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

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


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

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

For collection orders and more details, ring 07496 201191.

For the full menu and to order online 
CLICK HERE
CLICK IT LOCAL

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

For more details
CLICK HERE
Pixel Business Centre, Waltham Abbey

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


Website  Facebook
Oakland Care

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

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


Website  Instagram  Facebook
Campling Foods

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

Website  Facebook
Howe and Co
mobile fish and chips


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


Website Facebook Twitter 
Instagram
Forest Skin Clinic

Tel: 01992 276376
Email: info@forestskinclinic.com

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


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

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

Open for take-away food and drinks 11am-7pm Monday to Sunday.
It is hoped the beautiful forest gardens can be open again soon.
See 
Facebook for our chefs' weekly changing menu. 
Instagram Website
Haslers

Old Station Road, Loughton, IG10 4PL

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


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

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

A long established Epping-based architectural practice offering a cost-effective service to achieve planning permission and building regulations approval for a wide range of projects.
The company prides itself on offering an attentive and professional service.
Ring Paul on 07736 922863 to discuss requirements.
Website
ONGAR NEWS
3.29pm - December 29

A414: Man arrested after report of firearm seen near petrol station

A man remains in police custody this afternoon having been arrested after police officers responded to a report of a firearm being seen near to a petrol station on the A414 between Ongar and Chelmsford.

About a dozen officers along with marked and unmarked police vehicles were spotted at the scene on Greenbury Way - near the entrance to Hylands Park - this morning.

A police spokesman told Everything Epping Forest that officers were called 
shortly after 8am today (Wednesday).

The spokesman added: "A short time later a 62-year-old man, from Suffolk, was arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm. He remains in custody."
12.53pm - December 28

Staff accommodation plan for Vojan restaurant

A seven bedroom first-floor extension over the Vojan restaurant on Epping Road near Ongar is planned to provide accommodation for staff.

A planning application has been submitted for the development which would also include three bathrooms and an open plan kitchen / dining and living area.

A statement from MP Architects, submitted to Epping Forest District Council with the planning application, states: "The proposal is to construct a first-floor extension above the existing restaurant to create space for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) for the restaurant staff to live on site.

"There is existing pedestrian and vehicular access to the front of the site.

"The site is located within the Metropolitan Green Belt. 

"The extension will provide a good size HMO to accommodate restaurant staff as the staff are currently having to travel from east London to work at the restaurant.

"It is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain staff to run this successful and popular restaurant and there is a great need for staff accommodation.

"Currently there is a small flat at first floor level but this is inadequate to serve the amount of staff that the restaurant needs. 

"The amount to be built is a single-storey first floor extension, which will provide space for seven bedrooms, three bathrooms and an open plan kitchen/dining and living area."

The application will be considered by Moreton, Bobbingworth and The Lavers Parish Council before a decision is taken by Epping Forest District Council.
5.54pm - December 17

Ten flats planned for part of pub car park

Plans have been revealed for a development of ten flats in two blocks on part of the car park of The Stag pub, Ongar.

Six two-bedroom and four one-bedroom flats are proposed with six flats in a three-storey block fronting Brentwood Road, on the corner of Hunters Chase, and four flats in a two-storey block behind.

The development would reduce the number of spaces in the pub car park from 30 to 35 spaces to 16.

A document submitted by JAP Architects - as part of a planning application to Epping Forest District Council - states: "The large pub car park is significant by comparison to the size of the pub it serves. It covers an area currently providing parking for 30-35 cars, well exceeding the requirements of the pub."

It adds that the site "offers good potential for a modest residential development".

The document states: "An opportunity exists to enhance the site frontage and
create a scheme of small dwellings while, in parallel, retaining the public house asset, including an appropriately sized of car park.

"Given the desire to retain the public house with appropriate parking and gardens, a small, flatted development is considered most appropriate.

"Traditional housing, requiring family gardens and on-plot parking, is not considered viable as it would compromise the space required for the pub’s external areas and lead to more of an enclosed access arising from fenced segregation between the residential areas and the public house."

Access would be off the Hunters Chase turning.
2.03pm - December 17

Council freezes share of council tax bills for 2022-23

Ongar Town Council has voted to freeze its share of council tax for the next financial year with a Band D household equivalent of £103.76 for 2022-23.

The council's precept figure is £295,052 for 2022-23.

The council is building up funds for the long-term need for a new burial ground, and has almost £40,000 earmarked to improve leisure / play facilities when required.


Council makes grant to Ongar Town Festival

Ongar Town Council is to make a grant of £2,065 to the Ongar Town Festival to help meet the cost of the event scheduled for Sunday, May 1 next year.

The event will have a May Kings and Queens theme.

The council's contribution will cover the cost of various aspects of the event, including High Street decorations, cups and medals, and the hiring of portable toilets and rubbish skips.

Ongar Town Festival had requested £2,445 toward equipment and other costs associated with the event which was cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 lockdown.


Approval given for play area work

Ongar Town Council is to carry out repairs costing £35,853 plus VAT to the fencing and surfacing at the Love Lane recreation ground, with councillors having also voted to approve spending up to £11,600 on refurbishing the 'roundabout' in the play area.

Council gives its approval to floodlit netball court

Ongar Town Council has granted 'landlord's consent' for a floodlit netball court to be installed at Jubilee Park, Love Lane, Ongar.

A final decision will be taken by Epping Forest District Council.

Thursday's town council meeting heard that Ongar Netball had met at The Ongar Academy and has some 120 members aged from seven to 60.


Go-ahead for new roof at former council offices

Ongar Town Council is to replace the roof at the former council offices in Love Lane, Ongar.

The council had received a quote for a slate roof of £11,350 but councillors were told at Thursday's meeting that the cost had now increased to £14,025.
7.50pm - December 9

New lights added to town's festive display

Holly and berry design festive lights displays have been fixed to lampposts in Ongar High Street as part of new Christmas displays this year.

Ongar Town Forum has spent over £6,500 on the new fittings which will bring festive colour to the town for years to come.

Permission had to be sought from the highways authority before the lights could be installed.

Fundraising efforts this year have seen Epping Forest District Council and Ongar Town Council contribute £4,000 while over £2,700 was raised through an online Crowdfunding page organised by Kelly Stone (Anything Ongar).

Collection tins and collection buckets around the town added a further £1,100.

Ongar Town Forum chairman Martyn Pattie said: "We hope everyone who walks or drives through the town will agree that the festive lights this year are better than ever.

"Our thanks go to everyone who helped with the fundraising efforts, who gave donations - and the volunteers who helped put up the lights."

Special thanks go to the following businesses for their financial support:

Phillip W Keen Ltd (tree sponsor, £500), Arbon & Miller estate agents - behalf of Ongar Town FC (£500), John Sear (£250), Just Gents barbers (£250), Delimores (£150), Ruby Roofing Essex & London Ltd (£150), Balgores Hayes (£150), amorae bridal shop (£100), Choice Recruitment Services (£100), Aspire Educational Psychology Services (£100), J.T.Flooring (£100),  Cheries Boutique (£100), Krazy Kidz (£100), Nerissa & Claires (£50), Oaklands Home Improvements (£50), Sophie Bowyer Hairdressers (£50), Cheryl Fry DIY Store (£50), Boatmans opticians (£50).  

Ongar Town Forum also thanks Paul and Helen Mitchell, Alex Smith, Jon Stone, Ian Cracknell, Amanda Furness, Lee Saunders, Lee Bolden, Nick Allen, Ongar Fire Station, Lara Savill and staff at The Stag pub (for helping to put up the lights), The Kings Head (for hosting a quiz night), Tracey Fuller, Jo Ince and Isabella Garner (who helped with the raffle stall at the Christmas Farmers Market and Craft Market), Darren from Fourteen Studio for the large street signs, Ongar Round Table (for their sleigh), the Ongar businesses that donated prizes, and Kelly Stone (Kelly Designs and Anything Ongar) for providing artwork and assisting with advertising the lights switch-on event.

