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2.04pm - March 31

ONGAR: No serious injuries in High Street collision

Police have said there were no serious injuries in last night's collision involving a car and a motorbike which closed Ongar High Street for about three hours.

The collision happened outside Mayflower Court with police closing the road at Station Approach and Great Lawn.

The road was re-opened at about 9pm.

No arrests have been made in connection with the incident.
4.43pm - March 29

BUCKHURST HILL: Parish council to consider 11 planning applications

Eleven planning applications will be considered by Buckhurst Hill Parish Council's planning and environment committee at the next meeting, on Thursday, April 1, at 7pm.

The meeting will be held virtually via Zoom.

For details about how to access the meeting, email office@buckhursthillpc.gov.uk

The planning applications to be discussed are:

* 36 Gladstone Road - part single/part two-storey rear extension and cladding change to front elevation

* 178 Forest Edge - increase in existing loft conversion incorporating additional floor area created by larger dormer window, and hip to gable end roof alterations

* 1 River Road - first-floor side and rear extension, garage conversion along with a loft extension and conversion with Juliet balcony to rear

* 11 Westbury Lane - application for a Lawful Development certificate for a single-storey rear extension

* 36 Gladstone Road - application for a Lawful Development certificate for a loft conversion with rear dormer

* 15 Little Plucketts Way - single-storey rear extension and two-storey side extension

* 4 Heron Close - first-floor side extension over existing garage, single-storey rear extension and internal alteration

* 11 Loughton Way - two-storey side extension, front dormer and porch

* 82 Chestnut Avenue - application for a Lawful Development certificate for a loft conversion

* 11 Loughton Way - application for a Lawful Development certificate for a front drive, dropping kerb for two car parking

* 14 Russell Road - application to determine if Prior Approval is required for a proposed Larger Home Extension measuring 4.15m height to eaves of 3m and a maximum height of 4m (revised application to EPF/2271/20).
1.16pm - March 28

ONGAR: Two boys arrested after police pursuit ends when car hits house

Two teenagers have been arrested after a car containing four people crashed into the front of a house in Ongar after it failed to stop for police officers in Chigwell.

Two boys, one of who is believed to have been driving the silver VW car, fled the scene after the car hit the front of the house in Shakletons, off Ongar High Street.

A police spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: "Officers attempted to stop a silver Volkswagen travelling along Manor Road in Chigwell at about 9.15pm yesterday (Saturday).

"A short pursuit ensued and ended when the vehicle collided with the front of an address in Shakletons, Ongar.

"Two boys, believed to be the driver and a passenger, decamped from the vehicle and fled the scene. They remain outstanding and our enquiries are ongoing.

"Two additional passengers were arrested and both remain in custody.

"A 16-year old boy, from Chigwell, was arrested on suspicion of taking a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent and possession of an offensive weapon.

"A 16-year old boy, from Loughton, was arrested on suspicion of taking a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent, possession of an offensive weapon and possession of cannabis."

The car was taken from the scene on a recovery truck shortly after midnight. 

Anyone with information, 'Ring' doorbell or CCTV footage from the area is asked to contact police on 101 quoting incident 1268 of March 27.

Information can also be given by submitting a report online at https://www.essex.police.uk or by using the 'Live Chat' button to speak to an online operator between 7am-11pm.

Information can also be given to anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
3.18pm - March 27

EPPING: 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.
3.16pm - March 27

EPPING: 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.
10.25am - March 27

THORNWOOD: Planning consent sought to continue to store 212 London taxis on farmland

A company has applied for planning permission to be allowed to continue to store more than 200 London taxis on Green Belt land in Thornwood.

GB Taxi Services Ltd currently has some 212 vehicles at Weald Place Farm, off Duck Lane - but does not have planning permission for the storage area which it says is needed because of the downturn in the trade during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A supporting statement submitted to Epping Forest District Council with a change of use planning application states most of the storage site was previously a riding menage with rubber surfacing while the storage area also includes a smaller area of grass next to the manege.

The application has been submitted by Paolo Bolognini, director GB Taxi Services which was founded in Enfield. 

The company has a fleet of the iconic London ‘black taxis’ which are rented out to London taxi drivers who have passed the ‘knowledge’ and prefer to rent rather than buy their own taxis.

The planning statement adds: "Up until the Coronavirus pandemic hit in March 2019, there was never an issue with storage of the taxis as they were kept by the individual drivers at their properties and used as if they were their own vehicle.

"There is storage available at the Enfield site for when taxis come into the garage for repair work, an MOT, service or overhaul however, there would never be a situation when all the taxi fleet would be returned at the same time, and therefore it was always a perfectly manageable arrangement.

"March 2019 saw the unprecedented world pandemic take hold and as a result the country ground to a halt with a national lockdown enforced. In a matter of weeks taxi drivers were returning the taxis back to the Enfield site as they no longer wanted to pay the rental on the taxis as London was effectively closed and they no longer had an income.

"If the drivers had the facilities to do so, GB Taxis Services asked them to keep the vehicles on their drives at their property, and as they were not being used, the rent would not be charged. 

"Some drivers were able to do this, but the majority wanted to return them back to the Enfield site.
 
"GB Taxis were faced with no other option but to look for a storage site for the majority of their fleet, and quickly. 

"Weald Place Farm provided GB Taxi services with the lifeline that they were in desperate need of."

The company is seeking temporary planning permission, for one year, from Spring 2021 to Spring 2022, to store the vehicles on the land.

The supporting statement adds: "Once the UK economy picks up and drivers come back to London, the taxis will be removed gradually from the site however, logistically this could not be an overnight removal as it is expected that drivers will come back at a gradual pace, which is why the applicant is applying for a temporary permission for one year.

"The storage at Weald Place Farm is by no means a permanent solution, and GB Taxi Services want nothing more than for the London taxis to be rented and back with the taxi drivers and for their business to return to normal, functioning in the way it always did before."

The document states: "The application site is already well screened from wider vantage points and is located at a lower gradient than the surrounding land, thereby screening the taxis completely from wider views to the east and south across the neighbouring fields.

"It is accepted the location of the taxis can be seen from the rear gardens of the immediate neighbouring dwellings (three properties in Duck Lane) however, the site is a considerable distance away at approximately 55m from the rear gardens, even further from the dwellings themselves.

"Although the taxis can be seen by these neighbouring properties, the application site is not used for repairing the taxis or for any other purpose other than the storage of the vehicles therefore there is limited noise and disturbance. 

"The occasional noise which could result is from a taxi being driven off the site as GB Taxi Services have sold some of the fleet to reduce their storage requirement and these taxis have been driven from Weald Place Farm to the Enfield site to be sold. 

"However, given the separation distance from the neighbouring properties from the application site this very occasional movement is not considered to be significant enough to cause a detrimental impact upon the amenity of these neighbouring occupiers.
2.15pm - March 26

HIGH ONGAR: Solar park plan for former landfill site

The former landfill site in Mill Lane, High Ongar, could be transformed into the 'Ongar Solar Park' generating solar energy for 35 years, it has been revealed.

A planning application seeks approval for "an array of ground-mounted solar PV panels" and various other infrastructure, including containers, security cameras and an access track.

Access would be via the existing landfill site entrance off Mill Lane.

A report submitted with the application states: "The development would defer the implementation of the affected area of the restoration plan for the lifetime of the development.

"Upon decommissioning of the development, the restoration plan would be re-implemented."

It is expected work to set up the 10MW (megawatt) solar park would take up to a year with the "core construction activity period" lasting three to four months.

The application states planning permission is sought for a "temporary
operational period of 35 years". 

The application papers add that the site would be fully decommissioned and restored at the end of the time period.

There would be rows of dark-coloured solar panels mounted on a rack comprising metal poles anchored to the ground via concrete footings of shallow piles.

"Panels are typically tilted ten to 25 degrees from the horizontal to face south towards the sun. Moreover, there is usually a distance of two to six metres between strings of panels to avoid inter-panel shading but this distance is influenced by slope and aspect", the application documents state.

The panels would be mounted about 0.8m from the ground at the lowest point (the southern edge) rising to about 2.8m at the highest point (the northern edge) "although the anticipated maximum height relative to ground level could be up to 3m subject to topography".

The site consists of previously disturbed land and is currently in use for the generation of energy from landfill gas, which is to continue for much of the lifetime of the solar park.

The application adds: "The development therefore comprises the efficient use of the land which will not be suitable for alternative uses.

