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5.20pm - Sunday, October 31

ONGAR: November market set to feature 28 stalls

Twenty-eight stalls are expected at the next Ongar Town Forum Farmers and Craft Market on Sunday (November 7).

The market will again be held in the Pleasence car park, next to the library in the High Street, between 10am and 2pm.

Market co-ordinator Derek Birch said: "We are expecting 28 stalls with many returning and with the new stalls the range of goods on sale will be bigger than ever."

Stalls will be selling cheese, wine, seafood, artisan fruit gins, personalised products, glass, handmade cards, wooden signs and plaques, plants and Christmas wreaths, hand-crocheted toys, meats, handmade sausages, homemade cakes and other bakery items, Turkish marinades and chilli sauces, jewellery, handmade cushions and more. 

Anyone who knows the owners of cars which are parked in the Pleasence car park overnight into Sunday morning, and are left there all day, are asked to make sure that they use another car park as parked vehicles cause a problem for organisers laying out the market and also obstruct pedestrians and stall holders.
3.58pm - Sunday, October 31

LOUGHTON: Armed raider escapes with four-figure sum of cash

A balaclava-clad man armed with a "large knife" got away with a four-figure sum of cash when he targeted a business in Loughton High Road.

Police are appealing for information following the robbery which happened at Tooth Clubs Dentist on Friday afternoon (October 29)

A police spokesman said: "It was reported a man wearing a balaclava and carrying what has been described as a ‘large knife’ went to Tooth Clubs Dentist Card at around 5.05pm.

"The man is reported to have demanded cash before making off with a four figure sum of cash."

Anyone with any information can submit a report online at https://www.essex.police.uk or use the 'Live Chat' button to speak to an online operator between 7am and 11pm (quote the crime reference number 42/247865/21).

Information can also be given by ringing 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
3.17pm - Sunday, October 31

BUCKHURST HILL: Boy, 17, injured in gang attack

A 17-year-old boy suffered head and facial injuries when he was assaulted by a group of people in Lower Queens Road, Buckhurst Hill.

Police say the incident happened at about 6.10pm on Friday (October 29).

Officers are appealing for anyone with any information or CCTV, dashcam or doorbell footage to contact them.

Anyone with any information can submit a report online at https://www.essex.police.uk or use the 'Live Chat' button to speak to an online operator between 7am and 11pm (quote crime reference number 42/248053/21).

Information can also be given by ringing 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
9.26am - Sunday, October 31

WALTHAM ABBEY: Halloween party guest carrying toy shot gun sparks armed police incident

A man carrying a toy shot gun as he walked home from a Halloween party in Waltham Abbey sparked an armed police incident after a member of the public reported seeing a 'gunman'.

Armed officers were among those who responded to the call and scoured an area around Woodgreen Road in the early hours.

The police helicopter was also involved in the search for the man who was given "words of advice" when he was found.

The man later explained the situation in a post on social media.

He said: "The police were raiding my house. I was seen walking back from a Halloween party with a toy shot gun and it got reported.

"I gave them the toy and it was all over in about 15 to 20 minutes, I can assure you they do not mess about and take their job very seriously. Hats off to them!"

A police spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: "We were called to reports of someone seen with what was described as a firearm in the Woodgreen Road area of Waltham Abbey shortly after 12.40am on Sunday (October 31).

"Officers attended, located the person and established it was a toy. "Words of advice were provided."
4.02pm - Friday, October 29

BUCKHURST HILL: Pub arsonist jailed over "brazen, pre-meditated attack"

A man who set fire to the Three Colts pub in Buckhurst Hill while people were living in the flat above has been sentenced to five years and four months in prison.

It happened at the Three Colts pub in Princes Road, Buckhurst Hill at about 4.50pm on Saturday, February 6.

Police had received a call from a member of the public who said they had witnessed a man - later identified as Spiros Schultz, 48 - acting suspiciously near to a smashed window pane.

The witness later told officers he saw Schultz then strike a match and put it through the smashed window and a fire start immediately inside the pub.

He also told officers he then saw a black fuel canister on the floor where Schultz had been standing.

Schultz then walked off along Princes Road towards Buckhurst Hill Station.

The witness followed him, taking photos of him, and called 999.

Meanwhile inside the pub a woman living in the flat above reported hearing a bang and then fire alarms going off.

When she opened her front door she was met with smoke which got thicker as she made her way downstairs to try to get out.

She was trapped for between five and ten minutes in the rear outside of the pub with smoke blowing in the winds towards her before she got to safety.

The train Schultz got onto terminated at Loughton. 

During searches there, Schultz was recognised by a police officer and arrested.

They found a lighter and matches on him.

Schultz, of Eleven Acre Rise, Loughton, was later charged and at Colchester Magistrates’ Court on Monday, March 8, admitted arson being reckless as to whether life is endangered and breach of a restraining order.

At Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday (Thursday) he was sentenced to five years and four months in prison.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Kelly Gould said: “Spiros Schultz set fire to the pub in a brazen, pre-meditated attack.

“He paid no regard for the safety or welfare of anyone in the flat above it and his actions could have had tragic consequences.

“I want to praise the actions of the member of the public who witnessed what happened.

“They’re quick thinking may well have saved the life of the woman in the flat.

“Quick work from our officers meant Schultz was swiftly arrested and due to the evidence against him he had no choice but to admit his guilt.

“I hope this sentence will provide the victim with justice.”
5.01pm - Thursday, October 28

EPPING: Special tea with the Mayor

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

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

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

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

Joan is honoured to attend Epping's Remembrance services next month as a guest of the Mayor.
4.49pm - Thursday, October 28

EPPING: Playground fundraisers receive £2,740 boost

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

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

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

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

"We’ve had so much local interest and support and we’ve just launched a new website - www.eppingplayground.org - so people can follow our story and get behind our campaign.”
11.10pm - Wednesday, October 27

EPPING: Planning permission given for development sites

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

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

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

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

A leisure centre with swimming pools and gym will go on the Bakers Lane long-stay car park while the short-stay Cottis Lane car park will be developed with a 330-space multi-storey car park, cinema, shops and public toilets.
3.56pm - Tuesday, October 26

BUCKHURST HILL: Council opposes terrace of three houses

Buckhurst Hill Parish Council has objected to plans for a terrace of three three-storey three-bedroom houses behind 158 Queens Road, Buckhurst Hill.

