Those of us at December’s Theydon Bois parish council meeting heard a presentation from the North Essex Parking Partnership’s enforcement manager. He explained his civil enforcement officers can issue penalties where vehicles are parking on yellow lines (or on highways land such as a pavement adjacent to a yellow line), in residents’ parking zones or obstructing dropped kerbs.
Only the police have the power to deal with vehicles causing obstructions in other locations, including parking on pavements where there are no parking restrictions. Problems with obstructions caused by parked cars can be reported to the police on 101 or 01245 491491. However the sad truth is that the police have many priorities and may not always respond.
In some narrow or busy roads drivers face a difficult choice between parking wholly on the road, which may make it difficult for traffic to get past, and parking partly on the pavement which makes it more difficult for pedestrians to pass. However there should never be an excuse for putting all four wheels on the pavement and blocking it completely.
Pavement parking is a real issue in roads such as Ivy Chimneys in Epping, Woodside in Thornwood Common and Forest Drive near the shops in Theydon Bois. Of these roads, only Forest Drive has parking restrictions and enforcement there is made more complicated given uncertainty about where the boundary between highways and private land is drawn. However NEPP last night agreed to look at this again.
The problem of pavement parking comes up so often the county council’s Place Services and Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee held a session on it yesterday. Councillors discussed this briefing paper [pdf]. Frustratingly the conclusions were that little is likely to change ibn terms of enforcement, unless there are changes to the law such as those advocated by the Guide Dogs Association.
This places the onus on the council or landowners to look at alternative ways of solving the problem, such as providing parking bays (expensive and often at the expense of grass verges), tolerating parking on grass verges or greens (often unsightly) or introducing new parking restrictions (which may not be practical if residents don’t have access to off-street parking).
Despite the frustrations it is an issue I will continue to work on.
The Epping Society has organised a public meeting about the Epping Forest draft local plan which will take place on Monday 14 November at 7.30pm in Epping Hall, St John’s Road. Going on past experience the meeting could be quite busy so if you plan to attend it’s worth turning up in good time.
There is free parking in Bakers Lane car park opposite Epping Hall.
This is exhibition week for the Epping Forest Local Plan. I gather the events that have happened already have been well attended. Epping’s turn is tomorrow at Epping Hall in St John’s Road from 3.30pm until 8pm. Parking is free in Bakers Lane car park opposite after 6pm.
Please come along to discuss the plan with council staff and ask questions. A number of councillors will also be there.
As usual, the agenda for the Epping Forest district council meeting last night had a slot for councillors to ask questions to members of the Cabinet. Given the meeting was just 24 hours after the start of the local plan consultation I was surprised how few councillors raised issues.
My fellow Lib Dem councillor Janet Whitehouse asked about comments she’d received from residents who had found it difficult to interpret the maps (below – click to enlarge) published in the local plan and at the public information points. She asked (see video) if road names could be added to the maps to make it easier to identify the site locations.
Unfortunately she received the response that the maps had been printed and it would be too difficult for the council to make changes. Residents who want to clarify site locations can:
- Download detailed information showing site boundaries from the council website. These documents also show sites that were considered and then not included in the draft Local Plan. The direct links for the Epping, Theydon Bois, Coopersale and Thornwood sites are below:
- Attend an exhibition and talk to a member of staff. The Epping exhibition is in Epping Hall on Friday 11 November from 3.30pm until 8pm. There is an exhibition at North Weald Village Hall this Saturday (5 November) from 10am until 2pm and at Lopping Hall in Loughton on Monday 7 November from 3.30pm until 8pm. Details of the Chigwell and Ongar exhibitions are on the council website.
- Call the council’s Local Plan information line for advice on 01992 564517 or email LDFConsult@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.
The Epping Forest Local Plan Cabinet report has been published and is available on the district council website.
The fraft local plan sets out the number of homes the council wants to be built in Epping Forest until 2031 and identifies potential sites for development (see maps.
It also includes the policies that will be used to assess future planning applications.
If agreed by Cabinet and full council the plan will be out for consultation between Monday 31 October and Monday 12 Deember.
For the first time Epping Forest district council has revealed proposals under discussion for the St John’s Road development site in Epping. (The site comprises the vacant former Epping Junior School site, the Centrepoint building on St John’s Road opposite the library, the Epping Hall site occupied by Epping Town Council and the district council’s housing depot site with access via the slip road to the High Street.)
- a “relatively small” supermarket anchoring the scheme
- small cinema, “probably three schemes”
- Town Square
- some residential
- offices (including for the town council replacing its office at Epping Hall)
- car parking
It is clear there is still a lot of discussion and debate to be had.
Mr Pasterfield said the next stages are for the three councils involved to agree Heads of Terms with Frontier Estates, then negotiate a development agreement and then for the developer to submit a planning application.
There is a report on this going to the district council’s decision making Cabinet
next Monday (21 July). It’s currently scheduled to be discussed in private session but Janet Whitehouse and I are asking for the discussion to be moved into public session given the significance of the the decision to the town. Hopefully that will bring more information into the public domain than the slightly sketchy details given above.
You can watch the report to the Asset Management Committee on the council’s webcast archive
: the St John’s item is between
53:23 and 55:24 minutes. I was surprised to hear the comment about Epping Town Council as I believe a formal decision about the Heads of Terms has not been taken by the Town Council.
I hope to add more information as it becomes available.
Since Wednesday a few dozen residents from Coopersale, Epping and Theydon Bois have reported discoloured water coming out of their taps.
This seems to be related to mains cleaning work that Affinity Water is carrying out on their distribution network. The discoloured water problem is related to manganese deposits in the water distribution system which have been disturbed by on-going mains cleaning works.
The company now thinks it has mitigated much of the problem but in some areas there are still small pockets of discoloured water. Affinity Water will continue to carry out “passive flushing” of the mains in the affected areas.
Epping Forest District Council’s water quality officer advises that the water is not unsafe to use. However residents have been advised by Affinity Water to flush all affected taps/pipework, where discolouration is evident.
Concerned residents should contact Affinity Water if they need further advice or information. The phone number is 0845 782 3333.
Yesterday’s Financial Times featured an interview with former Epping resident Griff Rhys Jones. He wasn’t very complimentary about the town:
His teens were spent in Epping, Essex, which he found “excruciatingly suburban … A high street full of shoe shops and very, very quiet streets where people look behind curtains at people who arrive”. He found it claustrophobic, vowing to get as close to the centre of London as possible: “I’m not a very sit-still sort of person. I tend to think ‘oh, let’s go out for lunch now; let’s go do this now’ or ‘what shall we do tonight?’.”
The shoe shops have all now gone but most streets are still pretty quiet – which I think is how most local people like it.
The attraction of Epping to many residents is that they can relish the shiny lights of London along the Central Line and also cherish the ability to return home to a quieter location with countryside on the doorstep.
From Monday 18 January the SM19 service from Epping Station to Harlow via Thornwood will also run on Saturdays along a route which has been extended to Ongar. [Information from Essex County Council’s Bus Passenger News.]
You can find out more about local bus services here and at Traveline (tel: 0871 200 2233). I’ve also found this independent website useful for Epping to Harlow journeys.
The County Council tells me that Stewards Green Road in Epping will be resurfaced in January. As a result it will be closed for up to seven days between Monday 4 January and Friday 29 January while the works take place.