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You can keep-up-to-date with the latest news on the Everything Epping Forest Facebook page and group, on Twitter (@eefnews) and Instagram (eefnews), and via the EEF News WhatsApp group. To be added to the group text your name to 07710 447868.
 
NEWS ARCHIVE: For earlier articles CLICK HERE
The Everything Local News media service - part of Everything Epping Forest and Everything Harlow - prepares and circulates news releases and pictures for local schools, councils and organisations.
Releases are sent to the media and email subscribers and are also available via Everything Local News on Facebook and Twitter (@ELNews_).
For more details about the service ring 07710 447868.
Epping Pizza

Unit 17B, Woodside Industrial Estate, Woodside, Thornwood, CM16 6LJ.


Open Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 4pm to 10pm.

Special offer - a 2 for £20 deal on any 12” and 15” pizzas on
GoGetters and for collection via telephone and in person orders. 

For collection orders and more details, ring 07496 201191.

For the full menu and to order online 
CLICK HERE
GKPerfection Beauty

GKPerfection Beauty specialises in advanced beauty treatments for the skin, eyes and lips.
Fully insured and qualified with more than 20 years experience. 
Based in Epping.
For more details, ring Gina on
07590 431206.

Facebook
CLICK IT LOCAL

Support your local high street. Order your essentials and treats from local independent shops with same-day delivery.

For more details
CLICK HERE
 
Pixel Business Centre, Waltham Abbey

Serviced office space suitable for 2-20 people. On-site café, meeting rooms, manned reception, fully furnished and high-speed wi-fi are just some of the benefits available to our tenants.
For more details, email info@pixelbusinesscentre.co.uk or ring 01992 667700.


Website  Facebook
Oakland Care

Oakland Care’s range of care homes include Lambwood Heights in Chigwell, Woodland Grove in Loughton and Elsyng House in Enfield. All our homes offer five-star facilities and state-of-the-art features for a fulfilling and purposeful stay within our homes.
To book a tour, ring 0300 303 5445.
Website
Hammond and Smith

Epping’s newest estate agent offering a modern, fresh approach. We value our local community, providing a service with integrity and authenticity.
Email: enquiries@hammondandsmith.co.uk
Tel: 01992 919007

Website  Facebook  Instagram  Twitter
Stagecoach Performing Arts Loughton

At Stagecoach Performing Arts Loughton we love to bring out the best in every child through the wonderful world of Singing, Dancing and Acting. 
We work on developing Creative Courage For Life so our students can shine on whichever stage they choose to in life. 
We are proud to offer high quality live Zoom classes when our sessions cannot run in person.


Website  Instagram  Facebook
Campling Foods

Campling Foods 'Meals on Wheels' service delivers hot, freshly prepared meals daily to the elderly and vulnerable in our community. Developed by our talented team, we offer a choice of comforting and familiar meals that are not only nutritious but delicious too! We also include a tasty homemade desert with every order, all for a total price of £6.99 per day, delivered.
For more details ring or message 07507 763078. 

Website  Facebook
Millie Maids
Epping's premium cleaning service

Experts in oven cleaning, end of tenancy cleaning and regular visits.
Five Star on Yell, Google and Facebook.
Get in touch via 

Instagram  Facebook 07904 566660
Howe and Co
mobile fish and chips


Monday: Abridge 5pm-8pm
Tuesday: Toot Hill 4.30pm-5.15pm; Shelley 5.30pm-8.30pm
Wednesday: Coopersale 4.45pm-8.15pm
Thursday: Theydon Bois 4.45pm-8.30pm
Friday: Sheering 4.45pm-9pm
Saturday: High Ongar 4.45pm-5.30pm and Ongar 5.40pm-9pm
Sunday: Epping Green 4.15pm-5.25pm; Epping 5.30pm-8.30pm.


Website Facebook Twitter 
Instagram
The Merry Fiddlers, Fiddlers Hamlet, Epping

Tel: 01992 572142


Website  Instagram  Facebook

We offer meals of excellent quality and invite you to try our delicious food. The key to our success is simple: providing quality, consistent food that taste great every single time.
We pride ourselves on serving the finest dishes in Epping, using classic French and English techniques with a modern twist. We offer an à la carte menu every evening and are sure we can wow even the finest of palates. Why not come and try our five-course tasting menu accompanied by our perfectly selected wine flights.
Forest Skin Clinic

Tel: 01992 276376
Email: info@forestskinclinic.com

Website  Instagram  Facebook  Twitter
Skin Cancer and Mole Screening * Removal of unwanted skin tags, moles, cysts, lipomas, warts, verrucas * Opatra Dome Skin Analysis System Treatment of fine lines and wrinkles * SkinPen Microneedling * Thread vein treatment * Obagi Medical Grade Skin Care Products * Treatment of excessive sweating * Allergy testing * Medical rejuvenation with light * Scar treatment * Acne * Rosacea * Eczema * Psoriasis * Fungal Treatment
Essex Security Services Ltd
154-156 Church Hill, Loughton


Tel: 020 8502 1360
Email: info@essexsecurity.co.uk

Website
Protecting People and Property. Established in 1979. 24-hour emergency service. Approved contractors for electronic security systems - intruder and fire alarms, CCTV and access control systems.
Haslers

Old Station Road, Loughton, IG10 4PL

Tel: 020 8418 3333
Email: advice@haslers.com 


Website
New City College | Epping Forest
(formerly Epping Forest College)

Offering a wide range of courses for 16 to 18-year-olds and adults. Epping Forest Campus achievement rates are higher than ever with a 13.6 per cent increase over 2018, making it one of the fastest and best improvements of all colleges in the country. 
Website
Sanuk Thai Ongar, The Street, High Ongar
 
Sanuk Thai Ongar offers authentic Thai cuisine. Sanuk has been in High Ongar since 2003. Sanuk Thai Ongar is the place to experience authentic Thai food prepared with the finest ingredients. Sanuk's Thai talented chefs artistically combine the ingredients to achieve the ultimate aromatic flavour in their dishes. The experienced and award-winning chef and staff are committed to giving you the best food and service. Open seven days a week. 
For more information and to book a table, ring 01277 568411 or 01277 568412. 
Website
Paul Saggers Associates
Architects and Project Managers

A long established Epping-based architectural practice offering a cost-effective service to achieve planning permission and building regulations approval for a wide range of projects.
The company prides itself on offering an attentive and professional service.
Ring Paul on 07736 922863 to discuss requirements.
Website
EPPING NEWS
6.57pm - December 23

Town council announces winners of best residential Christmas display competition

The winners of Epping Town Council’s Best Dressed Christmas Home Competition have been announced.  

The first prize of £200 was awarded to Teresa and Garry Hartshorn, of 1 Lindsey Street, who are donating their prize to the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance.

The two second prize winners were awarded to 1 Clover Leas and 22 Rayfield.

More pictures at https://bit.ly/32mLxZd

Town Mayor councillor Michael Wright, Deputy Mayor councillor Barbara Scruton and Oscar Strong, sales manager of Luxe Watches, of 219 High Street, Epping - which provided the prize money  - looked at the entries, visited the shortlist and agreed the winners.

Cllr Michael Wright said: “This was the first time we ran the competition. We were so impressed by the efforts of the many residents to decorate their Christmas homes especially given the current pandemic that we are all in.  

"Thank you so much to Luxe Watches for kindly sponsoring the prizes.”

Luxe Watches sales manager Oscar Strong said: "We are thrilled to be involved in such a fun community initiative. I was so impressed by the first prize winner’s amazing lights at 1 Lindsey Street which blew me away."

The competition was open to all homes in the Parish of Epping, including Coopersale and Fiddlers Hamlet.  

The initiative aimed to help to spread festive community spirit across the Parish and was an opportunity for residents to show off their festive lights and decorative displays.
3.26pm - December 20

Bank re-opens after COVID-19 deep clean

Epping's NatWest bank branch has reopened today after it was closed for several days last week while a deep clean was carried out as staff were isolating, a spokesman has said.

In a statement issued to Everything Epping Forest today, a NatWest spokesman said: "The health and safety of our colleagues and customers is paramount and due to staff isolating our Epping branch closed temporarily last week while we carried out a deep clean. 

"We can confirm the branch is open again."
5.58pm - December 15

Town council fights on in its 'keep bungalows bungalows' fight

Epping Town Council has repeated its view that it wishes to see The Orchards - a cul-de-sac of predominantly bungalows - retained as it voted to oppose conversion plans for one of the properties "into what is in essence a house".

Several of the bungalows in the road off Bower Hill have already been converted but town councillors have repeatedly opposed plans - and on Tuesday objected to the latest application, to convert the loft space at 32 The Orchards into habitable accommodation.

Planning and general purposes committee chairman Nigel Avey said: "Once we've lost this it will be the end of The Orchards.

"If every house does that (is converted into a house) the particular character of the area will be lost. We can suggest that this alters the street scene and is detrimental to the local environment."

Town Mayor Michael Wright said: "Whether we can do anything  to stop it I don't know. We should object in the strongest possible terms.

"We don't want it. The town doesn't want it. Whether that has any effect is in the lap of the Gods."

Councillor Barbara Scruton said: "If Plans East (the district council committee which could consider the application) agrees it there's nothing we can do about it but we've made such a lot of noise about protecting bungalows in this area we have to keep going.

"The neighbours will expect us to do it (object). As a consultee we have to make our voice heard. We don't want to lose bungalows."

The committee agreed to object stating that the proposal is in an area of special character with the proposed conversion "into what is in essence a house" is "damaging to the area and the street scene".
5.15pm - December 15

Bench honours 'Brambly Hedge' creator

A bench has been donated for the Market Garden off Epping High Street by the sister of 'Brambly Hedge' author Jill Barklem, who lived in Epping.

The bench is in honour of their parents, John and Ivy Gaze, who owned Pynes Store - which is now the Wildwood restaurant - in the High Street from 1955 until 1992.

Earlier this year Epping Town Council recognised Jill Barklem's links with the town by unveiling a blue plaque on her former home in Church Hill, where she moved too from Theydon Grove having earlier lived in Buttercross Lane.

Jill Barklem died on November 15, 2017.


Oak trees to mark Queen's Platinum Jubilee

Three 6ft oak trees are to be planted by Epping Town Council on the Stonards Hill recreation ground to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee next June.

Council to seek Kickstart scheme candidate

Epping Town Council has been confirmed as a suitable candidate to take on a young person through the Government's Kickstart scheme.

The vacancy will be advertised on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) website.

The successful person will assist the council with project funding applications.

The person will be paid by the DWP with training opportunities available to the individual.


Town Green bell bollard replaced

A second bell bollard has been installed near the Epping war memorial on the Town Green after the first was demolished by a turning lorry.

The original bollard was put in following another incident where an HGV got stuck in the grass fronting the memorial off Lindsey Street.
4.32pm - December 15

Town council precept - £2.96 Band D equivalent increase proposed

Epping Town Council has given its initial approval to its budget for the next financial year which will see a 3 per cent increase in its precept - a £2.96 increase for the year for a Band D equivalent household.

A council report states its finances in 2020-21 have been hit by a lower than anticipated income from Epping Hall hirers due to a slow recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for a new roof for the market store, replacement LED lights for the Stonards Hill recreation ground, and a new water heating system for Epping Hall.

Forecast cost increases for 2022-23, detailed in the report which went before councillors on Tuesday, are inflationary increases including staff salaries and on-costs, increased fuel costs and increased cost of utilities.

Councillor Simon Baker told Tuesday's council meeting: "I recognise, particularly with the pandemic, we haven't had the income we would like but my preference would be to not raise council tax at this time.

"Businesses have been affected and people have been on furlough."

He said the council should go through its finances "with a toothcomb" and questioned whether the council's magazine, Talk About Epping - which is delivered to every household in the Parish - had to be published four times a year.

Councillor Mari-Louise Whitbread said: "I certainly don't want to be raising any council tax."

Town council clerk Beverley Rumsey asked councillors how the council could be expected to run its operation if it does not make an increase.

"We've gone through (finances) with a fine toothcomb. There's nothing to cut without affecting services."

Councillor Nigel Avey said: "We have a tight ship and offer value for money. A three per cent increase offers economic sense."

Councillor Richard Griffiths said: "I think the cost of living has increased and that has to be reflected. 

"We are talking about increasing salaries, that's a large chunk of our budget. Three per cent is quite a reasonable approach."

Councillor Grahame Scruton, the member responsible for finance on the town council, said: "It (the 3 per cent increase) is the price of a cup of coffee.

"Yes, there are members of our community that will struggle on that increase."

But he acknowledged that the other authorities - Epping Forest District Council, Essex County Council, Essex Police and Essex County Fire and Rescue - were also likely to increase their precepts too.

Councillor Cherry McCredie highlighted that the increase is less than the 5 per cent rise made in 2020-21.

The final budget will be rubber-stamped by councillors in January.
3.20pm - December 9

Deadline extended for best residential Christmas lights display competition

​The deadline to enter Epping Town Council's best residential Christmas lights display competition has been extended until Thursday, December 16.

The competition is open to all homes in the Parish of Epping, including Coopersale and Fiddlers Hamlet.

The competition is being sponsored by Luxe Watches, of 219 High Street, Epping, which is providing a £200 first prize and £100 second prize.

Sales manager Oscar Strong said: "We are thrilled to be involved in such a fun community initiative. We can’t wait to see the entries.” 

Entry forms can be downloaded at
http://www.eppingtowncouncil.gov.uk/_VirDir/CoreContents/News/Display.aspx?id=45338 and are also available by emailing info@eppingtowncouncil.gov.uk or by calling into the town council offices at Epping Hall, St John's Road.

The initiative aims to help to spread festive community spirit across the Parish and is an opportunity for residents to show off their festive lights and decorative displays, some of which are used for charity fundraising purposes.  

The judges will make a shortlist of potential winners and visit the homes the week commencing December 20.

For further information, contact Epping Town Council by emailing info@eppingtowncouncil.gov.uk or ringing 01992 579444.
6.04pm - December 5

MP praises town's festive and community spirit

Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing has praised the festive and community spirit in Epping which has been highlighted by the Christmas Tree Festival at St John's Church and Epping Town Council's Christmas Market.

Long queues built up at the church with visitors waiting to see the 60-plus decorated trees while a bumper crowd turned out throughout the day for the market, with some 50 stalls, and festive entertainment including singing and a visit from two reindeer.

Dame Eleanor said: "The tree festival is always a highlight of the festive season and it is clear to see from the wide array of organisations which have decorated trees the amount of community spirit there is in the town."

She added: "It was particularly poignant to see the Epping Team Ministry tree which highlights baby loss awareness."

Dame Eleanor also visited the Christmas market and met the winners of the town council's best festive window competition - Hammond and Smith estate agents - and the recipients of a Mayor's Choice award - Rosewood Pharmacy.

Dame Eleanor said: "Congratulations to all the businesses who entered the competition. Epping has many independent businesses and it is great to see them entering into the festive spirit."
2.59pm - December 3

Festive market attracts bumper crowds

PICTURES

Epping Town Council Christmas Market attracts bumper crowds - and result iof the best decorated shop window competition.

The festive window at Hammond and Smith in Epping High Street has won Epping Town Council's annual award for the best Christmas window display.

The estate agents' display was the favourite in a public vote organised for the town council by local news and information service Everything Epping Forest.

Hammond and Smith were presented with the Audrey Rose Cup which is named after a former Epping Mayor and is presented annually to the best Christmas window display.

The display at Rosewood Pharmacy received a Mayor's Choice award and a bottle of champagne was presented to Piccola.

The prizes were presented by Town Mayor councillor Michael Wright at Saturday's Epping Town Council Christmas Market which attracted bumper crowds to the High Street.

Entertainment was provided by Academy Arts Theatre School, which is performing the musical 'Annie' at Zinc Arts Centre in Ongar this month; Epping Primary School Choir, the Ivy Chimneys Primary School Choir, Epping Music School, Rock Choir and local musicians 'Hanna and Music' and Matthew Shepherd.

There were also visits from Olaf from 'Frozen', and two reindeer whose visit to the market was sponsored by Luxe Watches.

There was also a Santa's Grotto at Epping Fire Station.

The town council thanks Luxe Watches for sponsoring the reindeers' visit, and the Rotary Club of Epping for paying for the Christmas tree on the piazza.
8.01pm - November 27

Time to vote for your favourite festive window display

Voting is now open for Epping Town Council's best Christmas window display competition.

The winner of the competition - which is again being run with local news and information service Everything Epping Forest - will receive The Audrey Rose Cup from Epping Town Council at the Christmas Market on Saturday (December 4).

To vote:

Check out the pictures of the 13 entries at https://bit.ly/PICTURES-Eppingwindows and note the number of your favourite (for example WINDOW 14).

Cast your vote by email or text.

BY EMAIL: Email everythingeppingforest@gmail.com with your window choice in the subject line (for example WINDOW 14).

BY TEXT: Text the number of your favourite window display to 07710 447868.

Please note that only one vote per email address and mobile phone number will be registered. 

Voting closes at 5pm on Thursday, December 2. 

The businesses which have entered the competition this year are:

Home Hub Group
Mr Smiths Of London
Alexander Morgan Gallery
Link Workspace
Beauty Skin and Eyelash Lounge
SO Studios
Yakimono Japanese Grill
Reef and Reptiles
G&I Jewellers
Cole's
Jojo Maman Bebe
Hammond and Smith
Piccola
7.56am - November 23

More than 50 stalls expected at Christmas Market

More than 50 Christmas gifts and food stalls are expected at Epping Town Council's Christmas Market in Epping High Street on Saturday, December 4.

The event will run from 10am until 4pm with social distancing and Covid-19 precautions in place.

A programme of entertainment will start at noon, following the Town Mayor’s opening speech, with music from school choirs, adult choirs and local singers.

The Christmas lighting in the town, annually installed by the town council, will add to the festive atmosphere with the displays including the lights on a 25ft Christmas tree, kindly sponsored by the Rotary Club of Epping, with the lights to be switched on by Town Mayor councillor Michael Wright during the event.

The Christmas Market will run alongside the Christmas Tree Festival at St John’s Church which starts at 1pm on the Friday (December 3) and runs until 8pm, and continues on Saturday, December 4 (10am to 5pm), Sunday, December 5 (11.30am to 4pm) and Monday, December 6 (10am to 2pm).

Santa will be visiting Epping Fire Station during the Christmas Market (between 10am and 4pm) while other attractions will include real reindeer (in the Market Garden) and a visit from Olaf, from Frozen.

The visit of the reindeer is being part-sponsored by Luxe Watches at 219 High Street.

Nicholas Hickey, Managing Director, Luxe Watches, said: "We are thrilled to be able to support this fantastic community event and hope everyone is able to enjoy the reindeers!"

Epping Town Council asks High Street businesses to support the event and join in the festive season by, for example, extending their opening hours, giving out free samples, offering a present-wrapping service or giving a promotional discount on the day.

Further programme information will be available on the town council’s website www.eppingtowncouncil.gov.uk and on Everything Epping Forest's social media feeds nearer the time.

Limited free car parking, courtesy of Epping Forest District Council, will be available in the Cottis Lane car park from noon.

For further information, email Epping Town Council at gvallis@eppingtowncouncil.gov.uk or ring 01992 579444.  
3.09pm - November 21

COOPERSALE: 19m high phone mast opposed

A 19m high mobile phone mast proposed for Coopersale Common would be "completely unacceptable" and a have a "significant" visual impact on the area, it is claimed.

Hutchison 3G Limited (‘H3G’ also known as Three) wants to put up the mast at the location which it says "has been identified as being integral to the needs of H3G’s network in this area". 

However the mast is being opposed by The Epping Society which says the "sheer scale" of the mast is "completely unacceptable".

In a letter to Epping Forest District Council, society vice-chairman Roger Lowry added: "Coopersale Common is essentially a village within the Parish of Epping with a population of around 1,000 people. 

"The proposed site abuts the low wall surrounding the only community green space in the village centre, which contains the only retail outlets. 

"This modest area of low hedges, benches and walkways - lit by heritage style lampposts - is at the heart of the community and will be completely overshadowed by this mast."

Meanwhile, Epping Forest District Council trees and landscape officer Melinda Barham has said the mast and equipment cabinets would have a "significant" visual impact on the area with the top of the mast some seven metres higher that the tallest tree within the grassed area.

"This will be an imposing feature with the street scene and will be highly visible from both close and longer view points much of which is open countryside."

The Epping Society says it "strongly supports" Ms Barham's comments adding that choosing a location closer to the forest edge "might disguise it a little".

Mr Lowry added: "The Coopersale 'hilltop' is very flat-topped so moving the mast away from the village centre could be achieved with minimal coverage loss."

The society is also concerned that in its intended location, the mast "will be an all too obvious climbing challenge for local youth - so within months a barbed wire enclosure will be needed.

"How obtrusive / safe will that be?"

Mr Lowry concludes: "The excessive scale of the mast and position of the mast will have negative impact on the street scene. It will have a dramatic impact on the village green as a community amenity."
4.12pm - November 9

Town council holding best residential Christmas lights display competition

Epping Town Council is running a best residential Christmas lights display competition this year.

The competition is open to all homes in the Parish of Epping, including Coopersale and Fiddlers Hamlet.

The competition is being sponsored by Luxe Watches, of 219 High Street, Epping, which is providing a £200 first prize and £100 second prize.

Sales manager Oscar Strong said: "We are thrilled to be involved in such a fun community initiative. We can’t wait to see the entries.” 

Entry forms - which can be downloaded at www.eppingtowncouncil.gov.uk and are also available by emailing info@eppingtowncouncil.gov.uk or calling into the town council offices at Epping Hall - must be returned, with up to two photographs of the display, by 4pm on Friday, December 10.

The initiative aims to help to spread festive community spirit across the Parish and is an opportunity for residents to show off their festive lights and decorative displays, some of which are used for charity fundraising purposes.  

The judges will make a shortlist of potential winners and visit the homes from Monday, December 13, subject to the weather, with the winner and second place entries announced on Friday, December 17.  

For further information, contact Epping Town Council by emailing info@eppingtowncouncil.gov.uk or ringing 01992 579444.
3.05pm - November 5

Playground fundraisers launch Crowdfunding appeal

Epping Playground Association has launched a Crowdfunding page to boost its fundraising efforts to provide new equipment for the Lower Swaines recreation ground in Epping.

The group wants to redevelop the area to cater for three age groups - toddlers (0 to 5 years), juniors (five to eight years) and an specialist sports and recreation area for eight to 16-year-olds.

Plans for each area have been drawn up with the help of children and young people to benefit physical stimulation, social engagement and cognitive growth.

You can find out more about the Crowdfunding initiative at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/epping-playground-project
5.15pm - November 2

Rotary club plants tree to remember those lost and affected by COVID-19

For pic
tures CLICK HERE
 
The Rotary Club of Epping has planted a tree at St John's Church to remember those lost to and affected by COVID-19.

The flowering cherry tree was blessed by Rev Lee Batson at a ceremony today (Tuesday) after the tree was ceremonially planted by club president Mike Morgan.

He said: "I hope in future when we pass this spot we look at the tree and think 'yes, we knew those people'."

The planting was also attended by Epping Rotarians, including Rotarian and Deputy Town Mayor Barbara Scruton.

She said: "The tree is marked with an eco-friendly slate plaque showing that it was donated by the Rotary club of Epping.

"The tree also has an environmental benefit as it will absorb pollution from passing traffic in St John's Road."
5.06pm - November 1

Town council opposes Lindsey Street homes

Epping Town Council has objected to plans for ten three-storey properties as part of a development plan for the car repairs site off Lindsey Street, Epping.

The planning and general purposes committee has welcomed the development of the brownfield site however states that it believes the layout needs to be looked at again with councillors concerned about how the three-storey blocks may affect loss of amenity such as overlooking for neighbours.