The planning and environment committee said the development lacks amenity space with councillors adding the new homes would result in a massing effect and over-intensification of the site.

The committee added that a previous application for homes on the site was a more spacious design.
3.55pm - Tuesday, October 26

BUCKHURST HILL: COVID-19 memorial idea receives district council support

An idea brought forward by Buckhurst Hill Parish Council for a COVID-19 memorial in Buckhurst Hill has received the initial support of Epping Forest District Council.

The council has identified the flower bed near Buckhurst Hill Baptist Church on the corner of Palmerston Road and Kings Avenue as a possible location.

The parish council has set up a working group to discuss the idea further.
3.54pm - Tuesday, October 26

BUCKHURST HILL: Flower planters plan for Lower Queens Road

Two flower planters are set to be installed by Buckhurst Hill Parish Council, once it’s granted the required licence from Essex Highways. 

The new planters will extend the planter provision across the parish and brighten and enrich the physical environment.
3.53pm - Tuesday, October 26

BUCKHURST HILL: Council to consider Queen's Platinum Jubilee events

Buckhurst Hill Parish Council is to set up a working group to discuss ideas for events to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee next year.

Recreation and community committee chairman Sarah Goodfellow said: "There are lots of different ways that we could agree to celebrate this - beacon lighting and tree planting."

Clerk Liz Petyt-Start told Thursday's meeting she had already been approached by St John's Church about working with the council over any events.
3.52pm - Tuesday, October 26

BUCKHURST HILL: No community Christmas event this year

No community Christmas event will be held in Buckhurst Hill this year - with the parish council and residents' society instead set to start discussions on organising a festive event for Christmas 2022.

Buckhurst Hill Parish Council, following discussions with Buckhurst Hill Residents' Society, said the decision had been taken not to have a festive event in Queens Road this year.

However the council is to look at organising a festive event to coincide with the switching on of new Christmas lights, perhaps with children singing carols.

Councillor Sarah Goodfellow, chairman of the parish council's recreation and community committee, told Thursday's meeting that a huge effort, with the short timescale available, would be required to organise such an event this year and therefore it had "reluctantly" been decided to start planning for next year instead.

She said: "Let's be realistic, we can't do something that woud be really fun this year."

* Additional strings of Christmas lights are to be purchased by the council to decorate the 13 trees in Queens Road, with the cost met from the Christmas event budget which will not be spent this year.
8.17am - Saturday, October 23

BUCKHURST HILL: Public to be consulted over parish council idea for HRH Prince Philip plaque

Buckhurst Hill Parish Council is to seek the views of local people over a proposal to spend £6,000 plus VAT on a memorial plaque to commemorate His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

The council's recreation and community committee has voted to support the idea and undertake the consultation.

Conservative councillors Jo Share-Bernia, Gavin Chambers, David Saunders and Ken Williamson supported the idea in a vote at Thursday's meeting with committee chairman Sarah Goodfellow (Green Party) voting against and council chairman Steven Neville (Green Party) abstaining.

Councillor Goodfellow told the meeting she "violently opposed it" saying the cost was the same that the council would spend on an "entire" community Christmas event.

She added: "There isn't a connection with Buckhurst Hill. Why are we spending the entire cost of a Christmas event, albeit on someone who has done a lot nationally?"

Councillor Gavin Chambers spoke out in favour of the plaque while councillor David Saunders said that the local scouts had expressed an interest in getting involved with the project.

The parish council had approached two local artists and had received one proposal of artwork for a possible design.

The council has earmarked Stacey Gardens as a location for the commemorative plaque.
5.27pm - Friday, October 22

WALTHAM ABBEY: Multi-storey car park plan for Sainsbury distribution centre

A three-storey car park accommodating almost 500 vehicles - which would provide an additional 187 spaces on the site - is proposed for the Sainsbury distribution centre on the edge of Waltham Abbey, a planning application reveals.

The Waltham Point Distribution Centre, which employs just over 1,000 staff, currently has parking for 432 vehicles and space for 40 cycles.

In addition to Waltham Point’s core use as a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week Sainsbury distribution centre, the site also contains a Resource Recovery Unit and Vehicle Maintenance Unite. 

The company is moving to a "more labour intensive system" which will create about 350 new jobs. 

A planning statement submitted to Epping Forest District Council with the planning application states: "The way that the shift patterns operate means that there is an overlap between shifts that mean pressure for car parking can be intense. 

"To accommodate new colleagues, even assuming future model shifts, SSL will need to provide approximately 200 additional parking spaces.

"The most sustainable and efficient way to accommodate these is to provide a new decked car park, comprising 494 car parking spaces, over the existing colleague car park. This will provide an increase of 187 new car parking spaces. 225 cycle spaces are also proposed." 

The planning application also includes proposals for 99 new trailer spaces.

The planning statement adds: "The car park will have three decks above the ground, reaching a parapet height in the north of 11.6m and a parapet height to the south of 10.5m.

"The highest point, at the top of the stair core, will reach 12.5m. This is still well below the height of the adjacent Waltham Point building and Resource Recovery Unit.

"The north and south elevations of the car park will be treated with a metal perforated cladding.

The south elevation is the most visible from outside of the site. The car park will be designed to have a functional aesthetic, taking context to its commercial surroundings and the needs of its proposed use, but opportunities to provide decorative elements will be pursued.

"The decorative cladding will be located in distinct areas to break up the façade. Textured and flat panels will be used with an inverted undulation to create a woven effect."
4.43pm - Friday, October 22

DISTRICT: Council tax rise not ruled out as council looks to resolve £1.5m income-expenditure "gap"

A financial warning has been issued by Epping Forest District Council which has highlighted a £1.5m "gap" between projected income and expenditure for the next financial year.

The council says it is doing "all it can" to freeze council tax bills for 2022-23 however, as discussions are underway to set next year's budget, a first increase in a decade is not being ruled out.

