Agenda and minutes

Local Councils' Liaison Committee - Monday 7th September 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting on Zoom. View directions

Contact: V. Messenger  Tel: (01992) 564243 Email:


No. Item


Appointment of Chairman & Vice-Chairman

(1)          To confirm the appointment of Councillor H Kane, as the Chairman of the Committee for the municipal year; and


(2)          To confirm the appointment of Councillor C C Pond as Vice-Chairman of the Committee for the municipal year, as he is the Essex Association of Local Councils Epping Forest Branch Chairman.

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(1)       It was confirmed that District Councillor H Kane was the Chairman of the Committee for this municipal year; and


(2)       Councillor C C Pond was appointed the Vice-Chairman of the Committee for this municipal year.


Webcasting Introduction

1. This virtual meeting is to be webcast. Members are reminded of the need to unmute before speaking.


2. The Chairman will read the following announcement:


“I would like to remind everyone present that this meeting will be broadcast live to the internet (or filmed) and will be capable of repeated viewing (or another use by such third parties).


Therefore by participating in this virtual meeting, you are consenting to being filmed and to the possible use of those images and sound recordings for webcasting and/or training purposes. If members of the public do not wish to have their image captured they should ensure that their video setting throughout the virtual meeting is turned off and set to audio only.


In the event that technical difficulties interrupt the virtual meeting that cannot be overcome, the Chairman may need to adjourn the meeting”.

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The Chairman reminded everyone present that the meeting would be broadcast live to the Internet, and that the Council had adopted a protocol for the webcasting of its meetings.


Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 240 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 16 September 2019 and any matters arising therefrom.

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            That the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 16 September 2019 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record, subject to the following amendment to Members Present (Representing Epping Forest) that Councillor C C Pond had attended this meeting as a local council representative.


Regarding a further query from Councillor C C Pond, the Democratic Services Officer confirmed after the meeting that the apologies for Councillor B Scrutton (Chigwell PC) and attendance of Councillor B Scruton (Epping Town Council) had been correctly recorded in these minutes.


Issues Raised by Local Councils

To discuss the following matters raised by the local councils. A relevant officer will be present at the meeting.


(a)          Unauthorised traveller encampments (Min no 23(d) – 16.09.19)


(b)          Street cleaning services


(c)          Fly-tipping


(d)          Planning enforcement


(e)          Highways Rangers


(f)           Finger posts (Min no 2018/2019 16(e) – 11.03.19)


(g)          Code of Conduct investigations

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(a)          Unauthorised traveller encampments (Min no 23(d) – 16.09.19)


Senior Environmental Enforcement Officer, M Richardson reported that Epping Forest District Council had looked at membership of the Essex Countrywide Traveller Unit (ECTU) in 2012 and 2016 but there had been a concern about cost. Although a number of parish council incursions had occurred in 2016 and 2017, there had been none this year and a membership fee of £8,200 was not seen as value for money. The Essex Police Gypsy and Traveller Rural Engagement Team (GTRET) was more proactive and could use s61 Powers to remove trespassers on land. It was acknowledged that local councils would incur costs if travellers stayed on their land as it was their responsibility to deal with this. Local councils could look at joining the ECTU as a body but independent of the District Council. Councillor H Whitbread was the relevant portfolio holder but ECTU’s membership was quit an expensive package. Council officers had the knowledge and skills to deal with trespassers on EFDC land.


Councillor C C Pond remarked that c£8,500 a year was a small cost to EFDC in its annual budget. All it meant was that when a local council got an incursion they would have to fight it themselves. He thought it was incumbent upon the District Council to help out, if it was willing to underwrite this when incursions happened. A small parish council in particular might not be able to carry on independently, but ECTU officers did have the knowledge. Loughton Town Clerk, M Squire, added that District Council officers provided good help. The Town Council was a well-resourced council but had previously had to spend £5,000 in legal fees to clear travellers. When he had been the Clerk at Witham Town Council, there had been three of four incursions over a two-year period but being able to use the services of ECTU had been a great advantage as their officers were very experienced. The Committee agreed that a way forward would be to formally ask the Housing and Community Services Portfolio Holder if membership of ECTU could be reconsidered and reviewed.


Sergeant P Brady was in attendance at the meeting as an officer of the Essex Police GTRET.