To make a donation towards the cost of additional lights for next year
CLICK HERE
3.46pm - December 8

Cyclist Mark Cavendish assaulted and wife threatened in armed raid at family home

PICTURES

Detectives are investigating a "targeted" armed raid at the home of Olympic cyclist Mark Cavendish during which the Tour de France legend was assaulted and his wife was threatened, Everything Epping Forest can reveal.

The couple's children witnessed the raid and "feared for their lives", Mr Cavendish has said.

Police have said that four men got into the family's home in the Ongar area in the early hours of Saturday, November 27. Police were called at 2.35am.

A police spokesman told Everything Epping Forest that the group assaulted Mr Cavendish and threatened his wife, Peta. 

The couple’s children were also in the house at the time and witnessed the events.

None of the family sustained serious injuries but were left "incredibly shaken" by the incident, the police spokesman added.

The men stole a Luis Vuitton suitcase and two high-value watches.

Police are progressing their enquiries.

No arrests have been made at this stage.

Detective Inspector Tony Atkin, who is the senior investigating officer on the case, said: “This was undoubtedly a targeted incident at the home of a celebrated British Olympian, who at the time was recovering from significant injuries resulting from a crash whilst competing, which was well publicised. 

"Our investigation is moving along at pace and we are following a number of lines of inquiry as we seek to catch those responsible. 

“Mr Cavendish was assaulted and his wife threatened in their own home, in the presence of their young children, who witnessed these events. Thankfully, they are recovering, but the traumatic effect will be long standing.

“Today, we are releasing images of the people captured on CCTV fleeing the scene and we would urge anyone who recognises them to get in contact with us immediately. 

“We are also releasing images of the suitcase and two watches which were stolen during the incident.

“It is likely the people who stole these items are attempting to offload them for sizeable sums of money and I would urge anyone who is being offered these items to please get in touch with us - they are stolen property.

“If you have been offered these items, please contact us immediately.”

“We know an incident such as this will naturally cause a lot of concern within the community.

“There will continue to be a visible policing presence in the area as our investigations progress in the coming days.”  

In a statement, Mr Cavendish said: “As I’m sure you will understand, this incident has left our family extremely distressed – not just myself and Peta but our children as well, who feared for their lives and are now struggling with the after-effects. 

"No one should have to experience the sort of violence and threats made against us, let alone this happening in a family home – a place where everyone should feel safe.

“The items taken are simply material goods and our priority at the moment is to make sure we all recover from the incident as a family, and we know this is likely to take some time.

“We would like to place on record our thanks to Essex Police for a really quick response and the professionalism and the focus they are clearly putting into the investigation.”

Anyone who was in the Ongar area between 2am and 2.40am on November 27 and saw anybody acting suspiciously, or has any information that could help with the police investigation, is asked to contact Loughton CID quoting reference 42/275184/21.

Information can be reported online at https://www.essex.police.uk or by using the 'Live Chat' button to speak to an online operator between 7am and 11pm.

Alternatively, ring 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit https://crimestoppers-uk.org.

The incident happened six days after Cavendish sustained two broken ribs and a collapsed lung in a crash during the Madison race at the Six Days of Ghent event.

During this year's Tour de France, Cavendish, 36, equaled the record for the number of stage wins with the 34th stage victory of his career as he won four of this year's stages.

Yesterday it was announced that Cavendish will remain with the Deceuninck – Quick-Step team for one more season.

Having previously ridden for the team from 2013 to 2015, the year started with victory for Cavendish in stage 2 of the Tour of Turkey, where he would go on to rack up three more victories. 

This was followed by a win on the final stage of the Belgium Tour, before his record-equaling achievements at the Tour de France.
2.13pm - November 29

Christmas market preview

A Christmas Market and Craft Market will be held in the Pleasance car park, next to Ongar Library, on Sunday (December 5).

Organisers are expecting about 40 stalls - the biggest market yet - with Santa’s sleigh and mulled wine. 

The market is a chance to buy that unusual gift and support an initiative run by the Ongar Town Forum for the local community.

Food and drink stalls will be selling French wine, home-made cakes and other bakery products, vintage sweets, artisan flavoured gin, fruit and vegetables, cheeses, honey, Turkish marinades and chilli sauces, smoked beef jerky, seafood, sausages, cooked meats, savoury pasties and free range eggs.

Plants and festive wreaths will also be on sale.

Craft stalls will be selling personalised products, glass, handmade cards, wooden signs, plaques and furniture, hand crocheted toys, jewellery, handmade cushions and bags, environmentally-friendly skincare and make-up, handmade dog bandanas, magnetic therapy jewellery, accessories, upcycled crafts made from wood and glass, crystal jewellery, health and wellbeing products and much more.

Market co-ordinator Derek Birch said: "If anyone knows the owners of cars which are parked in the Pleasance car park overnight into Sunday morning, and are left there all day, please could you ask them to use one of the other car parks as it causes problems laying out the market and is an obstruction to pedestrians and stall holders. Without them we could have more stalls."

He added: "Thank you to everyone who has supported the markets which have been held on the first Sunday of the month since August and who have helped make the markets, which have grown month on month, such a great success.

"After a winter break, the market will return on Sunday, March 6, and will continue on the first Sunday in the month throughout 2022."
8.27pm - November 23

All set for Christmas lights switch-on event

Festive singing, a funfair and arts and crafts stalls will form part of Ongar Town Forum's Christmas lights switch-on event in the High Street on Friday (November 26).

The funfair in the Pleasance car park and craft stalls in the Budworth Hall start at 4pm.

Musical entertainment will be provided by the Ongar Singers, local singer Leanne Hollington, and students from Academy Arts and Moreton Primary School who will be performing in Manor Square from 5.45pm.

Santa, in his sleigh, will leave Ongar Station accompanied by the fire engine at 6.30pm.

The lights will be switched on by James 'Lockie' Lock, from The Only Way Is Essex, and WBA female bantamweight boxing champion Shannon Courtenay at 7pm.
3.03pm - November 4

Councillor launches #ongarruralremembers to mark period of Remembrance

Ongar & Rural county councillor Jaymey McIvor is encouraging people to highlight local Remembrance displays and services by using his newly-launched social media hashtag #ongarruralremembers.

Councillor McIvor wants people to feature pictures of local Remembrance events as well as poppy-themed displays to share the Remembrance messages far and wide.

Councillor McIvor said: "The purpose is to have a place online where we can see all of the amazing efforts that have been made by local businesses, small community groups and our local schools and share all of the images as we commemorate Poppy Day and remember the men and women of our country and our overseas territories who have given so much so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we do today.

"It's so important that we remember these people and make an effort to remember them, but it's also important that we recognise the people and community groups that go above and beyond at this time of year and make a real effort whether it be with their shop window displays or their office entrance halls amongst many other examples."

He added: "If you see a photo opportunity of an area of our community in Ongar & Rural where people have really made an effort with their poppy displays, please take a photo and put it online so we can all have a look at some of the great efforts and hopefully inspire other people to do the same this year or next year.

"If you attend a community event and see a photo opportunity, make sure you take that photo and share it with us all."
4.02pm - November 1

Santa's sleigh at market

Santa’s sleigh will be at the Ongar Town Forum Farmers' and Craft Market on Sunday (November 7).

Ongar Town Forum, Ongar Round Table and Anything Ongar are raising money for the town's Christmas lights and running a raffle with more than 40 prizes. Raffle tickets will be on sale on the day.

Prizes include dinner for two, lunch for four, breakfast for a party of six, a three-course festive meal, a bottle of Champagne, drinks' hampers, lunch for two with cocktails, a ticket for the Epping and Ongar Railway Santa Special and various vouchers.

