To receive the report of the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and to answer any questions without notice asked in accordance with Council Rules.
Councillor M Sartin, Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Councillor M Sartin presented her report from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on the 12 October 2021.
She referred to paragraph 2 of the report where it had been proposed to plant around 2,300 trees on Jessel Green, which had led to some discussion and subsequently a call-in had now been received regarding that item, which will go through the correct process to move forward.
Councillor S Murray stated that there was no malice behind the Jessel Green call-in and that an amicable solution to the issue could be found. He advised that he would like to absolutely acknowledge and thank Epping Forest District Council for the turnaround to not build houses on this green space but to save it and plant trees on the green instead.
Councillor H Whitbread thanked Councillor S Murray for highlighting this issue. Discussion regarding the call-in were in progress and she advised that she was very open to listen to those discussions and an amicable solution being found. She stated that a huge amount of grant funding from an external organisation, looking to plant thousands of trees to help offset carbon emissions and really buying in to the districts green agenda. Although 2,300 trees were to be planted they were very young trees and the survival rate of the young trees would mean that a majority of them would die. This was a really positive initiative and she advised that she was listening to local concerns and would be working with local community groups regarding this project.
Councillor C C Pond advised that this was a cordial call-in because he agreed with what Councillor H Whitbread had said and advised that he would be looking to plant the 2,300 trees, to which the Council had obtained grant funding, but in different locations.
Councillor C C Pond asked the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny committee whether the information in the report given by the Climate Change Officers regarding the proposed electric bus between the Broadway, Loughton and the Epping Forest Shopping Park, have indicated what form it would take and when would it start. Running up to Christmas the footfall at the shopping park would more than double and the carbon emissions from idling vehicles would therefore also more than double.
Councillor M Sartin advised that she did not have an answer to Councillor Pond’s question and asked Councillor N Avey if he could answer as this was in the remit of his portfolio.
Councillor N Avey stated that he did not have the answer but there would be a report at the next Council meeting on transport and it would be reported then.
Councillor D Wixley advised that he was the Ward Councillor for Fairmead which included Jessel Green. He stated that the Save Jessel Green Group would be involved with the tree planting proposed, the Climate Change Officer had contacted Councillor Wixley with a view to informing her of a lead contact in the Save Jessel Green Group to which he was able to furnish and he knew that they had now been in contact. He agreed with the call-in and stated that the trees must be planted in the correct places and excellent that this should move forward.
Councillor M Sartin stated that meetings were taking place regarding the call-in with Councillor C C Pond, Councillor D Wixley, the Portfolio Holder and Officers within the next week.
That the report of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 12 October 2021 be noted.