Development projects to shape the future of the district were discussed at the latest meeting of Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet on 11 April.
Approval for a £2 million investment programme will see thousands of new doors and windows installed in council-owned flats across the district. The PVCu double-glazed units will significantly improve energy efficiency and reduce fuel bills as well as improving comfort for council tenants.
With 45 brand new council houses already delivered, 63 nearing completion and a further 73 set for delivery in the next three years, Epping Forest District Council is building new homes for local people in significant numbers. More homes are in the pipeline subject to planning consent.
While acknowledging some delays and costs, councillors thanked officers for the achievement in implementing the first major council house building programme in 30 years.
North Weald Airfield is the Council’s largest land asset (150 hectares). Councillors moved forward on the future development of North Weald Airfield with permission to appoint consultants for the production of an Airfield Masterplan. It is a focus for commercial activities.
The recent arrival of the National Police Air-Service, joining the Essex and Herts Air-Ambulance and other tenants have signalled significant aviation growth, with the anticipated Masterplan extending it further.
Assets for Epping
Councillors reaffirmed the retention of customer, civic and democratic functions as part of a community hub at the Civic Offices in Epping. A report seeking approval to market parts of the Civic Offices to potential partners for sharing arrangements as part of its wider accommodation review was approved.
While the 1990s built Civic Offices are to be retained, the accommodation review also foresees housing development on the site of the adjoining ‘Conder’ building and rear car-parks currently used by council staff.
Building a café offer into the community uses provided by the reconfigured Civic Offices is intended to extend the High Street ‘offer’. A mix of new public and private tenants will continue to support the economic interests of the town.
In the final major report of the meeting, Councillors received progress updates on the proposed redevelopment of the St John’s area of Epping. Councillors gave formal approval to negotiations for the development of a new £18 million leisure centre. The District Council is also seeking expressions of interest from operators to establish the viability of a cinema in the Centrepoint Building while working towards the potential relocation of Epping Town Council to 323 at the Civic Offices. Retail and residential elements are also planned at St John’s.
The new leisure centre and cinema facilities are not only for Epping but also surrounding towns and villages.
Farewell to Peter
Cabinet concluded with the heartfelt thanks of councillors to Finance officer Peter Maddock who is moving to a new role near home after more than 29 years at Epping Forest District Council.