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6.26pm - April 30

MP hails "inspirational" refurbishment of Civic Offices
 
The refurbishment of the Civic Offices in Epping has been hailed as an "inspirational development" by Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing who says the project will save taxpayers' money and improve services.

Dame Eleanor said: "I was delighted to visit the new look Epping Forest District Council offices today.  

"Looking to the future, the council leaders have reconfigured the entire building to make better use of resources and to look forward to new ways of working.  

"They have freed up space on the site which will be used for much needed affordable housing and a large section of the Civic Offices building will be rented out to local businesses.

"Their plan to bring all services under one roof will mean massive improvements for local people. I am really impressed by the way in which this inspirational development will save tax payers' money while at the same time improving services.

"I really look forward to the opening of the building once COVID-19 restrictions allow."

Epping Forest District Council has said the refurbishment has been completed on time and within budget.

The transformation of the building is part of the council's investment in the future and the council's aim to become Carbon Neutral by 2030.

The council says marketing of the top floor to commercial businesses has sparked major interest from not just local companies but those from further afield looking to grow their enterprises in an Essex location with excellent transport links into London, further afield and internationally. 

Viewings are ongoing and conversations are taking place with a number of interested parties. 

The council’s strategy is to deliver services as close to the customer as possible and the new 'Community Hub' on the ground floor will be much more than just a place for district council services. 

Other public and voluntary organisations will be working side-by-side with district council officers and alongside Essex Police which already shares the Civic Offices.

Qualis - the council-owned private companies - will also be taking up residence in the new offices.

New meeting and conference facilities will be available for hire, accommodating from just a few people up to 200 seated theatre-style.
5.41pm - April 30

ONGAR: Town council cuts share of council tax bills while spending on town initiatives

A report on the civic year was given by Ongar Town Council chairman Kevin Piggott at the Annual Town Meeting when he highlighted the council's finances, and numerous council-supported projects across the town.

The town council's share of council tax bills for this financial year is at the same level as in 2014-15 following savings - and an overcharge by Epping Forest District Council last year, Mr Piggott said.

The council's share of bills for 2021-22 takes into account a seven per cent overcharge from last year while the council has also achieved savings of seven per cent.

Councillor Piggott spoke about the town council's 'Regenerating Ongar' initiative which had highlighted numerous issues which had been reported to Epping Forest District Council.

These included the "appalling" lack of maintenance in the town, including on pavements, kerbs and verges, overgrown vegetation and broken bollards.

Work on bollards along the High Street was undertaken by the district council's Highway Rangers team this week.

Other issues taken up with the district council include road sweeping, blocked drains, weed removal and grass cutting.

Projects which have benefited from town council funding in the past year including the Christmas lights, the flowers for the floral baskets along the High Street, and new equipment at the Shelley Park play area.

A long-term issue is the need - in ten to 20 years time - for a new town cemetery with work having started to identify a site and with the council starting to set aside funding.

Additionally, the council - which owns 121 street lights around the Parish - is working on a phased project to replace the lights with LED versions which will be cheaper to run.
5.05pm - April 30

Four fire crews tackling blaze in outbuildings

Four fire crews - from Loughton, Waltham Abbey, Woodford and Epping - remain on the scene of a fire affecting three outbuildings off Englands Lane, Loughton.

Firefighters were called at 2.55pm and arrived to find three single-storey structures alight.

Crews had to establish a water supply to the remote location.


(Photo: Albie Cornwall)
1.14pm - April 30

Man robbed in McDonald's drive-thru queue

A man was robbed of his watch when he was threatened with a knife while he queued at the McDonald's drive-thru at the Highbridge Retail Park in Waltham Abbey.

Police say the victim was approached by another man on foot at about  9pm on Thursday, April 15.

The man threatened the driver through his car window with what is believed to be a knife and stole his watch.

The man is described as white, aged in his early 20s and about 6ft tall. 

He was wearing a yellow high-vis jacket over a hooded jacket with a face covering, ski mask and blue cycling helmet.

He is believed to have fled towards Waltham Cross.

Anyone who may know the robber or saw the incident, or anyone who may have dash cam footage from the time, is asked to contact police on 101 quoting crime reference 42/69035/21.

Information can also be submitted online at https://www.essex.police.uk or via the 'Live Chat' button to speak to an online operator between 7am-11pm.

To submit information anonymously, ring Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
4.27pm - April 29

NORTH WEALD: Parish council news round-up (April 26 meeting)

HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

North Weald Bassett Parish Council held a minute's silence as a mark of respect to HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at the start of Monday's council meeting.
The council has written to His Royal Highness's Private Secretary expressing the "deep condolences" of the council and North Weald Bassett Parish residents.


Barriers at The Parish Hall, Thornwood

Barriers are being installed at the entrance to The Parish Hall, Thornwood, by North Weald Bassett Parish Council, following an increase in anti-social behaviour surrounding the hall and in the car park.
Councillors have approved spending £5,463 on barriers and their installation.


Community events

North Weald Bassett Parish Council is planning three community events - in North Weald, Hastingwood and Thornwood - to highlight the work of the council over the past year.
The events would replace the usual Annual Parish Assembly - which has been cancelled because of COVID-19 - and give the council the opportunity to highlight ongoing matters in the Parish such as North Weald Airfield and the Inland Border Facility.
The council is looking to hold the events, which could include its Citizen of the Year awards, in October.


Flagpoles

North Weald Bassett Parish Council is to purchase a flagpole for The Parish Hall at Thornwood Common and to offer to purchase one for Hastingwood Village Hall.

Hall feasibility study

North Weald Bassett Parish Council is to undertake a feasibility study on The Parish Hall at Thornwood Common as it starts to debate its future and maintenance requirements - and looks to attract new hirers into the building.
1.32pm - April 29

ONGAR: Town council planning and environment committee (Tuesday, May 4)

Three planning applications will be considered by Ongar Town Council's planning and environment committee which is being held via Zoom at 8pm on Tuesday, May 4.

The applications are:

* 135-137 High Street - repairs to front elevations replacing existing white wood panels with weather boarding

* land adjacent to 8 Cripsey Avenue Ongar - single dwelling house

* 22 Walter Mead Close - single-storey front extension.

The Zoom details to join the meeting are: 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3629535707?pwd=RVltblQzTkl1S0JySHdNU3NFQjdzdz09

Meeting ID: 362 953 5707
Passcode: 3ex0ju
10.07am - April 29

EPPING: Town council to return to face-to-face meetings

Epping Town Council is set to return to 'face-to-face' council meetings in May and June - with the situation to be monitored in accordance with any changing government guidance.

The decision was taken by councillors at Tuesday's council meeting which was told that Government regulations state that virtual meetings should end from May 7.

A meeting of the planning and general purposes committee - will be held on Tuesday, May 11 (6.30pm).

The Annual Council Meeting - which includes the election of a Town Mayor for the new civic year - will be held on Tuesday, May 18 (7.30pm).

The June council meeting - which will be preceded by a planning and general purposes committee meeting - will be held on Tuesday, June 8 (7.30pm; planning at 6.30pm).

The meetings will take place in the main hall at Epping Hall where social distancing can be maintained.
5.16pm - April 28

HIGH BEACH: Uncertain future for church following introduction of Red Route parking restrictions

The Church of the Holy Innocents at High Beach is facing an uncertain future if parking issues which have arisen with the introduction of 'Red Route' red line restrictions are not resolved.

The church fears that without sufficient parking it will "not be viable".

A bride-to-be has already received a fine for parking outside the church for her wedding rehearsal while some church members are reluctant to travel to services if they may be unable to park.

Some of the red lines have been removed, but parking continues to be an issue.

Church spokesman Jane Begley told Everything Epping Forest: "Without parking facilities, as a church we will not be viable and it will be impossible for us to hold services - such as weddings and funerals - teas, concerts, quiet days and other events.

"We are the first rural area to have urban double red lines imposed on us.

"Whilst some of the red lines have been painted out around the church, that does not give people visiting the church priority in parking.

"Very early on Sunday mornings we are putting out bollards linked by bunting all along the areas without red lines and then some of our church members patrol the area and ask the public if they would mind parking elsewhere as we have people wanting to attend services.

"Our congregation is a gathered congregation with people travelling from Woodford, Chingford, Loughton, Epping, North Weald and Ongar, and at the moment some of them are reluctant to come to services because if they cannot park there is no alternative but to go home which is frustrating and a waste of time.

"This has happened to several people already. We also had a bride who received a parking ticket while she was in church for her wedding rehearsal. Wedding couples are asking us about the parking issues and thinking of alternative venues.

"There is no public transport in the area and the only way of reaching the church is by private cars, bicycle or walking: the latter two of which are not practical for young families or older people.

"There is no easy solution but at present we are trying to deal with various bodies, including the City of London Corporation and North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) and getting nowhere very fast.

"There needs to be some joined-up thinking to reach a solution acceptable to all parties to ensure the church survives.

"We believe we give many people an opportunity of worship, of fellowship and a chance to enjoy God’s creation by the services and events we run, but that will be lost if we cannot resolve the parking issues."

A North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) spokesman said: “NEPP continues to meet with local representatives and stakeholders, including the church, and the outcomes will help to inform the eventual design of the parking scheme in the future.

"The temporary nature of the initial restrictions was limited due to the emergency regulations under which they were introduced.

"A future scheme will be able to consider the needs of all road users and different types of parking needs beyond the pandemic.”
4.11pm - April 27

WALTHAM ABBEY: Views sought over 'community and cultural hub'

Epping Forest District Council is working in partnership with Essex County Council to combine the Epping Forest District Museum and library buildings in Sun Street in Waltham Abbey.

The new facility will include attractions and spaces for early years, improved access to local heritage, spaces and services to support health and wellbeing, spaces to socialise, and an offer for all age groups to access leisure, learning, culture and the arts

A district council spokesman said: "We want this new Community and Cultural Hub to become the 'go to place' for local residents, helping to support the regeneration of Waltham Abbey town centre through new and additional footfall to Sun Street.

To give your views on the new facility, complete the online survey
HERE before Friday, May 21.
3.13pm - April 27

EXCLUSIVE:  Police divers carry out further search of forest pond following discovery of teenager's body three weeks ago

PICTURES

Police divers have carried out a further search of Wake Valley Pond in Epping Forest looking for further evidence in the case of missing London student Richard Okorogheye.

The body of the 19-year-old student was found in the pond off Epping New Road 22 days ago.

A Metropolitan Police Service diving team spent several hours at the pond today looking for anything that could be linked to the case.

Richard's body was found in the pond on Monday, April 5 - 13 days after he left his home in Ladbroke Grove, west London.