It is stated the solar park will not generate a significant amount of additional traffic when operational as traffic will be limited to maintenance site visits. 

The application documents state: "The development is an opportunity to provide a significant amount of low carbon renewable energy in an appropriate location.

"Considerable care has been taken in the design to avoid unacceptable environmental and amenity effects, whilst ensuring the development can make a contribution to the UK’s requirement for renewable energy generation."

The applicant states it is committed to ongoing engagement with Blackmore Parish Council, Hook End and Wyatts Green Parish Council, High Ongar Parish Council and Stondon Massey Parish Council as part of an "ongoing consultation process".

Stondon Massey Parish Council has voiced no objection "as long as access to the footpaths and country park in the area are not affected".
2.15pm - March 26

BUCKHURST HILL: Parish council highlights its projects and initiatives

Projects and local initiatives funded by Buckhurst Hill Parish Council were highlighted at the Annual Parish Assembly.

Finance and establishment committee chairman councillor Glenys Reynolds commented on work carried out to the council's play areas and the installation of new play equipment, the delivery of 55 Christmas parcels to local residents, and the production and delivery of the parish magazine.

The council also continues to fund a Police Community Support Officer who covers Buckhurst Hill and provides funding and support for the parish's library service two days a week.

Councillor Reynolds also highlighted the parish's Christmas tree and the floral displays in Queens Road which are funded by the parish council.

Commenting on the council's precept and budget-setting, she added the parish council was "really pleased" it had been able to freeze its share of council tax bills for the next financial year.
1.34pm - March 26

EPPING: Council employee recognised with long service award

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."
1.33pm - March 26

EPPING: 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."
1.32pm - March 26

EPPING: Town council announces Townsperson of the Year

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".
1.31pm - March 26

EPPING: 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.
1.29pm - March 26

EPPING: 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."
1.28pm - March 26

EPPING: 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.
5.14pm - March 25

LOUGHTON: Go-ahead for new Davenant classroom building

Plans to demolish two temporary classroom blocks at Davenant Foundation School, Loughton, and replace them with a permanent single-storey building accommodating six classrooms have been approved by district councillors.

The school wants to build a flat-roofed brick and rendered building about 11 metres from the boundary with neighbouring residential gardens, retaining boundary trees.

While replacement parking is proposed, the development would result in a net loss of eight parking spaces.

The application was approved by the area planning sub-committee south last night when concern was expressed over the noise impact on neighbours with a suggestion that the building should not be rented out outside of school hours.

The issue of overlooking was also raised with a request that the windows should have obscured glass.

Councillor Chris Pond expressed "serious concerns" about the application, including the net loss of parking spaces when combined with existing parking issues in Grosvenor Drive where senior students park.

Councillor Simon Heap said the proposed building is "better than what exists" but highlighted the location is "much closer to the neighbours" than the existing temporary classrooms, and added: "Everything must be done to mitigate the impact on them."

Loughton Residents Association plans group has described the design as "bland and lacking depth" and is concerned about the flat roof "potentially leaking in the future" resulting in "the deterioration of the rendered elements".

Meanwhile Loughton Town Council objected stating while councillors recognised the need to replace the temporary buildings, the proposed design was "only marginally better than the existing temporary buildings resembling a 1950s factory". 

The town council believes the design would not be in keeping with nearby buildings and while it appreciated the need to keep the profile low due to the close proximity to homes, felt the architects could produce "something more appropriate and sustainable", maybe with a green roof. 

A planning officer's report said the proposal was a "reasonable response" to the need to replace the temporary classrooms which are beyond their recommended usable lifespan. 

The report added: "While the new building is larger than the footprint it replaces, this accommodates sufficient space for the building to function on a permanent basis rather than a like-for-like temporary replacement. 

"In Green Belt terms, the increased space is not disproportionate, does not impact on the wider openness and character and recognises the special circumstances faced by the school."

Responding to the comments about the design of the proposed building, planning officer Jerry Godden said it was considered "perfectly acceptable" for the proposed use with the building "appropriate" for the building's location and function.

Planning approval was granted subject to several additional conditions, including obscured glass, lighting and the hours of use.
3.05pm - March 25

CHIGWELL: "Horrendous" or "majestic" - how two councillors describe homes in one of the most expensive roads in Essex

Councillors in Chigwell have come out in defence of one of the most exclusive roads in Essex - where the average property price is over £1.8m - after a Loughton councillor said the palatial homes were "all as horrendous as each other".

According to a recent survey by house price valuation specialist Mouseprice, Stradbroke Drive is the 25th most expensive road in Essex - and the seventh most expensive in the Epping Forest district.

The road is lined with palatial, gated, exclusively designed properties.

But Loughton Independent councillor Stephen Murray is not a fan of the road which is one of the most exclusive - and expensive - addresses in the county.

Speaking during a district council debate over a planning application for a new property in the road, Mr Murray said he supported the application because it fitted in with the rest of the road.

"If people like that, that's fine," he said.

He told the local area planning sub-committee: "Having this application was quite useful because it gave me an opportunity  to drive down a road I'd never ever been in before and I have to say, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I didn't see a single property I liked. I thought they were all as horrendous as each other."

He added: "This (the proposed new property) is in keeping with the rest of the road and I understand it's a premier road but I have to be honest - I'm absolutely delighted that we've got nothing like this in Loughton Roding."

Chigwell councillor Darshan Sunger jumped to the defence of Stradbroke Drive telling the meeting: "We are very proud of some of our majestic homes that we have in this premier drive and I will stick up for the residents.

"I am very proud of some of the designs from the people that live there. To say it's a horrible turning is not fair but nevertheless we are very proud of this turning and the people that live here in Chigwell."

The final words in the debate came from Grange Hill councillor Sheree Rackham, who was chairing the meeting.

"There's some beautiful houses down there," she said. "One man's castle is probably not another man's castle."

According to the reported Mouseprice survey,  Theydon Road, Epping, is the second most expensive road in Essex (with an average property price of £2,619,167) with Coopersale Street, Epping, fourth (£2,308,762)  Mount End, Epping, sixth (£2,146,119), Forest Lane, Chigwell, seventh (£2,131,870)  Houblons Hill, Epping, ninth (£2,059,000) and Alderton Hill, Loughton, in 23rd place in the county (£1,813,983).
7.39pm - March 23

EPPING: 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.
7.39pm - March 23

EPPING: 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.
10.06am - March 23

ONGAR: Man charged after weapons including imitation firearm found

A man has been charged with four offences relating to the possession of offensive weapons after police were called to Moreton Road, Ongar, shortly before midnight on Saturday (March 20).

Officers were responding to reports that a man had been seen with what was thought to be a knife. Police recovered several items. 

A 54-year-old man, from Ongar, was arrested for possession of an offensive weapon. 

He was charged and remanded for possession of an imitation firearm, possession of a knife/blade in a public place, possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and possession of a firearm without a certificate. 

He appeared before Colchester Magistrates Court yesterday (Monday).
8.38am - March 23

DISTRICT: Police renew appeal one year on from theft of James Bond firearms

Police have renewed their appeal for information one year on from a high value burglary in Enfield in which a number of firearms from various James Bond movies were stolen.

One of the firearms was later found in a field in Roydon.

Police were called to reports of a burglary in progress at an address in Aldersbrook Avenue, Enfield, at 8pm on Monday, March 23 last year.

The suspects had fled when police arrived after being disturbed by neighbours. They had jumped through a window before fleeing in a silver vehicle.

The burglars had broken into the rear of the premises and stole five genuine deactivated firearms.

The stolen weapons are described as:

* One Beretta ‘Cheetah’ Auto Pistol, Serial number H02641Y which featured in 'Die Another Day'

* One Walther PPK, serial number 146872 which featured in 'A View to a Kill'

* One Revolver Smith and Weston 44 Magnum, serial number N60304 which featured in 'Live and Let Die'

* One Beretta ‘Tomcat’ Auto pistol, serial number DAA264306 which featured in 'Die Another Day' and has a laser / silencer attachment

* One Llama 22 cal. Serial number 271915 which featured in 'Die Another Day'.

The suspects are described as three white men with Eastern European accents. They were wearing dark clothing and face coverings.

Police have released CCTV which shows a vehicle in the run-up to the burglary parked on the street where the offence took place. This vehicle has been identified as a Vauxhall Miverna which appears to be silver in colour.