Twenty-eight stalls are expected at the market which will be in the Pleasance car park, next to the library in the High Street, from 10am until 2pm. 
5.19pm - October 31

November market set to feature 28 stalls

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

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

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

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

Anyone who knows the owners of cars which are parked in the Pleasence car park overnight into Sunday morning, and are left there all day, are asked to make sure that they use another car park as parked vehicles cause a problem for organisers laying out the market and also obstruct pedestrians and stall holders.
3.42pm - October 7

Residents invited to find out more about Shelley estate plans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information contact the Estates and Land Team at Epping Forest District Council by emailing shelleyredevelopment@eppingforestdc.gov.uk or ringing 01992 564000.
3.34pm - September 27

Third Farmers' Market and Craft Market

The third Ongar Town Forum Farmers' Market and Craft Market is being held on Sunday (October 3).

Almost 700 people attended the last market - an increase in the turnout for the inaugural market in August

The number of stalls has also increased with a record number expected in the Pleasance car park, next to Chipping Ongar Library in the High Street, on Sunday.

The market runs from 10am until 2pm.

Market co-ordinator Derek Birch said: "The turnout in September was up on August, which is good, and there were more stalls than we had in August.

"We expect even more on Sunday with all of the September stalls returning."
1.56pm - September 17

Councillor disqualified over non-attendance reinstated following appeal

An Ongar town councillor disqualified at the August meeting for having not attended a meeting for six months has been reinstated after explaining his absence to councillors. 

Bruce Freeman told Thursday's meeting he had been in hospital, had contracted COVID-19 and had an additional workload to cope with.

He had also moved house, and had been without email during an ongoing dispute with BT.

Mr Freeman added that the IT problem left him without any means to access the paperwork for council meetings.

He assured the council his current situation meant he would be able to attend meetings.
1.29pm - September 7

County councillor keen to learn more about Shelley Estate proposals

Ongar & Rural county councillor Jaymey McIvor is "watching with interest" after Epping Forest District Council revealed initial proposals to redevelop part of the Shelley Estate in Ongar.

Detailed plans have yet to be drawn up but proposals that have been made public include the replacement of some 40 flats with 54 dwellings and replacing four shop units on St Peter's Avenue with six units.

A so-called 'Central Park' area is also among the ideas with any project aimed at making better use of the land and improving parking on St Peters Avenue.

County councillor Jaymey McIvor said: “I am pleased that as part of Epping Forest District Council's plans to create great places for people to live, Shelley is being considered as a possible location.

"Whilst this is just a proposal at this stage it would be a great opportunity to also work on long-term solutions for some of the off-road parking issues which we see in Shelley and other parts of the Ongar & Rural Division."

Epping Forest District Council has said fuller details will be published when the plans are "more established".
1.27pm - September 7

County councillor “committed” to finding a long-term solution to Ongar High Street

Ongar & Rural county councillor Jaymey McIvor has joined the efforts to create a long-term solution to traffic issues in Ongar High Street.

The issue of HGVs and residents' safety is a “cause for concern which requires action now”, he said.

Cllr McIvor wants to address the issue of HGVs and congestion caused by the 'bottle neck' on the High Street.

He recently consulted Ongar Town Council on the matter of the High Street where it was unanimously agreed that the bigger issue is HGVs and not the speed limit. 

It is thought there is a possibility of deterring HGVs from Ongar High Street with the use of technology.

Cllr McIvor is supporting the work already carried out by Ongar MP Alex Burghart. 

Cllr McIvor and Mr Burghart have joined forces and along with the support from Ongar Town Council and other key community stakeholders hope to bring forward a solution in Ongar’s best interests. 
6.56pm - September 5

More stalls and more visitors at September market

More than 20 stalls were in the Pleasance car park in the High Street selling everything from fruit and vegetables and homemade gins to wooden items, cheeses, sausages and dog bandanas.

This month saw entertainment provided by Toot Hill Folk Club.

Market co-ordinator Derek Birch said: "The turnout was up on last month, which is good, and there were more stalls than we had in August.

"We expect even more next month with all of the September stalls returning.

"We are delighted with the response we have had to the first two markets and look forward to seeing everyone again next month."

He added: "Plans are already in hand for the November market and a special Christmas market in December."

The October market will be on Sunday, October 3, again from 10am until 2pm.
9.10am - August 26

EXCLUSIVE

ONGAR: Redevelopment plans for Shelley Estate

Initial proposals have been drawn up to redevelop part of the Shelley Estate in Ongar with new houses and flats and additional shops, Everything Epping Forest has been told.

Epping Forest District Council has said fuller details will be published when the plans are "more established" but Ongar district and town councillor Basil Vaz told the last town council meeting the proposals currently include replacing 40 flats with 54 dwellings and replacing four shops, on St Peter's Avenue, with six retail units.

It has not been confirmed which flats would be replaced with the new properties and where any new-build development would go.

Everything Epping Forest understands that the district council invited residents and shopkeepers to a coffee morning when the proposals were presented but only one resident and two shopkeepers attended.

Shelley district councillor and district council deputy leader councillor Nigel Bedford told Everything Epping Forest: "At the moment it’s a proposal. Nothing is set in stone yet and a lot depends on funding which we are looking into with possible assistance from Homes England."

He added: "Basically, if approved, the proposal could include a Central Park area new houses and flats, better use of the land and improved parking along St Peters Avenue to help with the off-road parking that currently takes place.

"I must stress that this is a proposal and (council) officers will work up a scheme that can then go out to consultation with residents."

A district council spokesman has not confirmed the number of new properties and shops which could be built but told Everything Epping Forest: "It's an exciting time for Epping Forest District Council.

"Our resident involvement team and development team have been consulting extensively with residents, shop owners and local members (councillors) to understand which estates across the district, including the Shelley estate in Ongar, would benefit from additional works regeneration.

"Further information will be released when plans are more established.

"This forms part of our vision for council housing in the Epping Forest district, called ‘Creating great places where people want to live'."
3.03pm - August 24

Town council vacancy after councillor disqualified for non-attendance

A casual vacancy for a seat on Ongar Town Council is to be advertised after councillor Bruce Freeman was disqualified from being a councillor having not attended a town council meeting for six months.
4.35pm - August 20

Councillor to set up Flood Network group

A Neighbourhood Watch-style Flood Network group is to be established by Ongar & Rural county councillor Jaymey McIvor.

He wants to see a united approach to flooding issues across all 18 of the town and parish council areas included in his Division which stretches from The Rodings to Stapleford Abbotts and from Norton Heath to North Weald.

Speaking at last night's Ongar Town Council meeting, councillor McIvor said: "Ongar Town Council on its own is not a strong enough voice but all 18 Ongar & Rural Division councils supported by the MP, county councillor and district councillors could sign a letter to central Government and have a strong voice."

He added: "I don't think we should accept that we have to live with flooding. I want us to have a very robust response."

Councillor McIvor said the Flood Network would issue key messages and warnings and give updates on where sandbags and help, such as people who have 4x4 vehicles and are available to collect prescriptions, is available.
1.56pm - August 20

More stalls sign up for Ongar Farmers' Market and Craft Market

More traders have signed up for the next Ongar Town Forum Farmers' Market and Craft Market on Sunday, September 5.

All the traders who attended the August market have signed up for the September and October events, with the newcomers taking the total number of stalls expected at the next market to 25.

The new stalls will be selling meat, eggs and other items, fruit and vegetables, sausages, apple juice and beeswax, handmade ceramics, candles, natural environmentally-friendly skin products, jewellery and wooden items.There will also be a stall selling homemade dog bandanas.

A coffee van is also expected and music will be provided by Toot Hill Folk Club.

Returning stallholders will be selling fish, homemade cakes, handmade gin, vodka, rum and whisky liqueurs, personalised gifts and natural skincare products and personalised greetings cards.

The market will again be in the Pleasance car park, next to the library, in the High Street.

The October market is on Sunday, October 3, the November market on Sunday, November 7, with a Christmas market on Sunday, December 5.

All the markets run from 10am until 2pm.

Market co-ordinator Derek Birch said: "We have had some really good feedback after the first market and we are delighted that we have received so many requests for stalls.

