Answering your questions
Who is the Executive Team and Board Members working for Qualis?
All details can be found here This page will be updated as and when changes occur.
Why was Qualis set up?
Qualis was set up to operate with flexibility and commercial focus in order to generate additional incomes to support key services and underpin the long-term financial strength of Epping Forest District Council.
The individual companies will undertake a range of activities that will make Qualis a sustainable and profitable business to the benefit of the wider community.
Do the Directors of Qualis get dividends from the company?
Directors do not receive dividends. Epping Forest District Council as the 100% shareholder will receive dividends from Qualis once Qualis starts to make returns.
Where do the profits go?
They are either re-invested in new projects in line with the Business Plan which is annually reviewed by the Council or returned to the Council by means of dividends or indeed a combination of the two
What if Qualis makes bad investments, who has to pay the debt back?
Qualis has been set-up as an independent limited company which almost entirely restricts any liabilities on the shareholder. Qualis would need to apply returns made on more profitable projects to offset any losses made in respect of any bad investments. However, it should be noted that Qualis is averse to taking any significant investment risk at this stage.
Do Qualis use Council Tax money to invest in projects?
Not directly. To date Epping Forest District Council has itself borrowed Government Funds from the Public Works Loan Board or used its own cash surpluses which would otherwise be banked with minimal returns.
Why are Qualis investing in properties outside of Epping?
Our strategy is to build a diverse property investment portfolio that provides secure, long-term income. We will consider investment opportunities both in and out of the District that meet our investment criteria. As we are committed to a number of developments within the District, investing in property in other locations balances risk and supports the financial stability of the Group and protects the Shareholder.
Who does Qualis have to report to?
Qualis reports to its 100% shareholder, Epping Forest District Council through the Shareholder Agreement reporting at Cabinet and Council meetings. The Qualis quarterly management accounts are publicly available. It is also required to comply with all relevant legislation including filing its Annual Accounts with the Registrar of Companies in accordance with Companies Act deadlines.
Will Qualis promote the dates of their board meetings and can the public attend?
Board Meetings are held privately ensuring confidentiality of discussions, but all major decisions are reserved for shareholder approval of Epping Forest District Council and are reported at Cabinet and Council meetings [which are open to the public]. The papers and minutes of these meetings are also publicly available on the Council website.
Is CAZ being put in place so Qualis can develop their schemes?
No Epping Forest District Council are required to put together an air quality mitigation strategy now because there are currently adverse impacts on the forests. There are a series of mitigation measures that include a CAZ. The scope and need for a CAZ in the future is purely a matter for the Council.
Why are Qualis Commercial proposing more shops and a cinema when the High Street is suffering already?
Qualis have submitted a planning application for a multi-level car park and mixed-use commercial development to be developed in phases. There will be an option to adjust the final development mix of the Cottis Lane site when the impact of Covid 19 is better known on the economy and High Street demand.
Why was Qualis Management set up?
Qualis Management was set up to provide efficient and high-quality services to customers of Epping Forest District Council. The repairs contract with Mears was due to expire in 2020 and as a result, Qualis Management was formed.
Will more services be transferred to Qualis from the Council?
The Council will decide whether more services are transferred to Qualis.
What are Qualis Management doing to reduce its carbon footprint?
We continue to review the options to reduce our carbon emissions as a business, in particular our fleet. Currently electric vehicles (vans of the size and load capacity which are required to deliver the maintenance service) will not be available, at the earliest, until 2022. There is currently limited infrastructure and electric charge points around the district, which is challenging given the vast geography which we need to cover. This will take several years to evolve and for the market to mature. We are trialling this year, two medium size hybrid vehicles. We will review the success of these and then consider our strategy for a phased roll out to the fleet, when vehicles come up for renewal.
Where is all the affordable housing for local people?
Epping Forest District Council planning policy requires all new developments to provide affordable housing. Qualis will be complying with these policies and working with the Council’s housing team to develop appropriate affordable housing to meet local needs
Why are Qualis reducing car parking spaces but saying there is no loss ?
The proposed new car park at Cottis Lane will provide 330 spaces replacing in full the surface parking spaces currently available on the Bakers Lane and Cottis Lane car parks. In addition, essential needs car parking will be provided on Bakers Lane when the new Leisure Centre is built. The other sites (St John’s, the existing leisure centre at Hemnall Street and the Conder building) will be developed for residential use and car parking will be provided in accordance with planning policy for new build housing.
Will users of the new leisure centre be able to park in the new car park for free?
This is a question for Epping Forest District Council.
Why have Qualis proposed a multi storey car park – not in keeping with the town?
The proposed car park has been designed to reflect the historical and architectural heritage of Cottis Lane and aims to be sympathetic to the surrounding environment and buildings. The proposed design has received positive comments from the independent Quality Review Panel as part of our pre-application process. The Quality Review Panel is made up of experts that review the designs, including in relation to the surrounding buildings and heritage.
When will the developments be completed?
The development timetable has yet to be finalised, but we would hope the first development (Cottis Lane) will be complete by the summer of 2022.
What is ‘Build to Rent’?
This is a property term referring to blocks of apartments and estates of houses built specifically to be let and managed collectively by the owner.
Will Qualis provide more doctors, schools, dentists and improve the roads? Qualis will be asked to contribute financially through a planning mechanism known as a Section 106 Agreement to allow Epping Forest District Council to invest in local services.
How will Qualis support employment for local people?
As the business moves out of the set-up phase, we intend to offer apprenticeships, traineeships and work placements. As we progress the construction projects, we will run an employment programme working in partnership with the professional team and appointed contractors. This will create local jobs in construction. We will continue the employment programme following completion, this will include property management, customer services and facilities management for retained assets. Most of this activity will be arranged by Qualis Community, our Community Interest Company.
Quality property development
Professional property management
First class management services