Epping Forest District

Epping Forest District is located in the south west of Essex on the border of London. The majority of the District is a gently undulating rural landscape, dissected by two main river valleys – the Lee and the Roding, and 92% of the District is part of London’s Green Belt. Epping Forest, an internationally protected Special Area of Conservation and Site of Special Scientific Interest, is located in the south west and is one of the region’s most historic and ecologically rich areas of woodland.

The District boasts a number of small and historic market towns, such as Epping, Ongar and Waltham Abbey which are of medieval origin and retain their important townscape character. The District’s largest settlements are Epping, Waltham Abbey and Loughton which benefit from locally-important retail centres. Elsewhere, there are many dispersed, linear ‘green’ villages e.g. Nazeing and Epping Green, as well as forest villages such as High Beach and Theydon Bois.

The rural landscape is dominated by mainly arable agriculture and horse keeping, interspersed by villages and small-scale commerce. The western part of the District has long been an important part of the Lee Valley horticultural glasshouse industry, contributing significantly to the economic and landscape character of the area.

The historic environment is an important asset for the District. There are 25 Conservation Areas, over 30 Scheduled Monuments as well as over 1,300 statutorily listed buildings. These include Greensted’s 11th century church which is the oldest wooden church in the world, whilst Copped Hall is the location where Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream was first performed.

The southern and western parts of the District are well connected to London and the wider region by the London Underground Central Line, and the M25 and M11 motorways, while eastern and northern parts of the District in contrast are more isolated and rural.

The Epping Forest District Local Plan Submission Version 2017 (expected adoption in 2019) sets out the strategy up to 2033 for meeting the economic, housing and environmental needs of the District, identifying sites for development and regeneration, and setting out policies to manage development. Much of the new growth that is planned will take place as new garden communities as part of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town but there is also planned growth in a number of other settlements across the District. The policies in the Local Plan Submission Version have a strong focus on ensuring high quality development is delivered in the District. This includes a commitment to place-shaping, a holistic process that brings together all the elements that make places successful through proper land use planning, design and infrastructure delivery. Additionally, the plan proposes that new development in the larger settlements should be subject to collaborative strategic masterplanning or the development of concept frameworks. The Council will generally expect schemes of more than 50 homes or 5,000 sq metres to be informed through review by the independent panel of experts on the Epping Forest District Quality Review Panel. Other smaller schemes which are complex or contentious may also be appropriate for review.

Epping Forest District Council Local guidance Countywide / Subregional Not currently available
Local Development Plan      
Adopted Local Plan    
Local Plan Submission Version 2017    
Local Plan Submission Version 2017 - Appendix 6 Contents     
Local Plan Submission Version 2017 - Appendix 6 Epping    
Local Plan Submission Version 2017 - Appendix 6 Loughton    
Local Plan Submission Version 2017 - Appendix 6 Waltham Abbey and Ongar    
Local Plan Submission Version 2017 - Appendix 6 Buckhurst Hill, North Weald, Chigwell and Theydon Bois     
Local Plan Submission Version 2017 - Appendix 6 Roydon, Nazeing, Thornwood, Coopersale, Fyfield and High Ongar    
Local Plan Submission Version 2017 - Appendix 6 Lower Sheering, Moreton, Sheering, Stapleford Abbotts and Rural Sites     
Development Viability      
Developer Contributions      
Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)    
Development and Urban Design      
Neighbourhood planning    
Parking Policy    
Health and Wellbeing      
Health Impact Assessment (HIA)    
Accessible and Adaptable Dwellings    
National Space Standards    
Essex Insight Public Health Profile    
Open Space Strategy 2017    
Built Facilities Strategy 2017    
Playing Pitch Strategy 2017    
Climate Change and Flood Risk      
Level 1 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) 2015    
Water Cycle Study    
Surface Water Management Plan (SWMP)  
Sustainable Drainage Systems Design Guide    
Environment Quality      
Landscape Character Assessment 2010    
Historic Environment Characterisation Project 2015    
Local Wildlife Site Review 2010 (Found under Strategic Policies - Green Belt/Landscape/Open Space)    
Conservation Area Character Appraisals    
Transport and Communications Infrastructure      
Infrastructure Delivery Plan 2017 Part A    
Infrastructure Delivery Plan 2017 Part B    
Highways Standards      
Cycling Strategy    
Local Transport Plan    
Economy & Retail      
Employment Land Supply Assessment 2017    
Employment Review 2017    
Report on Site Selection 2018    
Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) Report of Findings 2015    
Updating the Overall Housing Need (SHMA) 2016    
Establishing the Full Objectively Assessed Need (SHMA) 2017    
Affordable Housing Update (SHMA) 2017    
Gypsy & Traveller Accommodation Assessment 2017  
Green Belt      
Green Belt Review Stage 1 2015    
Green Belt Review Stage 2 2016    


Page updated: 2/02/2022

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