"Ongar Town Forum is keen to involve the local businesses in the markets and we would encourage them to get involved with future market days."

Ongar Town Forum is appealing to local individuals and representatives from local groups to help on market days.

If you can assist in any way, email info@ongartownforum.co.uk.
4.20pm - August 2

High Street businesses encouraged to get involved with monthly markets

Ongar Town Forum is highlighting the impact its first Farmers' Market and Craft Market, which attracted more than 620 people, had on business trade in the town  - and is urging local businesses to get involved and keep the momentum going.

Market traders reported bumper sales with some selling out while the market resulted in a noticeable increase in the number of people visiting businesses in the High Street.
 
Ongar Town Forum wants businesses to get involved with future markets and make the most from the additional footfall that the first market attracted.
 
Some traders who had only booked for the first market have now confirmed they will be at the next two - in the Pleasance car park, next to the library, on Sunday, September 5, and Sunday, October 3 (10am until 2pm).
 
Ongar Town Forum is calling on businesses to join the forum and play an active role in promoting the town's business community.

Market co-ordinator ​and town councillor Derek Birch said: "The cake stall sold out, the two gin stalls were running very low on stock and some stalls which only brought along limited stock and range intend to bring more and extended ranges next time.
 
"The town was very busy and all the cafés did well as a result of the market. Some had queues and so we achieved our aim which was to bring shoppers to the High Street. Not for a long time have I seen so many people in the High Street.
 
"Now it is up to all the shops to react, get involved with Ongar Town Forum and support future markets."
 
Ongar Town Forum has already received six new enquiries about the September event.
 
Mr Birch added: "We are keen to add to the stalls and are especially looking to attract traders selling, bread, fruit and vegetables, jams, honey, pickles and local artisan foods and craft stalls​.​"

For more information about having a stall at future markets, email info@ongartownforum.co.uk

To receive Ongar Town Forum's news updates - and the latest on forthcoming markets - register your email address at https://bit.ly/OngarTownForum-SignUp​
4.36pm - August 1

More than 600 people at first Farmers' Market and Craft Market

For pictures CLICK HERE

The first Ongar Town Forum Farmers' Market and Craft Market held today (Sunday) in the Pleasance car park, High Street, Ongar, attracted more than 600 people.

Arrangements are already in hand for the next market - on Sunday, September 5 (10am-2pm).

Ongar Town Forum chairman Martyn Pattie said: "It was great to see so many people turn out for our first market which featured an array of stalls selling gifts, cakes, meats and more. A big thank you to everyone who came along. 

"It was the first time Ongar Town Forum had held such an event which certainly fulfilled the aim which was to bring people, including many who live outside Ongar, into the town.

"Many stall holders will be returning and we are already receiving enquiries for the September market.

"A special thank you to Epping Ongar Railway which offered a special discounted return ticket for passengers visiting Ongar during the market and to Chingford Morris Men who travelled by train to Ongar to perform."
9.17am - July 26

Eighteen stalls at first Farmers' Market and Craft Market

Eighteen stalls are set to be in the Pleasance car park - next to Ongar Library - on Sunday (10am until 2pm) for the first Ongar Town Forum Farmers' Market and Craft Market.

Among the items on sale will be cheese, seafood, prepared foods and other fish, homemade artisan gin, vodka, run and whisky liqueurs, gifts - glassware, dog bowls, baby items - eco-friendly and plastic-free goods, fresh cut microgreens, dried herbs and teas.

There will also be an ice cream van and old-fashioned sweet stall.

The Chingford Morris Men will be performing around the town during the market.

Anyone wanting to travel to the market by train can make use of a special ticket being offered by Epping Ongar Railway.

Passengers will need to buy a special single 'Railway Rambler' ticket that will provide a heritage bus ride from Epping to North Weald to connect with a train service to Ongar.

For the return journey, passengers must present their 'Railway Rambler' ticket at the Ongar Station booking office and ask for a 'Market Saver' for £3.

The Railway Rambler ticket is only valid on the 9.45am heritage bus service from Epping Station and the 10.10am diesel train service from North Weald.

The 'Market Saver' Return is only available after 2pm to holders of Railway Rambler tickets on market days in Ongar and can only be obtained at Ongar Station booking office on presentation of a Railway Rambler ticket for that day.
4.20pm - July 18

EXCLUSIVE

Two boys, 14, arrested after "disturbance"

Two 14-year-old boys have been arrested after police were called to "disturbance" in an Ongar road.

Police had been told a group of people were involved in an altercation in Fyfield Road and some had tried to get into a property.

Windows in a house were smashed during last night's incident, police said.

Everything Epping Forest had been told that several police vehicles and a large group of people were seen in Fyfield Road at about 7.40pm.

An Essex Police spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: "Two boys have been arrested following a disturbance in Fyfield Road, Ongar, which was reported to police at 7.10pm yesterday (Saturday).

"We received reports a group of people were involved in an altercation in the street.

"Some of the group attempted to enter the property of one of the individuals involved in the disturbance.

"Windows of the property were also smashed."

The spokesman added: "Officers carried out a search of the area and arrested two 14-year-old boys on suspicion of aggravated burglary and criminal damage."

The spokesman told Everything Epping Forest the boys remained in custody for questioning this afternoon.
2.12pm - July 16

Police issues can be raised at council meetings

Local policing issues can now be raised at Ongar Town Council meetings when local beat officer PC Warren Shepherd will be present.

Anyone wanting to raise an issue should contact the town council before the meeting by emailing clerk@ongartowncouncil.gov.uk.
2.11pm - July 16

Council considers grant applications

Ongar Town Council has rejected an application from Ongar Croquet Club for grant funding towards the cost of a clubhouse for its planned facility at Jubilee Park.

The club wants the clubhouse for players' use and to store equipment.

Councillors rejected the application as it is uncertain how many people will be playing once the playing area is ready.

A document submitted with the  application stated up to 50 people were interested in playing at the area next to the Jubilee Park Pavilion.

The club, which had applied for £4,250 towards the £4,750 cost of the clubhouse, told the council it had £3,000 which was being held by Ongar Tennis Club until the croquet club's bank account had been set up.

* The town council is to ask for further information before deciding on an application from Ongar Town Football Club which had applied for £1,634.75 to purchase kit and equipment for its new under-21s team, and to replace some other kit.
9.26am - July 16

Council considering future of cemetery chapel

Ongar Town Council is considering the future of the chapel in Ongar Cemetery.

The matter is being discussed again several years after an initial idea to possibly use the building as a museum was not progressed.

The council is to seek the views of Historic England over the building.

Councillor Lawrence Mendoza said: "We've got a building that's falling into disrepair. It was going to cost over £80,000 to put it right and it's just being used as a store. It doesn't make sense."

He added: "We're in a position where we have this building that people have tried to get grants on, and haven't succeeded. We have to decide what we are going to do with it.

"It doesn't have any use for people visiting the cemetery. We could sell it with conditions that whoever buys it has to make it good."

Locum clerk Michael Letch told Thursday's council meeting the chapel had been in use since 1860.

Currently the part of the building which is not consecrated is being used as a groundsman's store by the council.

He added that because of what the building is, where it is, and it being surrounded by consecrated land, the council - or any other owner - would be very limited to what it could do with it.

Councillor Jane Battersby said: "It's a real conundrum."

It was also suggested that an antique dealer could be approached over the unique turntable which is in the chapel before deciding any next steps.

The council has an earmarked £20,000 budget which could be spent on maintenance of the building, or to undertake repairs such as to the roof.
UPDATE 7.46pm - July 14

Following Monday's two-car collision in Ongar High Street, Essex Police issued a statement to Everything Epping Forest which stated that the two drivers had been taken to hospital "with injuries that were not believed to be serious".
Today Everything Epping Forest has been contacted by a daughter of one of the drivers to say her mother remains in a "very serious condition in hospital with multiple fractures that will forever change her life".


2.48pm - July 13

Two people taken to hospital after High Street collision

Two people were taken to hospital following yesterday's two-vehicle collision which closed Ongar High Street for about three hours.

