(Acting Chief Executive) To consider the attached report (AMED-004-2018/19).
The Acting Chief Executive (ACE) presented a report to the Cabinet Committee and updated Members on further developments to the report since it had been published.
(1) Epping Forest Shopping Park
The three remaining units had now been secured. Mountain Warehouse and Home Bargains were actively trading and Boots were in the process of fitting out their unit.
There was an issue with litter bins getting overfull and therefore litter being left on the floor in the Shopping Park. The frequency of litter bin collections had now been increased and more litter bins were on order.
The car park was being abused by other local businesses and commuters who were covering their number plates or driving in the exit lane to avoid the ANPR cameras. It had been established that the traffic management of the shopping park needed to be looked at as cars were congregating one end of the car park, near Aldi, which in turn made the traffic queue across the lanes making it hard for people to turn in and out of the shopping park and causing tailbacks as far back to the M11 exit.
To control the traffic situation additional controls needed to be put into place and Essex Highways have been requested to assess the problems and help find a solution.
There was still a problem with the roof leaking at the Smyth Toys unit therefore the retention had not been released for the roof works. The contractors had been called back to look at the roof and stop it from leaking.
At a recent meeting of the Debden Town Centre Partnership the traders of Debden Broadway had raised concerns that the Shopping Park was negatively affecting the footfall and trade to local businesses. EFDC have re-commissioned the original consultants to repeat the impact assessment and a report should be ready by the end of November 2018.
Councillor Mohindra commented that there had been no official opening of the Shopping Park and now that all of the units were occupied an official opening should be considered as this was a great achievement for EFDC. The ACE said he would look into arranging an official opening date of the Shopping Park.
(2) Oakwood Hill Depot
All feasibility work on the relocation of the Housing Repairs Service to the site had now been largely completed. The planning application had yet to be considered by the Area Plans South Sub-Committee while mitigation measures asked for by Natural England were being agreed with respect to visitor pressures on the nearby Roding Valley Nature Reserve.
(3) Pyrles Lane Nursery
On the 18 October 2018 a private report was considered by Cabinet where the sale of Pyrles Lane Nursery in excess of £3 million was agreed, on the basis of a development of 36 homes to which 40% of the homes would comprise of affordable housing, in the ratio of 75% affordable rented and 25% shared ownership.
(4) St John’s Road Redevelopment
Despite an extensive period of negotiation with Frontier Estates, it had not been possible to conclude a mutually agreeable sale.
On the 18 October 2018 a report went to Cabinet to seek funding for a feasibility study to look at relocating the Epping Sports Centre to the site, now becoming a potential option and resources to undertake a partial demolition of the site and conduct a site survey. It was noted that two of the buildings had heritage value and that they would be retained.
(5) North Weald Airfield
The lease to the National Police Air Service has been completed and funding from the Home Office had been approved and they were waiting for the funding to be released for the practical construction of the new base for the helicopters.
(6) Landmark Building
Tenants have now been secured for all of the retail units and were in the process of submitting the necessary planning and building regulation applications.
One of the tenants, the restaurant at 30 Barrington Green have had their planning application refused by Area Plans South Sub-Committee due to the size of the outside seating area and the extraction ventilation discharge points.
(7) Hillhouse Development
The new Leisure Centre was on track to open on the 17 November 2018. A planning application has been submitted for the Independent Living Scheme which was currently being assessed. Cabinet agreed on the 18 October 2018, that Essex Housing, be appointed as the development consultants for the preparation and submission of an outline planning application and the demolition of, Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool, Roundhills, Waltham Abbey.
Councillor S Kane advised that the residents were concerned that the empty site would attract antisocial behaviour and that travellers could take up residence on the site.
The ACE advised that the site would be securely boarded up and patrolled as necessary.
(1) That the current progress on the Council’s Asset Management and Development projects were noted;
(2) That the Acting Chief Executive would consult with Essex Highways to resolve the traffic issues at the Epping Forest Shopping Park; and
(3) That the ACE would look into arranging an official opening date of the Shopping Park.
Reasons for Decision:
To comply with the Cabinet Committee’s previous request to monitor the development of the Council’s Property Assets on a regular basis.
Other Options Considered and Rejected:
None as this monitoring report was for information only, not action.