The council's share of council has only increase once in the last ten years - in a "special measure" to fund additional police officers in the district.

The financial situation was outlined by finance portfolio holder councillor John Philip at the last cabinet meeting.

In a statement issued after the meeting, the council said: "For two years, the financial impact of Covid has been well managed within Epping Forest District Council’s resources."

Mr Philip spelt out the position as councillors start to consider next year’s budget and the medium-term financial plan.

The council said: "Income is down and expenses have increased despite many steps to mitigate the impact of Covid. 

"A £1.5m gap between projected income and expenditure next year needs to be bridged.
 
"Epping Forest District Council has increased Council Tax only once in the last ten years - in a special measure to fund additional police officers in the district.

"The council is doing all it can to protect residents from a Council Tax rise in 2022 but acknowledges the major financial challenge all public sector organisations are facing next year.

"As councillors do all they can to protect people’s pockets. cabinet portfolio holders and service directors have been tasked with going through all the council’s budgets over the next few weeks to see how further efficiencies can be found, front-line public services protected and the economic recovery of the district sustained."
8.39am - Friday, October 22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"This truly encapsulated ESJ's Living Well Together school driver."
1.37pm - Thursday, October 21

EPPING: Nightclub seeks 2am closing time for Fridays and Saturdays

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Door staff ejected a suspect without knowing the injuries sustained, the report adds.
4.47pm - Wednesday, October 20

DISTRICT: Nominations open for creativity and sports awards

Nominations can be made for Epping Forest District Council's creativity and sports awards which recognise up-and-coming young creative and sporting talents and help them develop their skills.

Winners, chosen by a panel of judges, will receive from £200 up to £1,000 to spend on their chosen discipline.

The creativity award can help boost creative skills while the sports award can be used for costs associated with the sporting activity.

Applicants must be aged between 13 and 25 years on December 12, 2021; live, work or volunteer in the Epping Forest district (including being at college or university and returning home to the district during holidays), demonstrate a high level of interest or skill, explain how the award will be spent and what it means to them; spend the award on activities that take place within the district or have benefit for the people of the district for the creativity award, compete at county, regional or national level in a nationally-governed sport for the sports award.

To apply for the creativity aw
ard CLICK HERE

To apply for the sports award CLICK HERE


Applications close on Sunday, December 12.

For more information, email grantaid@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.
4.18pm - Wednesday, October 20

EPPING: Redevelopment plans for service station

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

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

The application will be considered by Epping Town Council next Tuesday before a decision is taken by Epping Forest District Council.
11.26am - Wednesday, October 20

EPPING: Overnight closures for High Street during crossing works

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

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

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

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

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

Temporary traffic lights will be required.

Access to properties and businesses within the works area will be maintained at all times.
7.03pm - Tuesday, October 19

LOUGHTON: Boots Opticians Loughton receives Customer Care award

Boots Opticians Loughton has received another award - this time recognising its
community support throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

The High Road branch's Customer Care award is the latest in a series of accolades awarded by Boots Opticians.

Store manager Bonnie Bristow said: "It has been an honour and pleasure to help and support our patients through the most difficult times.

"We have worked tirelessly throughout the last 19 months assisting our patients with their eye care needs and feel very humbled and honoured to receive this award."

Four years ago the branch, which opened in February 2013, received a national
Practice of the Year finalist award and a national finalist award in the Boots Opticians Corporate Social Responsibility award.

The latter award recognised the work the branch does in conjunction with the
National Literacy Trust through a reading scheme which focuses on children's eye
health.

In 2014 the practice was a regional winner in the Practice of the Year awards and in 2015 received a national Customer Care finalist award.
4.17pm - Tuesday, October 19

THORNWOOD / EPPING: Man arrested after police called to "disturbance"

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

The arrest was made after police took a call at about 9am with reports of a disturbance on High Road, Thornwood, and that a person had been seen with what was thought to be a knife.
1.01pm - Tuesday, October 19

BUCKHURST HILL: Mother pays tribute to "kind, caring" daughter who died after road collision

A woman who died after a collision with two vehicles in Buckhurst Hill has been described as a “passionate, strong, kind caring young lady with her whole life ahead of her”.

Chalize Vitalis-Lovell, 19, from Buckhurst Hill, was in collision with a car and a van in Buckhurst Way on Tuesday, October 12.

She died at the scene.

Paying tribute, her mother - in a statement issued through Essex Police - said: “Chalize was a much loved passionate, strong, kind caring young lady with her whole life ahead of her. 

“She was very much a family person and would stand up for what she believes in.

“She was fantastic at her job in child care and was looking forward to becoming a mum herself one day.

“Her family and friends are extremely heartbroken at this time and trying to come to terms with the fact that we will never see her again. 

“She was the best daughter a mum could ever wish for".   

The driver of the van, a 28-year-old man from Harlow, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, and suspicion of driving while unfit through drink or drugs.

He has since been released under investigation while police continue their enquiries.

Officers need anyone who saw what happened or has any CCTV, dash cam or doorbell footage to contact them.

Anyone with any information can submit a report online at https://www.essex.police.uk or use the 'Live Chat' button to speak to an online operator between 7am and 11pm (quote incident 1121 of October 12).

Information can also be given by ringing 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
7.30pm - Monday, October 18

EPPING: Mediterranean restaurant plan for High Street

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

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

The application will be considered by Epping Town Council before a decision is taken by Epping Forest District Council.
3.27pm - Monday, October 18

DISTRICT: Death announced of former district council chairman

The death has been announced of former Epping Forest District Council chairman Harry Taylor.

Epping Forest District Council will pay tribute to Mr Taylor at the next full council meeting and hold a minute's silence.

Mr Taylor served as a Conservative district councillor for High Beach from 1974 to 1987 and then represented Waltham Abbey West from 1991 to 1995 and 1999 to 2003. 