An Essex Police spokesman has told Everything Epping Forest the collision involved a Ford Fusion and a Jaguar X-Type.


The spokesman added that the injuries were not believed to be serious.

Firefighters took about 45 minutes to free two people from their vehicles following the crash which happened near the entrance to Zinc Arts near the Four Wantz roundabout.

An air ambulance was among the services called to the scene.

An Essex County Fire and Rescue Service spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: “Fire crews worked with paramedics to help release two people trapped in their vehicles.

“The casualties were rescued by 4.20pm and left in the care of the ambulance service and air ambulance.”

An East of England Ambulance Service spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: "We were called at 3.30pm yesterday (Monday) with reports of a collision in High Street, Ongar.

"We sent two ambulances, an ambulance officer, Essex and Herts Air Ambulance and a rapid response vehicle.

"One person was taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital and one person was taken to Homerton University Hospital by land ambulance."
4.44pm - July 11

More traders sign up for first market

More traders have signed up to take part in Ongar Town Forum's first Farmers' Market and Craft Market on Sunday, August 1.

A variety of stalls will be in the Pleasance car park, High Street, from 10am until 2pm.

The forum intends to hold the markets regularly, on the first Sunday of the month.

Visitors travelling to Ongar via the Epping Ongar Railway can benefit from a discounted 'Railway Ramblers' rate for people who return from Ongar Station after 2pm.

Stalls already signed up include a homemade spirits company, fish merchant, cheese, handmade and personalised gifts, cards, hand painted wooded signs, plaques and more.

Ongar Town Forum chairman Martyn Pattie said: "The idea of a regular farmers' market in the town has received a good response from the traders we have already approached and we hope to welcome them to Ongar on August 1.

"It is a great way to attract people into our town who may not normally venture to Ongar, and it will be a new feature for local residents to have a wide variety of stalls on their doorstep."

Ongar Town Forum is still appealing to local individuals and representatives from local groups to help.

If you can assist in any way - or would like to find out more about having a stall at the market - please email info@ongartownforum.co.uk.
3.39pm - July 6

Soprano wins Essex Young Musician of the Year competition

Soprano Madeline Robinson has won Ongar Music Club's Essex Young Musician of the Year competition, which was held online this year.

Madeline, 24, from Leigh-on-Sea, received the £1,000 prize, the Essex Young Musician of the Year cup and recital engagements.

Madeline studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Second prize - the £400 Hall Memorial Prize and Cup - was won by Mezzo-Soprano Holly Putt, 23, originally from Chelmsford.  Holly is now a student at Trinity Laban Conservatoire.

* Third prize - £300 - The Waitrose Prize and Medal - Melinda Blackman, 26, violin, from Colchester

* Fourth prize - £200 - The Ongar Round Table Prize and Medal - Justin Man, 16, piano, from Harlow

* Fifth prize - £100 - The Arts Society West Essex Prize and Medal - Isabella Pincombe, 23, oboe, originally from Southend

* Sixth prize - £75 - The Ongar Music Club Prize and Medal - Amy Ward, 21, flute, from Colchester

Two further prizes for under-19s were also awarded:

* The Geoffrey Timms Memorial Prize of £100 and Medal - Elizabeth Loboda, 17, oboe, from South Ockendon.

* The Bert Webster Memorial Prize of £100 Chimes Music Tokens and Medal - Nell Ramdenee, 16, piano, from Saffron Walden.
 
Roderick Elms, chairman of adjudicators and competition administrator, said: "The 2021 Essex Young Musician of the Year saw a very high entry of 21 young musicians ranging in age from 16 to 26. Some were still at school while others had already left music college and finding their way in the profession.

"As last year's competition couldn’t be held due to the lockdown, Ongar Music Club was delighted to find a way forward this year by running the competition online."

Ongar Music Club chairman Jane Webster said: “Ongar Music Club has continued its activities with regular monthly online concerts during the past six months.

"We are delighted that we were able to adapt and hold the competition again this year, and that we had such a marvellous response from young Essex musicians. They all did a terrific job producing their videos. 

"All first round entrants who were not prize winners will be receiving a gift token from Chimes Music Shop from us in recognition of their hard work and enthusiasm."

She added: "We are very grateful to our sponsors this year who have given us such wonderful support - Waitrose Buckhurst Hill, Tesco, West Essex Arts Society, Ongar Round Table, Ongar Town Council and Essex County Council."
9.23pm - July 5

Volunteers needed to help with market

Plans are progressing for the first Ongar Town Forum 'Farmers' Market and Craft Market' - but volunteers are needed to help on the day.

Volunteers are sought to assist with poster distribution in the days preceding the event, stall allocation and stewarding during the event - on Sunday, August 1 -  and rubbish clearance at the end of the market.

The market will be held in the Pleasance car park (the library car park), High Street, Ongar, between 10am and 2pm.

Visitors travelling to Ongar via the Epping Ongar Railway can benefit from a discounted 'Railway Ramblers' rate for people who return from Ongar Station after 2pm.

Stalls already signed up include a homemade spirits company, fish merchant, cheese, handmade and personalised gifts, cards, hand painted wooded signs, plaques and more.

Market co-ordinator Derek Birch said: "The Ongar Town Forum is planning to hold a series of outdoor markets to attract visitors to Ongar and to bring local people out on a Sunday.

"The intention is to also attract business to the High Street's traders who have experienced a difficult last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Several new businesses are opening in the town, and this is a great opportunity to breathe further new life into Ongar."

Ongar Town Forum is appealing to local individuals and representatives from local groups to help.

If you can assist in any way, please email info@ongartownforum.co.uk by Monday, July 19.

 
9.07am - June 30

Council play area refurbishment plans

Design proposals for the refurbishment of the Love Lane recreation ground play area will be considered by town councillors before a decision is taken at the September meeting.

The council's projects and actions working group will look at proposals for fencing, the safety surfacing and new equipment.
9.07am - June 30

Town council appoints contractor for squash courts re-roofing

A contract totalling £19,810 has been awarded by Ongar Town Council to Heritage Ltd for the re-roofing of the squash courts at Jubilee Park, Love Lane, Ongar.
9.06am - June 30

Town council awards three grants totalling over £4,100

A grant of £2,000 has been awarded by Ongar Town Council to The Ongar Academy's Parent Teacher Association towards the £4,000 cost of a planned sensory garden at the school.

The council was told that the PTA has been promised £1,000 from the Bridge Academy Trust.

The school says the garden will provide "the perfect opportunity" to research and practice art and design technology techniques in a real-life scenario and provide an extra tool to help try and manage behaviour and encourage extra curricular interests.

The garden is an "inclusive opportunity" where all ages, staff and students, can be involved, the school added.

The council will encourage the school to apply for additional funding through Essex County Council's Community Initiatives Fund scheme.

* The council awarded a grant of £1,707 to Ongar Netball Club for training and new kit and other items.
The club will also use the funding so that two people can attend a First Aid Course and two people can go on a Safeguarding course.

* The council awarded £460 to Ongar Millennium History Society to cover the cost of a coach for an educational trip to Stow Maries airfield near Maldon for society members.
9.04am - June 30

Dog mess returns in Ongar Cemetery

The issue of dog mess in Ongar Cemetery has returned - two weeks after the town council re-opened the High Street gate.

Locum clerk Michael Letch told Thursday's meeting that several incidents had been reported. Additional signage is to be put up to try and get the message across to dog owners who walk their dogs through the cemetery.
9.04am - June 30

Residents support yellow lines at road junction

Residents living along a stretch of Onslow Gardens and Mayflower Way are supportive of yellow lines at the junction of the two roads to try and stop damage being caused to the verges and kerbs, Ongar Town Council has been told.

Locum clerk Michael Letch told Thursday's town council meeting a sufficient number of residents had expressed support for the restrictions, and a request for the yellow lines will now go to North Essex Parking Partnership.