One of the firearms has been recovered. Members of the public found the yellow-handled Llama pistol used in ‘Die Another Day’ in a field near to Roydon Station last April.

Detective Inspector Paul Ridley, from North Area CID, said: “It has now been a year since the burglary and only one of the firearms has so far been recovered. Sadly this has been severely rusted due to being exposed to the elements outdoors and its integrity destroyed.

"We have released images of a vehicle that was parked near to the scene of the crime and appears to be carrying out reconnaissance in the area. In scenes reminiscent of a James Bond movie you can even see the flash of a camera from the occupant engaged in the surveillance.I believe these individuals were involved in the crime, it was only a matter of minutes prior to the raid.

"The firearms which were stolen are very distinctive and bespoke to particular James Bond movies, they will almost certainly be recognised by the public and any persons offered for sale.

"The owner of these unique items is still completely devastated, particularly in terms of the sentimental value; they were due to be showcased on display as part of a national exhibition. He is determined to see the return of the items.

"I have provided photographs of the stolen firearms and provided the unique serial numbers. Many of these items are very unique. For example the Magnum is the only one in the world ever made where the whole gun is finished in chrome. It has a six-and-a-half inch barrel and wood grips. 

"The Walther PPK was the last gun used by Roger Moore in 'View to a Kill' in a famous scene with Grace Jones who descends the Eiffel Tower on a parachute."

He added: "I would urge any members of the public that may have witnessed the burglars arriving and leaving, know where the firearms are now or may have been offered these stolen items for sale to come forward to my investigation team as a priority.”

Anyone with information that could assist the investigation is urged to contact North Area CID via 101, or by tweeting @MetCC quoting CAD 5890/23MAR20.

Information can also be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

No arrests have been made.
4.37pm - March 22

CHIGWELL: Man suffers life-threatening injuries in road crash

Police are appealing for information after a man suffered life-threatening injuries when a Ford Kuga left Chigwell High Road and hit an electrical unit at the side of the road.

The crash happened at the junction with Chigwell Rise at about 11.25am.

Police remain at the scene and expect the roads to remain closed until at least 5pm while investigations continue.

Anyone who witnessed the incident, has information about the collision or has dashcam footage should submit a report online at https://www.essex.police.uk or use the 'Live Chat' button to speak to an online operator between 7am-11pm.

Information can also be given by ringing 101 (and quoting incident number 411 of Monday, March 22) or ringing Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
3.08pm - March 22

LOUGHTON: Easter egg trail and competitions

An Easter egg trail is being held around Loughton, Debden and Buckhurst Hill from March 27 until April 11.

Participating houses will have decorated front windows and/or gardens for children to follow via a map while out walking.

Easter activity packs and colouring posters can be provided for people to put in their windows. 

On March 27 (11am to 1pm) Easter bunny Mr Tumbles, from Infinity and Beyond events, will be hopping around and hiding in the trees on Jessel Green, Debden. 

The competitions running until 12pm on April 1 are for three age groups - 0-3, 4-7 and 8-11 - for Easter bonnets, Easter pictures and an Easter bake-off with prizes for the first, second and third in each age group with the prizes all donated by local businesses. 

There is also an Easter treat for all the children who take part.

The competitions are being run online on Facebook where entries can be submitted.

For more details
CLICK HERE 

Winners will be announced and prizes given over the Easter weekend.

For the map of participating houses
CLICK HERE
2.19pm - March 22

EPPING: 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.
1.53pm - March 21

ONGAR: Town council to hold virtual Annual Parish Assembly

Ongar Town Council is to hold a 'virtual' Annual Parish Assembly on Thursday, April 29, at 7pm.

The agenda and Zoom access details will be available nearer to the meeting date.
1.52pm - March 21

ONGAR: Council to fight on over "diabolical" verges

The "diabolical" state of verges and broken kerbstones in Ongar has been reported to Ongar Town Council which has vowed to continue to report problem areas.

Lorries and refuse vehicles are being blamed for causing at least some of the damage.

A resident wrote to the town council highlighting the state of the verges and broken kerb stones in Queensway and St Peters Avenue after her car hit a kerbstone which was in the middle of the road.

She said: "The kerbstones have been an issue for some time and are progressively getting worse and more of a danger to pedestrians and road users, let alone the eyesore they are for everyone. 

"Even when they do get replaced and fixed, the issue is back a short time after due to large and heavy vehicles having to mount the kerbs and pavements to get round the roads."

Town council clerk Michael Letch acknowledged the letter stating: "The state of the roads on the Shelley estate are a matter of concern to councillors and they are working to find a way to get the highways authority to prioritise them."

The council was also contacted by a couple in Onslow Gardens highlighting the "disgusting problem" of the state of verges near the junction with Mayflower Way.

The resident wrote: "This has been going on since last year and is getting worse.

"Dustcarts came up on the footpath where more damage has been caused. We now refuse to pick up kerb stones that end up in the road due to lorries and vans causing the damage." 

Town council chairman councillor Kevin Piggott told Thursday's meeting: "All we can do is keep reporting them. We just have to keep on at them (the town and district councils)."

District councillor Basil Vaz described the situation across the town as "diabolical."

Councillor Lawrence Mendoza said the problem on the Shelley Estate had been reported to Essex County Council deputy leader Kevin Bentley who had said the situation would be "monitored".

Mr Mendoza added: "It is dangerous. You've got damaged vehicles. I've been here over five years and the way the residents are treated is just not good enough."

Councillor Jane Battersby said "hundreds" of locations where kerbstones had been damaged had been reported as part of the town council's 'Scruffy Ongar' report.

She said: "It's an ongoing situation and I don't know if we are ever going to solve it. We just have to keep on reporting it until they get sick and tired of it."

Councillor Derek Birch said: "It's all over Ongar. We have the same situation in Longfields. It's caused by the dustcarts and lorries."
1.51pm - March 21

ONGAR: Pre-decision discussion over Greensted Road homes plan

A 'round table' discussion on proposals for 93 homes off Greensted Road, Ongar, is expected to be held before a decision is taken over whether to grant planning consent.

District councillor Paul Keska told Thursday's town council meeting that it was now considered not to be appropriate for district council officers to attend such a meeting but a meeting involving the developer, town council, Neighbourhood Plan group and local district councillors would be arranged.
1.50pm - March 21

ONGAR: Thirty Neighbourhood Plan responses received

Thirty comments were received by Ongar Town Council during the consultation period for the Ongar Neighbourhood Plan. 

The consultation period ended on Thursday.

Council clerk Michael Letch told Thursday's town council meeting that feedback from three 'statutory consultees' were among the responses.
1.49pm - March 21

ONGAR: Two new councillors co-opted onto town council 

Two new councillors have been co-opted onto Ongar Town Council.

Applications from retired Metropolitan Police officer David Mills and retired consultant surgeon Shukri Shami were considered and approved by councillors on Thursday.

Mr Mills, 80 - who moved to Ongar 18 months ago - told councillors he had lived a "diverse life" and added: "It's because of that I thought I may be of some assistance to the council.

"I was a police officer and military officer. I have dealt with a lot of people and feel I can deal with people to the best advantage."

Retired surgeon Mr Shami said he had recently retired from the NHS. He moved to Ongar 25 years ago when he was appointed a consultant surgeon at Oldchurch and Harold Wood hospitals (now Queen's Hospital).

He said: "I have time on my hands and don't want to sit on my hands being idle. During my career I sat on quite a number of committees and was involved in various projects with the hospital."

Council chairman councillor Kevin Piggott, announcing the approval of their applications, told both new councillors: "Welcome aboard."

* Last month Jack Bell, who runs the Cock pub in Ongar High Street, Adam Seffens and former town council chairman Derek Birch were co-opted onto the council.
9.19am - March 21

LOUGHTON: Window cleaners hailed as "true heroes" after rescuing stranded cat

Two window cleaners have been hailed as "true heroes" for rescuing a cat stranded for a day on a 25ft high roof in Loughton.

Five-year-old Tia was finally rescued at 7pm last night after she was chased onto the roof by other cats.

Owner Stephanie Valente told Everything Epping Forest: "I was called on by a neighbour in another road asking if I had a black and white cat.

"She had been chased up onto the roof over 25ft high by some other cats in the neighbourhood. We only moved into our road four months ago and she hasn’t made friends yet and is very timid.

"She was scared stiff to the ridge of the roof."