A council spokesman said: "The proposed buildings are located close to the site boundary near neighbouring houses.

"The addition of trees and landscaping to screen the site will not be adequate to conserve privacy and stop overlooking."

The town council also has concerns over parking on the site stating there is insufficient parking for the number of dwellings.

The spokesman said: "There are ten car parking spaces being proposed for ten three-bedroom dwellings and only two visitor parking spaces.

"There are severe parking issues in Epping and the insufficient parking from this scheme will put additional pressures on the surrounding roads."
5.05pm - November 1

Town council joins with Everything Epping Forest for Christmas window competition

Epping Town Council has again joined with Everything Epping Forest for its Christmas business window competition.

All businesses in Epping are invited to enter the competition, with the display which receives the most votes receiving the Audrey Rose Cup.

The town council is contributing to the festive season by decorating the High Street with Christmas lights, having a Christmas tree on the piazza and holding a Christmas Market on Saturday, December 4 (10am-4pm).

The cup will be presented during the market.

Businesses wishing to enter the best decorated window competition must register by emailing Everything Epping Forest direct at everythingeppingforest@gmail.com by 4pm on Friday, November 26. 

All participating businesses will have their window displays photographed over the weekend of November 27 and 28). 

All the pictures will be featured on Everything Epping Forest’s social media channels and news pages with readers/visitors able to vote for their favourite by email or text message (only one vote for each mobile number and email address will be counted).

Pictures of the winner and their window display will be featured on Everything Epping Forest and in the next edition of the town council's 'Talk About Epping' magazine.

The businesses which take part will be entered into a random draw to win a bottle of bubbly.
9.23am - November 1

Epping Halloween shop window competition

The Juice Warehouse in Station Road, Epping, has won the 'Love Epping' Halloween shop window competition which was judged by Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing.

Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing judged the entries in the competition organised by councillor Holly Whitbread in aid of St Clare Hospice.

As the overall winner ‘The Juice Warehouse’, with its interactive display, has won a VIP table at Archie’s Lounge Bar.

The other winners were:

* Rosewood Pharmacy - which receives a bottomless brunch for four at the Theydon Oak pub, Epping

* Cole's outfitters - wins ‘afternoon tea for two’ at Down Hall Hotel and Spa, Hatfield Heath

* Stevenette and Company LLP Residential Sales and Lettings - receives a painting of Epping by local artist Bill Parkinson

* The Epping Connection - receives a bottle of champagne donated by Millers Estate Agents 

Epping councillor Les Burrows awarded the 'Councillor's Choice' prize of a bottle of champagne to new business ‘So Studios’ for its hand-painted pumpkins.

Other participants included Eden Epping, Smiths Fish & Chips, Montagues Estate Agents, Richard Prior Opticians, Roza Epping, Millers Estate Agents, Cafe Mio and Alexander-Morgan Gallery.

Dame Eleanor said: "I was delighted to be invited to judge the numerous entries and thank councillor Holly Whitbread for coming up with the idea for the competition.

"The designs were tremendous and involved plenty of hard work by the creative shop and business staff.

"The entries have added something special to Epping High Street in the run-up to Halloween and have helped raise a considerable amount of money for St Clare Hospice."
5.02pm - October 28

Special tea with the Mayor

A resident of Ashlar House in Epping saw her wish come true - when she was visited by Epping Town Mayor Michael Wright.

When Joan Tinsley moved into the care home she mentioned that one of her great wishes was to enjoy a High Tea with a VIP.

The original plan had been for Joan to meet the Mayor at Ashlyns Cafe at North Weald but instead Ashlyns provided a take-away afternoon tea allowing Joan and Mr Wright, and his wife, Linda, to make the most of the home's recently refurbished lounge. 

They spoke about family matters, the advance of technology and Joan's impressive memorial plaque collection. 

Joan is honoured to attend Epping's Remembrance services next month as a guest of the Mayor.
4.43pm - October 28

Playground fundraisers receive £2,740 boost

Epping Playground Association has been awarded £2,740 from The National Lottery Community Fund and IKEA UK, as part of the £1.5m pilot programme 'Places Called Home'.

The programme is supporting more than 330 local communities across the UK with grants of up to £5,000 to build back better and differently as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Epping Playground Association will use the funding to redevelop the playground at Lower Swaines recreation ground.

Project spokesperson Siobhán Garrett said: “Thanks to National Lottery players and IKEA we are now well on our way to reaching our financial target and bringing an inclusive, all-ages play and recreation site to our children and teenagers at Lower Swaines. 

"We’ve had so much local interest and support and we’ve just launched a new website - www.eppingplayground.org - so people can follow our story and get behind our campaign.”
11.09pm - October 27

Planning permission given for development sites

​Planning permission has been granted for hundreds of new homes as well as a multi-storey car park and cinema in Epping.

Approval was given by Epping Forest District Council's district development management committee.

The schemes will see 184 new homes - all but two of them apartments - on the former school and depot site off St John's Road.

Homes are also proposed for the current Epping Sports Centre site and the site of the Conder Building at the Civic Offices.

A leisure centre with swimming pools and gym will go on the Bakers Lane long-stay car park while the short-stay Cottis Lane car park will be developed with a 330-space multi-storey car park, cinema, shops and public toilets.
8.37am - October 22

School's mental health awareness event raises over £4,000

A day at Epping St John's School dedicated to raising awareness of mental health has so far raised over £4,000 for Papyrus, a national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide,

The school has thanked all students, staff and the local community who supported the PSHE Mental Health Drop Down Day and a fundraising event to support the charity.

Head of PSHE Jake White, who planned and organised the PSHE lesson content, said: "Students were engaged in really mature, thoughtful and sensitive discussions around the theme of Mental Health, raising awareness of the topic at a time when more people than ever are struggling with their mental health - a result of the lockdowns we've endured in the past 18 months."

Guidance Manager Mitch Reeves, who co-ordinated a Hope Walk for Papyrus, said: "The whole idea behind the walk was to raise awareness of how many children take their own lives each year.

"It is a statistic that shocked me - 200."

He added: "Suicide affects us all and is something close to my heart after my dad attempted to take his own life when I was 17.

"I could not be prouder of the kids and our incredible pastoral team who supported me with the proposal from the moment I mentioned it."

Head of School Michael Yerosimou, who said he was proud of the achievements of staff and pupils, said: "It really was quite moving to see all ESJ students gathered on the field to watch the pastoral team and selected students complete the last mile - smiling through the pain of blisters after their 20-mile trek!

"This truly encapsulated ESJ's Living Well Together school driver."
1.34pm - October 21

Nightclub seeks 2am closing time for Fridays and Saturdays

The Playhouse nightclub in Epping is facing police opposition to an application to extend its opening times until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays.

The venue - in the premises previously occupied by Club 195 - is currently allowed to open until 1am. Club 195's licence allowed it to open until 3am.

Essex Police is opposing an application to vary the licence until 2am saying that "on the balance of probabilities, and the fact that there have been incidents of crime and disorder, there will be an increase in crime further as well as disorder and public nuisance on Friday and Saturday nights (into the following mornings)".

Epping Town Council and Epping town and district councillor Jon Whitehouse are among other objectors to the application which will be considered by the district council's licensing sub-committee on Tuesday, November 2 (2pm).

In a letter to the district council, Essex Police licensing officer Kelsey Dott states: "The premises have not operated at full capacity, since re-opening, until 2am due to being limited by the Temporary Event Notices to only 499 people. 

"Their capacity is a lot more than this and so they have not been able to road test the new management and therefore unable to demonstrate how they promote the licensing objectives in any way other than by what has already been demonstrated by them."

She adds: "There have been incidents of crime and disorder that are linked to the premises while they have been operating under Temporary Event Notices.

"The premises has been running at full capacity until 1am and this is the time that Essex Police feel is most appropriate. This is due to that fact that when operating as Club 195 and having their licence until 3am there were numerous incidents of crime and disorder which has now been reduced due to the premises operating until 1am.

"Essex Police believe that on the balance of probabilities, and the fact that there have been incidents of crime and disorder, there will be an increase in crime further as well as disorder and public nuisance on Friday and Saturday nights (into the following mornings)."

A number of incidents disclosed by Essex Police linked to the Cottis Lane venue are detailed in a 308-page document which will go before the committee.

These include an incident at 11.30pm on Sunday, August 8, when a woman was struck by an object while on the dance floor.

She sustained a head injury which required stitches and has been left with a large scar on her face through her eyebrow close to her eye. 

Door staff ejected a suspect without knowing the injuries sustained, the report adds.
4.16pm - October 20

Redevelopment plans for service station

Plans have been submitted for the redevelopment of the Shell Half Moon service station in Epping High Street with a new sales building, four electric vehicle charging bays and nine parking spaces among the proposals.

The new sales building, roughly in the same location as the existing building, will be slightly bigger and have male, female and disabled toilets. 

The application will be considered by Epping Town Council next Tuesday before a decision is taken by Epping Forest District Council.
11.22am - October 20

Overnight closures for High Street during crossing works

Highways chiefs have said there will be "a number" of overnight closures of Epping High Street at the start of month-long work on pedestrian crossings starting on Monday, November 1.

The current Pelican crossing outside Belgique and Cole outfitters will be replaced with a Puffin crossing.

The work is expected to take about four weeks and will also include replacing or renewing underground cable ducts in the road and pavements and replacing above-ground equipment. 

Extra low voltage equipment and lower-energy LED traffic signals will be installed.

Essex Highways say the majority of the work will be done between 9.30am and 3.30pm Monday to Friday however it expects there will be "a number" of overnight road closures on the High Street during the first week to allow for work to take place across the road.

Temporary traffic lights will be required.

Access to properties and businesses within the works area will be maintained at all times.
4.15pm - October 19

Man arrested after police called to "disturbance"

A 60-year-old man from Epping is in police custody having been arrested on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon.

The arrest was made after police took a call at about 9am with reports of a disturbance on High Road, Thornwood, and that a person had been seen with what was thought to be a knife.
7.28pm - October 18

Mediterranean restaurant plan for High Street

Plans have been submitted to turn the former Harry's Pie and Mash shop in Epping High Street into a Mediterranean restaurant.

The 'Forest Kitchen' restaurant would employ two full-time and three part-time staff with intended opening hours of 8am until midnight Monday to Friday and 8am until 1am on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.

The application will be considered by Epping Town Council before a decision is taken by Epping Forest District Council.
2.25pm - October 18

Decision date set for town development plans which include 269 homes, a multi-storey car park and a three-screen cinema

A date has been set for district councillors to make a decision over the redevelopment plans for five sites in Epping which include 269 new homes, a multi-storey car park and cinema.

The proposals are detailed in a 645-page report which will go before the district development management committee on Wednesday, October 27 (7pm).

The proposed developments include:

* Bakers Lane car park - a three-storey leisure centre including a 25m six-lane swimming pool, learner pool, four-court sports hall, two squash courts, 100-station fitness suite, activity studios and a cafe. There would be six parking spaces, all for blue badge holders.

* Cottis Lane car park - a 330-space multi-storey car park, 846sq.m three-screen 'boutique' cinema with a cafe bar, commercial space, replacement public toilets and cycle store.

* St John's Road site - 184 dwellings (182 new apartments and two two-bedroom houses created with the refurbishment of two cottages on the site). The properties would see 113 one-bedroom flats, 62 two-bedroom flats and seven three-bedroom flats.

* Epping Sports Centre site - 40 dwellings (13 one-bedroom flats, 12 two-bedroom flats, four three-bedroom flats and 11 three-bedroom houses.

* Site of the Conder building, Civic Offices - 45 dwellings (seven one-bedroom flats, 17 two-bedroom flats, five three-bedroom flats, one two-bedroom house, 13 three-bedroom houses and two four-bedroom houses.
3.03pm - October 13

Council hopes to reinstate Town Green before Remembrance services

Epping Town Council, which maintains the Town Green on behalf of the City of London Corporation, hopes to reinstate the grass damaged by a HGV on Tuesday in time for Remembrance Sunday.

Town clerk Beverley Rumsey reported the incident to town councillors on Tuesday evening when she said she had contacted the City of London and had reminded the authority about the 'bell bollards' for the corner of the green near Lindsey Street.

She told councillors: "The grass is very damaged and we will do our best to get it repaired before Remembrance Sunday."

Councillor Cherry McCredie, who also highlighted a similar issue with a Tesco lorry, said: "It is something we have to look into."

Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing has also contacted the City of London Corporation over what she has described as a "ridiculous situation" and is to raise the issue with the chairman of the Epping Forest and Commons Committee.

The Garden of Remembrance at the war memorial will be dedicated at the war memorial at 11am on Friday, November 12, following a service at the memorial plaques to the civilian casualties and HMS Sickle at 10.30am.

A service of remembrance will be held at the Commonwealth War Graves in Epping Cemetery, Bury Lane, Epping, at 11.30am on Friday, November 12.

On Remembrance Sunday (November 14) the Remembrance parade will assemble at the Civic Offices at 1.55pm (parade sets off for the war memorial at 2.10pm).

Following the laying of wreaths, the parade will march along the High Street to St John's Church for a Service of Remembrance at 3pm.
2.55pm - October 13

Town council to replace town sign

Epping Town Council is to replace the town sign at the Tower Road Green at a cost of £2,800.

The new handcrafted wooden, coloured sign will match the one on the Town Green at the other end of the High Street which was installed in 2014.

Councillor Christine Burgess told last night's (Tuesday) council meeting: "I've been looking at the absence of the town sign at the Tower Road site but it looks a bit of a mess at the moment.

"I think we should reinstate the sign that we had there. The sign at the other end looks very nice but at the other end there's nothing to say you are in Epping."

Councillor Barbara Scruton suggested, as a cheaper option, an 'Epping twinned with Eppingen' sign.

Councillor Mari-Louise Whitbread said: "Epping is a very special place and the absence of that sign... it's important and (will be) money well spent.

"We need to put something special up."
5.03pm - October 12

MP calls on City of London Corporation to take action to prevent Town Green damage

Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing is calling on the City of London Corporation to take action to prevent HGVs from damaging the Town Green in Epping.

The request follows the latest incident where an HGV has churned up the green by the town's war memorial.

Closing the road which crosses the green and installing a bollard to prevent large vehicles from mounting the kerb on the Lindsey Street corner are ideas which have been discussed in recent years.

Following the latest incident, on Tuesday morning, Dame Eleanor is urging the City of London to resolve the "ridiculous situation".

Dame Eleanor said: "This is the latest in a series of occasions when HGVs have mounted the kerb and churned up the grassed area in front of the war memorial.

"It is a ridiculous situation. Installing a bollard or closing the road would seem sensible solutions.

"The area is well maintained by Epping Town Council and it is a great shame that the efforts of town council staff are being ruined by the drivers who are causing this damage.

"Sat-Nav cannot be blamed for this; it is the drivers who decide to mount the kerb clearly knowing they will not be able to complete their maneouvre without going onto the grass."

Dame Eleanor added: "I appreciate that the City of London Corporation always does all it can to protect our forest and the surrounding areas so I look forward to discussing this further with the chairman of the Epping Forest and Commons Committee."
7.07pm - October 7

Special school day to highlight mental health

Students at Epping St John's School will be raising awareness of mental health tomorrow (Friday) with an assembly and fundraising event.

The PSHE (personal, social and health education) Drop Down Day is focusing on Raising Awareness for Mental Health with the school working with national charity Papyrus that is dedicated to the prevention of young suicide.

The day will begin with a whole school virtual assembly, led by Papyrus, which will be followed by a dedicated PSHE programme of activities. 

Assistant Headteacher (SENCo and Personal Development) Serife Horner said: "The day will culminate in a fantastic fundraising event that includes stalls, run by our GCSE and A-Level Business groups, as well as our Sixth Formers and Student Leadership Team."

There will be refreshments, a rodeo bull and human Hungry Hippo attraction as well as a 'beat the goalie' and cross bar challenge. 

Ms Horner added: "The main event is a sponsored 20-mile walk by our pastoral team, organised by our KS4 and KS5 Guidance Manager Mitch Reeves which has already hit the £2,000 mark. 

"The final mile is being walked at school with 200 student volunteers to symbolise the 200 young lives lost to suicide each year.

"All monies raised will be going to this very worthy cause."
9.39am - September 29

UPDATE: Masked robbers who stole watches from shop were armed with hand axes

Police have given more information about Monday's robbery at the Luxe Watches shop in Epping High Street - when two masked men armed with hand axes went into the shop at about 11.20am and stole "a number" of watches.

None of the staff were injured.

Police say it is believed the men left the scene in a grey or silver Mini.

No arrests have been made and police enquiries are ongoing.

Detective Inspector Yoni Adler said: “We would like the public to help us and would ask anyone who was in the vicinity at the time to check their dash cam footage to see if they have captured anything that may help our investigation.

“Perhaps you captured someone acting suspiciously at the location or you saw a grey or silver Mini parked nearby.”

Anyone with information should ring 101 and quote incident 362 of September 27 or crime reference 42/211059/21.
5.02pm - September 27

Robbery at luxury watch shop

Police are appealing for information following a robbery at the Luxe Watches shop in High Street, Epping.

Eyewitnesses have reported seeing smoke pouring from the top floor windows over the shop at the time of the incident but it has not been confirmed what caused the smoke.

A police spokesman told Everything Epping Forest officers were alerted to a report of a robbery at the luxury watch shop, near the junction with Cottis Lane, at 11.20am.

Officers remained at the scene this afternoon.

Anyone who may have information that can assist officers with their enquiries is asked to ring police on 101 and quote incident 362 of September 27).

Police are also asking anyone who was in the area of High Street this morning to check their dash cam footage and contact officers if they have captured anything that could help with the investigation.
1.10pm - September 21

Playground fundraisers holding 'HappyFest' event

A variety of entertainment - including live music, a dance-along and numerous stalls - will be at the Lower Swaines recreation ground in Epping on Sunday (September 26) for Epping Playground Association's 'HappyFest' event.

The event, which will be opened at noon by Epping Town Mayor councillor Michael Wright, will feature the association's plans to refurbish the playground with equipment for children of all ages.

The event runs from noon until 4.30pm.

Money raised will go towards the ongoing fundraising efforts to raise money for new play equipment.

Refreshments will be available.
1.23pm - September 17

Town council recognises award recipients

For pictures CLICK HERE

Epping Town Council has publicly thanked local people and organisations who have received council awards over the past two years.

Usual award presentations had to be cancelled because of the COVID-19 lockdowns but on Thursday Epping Town Mayor councillor Michael Wright hosted a 'garden party' at Epping Hall to recognise the recipients.

Allotment Awards: Ms K Birk received the 2019 award for the best kept allotment at Lower Bury Lane with Mrs L Layne receiving the 2020 award.
Mrs C Hassall-Kingham won both the 2019 and 2020 awards for the best kept Meadow Road plot.

Civic Award 2019: John Whalley and Emma Phillips received the Civic Award for the refurbishment of 48 Hemnall Street, Epping.
Mayor Michael Wright said the council recognised the "attention to detail" and presented them with the 2019 award.
Mr Wright said: "Part of Epping’s character comes from its history, conservation area and carefully-styled buildings. It is important to Epping Town Council that our buildings continue to respect the style of the town and conservation area.

Townsperson of the Year: Liz Jones was recognised in 2019 for her community work which includes helping and supporting Epping Tangent, St Clare Hospice, the Friends of St Margaret's Hospital, Epping Bowls Club and the charity Oxfam.
Jacqui Mortimer received the 2020 award for her involvement with 1st Theydon Garnon Scout Group, the annual Christmas Tree Festival at St John’s Church and organising the May Fayre with Friends of Swaines Green. During lockdown she also made PPE for Princess Alexandra Hospital.
Each year the town council presents a Townsperson of the Year Award to someone who has made an outstanding personal contribution to the town. Nominations are invited from community groups and residents

Community Awards: Churches Together received the 2019 award for organising the Christmas Day lunches for people who are alone over the festive period.
Mayor Michael Wright said: "It is wonderful to know that we have so many community groups also doing wonderful things. Epping Town Council presents a Community Award each year to a group or local organisation who have also made an outstanding contribution to Epping’s community."
The 2020 award went to Voluntary Action Epping Forest for its continuing work with volunteers and which, in 2020, co-ordinated food and supplies to support the community during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Young Townspeople of the Year: The 2020 award was presented jointly to Julie Turrell and George Sack.
Mayor Michael Wright said Julie Turrell, who runs Julies at Stonards, has made her café "such an important central part of the facilities" at the Stonards Hill recreation ground.
He added: "Julie's provided a vital outdoor lifeline to many who were not able to enjoy other things during the lockdown periods."
George Sack, a pupil at Epping St John’s School, supported fellow students with their online learning during the COVID-19 lockdowns with his efforts recognised by his teachers who nominated him for the award.

Long Service Award: The council's Town Supervisor and Cemetery Superintendent Bill Towers was recognised for his long service having reached the landmark of 35 years with the council in 2020.
Mr Wright said: "On a typical day Bill can be found putting together a waterless toilet, servicing a lawn mower, tarmacking a piece of path, inspecting a playground, mending the tennis court fencing, assessing the health of a tree, digging in the cemetery or anything else that is thrown at him.
"Times that by 35 (and include 22 years of running the Monday market) and you can see what a varied, interesting and hard job Bill has."
When the council asked Mr Towers to choose a gift he chose trees for the Bury Lane Cemetery to mark ‘The Lost Year’ due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Community Project: Epping Playground Association, formed in 2019, was recognised for its continuing efforts to raise money to refurbish the Lower Swaines recreation ground in. The association has now raised over £25,000 and is holding a fundraising launch event, ‘HappyFest’, at the recreation ground from noon until 4.30pm on Sunday, September 26, when plans for the new playground, which will have facilities for children of all ages, will be on display.
4.19pm - September 15

Theydon Oak pub receives floral award

The Theydon Oak pub has been presented with Epping Town Council's Epping in Bloom rosebowl which is awarded annually for the best floral display for business premises in the town.

Town Mayor councillor Michael Wright, who visited the Coopersale Street pub today (Wednesday) to hand over the trophy and a certificate, said: "It was a very hard decision for the council but after a lot of deliberation it was decided that the Theydon Oak - because of the colour, style and amount of floral displays - was the worthy winner this year."

It is the second time in three years and the ninth time since the award was first presented in 1990 that the Theydon Oak pub has held the award.
12.15pm - September 15

Town council appealing to buskers

Epping Town Council has progressed the idea of allowing buskers to perform on the piazza in Epping High Street, and is now welcoming approaches from musicians who are interested in performing on Monday market days.
8.01pm - September 14

Town sites - More homes planned than detailed in Local Plan

The number of homes earmarked for three sites in Epping is 71 more than is detailed in the yet-to-be-adopted Local Plan, it has been revealed.

Amended plans for the St John's Road site - where 184 apartments, the vast majority one-bedroom, and two cottages converted from existing buildings are planned - were considered by town councillors on Tuesday.

Qualis Commercial managing director Simon Rutter told the meeting the amended applications had been submitted after 22 documents had been updated after 13 pages of consultation responses had been received.

He said Qualis is proposing 270 homes across three sites (the Conder Building at the Civic Offices; the St John's Road site and the current Epping Sports Centre site) while 199 units are earmarked for the sites in the Local Plan.

The Qualis development plans also include a new leisure centre on the Bakers Lane car park and a multi-storey car park, cinema, public toilets and office and retail space on the Cottis Lane car park.

Commenting on amendments made to the proposed St John's Road development, Mr Rutter said some roof designs had been changed to include more gable roofs, in keeping with the Centrepoint building, while some blocks had been split to "improve wayfinding" across the site.