Damaged kerb stones along Onslow Gardens have been temporarily repaired with tarmac by Essex Highways.

Councillor Lawrence Mendoza suggested that Epping Forest District Council should be approached to see whether the remit of the Highway Rangers could be extended to include kerb repairs.
1.43pm - June 29

County councillor cuts ribbon to officially open new holistic clinic
 
PICTURES

Ongar & Rural county councillor Jaymey McIvor cut the ribbon to officially open the new Heart of Holistic Health Clinic in Ongar High Street.

The clinic, owned by Amanda McGregor, is in the one-time post office building which was previously the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity shop.

Treatments offered by the clinic include massage, reflexology, reiki, angelic reiki, soul plan readings, hypnotherapy, acupuncture, personal and business coaching, sound healing, and sports injuries.

Cllr McIvor said: "I was delighted to be invited to officially open the new clinic. It has been a very difficult time for businesses locally and nationally and so it is even more of a pleasure to see a new business opening in our High Street.

"The new clinic offers employment and will attract more people into the centre of the town. I wish Amanda and all her staff the best of luck for the future." 
1.51pm - June 28

Council remains opposed to apartments on Ongar Bridge site
 
Ongar Town Council has repeated its objections to plans to build nine two-bedroom apartments on the Ongar Bridge car dealership site in Ongar High Street.

The planning and environment committee has underlined its previous comments made about the plans which were rejected by Epping Forest District Council last October.

The applicant states the latest proposals make several changes to the rejected scheme, including an increase in the number of parking spaces, the addition of balconies, increased provision for bicycles and electricity charging facilities.

However Thursday's town council meeting heard concerns that the amendments did not answer all the previous concerns.

The council has expressed concern that insufficient parking spaces are proposed, that the design is too cramped for the site and that the development would not enhance the conservation area.

* Ongar Town Council chairman councillor Kevin Piggott has been elected chairman of the planning and environment committee for 2021-22.

 
8.37am - June 13

Four crews tackle "deliberate" blaze

A blaze which tore through an outbuilding and two cars near Ongar was started deliberately, fire investigators have said.

Four fire crews - from Brentwood, Chelmsford, Billericay and Loughton - were called to Chivers Road, Stondon Massey, at about 11.20pm on Friday and took more than an hour to deal with the fire.

Station Manager John Lloyd said: "Crews did extremely well, in difficult conditions with no water supply, to quickly get the fire under control."

An Essex Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said the cause of the fire has been recorded as "deliberate".
6.34pm - June 11

Parliamentary boundary change proposal "makes no sense"

A proposal to move two rural Epping Forest District Council wards from the Brentwood and Ongar parliamentary constituency to the Saffron Walden constituency "makes no sense", according to Ongar & Rural county councillor Jaymey McIvor.

As part of Boundary Commission proposals, which are out for public consultation until August 2, the High Ongar, Willingale and The Rodings and the Moreton and Fyfield district council wards would move into the Saffron Walden parliamentary constituency.

The proposals also include dropping 'Ongar' from the constituency name, which would become 'Brentwood'. 

The consultation document states: "We consider this change (moving the two wards into the Saffron Walden constituency) makes the existing constituency name of Brentwood and Ongar less appropriate, and  therefore we propose it simply be called 'Brentwood'."

Mr McIvor said: “I will be contributing to the consultation and making the case to keep High Ongar and Ongar part of the same constituency. 

"It makes no sense to divide two communities that work so closely together in business, education and culture.

"The Rodings, Moreton and Fyfield have a close relationship with Ongar in the same way. For this reason the change is not appropriate. 

"I also believe Ongar should remain firmly in the name of the constituency, particularly as Ongar has a proud history which should be recognised in the name of our constituency." 

He added: "The proposed removal of 'Ongar' from the name of our constituency is offensive to the thousands of people that live, work and own a business in Ongar. 

"In all, the proposals to me show a complete misunderstanding of our community and are out of touch with the people that I proudly represent in Ongar & Rural.”
5.58pm - June 11

MP: Proposal to drop 'Ongar' from constituency name "ridiculous"

A proposal to drop 'Ongar' from the name of the parliamentary constituency, as part of plans to shift two Epping Forest District Council wards into the Saffron Walden parliamentary constituency, has been branded "ridiculous" by MP Alex Burghart.

He told Everything Epping Forest he would fight the proposed name change "every step of the way".

The Boundary Commission proposes moving the High Ongar, Willingale and The Rodings and the Moreton and Fyfield district council wards to Saffron Walden.

The consultation document states: "We consider this change makes the existing constituency name of Brentwood and Ongar less appropriate, and  therefore we propose it simply be called 'Brentwood'."

Brentwood and Ongar MP Alex Burghart told Everything Epping Forest: "It would be a great disappointment to me to lose these lovely parts of the constituency, and I will be sharing my disappointment with the powers that be as the long process of consultation and amendment begins.

"The Boundary Commission has suggested that if the change is approved the existing constituency name of 'Brentwood and Ongar' less appropriate, and have proposed it simply be called 'Brentwood'.

"I will fight this every step of the way. It would be ridiculous to change the constituency name whilst Ongar sits firmly within the boundary.”

Meanwhile it is proposed that the Broadley Common, Epping Upland and Nazeing ward is moved from the Epping Forest constituency to the Harlow constituency.

The consultation document states: "We consider the ward has links with the wards of Roydon and Lower Nazeing that are currently within the Harlow constituency. 

"The inclusion of this ward in the Harlow constituency results in the electorate of the Harlow constituency being within the permitted electorate range without dividing the town of Waltham Abbey, or having knock-on effects on the proposed Saffron Walden constituency."
9.25am - June 9

Town council encourages applications for Community Initiatives Fund funding

Ongar Town Council is highlighting funding available to individuals, groups and voluntary organisations through the Community Initiatives Fund.

The Community Initiative Fund is administered by the Essex Association of Local Councils on behalf of Essex County Council. The town council is happy to support any eligible local groups that wish to apply for funding.

The £350,000 fund offers two levels of grant:

* £300,000 is for grants of up to £10,000 towards capital or revenue projects that benefit the wider community​

* £50,000 is for micro-grants of up to £500 to help support grassroots groups, reduce social isolation, improve wellbeing and help communities better connect.

The fund excludes projects that deliver their work outside the administrative area of Essex County Council (Thurrock and Southend). 

Town and parish Councils, community groups, social enterprises and individuals in the Essex County Council area are all invited to apply.

Projects should have community backing and demonstrate a real community need. 

For example, they could be to:

* Create, buy or develop new community assets​
* Enhance existing community assets
* Enhance or develop initiatives that strengthen the local community, including cultural initiatives.

Anyone considering applying for funding can obtain more information from Louise Gambardella  - louise.gambardella@ealc.gov.uk - by Monday,July 5.

Projects that pass the initial review will go on to the full application form stage.

A panel will then review the project based on the information given.

Not all applications are successful and sometimes projects receive less funding than applied for, or directed to alternative funding sources.

Applications for a specific project which has been awarded a CIF grant within the past three years cannot re-apply.
6.22pm - June 4

Planters installed on estate

Three floral planters have been installed at the parade of shops on St Peter's Avenue, Shelley, as part of Epping Forest District Council’s ‘Create Great Estates’ project.

The district council's estates and land team worked with the community, culture and wellbeing team and residents on the project.
6.22pm - May 14

Seven planning applications to be considered

Seven planning applications will be considered at an informal meeting of Ongar Town Council's planning and environment committee which will be meeting virtually via Zoom at 7pm on Thursday, May 20.

Decisions taken by councillors will go forward as recommendations to be ratified at the next full council meeting.

Anyone wanting to 'attend' the meeting can do so via Zoom.