He became council vice-chairman in 1978-79 and was elected as chairman in the 1979-80 municipal year. 
2.28pm - Monday, October 18

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

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

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

The proposed developments include:

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

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

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

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

* Site of the Conder building, Civic Offices - 45 dwellings (seven one-bedroom flats, 17 two-bedroom flats, five three-bedroom flats, one two-bedroom house, 13 three-bedroom houses and two four-bedroom houses.
5.21pm - Friday, October 15

District's MPs pay tribute to colleague fatally stabbed at constituency surgery

The district's MPs and the leader of Essex County Council are among those who have been paying tribute to Essex MP Sir David Amess who died this afternoon after being stabbed at a constituency surgery in his Southend West constituency.

A 25-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder following the death of the 69-year-old Member of Parliament and father-of-five.

Police say they have recovered a knife.

Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing, who is also one of the Deputy Speakers of the House of Commons, said: "The news that Sir David Amess has been killed is utterly devastating. He was such a gentleman, a principled parliamentarian, a devoted father, a devout Christian and a really nice chap. We will all miss him very much.

"My thoughts are with his family."

Harlow MP Robert Halfon tweeted: "So, so sad about Sir David Amess. He embodied Essex man. Kind, thoughtful, funny, compassionate and generous spirited. May he rest in peace."

Earlier Mr Halfon said the news of the stabbing was "truly devastating" and described Sir David as "an unbelievably kind and dedicated MP".

Brentwood and Ongar MP Alex Burghart tweeted: "So sad and angry that our friend has been taken from us."

Essex County Council leader councillor Kevin Bentley said: “It was with great shock and sadness that we learned today that Sir David Amess MP has died following a violent attack at a constituency surgery.

“We worked closely with Sir David over the years, during his period as MP for Basildon up until April 1997 and latterly as MP for Southend West within the neighbouring Southend-on-Sea Council area. 

“He was a man who was never afraid to voice his views, passionate in his beliefs and straightforward in how he articulated them. He will be greatly missed in Essex and at Westminster. Our thoughts are with his family at this very difficult time."

Police were alerted at about midday when emergency services were called to Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea.

The North Weald-based Essex and Herts Air Ambulance was among the emergency crews called to the scene. 

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, Roger Hirst, issued a statement which read: “This is a shocking and utterly despicable attack against somebody who was an outstanding MP and has worked tirelessly for their community for many, many years. My prayers are with Sir David’s family at this incredibly difficult time. 

"I also want to acknowledge the officers who attended the event for their bravery and courage.

“It is vital that we give the police all our support to ensure that they can do their job at this time. For anybody who has information please do not hesitate to contact the police.

"Essex Police needs anyone who saw anything or has CCTV, dash cam or doorbell footage to contact them."

* North Weald Bassett Parish Council tweeted: "Incredibly sad news about MP Sir David Amess. All local Government representatives should be able to carry out their roles without fear for their own safety. Our thoughts are with the Amess family at this time."

* The Tower School in Epping tweeted: "Absolutely shocked and saddened to hear this news. No one should lose their life going about their work. But did we learn nothing from the Jo Cox murder? Why is there not better security for our MPs?"
1.46pm - Friday, October 15

CHIGWELL: Students visit London Stock Exchange

West Hatch High School students visited the London Stock Exchange as part of World Investor Week, joining the World Federation of Exchanges to ‘Ring the Bell for Financial Literacy’.

World Investor Week saw almost 80 exchanges globally take part in a range of events aimed at highlighting the importance of financial literacy.

Students had the opportunity to hear about the work which goes on at the London Stock Exchange and the impact this has both nationally and globally.

They also spoke to several employees and were able to ask about their routes into the industry and the challenges of their jobs.

A particular honour was given to one of the students, Jaina, when she was asked to officially open the Exchange – a much-coveted task reserved for VIPs.

There was also the honour, for Joshua, to sign the London Stock Exchange’s visitors book on behalf of West Hatch High School.

West Hatch High School's careers leader, Geoffrey Towsey, said: At West Hatch High School we understand the importance of financial literacy and the vital role it plays in preparing students for their future.

"It is for this reason that we continue to include financial literacy lessons as part of our core curriculum in Years 9 and 10 - ensuring students have an hour of financial literacy a week."

The importance of financial literacy was echoed by London Stock Exchange CEO Julia Hoggett who said: “Building financial literacy can have a defining impact on an individual’s life - from savings to pensions, to the entrepreneurs of the future knowing how to think about how they finance their visions.

"We all have to make financial decisions throughout our lives, many of them remarkably complex, and understanding these is vital in helping us make the right choices for ourselves and our families.”
6.13pm - Thursday, October 14

BUCKHURST HILL: Child's life saved thanks to smoke alarm

A child's life has been saved thanks to a working smoke alarm which went off in the family's home in Buckhurst Hill after a fire started in the child's bedroom.

Fire crews from Loughton and Woodford were called to the property in Crown Close at 12.45am this morning after a father was woken by a smoke alarm and discovered the fire. 

An Essex County Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said the father saw that an electric fan has caught alight and managed to turn it off and throw it out of the window before calling 999. 

Loughton Fire Station Watch Manager Marc Lemon said: "There's no doubt the smoke alarms saved this child's life.

"If it hadn't been for the smoke alarm waking up the parent, this fire could have quickly developed and spread within the child's bedroom before anyone knew what was happening. 

"Smoke alarms alert you to the first sign of fire, but only if they are working. Make sure you test them regularly to protect your family and your home."

Both the father and child suffered some smoke inhalation and after receiving oxygen therapy from firefighters were left in the care of the ambulance service.  

The bedroom sustained some smoke damage.
6.09pm - Thursday, October 14

NAZEING: Family pay tribute to "the greatest dad"

The family of a man whose death in Nazeing sparked a murder investigation have described him as a "protective big brother" and "the greatest dad".

Jimmy Moore, 33, died after being assaulted in Palmers Grove at about 7.15am on September 25.

In a statement, his wife said: “Jimmy was the best husband, son and brother but he was the greatest dad to his four children.

“Every Sunday was family day and the children would pick what they wanted to do and that would be done.

“Whatever we wanted was never a ‘no’. Jimmy would say ‘yes’ and get it. None of us ever went without.

“His passion in life was to work hard and enjoy his life with his family.

“We had a holiday booked for Lapland in December and we had our future planned as a family.

“We had the boys’ first football match booked. That Saturday morning he was going to work to then get back for the match - he never missed one.