A search in Epping Forest was launched on March 31 after it emerged that Richard had made a taxi journey to Loughton on the night he left home.

He was dropped off in Smarts Lane at about 12.30am on Tuesday, March 23.

One of the diving team officers - speaking to Everything Epping Forest at the scene as the officers packed up at the end of the search at about 1pm - said they had been looking for any potential evidence that had been missed during the initial search.

He said nothing had been found.

Yesterday the Independent Office for Police Conduct confirmed it is investigating complaints by Richard Okorogheye’s mother about the way the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) handled reports that her son was missing.

The IOPC said its investigation began after a mandatory referral was received from the MPS on April 7.

The statement added that during a meeting with Richard's mother on Friday, April 16, IOPC investigators were told that she wished to complain about the way in which she was initially treated by the police and how her reports about the disappearance of her son were handled. 

The IOPC said its investigation will address these complaints and examine the Met’s overall handling of the missing person report.
7.52am - April 27

NAZEING: Nazeing Glassworks site redevelopment plans rejected

Outline plans to redevelop the Nazeing Glassworks site with a mixed use development including up to 230 homes as well as retail and office space, private and public open space, play space and parking have been rejected by district councillors by 10 votes to 5.

The residential element of the development would see 86 one-bedroom apartments and 144 two-bedroom apartments with 20 per cent of the properties 'affordable'.

The development would feature seven buildings ranging in height between three and five storeys.

Nazeing resident Sue Clarke told Monday's Epping Forest District Council district development management committee meeting the number of homes proposed was almost double the quota for Nazeing in the Emerging Local Plan.

She said the development would affect everyone in Lower Nazeing and those travelling to and from Broxbourne.

She added such a development would have a negative impact on local amenities and was contrary to a "whole raft of local and national policies".

Nazeing Parish Council vice-chairman David Joslin told the meeting the parish council supported the proposals and said the developer had actively involved the council and local community throughout the planning process.

He said: "The site is seriously rundown and in decline."

Mr Joslin added the development would secure the viability of the site "for long into the future" and highlighted no objections had been raised by the statutory consultees.

Mr Joslin added the site is within the Lea Valley Regional Park area - and the authority had not objected - "which arguably shows the quality of the proposed scheme."

He concluded the development would bring a "huge number of benefits to the community".
Councillor Chris Pond said the proposals would "regularise an industrial site" but added the site "is allocated purely for employment uses in the Emerging Local Plan".

Nazeing councillor Richard Bassett said: "It is still only an outline application and can be heavily amended before a full application is submitted to meet the officers' requirements."

He said the scheme would "help solve some of our housing problems" and local employment issues.

District council planning officer Andrew Marx, in reply to councillor Bassett, said only the appearance - materials, windows - of the development could be changed after any outline consent is given.

Councillor John Philip said: "There are a lot of good reasons why we should not be giving approval for this. I don't think there is anything that moves this from a very clear recommendation from the officers (to refuse permission) to move it towards even considering granting it. 

"This (the proposal) goes against almost everything in the Local Plan and we should not be granting it."

Councillor Simon Heap questioned whether anyone would want to take over the site for employment use. He said: "We could be missing a good thing here."

Councillor Heather Brady said: "We have a Local Plan for a good reason. We all contributed towards it. We employ experts for a very good reason and we should listen to them.

"It's very easy to put your heart on your sleeve and think it's a good place for housing..."

A planning officer's report presented to the meeting stated the development would provide benefits with up to 230 homes (with up to 46 'affordable' homes), construction work, new customers for services and facilities, a general improvement in the site’s appearance and a contribution of £55,000 to Epping Forest Community Transport.

The money would allow a local bus service to be increased from a one-hour service to a half-hour service during peak hours for five years.

Additionally, £331,000 is proposed for pedestrian access improvements to connect with the Lee Valley Walk and the Lee Valley Pathway.

The report added the benefits of the proposed development "are weighed against the adverse impacts of the development" - that it would result in the loss of designated employment floorspace for which there is strong market demand, and that the level of provision proposed is compromised by the lack of detail provided to satisfy the council a "high quality and true mixed-use scheme" will be delivered.

The report concluded: "The proposal therefore fails to meet a key need for employment within the district (and) will result in an increase in annual average daily traffic compared to the existing uses on the site.

"It is also above the amount and type of development proposed for allocation within the emerging Local Plan.

"The proposed development fails to deliver the necessary infrastructure to make the development acceptable."
6.01pm - April 26

EPPING FOREST: Investigation underway into way police handled case of missing student

An investigation into the case of Richard Okorogheye whose body was found in Epping Forest will look into whether police "responded appropriately" to the concerns that he was missing, and "whether Richard’s or his mother’s ethnicity played a part in the way the initial reports of his disappearance were handled”.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating complaints by Richard's mother about the way the Metropolitan Police Service handled reports that her son was missing.

Richard, 19, was reported missing from Ladbroke Grove, west London, by his mother, Ms Evidence Joel, on Tuesday, March 23. She made further calls to the MPS the following day.

Mr Okorogheye’s body was discovered in Wake Valley Pond, off Epping New Road, on Monday, April 5.

A post-mortem was conducted on Wednesday, April 7. 

The Independent Office for Police Conduct has said its investigation began after a mandatory referral was received from the MPS on April 7.

On Friday, April 16, IOPC investigators met with Ms Joel when she informed investigators she wished to complain about the way in which she was initially treated by the police and how her reports about the disappearance of her son were handled. 

The IPOC investigation will address these complaints and examine the Met’s overall handling of the missing person report, a statement said.

IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem said: “Our thoughts are with Richard’s family and friends and all those affected by this tragic loss. We have spoken to his family and explained our role.

“Our investigation will establish whether the police responded appropriately to the concerns raised that Richard was missing.

“We will examine whether the force appropriately risk assessed those reports, and if the amount of resources the Metropolitan Police dedicated to its enquiries were suitable based on the information known by the police and the risks posed.

“As there is a mandatory requirement for police forces to refer to us incidents which result in a death or serious injury, we will examine the actions and decisions of the police when dealing with the missing person report made in respect of a vulnerable young man.

“We will also consider whether Richard’s or his mother’s ethnicity played a part in the way the initial reports of his disappearance were handled.”
4.12pm - April 26

EPPING: Work to widen pavements to start this week

Wider pavements along parts of the High Street and more planters, bike racks and outdoor seating are to be installed in Epping in a move to "tidy up the High Street while improving opportunities for social distancing".

The work, which will see the orange barriers removed, will start this week.

Local contractor WH Construction has been appointed by Epping Forest District Council to undertake the work and replace the temporary pavement widening with a "more professional and appropriate finish".

The work, scheduled around the Monday market, is expected to last two to three weeks.

A council spokesman said: "There will inevitably be some disruption at times during the construction works but we will aim to keep residents, shoppers and businesses informed throughout the process and minimise disruption.

"Works will be completed between markets and we hope local people will bear with us as we work to remove the unsightly rows of orange barriers - a short-term solution to encourage social distancing at the beginning of lockdown - with proper, level-access pavements."

The council says the changes are "time limited" and expected to last 12 to 18 months.

There are three main sections to be widened, outside M&S, outside McColls / the Post Office and outside Barclays Bank.

A council spokesman added: "These works will ensure the High Street can operate safely, restore local confidence and help keep our residents safe."
7.04pm - April 24

BUCKHURST HILL: 'I'm A Celebrity' winner cuts ribbon to officially open new flower shop

PICTURES

A new flower and event shop has opened in Queens Road, Buckhurst Hill - with the ribbon cutting performed by actor, television presenter and 'I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!' winner Christopher Biggins.

Ricky Paul Flowers - at Unit 3, 158 Queens Road - offers a wide range of floral services, including wedding and event designs.

Biggins, who won ITV's 'I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!' in 2007, is probably best known for his roles in the television comedy programmes 'Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?' and 'Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em'.

He joined shop staff for a socially-distanced official opening on Saturday (April 24).

He said: "Ricky has been doing flowers for me for years and years and years and he's brilliant, just wonderful. I'm sure he's going to do really well here and it's going to be a fantastic asset to the area."

The creative flowers company prides itself on designs for the wedding and events industry and house parties.

Ricky Paul Flowers also specialises in flower bouquets and provides a free local delivery service.

Since the company was formed more than ten years ago it has appeared on national television on numerous occasions.

Its array of designs can feature floral sculptures ranging from giant poodles and elephants to hot air balloons which have been featured on ITV's 'Lorraine' programme as well as on shows on Channel 4 and Sky One.

Creative director Ricky Jackson said: "Over the past year we saw all our events stop due to the pandemic and decided to relocate the business to temporary premises in Westbury Lane.

"We were so thrilled we did. We had so much interest from local residents over the festive period that we decided we wanted a permanent shop in the area and now six months on we are thrilled to be opening our new shop in Queens Road.

"We feel the pandemic has really highlighted the importance of having local traders and being based in Buckhurst Hill with its mix of well-established traders and good connections with Loughton and Chigwell places us in an accessible location to offer clients our fabulous florals in our unique, glamorous and theatrical style."

Christopher Biggins co-hosted the ITV show 'Surprise Surprise' and appeared in the children's series Rentaghost for seven years from the late 1970s.

More recently, in 2014, he took part in 'Celebrity MasterChef' on BBC One, and five years ago spent nine days in the 'Celebrity Big Brother' house.

* You can find out more about Ricky Paul Flowers by visiting https://www.rickypaulflowers.co.uk/

Ricky Paul Flowers is also on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/rickypaulflowers/?hl=en and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RickyPaulFlowers
6.48pm - April 24

EPPING: Fourteenth person arrested over Wake Arms murder

A fourteenth person has been arrested in connection with the murder of Stephen Morrisson, 30, who was found seriously injured in Epping Road near the Wake Arms roundabout shortly before 8pm on June 23 last year.

A 24-year-old man, from Ruislip, was arrested in London on suspicion of murder on Wednesday and released on bail until May 18.

Of the 14 people arrested, seven have been released on bail and two have been released under investigation.

Five people face no further action at this time.
5.55pm - April 24

EPPING: Building work on St John's Road homes could start in January

A breakdown of the 186 'build to rent' homes proposed for the St John's Road site in Epping reveals a total of 265 bedrooms are included in the development.

The homes will be built in eight blocks.

A total of 53 'electric vehicle car parking spaces' are proposed.

Building work could start in January - and continue until June 2023.

All but two of the properties will be apartments - 114 one-bedroom (62%), 63 two-bedroom (34%) and seven three-bedroom (4%). 

The locally listed caretaker cottages will be refurbished to provide two two-bedroom houses. 