Councillor Barbara Scruton expressed concern over the parking provision, stating that the 113 one-bedroom, 63 two-bedroom and eight three-bedroom flats proposed totalled 273 bedrooms.

Mr Rutter confirmed that 53 parking spaces are proposed.

Councillor Scruton added: "I don't think you've addressed all the issues we wanted to be addressed. The design could be more in keeping with the town."

Town Mayor Michael Wright queried the four-storey buildings proposed and voiced concern over the impact the development would have on neighbouring Epping Hall.

He said: "We will have to have the lights on during the day.

"This is the market town of Epping. This is not east London and we don't want lots of one-bed flats all over the place."

Councillor Christine Burgess highlighted the number of people who now work from home and said two-bedroom rather than one-bedroom homes were required.

Mr Rutter said a district council housing needs study and an independent report concluded there was a shortage of one-bedroom accommodation in Epping and an "overwhelming" demand for such accommodation in the town centre.

He said: "The benefit of one-bed units is they are providing accommodation for part of the market that doesn't neccessarily drive and so the town centre is where they want to live."

He added: "I think the design fits into Epping. We went through four pre-application meetings, five quality review panels, two consultation events over 12 months and spent the last six months talking. This scheme has been aired for the past 18 months."

Councillor Barbara Scruton replied: "We've been objecting for those 18 months too."

Councillor Simon Baker welcomed the development saying there were 20 to 30-year-olds who were looking for flats "and we need more social housing."

He added: "St John's is the idea site for that. If we are going to have more flats in Epping, St John's is the best site for it."

Christine Burgess highlighted the number of people who now work from home and said two-bedroom rather than one-bedroom homes were required.
7.15pm - August 25

Blue plaque highlights 'Brambly Hedge' creator's connections with town

AUDIO: David Jackman reports on the plaque unveiling CLICK HERE

For pictures CLICK HERE


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The "important contribution" made to the literary and art world by author Jill Barklem through her 'Brambly Hedge' childrens' books has been recognised by Epping Town Council which has unveiled a blue plaque at one of her former homes.

Town Mayor councillor Michael Wright, who unveiled the plaque today with Jill's daughter, Lizzie, and son, Peter, said the plaque also highlighted her "special connection" with the town.

Jill Barklem was born Gillian Gaze at St Margaret's Hospital, Epping, on May, 23, 1951.

Her father owned Pynes department  store - now Wildwood restaurant - on the High Street for many years.

She died on November 15, 2017.

The Barklem family lived in Buttercross Lane and then in Theydon Grove until 1987. Her last home was on Church Hill where the plaque is located.

In 1980 Collins published four picture books by Jill. 

'Spring Story', 'Summer Story', 'Autumn Story' and 'Winter Story' chronicle in astonishing illustrative detail, the lives and adventures of a community of mice who live in 'Brambly Hedge', an idyllic spot where old values flourish and seasonal self-sufficiency is the order of the day. 

Speaking at the plaque unveiling, Town Mayor councillor Michael Wright said: "Jill originally conceived the idea for 'Brambly Hedge' in the 1970s during her long commutes on the London Underground from her home in Epping to study at St Martin’s School of Art in London. 

"Intended for small children, the books were an immediate success with readers of all ages and the books have been translated into more than 13 languages and have sold more than seven million copies. 

"We understand that the 'Brambly Hedge' series feature recognisable parts of the town and often refer to the forest."

Councillor Wright added: "Many people who live in Epping, like many around the country and the world, have enjoyed Jill’s 'Brambly Hedge' creations.

"I am delighted to unveil this blue plaque to permanently commemorate the important contribution that Jill Barklem made to the literary and art world and to mark her special connection to Epping."

Jill Barklem's daughter, Lizzie, said: "I'm so very grateful that the council has put up this plaque in recognition of her contribution to childrens' literature and illustration.

"She loved the town very, very much and Epping Forest was such an influential part of her research and her writing and it's lovely it has been recognised and will be there for a very long time."
7.34pm - August 24

EPPING: Changes proposed to planned multi-storey car park

Amendments to the height of the ground-floor parking deck at the proposed new multi-storey car park in Epping will ensure access for larger vehicles, including market traders' vans.

Proposed changes drawn up by Qualis Commercial include a "change in the lowest car park entry level to allow taller vehicles at a height of 2.4m to use the ground floor parking spaces".

Some vehicles with height adaptions for disabled people would also be able to access the planned car park while market traders' vans will be able to use the ground-floor spaces too, town councillors have been told.

Qualis Commercial development manager Karen Telling told Tuesday's town council planning and general purposes committee the car park amendments have been proposed to accommodate higher vehicles - and she gave the example of a Land Rover with a roof box up to 2.3m high.

She added disabled people would be able to use the six parking spaces at the proposed new leisure centre on the existing Bakers Lane car park, - all of which are to be allocated for blue badge holders.

Town Mayor Michael Wright told the meeting: "This (the car park height) shouldn't be an amendment it should have been thought about right from the off. 

"If that has gone by the board has anything else gone by the board that should have been included from the beginning?"

Ms Telling said: "By increasing the height it (the car park) is being dropped down very slightly so it bares no additional impact to surrounding properties."

She added: "Market traders in their standard normal vehicles are all accounted for."


Councillors question need for additional retail and office space

Town councillors questioned the need for retail and office space as part of the proposals for the Cottis Yard multi-storey car park development where
a cinema remains part of the plans.

Town Mayor Michael Wright told Tuesday's planning and general purposes committee the space earmarked for retail and offices "could be utilised much better".

He added: "They (the proposed shop units and offices) are basically in a secondary position, I just can't see the point."

Councillor Barbara Scruton, questioning the need for additional retail space in the town, said: "One of the main concerns is that we protect the High Street."


Council seeks written confirmation over toilets

The town council has also sought written confirmation from Qualis that the existing toilet block in the Cottis Lane car park is retained until new public toilet facilities are built.

Councillors have asked that the new block accommodates more toilets than in the current building.


Change to housing plans for current sports centre site

On the current Epping Sports Centre site, changes have been made to the planned residential development with two houses now proposed instead of a block of three apartments as part of the planned housing scheme.
Revised landscaping plans have also been submitted.


Amendments proposed for Civic Offices housing

At the Civic Offices site, where housing is proposed on the site of the Conder Building, 'minor amendments' are proposed to the 'architectural detail to reflect site context' in respect of the setting of the listed Civic Offices with the amount of soft landscaping increased.
2.07pm - August 23

Epping-based radio station granted FM licence
 
Now you can listen to the local news from Everything Epping Forest
on your FM radio!

Epping's classic oldies radio station Classic Hits Forest Gold - which broadcasts local news provided by Everything Epping Forest - has been granted a special FM licence.

The station is one of only a handful offered the licence on a 12-month trial basis by Ofcom.

Classic Hits Forest Gold will begin broadcasting to the area around St Margaret’s Hospital in Epping on 99.3FM from Sunday, September 5.

The radio station is part of a registered charity and a team of talented volunteers have been broadcasting from their Epping base since 2002.

Forest Gold was established to entertain audiences in NHS hospitals around Essex but since launching online ten years later, it has enjoyed massive growth across Essex and beyond.

With the help of radio apps, in-car connectivity and smart speakers, like Alexa and Google Play, Forest Gold is now one of the most popular internet radio stations in Essex with more than 24,000 fans regularly listening in via the TuneIn app alone.

Forest Gold’s vice-chairman Paul Mumford said: "This FM licence will make it easier for people to listen around St Margaret’s Hospital and help to raise our awareness in the Epping area.

"Our licence application has been funded thanks to donations from our loyal audience and that has helped to keep us commercial free too."

Classic Hits Forest Gold plays music from the  60s to the 90s and draws from a huge playlist.

National news is broadcast on the hour with local news, provided by local news services Everything Epping Forest, Everything Harlow and the Everything Local News media service on the half hour.

Everything Epping Forest owner David Jackman said: "Everything Epping Forest, which has more than 40,000 connections with its news - which includes a weekly audio 'News Talk' bulletin - available via email to EEF News subscribers and via various social media feeds - has been providing local news content for Forest Gold for many years.

"The launch of an FM licence for the station means Everything Epping Forest's unrivaled local news content can now be shared with an even wider audience.

"I'm delighted the link between Everything Epping Forest and Forest Gold is continuing as part of this new and exciting chapter in Forest Gold's history.

"Broadcasting from Epping, thanks to Forest Gold's volunteers, and with local news provided by a local news source run by a locally-based journalist means there can be few, if any, better examples of 'local radio'."

Forest Gold will begin broadcasting on 99.3FM at 10am on Sunday, September 5, in the St Margaret’s Hospital area of Epping.

However, you can still listen to Forest Gold anywhere via the TuneIn Radio app, by asking your smart speaker for 'Classic Hits Forest Gold' and by visiting www.forestgoldradio.com.
1.56pm - August 21

Rededication service for 100-year-old war memorial

For picture
s CLICK HERE

A rededication service has been held to mark the 100th anniversary of the Epping war memorial.

Wreaths were laid and the names of the fallen who are remembered on plaques on the memorial on the Town Green were read.

John Duffell, a town councillor and Royal British Legion Remembrance Day organiser, said: "At the end of the First World War the people of Epping looked for a suitable way to commemorate the young men from the town who had given their lives for their country.

"After much discussion a cross bearing the names of the Fallen was chosen. It was originally going to be erected in the market place but it was decided that the town green offered a more prominent position."

The £600 cost was raised by public subscription.

A notice was placed in the then West Essex Gazette inviting people to submit names of relatives for inclusion on the Roll of Honour.

The memorial was unveiled and dedicated on Sunday, May 8, 1921. 

Mr Duffell said: "Despite the fact it was raining, it was estimated that half the population of Epping attended the ceremony. Sadly it was necessary to add more names after the Second World War. Two new tablets were fixed to the memorial and these were unveiled in November 1948.

"In 2004, it was discovered that some names from the First World War were not included and these were added. More from the Second World War were added in 2009.

"Another name, added in 2009, was that of Georgie Sparks who had lost his life in Afghanistan the previous year."

Mr Duffell added: "This memorial is now the focal point for Remembrance in Epping.

"There are 150 men from the town listed on the memorial. They fought and died in some of the most famous battles in history - Ypres, Loos, Gallipoli, Jutland, the Somme, Passchendaele and Arras in the First World War, and Dunkirk, El Alamein, Normandy, the crossing of the Rhine and Burma in the Second World War.

"They are buried or commemorated in countries across the globe but on here they are all together."

The service was taken by Rev'd Lee Batson with the names of those remembered on the memorial read by Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Essex Hugh Pegrum, Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing, Town Mayor councillor Michael Wright, Deputy Town Mayor councillor Barbara Scruton, and councillors Jon Whitehouse, Mari-Louise Whitbread, Grahame Scruton and Cherry McCredie on behalf of Epping Town Council.

Wreaths were laid by Mr Pegrum, Mr Wright, Mr Duffell, Freemen of Epping Ruth Benjamin and John Batchelor, and Epping Town Council's Young Townspeople of the Year Julie Turrell and George Sack.

The service included a two-minute silence.
4.41pm - August 19

Bowls club hosts mixed pairs competition

Twenty-four Epping Bowls Club members competed for the club’s annual Mixed Pairs competition when ladies captain Margaret Hopkinson and Peter Bates beat Rosemary and Andrew Preston 10-3 in their first appearance in the final.

The event was sponsored by independent family funeral director Daniel Robinson & Sons which has supported the club over many years.

The event brought together 12 pairs drawn in two groups of six. Each pair played four games of eight ends against each pair in their group. 

This produced two overall winners from each group who played each other in the final.

Prizes of hampers and goody bags were presented by funeral manager Seamus Setterfield who has been with the company for 25 years. 

He said "It’s good to be back. It’s always a pleasure to support Epping Bowls Club which has a long-established history in Epping. The event is always strongly contested and this year was no different."

Club president Peter Bates celebrated 32 years with the club with his win in the final. 

He said "We are grateful for the continued support from Daniel Robinson & Sons for their care and generosity in helping to make this such an enjoyable event. Everyone who took part had a great day."

Established in 1911, Epping Bowls Club is part of Epping Sports Club based in Lower Bury Lane.

The bowls season continues until the end of September. For more details, visit www.eppingbowlsclub.co.uk
8.26am - August 17

Amendments revealed for town centre redevelopment sites
 
Amendments have been made to proposed schemes for housing and a new leisure centre in Epping.

Changes have been drawn up to the highway and 'public realm works relating to the main entrance and external seating areas at the proposed new leisure centre on the Bakers Lane car park.

Amendments have also been made to the 'architectural composition' of the building, including additional glazing.

The plans have also been amended for the proposed redevelopment of the Cottis Lane car park with a multi-storey car park and cinema with changes to the highway and landscape work and 'minor scheme changes' to accommodate 'flexible cycle storage options', bin storage space and material colour change to the northern elevation.

The location of new public toilets has been changed with amendments too to the height of the ground floor parking deck and the height of the roof parapet.


One of the amendments to the car park is a "change in the lowest car park entry level to allow taller vehicles at a height of 2.4m to use the ground floor parking spaces".

At the current Epping Sports Centre site in Hemnall Street, changes have been made to the residential development proposed with two houses now proposed instead of a block of three apartments as part of the plans.

Revised landscaping plans have also been submitted.

At the Civic Offices site, where housing is proposed on the site of the Conder Building, 'minor amendments' are proposed to the 'architectural detail to reflect site context' in respect of the setting of the listed Civic Offices with the amount of soft landscaping increased.
5.55pm - August 16

EPPING: School proud of GCSE results achieved through "sheer grit and determination"

Students at Epping St John's School secured GCSE grades to be proud of through “sheer grit and determination” during the pandemic.

Year 11 students received more top grades across more subjects than ever before.

For the second year running, the traditional external exams were cancelled and students were instead graded on a combination of in-school assessments, work already completed and coursework.

Head of School Mike Yerosimou said: “We are beyond proud of this group of students. We’ve rarely seen a year group pull together in the face of adversity in the way that this Year 11 did.

"When we returned in March there was lots of uncertainty around the way students would respond to the fact exams had been ‘cancelled’. Would they simply down tools? Would they lose focus? Would they not even bother coming in!? We needn’t have worried.

“Nobody will ever be able to discredit or take these grades away from them because they earned them in unprecedented circumstances through sheer grit and determination. 

"The fact they have done so well and that we are welcoming so many of them back through the doors of Epping St John’s Sixth Form makes it all the sweeter.”

Among the success stories at the Bury Lane school were:

* Will Gaskin, who suffers with severe dyslexia, was awarded six grade 5 and two grade 6 results despite his additional learning needs.
He will now stay on at the school’s sixth form to study sociology, media studies and applied law.

* Tilly Nelson is looking to study sociology, media studies, English and geography at the Epping St John's Sixth Form after achieving two grade 8, four grade 7, two grade 6 and one grade 5 results.

* Samaya Kaleel, from Waltham Abbey, achieved three grade 9, two grade 8, four grade 7 and one grade 6 to add to a grade 8 she was awarded last year. She will study history, English, economics and biology at the sixth form.

* Mia Knight will study history, Spanish and psychology after achieving three grade 9, six grade 8 and one grade 7

* Paul Adams will study maths, biology and chemistry at the sixth form, with hopes of going into a career in biomedical science, after he bagged five grade 8 and four grade 7s.
4.55pm - August 13

EPPING: Office development could be turned into 51 apartments

Plans have been revealed to convert the office development at Falconry Court, off Bakers Lane, Epping, into 51 apartments.

The 46 one-bedroom and five two-bedroom apartments would be housed in the three existing L-shaped office buildings - Peregrine House, Kestrel House and Merlin House - which look out onto the Bakers Lane and Cottis Lane car parks.

Kestrel House is earmarked for conversion into 20 one-bedroom apartments and one two-bedroom apartment.

Merlin House could become 14 one-bedroom apartments and three two-bedroom apartments and Peregrine House 12 one-bedroom apartments and one two-bedroom apartment.

Documents submitted to Epping Forest District Council with the planning application state that the site currently has parking for 128 cars. No change is planned for the number of spaces which would be available as part of the new plans.

* Plans have been drawn up to convert Brickfield House, off High Road, Epping (between Epping and Thornwood) - which is used as serviced offices - into five residential properties.

A planning application to determine whether prior approval is required for the proposals has been submitted to Epping Forest District Council.
5.22pm - August 12

Epping St John's celebrates exam successes

Epping St John’s School saw a boost in the number of top A* to A grades in this year's A-Level results, as well as an increase in strong A* to C passes.

There were also more Year 13 students this year securing places at Russell Group universities on competitive courses such as law, engineering and optometry, as well as a leap in students being accepted onto apprenticeship programmes with companies such as BT, Bloomberg and KPMG.

Among the top achievers were:

* Sabina Miah who picked up A*s in biology, chemistry and maths. She is off to City University to study optometry.

* Finley Jacobs-Roth achieved As in government and politics, history and sociology and is off to Nottingham University to study politics with American studies, including a year spent studying in America.

* Amy Burges has earned a place at The Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts after making her way through an intense application process. She had to showcase her talents by filming a dance, two songs and two monologues, taking part in ballet, jazz and commercial lessons and sitting an interview, all remotely during lockdown.
She achieved As in drama, English literature and psychology.

* James Cronin has deferred his university place and instead of starting to study computer science at Nottingham University this year, he is taking a year out in the hope life returns to normal by next September. James achieved an A* in physics and As in science and maths.
8.30pm - August 11

District council consultation over wider pavements - stay or go?

Epping Forest District Council is consulting over whether the wider pavements in Epping High Street should stay or go.

The council says the pavement widening scheme has helped to make the town centre a more appealing place to visit and shop.

New planters and extra seating along with more space to walk, and socially distance, has been provided with the council saying the work has generated many positive comments.

Initially introduced to support social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic, the changes have brightened up the town centre and made it easier to navigate, the council says.

A spokesman added that eight parking spaces were lost but none were disabled spaces.

"We’d like to know your views on the improvements and whether they should stay, or go!"

Epping Forest District Council is considering applying to Essex County Council to make the changes permanent.

Comments can be made until September 10 by emailing eppingsaferspaces@eppingforestdc.gov.uk
2.34pm - August 11

Parking meter plan "slippery slope" for parking in Epping

A plan to introduce parking meters along Kendal Avenue in Epping is unnecessary and could be a "slippery slope" to the introduction of meters elsewhere in the town, the town council fears.

North Essex Parking Partnership has drawn up a scheme for parking charges to be introduced in Kendal Avenue from September but the town council is calling for the meters to be put on hold.

Councillor Hugh Pegrum told Tuesday's town council meeting: "I can't quite get my head round what problem they are trying to cure.

"We've already seen a loss of parking in the High Street. Every house in Kendal Avenue has off-street parking. Kendal Avenue is wide enough to take four lines of traffic so why can't we use some of that for parking?

"It's madness to do away with the parking that's available in Kendal Avenue.

"Most of the places where they propose 'no waiting at any time' restrictions are quite capable of accommodating parking.

He added: "We are on a slippery slope if we allow parking meters in the town. The hour between 10am and 11am when people can't park there seems to be satisfactory."

Town Mayor councillor Michael Wright said: "If it isn't broken why use a sledgehammer to crack a very small nut."
2.10pm - August 11

Death of former Town Mayor

Epping Town Council has reported the death of former Town Mayor Peter Burns who was Mayor in 1981-82.

Current Town Mayor councillor Michael Wright was invited to read Peter’s eulogy at his funeral.
5.11pm - August 1

No town council objection to restaurant / take-away plans

Plans to turn the former Santander premises in Epping High Street into a "tastefully fancy" restaurant and take-away have met with no objection from Epping Town Council.

Councillor Grahame Scruton told Tuesday's planning and general purposes committee: "As a town council we would rather have an occupied shop than an empty unit."

A document submitted with the planning application states that the proposals are to provide a "tastefully fancy destination for the community" which would "make the area lively".

A minimum of ten full-time jobs would be created.  

Since the bank closed, planning consent has been granted for the premises to be turned into a wine shop and luxury wine bar.

The town council was commenting on a further change of use planning application has been submitted to Epping Forest District Council.

The existing consent, approved by the district council about a year ago, was for a "high quality, luxury venue" open from 10am and into the late evening catering for retail customers and evening on-sales customers when the intended specialist independent wine retail shop could be used for private functions "or just as a relaxing venue to enjoy a glass of wine". 
2.05pm - July 29

High Sheriff of Essex praises work of Epping Forest Re-Use Centre

PICTURES

The High Sheriff of Essex has praised the work of the Epping Forest Re-Use Centre which offers donated furniture, electrical appliances and household items for sale at affordable prices.

Simon Brice, accompanied by his wife, Emma, visited the centre, off Bower Hill in Epping, this morning.

He met chairman Janet Whitehouse and trustees and was given a tour of the facilities, including the showroom which is open to the public.

Mr Brice told Everything Epping Forest: "They've got so many things, everything from kitchen tables to kitchen utensils - they can kit you out completely and when you look at the people who are coming here who may have nothing, they can come in here and they can kit out a flat with a bed, sofa, furniture at a good price and at discounted prices as well - and they are affordable to them - I think they're doing a very good job."

The main aim of the charity is to provide low-cost donated furniture, electrical and household items for the local community. 

New items such as beds, mattresses, cookers, fridges and washing machines are also available.

Goods are available at a discount for people on income-related benefits with some provided free to people in exceptional need who are referred to the charity by agencies.

Throughout the recent lock-down staff continued to deliver furniture and household appliances to people in need as the charity was designated an essential service.

The number of people in need referred to Epping Forest Re-Use by the Essex Essential Living Fund has vastly increased since the first lockdown in March 2020 (72 in March-May 2021).

These people have experienced domestic violence, been homeless or had other life crises. 

You can help people in need in Epping Forest and the surrounding area by supporting Epping Forest Re-Use by buying, donating goods and money and giving your time and skills as a volunteer or trustee.

Contact Esther (manager) on 01992 578222 or email esther@eppingreuse.org.uk for volunteering opportunities, or Janet Whitehouse - email janet@eppingreuse.org.uk - for information about becoming a trustee.

More information about Epping Forest Re-Use can be found at www.eppingreuse.org.uk or email info@eppingreuse.org.uk.

* During his visit, the High Sheriff handed over a certificate to chairman Janet Whitehouse which will be presented to volunteer Rob Thompson.

The High Sheriff's Award recognises Rob's "commitment to Epping Forest Re-Use since 2013 as a volunteer and trustee supporting and helping the charity in a varietry of roles".
6.59pm - July 27

Council criticises Kendal Avenue parking meters as "money-making move"

A move to introduce parking meters and parking bays in Kendal Avenue, Epping, is a "money making move" and could be the "thin end of the wedge" for on-street parking charges around the town, town councillors have said.

The measures are due to be introduced by Essex County Council on September 6  but Epping Town Council has not been consulted and wants the measures put on hold until its full council has considered the scheme.

Councillor Hugh Pegrum told Tuesday's planning and environment committee: "I'm not quite sure there's a problem there to be cured.

"We've not had parking bays in Kendal Avenue before which is what is being proposed. I wonder the point of all of that."

Committee chairman Nigel Avey told the meeting such schemes are only put forward by the county council if they are "residents' driven".

Councillor Barbara Scruton said: "I can't see any reason for putting parking meters in a residential area like Kendal Avenue.

"It's just a money-making move. It will just push the cars into Hartland Road and other areas."

She added: "I (as a resident of Kendal Avenue) haven't had any issue or heard anthing about it.

"It may be driven by a few residents... why have parking meters? It just doesn't make sense. It (Epping) will just become another commuter town."

Councillor Pegrum feared the introduction of on-street parking charges will be "the thin end of the wedge".