“He was so proud of all his children and the things they were doing well in.

“I’m hoping I can make his words come true in the future with our children.

“He will be missed by so many but his family will never be the same without him.”

His mum, dad, and sister also paid tribute to him saying: “Jimmy was a man’s man and brother. He had just settled into his new home and was planning a holiday to Lapland.

“He was very hardworking and was a protective big brother – one in a million who we were so proud of.

“He was ready to help bring up his little nephew like his sons and would come to his parents three or four times a day.”

Robert Crabtree, 33, of Palmers Grove, Nazeing, has been charged with murder and possession of an offensive weapon.

He is next due to appear at Chelmsford Crown Court on October 25.

Police are continuing to appeal for anyone who has any information, saw anything or has any CCTV, dashcam or doorbell footage to contact officers via the Essex Police website, or by ringing 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
3.40pm - Wednesday, October 13

BUCKHURST HILL: Parish council expresses condolences after fatal collision

Buckhurst Hill Parish Council has expressed its heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the young woman who died following a collision with two vehicles in Buckhurst Way last night (Tuesday, October 12).

The woman, aged in her 20s, has not yet been named by police who are appealing for any witnesses to the collision or anyone else with any other information to contact officers.

The collision happened at 7.55pm.

Buckhurst Hill Parish Council chairman councillor Steven Neville, speaking on behalf of councillors and council staff, said: "Everyone at the parish council wishes to send our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the woman who tragically died following last night's collision.

“We know that vehicle movement along Buckhurst Way is a long-standing cause of concern for local residents and it is a concern the parish council shares and is currently seeking to address.

"We are continuing to liaise with, and put pressure on, Essex Highways with a view to getting effective traffic calming measures along what is a very busy road as soon as possible. 

"I want to assure residents their safety is extremely important to us all.”
3.06pm - Wednesday, October 13

EPPING: Council hopes to reinstate Town Green before Remembrance services

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Following the laying of wreaths, the parade will march along the High Street to St John's Church for a Service of Remembrance at 3pm.
2.57pm - Wednesday, October 13

EPPING: Town council to replace town sign

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

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

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

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

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

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

"We need to put something special up."
1.43pm - Wednesday, October 13

BUCKHURST HILL: Van driver arrested over fatal collision

A van driver has been arrested following last night's fatal collision in Buckhurst Way, Buckhurst Hill, when a woman died after she was in collision with two vehicles.

Police say the woman, aged in her 20s, died after being in collision with two vehicles - a Range Rover and a Ford Transit van.

A police spokesman said the driver of the van, a 28-year-old man from Harlow, has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, and on suspicion of driving whilst unfit through drink or drugs.

He is currently in custody.
9.03am - Wednesday, October 13

BUCKHURST HILL: Woman pedestrian dies after road collision

A woman pedestrian aged in her 20s has died following a collision with two vehicles in Buckhurst Hill.

Police were called to Buckhurst Way at 7.55pm last night (Tuesday).

The woman was treated at the scene by paramedics but died a short time later, police said.

The road was closed until 4am while police investigated the incident.

Anyone who saw what happened or has any CCTV, dash cam or doorbell footage is asked to contact police by submitting a report online at https://www.essex.police.uk or using the 'Live Chat' button to speak to an online operator between 7am and 11pm (quote incident 1121 of October 12).

Information can also be given by ringing 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
5.05pm - Tuesday, October 12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dame Eleanor added: "I appreciate that the City of London Corporation always does all it can to protect our forest and the surrounding areas so I look forward to discussing this further with the chairman of the Epping Forest and Commons Committee."
7.52pm - Monday, October 11

DISTRICT: Cabinet votes for new council 'hub' space to be named 'The Civic Hub'

The new 'hub' space on the ground floor of the Civic Offices which was launched as the 'Epping Community Hub' is to be rebranded the 'Civic Hub'.

Tonight's meeting of the council cabinet voted for 'The Civic Hub' rather than 'The Civic' - supporting the name choice favoured by a council select committee.

The ground floor now accommodates the council's 'front-facing services' and community hub services operated by partner organisations.

The council says it expects the final cost of the rebranding to be "below £15,000" however a "worst case scenario" budget of £19,250 has been allocated for the work which will cover "the iterative process of the design branding, the production of the signage including highly resilient floor signposting and wall designs and the installation by technicians of the signage within the building".

A cabinet report stated: "The term ‘The Civic’ seeks to capture the use of the ground floor space in a term that is more colloquial in nature and distinguishes it from the more formal name for the building. ‘The Civic Hub’ provides a more conventional name for the area."

The name choice sparked mixed views from councillors.

Cabinet member Aniket Patel told the meeting: "I must admit I would always refer to the space as 'The Civic'. It's just something that to me rolls off the tongue and that would be my preferred option."

Councillor Stephen Murray said: "I think 'The Civic' appalls me. "It just seems to be a slightly younger approach to things.

"I'm very much happier with 'The Civic Hub'. It tells you what it is and it's function."

He added: "In the current climate with the current pressures on peoples' budget and the (Government) decision taken on October 6 regarding Universal credit, I have had a lot of negative comment on spending on this rebranding. 

"Yes, we've got to pay for the work that has been done. Hindsight is a beautiful thing... I would have suggested this was an ideal opportunity to invite our college and A-Level graphic design and art students (to come up with designs).

"I really don't think we need to be spending this sort of money on high quality signage. 

"I wouldn't call Epping Forest District Council one that's loose with money; I personally wouldn't be voting for £15,000 or £19,000 for the cost of implementation."

Cabinet member Sam Kane said "time pressures" on the rebranding exercise had prevented the council from seeking design ideas from students.

Responding to the comments about the cost, he said: "Design is only part of the cost involved" adding that the expenditure included high quality printing and laminates, including floor signage.

Councillor Richard Morgan said: "I don't like the word 'Civic' at all. This is a community area where we are going to see a lot of different organisations. 

"The first floor is the civic part of the building. This part should be named 'The Community Hub' or 'Epping Forest District Council Community Hub'."

Cabinet member John Philip said he "would definitely" prefer 'The Civic Hub'. 