The application documents state: "The intention for this site is to bring forward a ‘build to rent’ development which will be owned and managed by a single operator."

More than 1,500 pages of reports and documents have been submitted as part of the planning application.

One of the documents states: "The proposal will include ancillary shared amenity space within both the Cookery School building and elsewhere on the ground floor of the development, which is expected to comprise shared workspace, residents lounge, play area, central delivery location, main reception, concierge and management suite."

Vehicle and pedestrian access would be from St John’s Road with additional pedestrian access from the High Street.

According to the documents, work on the site is scheduled to start on January 19 next year (and last until June 7, 2023) while work on the current Epping Sports Centre site would get underway on February 26, 2024 and continue until April 21, 2025.

The building work at the Civic Offices site is scheduled to run from May 16 next year until July 10, 2023.


Questions Everything Epping Forest has put to Qualis Group:

* What is the intended purpose of a 'residents' lounge'? Are some of the apartments to be 'sheltered housing' type accommodation?

*What is the 'shared workspace' to be used for?

* How many storeys are the proposed blocks (and how many apartments in each)?

* Who will be eligible to rent the properties? Will the tenants be solely from Epping Forest District Council's housing waiting list?

* What level of rent is envisaged given the need to cover the cost of ground maintenance, the concierge, residents' lounge, play area etc?

* Will tenants have to pay an annual service charge in addition to their rent?

* How will the 53 'electric vehicle parking spaces' be allocated when there are 186 homes on the site? 

* Where are the parking spaces located? How many parking areas are there across the development site?

* Is any provision being made - perhaps in the multi-storey car park - for 'overspill' residents' parking?
7.01pm - April 23

EPPING: Planning applications submitted for 272 homes on three town sites

A total of 272 homes - 245 apartments, 25 houses two converted cottages  - are detailed in full planning applications for three sites in Epping with 91 parking spaces proposed across all three sites.

The St John's Road site, the site of the Conder Building at the Civic Offices and the current Epping Sports Centre site have been under the spotlight for months since the latest proposals were drawn up and put out for public consultation.

Now full planning applications have been submitted.

St John's Road site:

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

A total of 53 parking spaces are included in the proposals.

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

Epping Sports Centre site:

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

Civic Offices site:

A total of 45 homes are earmarked for the site of the Conder Building on the Civic Offices site. The planning application proposes 29 apartments and 16 houses with 18 parking spaces. 
1.31pm - April 23

ONGAR: Town council approves Jubilee Park Pavilion balustrade plan

Ongar Town Council has granted 'landlord’s consent' to Ongar Community Sports Trust for a balustrade round the patio decking at the Jubilee Park Pavilion, Love Lane, Ongar.

The cost of the metal or wood balustrade will be met by the sports trust.
1.29pm - April 23

ONGAR: Town council supporting request for cross-hatching outside fire station

Ongar Town Council is supporting a request from Ongar Fire Station Watch Manager Stephen Mann for the area immediately outside the fire station to be cross-hatched to prevent traffic from blocking access.

The town council, which is awaiting a response from Essex County Council, could consider contributing towards the cost of the 'yellow box' in the High Street - if it is approved by Essex Highways.

Mr Mann told the town council: "Just lately Ongar has had temporary traffic lights and the traffic has been very problematic.

"Road users take no notice of a 'keep clear' sign but I do believe they will be less likely to block  fire/ambulance station access if the yellow hatching was across both carriageways. 

"Everyone remembers it is an offence for a vehicle to enter a hatched area unless the route is clear."
1.28pm - April 23

ONGAR: MP promises to take up broadband issues after town council highlighted slow internet speeds

Ongar Town Council is urging people to highlight issues over poor internet speed after the council raised the matter with MP Alex Burghart.

Thursday's town council meeting was told the Brentwood and Ongar MP wanted people to contact him with any broadband speed concerns, and he would raise the issue with Essex County Council.

Councillor Lawrence Mendoza told the meeting: "There are a large number of people who have very, very poor internet connection.

"Why is it that we can't have an infrastructure that works at a consistent level?"

Brentwood and Ongar MP Alex Burghart's email address is alex.burghart.mp@parliament.uk
12.26pm - April 23

ONGAR: Town council awards £1,000 grant to Ongar Music Club

A grant of £1,000 has been awarded by Ongar Town Council to Ongar Music Club towards the cost of its annual Essex Young Musician of the Year competition which is currently expected to be held online.
12.25pm - April 23

ONGAR: No decision taken over council meetings when online meetings end

No decision has yet been taken over how and when Ongar Town Council will meet from May 7 when the Government has said that online meetings must end and face-to-face council meetings resume.

Various potential venues - including the Budworth Hall and Jubilee Park Pavilion - were discussed at Thursday's council meeting.

Another option, suggested by locum town clerk Michael Letch, is that the council goes into recess - with time sensitive decisions taken under delegated powers - until August by which time the COVID-19 situation and any remaining restrictions could be clearer.

* Ongar Town Council will hold its Annual Council meeting via Zoom at 8pm on Thursday, May 6.
12.25pm - April 23

ONGAR: Town council to provide storage container for 3Food4U charity

A container for use by the 3Food4U charity to store non-perishable items is to be purchased by Ongar Town Council and sited at Jubilee Park, Love Lane, Ongar.

3Food4U will use the container for the foreseeable future.

When it is no longer required by the charity it will be offered to the Ongar Community Sports Trust which manages the Jubilee Park facilities.

Councillors at Thursday's town council meeting agreed to spend up to £2,000 on the purchase and siting of the container, subject to planning approval being granted.

3Food4U founder Pesh Kapasiawala told the meeting 3Food4U helps between 50 and 60 families at its weekly Ongar session at Zinc Arts.

He said: "We get huge amounts of donations and need huge amounts to support 300 families a week across the Epping Forest district. It would be tremendous to get some storage."

Council chairman councillor Kevin Piggott, who has volunteered at the Ongar location during 'lockdown', said: "It's a very worthy cause. It's surprising the number of people in Ongar who are using 3Food4U."
12.24pm - April 23

ONGAR: Town council holding Annual Town Meeting

Ongar Town Council is holding its Annual Town Meeting via Zoom at 8pm on Thursday, April 29.

Anyone who lives or works in Ongar is invited to attend.

The agenda includes the town council's annual report.

There will be an opportunity for anyone who lives or works in Ongar to put questions to the council, and representatives from local groups will be able to present short reports on their activities. 

To join the meeting, the Zoom details are:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88993353881?pwd=YVRhdW5IR0wxSDJ3UVlJMy9ZZ1RsZz09
Meeting ID: 889 9335 3881
Passcode: 741453
3.09pm - April 21

WALTHAM ABBEY: Three people arrested at truck stop for immigration offences

Three Ethiopian nationals - two men and a woman aged in their 30s - were arrested on suspicion of immigration offences after police received a report of people getting out of the back of a lorry at the Junction 26 Diner truck stop by the M25 at Waltham Abbey.

A number of police vehicles and ambulances were reported being seen at the location and on Honey Lane last night.

An Essex Police spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: "Officers attended and three Ethiopian nationals - two men and a woman all in their 30s - were arrested on suspicion of immigration offences and our enquiries are ongoing."

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 1006 of April 20).

Information can also be given via 101 or to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
2.44pm - April 21

WALTHAM ABBEY: Boy arrested over knife and fight

A 16-year-old boy has been released under investigation having been arrested after a youth made off from officers in the Hillhouse area of Waltham Abbey at about 8.40pm on Monday.

The local boy was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon - a knife - and taken into custody. 

He was later further arrested on suspicion of affray in relation to a fight reported at the same location at about 1.50pm last Sunday (April 18). 

The boy was released under investigation on Tuesday evening while  further enquiries are progressed.
5.58pm - April 20

DISTRICT: Walk-in first COVID-19 jabs available tomorrow only

A COVID-19 vaccination bus will be in the Tesco car park, Sewardstone Road, Waltham Abbey, between 9am and 2pm tomorrow (Wednesday) giving walk-in vaccinations to people aged 45 and above, those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and health and social care workers aged over 30.

The bus is only operating for one day. There is no need to book. 

People attending will need their NHS number (which can be found via the NHS website) and give their full name, date of birth and address. If people do not have an NHS number, they can still be vaccinated.
4.52pm - April 20

HIGH BEACH: Man jailed for 16 months after more than 500 cannabis plants found at house

A man has been jailed for 16 months after police officers found 571 cannabis plants growing inside a house at High Beach.

Officers executed a warrant under the Misuse of Drugs Act at the property in Mott Street on July 15 last year.

Nicolas Vizzini, 31, tried to escape out of the back door but was arrested before he could flee.

Cannabis plants in various stages of growth were found in the living areas and three bedrooms. The majority of the plants were in the basement where officers found 405 plants in seedling and early stages of growth.

Vizzini, of Mott Street, admitted producing cannabis when he appeared at Southend Magistrates’ Court on August 13. He was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court last Wednesday (April 14).

PC Charlotte O’Brien said: "The court heard Vizzini was brought by other people to the house to take care of the plants. 

"Sadly this is the reality behind the drugs trade. Criminals exploit people, especially those who are vulnerable, and employ them to grow or sell drugs on their behalf.

“The production and supply of drugs is also connected to a world of violence and intimidation.

“Cannabis cultivation is not a victimless crime and it’s why Essex Police is working every single day to target criminals involved in drugs supply and working to protect those they abuse and exploit.

"If you have information about drug dealing in your community, or are worried someone you know is being exploited, tell us so we can take appropriate action.”

Anyone with any information should contact police online or on 101, or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
4.36pm - April 20

LOUGHTON: Christian Aid Week

Collections for Christian Aid Week in Loughton (May 10-16) will be carried out virtually this year through the JustGiving website.

The Christian Aid group has been running in Loughton for decades with collaboration between the different Christian churches.

Last year Christian Aid in Loughton raised over £5,000.

This year, donations can be made online
HERE

Christian Aid is working with villages in Kenya to help them survive the effects of climate change and become sustainable.
8.05am - April 20

VOTE 2021: Woman branded "stupid" by For Britain Movement election canvasser who called at home during Royal funeral silence

A Waltham Abbey woman who challenged a For Britain Movement election canvasser for campaigning during the Royal funeral was branded "stupid" three times by the caller during the doorstep encounter.

The whole episode was captured on the woman's doorbell video.

When asked for a response to the incident, For Britain Movement candidate Pat Richardson told Everything Epping Forest: "If she was that engrossed in watching the funeral why did she answer the door..."

The woman was watching television coverage of the funeral of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on Saturday afternoon when the doorbell rang - during the national minute's silence at 3pm.