He added: "It (if we allow it) will be everywhere."

Councillor Barbara Scruton said: "We should be consulted on it. Decisions are being made without consulting with Epping Town Council. We might as well not exist."

Parking measures are also planned for Bury Lane, Coronation Hill, Fluxs Lane and Garnon Mead, the meeting was told.
5.58pm - July 23

Changes to Bakers Lane pay-and-display car park charges

Pay-and-display parking charges at the Bakers Lane car park in Epping are to change, with the 'over five hours' charge to go up £4 to £10.

The 'up to one hour free' parking on Saturdays will be scrapped with the current Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm charges in force on Saturdays too.

The change is to make the tariffs for the two Epping pay-and-display the same ahead of the closure of the Cottis Lane car park which is set to be developed with a multi-storey car park, cinema and retail space.

Planning permission is yet to be granted for the scheme, or for the new leisure centre on the Bakers Lane car park and 186 homes on the St John's Road site.

A district council spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: "The changes to the tariff at Bakers Lane (currently the long-stay car park) is essentially applying the current tariff at the Cottis Lane car park to Bakers Lane car park which will be implemented once the redevelopment of Cottis Lane car park commences.

"The changes to the tariff will only apply to Bakers Lane car park and not to any of the other Epping Forest District Council pay and display car parks."

The spokesman added: "One of the reasons the tariff is being changed, is to prevent the Bakers Lane car park being filled will commuters and not having any spaces for local businesses and shoppers, as it is only £6 per day to currently park there whereas Cottis Lane is £10.

"At the moment we do not have a start date for the works at the Cottis Lane car park. Once we do, we will give advance notice to highlight the changes to the tariffs at Bakers Lane."

The 'over five hours charge' (up until 6pm) will increase from £6, to £10 a day.
7.12pm - July 16

MP visits new school

Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing met staff and students when she visited the new Tower School in Epping High Street.

The independent special school caters for children aged 11-18 with a primary diagnosis of autism. 

Dame Eleanor was escorted on a tour of the school, which opened in late April, by headteacher Kerry Linden. She met a number of staff including Head of Education Danny Neville who spoke to her about the school's curriculum. 

She then joined pupils in their Food Technology lesson where they were designing and making both savoury and sweet pizzas.

Dame Eleanor said: "I was delighted to be able to visit The Tower School and meet the staff and students who are already making great use of their new surroundings.

"The school offers fantastic educational opportunities for young people with autism, and it is great to have such facilities here in Epping."

Dame Eleanor added: "I was particularly pleased to hear about the school's special educational needs provision, and to sample some of the sweet pizza specially created by the students!"
2.39pm - July 15

Service to mark 100th anniversary of war memorial

A 100 Years rededication service for Epping's war memorial will be held on Saturday, August 21 at 11am.

The service, to be taken by Rev'd Lee Batson, will include the reading of the names of the fallen with wreaths laid by Deputy Lieutenant of Essex councillor Hugh Pegrum, a Freeman of Epping, the town's two Young Townspersons of the Year and Town Mayor councillor Michael Wright.
2.38pm - July 15

By-election costs town council £4,057

A by-election which was called following the resignation of Liberal Democrat Epping town councillor Ingrid Black has cost Epping Town Council £4,057.51, despite some of the cost being shared with the district and county councils as the ballot was held on local election day (May 6).

The by-election was won by Conservative councillor Simon Baker.

Councillor Hugh Pegrum told Tuesday's town council meeting: "It's a great shame that the party that they (the resigning councillor) belongs to should not be able to co-opt another person to take their place. Nine times out of ten the result would be the same."
2.37pm - July 15

Next step towards skate park refurbishment

A tender document for the refurbishment of the skate park at the Stonards Hill recreation ground in Epping has been approved by town councillors.

The council is looking to work with a partner to obtain grant funding to refurbish the skate park in a project costing between £120,000 and £140,000 (excluding VAT).
1.07pm - July 15

Buskers' idea for High Street

A suggestion to provide a space for buskers in Epping High Street has been supported by town councillors.

The idea was put forward by town councillor Mari-Louise Whitbread who suggested a gazebo or tent for performers after being approached by a resident.

She said it would be a "very non-expensive way of enhancing the town and the new space we have".

She added: "People love music and it would enhance the High Street and add character in a Covid-safe way.”

Councillor Nigel Avey told Tuesday's town council meeting: "It will add to the street scene."

Town clerk Beverley Rumsey said councillor Whitbread had indicated that she was confident of being able to find the performers however she added the council had to consider issues such as who would put up and take down the gazebo and who would schedule the musicians.

Councillor Barbara Scruton suggested inviting performers, but waiting to see how successful the venture was before committing to purchasing a gazebo.

The town council will now liaise with Epping Forest District Council on the way forward.
1.55pm - July 14

Police air base: "Madness" it is not at Lippitts Hill

Epping Town Council is to express its disappointment to Epping Forest District Council that it was not consulted before the district council objected to the planned return of police helicopters to the Met base at High Beach.

While the district council wants to see the air service remain at North Weald Airfield, Tuesday's town council meeting heard support for the return of the air service to Lippitts Hill.

Town councillor Hugh Pegrum said a base at Lippitts Hill would mean that helicopters flying into London would fly over less of Epping Forest than currently is the case with the NPAS aircraft based at North Weald Airfield.

Councillor Pegrum told the meeting the police helicopter regularly flies over the Lindsey Street area of Epping, despite the council having originally been told the flightpath would follow the M11.

He said the helicopter "has to go over far more of the forest" when flying into London from North Weald than it would if it was based at High Beach. 

He added it is seven miles from North Weald to Lippitts Hill, and a further 11 miles to Westminster.

"Every time that helicopter goes into London (from North Weald) it is flying an additional seven miles.

"Lippitts Hill is quite to one side of the forest, on the Avey Lane / Sewardstone side."

He said: "It's madness it's not at Lippitts Hill in the first place. I can't see any good reason why it should be at North Weald.

"There are very few houses around the base at Lippitts Hill - far fewer than in Epping and North Weald."

District and town councillor Nigel Avey said: "It's a done deal that they (the Metropolitan Police Service) are moving back to Lippitts Hill)."

Councillor Barbara Scruton said: "I do think we're sitting here as town councillors. There are issues (in the district council's letter) that we should raise."

In the district council's letter to the Metropolitan Police Service, council leader Chris Whitbread and chief executive Georgina Blakemore said: "Lippitts Hill lies within the heart of Epping Forest. The forest is a sensitive and delicate natural environment. It is a Special Area of Conservation of global significance, being one of the few remaining areas of original deciduous woodland left in the UK.

"The delicate eco-system of Epping Forest including special and rare species, plants and fungi is particularly vulnerable to air pollution.

"The forest is a source of great pride and concern to our local residents. Statutory regulations and strict oversight by the Corporation of London are designed to protect and preserve it, not only for the people of Essex. It is a place of peace and wellbeing enjoyed equally by our close neighbours in London. However, the environmental pressures on the forest are severe. 

"Pollution levels are too high. The district council, working in conjunction with local residents, the Corporation of London and other stakeholders is doing all we can to protect and preserve our Forest for future generations.

"The environmental impact of helicopter operations speaks for itself.

"The current NPAS base at North Weald is at a long-established airfield shared with other notable aviation operators including the Herts and Essex Air-Ambulance.

"The airfield is owned by Epping Forest District Council and we have worked in partnership with NPAS to support the construction of a brand new helicopter facility. 

"While our major concerns are not financial in this case, NPAS has a long lease with the council and will continue to provide air support for other police forces. It cannot be good value for the tax paying residents of either London or Essex, for the Metropolitan Police to leave such a recently delivered new facility.

"Our other main concern is for those residents living near Lippitts Hill within Epping Forest, High Beach and Waltham Abbey.

"It is one thing to buy a new house or home next to an existing airfield - you know what you are getting with aircraft coming and going before you purchase.

"However, many of the residents in and around Lippitts Hill have had no such choice. Many will have bought their homes in good faith and the understanding that helicopter operations had ceased with no reason to expect a return.

"The consequential noise, pollution and general disturbance associated with these helicopters at Lippitts Hill would be very hard to justify.

"If the historic legacy did not exist, it is almost inconceivable that anyone would consider Epping Forest to be a suitable location. 

"If planning permission was required, the district council, supported by the Corporation of London, environmental groups, other stakeholders and local residents would almost certainly turn any application down. 

"As such the Metropolitan Police has an ethical and moral duty as well as a legal ability to consider in taking this decision."
6.56pm - July 13

Initial plan for ten three-bedroom houses on car repairs site

Initial plans for a housing development on the site of the Brian Shilton and Co car repairs site in Lindsey Street, Epping, are for ten three-bedroom houses.

Town councillors have been told that the current proposals - which are out for public consultation before a planning application is submitted - are for a row of seven two-and-a-half storey properties, a pair of semi-detached houses and a two-storey house.

Robert Miller, planning consultant with DWD property and planning consultancy, speaking on behalf of applicant Lindsey Street Ltd, told tonight's planning and general purposes committee that public consultation is currently taking place with neighbours and stakeholders before a planning application being submitted at the end of August.

Mr Miller said the site is a brownfield, general industrial use site.

He added that the proposed scheme would have private off-street parking - with a minimum of 12 spaces - with the design ensuring no overlooking of nearby properties.

Councillor Barbara Scruton told tonight's planning and general purposes committee: "It's great that you are providing family houses."

But she expressed concern over potential parking issues.

She said: "It would be disastrous if residents had to park in Lindsey Street."
8.39pm - July 9

​Restaurant and take-away plan for former Santander branch

Plans have been submitted to turn the former Santander branch in Epping High Street into a restaurant and take-away.

Since the bank closed, planning consent has been granted for the premises to be turned into a wine shop and luxury wine bar.

Now a further change of use planning application has been submitted to Epping Forest District Council.

Documents submitted with the latest planning application, which will be considered by Epping Town Council before a final decision is taken by the district council, states: "Opening up a closed-up premises and providing a tastefully fancy destination for the community will make the area lively."

The current consent, approved by the district council about a year ago, was for a "high quality, luxury venue" open from 10am and into the late evening catering for retail customers and evening on-sales customers when the intended specialist independent wine retail shop could be used for private functions "or just as a relaxing venue to enjoy a glass of wine".
4.25pm - July 6

Rain stays away as crowds flock to Town Show

PICTURES

The first Epping Town Show for two years was held by Epping Town Council at Stonards Hill recreation ground on Sunday.

A variety of stalls and sideshows manned by local organisations and businesses featured along with arena entertainment ranging from singing to Morris dancing, and performances from the Epping Forest Band and the Epping Forest Pipe Band.

There was also a flypast from a Spitfire.

Epping Town Mayor councillor Michael Wright said: "It was absolutely amazing that the people of Epping came out and supported Epping Town Council’s event despite the appalling weather.

"Thank you to everyone who was involved in the show this year - the first since 2019 because of the COVID-19 situation.

"We look forward to seeing everyone next year.”
2.04pm - July 2

Town Show update

Epping Town Council still intends to hold the Epping Town Show at the Stonards Hill recreation ground on Sunday (noon until 5pm) but there will be some changes to the layout because of the soft ground and the forecast weather.

A flypast from an RAF Spitfire is expected over the show at about 2.20pm.

There will be no public parking on the recreation ground, except for disabled attendees.

The other main change is that the funfair will have children’s rides only on the day (noon to 5pm) only, and not today (Friday) or tomorrow (Saturday).

There will be a few minor changes to the layout of some of the stalls, and there will be no donkey rides as previously advertised.

Covid-19 precautions will be in place and anyone attending is asked to take their own sanitiser, face covering and deck chairs.
 
Arena programme:

noon - Official opening by Town Mayor councillor Michael Wright
12.05pm - Epping Forest Band
12.45pm - Illusions Dance Academy
1.30pm - Etcetera Morris Men
2.15pm - Epping Forest Pipe Band
3pm - Matthew Shephard
3.25pm - Noel Cowley
4pm - Sublime Science Show
5pm - Close

• Punch and Judy Show (show times 1pm, 2pm and 3pm)
• Scotty’s Circus workshop
• Dog agility area
• Farm animals
• Meet the alpacas
• RAF Spitfire flypast (2.21pm approximately)
• Julie’s at Stonards Café at Jack Silley Pavilion
• Craft and charity stalls
• Food and drink stalls
• Epping Horticultural Society’s flower show
• Fun fair - children’s rides and stalls
2.04pm - July 2

The Epping bench: A special place to remember an "amazing lady"

A widower who placed a heart on a bench on the Town Green in Epping has spoken about the poignant note that he left with it, revealing it had been a special place for his wife in the years leading up to her death from breast cancer.

A picture of the heart and hand-written note - which reads 'This heart is for my wife, mummy and best friend who lost her battle to cancer and the rest of the people who lost their battle' - was posted on the Everything Epping Forest Facebook group by a reader  - and was seen by Brian Holmes.

Brian's wife, Kay, died on January 21 aged 54 - eight years after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

For Brian and Kay, the bench near the High Street was a special place - and it continues to be for Brian who regularly sits there thinking of his wife and their special times together 'people watching'.

Brian told Everything Epping Forest: "The reason I left the heart on the bench was to tell our friends which bench we sat on to 'people watch'. Then I thought that people will start to think why was the heart there so I left a note and hoped it would explain.

"My wife was told eight years ago she had breast cancer. When we came out of the hospital at Epping we sat on the bench. We were shocked.

"A couple of weeks later she sat on this very bench and wanted to talk about her funeral and plan it. I said I couldn’t, just hoping we could beat this.

"A year later I agreed and I would sit and listen to what she wanted (at her funeral). 

"She told me the music, she told me where her ashes had to be scattered. Here (by the bench) is one of the places.

"She told me 'don't do anything stupid' as the kids will need me, and I’ve kept to everything she asked of me."

Brian, who lives in Harlow, added: "When she got her wings it was very different. I was now 'good cop, bad cop' and I would have to stay up and worry what time the little one would come home. Before that she had done all that while I slept.

"You ladies, I take my hat off to you all. She was an amazing lady and thought of everything.

"In our bedroom I came across a drawer. Inside were boxes for the kids and me that she had been filling over the last seven years, and on Mother’s Day they got them. There's more to give them over this year and more places for her ashes to go."

More than 100 messages have been posted on Everything Epping Forest's
Facebook page in response to the picture of the heart and the bench.

Brian said: "I would like to thank you for all the messages. It makes me smile. So if you ever see me sitting there on the bench 'people watching' please join me.

"Over all the years we sat there Epping has entertained us and we have laughed, and now I know she is still sitting there now with her battered sausage and chips and a can of Coke which I will leave every anniversary.

"She told me to never stop laughing as it made her happy. I miss my soul mate. 

"People say to me that as time goes on it gets easier. It doesn’t. I’m getting used to living with it.

"Thank you to James Percival as if it was not for him posting the picture then you would never have known the story of the heart. 

"Enjoy the bench 'people watching'. We did and one day you will see me there, just say 'hi'."
6.29pm - June 18

EPPING: Man arrested over car theft after chase through gardens

A suspect apologised to a woman he disturbed in her Epping garden while he was being chased by police investigating the theft of a car in Nazeing, Everything Epping Forest has been told.

The drama unfolded in the Bower Hill area of Epping yesterday afternoon (Wednesday).

Police were contacted at 2.15pm shortly after a vehicle was stolen in Nazeing.

About an hour later the car was located in Epping and a male was seen to run off.

An Everything Epping Forest reader said: "My mother-in-law was in the garden on Bower Hill with my two children and a teenager jumped over her fence being chased by police.

"She said he did apologise and said 'sorry but I'm being chased by the police'. It scared the life out of her being alone with the kids."

A police spokesman said: "With assistance from a member of the public, officers were directed to where a male was hiding in a bush."

The police spokesman confirmed that officers had reported that the suspect "did travel through some gardens".

Another reader described to Everything Epping Forest how she saw about five police cars in Bower Hill "then loads of police on foot down Allnutts Road".

A 22-year-old man, from Harlow, was arrested for the theft of a motor vehicle.

He was also wanted for a number of other matters and has been bailed pending further police enquiries into the theft of the car.

A VW car was taken away on a lorry.

Officers from the Loughton-based Local Policing Team and Community Policing Team were joined by Roads Policing officers in the search for the vehicle and suspect.
6.29pm - June 18

Epping Town Show to go ahead

Dozens of community and trade stalls and a host of sideshows are promised at this year's Epping Town Council-organised Epping Town Show at Stonards Hill recreation ground on Sunday, July 4.

The show - which is the first for two years following the COVID-19 lockdown last July - will also feature a funfair and programme of arena acts and entertainment, including pipe and silver bands, dancing, Morris dancing and singers.

Various refreshment options will be available, including a hog roast.

There will also be Punch and Judy shows, a Science Show, donkey rides petting farm animals, a chance to meet alpacas, and a children's area.

Epping's Tesco store has kindly given Epping Town Council a supply of water bottles for volunteers and helpers.

Entry to the show - which runs from noon until 5pm - is free and limited car parking will be available.

Anyone visiting the show can also take their dogs and deckchairs - and are encouraged to take their own sanitiser.

The Town Show will only go ahead in line with the roadmap out of the COVID-19 lockdown and will adhere to the Government's Covid-19 guidelines.

A council spokesman said: "As the COVID-19 situation continues, there will be changes to the look and format of the event to allow for social distancing such as two metres between stalls, and the whole event will be outside on the recreation ground."

For more information, ring the town council on 01992 579444 or email gvallis@eppingtowncouncil.gov.uk
8.42am - June 12

Mayor presents prizes to Epping Playground Association competition winners

PICTURES: For pictures of the prize presentations CLICK HERE

Prizes have been awarded to children who won Epping Playground Association's drawing competition. 

More than 100 children submitted drawings of their dream playground with three entries from each category - KS1, KS2, KS3/KS4 and additional needs - selected as the winners. 

Epping Town Mayor councillor Michael Wright presented the prizes at the Lower Swaines recreation ground in Epping on Friday. 

The children were from a mixture of local schools including Epping Primary, Ivy Chimneys Primary, Coopersale Hall School and St Nicholas School, Old Harlow. 

Each winner received prizes donated by local businesses including Tesco, Jojo Maman Bebe, Piccola, Croft's Dental, Slice, Haywards restaurant and cafes including Starbucks, Fred and Dougs and  Dada's.

* A cheque for £1,185 has been presented by the Rotary Club of Epping to Epping Playground Association.

The association is raising £120,000 to refurbish the play area at the Lower Swaines recreation ground in Epping with the work set to be undertaken in three phases, creating recreation facilities for all ages.

Rotary Club of Epping president Barbara Scruton presented the cheque to Epping Playground Association chairman Siobhan Garrett and project manager Habibah Wise.
2.16pm - June 10

Pavement widening project costs over £83,300, report reveals

Pavement widening work and new street furniture in Epping High Street has cost more than £83,350.

The figures have been published by Epping Forest District Council in the same cabinet papers where a consultant's report detailing regeneration ideas for the High Street states that the new areas could be removed in December.

Meanwhile the town is seen as an ideal location for an e-scooter rental scheme trial and its widened pavements identified as potential performance space for street musicians and buskers.

A council cabinet report details the cost of some elements of the work which has seen three stretches of pavement widened to improve social distancing, and new planters, litter bins and cycle racks installed.

The report published today - to be presented to the next cabinet meeting - quotes a figure of £75,000 for the "pavement widening scheme".

Fourteen new litter bins have cost an additional £3,000 while the repair / painting of 30 bollards has cost £1,000.

The cost of work on 'tree pits' and paving is put at £4,200.

No costs are detailed for the sanding and painting of six new 'bike loops', 14 'conservation railings' and metal work on a bench at the water fountain.

A report by Studio 3 which suggests short and longer-term ways to regenerate the High Street - along with other retail areas in the district - states: "Moving forward, it has been decided that a more permanent temporary pavement area be established and that it will remain there until a potential removal date of December 2021."

This is the work which has recently been completed.

The report adds: "The loss of parking spaces doesn’t appear to be making a particular difference to town centre parking and only accounts for a small percentage of the overall parking spaces. 

"As a result, I see this scheme, particularly in the main stretch of High street from St John's Church to the council offices, as an excellent way of testing the ground for a permanent extension of the pavement and also as a way of encouraging shops to extend their business to include both on-street trading and on-street hospitality. 

"The widened area could also be used as a performance space for street musicians and buskers, adding to the overall atmosphere. This will all add to the attractiveness of the town centre, increase the feeling of community and make the town more of a destination to visitors.

The report also states that "consideration should be given to implementing an electric scooter rental scheme to help support a ‘green’ alternative to local travel that is convenient, clean and affordable and helps to mitigate reduced public transport capacity and allow for social distancing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic". 

The report adds: "E-scooters can reduce reliance on car trips, reduce congestion and improve air quality.

"The Department for Transport expanded trials of rental e-scooters and legislation was introduced to allow e-scooters to use highways and cycle routes. 

"Only e-scooters in an approved trial are legal. Privately-owned scooters will still be illegal on public networks.

"It may be worth (the council) consulting Buckinghamshire Council which introduced this service on a 12-month trial in Aylesbury and High Wycombe.

"The scooters have defined parking areas and also a defined operating area, outside which they cease to run.

"This would be a great scheme to assist in discouraging car usage in Epping.

Scooters could be made available at the station and at various locations in and around the town centre. 

"If successful, consideration could be given to extending the scheme to other areas within the district."
9.31am - June 10

Floral displays ready for summer

Floral displays in Epping - at Tower Road green and in the community garden next to the Marks and Spencer store - have been replanted for summer thanks to the efforts of the Epping in Bloom group.

The group received £1,000 funding from Epping Town Council to go towards the costs for the new plants.

Volunteers removed the winter flowering plants and replaced them with a mix of salivas, verbenas, geraniums and begonias.

New trough planters have been added at the community garden to create a sensory walk way and more plants will be added shortly.

Chairman Victoria Robertson said: "We have been receiving such wonderful feedback from visitors who have only discovered the garden since the lockdowns during their daily exercise.

"Many say the garden has now become their sanctuary. Friendships have been made and one local lady was telling us the garden has brought her so much joy. She Ioved going there daily to talk to people and admire the blooms.

"It really is so heartwarming for us as volunteers to hear such lovely feedback because we all love what we do to bring a sense or community to the town."

To volunteer or to get more details about Epping in Bloom email eppinginbloom@gmail.com
1.01pm - June 9

Council opts for 'cool white' lights for town's Christmas tree

Epping town councillors - who have agreed to new lights on the town's Christmas tree this year - have voted unanimously for brighter 'cool white' lights instead of "more subtle" 'warm white' lights.  

The new lights have been approved following criticism about the lights on the tree on the piazza last year.

Councillor Grahame Scruton, who proposed 'cool white' lights, said: "We need brightness because we were criticised last year. We want impact. It has to be 'cool'."

Clerk Beverley Rumsey told Tuesday's council meeting that as well as the new, brighter, lights there will also be an illuminated star on the top of the tree.
12.59pm - June 9

Waterless toilets for allotments

Waterless toilets are to be installed by Epping Town Council at the council's two allotment sites, in Meadow Road and Lower Bury Lane.

Councillors also agreed for quotes to be obtained for the cost of a brick-built toilet at the town's cemetery in Bury Lane.

Councillor Christine Burgess, who is chairman of Epping Horticultural Society, told Tuesday's town council meeting she fully supported the toilets and described the Meadow Road allotment toilets as "not usable".

She added: "They are absolutely disgusting. You would only use them if you absolutely have too. In the case of ladies, you wouldn't (use them)."

A council report stated: "It would be advantageous to be able to provide some toilet facilities at both Bury Lane Cemetery and our allotment sites. 