"It identifies what it is. It's a hub housed in the Civic Offices," he said.

The council has stressed the new 'Civic Hub' name refers only to the ground floor with the whole building to continue to be known as the Civic Offices.
5.44pm - Sunday, October 10

BUCKHURST HILL: Cyclist suffers serious head injuries in collision

A cyclist has suffered serious head injuries following a collision with a car on Epping New Road, Buckhurst Hill.

Police say the driver of the car drove off but he was later traced and is helping police with their enquiries.

The road, between Rangers Road and the Robin Hood roundabout, was closed for several hours following the collision which happened shortly before 7pm last night (Saturday).

A police spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: "We are investigating a collision in which a cyclist was seriously injured.

"We were called shortly before 7pm on Saturday, October 9, with reports a bicycle and a car had collided in Epping New Road, Buckhurst Hill.

"The cyclist, a 58-year-old man, was taken to hospital with head injuries which were not believed to be life-threatening or life-changing.

"The car left the scene before officers arrived but it was traced and the driver is helping with our enquiries."

Any witnesses who have yet to make contact with police are asked to contact Chigwell Roads Policing Unit quoting incident 1145 of October 9.

Information can also be given to an online operator at https://www.essex.police.uk between 7am and 11pm or by ringing 101.
6.49pm - Friday, October 8

ABRIDGE: 'Waste treatment' facility plan revealed

Plans have been revealed for a waste treatment facility - which could handle 75,000 tonnes of "construction, demolition and excavation waste" a year - on Green Belt land near Abridge.

Planning permission is being sought for the facility at Arnolds Farm, Ongar Road.

A statement submitted as part of the planning application states: "Planning permission is sought for a construction, demolition and excavation waste treatment facility. The facility will be used to manage waste generated by the applicant to produce secondary aggregates.

"The waste will be imported and stored in a dedicated area. 

"A screener will be used to separate soils and stones. The stones will be stockpiled and once sufficient material is on site, arrangements will be made to crush the stone for aggregate production."

The document adds that the site will be used to receive and treat construction, demolition and excavation waste only, including treating waste soils to remove the stone content and producing different grades of soil. 

Hardcore will be treated and crushed periodically to produce 'Type 1 crushed concrete'.

The application states that the site has an Environmental Permit to manage 75,000 tonnes per annum.

The operational hours for waste processing will be 7am until 6pm Monday to Friday and 7am until 2pm on Saturdays.

The document concludes: "Other than the location in the Green Belt, the site’s location meets all the other development plan policies. 

"The site has great access, with a new entrance proposed, it is remote from sensitive receptors, it is almost central to the customer area and will provide a local site to serve local construction projects. The site will not cause any other harm."
7.09pm - Thursday, October 7

EPPING: Special school day to highlight mental health

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"All monies raised will be going to this very worthy cause."
4.19pm - Thursday, October 7

DISTRICT: Nominations invited for civic awards

Nominations can be made for Epping Forest District Council's Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year and Volunteer Team of the Year.

The Citizen of the Year Award and Volunteer Team of the Year Award recognise people in the community who go above and beyond, making positive changes in the district.

It could be a good neighbour or charity worker, perhaps someone who runs a club for youngsters or older people or a team of volunteers who make where we live just that little bit better.

Nominees must be aged over 18 and live or volunteer in the district.

If you know someone who fits the bill and deserves to be recognised, fill in a nomination form and make sure it is submitted by Friday, November 26.

To make a Citizen of the year nominati
on CLICK HERE

The Young Citizen of the Year Award is open to 11 to 18-year-olds who have made an outstanding contribution to young people and activities in the Epping Forest district.

Further information and a nomination form can be found
HERE
3.45pm - Thursday, October 7

ONGAR: Residents invited to find out more about Shelley estate plans

Initial ideas to redevelop part of the Shelley estate will be explained to residents at a drop-in event next week.

Epping Forest District Council officers will be at Zinc Arts Centre, High Street, Ongar, between 6pm and 8pm on Tuesday (October 12). All are welcome. There is no need to book.

Ongar district and town councillor Basil Vaz has told the town council the current proposals include replacing 40 flats with 54 dwellings and replacing four shops, on St Peter's Avenue, with six retail units.

The district council said that feedback following a recent event has led to revised plans incorporating additional green space.

Director of Housing and Property Deborah Fenton said: "This is a great opportunity for local residents to have an input in the future of the estate.

"Listening to the views and ideas from residents is key to developing great places where people want to live. 

"We understand that the residents are living and experiencing life on the estate. Who better than them to help us shape our vision for the future? 

"I look forward to meeting residents at the event which I am sure will be well attended.”

Development service manager Rochelle Hoyte said: "It’s a really exciting time for the Development team at Epping Forest District Council as we are looking for new ways of working collaboratively with our residents at an early stage. 

"Our vision is to create great places where people want to live, and I am looking forward to working with local residents in reviewing the development proposals.”

Epping Forest District Council deputy leader and Shelley councillor Nigel Bedford said: "I have been working hard to get much needed improvements to the estate.

"This opportunity of getting major investment - and a chance to regenerate what must be one of the oldest and most underfunded developments in Essex - is welcomed. 

"Residents must be part of the regeneration, consulted and listened to whilst helping to shape the redevelopment of the area.”

For more information contact the Estates and Land Team at Epping Forest District Council by emailing shelleyredevelopment@eppingforestdc.gov.uk or ringing 01992 564000.
3.32pm - Thursday, October 7

CHIGWELL: Memorial garden opened at school

PICTURES

A garden area at West Hatch High School named after a former student and staff member and funded by a charity foundation set up in her name has been officially opened at the Chigwell school.

'Jenna's Garden' is a quiet space where students can sit and reflect, and remember loved ones.

The project - which features raised flower beds, a water feature containing decorated pebbles, murals and a bench - has been funded by the Jenna Wilkins Foundation.

Jenna, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 21 and died aged 25, had studied at West Hatch, and after university returned to the school to work as Learning Support Assistant with the ambition to qualify as an English teacher.

Members of Jenna's family, her school friends and West Hatch staff gathered for the ribbon cutting on Wednesday.