The woman was described as a "stupid woman" by the canvasser after she told him to 'take the leaflet away'.

The video shows the man, who was not wearing a face mask, on the doorstep.

When the woman answers the door, he says: "Good afternoon madam, sorry to disturb you."

When the woman said he was disturbing her because she was watching the funeral, and she told him to 'take the leaflet away', he replied: "Why, what is wrong with you?"

The canvasser for Waltham Abbey Honey Lane ward For Britain Movement candidate Pat Richardson can then be heard to say "stupid woman" as he walks off from the property in Ruskin Avenue.

The woman told Everything Epping Forest: "I think this is extremely rude and dreadful timing, and this so-called patriot showed no respect for the passing of our monarch's husband."

Mrs Richardson, replying to Everything Epping Forest's request for a statement about the incident, said: "After listening to the recording,  I am astounded at the aggressive attitude of the 'complainant'.

"If she was that engrossed in watching the funeral why did she answer the door, as she would have seen who it was on the doorbell.

"Prince Philip himself was no stranger to controversy and wouldn't have put standing upon ceremony above democracy and supporting this country. 

"She might think she was being patriotic but seems to lack interest in local matters."

* Four candidates are contesting the Waltham Abbey Honey Lane seat on Thursday, May 6. They are Robert Greyson (Labour), Steven Heather (Conservative), Liam Lakes (Green Party) and Pat Richardson (For Britain Movement).
7.19pm - April 19

CHIGWELL: New sports centre officially opened at West Hatch High School

PICTURES

A new sports centre at West Hatch High School, Chigwell, has been officially opened.

The building includes a four badminton court sports hall, sprung floor dance studio, classroom and state-of-the-art fitness suite.

The opening ceremony was performed by former headteacher Frances Howarth. 

The new building is named Howarth Hall.

Current headteacher Daniel Leonard described the completion of the sports centre project as "the final piece of the puzzle" as the school sought to increase its facilities to help accommodate its growing student numbers.

Having agreed to increase the school's pupil admission number by an additional 60 students per year from September 2018, Essex County Council funded additional facilities at the school, building a nine-classroom English and Languages block as well as additional Science, Music, Technology classrooms and an extended dining area.

Mr Leonard said: "The sports centre is the final piece of the puzzle and the school now has the capacity it needs to support the additional students in each year group."

He added: "The students and staff at West Hatch have had to deal with significant delays, having been promised its new facilities in May 2019. 

"We are delighted however to finally have been provided with outstanding facilities that the students will be able to enjoy for many years to come."

Mrs Howarth, who served at the school for 28 years, was headteacher for almost 20 years before she retired in 2017. 

She originally joined the High Road school as Head of Music and after four years left to become a local authority education advisor before returning as deputy headteacher in 1993. 

She was appointed headteacher in 1999. 

The opening of Howarth Hall was performed in the presence of Chair of Governors John Haley, members of the Governing Body, the school's Senior Team and other leaders, and Essex County Council School Effectiveness Partner Robin Harbord.

Mrs Howarth was passionate about sport and relentlessly explored avenues to build a sports centre at West Hatch. 

She said: "I feel very humble. It's something the school has wanted for so many years and it has been well worth waiting for.

"It's a wonderful facility that will give years of enjoyment to students and staff."

Mr Leonard said: "I am so proud of what we’ve achieved but also how well the students and staff have coped with the disruption and delays of the project. 

"We finally have facilities we can be truly proud of and are able to provide first-class sports, science, music and English rooms for our students. 

"We have been delighted to be able to take 60 more students from our community for each of the last three years with another 249 students joining us in September. 

"We will continue to work hard to build upon our existing capacity and strive to always provide our students with a first-class educational experience. 

"I’d like to thank the staff at Essex County Council for working with the school and providing us with such an amazing provision.

"I am also proud to be able to name the sports centre after such a passionate and dedicated headteacher, Frances Howarth, who did so much for our community during her long and distinguished tenure.”

The school's sports facilities - including the swimming pool, extensive courts and fields and the new sports centre including the dance studio - are available for hire by external clubs. 

For more details, email the school's finance office at finance@westhatch.net
1.00pm - April 19

DISTRICT: District council yet to secure any tenants for revamped Civic Offices 'Community Hub'

Epping Forest District Council is yet to secure any tenants for the revamped Civic Offices 'Community Hub' office space which is being made available to businesses, a council report reveals.

Space on the second floor of the Civic Offices continues to be marketed with the area available for viewing.

However a report to this month's council meeting states: "The marketing campaign for the second floor of the civic offices continues.

"There has been interest from a number of companies looking to establish or grow their operation into the building.

"The council has received offers however none of those have as yet matched the council’s commercial rental valuation."
12.58pm - April 17

WALTHAM ABBEY: Man remains in critical condition as police renew appeal

The man struck by a car in yesterday's hit-and-run collision in Farm Hill Road, Waltham Abbey, remains in a critical condition, police told Everything Epping Forest this morning.

Officers investigating the incident, which happened at about 10am, have renewed their appeal for information, telling Everything Epping Forest the car involved was being driven away from the town centre, towards Honey Lane when the collision happened.

The male pedestrian was taken to the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel.

A police spokesman said: "The car failed to stop at the scene and the pedestrian, a man in his 50s, has been taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries."

Officers want to speak to the driver of the car, a grey BMW 3 Series, which was found abandoned a short while later in Valley Close, off Crooked Mile.

Anyone who was in the area at the time and saw what happened or has dash cam footage is also asked to contact police 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 or call 101, quoting incident 309 of 16 April.

Information can also be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or https://crimestoppers-uk.org
5.52pm - April 16

ABRIDGE: Granddaughter appeals for return of nan's ashes stolen in burglary

A widower and his family are heartbroken after callous burglars stole his wife’s ashes during a burglary at a property in Abridge.

Thieves broke into 93-year-old Eric Doubleday’s home in London Road while he was asleep at about 5am on Sunday, April 11.

They stole a number of items including a mahogany wooden box containing his 91-year-old wife Doris’ ashes, with a plaque on the lid that reads ‘Doris Marie Doubleday 1930-2021’.

The couple’s granddaughter, Ella Terry, said: "My grandparents had been married for over 70 years.

"We only lost my nan in February this year so to now have had her ashes stolen is even more heart-breaking.

"The other items stolen were just material things.

"Obviously we would like to get everything back but if we could choose only one, it would be nan’s ashes.

"This has broken my grandad’s heart, along with all of us as a family.

"Not only are we still grieving her loss, we now have been left without her ashes.”

PC Thomas Tod said: "To do this to a family who are already grieving is devastating and cruel.

"We are progressing our enquiries and will do everything we can to bring people to justice.

"I urge anyone who saw or heard anything in the area at the time, or has any information, to please contact us.”

Anyone with any information should ring Loughton CID on 101 quoting reference 42/65250/21.

Information can also be given online or via the online 'Live Chat' button where you can speak to an online operator between 7am-11pm.

Information can also be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
5.38pm - April 16

WALTHAM ABBEY: Man suffers life-threatening injuries in hit-and-run

A man has been taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries following a hit-and-run incident in Farm Hill Road, Waltham Abbey.

Police say the pedestrian was struck by the car on Farm Hill Road at about 10am today.

A police spokesman said: "The car failed to stop at the scene and the pedestrian, a man in his 50s, has been taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Officers remain at the scene and the road is expected to remain closed until this evening.

Officers want to speak to the driver of the car, a grey BMW 3 Series, which was found abandoned a short while later in Valley Close.

Anyone who was in the area at the time and saw what happened or has dash cam footage is also asked to contact police 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 or call 101, quoting incident 309 of 16 April.

Information can also be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or https://crimestoppers-uk.org
1.52pm - April 16

NORTH WEALD: Plans to operate airfield market on Sundays

A planning application has been submitted to extend the current Saturday market on North Weald Airfield to Sundays, between 8am and 3pm.

The market currently operates on Saturdays and Bank Holiday Mondays.
9.10am - April 16

WALTHAM ABBEY: Dispersal order put in place after large group refused to leave area

A dispersal order was put in place last night to prevent anti-social behaviour from a large group which had gathered in the Sewardstone Road area of Waltham Abbey and were refusing to leave, police said.

The dispersal order gave officers the power to order people causing anti-social behaviour to leave the area. Breaching any direction given under the order is a criminal offence.

The order was in place from 11.15pm last night (Thursday) until 6am today (Friday) and covered an area including the whole of the A112 Sewardstone Road, Hayes Lane, Butlers Drive, Godwin Close, Mott Street and The Playing Field, Sewardstone Close.
7.17pm - April 15

THORNWOOD: Parish council lodges "strong" objection to storage area for 200-plus London taxis

A company's planning application to be allowed to continue to store more than 200 London taxis on Green Belt land in Thornwood has been unanimously opposed by the parish council.

North Weald Bassett Parish Council's planning committee has expressed strong views over the use of the land at Weald Park Farm, off Duck Lane, where the vehicles have already been parked for a year, tonight's meeting was told.

Documents submitted by GB Taxi Services to Epping Forest District Council as part of its retrospective planning application state that the company has some 212 vehicles on the land.

It adds that the taxis are not currently needed because of the downturn in the taxi trade during the COVID-19 pandemic.

GB Taxi Services director Paolo Bolognini states in the application documents that the company has a fleet of the iconic London ‘black taxis’ which are rented to London taxi drivers who have passed the ‘knowledge’ and prefer to rent rather than buy their own taxis.

He adds that until the coronavirus pandemic there was never an issue with storage of the vehicles as they were kept by the drivers and used as if they were their own vehicle.

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

However the parish council was told the vehicles have been on the site since April last year.

A supporting statement with the application 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 planning committee meeting was told many of the taxis are not roadworthy and many have had their catalytic converters stolen.

Sacha Taylor, who lives behind the storage site, told the parish council meeting: "It has been there for a year and I've been doing nothing other than trying to get them removed.

"Of course we are all sympathetic to the pandemic, but I can honestly say that over 50 per cent (of the taxis) are not roadworthy. 

"They are being stored there as scrapage and storage. They will not be back on the road.

"They have had catalytic converters stolen off them. They are not roadworthy. They are not ones that are going to be going back out onto the road."

She added: "It's green belt land. From every angle we can see just over 100 taxis. We have to protect the Green Belt land."

Councillor Terry Blanks said: "This is a totally inappropriate use of a farm, it's more like a field than a farm. 

"There are 200 older taxis parked there already. They started off (parked) relatively neat; some are clearly being repaired. 

"This is not a place to park old cabs." 

