Welcome to Buckhurst Hill Residents' Society

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Welcome to the website of the Buckhurst Hill Residents' Society.

To learn about who we are and what we do, please click here

  
 
Coronavirus - Events Cancellation
 

In line with government guidance, we have regrettably decided to cancel our Events for April and May. These are April 14th (Talk), May 10th (Walk), May 13th (AGM & Talk), plus the monthly Memory Cafe at Roding Valley Hall. We will assess events beyond June in due course. 

 

 
Proposed Closure of Buckhurst Hill Library

 Following Public Consultation on its decision to close 25 smaller Libraries, Essex County Council has announced a revised Strategy, and now "envisages" that no Library will close in the next five years.

The new Strategy was published on Tuesday 16th July and was discussed at a meeting of the Council on 23rd July. See Item 4 here for the text.

The new strategy focuses on two key element

  1. Developing an investment plan to improve libraries
  2. Working with and supporting community groups or other partner organisations to set up community-run libraries, with the aim of ensuring a library service is retained in every current location, and potentially established in three or more new locations.

The Council has announced an investment of £3m in Library Services, some of which will be spent to support community groups.

BHRS remains concerned that the detail of the strategy does not actually justify the headline that Buckhurst Hill Library "has been saved". The detail seems to imply smaller Libraries will be kept open only if community groups emerge to take over their running, albeit with improved support from Essex CC.  This would have to include managing whichever building a Library was housed in.  There is in fact no commitment in the revised Strategy to keep a Library open if community support is not forthcoming and no timetable for negotiations. There is no default commitment of five years where a Library would continue to be run as at present by Essex CC, despite the impression it gives in its Press Release. Furthermore the Strategy makes clear the £3m grant would still be a significant reduction on the current expenditure on Libraries, so considerable funding would be required from elsewhere.

Nevertheless it appears the revised Strategy gives a more positive environment where Buckhurst Hill Library "could" be saved from closure, and we hope to work with the Parish Council and other interested parties to achieve that.

The Parish Council has said that it intends to gather a working party to develop a required business plan once a timeframe and information critical to the development of a plan is provided by the County, though at the present time Essex County Council are unable to provide potential meeting dates.

As of November 2019, uncertainty remains, with no further anouncements from Essex CC.

  

Local Plan - Latest News

The Public Inquiry into the Local Plan, a set of policies to manage development within Epping Forest District up to 2033, concluded on 11th June. The Planning Inspector published her interim findings in August, and EFDC responded with comments in October.

More information can be found at http://www.efdclocalplan.org/

In their comments EFDC indicated that consultation with Natural England concerning Air Quality Mitigation for developments around the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation might not be concluded until May 2020. We understand EFDC will then publish Modifications to the Plan, and the public will then have a six-week period to submit comments on them. The Inspector's final report will then follow, and if found legal and sound, the Plan will go back to EFDC Councillors to be adopted. All this might take until Autumn 2020 at the earliest. (Actual planning applications will follow, but might be submitted anytime until 2033)

 

The Residents' Society strongly opposes the sites earmarked in the Plan for Buckhurst Hill and our original response to the draft version has been on this website for a year now (see Newsbox on right). Our response to this amended submitted version is

Response to Submission version of Local Plan

The Hearing Session into the sites proposed for Buckhurst Hill took place in the morning session of 15th May. This can be viewed via the webcast on the EFDC website. (here). You can skip to 2hr 43 mins from the start, and the discussion lasts 50 mins. Representatives of BH Parish Council set out their arguments opposing each of the three sites proposed by EFDC, 1 Powell Road, the car park at the bottom of Queen's Road, and the Shops block at Lower Queen's Road.  Their written statements can be read here. (Matter 15 P5 Buckhurst Hill). BHRS strongly supports their view that all three sites should be removed from the Plan.   

News