The latest meeting of Epping Forest District Council’s cabinet held a strong focus on support for Ukraine, update on climate change progress and updates to several housing policies.
Call to support Ukraine at Cabinet
In a sober and solemn opening statement to Cabinet, Leader Chris Whitbread payed tribute to the brave people of Ukraine. Speaking to fellow councillors at the meeting held on 7 March, Councillor Whitbread thanked local volunteers for their hard work and residents for their generosity as all manner of donations flowed into the donation hub set up at the council offices over the weekend.
As the war in Ukraine entered its second week, the council asked people to extend their generosity to support direct fundraising donations through the Disaster Emergency Committee DEC, British Red Cross and United Nations.
Government to match public donations
The government is match-funding public donations through the DEC. One of the charities, Save the Children is providing cash and vouchers to families to meet basic needs like food and medicines. Oxfam says donations mean they can work with organisations already in Ukraine and neighbouring countries to help meet the needs of people who have already lost so much.
Residents can help provide food, water, shelter and healthcare to Ukrainian refugees and displaced families by donating to:
- Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Appeal
- Ukraine Humanitarian Fund UN Crisis Relief
- Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal
Climate Change Progress
Moving onto local issues, Cabinet noted public consultation and authority to the Planning and Sustainability Portfolio Holder to make minor amendments to the EFDC Sustainability Guidance and Checklist Volume 3: Refurbishment and Extension. In further steps to tackle climate change through reductions in harmful greenhouse gas emissions, councillors voted in favour of continuing to support the DaRT87 community bus service. Further steps are to be taken to pilot and test the feasibility of electric vehicles to deliver the service.
Environment and Technical Services Portfolio Holder Nigel Avey, emphasised the importance of the responsive bus service. Apart from the environmental benefits, he highlighted the impending increases in fuel costs. As residents find the cost of travel by car more and more expensive, DaRT87 is set to provide a life-line for an increasing number of residents.
Housing Services Portfolio Holder Holly Whitbread presented a series of items. Councillors approved updates to the Allocations Policy, Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy, and Tenancy Policy.
Councillor Whitbread added that the council awaited government announcements on local support for refugees from the war in Ukraine.
Creating new homes and jobs
Pyrles Lane, the former council plant nursey in Loughton has been identified as a potential development site for housing and Warehouse units at Cartersfield Road are set to be redeveloped as light industrial units bringing new jobs and investment to Waltham Abbey.
Councillors agreed the sale. The council’s wholly-owned company Qualis will purchase Pyrles Lane for £900,000 and commercial units 50, 51-52, 60 and Unit 10 of Cartersfield Road, Waltham Abbey for £2,930,000.
Profits from the developments will be reinvested through the council and Qualis in future public services.
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