Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices. View directions
Contact: R. Perrin Tel: (01992) 564243 Email: email@example.com
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 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
Please also be aware that if technical difficulties interrupt the meeting that cannot be overcome, I may need to adjourn the meeting.”
Members are reminded to activate their microphones before speaking.
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.
To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 29 November 2022 and any matters arising therefrom.
The notes of the meeting of the Committee held on 29 November 2022 be taken as a correct record.
ECC Cabinet Member for Highways Maintenance and Sustainable Transport, Cllr Lee Scott
(Cllr Lee Scott, ECC Cabinet Member for Highways Maintenance and Sustainable Transport)
To provide an update on his plans for the future of Highways in the County, and to address any areas of general concern that Parish and Town Councils may have, including:
· The efficacy of the Local Highways Panel and the adequacy of budgets provided to them.
· The prime remit of Local Highway Panels
· What (if any) options are available for introducing traffic calming measures on rural country roads
· The contract with Ringway Jacobs, how long this is in place for, when it is due for renewal, and whether or not they of offer value for taxpayers money.
· Why are many of the roads across the district in such a poor state, with poor surface dressing and a shocking number of potholes. Potholes are always a hot topic, however the number and prevalence of them at this current time is highly concerning.
· Road Signs and Highway Fingerposts around many villages, especially those rural in nature, are in a dire state, or missing altogether. What plans are there to remedy this, and/or could funds be made available to parishes to address their own signage defects.
· Why is it the case that Parish Councils have no direct access in to ECC Highways, and no dedicated contact points. We feel completely disempowered. What is the process for if a Parish / Town Council wishes to escalate a matter with ECC Highways.
The County Council Cabinet Member for Highways Maintenance and Sustainable Transport, Councillor Lee Scott answered questions submitted by the Local Town and Parish Councils set out in the agenda.
District Councillors, Town and Parish Clerks and Councillors asked a number of questions and answers were provided by the Cabinet Member for Highways Maintenance and Sustainable Transport.
The Chairman thanked the Cabinet Member for Highways Maintenance and Sustainable Transport for attending the meeting.
To discuss the following matters raised by the local councils:
Code of Conduct
How do EFDC monitor the conduct of EFDC Councillors at meetings. There have been a number of complaints from local residents watching webcasts which show Councillors actively arguing with each other, giving a poor impression of local government.
(Response from Monitoring Officer, N. Boateng) The Monitoring Officer will investigate complaints report to her about the conduct of Councillors. If the Monitoring Officer directly witness a Code of Conduct issue at a meeting, this would be raised with the Councillor concerned. The next Code of Conduct training will be held on 12 May 2023 and can be booked by contacting K. Partridge (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Training for Local Councillors
What training is available for Local Councillors, and when.
(Response from members Support) Our Town and Parish partners (Councillors and Officers) are encouraged to join EFDC Councillors at the following sessions on 12 May 2023;
· Code of Conduct / Constitution
· Planning Enforcement
· Data Protection
If they are unable to attend or prefer more bespoke session, the following services provide an extensive list of training opportunities for our Town and Parish colleagues Essex Association of Local Council EALC Training – The Essex Association of Local Councils
If you wish to book onto any of these sessions, please email K. Partridge (email@example.com)
· What changes / improvements have been made to the new online planning system following the numerous suggestions / issues that were sent directly to the planning department late last year.
· At the November meeting, Parish and Town Councils requested training on the new system. Will this be forthcoming, and when.
· With regard to Planning Enforcement, what is the current situation in terms of staff numbers and the approach to dealing with enforcement matters.
The Town and Parish secretary submitted questions to the Council regarding the Code of Conduct; Training for Local Councillors and planning issues.
Answers to the Code of Conduct and training had been provided within the agenda. The Service Director for Planning Services provided the following answers:
1. What changes / improvements have been made to the new online planning system following the numerous suggestions / issues that were sent directly to the planning department late last year.
