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 Business Support Services Portfolio Holder (attached);
(c) Report of the Commercial and Regulatory Services Portfolio Holder (attached);
(d) Report of the Community and Partnership Services Portfolio Holder (attached);
(e) Report of the Contract and Technical Services Portfolio Holder (attached)
(f) Report of the Customer Services Portfolio Holder (attached);
(g) Report of the Housing and Property Services Portfolio Holder (attached);
(i) Report of the Planning Services Portfolio Holder (attached); and
(j) Report of the Strategic Projects 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) The Leader of Council
The Leader advised the Council that he had been involved in a number of events since the last meeting which had involved shaping the future of the Council.
One of the highlights, had been the launch of the Epping Forest Youth Council’s ‘We R Safe’ campaign, which demonstrated the valuable work that the Youth Council were continuing to do and the recognition across the district, county and country they were receiving.
There had been on going progress with the Harlow Garden Town Project for Latton Priory and Gilston and he had continued to meet with the Chairman of the Board, Guy Nicholas for updates.
Business of the Council progressed with the strategic programmes delivering the aims and objectives of the Corporate Plan and with approval of the Asset Strategy, it would create a sustainable future. The Council was also continuing to look at ways of boosting revenue streams to protect front line services and invest in the District. This included the creation of a group company structure incorporating new house building and repairs service; the St John’s Road project; Master planning at North Weald Airfield; and the Accommodation Strategy refurbishment of the Civic Offices leaving the customer, civic and democratic functions at the Civic Offices in Epping.
(b) Planning Portfolio Holder
Councillor J Philip advised that the Council had been rated one of the highest performing authorities in Essex for the issue enforcement notices and that the Government’s Chief Planner had commented favourably on the Councils approach to the use of Quality Review Panels.
Furthermore, the Secretary of State had refused the planning application for an incinerator in Ratty’s Lane, Hoddesdon which abutted the north west of the District and referred to the Council’s Local Plan which assisted with his decision. Finally, a member briefing on viability for the Local Plan had been arranged for the 10 September 2019, to consider how much would be available from a development sites, to contribute to the infrastructure and social housing.
(c) Commercial and Regulatory Portfolio Holder
Councillor A Patel advised that there were a few minor corrections to his report, which related to the correction of year for the VE Day Commemorations in 2020; and that the penultimate paragraph related to building control and was in relation to St John’s Road development.
(d) Housing and Property Portfolio Holder
Councillor H Whitbread advised that following a tour of the District in her new role, she had seen first hand the high quality of the new housing properties built by the Council; the innovative designs of the homeless pods and solutions they provided for independent living and homelessness in the District; and the issues regarding migration of homeless people into the District from London Boroughs, requiring temporary accommodation and the lack of transparency required to assist these families.
(e) Community and Partnership Services Portfolio Holder
Councillor N Bedford advised that he had attended a Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner meeting in Chigwell, which had been very well attended by the public and spanned many issues that affected the District and adjoining London Boroughs.