Councillor C C Pond asked if the Police Officer had any contacts with ECTU in other parts of the County or was he the representative for Epping Forest District? Sgt Brady replied that the Rural Engagement Team covered the whole County and worked closely with ECTU in many districts. The Police had a good working relationship with ECTU officers to liaise and work around any issues that arose. Councillor C C Pond added that travellers did travel and so were unlikely to be confined to one district. He did not see why EFDC could not have joined ECTU in the past. About ten years ago the then head of Legal, Ms C O’Boyle, spoke at a Local Councils’ Liaison Committee and thought that the EFDC Legal Team had sufficient resources  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 217 KB

(Epping Forest District Council) The draft Terms of Reference (attached) were considered at the last meeting in September 2019 and circulated to all local councils for consultation on 11 October 2019 and 6 January 2020. The local councils that responded were satisfied with this draft.


Members are therefore asked to agree the Terms of Reference.

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The draft Terms of Reference in the agenda had been considered at the last meeting in September 2019 and circulated to all local councils for consultation on 11 October 2019 and 6 January 2020. As all the local councils that had responded were satisfied with this draft, members agreed the Terms of Reference.




            That the Terms of Reference were agreed.


Epping Forest Community Champions Project

(Epping Forest District Council) To receive a presentation from the Community Culture and Wellbeing Team, which will report on the progress and development of the Epping Forest Community Champions project.

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A presentation by Patrick Arnold, Senior Community Engagement Officer, on the Epping Forest Community Champions Project was received from the Community, Culture and Wellbeing Team. This provided an update on the previous presentation to members some 18 months ago. Community Champions were helping to create happy, friendly and healthy communities. It was part of the Council’s Corporate Plan to enhance partnership working with the voluntary sector. The Council was seeking people’s support to build on their knowledge and skills, and to recruit community champions across the District. So far 18 community champions had been recruited and attended training sessions and workshops. They had supported over 1,000 people in the community, including during the Covid-19 lockdown. An ongoing campaign to recruit champions from all the District’s areas was especially targeting areas without any community champion.


The Theydon Bois community champion, Ms S Sowerby, addressed the meeting and gave an outline of her background both professional and personal. She had attended training sessions at EFDC including J9 training through the Safer Places programme. Amongst the various community support initiatives, she had set-up a St Clare Hospice bereavement café and helped deliver the District’s ‘Stay Well This Winter’ campaign reaching out to older people. During the lockdown she had actively helped by co-ordinating with NHS volunteers and supplied local donations of hospital provisions, e.g. anti-bacterial gels, scrub hats and laundry bags etc.


Vanessa Gayton, Team Manager Culture and Community (Community, Culture and Wellbeing) read a statement from a community champion in Nazeing, L Page, who had been unable to attend the meeting. L Page had been a community champion for over two years and made lots of friends. She had likewise attended various training sessions including the J9 domestic abuse awareness training and a digital inclusion workshop. She was keen to reduce loneliness and had a great success with the residents of Hyde Mead House in Nazeing where she was a volunteer and organised monthly meetings. She had two helpers but needed other willing and able people to help out. A Facebook page was set up in March 2020 to reach people during the lockdown. She had also co-ordinated a defibrillator project to install one in a retired BT phone box.


The Senior Community Engagement Officer outlined the future development of the community champions project by applying for funding to initiate and develop community-led projects. The Community Engagement officers were there to promote, help and train community champions for the benefit of their communities in the District and would seek the support of EFDC councillors and local council clerks on this.


The Chairman thanked the community champion and Community Engagement officers for their presentations and congratulated them on the work that they were doing along with their volunteers.


Digital Buddies

(Epping Forest District Council) For information: As the new Member Contact and Digital Inclusion Team Manager will not be starting until later in September, it is anticipated that a verbal update on Digital Buddies’ role in the community will be provided to Members at the next meeting in March 2021.

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The Chairman reported that the new Member Contact and Digital Inclusion Team Manager would not be starting until later in September 2020. Therefore, this item was deferred until the next meeting in March 2021 when an update on the Digital Buddies’ role in the community would be provided.


Epping Forest District Local Plan - Progress

(Epping Forest District Council) To provide a verbal report on the current position of the new Local Plan for the Epping Forest District.