He added North Weald Airfield would be a "far more appropriate" place to park the vehicles than a farm.

Councillor Sheila Jackman called on the parish council to lodge a "strong" objection".

She said: "They (the taxis) have already been there for a year. They've been breaking the regulations.

"If it was to be given permission it's effectively giving permission for two years and I really don't think that's on."

Councillor Anne Grigg said: "It's simply inappropriate development in the Green Belt."
4.49pm - April 15

THEYDON GARNON: Police discover £2m 'chop shop' after tracking stolen vehicle

Police have discovered a 'chop shop' of stolen vehicle parts worth an estimated £2m after tracking a stolen vehicle to premises in Theydon Garnon.

As previously reported by Everything Epping Forest, two people were arrested for theft-related offences after a stolen vehicle was tracked in the early hours of Saturday.

Essex Police was notified of a Range Rover which had been recently stolen from Hertfordshire. 

Local Policing Team and Roads Policing Unit officers responded and tracked the vehicle to premises off Coopersale Lane. 

A 32-year-old woman, from Romford, and a 27-year-old man, from Dagenham, have been arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods and theft of a motor vehicle. 

The Range Rover was located along with a number of vehicle parts within and nearby the premises.

A full investigation was launched with support from the Stolen Vehicle Intelligence Unit, which is responsible for the vehicle examinations, Crime Scene Investigators and Loughton Criminal Investigation Department. 

Four other industrial premises "of interest" were identified nearby and warrants obtained and executed. 

Police officers finished their investigations at the location yesterday.

Vehicle parts of numerous makes and models have been found and work continues to identify the parts and their true owners. 

Early estimates puts the value of the suspected stolen goods recovered in the region of £2m.

The man and woman have been released on conditional bail while police continue their enquiries.
4.20pm - April 15

LOUGHTON: Man arrested after chase

A 20-year-old Loughton man has been released under investigation after being arrested by Epping Forest Police Community Safety Team officers following a short foot chase which ended near Greensted Road, Loughton, yesterday afternoon.

The man was arrested on suspicion of possessing a controlled drug with intent to supply and driving without insurance. 

He was later further arrested on suspicion of taking a vehicle without the owner's consent. 

The vehicle was recovered at the scene. 
6.54pm - April 14

NAZEING: Nazeing Glassworks redevelopment plans recommended for refusal

Outline plans to redevelop the Nazeing Glassworks site with a mixed use development including up to 230 homes as well as retail and office space, private and public open space, play space and parking are being recommended for refusal by district council planning officers.

The residential element of the development would see 86 one-bedroom apartments and 144 two-bedroom apartments with 20 per cent of the properties "affordable".

The development would feature seven buildings ranging in height between three and five storeys.

The application will be considered by the district development management committee on Monday, April 26.
6.07pm - April 14

WALTHAM ABBEY: Council rejects proposals for nine-hour music event

An application for a nine-hour outdoor music event for a maximum of 450 people at the Junction 26 Diner, off Honey Lane in Waltham Abbey has been refused permission on the grounds of public safety.

Essex Police objected to the application highlighting various concerns - including that the site was the venue for an unlicensed music event last August.

Hayley Rogerson applied to Epping Forest District Council's licensing sub-committee for a Temporary Event Notice for the event with live music, food and drink at the truck stop and restaurant at Skillet Hill Farm on Saturday, June 26, with the event running from 2pm until 11pm with food served between 4pm and 7pm.

However the application, considered by the sub-committee today, was refused on "public safety" grounds after Essex Police licensing officer Ronan McManus expressed concern over pedestrians and HGVs sharing the same entrance and exit, and the potential for people under the influence of alcohol wandering on the adjacent M25.

In a letter to the council, Mr McManus said Essex Police was objecting on the grounds of crime and disorder, public nuisance and public safety.

The objection referred to an unlicensed music event at the site on Sunday, August 30, last year when police reported 100 people present, dancing in the car park and signs of drug abuse.

The objection added: "The site is still being used by large goods vehicles with both pedestrian and vehicles sharing the same entrance and exit point with large vehicles in close proximity with people under the influence of alcohol at night.

"Given the number of people expected (450 - up to 499 with staff numbers included) Essex Police believe this is an unacceptable risk.

The police added the site is next to junction 26 of the M25, the site is not secure and there is a "real possibility" of people under the influence of alcohol making their way through the back of the site onto the motorway.

Mr McManus also noted there are no car parking facilities at the venue "therefore people attending will be forced to park their cars in the local vicinity thus causing nuisance and congestion to the community going about their lawful business" however the meeting was told there would be parking for between 80 and 100 cars.

In addition, Mr McManus stated in his letter: "The event organisers have given no consideration on how to get 450 people under the influence of alcohol safely away from the venue at 11pm."

He added the last bus from the location at 9.53pm and the nearest train station (Cheshunt) 5.5kms away."
5.12pm - April 14

DEBDEN: Travellers remain on Jessel Green despite having been told this morning to leave "immediately"

A group of more than 20 traveller caravans remained on Jessel Green, Debden, this afternoon despite having been told by Epping Forest District Council this morning to leave "immediately".

Council environmental enforcement officers and police were at the open space this morning issuing a letter to the travellers.

Copies of the letter were posted around the green.

It states: "The council require you to vacate the site immediately. If you do not leave the site, the council will consider seeking a possession order for the removal of any unauthorised occupiers and request that the police consider using powers to remove trespassers.

"If you move to another site within the district the council may seek an injunction if you continue to trespass on land and/or fail to comply with the Code (The Code for Travellers in Essex)."

A district council spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: "Epping Forest District Council is utilising all enforcement options available to the council to remove the travellers as soon as possible.

"This morning a possession order is being served and the council is working with legal advisors to seek the earliest possible court date to progress the eviction.

"We are also liaising with Essex Police on monitoring the situation."
9.06am - April 14

EPPING: Town council opposes Station Road flats

Plans to add a third storey to a building in Station Road, Epping, to enable a development of six one-bedroom flats are being opposed by the town council.

Councillors have objected saying the proposed development at Purlieu House at 11 Station Road is "overbearing" and "overdominant".

A planning application submitted to Epping Forest District Council is seeking consent to add a third floor and turn existing office space on the ground floor to retail use.

Existing undercroft parking for six vehicles would be retained with office space on the first floor and the flats on the second and newly-created third floor.

Councillor Barbara Scruton told Tuesday's planning and general purposes committee: "It's the first building you see when you walk up Station Road. Another storey will be so dominant."

She added: "It's in the conservation area and I just think it will have such a negative impact on the street scene and will have a loss of amenity to the properties around it."

Councillor Mari-Louise Whitbread said: "It's very attractive but very over-bearing, over tall, and although it would be handy for people to stay (living) local, it's over-development."

Town Mayor Grahame Scruton expressed concern over the increase in a "tunnelling effect" the additional storey would have along Station Road, and the impact the higher building would have on Honeysuckle Mews on the opposite corner of Hemnall Street and Station Road.

Councillor Christine Burgess said: "When these buildings are put up, surely the underpinning and things like that are put in place to support the building that's going up at the time.

"If you plonk another storey on top, they are going to have to do something about that."
Councillor Cherry McCredie asked: "Is this actually needed? Is it just over-development and we can live without it?"

Committee chairman Nigel Avey said: "When I saw this, I couldn't see the logic. Why would you do that to the building, it doesn't seem, to a lay person, to be the most sensible thing to do?

"I have concerns about parking, access has been mentioned as well. I just think it's overdominant."
6.46pm - April 13

EPPING: Town council holds minute's silence

Epping Town Council held a minute's silence following the passing of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at the start of tonight's planning and general purposes committee.

A tribute to His Royal Highness was read by committee chairman councillor Nigel Avey.
6.13pm - April 13

LOUGHTON: Churches holding services of commemoration

Special services of commemoration for HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh will take place at churches in Loughton on Friday (April 16).

Information on booking tickets for each service can be found on each church's website. 

St John’s, Loughton: 1.30pm, Requiem Mass; 6pm, Prayer Service.
Broadcast live on Facebook and YouTube. 

St Michael’s, Loughton: 11am, Commemoration Service

St Mary’s Loughton: 6pm, Commemoration Service
Premiered on YouTube from 9pm.
5.48pm - April 13

THEYDON GARNON: Two arrested after police track stolen vehicle

Two people have been arrested after police officers tracked a vehicle which had been reported as stolen to premises in Theydon Garnon - where they found a number of other vehicles and vehicle parts.

The vehicle, which had been reported as stolen, was tracked by officers to an address in Coopersale Lane at about 2.45am on Saturday.

At the address officers also found a number of other vehicles and parts.

A 27-year-old man, from Dagenham, and a 32-year-old woman, from Romford, were arrested on suspicion of theft of a vehicle and handling stolen goods.

They have both been released on bail until Thursday, May 6.

Anyone with any information can submit a report online at https://www.essex.police.uk or use the 'Live Chat' button to speak to an online operator between 7am and 11pm (quote the crime reference number 42/64098/21).

Information can also be given to police on 101 or via Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
2.44pm - April 13

LOUGHTON: "Outstanding" student and young carer receives Young Citizen of the Year award

A Sixth Form student at Roding Valley High School in Loughton has received Epping Forest District Council's 'COVID-19 recognition' Young Citizen of the Year award.

Patsy Stow, 17, was nominated by the school's Sixth Form administrator, Natalie Sellears, who described Patsy as an "outstanding" student.

Patsy is a young carer for her parents but has not let her caring responsibilities - which have included cooking, shopping and collecting medication - get in the way of her 'lockdown' A-Level studies.

Her nomination stated: "During the COVID-19 pandemic, Patsy has had to be extremely resilient and mature, taking on additional adult responsibilities to make sure her parents get the best care whilst recovering from Covid and shielding. 

"Her school recognises this and praises Patsy for keeping on top of school work and making time to support others at school during the uncertain times."

Ms Sellears, in nominating Patsy, added: "Patsy enjoys school and helping others. She has helped form a support club where pupils can attend and get reassurance and support."

Patsy said: "Through GCSEs and A-Levels my parents have been ill and I've needed to take the responsibility of being a young carer for them at times. I've been helping them at home as well as having to deal with some pretty intense situations. 

"I never considered myself a young carer as I was doing what came natural to me in trying to help in the best and only ways I could."

Two years ago, Patsy was among several Roding Valley students who helped launch a 'Wellbeing Wednesday' group in school.

Patsy said: "Any student can talk about their problems and stresses, no matter how big or small, casually with one of us and we give advice and or listen. 

"The project has been a great success and it has been great to be able to help people and get such a positive reaction."