"People travel long distances to our cemetery and its rural location means limited ablution options. It would also be beneficial for our staff.

"Both allotment sites have extremely basic toilet facilities which are not fit for purpose and our allotment holders often spend very long periods of time at the site. 

"Once again, it would also be beneficial for our staff. Both allotment sites have been very well used over the last year and are very popular and well attended (especially the larger site at Meadow Road)."

The idea was supported by local resident Graham Foy who told the meeting it would be "fantastic" to have waterless toilets "that look like a shed that fit in nicely with the environment" at the Meadow Road and Lower Bury Lane allotment sites.

Each toilet will cost about £1,039 (excluding VAT).
12.59pm - June 9

Council votes against bandstand idea

An idea to have a bandstand on the Stonards Hill recreation ground in Epping has been dismissed by town councillors.

The suggestion, which was brought to the council by councillors Cherry McCredie and Barbara Scruton, was to fund the project entirely through external funding.

But councillor Christine Burgess voiced concerns over the idea which, she said, could be a target for vandalism.

She told Tuesday's council meeting: "I feel it's an invitation for vandals. There's no way of making sure it's safe all the time, from vandals, drug dealers, county liners - you name them they will be up there.

"Anywhere there's space where young people will congregate they will.

"I feel it's asking for trouble for the town. It will give the town a bad reputation."

She added: "I don't think it's correct. The money to be raised for it should go to other things that are far more important at this present time. 

"There are needy people and needy organisations and to ask people to support that much (£55,000) is not moral."

Councillor Barbara Scruton said: "It's very sad if all we can think about is things being vandalised. We need to have some trust in our youngsters.

"I certainly don't want vandalism up at Stonards but I do think as a town we should be a little bit more creative and think what the town needs."

Town Mayor Michael Wright said it was "the wrong time" to approach the public or businesses for funding.

Local resident Graham Foy had earlier told the meeting: "They (bandstands) look fantastic in the right settings. People are concerned that if you are going to put a structure at great cost there will be some resentment."

He added: "Stonards is a brilliant park. The cafe with toilets has been fantastic. They (people he had spoken to about the bandstand idea) don't think it would be value for money to build an insecure structure with a roof on it. It wouldn't add value for two or three times (of use) a year.

"We've had some issues in the past when there was a steel structure on the football pitch before - (with people) banging and shouting."

He questioned a suitable location for a bandstand and suggested a "Victorian-style" bandstand would be better suited to the town green however with the green under the ownership of the City of London Corporation it was considered that the Corporation would not approve such a structure on its land.
12.57pm - June 9

Mixed response to wider pavement areas along High Street

The new wider pavement areas along Epping High Street have sparked a mixed response from town councillors with one branding the work "completely nuts" and "crazy" while another said it gives the town "a real fresh look".

The wider stretches - outside Barclays Bank, between Cottis Lane and Marks and Spencer, and between Buttercross Lane and the NatWest bank - have been installed by Epping Forest District Council to improve social distancing.

It allows for the removal of unsightly orange barriers and has seen the installation of additional floral planters.

However the scheme has come in for criticism as it has been completed just as the country appears to be heading towards the end of social distancing.

Councillor Hugh Pegrum, who asked for the work to be discussed at Tuesday's town council meeting, said: "I think the whole scheme is completely nuts. It's crazy."

He said: "The colour is wrong, the place is wrong, it's a waste of money and we coming out of social distancing fairly soon."

He also highlighted the lack of discussion and consultation and claimed 12 parking spaces had been lost.

"I thought at the time they (the orange barriers) were meant to be temporary and at the end of social distancing they would disappear.

"We are surely closer to the end of social distancing and yet all of a sudden the highways have dumped big brown splodges..."

He added: "Why has all this money been wasted when the government has said social distancing is coming to an end?

"The cars that parked outside Boots used to be able to go on the 'slip road' to M&S. They now have to back out onto the High Street.

"Far from being safer, it's less safe because traffic is going to back out."

Councillor Christine Burgess said: "People don't actually walk on this yellow stuff. I'm quite bemused that people don't walk on it. 

"I think it alters the character of Epping. I think it's totally out of character. Nobody likes it really. Why have they spent this money?

"This... what a waste?"

Councillor Mari-Louise Whitbread said: "I personally like it, it's a real fresh look. It enhances the market. People are enjoying the High Street much more. It gives more space. I just think it gives everyone somewhere to go."

Councillor Barbara Scruton, who said six or eight parking spaces had been removed as a result of the work, said: "I think it lightens the High Street and gives it a modern view.

"I like walking on it instead of tripping up on paving stones, I feel safe on it you can wheel wheelchairs and babies on it."

Councillor Nigel Avey, whose district council cabinet portfolio included highways, told the meeting the work is "temporary" and a period of consultation would be carried out to decide whether the areas should remain.

Epping Forest District Council has said the areas could be removed in qw to 18 months' time.

Councillor Avey said: "This is still temporary. There will be consultation and there will be a chance to change it, I hope we won't change it."

He said additional street furniture is still to be installed, including cycle racks.

"There will be people who don't like it, but isn't that always the way with decisions we make as councillors?

"This was a bold initiative and gives more space to the High Street."
8.13am - June 4

EPPING / LOUGHTON: Former Arsenal goalkeeper dies aged 51

Former Arsenal, Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Alan Miller - who was born in Epping and went to school in Loughton - has died at the age of 51.

Loughton Roding Independent councillor Stephen Murray said: "I remember Alan well as a Loughton school pupil in the early 1980s. He attended Epping Forest High School in Borders Lane (an amalgamation of the two Lucton schools). 

"He was a lovely lad and I have over the years followed his career in football with interest. 
"His family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers."

He made five appearances for Arsenal and was an unused substitute as the Gunners won the FA and League Cup double in 1993, as well as the European Cup Winners' Cup a year later.

He also had loan spells with Huddersfield Town, Grimsby Town, Bristol City, Coventry City and St Johnstone.   

Former Arsenal team-mate Lee Dixon tweeted: "Devastated to hear the news that our team mate Alan Miller has passed away. He was one of life's good guys. What a man. Heart of gold. RIP my friend."
3.45pm - May 28

EPPING: Two cemetery trees will remember 'The Lost Year'

PICTURES

When Epping Town Council marked Cemetery Superintendent and Town Supervisor Bill Towers's 35 years' service he said he did not want a gift but instead asked that two trees be planted in Epping Cemetery to recognise 'The Lost Year' caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

And now two Ginkgo Biloba (maidenhair) trees - which are associated with health - have been planted in the Bury Lane cemetery, surrounded by protective cages hand welded by Bill's friend Neil Wood and gifted to Bill for the occasion.

Town Mayor Michael Wright said: "The last year has been very difficult for everyone. Our grounds team have worked extremely hard to maintain our popular green spaces to a very high standard to enable people to be outside. This includes our cemetery at Bury Lane.

"Our cemetery is looked after by Bill and our excellent in-house grounds team. Looking after the cemetery has been particularly challenging over the past year as we have had to impose government restrictions for funerals when families and friends are saying goodbye to loved ones. 

"This is difficult for even the most experienced of cemetery teams and Bill has managed this difficult process."

Mr Wright thanked Mr Towers and his team for their work and recognised the expressed the council's appreciation for their work, their knowledge and expertise.

Mr Wright added: "Bill’s kind gesture to donate his gift for his 35 years’ service to Epping Town Council to the cemetery just proves how lucky we are to have him working for us."

The trees will be marked with a brass plaque reading 'In Memory of the Lost Year 2020-2021'.

"The trees will grow tall and broad and will be a permanent reminder of the difficult year we have just been through and that those lost will not be forgotten."

Explaining his wish to see the trees in the cemetery, Mr Towers said: "It's a memorial for 'the Lost Year'. I just thought it was a nice thing to do. 

"The trees will blossom and Ginkgo Biloba is related to health. It's used as a supplement.

"That, apart from their appearance, was one of the reasons for choosing them."
5.09pm - May 19

EPPING: Town council objects to housing plans on three sites
Outgoing Mayor wishes successor a more "normal" year

The outgoing Epping Town Mayor has wished his successor a more "normal" year as the town reopens from the COVID-19 'lockdown'.

Councillor Grahame Scruton, who had held the chain of office for two years, has handed over the role to councillor Michael Wright with councillor Barbara Scruton the new Deputy Town Mayor.

Councillor Grahame Scruton, reflecting on his time as Mayor, told the Annual Council Meeting on Tuesday: "This past year has been very different to my previous year as Mayor.

"Rather than attending functions and events and actually meeting people, the year was very much a case of decision-making based on the ever-changing legislation.

"I firmly believe that we as a council made the right decisions at the right time and I thank each of you for your input into these decisions."

Despite a reduced number of civic engagements, councillor Scruton attended the 100th birthday of an Epping resident, opened the refurbished tennis courts at the Stonards Hill recreation ground, helped celebrate the 70th birthday of Town Supervisor Bill Towers and, last month, officially opened the new season for Epping Bowls Club 2021.

Councillor Scruton added: "Thankfully we were also able to acknowledge both VE Day, VJ Day and attend Remembrance Sunday at the war memorial."

Councillor Scruton thanked councillor Wright for his support as Deputy Mayor over the past two years, the councillors and council staff - especially Town Clerk Beverley Rumsey - for their hard work and support over the last two years.

"I wish Michael an enjoyable and indeed a more ‘normal’ year as Mayor."
8.30pm - May 11

EPPING: Town council objects to housing plans on three sites

Plans to build 184 apartments on the St John's Road site in Epping as part of plans for 272 new homes in the town would "alter the character of Epping".

Epping Town Council has objected to all three of the proposed developments - the St John's Road site, the site of the current Epping Sports Centre and the Conder Building site at the Civic Offices.

Each of the applications were opposed by 6 votes to 1, with councillor Mari-Louise Whitbread the only councillor to vote in support of the proposals.

Speaking about the St John's Road site, deputy mayor Michael Wright told Tuesday's planning and general purposes committee: "What concerns me more than anything else is that it will alter the character of Epping. We are a market town. The character of this town has got to remain the same. 

"I appreciate that to fund the swimming pool the money has got to come from somewhere. I think the influx of this amount of people... Epping as a market town will suffer quite considerably."

Roger Lowry, from The Epping Society, told the meeting the society had scrutinised all 425 documents, visited the sites, talked to people, "and it has raised a number of questions in our minds".

He said the apartments, for rent, would be in four and five-storey blocks.

"It is good to see some progress on this site (15 years it has stood undeveloped). We support the development of brownfield sites and support the keeping of listed buildings. However we have quite a lot of concerns."

He raised issues over sewers, drains and water supply - and highlighted residents of Bodley Close who have sewage coming up in their baths - air quality and traffic.

On the issue of parking - with 53 spaces for 184 homes - he said: " There are so many issues there."

He added: "Who decides (who gets the spaces)? How do you stop people from owning a car? They are all going to have charging points, how do they make people who live there only have electric cars."

Mr Lowry added: "Our main issue is these flats are not for local people they are for 'younger, more economically active people with no children. It will be a separate sub-community.

"What we would really like to happen is Qualis to withdraw it, rethink it, make it easier to understand and review it."

A total of 186 homes (184 apartments and two cottages) with 53 parking spaces are proposed for the St John's Road site.

Councillor Barbara Scruton said: "We want to see it (the site) developed but developed in a way which suits the town."

Councillor Cherry McCredie said the two 'locally listed' cottages are not in the ownership of the district council.

"Are they (the owners) happy to sell them to Epping Forest District Council, or is that going to be a problem?"

She added: "We have no talk about school provision. We have schools that are going to have to take more kids. the lack of information about school provision is quite substantial."

The council highlighted issues including parking, design, loss of amenity for neighbours, the impact on wildlife, loss of trees, altering the character of Epping, the density of the housing, and concern over services (sewerage and drainage).

Committee chairman Nigel Avey said: "I would prefer to work through some of these issues with the council and Qualis."

Town Mayor councillor Grahame Scruton said: "It's a very aspirational plan. It's architects are from out of the area who don't know Epping. Epping Forest District Council have spent a long time consulting the public and it doesn't seem to have listened at all to the needs of the community.

"Our young people need housing. Surely there's a happy medium where our youngsters can live in these flats and enjoy the local community.

"The parking is ridiculous. 

"Maybe in 30 years' time we won't have cars - in five years' time the majority of these residents will have cars. If they have one car each we will have 100 cars on the streets.

"I just think they need to step back and look at if not the design, the thought process of where they want to draw these people from."

Councillor Barbara Scruton, who praised The Epping Society for going through every document with the application, said: "As a town council, I feel it's my responsibility to feed back from residents.

"I'm being asked why do we need so many flats? We are a town that attracts families because they want to live in an attractive town where their children can grow up with greenery around them.

"I can understand that the district council needs to have income, they need to make money out of the sites, why should Epping be the town that provides all that income?

"With the idea of renting, we are being used to fund a lot of other things in the district. I'm very much against this development."

Councillor Christine Burgess highlighted the plan to rent the properties to couples with no children.

"What happens when they get a bit older and perhaps have children? Do they have to go somewhere else (to live) so another young upcoming couple can rent these places? Is that why there is no mention of schools?

"I find it very difficult to say anything good about this site at the moment. The buildings are too high and don't provide for the local population. There's nothing that's really good."

Councillor Mari-Louise Whitbread said it is important brownfield sites are being used for development and added that the issues raised should be given consideration.

Epping Sports Centre site:

Epping Society representative Roger Lowry highlighted a four-storey block proposed as part of the development which would see a mix of 41 homes for sale and rent with some houses and some flats.

Thirty-two apartments would be in a single building. Nine three-bedroom townhouses are also proposed with a total of 20 parking spaces.

Mr Lowry said the society liked the retention of the path between Hemnall Street and Nicholl Road, and the keeping of the heritage lamppost but had concerns over the impact on neighbours, and the amount of parking.

Councillor Mari-Louise Whitbread welcomed the "good use" of a brownfield site.
Mr Avey said the council had made a "positive objection" and hoped to work with Qualis and the council to look at some of the issues raised.

Councillor Nigel Avey said he "sensed a warmer feeling" to the sports centre site plans but the committee voted 6-1 to oppose the proposals having voiced concern over the height of the proposed development and the screening of parking spaces.

Conder Building site:

The town council's objection includes the design with a question mark over three-storey homes, the impact on the conservation area, the overlooking of neighbouring homes, the loss of amenity and the amount of parking proposed.

Town mayor Grahame Scruton said: "In general that site is a great opportunity to utilise space that has become available but it's almost being rushed. It's someone sitting in an office plonking building blocks around. There are privacy issues and again it will be a softly, softly objection. 

"It's a site that lends itself to residential but needs looking at more closely."

Councillor Barbara Scruton said: "We are a town that wants to attract families. They will have a car. Parking is a big issue again. We are being told we should reduce the number of cars but realistically will that happen."

Mr Scruton, commenting on all three sites, said: "If we get it wrong, we - the residents - have to live with it."
5.48pm - May 9

Car driver taken to hospital after car hit tree and caught fire

A man has been taken to hospital after the car he was driving hit a tree and caught fire near Epping this afternoon.

Police closed Coopersale Street while police and firefighters dealt with the incident.

The driver - a 19-year-old man - was located and taken to hospital.

A police spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: "We were called shortly before 1.25pm with reports a car had collided with a tree in Coopersale Street, Coopersale.

"Officers attended and contacted the fire service as the car was alight.

"The driver, a 19-year-old man, was not in the car at the time. He was located and taken to hospital."

His injuries and condition is not known.

 
3.15pm - May 8

Town council to consider housing plans

The views of Epping town councillors on the major housing plans for the town will become clear when they meet on Tuesday to discuss the proposals for 272 homes on three sites.

A combined total of 245 apartments, 25 houses and two converted cottages are detailed in full planning applications for the sites with 91 parking spaces proposed in total.

The St John's Road site - which incorporates the Centrepoint building, former cookery school and council depot - is earmarked for 186 properties - 184 would be new apartments while two existing cottages would be refurbished.

A total of 53 parking spaces are proposed.

The apartments would be in eight blocks including the refurbished cottages with amenity space provided including shared workspace, a residents' lounge, play area and concierge. 

A total of 41 homes - 32 apartments in a single building and nine three-bedroom townhouses - are proposed for the sports centre site in Hemnall Street with 20 parking spaces included in the plans.

The other application to be considered is for 45 homes on the site of the Conder Building at the Civic Offices. 

The planning application proposes 29 apartments and 16 houses with 18 parking spaces.

* Epping Town Council's planning and general purposes committee will consider the applications at the council's first face-to-face meeting since the COVID-19 lockdown.

Until now the council has held its meetings virtually via Zoom.

Tuesday's meeting is being held in the main hall at Epping Hall at 6.30pm. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

Anyone wishing to speak at the meeting must contact the town council ahead of the meeting.

 
2.35pm - May 8

Town council draws up £100,000-plus 'wish list' for recreation ground

Grant funding opportunities are to be investigated by Epping Town Council for a range of improvements at the Stonards Hill recreation ground.

The town council has drawn up a 'wish list' of projects which includes surfacing repairs to the main car park (estimated at £15,000) and at the Jack Silley Pavilion car park (£5,000 to £10,000), and a repaired or new height barrier at the main car park (£1,000).

New main gates and posts could be installed at the Jack Silley Pavilion car park. 

The council is also looking to double the width of the footpath between the main car park and Jack Silley Pavilion (£15,000-£20,000).

A running track or tarmac path around the whole recreation ground is also on the list (£40,000 estimated cost) while 'around-the-pitch' drainage is being considered to reduce waterlogging and flooding issues (a quotation of £25,000 was obtained in 2017).

The council is also looking to convert some of the street lights to LED (£3,000) while a new contract for the emptying of dog waste bins, with the current bins replaced with larger multi-purpose litter bins, could cost about £3,000.

The total 'wish list' amounts to between £117,000 and £120,000.

Councillor Nigel Avey said: "We are not going to get everything unless the town council wins the lottery or we find funding for it from elsewhere."

Councillor Barbara Scruton said the paths and perimeter track should be a priority, adding: "We get a lot of walkers up there, it would be nice to see a path all around the park."

Work will be undertaken if successful funding can be obtained.

* A separate project being looked at is the estimated £100,000-plus replacement of the skatepark on a similar or slightly larger footprint.
4.32pm - May 3

Rotary Club of Epping presents £1,000 to St Clare Hospice

A cheque for £1,000 has been presented by the Rotary Club of Epping to St Clare Hospice to support its Hospice At Home initiative.

The charity's Hospice at Home team can care for up to 100 individuals in their own home. 

A donation of £98 could pay for a 90-minute home visit by two Hospice at Home nursing assistants while £294 could pay for a night-long home visit by a nursing assistant.

The charity's community fundraiser, Dan Bailey, thanked the Rotary Club for its donation adding: "A donation of £1,000 will help our Hospice at Home team tremendously."

St Clare Hospice also has a campaign 'Nurses Are...' that is focusing on the charity's need for specialist palliative care nurses to add to its teams so it can continue to provide outstanding care to people with life-limiting conditions.

The cheque was presented to Mr Bailey by Rotary Club of Epping president Barbara Scruton.
2.08pm - May 3

EXCLUSIVE

"Nuclear power station" blunder included in St John's Road housing development report

It must surely go down as one of the most embarrassing 'copy-and-paste' errors but according to a specially commissioned report submitted with the planning application for 186 homes on the St John's Road site in Epping, a "new nuclear power station" is included in the proposals.

The typographical blunder was reported to Epping Forest District Council early last week but the document is still on its planning portal today along with hundreds of other reports relating to the three sites earmarked for housing in the town, totaling thousands of pages. 

Cotswold Archaeology, which was commissioned by Qualis Commercial to prepare the document, has been asked to explain the apparent glaring 'copy and paste' error.

The 85-page Heritage Statement begins with a summary which correctly states "the proposed development will comprise the redevelopment of the site for residential development as well as associated car parking and landscaping".

Yet three pages later the document reads: "The proposed development will comprise the construction of a new nuclear power station, with an associated access road and car park."

Eagle-eyed Everything Epping Forest reader Roger Lowry, who has trawled through the thousands of pages of paperwork submitted with the application on behalf of The Epping Society, told Everything Epping Forest: "Let us generously assume this is a copy/paste error rather than a leak; not that 'leak' is a great word in this context."

He added: "What it does tell us is that Epping Forest District Council have not checked what is published."

Cotswold Archaeology has been asked to comment on the "nuclear power station" reference.

The Epping Society asked the district council on March 30 whether the deadline for comments - currently May 12-13 - can be extended, especially because of the current local election campaign, COVID-19 restrictions and the sheer amount and complexity of the documentation to be studied.

The planning applications and supporting documentation for the three sites - St John's Road (EPF/0917/21), the current Epping Sports Centre site in Hemnall Street (EPF/0918/21) and the Conder Building site at the Civic Offices (EPF/0919/21 and EPF/1042/21)- can be found on the Epping Forest District Council website - www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk - in the Planning section.

 
10.15am - April 29

Town council to return to face-to-face meetings

Epping Town Council is set to return to 'face-to-face' council meetings in May and June - with the situation to be monitored in accordance with any changing government guidance.

The decision was taken by councillors at Tuesday's council meeting which was told that Government regulations state that virtual meetings should end from May 7.

A meeting of the planning and general purposes committee - will be held on Tuesday, May 11 (6.30pm).

The Annual Council Meeting - which includes the election of a Town Mayor for the new civic year - will be held on Tuesday, May 18 (7.30pm).

The June council meeting - which will be preceded by a planning and general purposes committee meeting - will be held on Tuesday, June 8 (7.30pm; planning at 6.30pm).

The meetings will take place in the main hall at Epping Hall where social distancing can be maintained. 
4.14pm - April 26

Work to widen pavements to start this week

Wider pavements along parts of the High Street and more planters, bike racks and outdoor seating are to be installed in Epping in a move to "tidy up the High Street while improving opportunities for social distancing".

The work, which will see the orange barriers removed, will start this week.

Local contractor WH Construction has been appointed by Epping Forest District Council to undertake the work and replace the temporary pavement widening with a "more professional and appropriate finish".

The work, scheduled around the Monday market, is expected to last two to three weeks.

A council spokesman said: "There will inevitably be some disruption at times during the construction works but we will aim to keep residents, shoppers and businesses informed throughout the process and minimise disruption.

"Works will be completed between markets and we hope local people will bear with us as we work to remove the unsightly rows of orange barriers - a short-term solution to encourage social distancing at the beginning of lockdown - with proper, level-access pavements."

The council says the changes are "time limited" and expected to last 12 to 18 months.

There are three main sections to be widened, outside M&S, outside McColls / the Post Office and outside Barclays Bank.

A council spokesman added: "These works will ensure the High Street can operate safely, restore local confidence and help keep our residents safe."
6.51pm - April 24

Fourteenth person arrested over Wake Arms murder

A fourteenth person has been arrested in connection with the murder of Stephen Morrisson, 30, who was found seriously injured in Epping Road near the Wake Arms roundabout shortly before 8pm on June 23 last year.

A 24-year-old man, from Ruislip, was arrested in London on suspicion of murder on Wednesday and released on bail until May 18.

Of the 14 people arrested, seven have been released on bail and two have been released under investigation.

Five people face no further action at this time.
5.54pm - April 24

Building work on St John's Road homes could start in January

A breakdown of the 186 'build to rent' homes proposed for the St John's Road site in Epping reveals a total of 265 bedrooms are included in the development.

The homes will be built in eight blocks.

A total of 53 'electric vehicle car parking spaces' are proposed.

Building work could start in January - and continue until June 2023.

All but two of the properties will be apartments - 114 one-bedroom (62%), 63 two-bedroom (34%) and seven three-bedroom (4%). 