The access information is:

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

Meeting ID: 362 953 5707
Passcode: 3ex0ju

The applications to be considered are:

* Sandon Lodge, 3A Sandon Place - application for a Lawful Development certificate for an existing loft conversion

* 119 Woodland Way - single-storey rear extension

* Bottles Barn, Stondon Road - twin-bedroom bungalow

* 95 Longfields - single-storey side and rear extension

* 5 Kimpton Close - application for Variation of Condition 2 `Plan numbers' for EPF/1043/19 (proposed two storey side extension, loft extension including Juliet balcony with single-storey rear extension)

* land at Greensted Hall, Church Lane - demolition of existing buildings and erection of single dwelling, formation of vehicular access and landscaping

* Churchfields, Greensted Road - new front boundary fence and entrance gate. 
8.03am - May 14

No objection to celebrity couple's "annexe" plans

Revised plans for a one-bedroom annexe in the grounds of a new five-bedroom 'classical design' mansion being built by celebrity couple Mark Wright and Michelle Keegan near Ongar have met with no objection from the parish council.

The annexe would provide accommodation for Mr Wright's parents.

A letter submitted with the planning application - which details revised proposals to an application submitted to Epping Forest District Council a year ago - states: "The annex is for the use of our client’s parents, who need to be close to our clients for care. 

"The annex provides one bedroom, bathroom, a TV room and an open plan kitchen, living and dining area with a feature window and doors to provide good views over the countryside."

Thursday's Stanford Rivers Parish Council meeting was told the stable block had already been demolished.

Parish council clerk Adriana Jones said the question councillors had to answer is whether the proposed 56sq.m building would have a "bigger impact" than what was previously on the site.

She added: "It's bigger than the stable but smaller to the previous application which the parish council did not object to."

Councillors decided to voice no objection to the application.
7.50pm - May 10

Man released under investigation following cannabis find at house

Officers executed a warrant under the Misuse of Drugs Act at a property in Longfields, Ongar.

A "substantial" amount of suspected cannabis was recovered. A small cannabis cultivation was found and dismantled. A quantity of a suspected class C drug was seized.

A 20-year-old man, from Ongar, was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply a controlled drug (Class B), production of a controlled drug (Class B) and possession of a controlled drug (Class C). 

He has been released under investigation while enquiries continue.
5.13pm - May 10

Police find "large amounts" of cannabis and a "small grow"

Police have found "large amounts" of cannabis and located a "small grow" during an operation in Ongar this morning.

The community policing team officers executed a warrant in Longfields at about 9am.

One person has been arrested and is being held in custody.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing about six police vehicles in the area.

Officers are said to have used a "ram" to break down a door.

More details about the operation are expected to be released later today.
1.55pm - May 8

Town council looking to refurbish play area

Ongar Town Council is seeking ideas from play equipment companies as it looks to refurbish the play area at the Love Lane recreation ground.

The companies are being asked to consider schemes to repair or replace the fence, add a new gate and to suggest ways to enhance the area.

Any ideas taken on board by the town council would need to be put out for tender.
1.54pm - May 8

Town council earmarks funding to cover expenses for two Special Constables

Ongar Town Council has earmarked £2,000 to cover the initial costs of having two town-based Community Special Constables for a year. 

If the scheme is successful, money could be allocated for future years.

The money will cover their expenses - £1,000 each a year -  with the Special Constable working with the town council in the local area.

The council will advertise for candidates with their training, which can take two years, undertaken by Essex Police.

Another option is that an existing Special Constable(s) could ask to cover Ongar, which would reduce the time required to recruit local officers.

The Community Special Constables work up to 16 hours a month and would only be taken off Ongar area duties in an emergency situation.
1.53pm - May 8

Ongar Town Council chairman re-elected

Ongar Town Council has re-elected councillor Kevin Piggott as chairman for 2021-22. Mr Piggott took over from councillor Derek Birch in January.

The council has decided to not elect a vice-chairman saying it has functioned successfully without a vice-chairman during the past year.
1.40pm - May 2

Ongar Town Council to consider funding a Community Special Constable

Ongar Town Council is to consider funding a Community Special Constable.

A decision will be taken at the Annual Council Meeting which is being held via Zoom on Thursday, May 6 (8pm).

Community Special Constables are not paid but a council which has access to one is expected to cover reasonable expenses, estimated as being up to £1,000 per year.

The meeting will also see the election of a chairman and vice-chairman for the new civic year, and the election of committees and working groups for 2021-22.

The Zoom access details for anyone wanting to attend the meeting are:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83484096913?pwd=dllZZkx4U1dZdWkzL0l5YjhsVnJYdz09 

Meeting ID: 834 8409 6913 
Passcode: 932843
5.42pm - April 30

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.
1.34pm - April 29

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
1.36pm - April 23

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.
1.34pm - April 23

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."
1.33pm - April 23

MP promises to take up broadband issues after town council highlighted show 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
12.30pm - April 23

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.
12.30pm - April 23

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.
12.28pm - April 23

Town council to provide container store for 3Food4U

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."
12.28pm - 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
2.45pm - April 11

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."
2.04pm - March 31

ONGAR: No serious injuries in High Street collision

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

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

The road was re-opened at about 9pm.

No arrests have been made in connection with the incident.
1.07pm - March 28

Two boys arrested after police pursuit ends when car hits house

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information can also be given to anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
10.00am - March 23

Man charged after weapons including imitation firearm found

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

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

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

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

He appeared before Colchester Magistrates Court yesterday (Monday).
2.03pm - March 21

Town council to hold virtual Annual Parish Assembly

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

The agenda and Zoom access details will be available nearer to the meeting date.
2.02pm - March 21

Council to fight on over "diabolical" verges

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Councillor Derek Birch said: "It's all over Ongar. We have the same situation in Longfields. It's caused by the dustcarts and lorries."
2.00pm - March 21

Pre-decision discussion over Greensted Road homes plan

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

District councillor Paul Keska told Thursday's town council meeting that it was now considered not to be appropriate for district council officers to attend such a meeting but a meeting involving the developer, town council, Neighbourhood Plan group and local district councillors would be arranged.
1.59pm - March 21

Thirty Neighbourhood Plan responses received

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

The consultation period ended on Thursday.

Council clerk Michael Letch told Thursday's town council meeting that feedback from three 'statutory consultees' were among the responses.
1.58pm - March 21

Two new councillors co-opted onto town council

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Last month Jack Bell, who runs the Cock pub in Ongar High Street, Adam Seffens and former town council chairman Derek Birch were co-opted onto the council.
12.50pm - March 16

Three candidates seek co-option onto town council

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

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

The council, which should have 15 members, currently has three vacancies after three other vacancies were filled last month when Jack Bell, who runs the Cock Tavern, Adam Seffens and former council chairman Derek Birch were co-opted.
5.37pm - March 5

Deadline approaches for Neighbourhood Plan comments

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

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

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

The consultation version of the draft Plan can be viewed
HERE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comments on the Plan can be made in writing to the town council, 'Bansons', Bansons Way, Ongar, or by email to np@ongartowncouncil.gov.uk
9.03am - February 26

Final chance to ask questions about Ongar's Neighbourhood Plan

A question and answer session for Ongar's Neighbourhood Plan will be held online on Thursday, March 4, at 7pm.

The meeting, to be held via Zoom, is open to everyone.

The log-in details to access the meeting are: Meeting ID: 836 3345 9142 Passcode: 008668 or
CLICK HERE

The Neighbourhood Plan, which will help shape the future of the town, has been published for consultation, with March 18 the deadline for comments to be made.

The consultation version of the Plan can be viewed
HERE

If you require a hard copy or would like to make representations, ring the Parish Clerk on 01277 365348 or email np@ongartowncouncil.gov.uk

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

The district council will then invite representations before the plan is subjected to Examination by an Independent Examiner. 

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

If the Referendum is successful, the Plan will be “Made” by Epping Forest District Council.

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

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

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

"Such a Plan can also influence where and what kind of development - for businesses as well as housing - should take place."
8.50pm - February 18

'Round table discussion' before decision over Greensted Road homes plan

A "round table discussion" between the developer and local representatives is set to be held before a decision is taken over plans for a 93-home development off Greensted Road, Ongar.