Jenna's mother, Julie, said: "We've created a great place where kids can sit and reflect and relax. Jenna would love it. She would love her name to be up on the wall!"

She added: "Jenna was larger than life. Whenever Jenna was in the room, everybody loved her. She was the life and soul of the party."

The Foundation is working on providing a sensory room at Whitebridge School and has funded books for a reading club at West Hatch.

Julie said: "We want to support kids with special needs because that's what Jenna did and she loved it. It was almost like she had found her calling. She couldn't continue with it and so we are doing it for her in her name and in her honour."

The Foundation is also working with cancer sufferers,and gives luxurious pamper packs with contents donated by beauty firms.

Julie said: "Jenna was all about glamour and she loved an eyelash! We give people parcels - face masks, eyelashes, nails, make-up - and it has all been donated by beauty companies.

"We are never going to cure cancer but we can help people along the way. Jenna would love that. We just need to cast our net wider. We need people to know what we are doing. We only launched in January but since then we have done really well."

The Foundation has raised money through a series of brunches across Essex and locally and has also received corporate donations.

West Hatch High School headteacher Daniel Leonard, speaking at the garden opening, said: "Jenna was a really special young lady. She had an absolute heart of gold and in her short time with us she made a huge impression on the students and staff alike.

"Jenna's Garden is a fitting memorial for her."

He added: "It will make such a difference to so many people. The minute you go out there you just feel a sense of calmness, and there are already some decorated pebbles there for people we have lost over the course of the year."
6.10pm - Wednesday, October 6

DISTRICT: College launches "full investigation" and offers "sincere apology" after students and driver rescued from minibus caught in flood

Writtle University College has told Everything Epping Forest a "full investigation" has been launched after ten students and a driver "up to their waists" in floodwater had to be rescued by firefighters.

The college has offered a "sincere apology" to the parents of the students involved in yesterday's incident and has thanked Essex County Fire and Rescue Service for their "prompt action".

A college statement said: "A University College minibus was caught in flood water when traveling via Cow Watering Lane. The minibus had been transporting students home after classes when it became trapped in water behind a broken down vehicle.

"Firefighters arrived quickly, and safely removed ten students and a driver. All those involved in the incident were wet but unharmed.

A second Writtle University College minibus transported students from the flooded area and returned them to their homes.

"Writtle University College appreciates the fast action and professionalism of the firefighters attending the scene and the responses of the students and driver. They all did an outstanding job of remaining calm in challenging circumstances.

"A full investigation is now underway to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the event."

In a letter to the parents of the students who had to be rescued, the college said it offered a "sincere apology" and added it to wanted to "assure (parents) that we are here to offer ongoing help and support" to the students involved.

The letter added: "We are proud of the calm way in which all of our students handled yesterday’s challenging circumstances and want to assure you that we will be fully investigating the issue."

It adds: "The driver had been attempting to avoid poor weather conditions and flooding on the A414 but became trapped behind a broken-down vehicle.

"The driver contacted Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and the University College.

"The firefighters responded promptly and arrived at the scene with inflatable boats to remove students from the vehicle."

The college adds that it wants to hear if any students' personal belongings were damaged "so we can discuss reimbursement".
2.20pm - Wednesday, October 6

NORTH WEALD: Council to make £3,000 contribution towards memorial work

North Weald Bassett Parish Council has agreed to make a £3,000 contribution to Epping Forest District Council towards the near £10,000 cost of renovation work at the Debt of Honour and Airfield Memorial off Hurricane Way, North Weald.
2.18pm - Wednesday, October 6

NORTH WEALD: Police surgery at The Parish Hall, Thornwood Common

A police officer is to be available at North Weald Bassett Parish Council's face-to-face administrative centre at The Parish Hall, Thornwood Common, between 9.15am and noon on some Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays when an officer will be available to meet parishioners to discuss local policing issues.

A confirmed list of surgery dates will be published.
2.17pm - Wednesday, October 6

NORTH WEALD: Parish councillor resigns

North Weald Bassett Parish Council has reported the resignation of councillor Carmela Coop-Rodia as a parish councillor for the Hastingwood ward.

She has also resigned as an allotment warden for the Wheelers Farm Gardens allotments.

She was co-opted onto the parish council last September.

Parish council clerk Sue de Luca will write to Ms Coop-Rodia to thank her for all her hard work, especially regarding the allotments.
1.42pm - Wednesday, October 6

EXCLUSIVE

Mother demands investigation after 16-year-old daughter and ten others "trapped up to their waists" as college minibus submerged in flood

A Loughton mother has called for a "full investigation" after her 16-year-old daughter and ten other people had to be rescued by firefighters after a college minibus became submerged in floodwater.

Students were faced with floodwater rising up over the vehicle's seats and were "trapped up to their waists" until firefighters reached them.

Margareta Bowker said what could have happened to her daughter, Kasia, and the other passengers during the "horrendous catastrophe" on the Writtle University College minibus near the Writtle campus yesterday afternoon (Tuesday) "does not bear thinking about".

Three fire crews rescued the occupants through a window and took them to safety in inflatable boats.

Margareta Bowker, in a letter to college Vice-Chancellor Professor Tim Middleton, said she was writing "in absolute disgust and astonishment" about the "horrendous" incident.

The minibus was taking students on a regular route from Writtle to Epping when the incident unfolded in a ford on Cow Watering Lane.

Margareta , in her letter, wrote: "I received a text message from my daughter to say that they would be late to the drop-off point due to flooding and that the driver had decided that the Epping stop would be last instead of first.

"Within minutes my daughter started to send me photos of water inside the minibus. She told me that the water started to come in but the driver was driving on even though the level was high outside of the window and, soon after, the level rose up past the seats. 

"At what point does a driver think of the safety of the passengers he is transporting? I had an agonising wait of over an hour whist my daughter tried to message updates; one of the worst being that the driver told them to jump seats to even the weight as the minibus was floating and that he would have made it had another car not been stuck. 

"At what point did he see another vehicle struggle and put the safety of his passengers first?"

She added: "Emergency services were called and the passengers had to be taken out through a window and put into a boat and, eventually, taken back to campus - soaked through and freezing cold. 

