinet Member for Housing, said that Limes Farm has a tremendous community spirit.
Following the recent attack on Rabbi Goodwin she said she visited him and they talked about community cohesion and he said the support from the community had been incredible.
Cllr Holly Whitbread added:
Social cohesion and recovery is vital to all that we do.
Refurbishment of communal lounges
Refurbishing communal lounges in sheltered housing was also on the agenda. Residents will get to choose the colours of new fixtures and fittings and consideration given to dementia friendly finishes.
The aim is to make the areas more appealing to older people seeking to down-size their home and benefit from the reassurance of sheltered living.
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