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.
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.
May is Scams Awareness Month (organised by the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Trading Standards Institute.
These are just a few of the scams that the Essex County Council Trading Standards team has come across this month:
- Emails purporting to be from HMRC in regard to being eligible to a tax return of £288.87 in which the business has to register details. The email address from which the email has been sent is a no-reply and not an HMRC email address.
- An email to a resident purporting to be from a police force outside Essex. It stated that his computer had been hacked and used to look at child pornography and copyright infringements. The email stated that £100 needed to be sent to stop a virus destroying the hard drive of the computer.
- A business has been contacted about their business rates. The business was charged for the service but so far nothing has been delivered. The company offering the service is purported to be operating from Bolton.
- A resident ticked a box on a health food supplement website for a free sample. The resident has now been sent a supply of capsules and the company is asking for £64.90 and have stated they will continue to send product at 30 day intervals. On calling the company the resident was told that they needed to email head office for a refund but the “contact us” button on their website was not working. The company is purported to be operating from West Lothian in Scotland.
- A resident received an email purporting to be from HMRC stating that he was a beneficiary of a fund amounting to around $15 million dollars. In order for the funds to be released a copy of their passport and drivers licence was required.
Scams are schemes to con people out of their money. They can be carried out by post, phone, email, online or sometimes via a knock on the door. Scams take different forms such as fake lotteries, prize draws, bogus health cures, dodgy investment schemes, pyramid selling and phishing.
The best piece of advice is: “if it sounds too good to be true it probably is!”
You can check the Action Fraud alerts for common scams and frauds at www.actionfraud.police.uk/news.
It is likely to be a scam if:
- The call, letter, email or text has come out of the blue
- You’ve never heard of the lottery or competition they are talking about
- You didn’t buy a ticket – so you can’t win it!
- They are asking you to send money in advance
- They are telling you to respond quickly so you don’t get time to think about it or ask family and friends before you decide
- They are telling you to keep it a secret
- They seem to be offering you something for nothing
What should I do with something I think is a scam?
- Don’t reply to spam mail, texts or emails
- Say “no thank you” politely and put the phone down if they persist
- Phone the Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06 for advice
- Check the Action Fraud alerts for common scams/ frauds www.actionfraud.police.uk/news
- Ask friends, neighbours or family if the offer is likely to be a scam
- Destroy and throw away mailings.
What can I do to tackle scams?
- Report scams to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or www.actionfraud.police.uk
- Get advice from Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06. It can provide advice and pass details on to Trading Standards
- Tell someone. Tip off a friend, neighbour or relative about any scams you become aware of
- Down load and read the My Scams Checklist leaflet at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/sam13-checklist [PDF]
How can I protect myself?
- Never give out contact details like your name, phone number or address to strangers or to people who should have this information already.
- Never give financial information or details of your identity, bank accounts or credit card to strangers or to the businesses that already hold your details.
- Shred anything with your personal or bank details on – don’t just throw it away.
If you use non-emergency patient or passenger transport (such as for attending hospital or clinic appointments) the NHS in Essex would like to hear from you.
The five Essex Primary Care Trusts, Essex County Council, Southend Borough Council and Thurrock Council are looking at the provision of non-emergency transport for health and social care across Essex. An important part of this project is gathering feedback from existing users of the services, so that this can be used to develop services for the future.
This team is interested in your experience and suggestions about anything that could have been done better. Please send your feedback, including details of the area in which you live, to Karen.Hepworth@see-pct.nhs.uk by Wednesday 22nd December.
Information from Voluntary Action Epping Forest and Essex and Southend Link
The timetable for the Epping Parking Review has slipped again. I now understand that the Traffic Regulation Orders (official notices from the county council advertising the formal proposals) will probably be published in early February. As Janet and I reported in the most recent Epping Focus leaflet, the main way residents will know about this is from notices attached to lamposts.