"They were given foil blankets and later put on another bus, still wet through. I was waiting at the pick up point for two-and-a-half hours."

Margareta's letter adds: "My daughter and fellow passengers' lives have been put in danger and there was complete disregard for their safety. What could have happened does not bare thinking about and for this reason I have the right to ask for a full investigation. 

"I wish to know what training is given to the drivers responsible for our children and what safety measures are supposed to be put in place when incidents like this become apparent.

"Until I have any further update on this horrendous catastrophe and the reasons why the safety of the passengers was compromised I am left with no choice but to keep my daughter at home.

"My daughter and her friends are traumatised by what has happened (today) and we, as parents, put our trust in the hands of a driver who jeopardised their safety."

A spokesman for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said crews were called out at 5.15pm and found a minibus "stuck in approximately four feet of water".

A fire service statement added: "Firefighters from Leigh Fire Station who are swift water rescue trained used inflatable boats to rescue 11 people who were trapped up to their waists in water. All 11 people were rescued by 6.33pm."

Crew Manager Tom Whiteley, from Chelmsford Fire Station, said: “Please do not risk driving through flooded roads. Instead, turn around and find another route.

“It takes less water than you might think for a vehicle to float and become uncontrollable. The flow of the water this evening took the minibus downstream."

Writtle University College has been asked for a statement.
8.32pm - Tuesday, October 5

NORTH WEALD: Parish council highlights "disappointing" turnout at community information events

The low turnout of residents at three North Weald Bassett Parish Council community events held to provide information on the Local Plan, Neighbourhood Plan and the council's work over the past 18 months has been highlighted by the parish council.

Three sessions were held - at North Weald Village Hall, The Parish Hall at Thornwood Common, and Hastingwood Village Hall.

Councillor Anne Grigg told Monday's parish council meeting: "We can only offer to be there and hope that they will attend. There's nothing else we can do. It (the turnout) was disappointing."

During a discussion on how to promote any future events, councillor Terry Blanks - referring to the number of homes earmarked for North Weald Parish in the district council's Local Plan - said: "We just write on a sheet '1,000-plus houses here shortly'."

Councillor Andy Tyler said: "We will have loads of them (residents) when the first digger enters North Weald or Hastingwood.

"It's really kind of sad the apathy (shown by residents)."
12.27pm - Monday, October 4

LOUGHTON: More than 2,000 trees to be planted on Jessel Green

Some 2,300 trees are to be planted on Jessel Green in Debden after Epping Forest District Council was awarded about £65,000 in grant funding through the Forestry Commission’s Local Authorities Treescapes Fund.

A council report states: "The proposed planting at Jessel Green aims to bring the many benefits of increased tree cover; these include an enhanced local environment, increased biodiversity, carbon storage, reduced flood risk and improved air quality."

A proposed planting design will go out for public consultation shortly so that the council can get feedback "to inform the final planting design".

Jessel Green had been earmarked for hundreds of new homes in the original Epping Forest District Council Local Plan proposals but Local Plan inspector Louise Philiips ordered that the area be removed from document.
12.25pm - Monday, October 4

LOUGHTON: Candle starts house fire

Firefighters have given safety advice after a candle caused a house fire in Alderton Way, Loughton.

Firefighters from Loughton and Waltham Abbey were called out after the resident heard the fire burning on the landing upstairs at about 9.15 last night (Sunday).

On arrival, crews reported that first floor in the house was heavily smoke-logged after a candle burning on a table had caused a fire.

The property had no working smoke alarms and firefighters fitted two smoke alarms after extinguishing the fire.

Loughton firefighters will be visiting neighbouring properties over the coming days to give candle safety advice as well as smoke alarm advice.

A fire service spokesman said: “The resident was very lucky that they were awake to hear the candle burning. If this incident had happened at night and the resident did not have working smoke alarms to alert them, this could have been a very different incident.

“We recommend you have at least one working smoke alarm on every level of your home and that you test them regularly.

“We also recommend you blow candles out when you need to leave the room, even if it is only for a moment. Candles aren’t dangerous if you use them safely.”
8.19am - Saturday, October 2

THEYDON BOIS: Rapist told victim: "Your life is ending. You’re dying tonight”

Dedicated detectives have praised a rape victim for her bravery after her attacker was jailed for ten years.

Paul Ballard, of Woodland Way, Theydon Bois, was found guilty on all counts at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday, July 30, after denying rape, attempted rape, assault, criminal damage and threats to kill.

During a hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday (Friday), he was sentenced to ten years in prison. That sentence will run consecutively to a nine-year-sentence he is currently serving for an unrelated matter.

Ballard launched an attack on the woman shortly after 5am on September 19 last year in a hotel in Hatfield Heath.

During the incident, the 39-year-old told the victim: “Your life is ending. You’re dying tonight.”

However, the victim bravely fled the room and found a member of hotel staff who then called the police.

Officers attended and safeguarded the woman who has been supported throughout the last 12 months by specialist officers.

Ballard had claimed to have had consensual sex with the woman and denied he had threatened her.

But the jury found him guilty on all counts.

Speaking after sentencing, the leading investigator Detective Constable Dan Lambert said: “Today, Ballard has been sentenced to ten years in jail after subjecting the woman to a terrifying ordeal.

“Our priority throughout this investigation has been ensuring her welfare and securing justice for her. The strength she has shown has been remarkable throughout.

“As a force, we take crimes against women and girls extremely seriously and I am very proud to have played a part in securing justice for Ballard’s victim and he will now spend a significant amount of time behind bars as a result.

“I want to again pay tribute to the bravery shown by the victim in this case. No one should ever have to go through the ordeal she has endured but I hope there is some comfort in the knowledge that her attacker is now behind bars for some time.” 
2.05pm - Friday, October 1

DISTRICT: Woman charged over watch robberies

A woman has been charged with nine counts of robbery after a series of incidents in which high-end watches were stolen.

The incidents took place across the Epping Forest district between May 1 and September 5.

Monica Constantin, 29, of Chaplin Road, Dagenham, appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (September 28).

She did not enter a plea and will next appear at Chelmsford Crown Court for a plea and trial preparation hearing on October 26.
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