EPPING Forest District Council is well-placed to weather the coming financial storm despite a large decrease in its capital reserves, its cabinet has heard.

Finance portfolio holder Cllr Chris Whitbread told his colleagues the biggest challenge facing the council would be a £15million reduction in funds available for capital projects from a height in April this year of £21,091,000.

He said: “What is most concerning is at the end of this five year period our capital reserves will be down to £6.9million. We have very finite sums of money.”

Mr Whitbread added that a number of projects coming up had yet to be financed including potential works on Langston Road, and the presence of refuse company Sita at North Weald Airfield.

The council has confirmed that a number of projects have already received financing.

Plans for a new astroturf pitch at Town Mead in Waltham Abbey will go ahead in May to June next year at a cost of £385,000, and £378,000 has been reserved in case the council has to carry out a compulsory purchase order on the troubled shop renovation project at 8/8a Sun Street, in the town.

In addition, supermarket giant Lidl has given the council £164,812 in exchange for permission to build its store, in Cartersfield Lane, Waltham Abbey.

Mr Whitbread confirmed that money would be ring-fenced for use in regeneration projects in the town adding: “Waltham Abbey has been in need of investment for a long period of item particularly as it will be major asset to us following on from the Olympics' legacy.”

The council will reserve £1million to pay for seven new refuse vehicles in 2011/12, and £25,000 has been put aside for new CCTV at the Broadway, Loughton, to be paid for by an underspend on the enhancement scheme there.

In terms of other expenditure this year, the council revealed it had paid out £25,696 in unplanned one-off emergency works including £12,600 to provide overnight security when there was a gipsy incursion at North Weald Airfield.

Money will be paid for the one-off incidents from a business rate rebate on Waltham Abbey Sports Centre.

The effect of the Government's comprehensive spending review was little discussed, although Mr Whitbread told members the council must show restraint and caution in future spending.

“We have a duty particularly in our very difficult financial times to use our money wisely. Nothing will be ignored in our drive that this council use its money well,” he said.