Stephanie, who first tried ringing the fire service and RSPCA, eventually turned to her window cleaner, Dan West, of Westco Windows.

"I called him hoping they would have a ladder long enough as I couldn’t leave her up there all night. She was meowing in distress."

Dan told Everything Epping Forest: "She was worried sick and 'facetimed' me to show how high the cat was on the roof. I thought 'how on earth has she got there?'

"I knew my ladders would never reach that height so I 'phoned Rob (Splash Windows) knowing he may have something we could use.. We tried a few angles to access the roof but still the ladders didn't reach.

"Rob tried to convince the cat to come to him while everyone called for Tia. She still didn't  want to move."

Rob Griffiths finally managed to get her down.

He said: "I got one of my waterfed poles and with it extended towards the cat it got close. The cat ran down the side of the roof and back home - job done!"

Stephanie added: "The guys were amazing. They came out from their warm comfy homes to save my cat. She is now safely home with a full tummy! They are truly my heroes."
12.37pm - March 20

DISTRICT: Policing update - incident latest

HIGH ONGAR

A suspect arrested at a property in High Ongar early on Wednesday morning as Metropolitan Police Service officers carried out a series of warrants in connection with the theft and fraudulent sale of at least 70 high-value vehicles has been bailed pending further police enquiries.

Five other people arrested at properties in Essex, London and Hertfordshire have also been released on bail.

Three men have been charged with conspiracy to acquire / use / possess criminal property, namely a large volume of motor vehicles, between November 17, 2019, and February 26 this year.

CHIGWELL

A man has been charged with interfering with a motor vehicle following an incident in Chigwell in the early hours of Monday morning. 

Police officers were called to the Mount Pleasant Road area just after midnight following reports that a man appeared to be stealing from a vehicle.

A 19-year-old man, from Ilford, was arrested by local policing team officers on suspicion of interfering with a motor vehicle.

He is due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates Court on April 14.

CHIGWELL

A man has been charged with six offences after police officers were called to reports of a smashed window and a man using racially abusive language in Chigwell on Wednesday afternoon.

A man was located in the area and arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence and criminal damage.

A 38-year-old man, from Chigwell, was charged with two racially aggravated public order offences, two public order offences, racially aggravated criminal damage and criminal damage. 

He was remanded in custody and was due to appear at Colchester Magistrates Court yesterday (Friday).

LOUGHTON

A 37-year-old man has been charged following a shoplifting incident at the Morrison's supermarket in Loughton High Road on Tuesday morning when a man tried to leave without paying for alcohol worth a three-figure sum.

It is also alleged that a member of staff was assaulted during the incident.

The man, from Ilford, has been charged with theft from a shop and common assault and is due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on June 9. 
7.10pm - March 19

EPPING: 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.
5.32pm - March 19

CHIGWELL: School thanks COVID-19 testing volunteers

West Hatch High School has completed more than 2,300 COVID-19 lateral flow tests over eight days - thanks to the efforts of the school's COVID-19 testing volunteers.

Tests have been carried out on students in all year groups, from Year 7 to Year 13.

About 40 members of the school community have volunteered to support the school with the volunteers including members of students' families and members of the Governing Body.

Headteacher Daniel Leonard said: "We are so grateful to everyone who stepped up, were so giving of their time for training and testing and helped us keep our school a safe environment."

He added: "I cannot thank our volunteers enough for the time they have given to the school, and also the kindness and care they have given our students while carrying out the testing process. 

"I am also delighted with the way our students have coped with returning to school and being tested over the course of their first week back. I feel very proud to be part of the West Hatch family.”

Students have now been provided with home test kits and will no longer be tested at school.
5.15pm - March 18

FIDDLERS HAMLET: 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.
2.54pm - March 18

FYFIELD: Boy arrested over 'bogus police officer' incident

A teenaged boy has been arrested on suspicion of a fraud offence following incidents in Fyfield where households were allegedly called on by someone pretending to be a police officer.

Police received a report on Tuesday evening that an individual had been knocking at doors. It is alleged that they were impersonating a police officer to obtain residents' bank details. 

Community Safety Team and Roads Policing Unit officers responded and with the assistance of Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology located a vehicle.

A 16-year-old boy, from London, was arrested in the Chingford area on suspicion of fraud by false representation.

He was taken into custody for questioning and has since been released on conditional bail while police enquiries continue.
8.40pm - March 17

ROYDON: Arrested man released on bail


A 50-year-old man arrested today on suspicion of the indecent assault and murder of Stuart Lubbock almost 20 years ago has been released on bail.

The man, who was arrested in Cheshire, has been bailed until April 12 while detectives continue their enquiries."
5.18pm - March 17

ROYDON: Stuart Lubbock's father calls on partygoers to "tell the police all you know" over fateful night

The father of Stuart Lubbock has called on the eight people who were at the home of entertainer Michael Barrymore on the night his son died to "tell the police all you know" after a man was arrested over his death.

Police have detained a 50-year-old man in Cheshire on suspicion of indecent assault and the murder of Stuart, 31, and say they will be contacting everyone who was at the party in the coming days.

Terry Lubbock was reacting to news of the arrest almost 20 years after his son died after going back to Barrymore's then home in Beaumont Park Drive in Roydon after a night out in Harlow.

Detective Superintendent Lucy Morris, Essex Police's Head of Major Crime, said the arrest was made after "significant new information came to light" following a renewed appeal for information and offer of an enhanced reward which coincided with a Channel 4 documentary broadcast in February last year.

DS Morris added: "This information has led to us making an arrest and over the coming days we will be contacting all of those who were present at the party at the time as well as others who may have information.

"As we stated last February - and have continually stated over the last 20 years - we believe someone, or some people, at that party know what happened.

Mr Lubbock this afternoon issued a plea to the eight people who were at the party.

He told Everything Epping Forest: "To all the Michael Barrymore party guests, now is the time to come forward and tell the police all you know on the events surrounding Stuart's death."
4.35pm - March 17

DISTRICT: Fly-tipper given suspended prison sentence

An unlicensed waste carrier who fly-tipped in Ongar and Stapleford Tawney has been given a suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay £2,600 in costs after admitting seven offences.

Behnam Dehghani, who is now living in Ilford, pleaded guilty to seven offences at a court hearing in February last year but due to COVID restrictions he was not sentenced until this month.

Evidence gathered by Epping Forest District Council's Environment and Neighbourhood Team led to the prosecution.

Magistrates sentenced Dehghani to nine months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, a three-month curfew between 7pm and 7am, a 12-month driving ban, ten-year Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO), and told to pay the council's £2,600 prosecution costs and a £100 victim surcharge.

The CBO prevents Dehghani from running or being involved in any waste disposal business, or advertising such services.
3.24pm - March 17

HIGH ONGAR: Arrest as part of £1.5m vehicle theft investigation

A suspect has been arrested at a property in High Ongar by detectives targeting a criminal gang believed to be responsible for the theft of at least 70 high value cars.

In total, nine people - six men and three women aged between 20 and 43 - were arrested following a series of early morning warrants.

Officers from the North East Area’s CID, supported by the Organised Vehicle Crime Unit and the Territorial Support Group, executed search warrants at ten residential addresses in London, Essex and Hertfordshire in the early hours of today as part of a proactive operation targeting an Organised Crime Network that detectives believe are responsible for the theft of at least 70 high value cars, with the majority being Range Rovers, worth a combined total of more than £1.5m.

Everything Epping Forest has been told that properties in Chingford, Walthamstow, Enfield, Southend, Camberwell, Leyton and Hoddesdon were also targeted.

Those arrested are being held at an east London police station on suspicion of conspiracy to steal vehicles and conspiracy to convert criminal property.

Detectives believe the Organised Crime Network is responsible for stealing, cloning and fraudulently selling high-value vehicles, with the first theft dating back to November 2019.

Vehicle cloning changes the identity of a vehicle and can be as simple as adding stolen number plates.

A joint investigation by the North East Area’s CID and the Organised Vehicle Crime Unit have linked at least 70 high value vehicle thefts to the group, with cars stolen from driveways in London, Surrey, Kent, Essex and Hertfordshire.

The majority were keyless car thefts - where thieves use a device to capture the key fob’s signal to trick the car into opening.

Detectives believe the network routinely cloned and registered vehicles and fraudulently sold them in London and Essex.