The locally listed caretaker cottages will be refurbished to provide two two-bedroom houses. 

The application documents state: "The intention for this site is to bring forward a ‘build to rent’ development which will be owned and managed by a single operator."

More than 1,500 pages of reports and documents have been submitted as part of the planning application.

One of the documents states: "The proposal will include ancillary shared amenity space within both the Cookery School building and elsewhere on the ground floor of the development, which is expected to comprise shared workspace, residents lounge, play area, central delivery location, main reception, concierge and management suite."

Vehicle and pedestrian access would be from St John’s Road with additional pedestrian access from the High Street.

According to the documents, work on the site is scheduled to start on January 19 next year (and last until June 7, 2023) while work on the current Epping Sports Centre site would get underway on February 26, 2024 and continue until April 21, 2025.

The building work at the Civic Offices site is scheduled to run from May 16 next year until July 10, 2023.


Questions Everything Epping Forest has put to Qualis Group:

* What is the intended purpose of a 'residents' lounge'? Are some of the apartments to be 'sheltered housing' type accommodation?

*What is the 'shared workspace' to be used for?

* How many storeys are the proposed blocks (and how many apartments in each)?

* Who will be eligible to rent the properties? Will the tenants be solely from Epping Forest District Council's housing waiting list?

* What level of rent is envisaged given the need to cover the cost of ground maintenance, the concierge, residents' lounge, play area etc?

* Will tenants have to pay an annual service charge in addition to their rent?

* How will the 53 'electric vehicle parking spaces' be allocated when there are 186 homes on the site? 

* Where are the parking spaces located? How many parking areas are there across the development site?

* Is any provision being made - perhaps in the multi-storey car park - for 'overspill' residents' parking?
7.04pm - April 23

Planning applications submitted for 272 homes on three town sites

A total of 272 homes - 245 apartments, 25 houses two converted cottages  - are detailed in full planning applications for three sites in Epping with 91 parking spaces proposed across all three sites.

The St John's Road site, the site of the Conder Building at the Civic Offices and the current Epping Sports Centre site have been under the spotlight for months since the latest proposals were drawn up and put out for public consultation.

Now full planning applications have been submitted.

St John's Road site:

The St John's Road site - which incorporates the Centrepoint building, former cookery school and council depot - is earmarked for 186 properties - 184 would be new apartments while two existing cottages would be refurbished.

A total of 53 parking spaces are included in the proposals.

The apartments would be in eight blocks including the refurbished cottages with amenity space provided including shared workspace, a residents' lounge, play area and concierge. 

Epping Sports Centre site:

A total of 41 homes - 32 apartments in a single building and nine three-bedroom townhouses - are proposed with 20 parking spaces included in the plans.

Civic Offices site:

A total of 45 homes are earmarked for the site of the Conder Building on the Civic Offices site. The planning application proposes 29 apartments and 16 houses with 18 parking spaces. 
4.53pm - April 15

THEYDON GARNON: Police discover £2m 'chop shop' after tracking stolen vehicle

Police have discovered a 'chop shop' of stolen vehicle parts worth an estimated £2m after tracking a stolen vehicle to premises in Theydon Garnon.

As previously reported by Everything Epping Forest, two people were arrested for theft-related offences after a stolen vehicle was tracked in the early hours of Saturday.

Essex Police was notified of a Range Rover which had been recently stolen from Hertfordshire. 

Local Policing Team and Roads Policing Unit officers responded and tracked the vehicle to premises off Coopersale Lane. 

A 32-year-old woman, from Romford, and a 27-year-old man, from Dagenham, have been arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods and theft of a motor vehicle. 

The Range Rover was located along with a number of vehicle parts within and nearby the premises.

A full investigation was launched with support from the Stolen Vehicle Intelligence Unit, which is responsible for the vehicle examinations, Crime Scene Investigators and Loughton Criminal Investigation Department. 

Four other industrial premises "of interest" were identified nearby and warrants obtained and executed. 

Police officers finished their investigations at the location yesterday.

Vehicle parts of numerous makes and models have been found and work continues to identify the parts and their true owners. 

Early estimates puts the value of the suspected stolen goods recovered in the region of £2m.

The man and woman have been released on conditional bail while police continue their enquiries.
9.03am - April 14

Town council opposes Station Road flats

Plans to add a third storey to a building in Station Road, Epping, to enable a development of six one-bedroom flats are being opposed by the town council.

Councillors have objected saying the proposed development at Purlieu House at 11 Station Road is "overbearing" and "overdominant".

A planning application submitted to Epping Forest District Council is seeking consent to add a third floor and turn existing office space on the ground floor to retail use.

Existing undercroft parking for six vehicles would be retained with office space on the first floor and the flats on the second and newly-created third floor.

Councillor Barbara Scruton told Tuesday's planning and general purposes committee: "It's the first building you see when you walk up Station Road. Another storey will be so dominant."

She added: "It's in the conservation area and I just think it will have such a negative impact on the street scene and will have a loss of amenity to the properties around it."

Councillor Mari-Louise Whitbread said: "It's very attractive but very over-bearing, over tall, and although it would be handy for people to stay (living) local, it's over-development."

Town Mayor Grahame Scruton expressed concern over the increase in a "tunnelling effect" the additional storey would have along Station Road, and the impact the higher building would have on Honeysuckle Mews on the opposite corner of Hemnall Street and Station Road.

Councillor Christine Burgess said: "When these buildings are put up, surely the underpinning and things like that are put in place to support the building that's going up at the time.

"If you plonk another storey on top, they are going to have to do something about that."

Councillor Cherry McCredie asked: "Is this actually needed? Is it just over-development and we can live without it?"

Committee chairman Nigel Avey said: "When I saw this, I couldn't see the logic. Why would you do that to the building, it doesn't seem, to a lay person, to be the most sensible thing to do?

"I have concerns about parking, access has been mentioned as well. I just think it's overdominant."
6.48pm - April 13

Town council holds minute's silence

Epping Town Council held a minute's silence following the passing of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at the start of tonight's planning and general purposes committee.

A tribute to His Royal Highness was read by committee chairman councillor Nigel Avey.
5.50pm - April 13

THEYDON GARNON: Two arrested after police track stolen vehicle

Two people have been arrested after police officers tracked a vehicle which had been reported as stolen to premises in Theydon Garnon - where they found a number of other vehicles and vehicle parts.

The vehicle, which had been reported as stolen, was tracked by officers to an address in Coopersale Lane at about 2.45am on Saturday.

At the address officers also found a number of other vehicles and parts.

A 27-year-old man, from Dagenham, and a 32-year-old woman, from Romford, were arrested on suspicion of theft of a vehicle and handling stolen goods.

They have both been released on bail until Thursday, May 6.

Anyone with any information can submit a report online at https://www.essex.police.uk or use the 'Live Chat' button to speak to an online operator between 7am and 11pm (quote the crime reference number 42/64098/21).

Information can also be given to police on 101 or via Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
4.47pm - April 8

Epping Market to fully reopen on Monday

Epping Town Council's Monday Market will reopen on Monday (April 12) for all its traders. 

Town Clerk Beverley Rumsey said: “We are delighted to welcome all our traders back on Monday. Some of them have been with us for many years and know their customers personally. They have been sincerely missed. 

"We are also delighted to see our High Street reopen more fully and would encourage people to observe all safety guidance as they enjoy the town.”
3.10pm - April 8

Boy charged with various offences following police pursuit

A 17-year-old boy has been charged with numerous offences after a vehicle was stopped on Tower Road, Epping, by Community Safety Team officers on Tuesday, April 6.

The youth, from Epping, has been charged with failing to stop for police, dangerous driving, driving otherwise in accordance with a licence, driving without third party insurance, possession of an offensive weapon and failing to provide a specimen for analysis.

He has also been charged with offences allegedly committed on March 23 - failing to stop for police, dangerous driving, driving otherwise in accordance with a licence and driving without third party insurance.

The boy was remanded in custody by police and was due to appear at Colchester Magistrates' Court today (Thursday).

He remains on conditional bail in relation to two offences of drug possession with intent to supply, burglary (dwelling) and taking a motor vehicle without consent.
3.48pm - April 7

Teenager arrested following vehicle pursuit

A 17-year-old Epping boy has been arrested on suspicion of burglary, possession of an offensive weapon, possession with intent to supply class A drugs and failing to stop for police when directed after Epping Forest Police Community Safety Team officers stopped a vehicle in Tower Road, Epping, yesterday afternoon following a pursuit.
3.29pm - April 7

Council to consider flats plan for Station Road

Plans to develop a property in Station Road, Epping, to create six flats will be considered by Epping Town Council on Tuesday.

A planning application has been submitted for Purlieu House, 11 Station Road, to add a storey to create six flats and change part of the ground floor from office to retail use. Undercroft parking and first-floor offices would be retained with the flats on the second and newly-created third floor.
2.28pm - April 6

Pub car park greengrocer's stall allowed to remain

A six-days-a-week greengrocer's stall has been given approval to continue trading from the car park of the Duke of Wellington pub in Epping High Street.

Epping Town Council objected to the street trading application from Kenny Summerson who had applied to Epping Forest Council's licensing sub-committee to continue to run his 'Fruits of the Forest' stall on Tuesdays to Fridays between 8am and 5pm, between 8am to 4pm on Saturdays and 8am to 2pm on Sundays selling fruit, vegetables, flowers, honey, eggs and local organic farm produce.

The town council said the stall was putting the entire Monday market at risk because of the competition it posed to the current fruit and vegetable stall.

But Mr Summerson does not operate on Mondays.

Mr Summerson, who addressed this morning's virtual meeting in a video call from the stall, said: "I've been out of work for some time. I'm a first class greengrocer, have worked numerous markets. I know my job very well and see an opportunity. I enquired in the pub to work."

He added: "I've set up a very good rapport with my customers and just want to work, supplying good gear. 

"Obviously there has been some objection but that's part and parcel of life. It (running the stall) gets me off the dole and gives me plenty of working opportunities.

"I'm not a threat to the market."

Councillor Holly Whitbread highlighted the level of support for the stall telling the meeting an online petition she set up backing the stall had received 1,200 signatures.

She said: "I think it's a brilliant asset to our high street particularly during the pandemic.

"When I heard about the town council objection I started a petition to show the level of support and asked the town council to revoke their objection."

She added: "Kenny has agreed not to trade on a Monday (market day) which is a good compromise and a good way forward.

"We should be supporting small business and enterprising individuals during a pandemic. He's a really popular addition to this town."

District council leader Chris Whitbread said: "I believe everyone respects the market. This is one single stall and brings an interest to our high street area. I've not received any objection from residents, only positive comments.

"I can't see any reason to object to it."

Epping Deputy Mayor councillor Michael Wright, speaking on behalf of the town council, questioned the petition's signatories and asked councillor Holly Whitbread how many were local.

He asked: "They all live in Epping, they all go to the market stall?"

Councillor Holly Whitbread replied: "A mixture of people supported the petition. A good healthy proportion (are) from Epping or the surrounding area."

Councillor Wright said Epping has been highlighted as one of the most sought after places to live and the town council remained committed to maitaining its history.

"A fruit and veg stall is a key leader in a market. When a fruit and veg trader is absent all other types of stalls suffer."

He added: "The market has been tested beyond anything that could be foreseen" by the pandemic.

He said it was still unclear whether all the traders would return.

He added Mr Summerson had started trading without consent and stated the current market greengrocery trader had said that if it became "not viable" to continue "if his trade does fall because of the additional competition" that he will leave the market.

Councillor Wright also highlighted that Mr Summerson does not only sell fruit and vegetables but also wants to sell flowers, eggs and local honey.

In reply to a question to sub-committee member councillor Steven Heather asking whether the brewery chain had approved the use of its car park for the stall, council licensing officer Debbie Houghton said the council had received a letter from the pub licensee allowing the use of the car park but no consent had been received from Punch Taverns which owns the pub.
3.23pm - March 27

Town council to fight on to keep bungalows in the town

Epping Town Council has vowed to fight on in its efforts to maintain the number of bungalows in the town, against a wave of planning applications to turn them into two-storey homes.

Councillor Nigel Avey, chairman of the planning and general purposes committee, told the Annual Town Meeting, that councillors were "fighting a battle" to retain the town's bungalow stock.

Mr Avey said the committee had considered 164 planning applications in the past year, and continued to also fight "unsuitable" applications to demolish houses to make way for flats.

The council also continues to oppose the removal of trees "often for cosmetic reasons", he said.
3.22pm - March 27

Town council to look to improve town's Christmas tree lights

Epping Town Council has promised to look at improving the lighting on the town's Christmas tree following a complaint that last year's lights were "disappointing".

A complaint about the tree lights was raised at the virtual Annual Town Meeting when the complainant, who was not named, stated in a letter to the council that the tree lighting was "very much short of what Epping residents would expect".

Town Mayor Grahame Scruton admitted the lights had been disappointing and highlighted the issue with vandalism which had impacted on the display.

He added: "The contract is up for tender this year so we will be looking at what is provided very carefully to see if we can improve on that situation."

He told the meeting the tree lights, the 120 small trees which adorn the shopfronts in the High Street and the five illuminated large trees cost the council £9,500.
1.25pm - March 26

Council employee recognised for 35 years service

A long service award has been presented by Epping Town Council to Bill Towers who has worked for the council for 35 years.

Mr Towers, who joined Epping Town Council on April 1, 1986, was an on-call fireman at the time, a role he continued for some years. 

He was employed by now Freeman of Epping Ruth Benjamin, who was Town Clerk at the time and has now worked alongside seven Town Clerks and 34 Town Mayors.

Mr Towers is in charge of the council's outdoor facilities - Stonards Hill recreation ground and its five other recreation grounds, two allotment sites, five playgrounds, tennis courts, petanque piste, outdoor gym and table tennis table.

Town Mayor councillor Grahame Scruton, who announced the award at the virtual Annual Town Meeting, said: "He knows pretty much every blade of grass in the town, having mowed much of it, and pretty much all the pipes underground. 

"Bill is a qualified playground inspector and master of stripey lawns. He has been recognised by the FA for the quality of his football pitches, as a member of the Institute of Groundsmanship, and can prolong the life of most pieces of equipment with some experienced trade secrets."

Mr Towers is also the Cemetery Superintendent at Bury Lane Cemetery and his knowledge of the cemetery is exemplary and of tutoring standard. 

Mr Scruton added: "The work at the cemetery takes extreme care and knowledge and Bill brings both to this precious place."

Mr Towers also ran the Monday Market for 22 years.

Mr Scruton said: "It takes Bill quite a while to walk through the High Street as he knows so many people in the town and our market traders are always keen to stop him for a chat.

"To his colleagues, Bill is a font of all knowledge and will have a solution to most problems.

Town Clerk Beverley Rumsey said: “In the six years I have been at Epping Town Council, I have asked him many questions. I don’t think he has ever not found me a solution. Something that only comes with much experience.”

The council invited Mr Towers to choose a gift to mark his milestone 35 years but rather than something for himself, he chose two Ginkgo biloba (maidenhair) trees for Bury Lane Cemetery which will be marked with a plaque to ‘The Lost Year’ (for 2020). 

Mr Scruton said: "This gesture is in the true style of the gentleman, giving something back to the town, as he has done for 35 years."
1.25pm - March 26

Monday market remains "key part of Epping life"

The continuing role of Epping Monday Market as "a key part of Epping life" was highlighted at the Annual Town Meeting.

Councillor Michael Wright, the council's key member for the market, said: "The market is a real community event bringing people together and attracting additional shoppers to the High Street, supporting the town’s shops and businesses.

"Traditional markets are under increasing pressure as shopping habits have changed and technology has made it so easy to shop from the comfort of our own homes."

He added residents have said Epping's character as a historic market town should be protected and one way to do that is by protecting the market, something that continues to be one of the council's priorities.

Mr Wright said: "The COVID-19 health situation has resulted in a much smaller market over the past year and on occasion, as lockdowns have dictated, no market at all. 

"The town is a very different place without its shops and market and we will continue to do everything we can to support it as it rebuilds with the High Street after these difficult times.

"In 2020 we switched from the traditional metal market stalls to gazebos. This gave the traders more flexibility, enabled us to reduce their rent to support them in times of reduced footfall and welcome new businesses to try the market. 

"The market, under normal circumstances, provides a wide variety of goods which, in current times, supports people shopping in the open air.

"As the health situation progresses to hopefully some kind of normality, we will continue to support and boost the market when it is safe to do so."

The council received a £1,000 grant from the Tesco Bags of Help scheme for a market events vehicle which will enable the council to generate some added interest and footfall for the market and High Street.

Mr Wright added: "The absence of the market and our shops and businesses over the past year has had a huge impact on the character of the town. 

"The town council will continue to analyse and adapt the operations of the market, to support its long-term vitality and presence in our town."
1.23pm - March 26

Town council announces Townsperson the Year award

Epping Town Council has awarded its Townsperson of the Year award to Jacqui Mortimer for her "hard work and success" with the 1st Theydon Garnon Scout Group, the Christmas Tree Festival at St John's Church, and the Friends of Swaines Green.

Town Mayor councillor Grahame Scruton, who announced the award at the virtual Annual Town Meeting, said: "Over this past year Jacqui has also made PPE for Princess Alexandra Hospital as well as setting up a collection point at her home for people to donate items to help the hospital staff."

Jacqui told the meeting she was "so honoured" to receive the award adding: "Epping means so much to me."

She thanked all the individuals and organisations which worked so hard with her to ensure the events and groups were such a success, and described the town as somewhere with a "real sense of community".
1.22pm - March 26

Council highlights work on allotments

The green-fingered efforts of two allotment holders have been recognised by Epping Town Council.

The annual award for the Meadow Road allotments goes to Christine Hassall-Kingham who receives the award for a second successive year.

She has been praised for her "consistent hard work" while the Lower Bury Lane award is awarded to Laura Ecclestone who has managed her plot since October 2019.

Judges congratulated Laura for her "clean, nice and tidy plot".

Both winners will receive a cheque for £20 and a certificate.
1.21pm - March 26

Town council announces Civic Award winner

Renovation work carried out at Lindsay House in Lindsey Street, Epping, has been recognised with Epping Town Council's Civic Award.

Lindsay House was nominated for the new additions made to the renovated building which the council considered were "sensitively blended into the old frontage" with the roofing and new windows not detracting from the look of the building. 

Town Mayor councillor Grahame Scruton, who announced the award at the virtual Annual Town Meeting, added: "Epping Town Council appreciated the respect shown to the character of the building and road and chose Lindsay House."
1.19pm - March 26

Mayor reflects on "very challenging year"

Epping Town Mayor Grahame Scruton has reflected on a "very challenging year" for the council as it came to terms with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The council had to adapt its services, facilities, working practices and meetings, which included a move to 'virtual' meetings.

For most of the year Epping Hall and the Jack Silley Pavilion had been closed to the public.

The council helped the NHS with the use of one of the rooms at Jack Silley Pavilion as a specialist blood testing facility.

The Monday Market also had to adapt to social distancing rules meaning a smaller-than-usual market with the traditional stalls phased out and replaced with gazebo-style stalls which are easier to work with and adapt and are preferred by market traders.

Last year's Town Show was cancelled - with the council planning to hold this year's show on Sunday, July 4, subject to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. 

A smaller Christmas Market was able to be held.

Mr Scruton's annual report states: "During the past year, Stonards Hill recreation ground has been an invaluable open space for residents to exercise and to meet family and friends when the restrictions have allowed."

The council was able to have the tennis courts at Stonards Hill refurbished last summer.

Because of the pandemic, councillor Scruton agreed to serve a second consecutive year as Town Mayor.

He said: "The two years have proved to be very different but the one common feature throughout has been the hard work and professionalism shown by the Town Clerk, Beverley Rumsey, and her team of excellent staff."

Looking back on 2019, when the council did not hold an Annual Town Meeting because of the COVID-19 pandemic, councillor Scruton highlighted the work of the Safer Epping working party and the work carried out to improve the Jack Silley Pavilion, with the addition of the cafe and outdoor table tennis table.

He also congratulated the council on its Quality Gold Status recognition from the Essex Association of Local Councils.
7.56pm - March 23

No objection to fifth set of proposals for Buttercross Lane site

Plans to demolish a house in Buttercross Lane, Epping, and build a terrace of three cottages are not being opposed by Epping Town Council.

The latest proposals are a fifth attempt by a developer to redevelop the site after all four previous planning applications were rejected.

The latest application is for three three-bedroom 'Edwardian' cottages on the site of 1 Buttercross Lane. 

The four previous applications were for nine apartments, then six apartments, then six apartments and a house and then one house and two two-bedroom flats. 

ARA Homes director Robert Shaw told tonight's town council planning and general purposes committee it was a "sensitive" site with three "very small, pretty cottages" now proposed.

He said the design was inspired by other properties in the town - 121 and 123 High Street and 26, 28 and 30 Hemnall Street -  described in the Epping Town Conservation Area Character Appraisal as 'Key Buildings of Townscape Merit'.

Mr Shaw said only five buildings in Buttercross Lane are in the conservation area, and all were architecturally different.

On parking, he said the six parking spaces proposed for the cottages were "an insignificant number" when compared with the traffic generated on Buttercross Lane, to and from the other houses and business car park behind the High Street.

He told councillors the development would "enhance the street scene".

Local resident David Clarke said it was "regrettable" the existing house was to be demolished as it "conforms very well with the pattern of Buttercross Lane" providing "an excellent buffer between the business properties (in High Street) and the other houses in the lane".

Buttercross Lane resident Ken Faulkner added that Buttercross Lane residents had considerable concern over the increase in traffic, especially during the construction of the cottages, and sought support for planning conditions that builders' vehicles should be kept within the site boundary with work restricted to between 8am and 4pm.

Deputy Mayor councillor Michael Wright said: "It's taken a long time to get there but at last we are there with a development that looks attractive. 

"What concerns me is that Buttercross Lane is exactly that - a small lane -  and the volume of traffic that goes up there is a problem already. It could be a problem with fire engines, ambulances and the like getting down there, particularly during the course of construction.

"At long last they have actually arrived at a reasonable-looking development, far better than what was proposed previously."

Councillor Cherry McCredie said: "I welcome these new plans. They are certainly much, much better than what we have seen before. But I still have concerns about parking.

Councillor Barbara Scruton said she would prefer detached properties but told the meeting: "I think it's a very attractive development."

The town council is to request planning conditions, if approval is granted by the district council, that an additional storey cannot be added to the properties through loft conversions and that front gardens are not to be used for parking. 

The council is also seeking specific hours for when building work can be carried out.
7.43pm - March 23

Illuminated 'Gadgets' shop sign opposed by town council

An internally-illuminated fascia sign at the 'Gadgets' shop in Epping High Street is being opposed by the town council after it was put up without planning permission.

The town council has a policy to oppose internally-lit shop signs with a district council policy supporting the view if the signage affects the character of historic town centres.

Councillor Cherry McCredie told tonight's planning and general purposes committee: "I'm really getting a bit fed up with retrospective applications.

"People think they can do what they like, put in the application and it will go through.

"We have to be seen that we have teeth. We have to be strong here."

Committee chairman councillor Nigel Avey said: "We should stick to our guns. Previously we have said 'no' to illuminated signs."

Town Mayor Grahame Scruton said: If this had come to us before it was put in we would have objected because it is internally illuminated."

A retrospective advertisement consent application also includes details for a non-illuminated hanging sign.
2.28pm - March 22

Six-days-a-week greengrocery stall 'putting weekly market under threat'

A greengrocer who has set up a six-days-a-week (Tuesday to Sunday) stall in Epping is facing opposition from Epping Town Council which says his stall is putting the entire Monday Market at risk.