A year ago Patsy painted a mural on the wall of the meeting place.

She said: "I think mental health is something that's really important and I wanted to show there are people who can help. 

Patsy is now working on a project to convert a school courtyard into a 'mindfulness garden' and a space where students can reconnect as a school community after such a long time apart during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I've been balancing this with my A-Levels for the last year. It's been a crazy time for everyone," she said.

Patsy, who has been at the Alderton Hill school since she started secondary school seven years ago, is also working towards her gold Duke of Edinburgh award and hopes to take part in an environmental project overseas. 

Speaking about the Young Citizen of the Year award, Patsy said: "It was so unexpected and a massive surprise when I found out that I'd even been nominated.

"I don't think I ever stopped to think that what I was doing was anything different from everyone else, but it's a real honour to be recognised."
1.33pm - April 13

ONGAR: Ongar Town Council meetings (Thursday, April 15)

Ongar Town Council's planning committee is meeting virtually at 7pm on Thursday (April 15).

The Zoom access details to join the meeting are:


https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86214954809?pwd=ZHNILzRua1ZJSUFkUUpzT0ZvZnZCUT09

Meeting ID: 862 1495 4809 Passcode: 041252

The planning applications to be considered are:

* 31-33 High Street, Ongar - single-storey rear extensions.
For more about the plan
ning application CLICK HERE

* 61 Fyfield Road Ongar - rear single-storey extension.
For more about the planning application
CLICK HERE
 
For the full agenda
CLICK HERE


_____

The April council meeting will be held on Thursday, April 15, at 8pm.

Members of the public are welcome to 'attend' the virtual meeting which will be held via Zoom.

The Zoom access details to join the meeting are:


https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82218974557?pwd=bFBEZ3BFTGVWbDlYYTdiQ3dTS0Fwdz09
Meeting ID: 822 1897 4557 Passcode: 144587

For the agenda
CLICK HERE
12.59pm - April 13

MP Dame Eleanor Laing pays tribute to HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing said: "It was with immense sadness that I heard of the passing of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh - a man who will be remembered for his duty to our country, his devotion to Her Majesty the Queen and his indomitable wit and enthusiasm.

"We have heard through the tributes from his children and the many other people who have had the honour to meet the Duke of Edinburgh, what a truly remarkable person he was.

"Yesterday in the House of Commons, tributes lasted for over seven hours. There were so many individual stories, so many amusing anecdotes, so much admiration.

"His words - and actions - have encouraged generations of people in every part of the United Kingdom, in the Commonwealth and, indeed, across the world.

"Our young people continue to benefit from the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme which instils leadership skills in young people and gives them the benefit of practical experiences.

"His own leadership skills have also been key to the success of many organisations in every part of the Commonwealth and in an immense variety of good causes.

"Through the many tributes paid in recent days, there has been an overwhelming sense of admiration for a unique man who will be greatly missed."
 
_____


Dame Eleanor's tribute to HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in the House of Commons
 
VIDEO: To watch Dame Eleanor pay tribute to HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in the House of Commons on Monday
CLICK HERE

Dame Eleanor said: "I have never forgotten the advice that Prince Philip gave me. I've never told anyone what the advice was and I'm not going to now but I've never forgotten the advice he gave me when as Chancellor of Edinburgh University he came to the Students' Ball and I was, as a very young and naive 21-year old, the union president.

"I had the privilege of spending a few hours that evening with Prince Philip and I vividly remember how unexpectedly kind, charming and absolutely inspiring he was.

"He, as many people have said, has made such a difference to the lives of so many young people. I was one of them, for which I am eternally grateful. He will be so greatly missed."
UPDATE 7.32pm - April 12

CHIGWELL: Man 'dragged into van' in kidnapping ordeal - police

Armed police were involved in the arrest of two men in Chigwell after a man is alleged to have been dragged into the back of a van in a "brazen" kidnapping in South Woodford.

Police are appealing for witnesses to the incident which happened yesterday afternoon.

The Metropolitan Police Service, in a statement issued this afternoon, said officers were called at about 3pm yesterday to Queen Mary Avenue, South Woodford, with reports that a man had been kidnapped.

Witnesses told police they had seen two men get out of a grey Ford transit van and drag a man into the back of the vehicle after punching him a number of times. 

A third suspect was also inside the van.

The van then drove off, closely followed by a black BMW – the driver of whom had been speaking with the victim moments before the arrival of the van.

Officers searched the area. 

The van was traced to the Chigwell area and subsequently stopped in Brook Parade, Chigwell. 

Three men left the van and ran off.

Police later arrested two men, aged in their 20s. They were later charged.

The victim, aged in his 30s, was recovered from the back of the van and taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Enquiries are ongoing to trace the third suspect in the van, as well as the driver of the BMW.

Detective Sergeant Sajid Asghar, from the Met's East Area Command Unit, said: “This was a brazen act on the part of the suspects; carried out in broad daylight while a number of shocked witnesses looked on. 

"Thankfully officers responded swiftly to get the victim to safety, and we are now appealing to the public to help us apprehend and bring to justice the dangerous individuals responsible.”

Anyone with information is asked to ring police on 101 quoting CAD3695/11Apr. Information can also be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
1.30pm - April 12

DISTRICT: The district comes out of hibernation on the 'Glorious Twelfth'

David Jackman reports...

Today could well be remembered as the 'Glorious Twelfth' - not the start of the grouse shooting season, in August, but the day some COVID-19 'lockdown' restrictions were lifted and a return to 'normal' began.

Epping High Street has the feeling of a town coming out of hibernation.

Wander along the High Street and the usual obstacles are back. Negotiating elderly shoppers pulling or pushing their shopping trolleys and small groups blocking the pavement to chat has not been an issue in the town since last December.

Many of the shops have been closed since before Christmas.

You can overhear conversations which start with phrases such as 'hello, haven't seen you for ages'.

Some people admit to their long-absent friends that it's the first time they've been out for ages - in many cases it could well be months - as non-essential shops and businesses reopen.

Epping Market - recently described by operator Epping Town Council as a 'key part of Epping life' is back in full swing.

At Chaps Barbers the constant clicking of scissors is interrupted by customers coming in eager to get their locks trimmed.

"Got an appointment?" is the often heard question as customers seek their first haircut for months.

The well-thumbed appointments pad - a list far longer than some of the hair being cut - is checked, and more names added.

One elderly gentleman proudly displaying his new 'post-lockdown' look, which includes a trimmed beard, asks the barber to take a picture so he can send it to his granddaughter.

Across the district, cafes with outside seating areas welcome their first seated clients for months.

Loughton High Road is also buzzing again as long-shut shops and cafes have reopened.

Pubs with specially-erected, marquee-type facilities are welcoming customers for their first outdoor pint for longer than the drinkers dare to remember.

In Ongar, a three-man queue is seen outside the Turkish barbers in the High Street.

There's a queue of cars at the hand car wash opposite the Two Brewers pub at the bottom of the town.

One social media post reported "35 cars" waiting for the hand car wash in Thornwood - surely an exaggeration?

But one thing is for sure, it will still be some time before any sort of 'normal' fully returns.

Epping Forest District Council - which today announced free parking in its pay-and-display car parks until Sunday - is urging people to take care and continue to follow the Hands, Face, Space rules, and only meet family and friends outside.

The council says COVID Ambassadors will be out and about in town centres across the district offering advice and support on COVID secure measures and helping businesses and shoppers understand the new rules.

Council officers will be working alongside local policing teams to engage, explain and encourage people to follow the guidance.

And there are words of warning from Dr Mike Gogarty, Essex County Council’s Director of Public Health. 

He said: "While infection rates will inevitably rise as restrictions ease, I urge everyone to be as careful as possible and not risk losing the freedom we are all looking forward to enjoying again."
6.17pm - April 11

CHIGWELL: Armed police incident: Two men arrested for kidnap and false imprisonment

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of kidnap and false imprisonment during an armed police incident in Chigwell.

The incident centered on the Brook Parade and High Road area with eyewitnesses reporting numerous police vehicles, including a dog unit, with the police helicopter overhead.

In a statement issued to Everything Epping Forest, a Metropolitan Police Service spokesman - who confirmed the involvement of armed officers - said: "Officers were dispatched to Brook Way, Chigwell, shortly before 4pm after a vehicle of interest was located in the area.

"Two men were arrested nearby on suspicion of kidnap and false imprisonment.

"They have been taken into custody at an east London police station."
2.43pm - April 11

ONGAR: Police break up "event" which breached COVID-19 restrictions

Police broke up a gathering which was in breach of COVID-19 restrictions after they were called to "an event" at premises in Ongar yesterday afternoon.

One eyewitness told Everything Epping Forest that more than 25 cars were parked on the roadside and at the property during the afternoon.

Music could be heard coming from a building.

Police officers attended the scene shortly before 5pm.

An Essex Police spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: "We received reports of a gathering in Stondon Road, Ongar, shortly after 2.35pm yesterday (Saturday).

"We arrived and found a number of people taking part in an event."

The spokesman added: "We engaged with the participants to explain the current coronavirus regulations which are in place and each member of the public present left the scene."
12.40pm - April 10

LOUGHTON: Take-away plan for vacant premises

A planning application has been submitted to Epping Forest District Council to turn vacant premises at 46 Pyrles Lane, Loughton, into an Indian take-away.
2.56pm - April 9

UPSHIRE: Man charged after more than 400 cannabis plants found at property

A man was due to appear in court today charged over the discovery of more than 400 cannabis plants at a property in Upshire.

In a statement issued to Everything Epping Forest this afternoon, an Essex Police spokesman said: "A man has been charged after cannabis plants were found at an address in Warlies, Upshire, on Wednesday, April 7.

"Approximately 437 plants were found.

"James Lewis, 39, of Broomfield Street, Poplar in London, has been charged with producing cannabis, possession of cannabis with intent to supply, and using electricity without authority."

He was due to appear at Colchester Magistrates’ Court today.
1.20pm - April 9

HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Local coverage following the death of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
HERE
6.04pm - April 8

DISTRICT: Council chief executive says London teenager's family are "in our hearts and prayers"

The chief executive of Epping Forest District Council has said the family of London teenager whose body was found in a pond in Epping Forest are "in our hearts and prayers".

Georgina Blakemore said she was speaking on behalf of councillors, council staff and local people as she expressed the "sorrow and condolences of the district" to the family of Richard Okorogheye.

She said: "It has been with great sadness that we have watched the tragedy of Richard Okorogheye’s disappearance unfold across our TV screens over the last few days. 

"We do not know what drew him from his home on the other side of London to our district but we have watched with foreboding as the search progressed.

"As a council, we work closely with our colleagues in Essex Police and also know the distress they will have felt at such a tragic outcome.

"Were it not for the pre-election rules which forbid the council from issuing statements directly from our councillors during this time, I know that all of our councillors and colleagues would want to express their sorrow and condolences to the family and friends of Richard.

"You are in our hearts and prayers."
5.26pm - April 8

EXCLUSIVE

UPSHIRE: "Large number" of cannabis plants found at property

Police activity which has been ongoing at a property in Upshire for two days follows the discovery of a "large number" of cannabis plants, Everything Epping Forest can reveal.

A man has been arrested in connection with the find and remains in police custody.

Everything Epping Forest was first alerted to a police presence at the property, off Horseshoe Hill, yesterday afternoon.

Comments posted on social media report a police helicopter hovering over the area in the early hours of yesterday morning, but it is not known if that is linked to the cannabis plants discovery.

A dog walker who contacted Everything Epping Forest yesterday afternoon said she had seen "three police vans and two police cars and police officers going in and out (of the property) with evidence bags".

This morning five police vehicles - including two forensics investigations vehicles - were parked on the access road leading to the Warlies Park Estate.

This afternoon, an Essex Police spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: "A section 23 Misuse of Drugs Act warrant was conducted at an address in Warlies, Upshire, on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 7.

"A large number of immature cannabis plants were found and are being removed.

"A 39-year-old man, from east London, was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in supplying a controlled drug, possession of drugs with intent to supply, abstracting electricity without authority and producing cannabis. He remains in custody for questioning."
4.49pm - April 8

EPPING: Market to fully reopen

Epping Town Council's Monday Market will reopen on Monday (April 12) for all its traders. 

Town Clerk Beverley Rumsey said: “We are delighted to welcome all our traders back on Monday. Some of them have been with us for many years and know their customers personally. They have been sincerely missed. 

"We are also delighted to see our High Street reopen more fully and would encourage people to observe all safety guidance as they enjoy the town.”
3.04pm - April 8

EPPING: Boy charged with various offences following police pursuit

A 17-year-old boy has been charged with numerous offences after a vehicle was stopped on Tower Road, Epping, by Community Safety Team officers on Tuesday, April 6.

The youth, from Epping, has been charged with failing to stop for police, dangerous driving, driving otherwise in accordance with a licence, driving without third party insurance, possession of an offensive weapon and failing to provide a specimen for analysis.

He has also been charged with offences allegedly committed on March 23 - failing to stop for police, dangerous driving, driving otherwise in accordance with a licence and driving without third party insurance.

The boy was remanded in custody by police and was due to appear at Colchester Magistrates' Court today (Thursday).

He remains on conditional bail in relation to two offences of drug possession with intent to supply, burglary (dwelling) and taking a motor vehicle without consent.
9.47am - April 8

WALTHAM ABBEY: Police objecting to nine-hour music event at truck stop

A proposed nine-hour outdoor music event for a maximum of 450 people at the Junction 26 Diner, off Honey Lane in Waltham Abbey, is being opposed by police.

Essex Police has lodged objections highlighting various concerns - including that the site was the venue for an unlicensed music event last August.

Hayley Rogerson is applying for a Temporary Event Notice from Epping Forest District Council to hold an outside music event with live music, food and drink at the truck stop and restaurant at Skillet Hill Farm on Saturday, June 26.

The event would run from 2pm until 11pm with food served between 4pm and 7pm.

Essex Police licensing officer Ronan McManus, in a letter to the council, states police are objecting on the grounds of crime and disorder, public nuisance and public safety.

The objection refers to an unlicensed music event at the site on Sunday, August 30, last year when police reported 100 people present, dancing in the car park and signs of drug abuse.

The objection adds: "The site is still being used by large goods vehicles with both pedestrian and vehicles sharing the same entrance and exit point with large vehicles in close proximity with people under the influence of alcohol at night.

"Given the number of people expected (450) Essex Police believe this is an unacceptable risk.

The police add the site is next to junction 26 of the M25, the site is not secure and there is a "real possibility" of people under the influence of alcohol making their way through the back of the site onto the motorway.

Mr McManus also notes there are no car parking facilities at the venue "therefore people attending will be forced to park their cars in the local vicinity thus causing nuisance and congestion to the community going about their lawful business". 

In addition he states: "The event organisers have given no consideration on how to get 450 people under the influence of alcohol safely away from the venue at 11pm."

He adds that the last bus from the location at 9.53pm and the nearest train station (Cheshunt) 5.5km away."

The application will be considered by the council's licensing sub-committee at 10am on Wednesday, April 14.
8.44pm - April 7

EPPING FOREST: Body found in pond is that of missing student

Police have said that the body found in a pond off Epping New Road on Monday afternoon has been formally identified as that of 19-year-old Richard Okorogheye.
Detectives say his death is being treated as "unexplained".

A statement added: "Police do not believe, at this stage, that there was any third-party involvement. 

"A forensic post mortem took place on Wednesday, April 7. The cause of death is pending whilst further investigations are carried out, however it found no evidence of physical trauma or assault."

His next of kin have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.

Richard went missing from his home in Ladbroke Grove, west London, on Monday, March 22, and was reported missing on Wednesday, March 24.

The statement, issued by the Metropolitan Police Service tonight, adds: "As a matter of routine, as Richard had been reported missing prior to the discovery of his body, a referral has been made to the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) and to the Independent Office for Police Conduct."

Detective Superintendent Danny Gosling, Head of the Met’s Central West Public Protection Unit, said: “My deepest sympathies go out to Richard’s family at this incredibly difficult time.

"This was not the outcome that any of us had hoped for and we will ensure that his grieving family are well supported by specially trained officers.

“I would like to extend my thanks to the many officers, staff and members of the public who have each played a part in the extensive effort to locate Richard.”

The investigation into the circumstances of Richard’s death is ongoing.

Specialist search teams remain in parts of Epping Forest, Loughton, as they continue to carry out further searches as part of the investigation.
3.51pm - April 7

EPPING: Teenager arrested following vehicle pursuit

A 17-year-old Epping boy has been arrested on suspicion of burglary, possession of an offensive weapon, possession with intent to supply class A drugs and failing to stop for police when directed after Epping Forest Police Community Safety Team officers stopped a vehicle in Tower Road, Epping, yesterday afternoon following a pursuit.
3.25pm - April 7

EPPING: Council to consider flats plan for Station Road

Plans to develop a property in Station Road, Epping, to create six flats will be considered by Epping Town Council on Tuesday.

A planning application has been submitted for Purlieu House, 11 Station Road, to add a storey to create six flats and change part of the ground floor from office to retail use. Undercroft parking and first-floor offices would be retained with the flats on the second and newly-created third floor.
6.43pm - April 6

EPPING FOREST: Body found in pond yet to be formally identified

The police officer leading the investigation into missing teenager Richard Okorogheye has said forensic, medical and specialist enquiries are ongoing following the discovery of a man's body in Epping Forest yesterday.

Police remain at the scene - at Wake Valley Pond off Epping New Road - this evening.

Superintendent Danny Gosling, reading a statement at New Scotland Yard this afternoon, said Richard's family have been updated on the situation with specially trained officers continuing to support them.

Formal identification of the body is yet to take place with a post mortem to take place "in due course".

He said: "This is an extensive enquiry and we are working tirelessly to establish the full circumstances. The forensic, medical and specialist enquiries are ongoing. As part of our investigation we remain in the area to carry out further searches.

"I would like to thank the public for supporting our search for Richard, sharing appeals, checking doorbell and dash cam footage and passing on any information. I continue to urge anyone with information to come forward.

"Lastly, I’d like to sincerely thank the public’s support and patience whilst we continue with our enquiries. I understand there are a number of questions and we are doing all we can to answer them."
2.58pm - April 6

WALTHAM ABBEY: 'Closure order' issued for flat

A property in Caneland Court in Waltham Abbey, which was the scene of an alleged serious assault last month has been closed down under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

A joint operation between Epping Forest District Council’s Community Resilience team and Essex Police led to the Closure Order being made by Chelmsford Magistrates last Thursday.

The flat’s tenant had been ‘cuckooed’ and is now being safeguarded.

A Closure Order of up to six months can be granted to restrict all access and address disorderly, offensive or criminal behaviour, serious nuisance to the public or disorder near the premises.

A council spokesman said: "This is an excellent example of teamwork between our Community Resilience Team, police officers based at our Council Hub and the wider Essex Police force. 

"A closure order allows us to quickly close premises being used, or likely to be used, to commit nuisance or disorder. 

"We acted swiftly to get the order made and it has already been posted on the property. This action should address the concerns of local residents and bring peace to the area.”

Sgt Neil Ross, part of the council's Community Safety team, said: "Epping Forest District Council officers worked closely with the Community Safety Team to secure the closure order.

"We understand the impact that visitors to this property have had on the local community and I now hope this will prevent further disturbance to local residents."

* Cuckooing is where a criminal gang targets the home of a vulnerable person to use it for drug dealing - in the way the cuckoo bird invades other birds’ nests. Victims are often left with little choice but to co-operate.
2.32pm - April 6

EPPING: Pub car park greengrocer's stall allowed to remain

A six-days-a-week greengrocer's stall has been given approval to continue trading from the car park of the Duke of Wellington pub in Epping High Street.

Epping Town Council objected to the street trading application from Kenny Summerson who had applied to Epping Forest Council's licensing sub-committee to continue to run his 'Fruits of the Forest' stall on Tuesdays to Fridays between 8am and 5pm, between 8am to 4pm on Saturdays and 8am to 2pm on Sundays selling fruit, vegetables, flowers, honey, eggs and local organic farm produce.

The town council said the stall was putting the entire Monday market at risk because of the competition it posed to the current fruit and vegetable stall.

But Mr Summerson does not operate on Mondays.

Mr Summerson, who addressed this morning's virtual meeting in a video call from the stall, said: "I've been out of work for some time. I'm a first class greengrocer, have worked numerous markets. I know my job very well and see an opportunity. I enquired in the pub to work."

He added: "I've set up a very good rapport with my customers and just want to work, supplying good gear. 

"Obviously there has been some objection but that's part and parcel of life. It (running the stall) gets me off the dole and gives me plenty of working opportunities.

"I'm not a threat to the market."

Councillor Holly Whitbread highlighted the level of support for the stall telling the meeting an online petition she set up backing the stall had received 1,200 signatures.

She said: "I think it's a brilliant asset to our high street particularly during the pandemic.

"When I heard about the town council objection I started a petition to show the level of support and asked the town council to revoke their objection."