Detective Constable Tom Jenkins, the investigating officer from the North East CID, said: “We have listened to what the public have told us and we understand that the theft of a vehicle, especially from your own driveway, is extremely distressing and an area of policing that the community want us to focus on.

“For many months, we have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to build evidence against the Organised Crime Group we believe to be responsible for the theft and fraudulent resale of at least 70 high value vehicles to enable us to make our arrests today.

“I hope this shows the community that we take this crime type very seriously, and we will do everything in our power to bring those responsible to justice.

“I’d remind people with electronic car keys to keep them away from doors and in a signal blocking pouch when not in use to prevent thieves scanning it to open and steal your car nearby.

“I’d also urge those buying cars to remain vigilant. If you buy a stolen car, not only would it result in you losing your money and having no car, but you could be arrested for handling stolen goods.

"When buying a vehicle, always check the DVLA V5 document and make sure the Vehicle Identification Number on the vehicle is the same as on the document.”
1.32pm - March 17

ROYDON: Barrymore pool death: Detectives to speak to all partygoers again following murder case arrest

Detectives investigating the murder of Stuart Lubbock at the then Roydon home of television entertainer Michael Barrymore 20 years ago are to speak again to all those who attended the fateful party following the arrest of a man.

Mr Lubbock was one of nine people who attended the party at the property in Beaumont Park Drive following a night out at a Harlow nightclub.

A 50-year-old man has been arrested in Cheshire on suspicion of the indecent assault and murder of Mr Lubbock.

Detective Superintendent Lucy Morris, Essex Police's Head of Major Crime, gave a statement on the case at Essex Police headquarters this morning.

She said: "Today (Wednesday) detectives from Essex Police’s Major Crime Team arrested a 50-year-old man on suspicion of the indecent assault and murder of Stuart Lubbock.

"The man, who was arrested in Cheshire, continues to be questioned by our detectives. Following the arrest, we immediately notified the Lubbock family.

"This arrest is almost 20 years to the day in which Stuart was found unconscious in a swimming pool, following a party at a home in Roydon. He later died in hospital.

"The arrest comes after significant new information came to light following our renewed appeal for information and offer of an enhanced reward which coincided with a major TV documentary broadcast in February 2020.

"This information has led to us making an arrest and over the coming days we will be contacting all of those who were present at the party at the time as well as others who may have information.

"As we stated last February - and have continually stated over the last 20 years - we believe someone, or some people, at that party know what happened.

"It is important to re-state the fact that Essex Police has never given up on this case and that the force is motivated by the desire to deliver justice for Mr Lubbock and his family.

"Stuart’s rape and murder has been an extremely lengthy and complex investigation which has spanned over 20 years and remains ongoing.

"We have never given up on finding out exactly what happened to Stuart, and we will not stop in our pursuit of justice for him and for his family and friends.

"As we said a year ago, and have said repeatedly over the last 20 years, nine people were at that party.

"We know that not everyone was responsible for what happened, but someone was.

"Now is the time to come forward, if you haven’t done so already, to set this matter to rest by providing us with any information you have."
9.18am - March 17

ROYDON: Man, 50, arrested over Stuart Lubbock murder case

Detectives have today (Wednesday) arrested a 50-year-old man in connection with the indecent assault and murder of Stuart Lubbock almost 20 years ago.

The man, who was arrested in Cheshire, remains in custody where he continues to be questioned.

Stuart was found unconscious in the swimming pool of entertainer Michael Barrymore's then home in Beaumont Park Drive in Roydon on March 31, 2001. 

Despite attempts to save him he later died in hospital. 

The 31-year-old had been attending a party at the property with eight other people.

An Essex Police spokesman said a post-mortem examination found Stuart had suffered "horrific" anal injuries which are believed to be the result of a serious sexual assault prior to his death.
1.50pm - March 16

EPPING: 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.
12.47pm - March 16

ONGAR: Three candidates seek co-option onto town council

Three candidates have put their names forward for co-option onto Ongar Town Council.

Applications from Craig Tavender, who has a career background in administration in banking, sales and customer-facing services, retired Metropolitan Police officer David Mills and retired consultant surgeon Shukri Shami will be considered by councillors on Thursday.

The council, which should have 15 members, currently has three vacancies after three other vacancies were filled last month when Jack Bell, who runs the Cock Tavern, Adam Seffens and former council chairman Derek Birch were co-opted.
8.27pm - March 15

VOTE 2021: Airfield hangar to be used as election count centre

The count centre for May's local council and the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex elections will take place in a hangar on North Weald Airfield, it has been revealed.

A facility larger than the usual venue - at Debden Park High School - has been chosen to ensure COVID-19 restrictions, including social distancing, can be observed.

It was also revealed at tonight's Local Councils' Liaison Committee meeting with representatives from town, parish and district councils, that a total of 63 polling stations will be used across the district on Thursday, May 6.

Among them will be The Murray Hall in Borders Lane, Loughton, which is being used as a large-scale COVID-19 vaccination centre.

Following discussions with the NHS, Epping Forest District Council has arranged for the hall to be used as a polling station as usual for the day, with no delay to the vaccination roll-out with additional hours to be added to the vaccination schedule to make up for the time lost on May 6.

Any elector can opt for a postal vote, with 5pm on April 20 the deadline for postal vote applications.

Polling stations will operate a one-way system with the smaller venues operating a 'one in, one out' system.

Voters will be encouraged to take their own pen or pencil to the polling stations.

The counting schedule will see ballot papers verified once the polls close at 10pm on Thursday, May 6.

Counting for the Essex County Council, Epping Forest District Council and town and parish council seats will start at 9.30am on the Friday (May 7) with the count for the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex election commencing at 9.30am on Saturday (May 8), along with any remaining town and parish council seats.
3.56pm - March 15

LOUGHTON: PTA surprise Hereward Primary School with special gifts

Members of Hereward Primary School's PTA surprised staff when they arrived at school with special gifts - a thank you for their efforts with remote learning during the COVID-19 'lockdown'.

The gifts arrived throughout last Monday - the first day the school was open after the lockdown.

Headteacher Renette Fourie said: "The staff were thrilled to see all the children return. Throughout the day, a visit was made to the school by some of Hereward's PTA members - a visit that took the staff by complete surprise.

"During lockdown, parents had raised money to purchase all of the staff members a thank you gift for all the support with remote learning. From flowers, to Prosecco and 'Afternoon Tea boxes for one' by Cherilee's kitchen, staff were overwhelmed with the wonderful gesture.

Mrs Fourie said: 'We cannot thank enough our wonderful parents and PTA for organising these lovely gifts for us. They are always so supportive of the school, even more so during this pandemic. "

We are truly blessed to be part of this community. Remote learning, although nothing compared to face-to-face education, was a huge success and we are grateful to our parents for all their hard work too!"
9.18pm - March 14

EPPING: 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.
5.05pm - March 12

LOUGHTON: Indian take-away plan for former bakers shop

A planning application has been submitted to turn the former Percy Ingle bakers shop at 220 High Road, Loughton, into an Indian food takeaway.

The application will be considered by Loughton Town Council before a decision is taken by Epping Forest District Council.
9.23am - March 12

EPPING: 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.
8.03pm - March 11

EPPING: 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."
5.33pm - March 11

NORTH WEALD: Two men arrested for drug offences

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of drug offences after a vehicle was stopped by officers in North Weald. 

Joint working between the Dog Section, Roads Policing Unit and Harlow Local Policing Team officers saw a vehicle stopped on the A414 yesterday afternoon. 

Following a search of the vehicle under the Misuse of Drugs Act, suspected Class A and B drugs were found. 

Two men were arrested on suspicion of two offences each of possession with intent to supply a controlled drug. 

One man was also additionally arrested on suspicion of drug driving. 

An 18-year-old-man, from Bishop's Stortford, and a 19-year-old man, from Roydon, were taken into police custody. 

Both men were released today under investigation pending further police enquiries. 
1.31pm - March 11

LOUGHTON: Double fatal road crash; case adjourned

The case of a 22-year-old man charged over the deaths of two people in a road crash on Goldings Hill, Loughton, 19 months ago has been adjourned by Chelmsford Crown Court until May.

The charges follow a crash involving a BMW M3 car near the Wake Arms roundabout.

Kane Faulkner-Wild, of Connaught Avenue, Chingford, was charged in August last year with two counts of causing death by dangerous driving, two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, two counts of causing death whilst uninsured and two counts of causing death by careless driving whilst over the drink driving limit.