Kenneth Summerson runs his 'Fruits of the Forest' stall in the car park of the Duke of Wellington pub in the High Street - but does not operate on Mondays, when the town council's market is held.

He has applied to Epping Forest District Council for street trading consent to continue to operate on Tuesdays to Fridays between 8am and 5pm, between 8am to 4pm on Saturdays and 8am to 2pm on Sundays selling fruit, vegetables, flowers, honey, eggs and local organic farm produce.

Epping Town Council's letter of objection to the district council states: "One of the key traders in a traditional market is the fruit and vegetable stall. Fruit and vegetable traders generate footfall for a market which greatly impacts on the other traders. 

"When a fruit and vegetable trader is absent from a market, all other types of stall suffer.

"Epping Monday Market, like all traditional markets, has been challenged by online shopping and the change in people’s shopping habits.

"Epping Town Council restructured the Monday Market in 2018 to support its long-term future and try and help traders who were struggling to thrive in these changing economic times.

"In the last year, the market has been tested, beyond anything that could have been foreseen, by the Covid-19 coronavirus health situation.

"The traders businesses have been severely tested and it is still unknown as to whether all the traders will return.

"Allowing a fruit and vegetable trader to trade in Epping could damage the Monday market beyond repair. 

"If the current fruit and vegetable trader on the market does not feel it is viable to remain, they will leave. They are an established business, having given many years of loyal service to the people of Epping. If they choose to leave because they are not getting enough footfall, others are likely to follow. 

"The traditional market climate has changed so much. It isn’t a question of just replacing these traders, as the culture is no longer to pass on stall businesses from father/mother to son/daughter. 

"Having spoken to the current fruit and vegetable trader on the market about this, he has confirmed that if his trade does fall because of this additional competition, they will leave the market.

"We would not allow a second fruit and vegetable trader onto the market and do not allow more than one of most types of trader, as too many would damage the others.

"There isn’t the footfall to enable them all to survive financially.

"It is not comparable to say there are supermarkets selling fruit and vegetables in Epping and formerly a fruit and vegetable shop. Market stall fruit and vegetables are different to those in shops, but their produce and style are similar. The competition is too direct.

"Not only does this applicant want to sell fruit and vegetables, he also wants to sell flowers, eggs and local honey; all of which are sold on the Monday market. 

"The Monday market is delicate enough; it cannot withstand such direct competition, particularly at such a sensitive time when the traders try to recover from the circumstances of the last year.

"If it is raining on a Monday, people are likely to not visit the market, knowing they can buy their fruit and vegetables, flowers, eggs, etc from this stall on another day of the week. Those people will not be walking into the market to get their fruit and vegetables and this will impact on the market as a whole.

"By allowing this fruit and vegetable trader to compete with the Monday market, you risk losing the historic Charter Market completely. 

"Epping Town Council have spent the last two-and-a-half years ensuring the market can survive the modern challenges it faces. Allowing this trader could mean it will be damaged irrevocably and lost.

"Concern has also been raised over the longevity of the trader’s tenure. If the current Monday fruit and vegetable market stall is lost, the market damaged as a result and then this trader leaves, this would be to no-one’s advantage.

"Epping Town Council have also expressed concern about the potential precedent for other stalls to start trading along the High Street. If consent is granted for one, where may this stop?

"Further concerns have also been raised about the highway safety aspects of this location. The site is in a pub car park on a busy main road, close to a narrow road junction and the busy and congested junction of Tesco. 

"The location is not suitable for those visiting by car and this will be further exacerbated when the public house reopens or is being used.

The application is being supported by town councillor Mari-Louise Whitbread who, in her letter of support to Epping Forest District Council, said that as the stall does not open on a Monday "it is not in direct competition with Epping market".

District council leader Chris Whitbread is also supporting the application.His letter states: "The stall is a welcome and popular addition to High Street and attracts a wide section of the community. Since it does not operate on a Monday it is not in competition with Epping market."

Councillor Holly Whitbread - an Epping Forest district councillor and cabinet member who launched a petition in support of the stall - wrote to the district council stating: "The stall is an asset to Epping. It is operating in a COVID secure manner and providing fresh, essential goods. It is close to sheltered accommodation in Pelly Court and I know it is very well used and popular with residents.  

"In accordance with the operating hours put forward it is not in competition with the Monday Market. Indeed, it is at an entirely different end of the high street anyway."

The application will be considered by Epping Forest District Council's licensing sub-committee on Tuesday, April 6.
7.13pm - March 19

Town council to hold virtual Annual Town Meeting

Epping Town Council's Annual Town Meeting will be held virtually on Thursday, March 25 (6.30pm).

The meeting will include the virtual presentation of the council's Townsperson of the Year award, Civic Award and best kept allotment awards.

There will also be reports from Town Mayor councillor Grahame Scruton, planning and neighbourhood planning chairman councillor Nigel Avey and Deputy Mayor councillor Michael Wright, the council's key member for the town's market.

The meeting is open to residents of Epping Parish.Residents wanting to put questions during the open forum must email the questions to the council in advance of the meeting, and include their name and address.

Any Epping Parish residents wanting to 'attend' the meeting should email info@eppingtowncouncil.gov.uk for the Zoom access details.
5.12pm - March 18

Two-day 'Summer Solstice' music festival planned

A two-day 'boutique music event' for 450 people is planned for a field next to the Merry Fiddlers pub, near Epping.

The 'Upper Vibe - Summer Solstice' event on Saturday and Sunday, June 26 and 27, would feature seven DJs playing "a range of disco and uplifting house music".

Organisers have also scheduled a magician, saxophone player and bongo player with the Fiddlers Hamlet event described as "an annual day party event - a premium event which plans to transform a blank empty field into a boutique music event".

An application for a temporary event notice will be considered by Epping Forest District Council's licensing sub-committee next Thursday.

The application papers state the event would have a limit of 450 people who would have purchased tickets before the day with the event running from 1pm until 10.30pm on the Saturday and from 1pm to 10pm on the Sunday.

Social distancing would be observed with ticketholders shown to their tables.

The Upper Vibe Facebook page states tickets for the Saturday are already "completely sold out" with organisers adding: "We’ve had to temporarily close all new table applications due to a completely unexpected demand which hit new heights outside our expectations."

Food would be on sale through a table service system.

Thirteen trained stewards would be on duty at the event.
1.55pm - March 16

Contact visits return for care home residents

Ashlar House care home resident Gladys Wise, aged 101, has met her daughter face-to-face and hold her hand for the first time in months.

Gladys was today visited by her daughter, Gillian Short, as the Epping home lifted visiting restrictions and is now able to welcome relatives indoors to visit loved ones.

In January last year, Gladys and her family were visited by Epping Mayor Grahame Scruton to help her celebrate her 100th birthday.

A home spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: "More than a year later, restrictions have lifted to the point that we can cautiously open our doors again and welcome loved ones back to visit.

"Today was the first visit for Gladys since the latest restrictions were introduced, outside of picture sharing, FaceTime and using the visiting suite our residents haven't had the normality of family visits. 

"It was a truly heartfelt and emotional moment when family members filled the room with joy.

"The staff at looked on with pride and emotion at this momentous time."

Gladys moved into Ashlar House just over two years ago having lived all her life up until then in Matching Tye.
9.20pm - March 14

BBC husband and wife launch podcast series

An Epping husband and wife who both work for the BBC are launching a new podcast series 'Work Wife Balance'.

As if working together was not enough, Leigh Milner and Chris Berrow have just spent their first year of marriage in three lockdowns and a global pandemic. 

This podcast gives them a chance to put down the mic and camera, and go off script.

Leigh is a presenter for BBC Look East and reports for the BBC News Channel.

She said: "It’s liberating to be able to talk about whatever I like, and let people eavesdrop on the things we chat about at home. 

"For example the time I cut Chris’s hair with the same shaver that I once used on our rabbit’s backside. He had no idea."

Chris Berrow presents at BBC Radio 3 and reads the shipping forecast at BBC Radio 4 - and also reads the weekly Everything Epping Forest 'News Talk' bulletin. 

Chris said: “Leigh is the wife and I am the work. I think three lockdowns and a global pandemic is quite a lot to take on for your first year of marriage. What else can the world really throw at us now?”

Podcast listeners will hear how they juggle being newlyweds at home, while working together in the studio.

They will be covering important topics like: is it okay to secretly throw away your husband’s clothes, and is buying omnibus editions of comics a step too far?

Each week they will answer your questions, featuring the only celebrity they could afford - Leigh’s dad and Yorkshire’s finest  “Papa Milner”. 

And their rabbit, Bailey, makes an appearance as well. 

You can subscribe to the Milner-Berrow’s podcast "so they can eventually afford to buy a house".

New episodes arrive on Mondays on all platforms including iTunes, Spotify, Sticher and iHeart.  Just search for Work Wife Balance online. 

You can also follow 'Work Wife Balance' on Twitter at @WorkWifeBal and
Instagram @WorkWifeBalance

To contact the couple, email
WorkWifeBalancePod@gmail.com.
9.22am - March 12

Town council considers track idea

Epping Town Council has said it is "not opposed" to the idea of a walking or dog walking track around Lower Swaines in Epping.

Councillors discussed the idea following an approach through the Epping Playground Association which had sought council support for a running track.

The council is to ask for further details about the proposal but stated a running track would be more suited to Stonards Hill recreation ground rather than Lower Swaines as the land at Stonards Hill is flatter.

However a different kind of track may be possible at Lower Swaines, which aided walking and dog walking.
8.05pm - March 11

Town Show to go ahead

The Epping Town Show will go ahead on Sunday, July 4, the town council has agreed.

The council has also voted to have the funfair as well as arena events and other entertainment - such as the Punch and Judy show and donkeys - as usual.

Town Mayor Grahame Scruton told tonight's council meeting: "Because at this time (July 4) it's after the (COVID-19) restrictions have ended then I think we should go ahead.

"There's a lot of associations that have a stall and they have not publicised themselves for a year-and-a-half.  It would good to have them back to promote themselves."

Councillor Hugh Pegrum said: "It is only a fortnight after all the restrictions are supposed to be lifted, and if there's any slippage then that end date could be pushed back. But if it all goes to plan there's no legal reason why we shouldn't hold it as normal."

He added: "There's a risk of the whole thing being pushed back and are people going to be cautious for some while (after restrictions are lifted)?"

Councillor John Duffell said: "People will be looking for something. It is outside. I think it would be quite popular."

Councillor Barbara Scruton said: "People are so fed up. If we could just put something on it would get a lot of support. It would show people we are trying to do something to bring them back to some sort of normality."

Councillor Christine Burgess said: "People would really be looking forward to some kind of event. It's in the open air. We can have a certain amount of social distancing."

Councillor Cherry McCredie said: "We need something to look forward too - maybe with social distancing. It's been a long, hard slog. I really think we should do it."

Deputy Mayor councillor Michael Wright said: "This is the Town Show. People are used to it, they are used to the stalls and the arena. I think we should plan to go ahead with it. That's my heart talking."
4.59pm - March 10

Ten emergency vehicles called in to help man

A man has been taken to hospital following an emergency incident which saw some ten emergency services vehicles attend the scene in Epping.

Crews were called to Beaconfield Road at about 9.40am.

Ten emergency vehicles - two fire engines, a specialist fire service rescue vehicle, two fire lorries and another fire service vehicle as well as two ambulance response vans, two ambulances - were spotted at the scene.

An East of England Ambulance Service spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: "We attended an address in Epping shortly after 9.40am today following reports that a man needed medical attention. 

"A male patient was transported to Princess Alexandra Hospital for further assessment and care."

An Essex County Fire and Rescue Service spokesman told Everything Epping Forest that crews had been called out "to assist the ambulance service".
9.44am - March 9

Man arrested after vehicle hits several cars and police officer assaulted

A man has been arrested for various offences after a vehicle struck several parked vehicles in Lower Swaines, Epping, and a police officer was assaulted.

Police were alerted at 8.20pm last Thursday (March 4).

A police officer was assaulted during the incident.

A 29-year-old man from Epping was arrested for assaulting an emergency worker, handling stolen goods, possessing a Class A and a Class B drug, possessing an offensive weapon. 

The man was released from custody on Friday but remains under investigation. 
7.25pm - March 3

Tributes paid to former MP

Tributes have been paid following the death of former Epping and Harlow MP Stan Newens, aged 91.

Mr Newens, who died yesterday, was Labour MP for Epping from 1964 to 1970 and the Harlow MP from 1974 to 1983. He then became an MEP representing London Central from 1984 to 1999.

Mr Newens, who was educated at Buckhurst Hill County High School for Boys, wrote several books, about the Labour Party and local history.

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "It was my honour to host a 90th birthday party for Stan in the Leader of the Opposition’s office in February 2020.

"I am so sad at his passing. He was a man who gave his life to social justice, the labour movement, and the people who elected him to parliament and the European parliament.

"I want to put on record my thanks to Stan Newens, and to all his family for supporting him in all his good work."

Harlow MP Robert Halfon said: "Long after he was MP,  he dedicated himself to the history and civic heritage of our town. 

"When I wrote to him after being elected to have a civic society plaque to represent Winston Churchill's life as former MP for Harlow and Epping, he readily agreed. 

"After a special ceremony in October 2013, that plaque now stands proud at the Old Harlow Victoria Hall Theatre, where Churchill spoke in 1924."

Despite our very different politics, Mr Newens also asked me to speak at his book launch which was his memoirs of his significant political life.

"I wish all his family the very best of heart at this very difficult time. Harlow has lost a strong civic minded politician who dedicated his life to Harlow."

Loughton Independent councillor Stephen Murray, a former Labour councillor and General Election candidate, described Mr Newens as "a lovely person and a gentle giant of a man". 

He added: "I know not everyone would share his politics but I certainly did - a great socialist who always did his best to represent his constituents in Harlow and then the London constituency he represented in the European Parliament. 

"He was also a first class local historian and a good friend of the Murray family."

Mr Newens's late brother, Reg, was well known for his South Essex Press printing business which had premises off Epping High Street and in High Road, North Weald.
5.58pm - March 2

Pedestrian seriously injured in M11 collision

A man in his 60s from Epping suffered life-changing injuries when he was in collision with a lorry on the M11, shortly after getting out of his car which had left the road.

Police are appealing for witnesses and dashcam footage following the incident which happened between Junction 7 (Hastingwood) and Junction 8 (Stansted) shortly after 2.25pm yesterday (Monday).

A police spokesman said the man had been driving a silver I-Pace Jaguar which had left the road shortly before the incident.

He remains in hospital with life-changing injuries but is in a stable condition.

No arrests have been made and police are working to establish the circumstances surrounding this collision.

Anyone who witnessed the collision, may have seen the Jaguar leave the road or being driven beforehand, or who has any relevant dashcam footage is asked to ring police on 101 and quote incident number 640 of March 1.
1.55pm - March 2

Man and woman charged over Boots shoplifting spree

A man and a woman have been charged with a series of shoplifting offences after cosmetics worth a four-figure sum were stolen from Boots in Epping High Street.

Police were called at 2.45pm on Sunday following a report that two people had been seen stealing from the store and had left having made no attempt to pay. 

Local Policing Team officers responded and detained two suspects before they were able to board a train at Epping Station.

A man, aged 44 from London, and a woman, aged 48, also from London, were arrested on suspicion of theft and taken into custody.

Both were charged with four counts of theft relating to the same store and spanning the period between February 15 and February 28.

Both were remanded in custody to appear at Colchester Magistrates Court yesterday (Monday).
9.19am - March 2

'Environmental disaster' as sewage pours into pond

An 'environmental disaster' has been reported at Lower Swaines Field in Epping after sewage poured into the pond.

A spokesman for The Friends of Swaines Green said: "A large amount of sewage has spilled from the manhole cover near the pond and most of this has flowed into the pond and has resulted in significant environmental damage."

Dog walkers are being urged to ensure their pets do not go into the water, and that all visitors keep away from the area surrounding the manhole cover.

The group adds that work to resolve the issue has been postponed until Thursday, March 11.

Roger Emmens, of the Friends of Swaines Green, told Everything Epping Forest: "There has been a nasty sewage spill at Swaines Green where a sewer pipeline running through the site discharged a large amount of sewage into the stream and the pond."

He believes the incident occurred early last week.

"The pond in particular now is half full of sewage.

"This is quite an environmental disaster for the pond at Swaines Green. It is likely to have killed all the wildlife in it, and we don't know how long the pond will take to recover, or how much sewage is still in the watercourse downstream."
UPDATE 1.17pm - February 26

An Essex Police spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: "Officers attended the Cottis Lane car park in Epping on the afternoon of February 24 following notification from Epping Forest District Council of an unauthorised encampment at the location.

"An initial site assessment was conducted by police and individuals engaged with. The Essex Police Rural Engagement Team are aware and working with officers at Epping Forest District Council within the Community Resilience Team to address the situation."


6.21pm - February 25

EPPING: Council seeks possession order over car park travellers

A possession order is being sought by Epping Forest District Council after a number of traveller caravans moved onto the Cottis Lane car park in Epping earlier this week.

A district council spokesman told Everything Epping Forest this afternoon: "So far, the travellers have failed to comply with the legal notices we have already served and we have therefore instructed legal services to seek a possession order from the County Court. 

"We are also seeking advice on obtaining an injunction to prevent the travellers from moving onto other council land within the district."
7.02pm - February 23

EPPING: No town council objection to nail and beauty salon

A change of use planning application to turn for former La Ruche fashion shop in Epping High Street into a nail / beauty salon has met with no objection from Epping Town Council.

Councillor Barbara Scruton said: "We don't need another nail bar but it's better than an empty shop."

A final decision will be taken by Epping Forest District Council.
1.13pm - February 22

EPPING: Playground fundraisers set £120,000 target

A fundraising target of £120,000 has been sent by a parents' charity which wants to refurbish an Epping playground.

The Epping Playground Association is working with Epping Town Council’s playground committee to help improve Epping’s play areas. 

The charity, formed by six local parents in 2019, is initially focusing on Lower Swaines Recreation Ground. 

Trustee Habibah Wise said: "Our first priorities have been to secure an equipment provider and agree plans for the play area. We are excited by the plans although there’s a lot more to do to fund the project."

Early development plans include new playground areas for toddlers to young teens, agreed collaboratively by the Epping Playground Association and the playground committee. 

These areas promise to create a fun and stimulating environment in keeping with the area’s natural beauty.

The initial cost of the playground development is estimated at £120,000, of which about £8,000 has been raised thanks to a £4,000 grant from the Grange Farm Trust, other local grants and the generosity of local residents and businesses.

With limited fundraising opportunities in the immediate future, the charity is seeking backing from local businesses and benefactors.

Trustee Karen Laing said: "This is a project for Epping’s community. Whilst we will be applying for grants we would love for this to be a project backed by Epping’s businesses and residents. 

"We’ve been grateful to have already received offers of time and skills as well as generous donations from local businesses.’

The association is welcoming local businesses be a part of the project by sponsoring equipment (with a plaque). 

Trustee Siobhan Garrett said: "Every family in Epping should have access to high quality play opportunities on their doorstep. Play builds healthy children. Physically, socially and emotionally.

"The effects of the latest series of lockdowns on the health and wellbeing of children has highlighted the need for this project. Our children need a space to connect, develop and grow."

To support the fundraising effort
CLICK HERE
3.26pm - February 18

Town council backs 100th anniversary event for war memorial
 
Epping Town Council has given its support to a proposed commemoration event to mark the 100th anniversary of the Epping war memorial.

A wreath laying ceremony involving the town council, Royal British Legion and St John's Church is proposed as part of a rededication of the war memorial.

There could also be an exhibition and celebration, possibly including some of the VE Day commemoration activities that had been planned for last May, depending on COVID-19 restrictions at the time.

The war memorial was unveiled on May 8, 1921.

Epping Town Council has received the necessary permission to clean the memorial with the work scheduled for May/June.
3.07pm - February 17

Nail and beauty salon plan for High Street

A change of use planning application has been submitted for a nail / beauty salon in the former La Ruche fashion shop at 156 High Street, Epping.

The application will be considered by Epping Town Council next Tuesday before a decision is taken by Epping Forest District Council.
12.19pm - February 15

EPPING: ITV drama filming at former police station

PICTURES

Filming is underway at the former Epping Police Station as Hat Trick Productions films scenes for a three-part ITV drama based on the murder of London teenager Stephen Lawrence.

Crews are expected to be using the High Street building until into the evening.

Floodlights are shining onto the frontage of the building while filming takes place inside.

The company has taken over the Bakers Lane car park with an array of trucks and equipment filling the long-stay car park.

The drama, 'Stephen', is the sequel to The Murder of Stephen Lawrence, and has a cast which includes Steve Coogan, Hugh Quarshie and Adil Ray. 

The new series follows the original single drama which first aired in 1999. 

Steve Coogan is playing the role of DCI Clive Driscoll who led the investigation into Stephen's murder. 

'Stephen' will portray events from 2006, thirteen years after Stephen’s death on the evening of April 22, 1993, in a racially motivated attack while he was waiting for a bus in Eltham, London.
2.46pm - February 12

EPPING: Christmas market switched to Saturday

Epping Town Council has voted to hold this year's Christmas market on a Saturday instead of a Friday.

Traditionally the market has been held on a Friday from noon until into the evening. 

This year the High Street market will be on Saturday, December 4, provisionally between 10am and 4pm, and subject to more detailed planning.

Councillor Hugh Pegrum told Thursday's council meeting: "If we have it on a Friday evening we have to pay for the generator and lights which is quite a big cost which will mean the market costs us money.

"If we run it in the daytime we can do it without it costing anything. I guess it's down to money."

Town clerk Beverley Rumsey told councillors that if the market was moved to a Saturday then the schoolchildren would probably not be available to provide some of the music entertainment.

Deputy Town Mayor Michael Wright, who supported keeping the market on a Friday: "It (last year's market which was held during the day on a Friday) didn't have the same impact as the market does usually.

"With the schoolchildren singing I think it's part and parcel of Christmas. It's a tradition that I think Epping should maintain."

He added: "I think we should aim for the stars and settle for something a little less. The impact on the town is terrific. It's part of the tradition of Epping town. I think it should be on a Friday."

Councillor Mari-Louise Whitbread favoured a Saturday Christmas market.

She said: "On a Saturday it will be an event people look forward to as a family. It's easier than coming out when they (children) are tired after school."

Councillor Christine Burgess said: "I think people would look forward to it and make an effort to come to Epping to see it.

"People like a Christmas market but also like to go during the daytime. Daytime is much better for small children."
9.18am - February 12

Blue plaque approved for Brambly Hedge author

Epping Town Council has agreed unanimously to a suggestion for a blue plaque to be put up on the boundary of one of the former Epping homes of the late author Jill Barklem.

Jill is best known for her series of Brambly Hedge books which have been translated into more than 13 languages with more than seven million copies having been sold.

She lived in Theydon Grove and later on Church Hill, where the plaque will be located.

Councillor John Duffell told Thursday's council meeting Mrs Barklem was "just the sort of person" who should be recognised through the blue plaque scheme.

He added: "Her father was one of the best known shopkeepers in the town (as the owner of the one-time Pynes department store, now Wildwood)."

Councillor Christine Burgess said: "I think it's a really good idea."

Councillor Mari-Louise Whitbread said a blue plaque for Mrs Barklem was "much deserved" adding: "My children grew up with Brambly Hedge".
8.28pm - February 11

Skateboarders make plea for skate park revamp

Two Epping skateboarders have called on Epping Town Council to revamp and possibly extend the skatepark on the Stonards Hill recreation ground.

Arry West and his friend, George', highlighted the poor condition of the surfacing and suggested a path around the ramps.

They told Thursday's council meeting that updating the facility would bring benefits to the area, and local businesses, including the nearby Julie's At Stonards cafe.