We have been working with the supplier over the last few months, and they have now agreed to allow customer Councils to have more freedom in changing the format of their Public Registers. This will allow enhanced searching and a slightly changed layout for Epping Forest. We are testing the changes in the coming weeks, and will update Town and Parish Councils as soon as we have completed the testing and activated the changes.
2. At the November meeting, Parish and Town Councils requested training on the new system. Will this be forthcoming, and when.
As indicated at the November meeting, we do not consider training is necessary, however, some “tips and tricks” videos or written guidance will be provided once the new version of the Public Register is released over the next few weeks.
3. With regard to Planning Enforcement, what is the current situation in terms of staff numbers and the approach to dealing with enforcement matters.
The Heritage, Enforcement and Landscape Team has three enforcement officer posts, one senior enforcement officer post and one fixed term contract enforcement officer post. One enforcement officer post is vacant after a recent resignation. Our approach to planning enforcement may be found here: https://www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/planning-and-building/planning-enforcement-service-charter/ and here https://www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Local-Enforcement-Plan-2022.pdf
At present we have 350 live enforcement investigations. During the 2022 calendar year we opened 427 new investigations, closed 360 investigations and issued 19 Notices.
A new team manager (James Stubbs) joined us from Chelmsford City Council in October 2022 – he is a very experienced planner and has expert knowledge of all planning enforcement matters. We are fortunate to have one of the best resourced planning enforcement teams in Essex.
1. Monitoring/Deputy Officer to give a definition of what is expected of Councillors in regards to the Code of Conduct. (Attached)
2. Repeat email to be sent to the Town and Parish Clerks regarding the training provided by the Council on 12 May 2023. Requests to attend the training must be submitted via the Town/Parish clerk.
Epping Forest District Local Plan - Progress
(Epping Forest District Council) To report to the Committee on the current position of the new Local Plan for the Epping Forest District.
Local Councils raised the following issue:
Following adoption of the Local Plan, can the Council advise as to the publication and promulgation of the newly adopted plan, and confirm that colour hard copies of both parts 1 and 2 will be provided to Parish and Town Councils.
The Service Director for Planning Services, N Richardson updated the Committee on the adoption of the Local Plan. It was noted that no paper copies of the Local Plan would be printed, although a copy of the whole document was available on the council’s website and papers copiers were available to look through at local library’s and at the Civic Offices.
Sustainable Transport Officer (S Lloyd-Jones) will be in attendance to discuss
1. EV charging funding opportunity for parish council car parks, village halls
2. Potential grants scheme for energy generation/insulation improvements at village halls, parish offices, rural community and sports halls etc
3. The Epping Forest Community Transport and other rural transport options
· SB09 – Abridge-Epping-Loughton – Monday and Wednesdays
· Dart 7 covering – Moreton, Toot Hill, Epping – Monday and Thursdays – Provided with financial support from Essex County Council
· HSBO1 covering – Toot Hill, Moreton, Old Harlow, Harlow – Monday, Wednesday & Friday – Demand Responsive (Dart) is an alternative – Provided with financial support from Essex County Council
· Dart 87 – covering – Debden, Theydon Bois, Epping Green, Harlow Monday-Saturday – Funded by Epping Forest District Council
· SB07 – The Elms – Loughton - Mondays
· 347 – Barnfields, Hatfield Broad Oak, Lower Sheering to Harlow Bus Station – Tuesdays and Thursdays
· C392 – Hoddesdon – Harlow Bus Station – Monday to Friday (reduced timetable due to the closure of Broxbourne Bridge.
The Sustainable Transport Officer, S Lloyd-Jones provided Members, Town and Parish Clerks and Councillors with information on the EV charging funding opportunities, grants schemes for energy generation and insulation and Epping Forest Community Transport and other rural transport options.
Members, Town and Parish Clerks and Councillors asked a number of questions and answers were provided by the Sustainable Transport Officer.
Dates of Future Meetings
To be confirmed.
The Committee noted that the dates of the next meeting would be agreed by the Council on 4 April 2023. Although the next meeting had been scheduled for 15 June 2023.