Our first virtual Overview and Scrutiny meeting was held on 22 June.
The first virtual meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny committee saw Council Leader, Councillor Chris Whitbread outline the council’s corporate objectives for 2020/21. Chairman and vice chairman were appointed for the Select Committees and how the council is helping the district recover after the COVID-19 pandemic was discussed.
The committee agreed that many of the projects and part of the work programme have changed since lockdown began and that the council’s response and recovery plan will be an agenda item in future meetings. The focus will be to support the district to return to the vibrant place it was at the start of 2020.
Corporate Objectives for 2020/21
Leader of Council, Chris Whitbread gave councillors an overview of the council’s corporate priorities for the year ahead. The effect of COVID-19 has had a financial impact on the council but it has good reserves and will recover.
Epping Forest District Council remains committed to its investment programme through Qualis. This includes substantial pieces of work in Epping and our ambition to deliver a new sports centre, cinema and new homes that our district very much needs.
These investments, alongside the refurbishment of the civic offices, will yield the council a good income for the future.
Work has begun on the refurbishment of the civic offices in Epping. Epping Forest District Council employees have been working in new ways since lockdown began and have continued to provide a full service to the district.
One aim for the refurbishment, due for completion in early 2021, is for the site to become a community space for all, welcoming and encouraging local businesses and residents to use
as well as EFDC staff.
The development of the Conder building, due to start once the new civic offices are complete, will provide much needed homes for Epping Forest district.
High street recovery
As part of its plan for helping high streets recover after COVID-19, Epping Forest District Council submitted a funding bid to Essex County Council. Funding from the first bid will help the recovery of Epping High Street. A second bid has been prepared for Waltham Abbey and further work is being developed including plans for Loughton High Road, Debden Broadway, Queens Road in Buckhurst Hill and Chipping Ongar.
During lockdown many businesses in the district received a business grant from the council. We gave £30 million to local businesses in grants. We are continuing to support businesses with further discretionary grants and developing an apprenticeship scheme to help young people get into work post COVID-19.
The recovery of local high streets is being boosted with a new parking tariff. For 20p people can park for 2 hours 30 minutes, meaning they get an extra 2 hours for the usual price of a 30-minute stay.
It was agreed that the 3 Select Committees will continue for 2020/21 and a new chairman and vice chairman was chosen for each group.
- Stronger Communities Select Committee
- Chairman – Councillor Darshan Sunger
- Vice-chairman – Councillor Jaymey McIvor
- Stronger Council Select Committee
- Chairman – Councillor Peter Bolton
- Vice-chairman – Councillor David Stocker
- Stronger Place Select Committee
- Chairman – Councillor Richard Bassett
- Vice-chairman – Councillor Steven Heather
Praise and thank you
Councillors praised the work of officers who were on hand to support residents involved in the tragic event in Epping on Sunday 21 June, when a fire broke out in a block of flats in Woodland Grove.
Members of the housing team worked together with the emergency services to help residents to the rest centre at Jack Silley Pavilion.
Leader of Council Councillor Chris Whitbread said:
I’d like to give a special thanks to The Red Cross for their rapid response and for the care they gave to those residents in their time of need.
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