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The Planning Services Director said that the District Council did not have an Adopted Local Plan yet but progress had been made. Following the public hearing sessions for the independent examination of the LP, which had ended in June 2019, the Council had received the Inspector’s advice in August 2019 on alterations required on the soundness of the LP known as major modifications (MMs). The Interim Assistant Director (Planning Policy and Implementation), A Blom-Cooper, was in charge of progressing the Local Plan and the work on the MMs that had been required by the Inspector. The final tranche of the MMs would be submitted next week and consultations on the MMs would be held in October 2020. The Inspector had removed the Jessel Green (Loughton) and Limes Farm (Chigwell) sites from the LP, but no further sites had been added. It was hoped that the LP would be adopted in the early part of next year. A report had been submitted to Cabinet on the draft green infrastructure strategy that supported the policies in the emerging LP. This had been consulted on and was due to be considered by Cabinet with the updates for that final strategy in December 2020. The Council had been required to draft and revise a new Habitats Regulations Assessment as part of the LP. The Council had not been able to issue planning consent for the last two years for applications that involved additional housing. The District Council had reviewed this and was waiting for Natural England and the Conservators of Epping Forest to comment on that draft HRA, which was due to go out to consultation in October 2020.


Referring to the sufficient headroom in the required number of housing units and that some had been taken out in the MMs, Councillor D Wixley asked if this was due to increasing the number of houses on the sites, or had there been other sites in the background that hadn’t been put forward in the first place? The Planning Services Director replied the Council had always ensured that it had produced enough housing. When the Inspector had removed sites, if the Council had found out it was under its allocation and hadn’t had the extra sites this could have caused longer delays and possibly more consultations. Therefore, the Council had safeguarded against having to do all that extra work. There were no new sites, these had all been submitted as part of the Local Plan and was not a case of intensifying housing on the LP sites.


Ongar Parish Councillor M Dadd referred to the Inspector’s letter that had informed EFDC of the projected growth on the ONS (Office of National Statistics) figures for 2018, which was reducing the figures from c11,500 to c6,500, and asked for more information on this. The Planning Services Director replied that EFDC was not looking to reduce the figures but he thought this was to do with the green belt and would have to come back to the Parish  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.



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(a)          Qualis


Loughton Town Council Clerk M Squire asked if Qualis could make a presentation at the next meeting to inform members of its set-up, its governance, who the non-Executive directors are, its work and plans for the future etc. This had been raised at a recent Epping Forest Branch Association of Local Councils meeting. Councillor R Bassett said that Cabinet would be considering two Qualis reports on 14 September 2020, which gave more information about its governance, and the meeting would be webcast. North Weald Parish Councillor S Jackman continued that there was a lot of doubt about Qualis as there had been little transparency and that a detailed presentation was needed. Also, the Housing Repairs Team was moving to Qualis with the expense of revamping vans and equipment etc, so the sooner a presentation was organised the better. The Planning Services Director added that there was a Qualis corporate intranet site, which would provide more information and was another point of reference.


Councillor H Kane was also supportive of Qualis being invited to make a presentation to local councils. If members and local councils wanted an extra meeting before the next scheduled meeting in March 2021, the Chairman asked that they contact her.


(b)          Local Government reorganisation


Loughton Town Council Clerk M Squire asked about the reorganisation of local government in respect of the Government’s plans on devolution. In six months’ time, more information should be known on this, which EFDC could share with local councils at the next scheduled meeting in March 2021. Councillor H Kane agreed that by next spring, the Government should have published its ‘white paper’ and that more information would be available.




(6)       That Qualis be invited to make a presentation to the next Local Councils’ Liaison Committee in March 2021, unless an extra meeting was requested; and


(7)       That an item on local government reorganisation be included in the agenda for the March 2021 meeting.


Dates of Future Meetings

To note that the next meeting of the Committee will be held on 15 March 2021 at 19.30.

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It was noted that the next meeting of the Committee would be held on 15 March 2021. If this was to be virtually, the meeting would start at 19.00, but would otherwise start at 19.30.


Councillor S Jackman commented that in view of the two items brought up under Any other business, six months was a long gap and asked if an earlier meeting could be convened. The Chairman asked local councils to contact her with their feedback on an earlier, extra meeting.