Former Roding Valley High School students Sophia Khan, 16, and Max Halcrow, 21, both from Loughton, were in the car that hit a tree on August 24, 2019. Both died from their injuries.

Two teenage girls were seriously injured and left with life-changing injuries.
7.46pm - March 10

LOUGHTON: Council presents Building Design Award

A former pub which has been converted into flats and a house conversion have received Loughton Town Council's Building Design Award.

Judges praised the "excellent" quality of work at Royal Oak Close where a former pub has been turned into flats with houses behind.

The judges added: "The developer has maintained the heritage frontage aspect on Forest Road whilst also providing much needed housing to the side and rear facing onto Smarts Lane.

"There is good use of the space available and the flats in the main building do not detract from the look of the frontage."

Also receiving an award was 2 Connaught Avenue where a house has been converted into flats.

The judges said: "The materials match in perfectly with the surrounding properties. Visually this was a house that immediately caught the eye when viewed from Old Station Road and as such was considered an iconic building in the town. 

"The conversion has enabled it to maintain its looks as a house rather than the block of flats that are housed within. 

"It fits perfectly with the houses in both Ollards Grove and Connaught Avenue that both side onto the site. 

"The final result owes much to both the willingness of the developer to adapt and the council to maintain the street scene to the benefit of the town."

The award scheme was introduced by Loughton Town Council in 2012 to recognise and reward individual examples of good design and construction, and to raise public awareness of the built environment within Loughton.

The council looks for building works completed in the previous 12 months that either enhance the town, improve a dilapidated building, upgrade or enhance a conservation area or are noteworthy in terms of design or innovation.

While the council is keen to protect and preserve the architectural heritage of Loughton, it recognises the need to provide increased living space to suit modern family needs.
7.40pm - March 10

LOUGHTON: 3Food4U stalwart receives Citizenship Award

Charity worker Pesh Kapasiawala has received Loughton Town Council's Citizenship award for his work and involvement in Loughton charities.

The winner was announced by Town Mayor Stella Murphy at the Annual Town Meeting held virtually tonight.

Mr Kapasiawala was nominated for his work with various organisations including 3Food 4U, Loughton Men’s Institute, Loughton Memory Café, and the YES Partnership. 

He has been a Governor of Roding Valley High School and a past president of the Rotary Club of Loughton, Buckhurst Hill and Chigwell.

3Food 4U, which was initially set up by bringing together a number of chefs who supplied ready-cooked meals to vulnerable members of the community and keyworkers, now provides free food and clothes to residents around the district, including Loughton.

Tracy Braniff, who nominated Pesh, described him as a "valuable asset in our community".

He will receive a cheque for £250 for his chosen charity, 3Food4U, and a silver engraved rose bowl and scroll.
4.53pm - March 10

EPPING: 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".
4.11pm - March 10

WALTHAM ABBEY: Town Show to go ahead

The Waltham Abbey Town Show is set to go ahead at the end of June, the town council has decided.

The council intends to hold the event - at Town Mead on Saturday and Sunday, June 26 and 27 - in line with any Government COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time, but it is hoped that on June 21 national restrictions will be lifted.

Deputy Town Mayor Jodie Lucas told today's town council promotions and festivals sub-committee: "It seems we have some positive news (regarding the 'roadmap') that we can plan to go ahead.

"If we can pull it off it will be absolutely brilliant for our community. We need to be sensible and be planning for allowing for COVID restrictions - one-way systems, keeping everyone outside. That's probably going to be the most sensible way of going about it."

Councillor Bob Holmes said: "I think it would be ideal for Waltham Abbey people. It would give them a bit of oomph!"

Councillor Shane Yerrell said: "I don't think we should delay it as it would clash with the football (season) and the pitch hire.

"Everyone will be buzzing to get out as they have been indoors for so long."

Tricia Gurnett, representing various organisations in the town, told the meeting she was "nervous" about holding large events and was concerned about controlling social distancing where there is a "mass" of people together.

Councillor Lucas responded saying: "We will not be going ahead if it is not safe to do so. It is just going to be something we have to be quite flexible with.

"It's important to our community to show we have the right spirit and get back to normal as soon as possible but if there are any restrictions or we can't run it safely then we won't do so."

The council is to contact potential stallholders about having a stall at the event.
3.47pm - March 10

WALTHAM ABBEY: Search for missing man suspended after body found

Police have suspended a search for Alan Wright, 48, who was reported missing from his home in Waltham Abbey yesterday following the discovery of a man’s body in woodland off Nursery Rise, Upshire.

The death is not being treated as suspicious.

Mr Wright 48, was reported missing having been last seen at 10.30am yesterday (Tuesday).
1.59pm - March 9

NORTH WEALD: Two people escape uninjured in emergency landing at airfield

Two people have escaped uninjured after their plane had to make an emergency landing at North Weald airfield after suffering problems in mid-air.

The single engine plane was above the airfield when the crew reported a problem with the landing gear.

Air traffic control staff alerted the emergency services shortly before 10.55am and the police, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, East of England Ambulance Service and National Police Air Service were put on stand-by.

District Police Commander Chief Inspector Ant Alcock said: “Fortunately no-one was hurt and the aircraft landed safely.

“These types of incidents are rare but when they happen the emergency services have contingency plans in place to respond to emergency landings.

“I’d like to thank airfield staff and our partners for their support and swift action in helping to ensure the safe landing of the aircraft.”
1.04pm - March 9

LOUGHTON: Firefighters rescue woman from River Roding

A woman was taken to hospital after being rescued by firefighters after she went into the fast-flowing River Roding at Loughton to rescue her dog.

The woman was stranded in 5ft deep water for more than half-an-hour and could not be rescued despite the efforts of passers-by.

Two Loughton fire crews were called to Roding Road at about 3.30pm yesterday.

Loughton Fire Station crew manager Glenn Jackson said: "The woman was walking her dog along the river when the dog jumped in the water. 

"The women got in the water to try and reach her dog but got into trouble and couldn't reach the dog or get herself out again.

"Like most of these incidents, the dog was fine and managed to get out of the river relatively quickly but the women couldn't get herself out as the banks were very steep."

He added: "The water was around 5ft deep so came up to her neck and it was quite fast flowing.

"Other dog walkers saw the women in distress and tried to help her by holding onto her and pull her up the bank, but they were unsuccessful.

"By this time the women and the helpers were absolutely exhausted so after 30 minutes of trying to help her called 999.

"When we turned up we immediately prepared our Swift Water Rescue equipment and rescued the women. She was freezing cold and exhausted so was taken to hospital.

"We can not stress this message enough - if you see someone in water please call 999 immediately. Being in cold water is extremely dangerous especially for this length of time and the outcome could have been very different. 

"More than 700 people drown in the UK every year - that's more deaths than in fires or cycling incidents so we want people to take note of our warning and to take extra care around water and always call 999 immediately. 

"If you see someone in trouble in water, call out to the person to reassure them that help is on the way, encourage them to keep still, as if possible find something that floats for them to hold onto.

"If you have a dog that gets into trouble in water, never put yourself at risk by getting in the water to try and rescue them."
9.42am - March 9

EPPING: 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. 
7.40pm - March 8

Students praised for "exemplary" behaviour on first day back at school

Students at West Hatch High School, Chigwell, have been praised for their "exemplary" behaviour and attitude as they returned to school today.

Some 650 students were in school today with almost 300 undergoing a COVID-19 test. Other students had taken a test in the local community.

It was the first 'roadmap' day back at school for many students who were in the classroom after several months of home learning.

Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 students were back today with Key Stage 5 students returning next Monday.

Dozens of volunteers from the school community were in the school today assisting with the testing process.

Headteacher Daniel Leonard said: "It was wonderful to see our Key Stage 4 and 5 students in school today. Their behaviour and attitude has been exemplary.

"The additional requests we have had to make such as masks and testing have been dealt with without complaint and I can’t praise them all enough. Well done to all our students and staff.

"It’s so nice to have some normality back and we are all looking forward to our Key Stage 3 students joining us in school next Monday (March 15)."

Some 270 students took COVID-19 tests today with the daily number set to change depending on the year groups involved.

Mr Leonard said: "We are delighted to have around 50 volunteers - parents, grandparents and governors - supporting us with a number of our support staff involved as well. 