They told councillors they had already attracted 85 signatures on an online petition.

Arry said: "Skateboarding has been added to the 2021 Olympics and young people will be inspired to pick up a board and skate. More people are skateboarding now than they ever have been.

"At the moment with Stonards they don't have that facility to really achieve their full potential."

Arry highlighted Waltham Abbey and Harlow which "both have mega skateparks that have done wonders for their youth".

He added they had identified potential sources of funding - a GoFundMe page, the National Lottery and the Tony Hawk Foundation which donates to skateboarding facilities.

"We are also taking donations and we are prepared to go and stand on the street and raise money.

"We will all do our best to get the funding for it. It's about time the skatepark got a revamp. It's the only thing at Stonards that hasn't had one (a refurb)."

Councillor Barbara Scruton said: "I would vote to support these young people.

"The skatepark does need something done to it and if these young people are willing to work with us we can see a way forward."

The council agreed to visit the other skatepark areas, in Waltham Abbey and Harlow, and discuss the matter at a working group.
1.01pm - February 11

ITV drama to be filmed at former police station

Filming for a three-part ITV drama based on the murder of London teenager Stephen Lawrence will be taking place at the former Epping Police Station on Monday.

The drama, 'Stephen', is sequel to The Murder of Stephen Lawrence, and has a cast which includes Steve Coogan, Hugh Quarshie and Adil Ray. 

The new series follows the original single drama which first aired in 1999. 

Steve Coogan is playing the role of DCI Clive Driscoll who led the investigation into Stephen's murder. 

'Stephen' will portray events from 2006, thirteen years after Stephen’s death on the evening of April 22, 1993, in a racially motivated attack while he was waiting for a bus in Eltham, London.
3.34pm - February 10

Lights go out at Civic Offices following refurbishment work

Lights at the Civic Offices in Epping - which have been on overnight during part of the ongoing refurbishment - will now be turned off 'out of hours' now that "testing and commissioning" has been completed.

Work is still taking place on the ground-floor lighting system but that should be completed by the end of the week.

Numerous comments have been posted on social media, and questions put to Everything Epping Forest, regarding why the lights have had to be left on at night.

A council spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: "The lighting system is now fully installed to all floors of the Civic Offices with testing and commissioning complete on the first and second floors. This means lights will switch off out of hours and will only switch on if motion sensors are triggered.

"Testing and commissioning to the ground floor controller is still ongoing but is expected to be fully functioning by Friday of this week at the very latest.”
12.34pm - February 10

Weekly market to reopen on Monday

The Epping Market will re-open on Monday (February 15) with essential traders only. 

Government guidelines will be followed and visitors are asked to adhere to
social distancing. 

Epping Town Council expects to see stalls selling fruit and vegetables, bread, household goods, dried fruit and nuts, hardware, cheese, eggs, plants and oils and vinegars.
3.51pm - February 8

Chance to nominate a Young Townsperson of the Year

Epping Town Council is seeking nominations for its new Young Townsperson of the Year award.

Nominations can be made for a young person up to the age of 25, as long as they live or work in Epping and have made a real difference to the community life of the town. 

This could be because of the contribution they have made to a local club or organisation, work they have done for charity or for a long-standing commitment they have made to the interests of the town and its people.

Nominations should be submitted before April 1. 

Nominees will be asked to present their achievements to a group of councillors.

The winner will be chosen by the council and will receive their presented award from the Town Mayor.

Nomination forms are available by ringing Epping Town Council on 01992 579444 or by e-mailing info@eppingtowncouncil.gov.uk

Completed forms should be returned by email to info@eppingtowncouncil.gov.uk or sent to Epping Town Council, Epping Hall, St Johns Road, Epping, Essex, CM16 5JU.
12.44pm - February 6

Author's daughter delighted at blue plaque idea

The daughter of the late author Jill Barklem, best known for her 'Brambly Hedge' series of books, has expressed her delight that a historic blue plaque has been suggested for her former Epping home.

Jill lived in Theydon Grove, and latterly in Church Hill, Epping.

A proposal has been put to Epping Town Council for a plaque to be put up at the boundary of the Church Hill property.

Jill's daughter, Lizzie, first became aware of the idea when she read Thursday's Everything Epping Forest article which stated that town councillors will consider the request on Thursday.

Lizzie told Everything Epping Forest: "It was lovely to see the little article in the news about the proposed blue plaque for my late mother, Jill Barklem. 

"She had an extraordinary talent and left an amazing legacy for others to enjoy and learn from.

"Together with my brother, Pete, we are so delighted that her contribution may be recognised and highlighted to others."
9.39am - February 6

Special award for long-serving firefighter

Epping Fire Station Watch Manager Derek Whitbread received a Special Award at the service's awards presentation to recognise his 45 years service.
8.39am - February 5

Town war memorial - 100 years old

Epping Town Council, at its meeting on Tuesday, will decide whether to support a commemoration event to mark the 100th anniversary of the town's war memorial which was unveiled on May 8, 1921.

The town council has received the necessary permission to clean the memorial with the work scheduled for May/June.
5.20pm - February 4

Town council to consider blue plaque request for author

Epping Town Council has received a request for a historic blue plaque to be put up at the former Epping home of author Jill Barklem.

The children's author, well known for her 'Brambly Hedge' books, lived in Theydon Grove and latterly on Church Hill.

The idea is for a plaque to be placed on the boundary of the Church Hill property.
6.18pm - February 1

Epping Weather Station shows influence of Global Warming in 2020

Epping’s own automatic weather station, run by Epping Town Council, has completed its first year of operation, and already is showing that global warming is affecting Epping.

As there was a weather station in Epping from 1979 until 2013, there is now 35 years of data for comparison, and 2020 emerges as the warmest yet, with a mean annual temperature of 11.5°C, approximately 1.1°C above the average.

A number of new records were registered through last year. 

January and May were the warmest of those months in our records. 
2020 saw the third warmest April and November, the fourth warmest February and June, the our hottest July day (36.0°C) and hottest September day (31.2°C).

Last year also saw the wettest October on record, and probably the wettest August, except that the storms on the afternoon of August 16 flooded the Stonards Hill base and knocked out the power supply so data was missed for three very wet days. 

It was the sixth wettest year overall, despite a very dry April and May.

Epping Weather Station's data is streamed live to the website’s front page at www.eppingweather.org.uk, so if you want to know the current temperature, wind, rain, air pressure and more, it is just a click away on your computer or smartphone. 

There is also the past seven days, month-to-date and last month data
online. 

The full analysis of 2020’s weather is available on the website where we  monthly reviews of weather data are published as ‘weather news’.

All data can be provided to anyone who needs it; schools are particularly welcome to use the data and to help write monthly weather summaries or provide photographs. Contact us through the website.
3.42pm - January 30

Further arrest in murder investigation

A thirteenth person has been arrested in connection with the murder of Stephen Morrison who died after being stabbed in a forest car park off Epping New Road, Epping.

Stephen, 30, was found seriously injured outside the Shell service station on Epping Road, near the Wake Arms roundabout, shortly before 8pm on June 23 last year.

He died in hospital later that evening.

During the early hours yesterday morning (Friday) a 24-year-old man, from London, was arrested on suspicion of murder.

He has been bailed until February while the investigation continues. 

Twelve other people have been arrested in connection with the investigation. 

Three will face no further action, nine are have been released on bail or remain under investigation.
6.33pm - January 29

EPPING / ONGAR: Teenager arrested over possessing imitation firearm

A teenaged boy has been arrested on suspicion of various offences - including possessing an imitation firearm - after a vehicle was stopped in Ongar.

Police were made aware yesterday afternoon (Thursday) of "suspicious activity involving two people in a vehicle in the Epping area".

Before officers arrived, police were told that the vehicle had left the area.

It was later located in Ongar by Community Safety Team officers.

A police spokesman said one person made off from officers and enquiries are ongoing to locate him.

A teenaged boy, from Epping, was arrested on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle, two offences of possession of an offensive weapon, possession of cannabis and possession of an imitation firearm.

He has since been released under investigation.

Anyone with any information about the incident should ring police on 101 and quote incident 799 of January 28.
1.29pm - January 27

Rotary club seeks award nominations

The Rotary Club of Epping is seeking nominations for its annual 'Service Above Self' award which is presented to someone who lives, comes from, or has very strong connections with the Epping area which includes Epping Town, Theydon Bois, Epping Green, Thornwood and North Weald. 

The award is for particular services to humanity and is in the form of a trophy, which will be held for one year, to be presented at a special meeting in the Spring.

The winner will also receive an inscribed commemorative piece of glassware.

The club is looking for people who have volunteered to serve the community in ordinary ways but to an extraordinary degree (maybe particularly connected with COVID 19).

It could be a neighbour who has always given a helping hand over a long period of time, or a single individual act or possibly help of a special nature. 

As Rotary International is a non-political and non-sectarian organisation the only types of service excluded from the award are those of a political or religious nature.

Nominations should be made in writing by February 19, giving details of the nominee(s) and the reason for the nomination(s).

Nominations should be sent to Rotarian Rev'd Duncan Whitehouse, 3 Lynceley Grange, Epping, Essex, CM16 6RA.

Nominations which have previously been submitted and which did not result in an award can be resubmitted for consideration this year.
7.06pm - January 26

No town council objection to High Street nail bar plans

No objection has been voiced by Epping Town Council's planning and general purposes committee to plans to turn the former Grape Tree health food shop in the High Street into a nail bar and beauty salon.

A final decision on the planning application for the vacant premises in Simon Campion Court will be taken by Epping Forest District Council.

Councillor Christine Burgess told tonight's town council committee meeting: "We can have one nail done in each of the nail bars (in Epping)."

Councillor Mari-Louise Whitbread said: "At the end of the day it's another business in the town. Any new business should be encouraged."

Councillor Barbara Scruton said: "It's better than an empty shop."

Councillor Cherry McCredie said: "It's much better for us to have yet another nail bar than another empty property."
3.38pm - January 22

Multi-storey car park to come first in town plans

The scheduling for the planned redevelopment of the two car parks in Epping would see the four-level multi-storey car park built before the leisure centre on the Bakers Lane car park, the district council's cabinet has been told.

Qualis Commercial, which has submitted plans for the two sites - with applications to follow for housing on the St John's Road site, at the Conder building site at the Civic Offices and on the current leisure centre site in Hemnall Street - has said there would be no net loss in parking spaces in the town.

The Bakers Lane and Cottis Lane car parks currently have a total of 336 spaces. 

The new leisure centre will have six spaces - all for Blue Badge holders - with 330 spaces in the multi-storey car park.

Epping Town Council has expressed concern at the number of spaces given the additional vehicles the proposed new facilities - leisure centre, cinema, shops and offices - could attract.

Finance and economic development portfolio holder John Philip told last night's cabinet meeting: "To maintain the car parking within Epping we need to convert the other car park (Cottis Lane) into a multi-storey car park.

"In terms of scheduling, clearly we need to get that (the multi-storey car park) in place before we start work on the sports centre so that we don't impact the overall parking provision within Epping allowing our residents to still come in and hopefully support our businesses to keep them going."
12.25pm - January 20

Town council to consider nail bar plans

A planning application submitted to Epping Forest District Council to turn the former Grape Tree health food shop at 3 Simon Campion Court, High Street, Epping, into a nail bar and beauty salon will be considered by Epping Town Council's planning and general purposes committee on Tuesday.
6.43pm - January 15

Epping plans: Parking concerns and question mark over need for more shop space

Epping Town Council has expressed concerns over the amount of parking proposed as part of the redevelopment plans for the Bakers Lane and Cottis Lane car parks with councillors also questioning the need for additional retail space when there are already empty shops in the town.

Councillors welcomed the prospect of a new leisure centre, on the Bakers Lane car park, but highlighted the amount of parking - six spaces for Blue Badge holders only - which is proposed.

Deputy Mayor Michael Wright told Thursday's town council meeting: "I think the benefits for the town are going to be absolutely enormous.

"This (the leisure centre) is an excellent idea; we have all these facilities coming into Epping.

"Possibly a little bit more could have been done with the parking facilities, particularly the disabled parking. If we get people coming from outside the area, particularly juniors coming on coaches, it could be a problem."

Councillor Barbara Scruton said: "There is a lack of disabled parking. I am also concerned about the effect on Bakers Villas.

"It will have an effect on them not just in terms of a blank wall but noise."

Councillor John Duffell said: "It's good to know the young people of the town have something to look forward to."

He added the comments sent to the town council on behalf of Bakers Villas did "raise concerns" and added: "Parking doesn't seem to be that great."

Councillor Nigel Avey said he was "very relieved" the town was to get a new leisure centre "with everything in it that everybody wanted".

He added: "The original (Bakers Lane leisure centre) plans had parking (more than 70 spaces) but because residents wanted all that is in the current leisure centre plus the pool, there had to be sacrifices."

Councillor Marie-Louise Whitbread said she was "very excited" about the leisure centre "not only for the youngsters but people of all ages.

"The people of Epping will benefit from it."

Commenting on the leisure centre parking, she said: "I do think people will walk to this centrally located facility. I'm very, very excited about it."

Councillor Ingrid Black, who echoed the parking concerns, said: "It will be an asset for the town and something we have wanted for a long time."

Councillor Hugh Pegrum said: "Generally speaking I'm very pleased the district council are looking at the five sites together. Generally speaking I do quite like the whole scheme. I'm not quite convinced about the parking spaces. I can't see the multi-storey is replacing the number we will lose - at the Conder building and the current sports centre site."

And he questioned whether the market traders' vans would be able to access the multi-storey car park.

Councillor Jon Whitehouse said: "The current sports centre is beyond its useful life. It's gradually falling apart and we need a replacement in Epping.

"The fact they have chosen the smallest of the three sites (off St John's Road) for the sports centre does mean it's a much bulkier, taller building than it might have been on a larger site and that's to fit everything in.

"The consequence is the relationship with the neighbours, Bakers Villas and Albany Court, needs to be considered."

Town Mayor Grahame Scruton said: "The main thing that has suffered is the parking. We've wanted it (the leisure centre) for a long time so in general it has got my support."

Does Epping need more retail space?

Additional retail space is proposed as part of the Cottis Yard scheme - along with a 330-space, four-level car park, cinema and office space.

However the demand for more shop units was questioned by councillors when numerous premises are already standing empty.

Deputy Mayor Michael Wright said he would prefer the earmarked shop space be used for additional parking.

He said: "It (the Cottis Lane car park area) is a secondary position in Epping and they are proposing to put shops there. There are a lot of empty shops in Epping and there has been for quite a while. Peoples' shopping habits have changed particularly with the pandemic."

Councillor Richard Griffiths, who supported the additional retail space, said: "To create a living and shopping area you do need a critical mass of retail and other facilities."

He added there was a "real danger" the Cottis Lane, Bakers Lane and proposed St John's Road housing development would be treated differently to the High Street.

"We need to do everything we can to make it, and the High Street, all one area."

Councillor John Duffell said the design of the Cottis Yard development "does remind you of Harlow". He added: "Shops are closing and we are struggling to fill them."

He suggested a museum could be included and expressed concern over the impact of the development on Bakers Villas

Councillor Mari-Louise Whitbread said: "This (Cottis Lane area) is just another part of Epping. The retail will support the cinema. This is another place for someone to walk to in Epping. I do support the retail but appreciate some of the shops in Epping are empty. You might get different sorts of retail."

Town mayor Grahame Scruton suggested an improvement could be made to the layout by moving the car park closer to the Marks and Spencer store and removing the retail units to create a wider space between the 'Cottis Yard' buildings and Bakers Villas.
1.36pm - January 15

Town council sets 2021-22 budget

Epping Town Council is to increase its share of council tax by £4.97 for a band D equivalent property for the next financial year.

Town clerk Beverley Rumsey told Thursday's council meeting the council had seen a £50,000 loss in income for its halls and an additional loss in income from the weekly Monday market during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Town Mayor Grahame Scruton said: "Really we are faced with this increase... I don't see what else we can do."
12.01pm - January 13

EPPING: Monday Market to close temporarily

The Epping Monday Market will be closed for the remainder of January and possibly February, Epping Town Council has announced.

The market has been open for ‘essentials’ traders in line with Government guidance to enable people to buy their vital goods outdoors. 

The council has decided to close the market until mid-February or the beginning of March, depending on the health situation and Government guidance at the time.

The decision has been made by Epping Town Council and the 'essential' traders together. 

A town council spokesman said: "We will miss our Monday Market while it is closed, but we hope to be able to welcome our traders back safely as soon as possible."
7.46pm - January 12

EPPING: Parking issues highlighted as town council debates car park development plans

Concerns over the amount of parking detailed for the proposed new leisure centre in Epping and a question mark over the need for shop space as part of the Cottis Lane car park proposals have been voiced by the town council.

The planning and general purposes committee agreed to voice no objection to the leisure centre plans with councillors to have a fuller discussion about both schemes, including the Cottis Lane proposals - which include a 330-space, four-level car park, cinema, retail and office space - at Thursday's council meeting.

The leisure centre proposals show six parking spaces, all for Blue Badge holders.

Deputy Mayor Michael Wright told tonight's meeting: "It's absolutely fantastic that after ten years we have now got to this stage, that we have a leisure centre that's fit for this town.

"I think there is a lack of parking for people who are handicapped etc that might want to use the leisure centre.

"We can talk about the design until the cows come home and all have different ideas. I think it's a big asset for the town."

Town Mayor Grahame Scruton said: "Leisure centres these days are a box and therefore you have to put a box on the site. 

"As far as the parking is concerned, we have been told by Qualis it started as a small leisure centre and something had to give (now that a sports hall and squash courts are included). 

"It's not the prettiest building in the world but I think it should have our support."

Councillor Barbara Scruton said: "It's just the parking that's an issue. Everything is compromised. We now have the squash courts (included in the proposals) which everyone wanted.

"It is what it is. Yes, we've been wanting a sports centre and we've got one and we should support it."

Committee chairman Nigel Avey said: "It's just what Epping needs. I think it looks an interesting building. The old sports centre (facilities) will be put on that site. 

"I think it will be a real achievement to build that for the town."

Resident Mary Mott told the meeting it was "fantastic" to have a new leisure centre for Epping but she raised concerns over the absence of any natural light into the proposed first-floor studios. 

She said Qualis had told her it "may be possible" to add roof lights.

Issues such as the fate of the public toilets in the Cottis Lane car park during building work and the affect the 'Cottis Yard' development would have on Bakers Villas were expressed by a resident.

Councillors highlighted the proposed loss of 32 trees from the Cottis Lane site.

On the issue of parking, councillor Barbara Scruton said: "If we've got a sports centre and attracting people from outside the town, surely we need more car parking spaces than the same as we have now?"

Deputy Mayor Michael Wright said: "What we are crying out for in Epping is parking spaces. Why we would need empty shops along that position (the proposed Cottis Yard development) is quite beyond me.

"We have a number of shops in Epping which are empty. Peoples' (shopping) habits are changing dramatically and they are buying online.

"When we need parking spaces why have we got shops that are probably going to remain empty."

* Planning and general purposes committee chairman Nigel Avey had directed councillors that the committee was "considering these (plans) as planning issues" and asked councillors to save any non-planning comments about the proposals until Thursday's council meeting.
6.11pm - January 11

THEYDON GARNON: Woman freed from car after M25 collision

A woman had to be freed from her car after a two-vehicle collision on the M25 at the Theydon Garnon interchange this afternoon,

Fire crews from Ongar, Loughton, Waltham Abbey and Epping were called out at 2pm and took about 55 minutes to release the woman who was left in the care of the ambulance service.

Some of the firefighters who attended are on-call firefighters who live or work within five minutes of an on-call fire station. 

If you live or work within five minutes of an on-call fire station, you could be paid to protect your community as an on-call firefighter.

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3.21pm - January 9

League of Friends receives district council grant

The League of Friends of St Margaret's has received a £1,125 grant from Epping Forest District Council which went towards the cost of giving every patient in the Epping Forest Unit and Mental Health Unit on the St Margaret's Hospital site in Epping a Christmas gift.
6.10pm - January 7

Multi-storey car park is priority in town centre redevelopment plans

Qualis Commercial has told Everything Epping Forest that should planning approval be granted, the Cottis Lane development will see the multi-storey car park built first with the proposed cinema and shops to be "phased".

The applications for both the Cottis Lane car park and the Bakers Lane car park, where a new leisure centre is proposed, will be considered by Epping town councillors on Tuesday evening.

A Qualis Commercial spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: "Subject to planning being approved, the car park will be proceeding first with the cinema and shops being phased to ensure that what is delivered is suitable for a post-Covid economy and is appropriate and complements the High Street. 

"Our proposals have been designed to protect and enhance Epping High Street."
1.01pm - January 6

Town council to consider car park development plans

The development plans for the Bakers Lane and Cottis Lane car parks in Epping will be considered by Epping Town Council on Tuesday.

Qualis Commercial has submitted its proposals for a new leisure centre including a swimming pool, learner pool, sports hall and squash courts on the Bakers Lane car park and a 330-space, four-level car park, cinema, retail and office space on the Cottis Lane car park.

The applications will be considered by the town council's planning and general purposes committee at 6.30pm on Tuesday.
12.04pm - January 4

Dunmow move for Team Curate

Rev'd Tom Warmington, Team Curate with the Epping Team Ministry, has been appointed vicar at St Mary's Church, Dunmow, and St Andrew's Church, Barnston.

He will take up his new appointment after Easter.
9.16am - January 1

Town centre parking: Do the numbers add up?

Full details of parking provision in Epping once the two car parks are redeveloped are contained in documents submitted by Qualis Commercial in its planning applications for the Bakers Lane and Cottis Lane car parks.

Parking has been a constant concern since the proposals were first revealed, and Qualis has always said there will be no overall net loss of spaces as a result of the schemes.

But do the numbers add up?

The facts are:

There are currently a total of 336 spaces in the two car parks (203 in the Cottis Lane car park and 133 in the Bakers Lane car park).

The plans show 336 spaces in the new developments (six at the new leisure centre on the Bakers Lane car park - all of which will be for Blue Badge holders - and 330 in a four-level multi-storey on the Cottis Lane car park).

FACT:

336 spaces before redevelopment
336 after redevelopment = no overall loss.

However,

* The documents state that "at the time of opening" 50 of the 330 Cottis Lane multi-storey spaces "will be used by Electric Vehicles only".

If the car park is full, unless there are 50 cars being charged, this reduces the number of 'normal' spaces by up to 50 - reducing the car park to a potential 280 spaces rather than 330.

___

* The six spaces at the new leisure centre will all be for blue badge holders.

QUESTION: Where will car-using staff and users of the leisure centre park? 
ANSWER: In the multi-storey car park.

___

* It has been suggested a covenant could ban or at least restrict parking on the new St John's Road housing development where some 178 apartments - and two houses created from converted cottages - are set to be built (according to the last proposals).

QUESTION: Where will the tenants park?
ANSWER: In the multi-storey car park (perhaps having bought a season ticket).

___

* There is no mention of any designated long-stay parking (to replace the 133 spaces in the current long-stay Bakers Lane car park).

QUESTION: Where will long-stay vehicles be parked?
ANSWER: In the multi-storey car park (perhaps having bought a season ticket).

___

* Proposals for the 'Cottis Yard' development including a cinema, retail and office space.

QUESTION: Where will the cinema-goers and potential restaurant customers park? Will part of the multi-storey car park be designated for cinema parking and / or long-stay parking?

If so, this will reduce the number of spaces for shoppers when compared to the number of spaces available in the town today.

ANSWER: They will park in the multi-storey car park.

___

* The development will be phased, but whichever element of the scheme is built first will seriously reduce the amount of spaces available in the town.

What do you think? Email everythingeppingforest@gmail.com
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