Residents will be able to inspect the full proposals by looking at Essex County Council’s website or at Epping Library.
The links on the left of this page give outline details of what we expect to happen.
I was able to make time on Friday afternoon to go for a good tramp around Epping and Coopersale’s frozen streets (and to drop off a final few Focus leaflets).
The effects of the snow are showing up in the form of at least one broken street sign and rapidly deteriorating road surfaces (it would have helped if those particular potholes had been repaired when they first appeared many weeks ago), which I have now reported.
I also did a circuit around Swaines Green and then later walked across the fields along the Essex Way to Coopersale. Wrapped up warmly and with the sun out it was a great feeling – which I appreciate is absolutely no consolation to anyone unable to venture out and therefore shivering at home.
The most impressive snowman I found lurked in Brickfield Road, complete with clementine nose and eyes of coal. More worrying were the two doors elsewhere that I knocked on to tell the inhabitants they had left their keys in their outside locks. Perhaps they had been rushing inside to get out of the cold.
Thankfully, despite predictions, there has been very little snowfall over Friday and Saturday, so the busy roads have been clear of snow. It’s a different story on the side streets.
Recycling and waste collection
The slight change in weather meant the refuse and recycling crews were able to make some collections on Friday but there are still roads that the 20 tonne trucks can’t safely manouvre down and some big piles of sacks awaiting collection as a result. Here’s hoping any snow we get today (Sunday) won’t settle.
The district council’s advice remains to put your rubbish out as normal and it will be collected eventually. Snow update information from the district council is here and should be updated on Monday.
It isn’t clear yet whether the county council will be able to do a full gritting run before the start of the new working week. Updates should appear on the county council’s website here.
A quick pointer to the district council’s snow update page, which is now being updated pretty regularly.
Waste and recycling collections
The bad news is that waste and recycling collections were suspended completely today because of accidents. (I dread to think how long it will now take to get back to normal. There are roads in Buckhurst Hill that haven’t received a wheelie bin collection since early December.)
However as a result our pavements are finally receiving some attention as waste collection staff have been made available to grit shopping centres and car parks. There’s been no specific mention of pavements leading to transport hubs or pavements near schools so I’ve followed this up.
At a Local Highways Panel meeting six weeks ago Essex County Council told us that it had record quantities of salt in store for this winter – far more than it actually expected to use. I was therefore concerned to learn that it is already cutting back on its gritting programme for the reasons set out here. That link also gives details of the roads that will still be treated.
In Epping the only road included is the High Road. This is really bad news for heavily used roads which are usually gritted like Lindsey Street, Station Road and Bower Hill, which could be treacherous by morning. The county council expects to be able to return to its usual gritting programme on Sunday evening.
The local media is covering the snow episode (I don’t think we can yet call it a crisis) assiduously. BBC Essex’s essential information page contains some useful links and should be authoritative about school closures. Plenty of news also at Everything Epping Forest and the Epping Forest Guardian.
It seems almost compulsory for anyone with a website to put on show their pictures of the snow, so here is my contribution.
If you look carefully at the top right hand photograph (Hartland Road) it shows the post and the buses operating successfully, so well done to them.
It’s a pity the police only got round to closing Kendal Avenue (bottom photos) after several utterly predictable bumps and near misses. We live in hope that one day the county council will add the road to its gritting rota, given that there are always problems on this steep hill, but at the moment it isn’t treated as a priority route despite being used as an access to Epping Station. It’s something Janet Whitehouse has raised with both the police and Highways and will continue to do so.
Epping Forest seems to have been hit particularly hard by school closures if the list just read out by BBC Essex is any guide.
Pupils at Davenant, Debden Park, King Harold in Waltham Abbey and St John’s School in Epping all look set to have the day off.
So do pupils at Oakview Special School and primary school pupils at High Beach, Lambourne, Moreton, Nazeing, Shelley, St Andrew’s in North Weald and Thomas Willingale in Loughton.