"As with all schools it has been a huge effort but we are delighted with the response and the support we have had from everyone in the community and also for the support we have had from Essex County Council and Redbridge Public Health with our community testing." 
5.56pm - March 8

WALTHAM ABBEY: Retired detective dies in car blaze

A former senior detective who investigated several murder cases in the Epping Forest area when it was covered by the Metropolitan Police has died in a 'non-suspicious' car fire in Suffolk.

The victim has been named by villagers in Cavendish as retired detective superintendent Edwin Williams, who was aged in his 70s, and is understood to have lived in the village for about 15 years following his retirement.

Fire crews and police were alerted on Saturday morning to reports of a car exploding. He died at the scene.

Among the high-profile cases he headed was the murder of student nurse Judith Knights, 20, whose body was found at Claypit Hill, High Beach, in August 1989.

Mr Williams was based at Kings Cross for a time and worked locally as a detective at Woodford, Walthamstow and Waltham Abbey.

A file will be prepared for the coroner.
5.48pm - March 8

BUCKHURST HILL: Man to be sentenced over pub arson attack

A man is set to be sentenced next month following an arson attack on the Three Colts pub in Princes Road in Buckhurst Hill last month.

Spiros Schulz, 48, of Eleven Acre Rise, Loughton, was arrested about an hour after the fire started and was later charged with arson being reckless as to whether life is endangered, arson with intent to endanger life, and breaching a restraining order.

Appearing at Colchester Magistrates’ Court on Monday, he admitted arson being reckless as to whether life is endangered and breaching a restraining order.

He pleaded not guilty to arson with intent to endanger life and that offence will lie on file.

He was remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court on April 19.
2.11pm - March 6

LOUGHTON: Town council holding virtual annual town meeting 

This year's Loughton Town Council Citizenship Award and Building Design Award will be presented 'virtually' when the council holds its Annual Town Meeting online on Wednesday.

The meeting, which will be held via Zoom at 7.30pm, will also include reports from Town Mayor Stella Murphy and the chairmen of the various town council committees.

An announcement will also be made regarding the local organisations which have received grant funding from the council in 2021-22.

There will also be a chance for residents to ask questions of the council on matters over which the town council has control or some influence.
1.28pm - March 6

BUCKHURST HILL: Council carries out maintenance work at community halls

Maintenance work has been carried out at Buckhurst Hill Parish Council's two community halls.

Gas work on the heating system has been completed at the Woollard Centre where carpet has been cleaned and maintenance work carried out on the toilets.

At Roding Valley Hall, an ash and holly tree has been removed, fence panels replaced and a gate repaired.

Additionally, safety surfacing at the Kings Place play area has been repaired.

The work undertaken was reported to Thursday's finance and establishment committee meeting.


Hall charges review put on hold

A review of charges for Buckhurst Hill Parish Council's community halls - The Woollard Centre and Roding Valley Hall - has been put on hold.

The charges will remain the same for the time being, with the situation reconsidered at the next finance and establishment committee.
12.54pm - March 6

WALTHAM ABBEY: Update on Ninefields Estate incident

Police have given Everything Epping Forest an update on the two people arrested in connection with two incidents, which officers are linking, in Waltham Abbey yesterday.

A 16-year-old boy, from Waltham Abbey, who was initially arrested on suspicion of GBH and robbery was subsequently arrested on suspicion of GBH and being concerned in the supply of a Class B drug. He has been released from custody and bailed until March 14.

A 44-year-old man, from Beckenham, south London, who was initially arrested on suspicion of robbery was later arrested on suspicion of GBH. He remained in police custody this morning (Saturday).

The two were arrested after a man was stabbed and another man sustained injuries to his face and head in two incidents in Caneland Court, on the Ninefields Estate, in the space of about 45 minutes.

Police were called with reports of a man being stabbed shortly after 11.45am.

He sustained injuries to his arm and head and was taken to hospital for treatment. His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening or life-changing.

Then at 12.30pm police officers attended a separate address following reports from the ambulance service of an injured man who had sustained injuries to his face and head.
5.32pm - March 5

ONGAR: Deadline approaches for Neighbourhood Plan comments

The deadline for comments on the Ongar Neighbourhood Plan is fast approaching, with all responses to the document to be submitted by Thursday, March 18.

The document - which, when approved, will help shape the future of the town for years to come - has been put together by the Ongar Neighbourhood Plan Community Group.

Comments can be made by local residents. Statutory consultees have also been contacted for their views during the two-month consultation period. 

The consultation version of the draft Plan can be viewed
HERE

Anyone who would like a hard copy of the plan to review should ring the Parish Clerk on 01277 365348 or email np@ongartowncouncil.gov.uk

Following the public consultation the Plan will be reviewed and submitted to Epping Forest District Council together with all the supporting documentation setting out who has been consulted, how the consultation has been undertaken and how the representations have informed the Plan.

Epping Forest District Council will then invite representations before the plan is subjected to Examination by an Independent Examiner. 

Once any further amendments have been made the Plan will be subject to a local Referendum.

If the Referendum is successful, the Plan will be “Made” by the district council.

As part of the consultation process, the town council has hosted two virtual question and answer sessions.

Ongar Town Council chairman councillor Kevin Piggott said: "The Neighbourhood Plan is the result of many months of hard work from the Ongar Neighbourhood Plan Community Group who have produced a document which sets out how local people want to see their town develop in the years ahead.

"With the Epping Forest District Council Local Plan earmarking various sites in the Parish for housing, it is vital Ongar has a Neighbourhood Plan which details how the local community would like to see its community develop over the next ten, 15 or 20 years."

He added: "There is no doubt Ongar will see developments in the years to come and so we need a document that allows us to encourage developers to build what we believe our community needs and requires.

"Such a Plan can also influence where and what kind of development - for businesses as well as housing - should take place."

Comments on the Plan can be made in writing to the town council, 'Bansons', Bansons Way, Ongar, or by email to np@ongartowncouncil.gov.uk
5.22pm - March 5

WALTHAM ABBEY: Two arrested after man stabbed and another injured

Two people - a 16-year-old boy and a 44-year-old man - have been arrested after a man was stabbed and another man sustained injuries to his face and head in two incidents in Waltham Abbey in the space of about 35 minutes.

Police say they were called with reports of a man being stabbed in Caneland Court, on the Ninefields Estate, shortly after 11.45am.

He sustained injuries to his arm and head and was taken to hospital for treatment. 

His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening or life-changing.

A police spokesman added that officers then attended a separate address in Caneland Court shortly after 12.20pm following reports from colleagues in the ambulance service of an injured man who had sustained injuries to his face and head.

Police are treating the incidents as linked.

The 16-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of GBH and robbery.

The 44-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of robbery.

An area of the Ninefields Estate remained cordoned off this afternoon as forensics officers worked at the scene.

Everything Epping Forest understands emergency services, including the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance, were called before a casualty is reported to have been taken from the scene in a land ambulance.

A resident told Everything Epping Forest that residents of four flats in the block in Caneland Court where the stabbing incident occurred are unable to leave their homes as the communal staircase is within the cordoned off 'crime scene' area.

Police enquiries are continuing and officers are appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident or has information to 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.

Information can also be given to police on 101, quoting incident number 407 and 466 of March 5, or via Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or  at https://crimestoppers-uk.org.
2.07pm - March 5

DISTRICT: MP thanks NHS staff and volunteers during visit to new Loughton COVID-19 vaccination centre

Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing has thanked the NHS staff and volunteers working at the new COVID-19 vaccination centre at The Murray Hall in Loughton.

The Murray Hall centre, which opened yesterday (Thursday), is being run by Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust.

It has been set up with the support of various bodies, including Epping Forest District Council and Loughton Town Council.

Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust chief executive Elliot Howard-Jones said: “Everyone at Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust and all our partner organisations have been working very hard in the lead up to opening this centre in Loughton.

"My sincere thanks go to our project team and our school age immunisation team who are working around the clock to deliver this programme.”

Dame Eleanor visited the centre today (Friday) when she was given a tour of the centre by Mr Howard-Jones,  West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group chairman Dr Rob Gerlis and Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust director of quality and nursing Sarah Browne.

Dame Eleanor said: "It's great that we have this new vaccination centre in Epping Forest. I am really impressed by the efficient way that everything has been set up and the number of people who are now being vaccinated. I would like to thank the NHS staff, St John Ambulance and all the volunteers who have made this possible."

Local residents aged over 60 are being invited to book a COVID-19 vaccination at the large-scale vaccination centre which opened yesterday (Thursday).

