Agenda item

Reports from the Leader & Members of the Cabinet

To receive reports and any announcements from the Leader and members of the Cabinet on matters falling within their area of responsibility:


(a)        Report of the Leader;


(b)        Report of the Community and Regulatory Services Portfolio Holder (attached);


(c)        Report of the Corporate ServicesPortfolio Holder (attached);


(d)        Report of the Customer and Partnerships Portfolio Holder (attached);


(e)        Report of the Environmental and Technical Services Portfolio Holder (attached);


(f)         Report of the Finance, Qualis Client and Economic Development Portfolio Holder (attached);


(g)        Report of the Housing Services Portfolio Holder (attached); and    


(h)        Report of the Planning and Sustainability Portfolio Holder (attached).


The Council received written reports from Portfolio Holders. The Chairman invited the Leader of Council to provide an oral report and the opportunity for other members of the Cabinet to give updates on matters concerning their relevant portfolios.


(a)        Leader of Council


Councillor C Whitbread advised that he had been busy with a number of meetings in recent weeks with the Leaders of Harlow and Uttlesford to discuss the outcomes of the new Government White Paper on Levelling Up that was published at the beginning of February and to look at areas that EFDC may wish to work together in the future.


He advised he had also had meeting with all of the Essex Leaders last Monday and we continue to speak on a regular basis to partners across the district and county where we were looking to move forward on a range of issues as the year progresses and when the next meeting takes place he advised that he would have more information to pass on to members.


(b)       Customer and Partnerships Portfolio Holder


Councillor S Kane stated that he would like to publicly state his thanks to the ICT Team and the Finance Business Team who have concluded a year-long project to get a stable and supportive environment into the corporate finance systems so that the Council can advance on putting some of the enhancements that have been on hold, until this had been completed.


He asked Members’ to pass onto residents and businesses in their wards that there were still available some business support grants and although we have now come out of the covid restrictions there were a number of businesses who had suffered and could use these grants, he therefore urged people to apply for a grant where applicable. They were open to micro and small businesses and applications could be made up until the 4 March 2022.


(c)        Community and Regulatory Services Portfolio Holder


Councillor A Patel advised that in May 2022 the district would play host to Ride London which was the worlds greatest festival of cycling. Saturday 28 May 2022 was stage 1 which was the Women’s World tour Ride London Classic. The world’s top female athletes will take part with a peloton of twenty teams of six riders.


On Sunday 29 May 2022 Ride London Essex 100 will see twenty five thousand riders take part in a 100 mile challenge ride starting in central London and passing through Essex and returning to finish line on Tower Bridge in central London.


The event organiser was London Marathon Events and EFDC would be working closely with the organisers to ensure the district was able to capitalise on the phenomenal opportunities an event of this magnitude could bring. Ride London was a huge charitable event which raised large sums of money for good causes. In its first seven editions this event raised approximately £80 million for charities. Ride London would be broadcast live on TV and was a wonderful opportunity for EFDC to showcase the Epping Forest District.


Third sector organisations in the district which inspire activity will be eligible for funding from the London Marathon Charitable Trust. During the events time in Surrey from 2013 to 2019 almost £5 million was granted to a wide range of organisations and local communities which would not have had access to this level of funding.


EFDC had a comprehensive activation plan in place with activity ahead of the weekend itself including an expanded cycling for health programme across the district providing Bikeability sessions for local children and family bike rides. Working closely with schools, sharing an education toolkit around physical activity and supporting schoold children to design flags and banners for the event, holding bunting competitions for the finish line. Through Places for Leisure cycling themed competitions and challenges would take place.


EFDC have reached out to Epping and Ongar Town Councils and will be working closely with them to organise wonderful fan zones. Over the weekend itself there will be stalls, music, arts and crafts, bunting and activities on offer to create a real buzz and to encourage community groups to come along and have a presence over the weekend. The aim for this event was to be bigger and better than the Tour de France.


The promotion of sustainable transport was an important part of the Councils initiative to reduce carbon emissions in the battle against climate change and RideLondon tied in with this brilliantly. Ultimately the publicity will help to boost our local high street economies before the positives that it will bring in terms of jobs and investment.


(d)       Finance, Qualis Management and Economic Development Portfolio Holder


Councillor J Philp advised that he would like to follow on with what Councillor Patel was saying around RideLondon, as Members may be aware it was made public last Friday in terms of the route and all of the road closures, which are available to see on the website, if you go to you will be able to find all the details of the road closures. Some roads will be closed most of the day and some will be rolling closures. EFDC have had little notice to maximise the upside this year in terms of what we are doing from an economic development point of view, but the Economic Development team were working with the businesses in the district. They have put RideLondon in contact with the Epping Ongar Railway and the first meeting had already taken place. So actually working with the various businesses in the district to maximise the change for that. When the Tour de France came through the district a lot of publicity through TV coverage and it was worth noting that the finish on Saturday 28 Mary will be in Epping and will be on National TV. It was a great opportunity for businesses to boost their profiles of what was going on in the district.


It was recognised that there would be impacts to businesses and RideLondon have been very clear that they will help to work with those businesses to minimise impact and so as we go through next year’s RideLondon we will have much more warning around what we are doing so we can maximise those economic development benefits more significantly.


This was something we should be welcoming, it was a great opportunity for the district, a great opportunity for businesses and to make sure we get the most out of it.




Councillor S Heap stated his question was to the Planning and Sustainability Portfolio Holder, regarding his report and referred to page 55 of the agenda:


4     Development Management


Planning Applications


  1. Having to regularly explain the process to applicant’s agents, despite clear and consistent messaging from the Project Officer and updating on releasing decisions on the Council website; “


Councillor Heap stated that he could not believe that this was a regular occurrence and would take up a huge amount of time if it was published clearly on the Councils website.


Councillor N Bedford stated that he wasn’t quite sure what point Councillor Heap was trying to make but reading through what was written in the report Officers were having problems with applicant’s agents and were constantly having to explain the process to them. Once an application was submitted there was a time line on that application and the agents were constantly phoning the officers to get updates on such application therefore causing delays on applications as officers have to spend time explaining to the agents where they can find the updated information on the website.


There will be a new process in place at the end of May 2022 which will enable the Planning team to update the data into a programme so that agents and applicants can look at that programme themselves without having to contact officers which will help to streamline the process. Another problem being that applicants nominate an agent to deal with their application and yet they also contact officers for information but because they have nominated an agent the officer could not therefore discuss the application with the applicant, it had to go through the agent.


Supporting documents: