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 congratulated the Chairman of Council for hosting the Civic Awards in the Civic Offices and added that it was a great demonstration of the versatility of the Civic Offices building.
Other uses recently were the Ukrainian collection hub, the opening of the Regis Company on the top floor and the actual use of the hub by Officers and Members. He stated that the hub had become a very versatile and useful space for the district as a whole.
He advised he had been invited to the opening of Regis and thought the mix of people using the office space would bring more life back into the High Street.
He stated over the last few weeks that he had been meeting other Leaders from Harlow, Broxbourne and East Herts some of the meetings were to do with the Harlow Garden Town project and how that was progressing, but also to look at opportunities for the future. He advised that he was looking to maximise opportunities with other nearby authorities to drive further benefits to the residents of Epping Forest.
He reported that he had recently been able to get out and about to other parts of the district, he had met with Councillor Keska on Sunday at the Ongar Farmers Market which was run by the Ongar Forum, on of the most successful business groupings locally and to have discussions around what was going on in Ongar, he stated that it was great to be able to get out and about again visiting different communities.
Questions to the Portfolio Holders regarding their reports
Councillor Chris Pond advised his question was to Councillor S Kane and referred to his report on pages 15 and 17 of the agenda and stated that he agreed that the car park tariffs needed revising but what he and his constituents didn’t find acceptable was the change of time for charging in Traps Hill Car Park in Loughton where charging now starts at 8am. A special arrangement was entered into with Councillor Waller when he was the Portfolio Holder to enable Traps Hill car park to be used as a starting point for the Staples Road School walking bus which took place in the morning at around 8.30 to 9am. Also many users of the leisure centre, in EFDC’s own facility are also aggrieved at the bringing forward of the time. Therefore would Councillor Kane reconsider this start time for the charging regime as it does seem to have been done without any consultation.
Councillor S Kane advised that he had also received emails from constituents and it was very unfortunate that this was not picked up at the Stronger Place Select Committee or Cabinet as there was quite clearly an approach to standardise the hours of operation. This can be reviewed, particularly in mind of the walking bus to which I wasn’t aware of, he stated that he had to be very careful because making exceptions for one car park opens the gates for making exceptions to others. He advised that he would take this under review and respond to Councillor Pond at a later date.
Councillor A Lion referred to Councillor Patel’s report on Limes Farm and stated that he regularly attended the Community Café and also participated in the tree planting sessions where 500 trees were planted. He added that he applauded Councillor Patel and the Council for their active engagement on Limes Farm and the support that was being given to the residents.
Councillor Jon Whitehouse stated that his question was to Councillor Avey relating to electric car charging points and I note that new ones were recently introduced at Oakwood Hill. There were at least two car parks in Loughton with electric charging points but the situation wasn’t the same in other parts of the district. Therefore was there an update for the programme to roll out charging points in other parts of the district and in particular was there any updates on discussions with the County Council about on-street charging as many residents did not have drives and need access to on-street charging.
Councillor Avey thanked Councillor Whitehouse for his question and stated that he did not have details of the information to hand and he would report back with further updates. He further added that it was important that the electric charging sites were rolled out as quickly as possible all over the district. He stated that Tesco in Epping were installing electric charging points so he hoped that both in the public and private realm there will be some coverage across the district.
Councillor J Philip asked the Chairman to clarify which items were these questions being asked under, questions directly on the reports or on Agenda item 8, Questions by members without notice.
The Chairman replied that these were questions pertaining to the Portfolio Holder reports.