Local GPs have also started inviting a wider group of adults of all ages who have been identified as having underlying health conditions which put them at greater risk of suffering serious illness if they catch coronavirus.

This includes those newly identified as being on the Shielded Patients List and adult carers who are either registered for Carers Allowance or are identified as a carer on their GP records.

Eligible people can book an appointment at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccination or by ringing 119. 

People should only attend for a vaccination if they have a confirmed appointment at that location. 

Anyone attending for a vaccine appointment is asked to arrive at the time of their appointment to avoid the need to wait to be seen, and to help maintain social distancing.
4.31pm - March 4

WALTHAM ABBEY: Two arrested and drugs and cash seized


Two people have been arrested in Waltham Abbey and drugs and cash seized as part of an ongoing investigation into the supply of illegal substance, Spice, into prisons.

Officers from Operation Raptor, Essex Police's specialist teams targeting and dismantling drugs gangs, executed a warrant at an address off Mason Way yesterday (Wednesday).

A 42-year-old man, from Waltham Abbey, was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in supplying a controlled drug.

A 71-year-old woman, from Camberwell, London, was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply drugs.

Both have been released under investigation pending further police enquiries.

Detective Inspector Scott Fitzmaurice said: “These arrests are part of an ongoing investigation into the supply of class B drug Spice into prisons across the country.

“In yesterday’s operation we seized psychoactive substances with a street value of up to £57,000 and about £24,000 in cash.

“We began our investigation last year after being notified by prison authorities, who have been working closely with us.

“The substances are believed to have been disguised and sent through the post and our enquiries remain ongoing.”
3.27pm - March 4

WALTHAM ABBEY: Man suffers serious injuries in collision

A man aged in his 50s suffered serious injuries in a two-vehicle collision which closed Crooked Mile near Waltham Abbey for two-and-a-half hours yesterday (Wednesday).

Police and ambulance crews were called to the collision on Holyfield Road at the junction with Stubbins Hall Lane at about 7am.

The road was closed while officers investigated the incident and was reopened at 9.30am.

Anyone who witnessed the collision or has dashcam footage are asked to ring 101, quoting incident 124 of March 3. 

Information can also be submitted using the 'Live Chat' button on the Essex Police homepage or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
7.21pm - March 3

EPPING: 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.
6.01pm - March 2

EPPING / M11: 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.
1.51pm - March 2

EPPING: 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).
1.18pm - March 2

NORTH WEALD: Parish council agrees on woodland names

A larger area of trees to be planted at Weald Common, behind North Weald Village Hall, is to be named 'Eldridge Wood' while a smaller area comprising 50 trees will be known as 'Eldridge Coppice'.

North Weald Bassett Parish Council is naming the areas after parish council vice-chairman and Hastingwood councillor Brian Eldridge who died last year.

The council, which has received some 200 trees from the Woodland Trust, will also plant some trees near the Debt of Honour off Hurricane Way.


Parish council dealing with dozens of enquiries over HMRC site

North Weald Parish Council has been dealing with more than 40 emails from local residents regarding issues surrounding the HMRC Inland Border Facility on North Weald airfield since the site opened on January 1.

Parish clerk Sue deLuca told Monday's meeting that she had been dealing with 43 emails.

"We do seem to be getting lots and lots of emails - (relating to) problems and concerns."

The site, off Rayley Lane and Merlin Way, checks with the paperwork of HGV drivers who are travelling to and from the EU since the end of the transition period at the end of last year.
9.22am - March 2

EPPING: '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."
5.36pm - March 1

DISTRICT: Online public meeting with Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner

An online public meeting with Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex Roger Hirst and District Police Commander Chief Inspector Ant Alcock will be held on Wednesday, March 10 (7pm-8pm).

Residents of the district can post their questions live to Mr Hirst online via the Facebook live session.

The question time session will be chaired by Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Jane Gardner.

Mr Hirst and Mr Alcock will be joined by Epping Forest District Council community cabinet member Holly Whitbread, and a senior member from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

Residents can watch live via Facebook on the night and post questions in the comments, or they can submit questions in advance by emailing pfcc@essex.police.uk

Head over to @PFCCEssex on Facebook for more information and visit www.essex.pfcc.police.uk for details of the Police and Crime Plan and Fire and Rescue Plan.

Since the introduction of social distancing measures due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has held 19 online public meetings covering a range of districts and topics across Essex, including one with a special focus on matters affecting the county’s rural communities.
4.45pm - March 1

WALTHAM ABBEY: Waltham Holy Cross Primary Academy consults over extending school day

An extended school day may be introduced at Waltham Holy Cross Primary Academy to help pupils catch up with the schooling they have missed over the last 12 months because of Covid-19.

The academy is part of NET Academies Trust whose five other primary schools, all in Harlow, moved to an extended day four years ago.

The extended day has meant pupils have been able to enjoy more extra-curricular enrichment (sport, arts and more) as well as study more subjects and have boosters in reading and maths.

Children at Waltham Holy Cross Primary Academy would use the extra time for more project-based learning, extended science lessons, booster lessons and extra subjects, such as philosophy for children. This would allow the school to give adequate time to the core subjects while also continuing to enrich children's experiences in sports, science and the arts. 

The summer and autumn half-terms would be extended to two weeks, during which free holiday clubs for children would be run so that working parents are not inconvenienced. 

Staff would also be given extra days off at Christmas.

The suggestion for an extended day was put forward by staff, and today the school has launched a month-long consultation to ask parents for their views.

Executive principal James Hollinsley said: "All NET academies have excellent remote learning provision in place but there is no question that pupils generally have fallen back because they haven’t had the face-to-face teaching that is best for them.

"I have seen first-hand the huge benefits of an extended day for our pupils in Harlow in terms of catch-up, booster sessions, learning more subjects and extra-curricular opportunities, so would support it coming in at Waltham Holy Cross Primary.

“Especially in the context of Covid-19 and if children are to catch up what they have lost over the last year, the argument in favour of an extended school day is compelling.”

In Harlow, the NET schools’ day is longer by just 40 minutes than the norm equating to an extra three hours and 20 minutes of extra school time each week, or an extra 19 additional days of school a year. 

In particular, the arrangement maximises “prime learning time” (the mornings) so starting just a little earlier means the schools run three sessions before lunch, followed by two after lunch, while still allowing for additional reading and assembly at the end of the day.

The additional time teachers would be in school would still be within the stipulated 1,265 hours maximum that teachers can work but in recognition of this extra time and the commitment shown by teachers, they will receive additional holidays including an additional week’s holiday for autumn and summer half term, and extra days to be added to Christmas holidays to ensure staff get two full weeks off.

NET Academies Trust chief executive Jo Coton said: "Our experience over the last four years at the NET academies in Harlow demonstrates that a extended school day provides children with the best quality of education, while also offering an enhanced work-life balance for staff.

“It’s proved to be an excellent initiative - our parents and staff are really supportive of it, and above all we have seen such huge benefits for our pupils in terms of catch-up, booster sessions, teaching more subjects and extra-curricular opportunities.

“We hope parents at Waltham Holy Cross Primary are similarly supportive.”

If the proposal is taken forward, the extended day would be introduced from September and reviewed in June 2022.
1.42pm - March 1

DISTRICT: Under-threat butterflies found at local reserves

Two species of butterflies identified as under threat in the UK have been found at the nature reserves in Bobbingworth and North Weald.

The nature reserves are at the centre of a butterfly census carried out by Epping Forest District Council's Countrycare team over several years.

The survey has revealed that 27 of the 59 species of butterfly present in the UK have been identified at the Bobbingworth Nature Reserve and Church Lane Local Nature Reserve in North Weald.

Two species - Small Blue and Small Heath - are listed as likely to be threatened in the near future.

Church Lane flood meadow was created in 1989 as part of the North Weald Flood Alleviation Scheme while Bobbingworth Nature Reserve is on a former landfill site which in 1989-90 was capped with clean clay.

Since 2015, Countrycare has been conducting the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme at the sites between April and September when butterflies are more likely to be active.

Year-on-year, Church Lane records a greater population of butterflies with 2017 being its best year with a total count of 1,756.

In comparison. 2018 was the most successful year for Bobbingworth with a total of 927.

The Meadow Brown is the most abundant species on the sites while Church Lane has recorded the Large Skipper every year since the survey began. 

There are healthy positive trends evident in the White family, with both sites showing increases in population.
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