She added: "Kenny has agreed not to trade on a Monday (market day) which is a good compromise and a good way forward.

"We should be supporting small business and enterprising individuals during a pandemic. He's a really popular addition to this town."

District council leader Chris Whitbread said: "I believe everyone respects the market. This is one single stall and brings an interest to our high street area. I've not received any objection from residents, only positive comments.

"I can't see any reason to object to it."

Epping Deputy Mayor councillor Michael Wright, speaking on behalf of the town council, questioned the petition's signatories and asked councillor Holly Whitbread how many were local.

He asked: "They all live in Epping, they all go to the market stall?"

Councillor Holly Whitbread replied: "A mixture of people supported the petition. A good healthy proportion (are) from Epping or the surrounding area."

Councillor Wright said Epping has been highlighted as one of the most sought after places to live and the town council remained committed to maitaining its history.

"A fruit and veg stall is a key leader in a market. When a fruit and veg trader is absent all other types of stalls suffer."

He added: "The market has been tested beyond anything that could be foreseen" by the pandemic.

He said it was still unclear whether all the traders would return.

He added Mr Summerson had started trading without consent and stated the current market greengrocery trader had said that if it became "not viable" to continue "if his trade does fall because of the additional competition" that he will leave the market.

Councillor Wright also highlighted that Mr Summerson does not only sell fruit and vegetables but also wants to sell flowers, eggs and local honey.

In reply to a question to sub-committee member councillor Steven Heather asking whether the brewery chain had approved the use of its car park for the stall, council licensing officer Debbie Houghton said the council had received a letter from the pub licensee allowing the use of the car park but no consent had been received from Punch Taverns which owns the pub.
8.24pm - April 5

EPPING FOREST: Body found in forest pond off Epping New Road

David Jackman reports...

The discovery of a man's body was made in a pond between the Wake Arms and Robin Hood roundabouts, off Epping New Road.

Numerous police vehicles, including Essex Police forensics units, were parked on the roadside with a large section of the forest secured with blue and white police tape.

Several police officers could be seen apparently standing guard alongside the tape which bordered the pond.

Everything Epping Forest also saw two police officers kneeling at the water's edge.

Several police vehicles were parked in a forest car park further along Epping New Road, closer to the Wake Arms roundabout, with members of the public prevented from driving into the car park by City of London Corporation Forest Constables.

The pond is about two miles from Smarts Lane in Loughton where Richard Okorogheye was captured on CCTV as he got out of a taxi in the early hours of Tuesday, March 23.

He was last seen walking towards Nursery Road and Epping Forest.

The search operation in Epping Forest, involving police and volunteer search and rescue teams, was in its sixth day having started in the Earls Path and Nursery Road area last Wednesday.

* Everything Epping Forest was alerted to today's significant police presence shortly after 3pm.
8.23pm - April 5

EPPING FOREST: Body found in forest pond

Detectives investigating the disappearance of teenager Richard Okorogheye have been made aware of the discovery of the body of a man in a pond in Epping Forest this afternoon.

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police Service tonight said it was informed by colleagues from Essex Police that the body of a man had been found in a pond in Epping Forest.

Enquiries are underway to identify the body.

The statement added: "Detectives investigating the disappearance of 19-year-old Richard Okorogheye are aware. Richard’s family are being supported by specially trained officers and kept updated with developments.

"Officers remain at the scene and enquiries continue." 
3.57pm - April 3

CHIGWELL: Man faces seven burglary charges

A man has been charged with seven burglaries after two men were arrested when Epping Forest Police Community Safety Team officers carried out a routine stop on a vehicle in Lambourne Road, Chigwell.

​Two men, aged 24 and 34, were arrested over numerous offences committed in London and Essex.

​The other man has been ​released on police bail pending further enquiries.
1.14pm - April 3

LOUGHTON: Volunteers scour forest land off Earls Path

London Search and Rescue volunteers have been in Epping Forest, off Earl's Path in Loughton, this morning as the search goes on for London teenager Richard Okorogheye at various locations across the forest. 

The search in Epping Forest began on Wednesday afternoon and was initially focused on areas off Smarts Lane - where Richard is now known to have got out of a taxi in the early hours of Tuesday, March 23 - and the Nursery Road and Earls Path areas.

Today Everything Epping Forest also spotted search activity off Baldwins Hill, Loughton, where a mounted police vehicle and search dogs van were parked.
9.01am - April 3

LOUGHTON: Police issue direct appeal to Richard as forest search continues

Detectives investigating the disappearance of 19-year-old Richard Okorogheye have issued a direct appeal to the university student as a fourth day of searches in Epping Forest gets underway.

Richard left his family home in Ladbroke Grove, Kensington, London, on the evening of Monday, March 22. 

He travelled by bus in west London before taking a taxi to Loughton where he was last seen, on CCTV, in the early hours of Tuesday, March 23, in Smarts Lane heading towards the area of Nursery Road. 

As a result of that sighting, officers from across the Met, supported by Essex Police, have been carrying out searches in nearby Epping Forest since Wednesday afternoon. 

So far, nothing of relevance to the investigation has been found. 

Further activity will resume this morning.

Detectives continue to keep an open mind about Richard’s whereabouts and are exploring all possible lines of enquiry, and are still appealing for anyone who believes they have seen Richard at any time since he went missing to come forward. 

Officers have also issued a new appeal, directly to Richard. 

Detective Superintendent Danny Gosling, Head of the Met’s Central West Public Protection Unit, said: “People can go missing from home for any of number of reasons. Our job is not to cast judgement but to work to find them and bring them home safely. 

“My message to Richard is clear. Our only concern is your safety. You are not in trouble and have done nothing wrong. If you read or hear this message we would ask you to contact us, or someone you trust, to let us know you are safe. Your loved ones and many other people who you do not even know, are very concerned.

“I would also like to thank the public for their continued support in sharing our appeals, checking doorbell and dash cam footage and passing on any information. 

"As our efforts to find Richard continue, the eyes and ears of ordinary members of the public will be essential tools in our search.”

Anyone who sees Richard should call 999 immediately.

Anyone with other information that could assist officers involved in the search should call 101 quoting 21MIS008134.
1.38pm - April 2

THEYDON BOIS: Motorcyclist suffers broken arm and collarbone in collision

Police are appealing for information following a road collision in Theydon Bois which left a motorcyclist with a broken arm and collarbone.

A white Toyota Hilux and a red and green Ducati 900 motorbike were in collision at the Abridge Road-Poplar Row junction shortly after 11.10am last Saturday (March 27).

The motorbike rider sustained various injuries including a broken arm and collarbone.

Anyone who saw anything, has any CCTV or dash cam footage, or any other 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 (quoting incident 359 of March 27).

Information can also be given on 101 or to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
8.36am - April 2

LOUGHTON: Police release CCTV footage of missing teenager

Detectives investigating the disappearance of Richard Okorogheye have released CCTV footage of his last known sighting as searches continue for the 19-year-old student.

A range of specialist search officers as well as colleagues from the dog unit and Mounted Branch continued their search in and around Epping Forest in Loughton yesterday and are back again today.

Police say Richard took a taxi from the W2 area of London to Smarts Lane in Loughton where he was captured on CCTV walking alone towards the area of Nursery Road and Epping Forest at 12.30am on Tuesday, March 23.

You can see the CCTV footage
HERE
8.21pm - April 1

HASTINGWOOD: Registration open for St Clare Hospice's Winter Walkies

Registration is open for St Clare Hospice's 5km Winter Walkies on Sunday, May 23, after the event was postponed from February. 

Organisers hope more than 200 walkers and their four-legged friends will take part. 

The hospice is again hosting its ‘Cutest Canine Competition’ with the charity calling on dog owners to enter their favourite photograph of their pet to win a hamper of doggy goodies and the chance to officially start the event. 

Voting will run from April 19-23 on the hospice’s Facebook and Instagram pages. 

All entries are due by noon on Friday, April 16. Entrants must have registered for Winter Walkies 2021 to be eligible for the competition.  

Registration costs £10 for adults, £5 for children and £27.50 for a family (two adults and two children) which includes free soup, dog rosette and certificates for children.

The route is not suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs. 

For more information and to register, ring Emma Broadbent on 01279 773754, email emma.broadbent@stclarehospice.org.uk or visit https://stclarehospice.org.uk/event/winter-walkies/ 
2.56pm - April 1

LOUGHTON: Woman sexually assaulted on Jessel Green

Police are investigating after it was reported to officers that a woman had been sexually assaulted on Jessel Green in Debden last night (Wednesday).

Police have confirmed to Everything Epping Forest that officers are investigating an incident which is reported to have happened between 9pm and 10pm.

A police spokesman said: "The incident took place off Colebrook Lane and was reported to us in the early hours of this morning.

"The victim is being safeguarded by specialist officers and we are making enquiries in order to progress the investigation."

An area of Jessel Green, between the play area off Colebrook Lane and Brady Avenue, has remained taped off all day with a police presence on all sides.

A forensics officer was on the scene this afternoon. 

Anyone with any information on the incident 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 and 11pm.

Information can also be given to police via 101, and quote incident number 94 of today (April 1).

Information can also be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or https://crimestoppers-uk.org.
12.21pm - April 1

Police continue search for missing London teenager

A police presence remains in Epping Forest today after officers and search volunteers launched a search in Loughton following the disappearance nine days ago of London teeenager Richard Okorogheye.

Richard, 19, a student at Oxford Brookes University, left his family home in the Ladbroke Grove area of Kensington on the evening of Monday, March 22. He was reported missing on Wednesday, March 24.

Initial police enquiries identified Richard leaving home and heading towards Ladbroke Grove, W10, at about 8.30pm on Monday, March 22.

It has also been confirmed that Richard was seen boarding the 23 bus southbound in Ladbroke Grove at 8.44pm. 

CCTV footage shows he was wearing all black and had a black satchel bag with a white ‘ADIDAS’ logo, worn across his lower back.

Further enquiries have established that Richard then took a taxi journey from the W2 area of London to Loughton, where he was captured on CCTV walking alone on Smarts Lane towards Epping Forest at 12.39am on Tuesday, March 23.

Police along with London and Essex SARs teams (Search and Rescue teams) started a search of the forest in the Earl's Path, Nursery Road, Smarts Lane and Shaftesbury area yesterday afternoon.

Several Metropolitan Police vehicles and a search dogs van remained in the area this morning.

Two stretches of police tape remain along Nursery Road but it is not known if these are related to the search.

Police have also been carrying out door- to-door enquiries.

Anyone with any information about Richard's whereabouts should ring 101 quoting 21MIS008134, or in an emergency ring 999.

 
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