District councillor Paul Keska told Thursday's town council meeting: "The town council has got to put in a strong objection to this.

"This development will go ahead in one form or another because it's in the Local Plan.

"To say 'I don't like it' is not an argument but I have been given a lot of information from the Neighbourhood Plan Group, the town council and residents who say there are a lot of improvements that should go into."

Mr Keska said a "round table discussion" would take place between the developer, district council officer and interested parties before it goes before a district council committee for a decision.

He added the application had been put back until March, but he did not expect the proposals to be considered next month.

Councillor Jane Battersby said a 600-name petition opposing the development will be presented to Epping Forest District Council next week.

The proposed development - 69 houses and 24 flats arranged in the main as semi‐detached and terraced properties - is earmarked for land between Fairfield Road and Chipping Ongar Primary School.

There would be a mix of one-bedroom, two-bedroom, three-bedroom and four-bed properties, 40 per cent of which (37 homes) will be 'affordable'.

Ongar Town Council has already submitted its objections to the plans.
8.38pm - February 18

Three councillors co-opted onto town council

Three councillors have been co-opted onto Ongar Town Council - including former chairman Derek Birch who only resigned a month ago.

Mr Birch is joined by local resident Adam Seffens and chef Jack Bell, who runs The Cock pub and restaurant in Ongar High Street.

Mr Birch, whose resignation was reported to the January meeting after he had been a councillor for six years and chairman for four years, told tonight's council meeting: "When I stood down from the council I left it in good order - in better shape than it had been. It only had one direction it could go in and that was upwards.

"One of the reasons (he resigned) was because there were other interests I wanted to pursue and being chairman was taking up a tremendous amount of my time.

"I've now found that I have the time that I need and I could probably still stay as a councillor. I have the capacity now to probably do it."

Mr Seffens told councillors he had lived in Ongar for nearly 20 years and wanted to "at least assist and help Ongar improve".

He added: "I just really want to make a difference. I want to do something for the community."

Jack Bell said he wanted to "get more involved with the local area and just try to rejuvenate Ongar, and increase the footfall for every business."

Mr Bell, who lives in Sawbridgeworth, told councillors that pre-coronavirus he employed 35 people at The Cock which he has run since July 2019.

"I adore Ongar so just want to put my best foot forward for everybody in the town," he said.

After considering the three applications in private session, council chairman Kevin Piggott said: "The three of you are co-opted onto the council. Welcome on board."
1.03pm - February 16

Former chairman seeks immediate return to town council

ONGAR: Former town council chairman seeks council return a month after resigning

The former chairman of Ongar Town Council is seeking a return to the council just a month after resigning.

Derek Birch, whose resignation was reported to the January meeting, is one of three candidates who have put themselves forward for co-option at Thursday's meeting.

There are currently six vacancies on the council.

Mr Birch had been a councillor for almost six years, and was chairman for four years.

He has not responded to a request for a comment to explain why he now wants to return.

In a statement issued to Everything Epping Forest following his resignation, Mr Birch said: "I now wish to pursue other interests which I had put on hold, and consider this to be a suitable time to stand down from Ongar Council and as chairman, leaving it in better condition than when I was first elected."

Locum town clerk Mike Letch told Everything Epping Forest on Tuesday morning that he had not received a letter to go before councillors at the meeting explaining Mr Birch's reasons for seeking co-option. 

Councillors will also consider co-option applications from local resident Adam Seffens and chef Jack Bell, who runs the Cock Inn in Ongar High Street.

In his letter to the council, Mr Bell states he is "passionate about the local area of Ongar and regenerating the high street for local businesses and local people".

Mr Seffens, in his letter, states he has lived in Ongar for 19 years and has "always taken a keen interest in our local community and (has been) an active participant in local activities".

He adds: "I now feel this is the perfect time to step away from being a social media keyboard warrior and step up to help make a positive difference.

"I feel I have the particular skill set to become a valuable member of the council to assist in finding ways in which we can rejuvenate Ongar to once again become somewhere our residents want to support as a community."

There are two vacancies in the Marden Ash ward, two in the Chipping Ongar ward and one each in the Greensted and Shelley wards.
UPDATE 2.54pm - February 14

Police have told Everything Epping Forest the victim remains in hospital having sustained "one injury" when he was stabbed in the back in an alleyway off Moreton Road, Ongar, last night.

Police have been in the area carrying out house-to-house enquiries.

The crime scene was taped off earlier today.


11.51am - February 14

Police appeal after man stabbed in the back

A 21-year-old man has suffered serious injuries after being stabbed in the back in an alleyway off Moreton Road, Ongar.

The attack happened shortly after 5.30pm yesterday (Saturday).

The victim was treated in hospital for what police have described as "stab injuries to his back".

No arrests have been made and police enquiries are ongoing.

Police are appealing for anyone with any information to ring 101, 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 anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or at https://crimestoppers-uk.org.
4.01pm - February 10

Firefighters remember colleague

Ongar-based firefighters have held a two-minute silence in honour of firefighter Aston Everett, 54, who died last month after he suffered a brain aneurysm and collapsed while on duty for the Urban Search and Rescue station in Lexden.

Aston had been a firefighter at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service for 16 years serving at Chelmsford Fire Station, Clacton Fire Station, Dovercourt Fire Station and most recently with the Urban Search and Rescue station.

Aston was known for his high standards, principles and dedication.
5.44pm - February 4

Man arrested after High Street pursuit

A man remains in police custody after he was arrested at the end of a police pursuit through Ongar High Street this morning.

The pursuit began after a man driving a silver-coloured Seat car failed to stop for police officers in the High Street. It ended in Longfields.

A local resident told Everything Epping Forest the driver was seen to run off when the vehicle stopped across the junction with Cloverley Road.

The suspect was seen to run back along Longfields towards Coopers Hill and then into Cripsey Brook before he was arrested "wet and muddy" near Ongar Bridge.

The Seat car was seen to have two tyres down to the rims.

A police spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: "A man failed to stop for officers along High Street, Ongar, at about 9am today (Thursday).

"Following a brief pursuit, the suspect decamped the vehicle but was shortly arrested by officers on suspicion of failing to stop, dangerous driving and theft of a motor vehicle. He remains in custody."
7.21pm - January 30

EXCLUSIVE

Six music-playing teenagers found in barn in breach of COVID-19 regulations

Six teenagers - aged between 14 and 16 - were escorted home to their parents after police found them playing loud music in a derelict barn in Ongar in breach of COVID-19 regulations.

Because they are aged under 18 they cannot be fined for breaching coronavirus regulations - but their parents can be fined if their behaviour is repeated.

A police spokesman told Everything Epping Forest that officers were called to Castle Street at about 9.45pm last night following reports of a disturbance.

Officers found six juveniles, aged between 14 and 16, who were playing loud music inside a derelict barn in breach of current coronavirus regulations.

Given the age those involved, and the fact that only those aged 18 or over can be fined under the current legislation, the officers spoke with them and then escorted the children home to their parents who were given "words of advice" and reminded about the risks caused by their children’s’ behaviour, warned of potential future fines and the need for us all to protect the NHS and save lives.

The Essex Police spokesperson told Everything Epping Forest: "Gatherings such as this are not only in breach of the current regulations, which are designed to keep us all safe, they put lives in danger.

"We all know that we need to stay at home in order to stop the virus spreading, protect our NHS which is under increasing pressure, and to save lives.

"In this instance this incident involved a group of people aged 16 and under who, under the current legislation, are too young to be fined, their parents are liable to fines should this behaviour be repeated. 

"We will continue to respond to reports about those who are clearly and blatantly breaking the rules which are designed to save lives.

"We all have a part to play in stopping the spread and where we have young people at home we have a duty as parents to ensure they staying safe and following the rules."
6.30pm - January 29

Teenager arrested over possessing imitation firearm

A teenaged boy has been arrested on suspicion of various offences - including possessing an imitation firearm - after a vehicle was stopped in Ongar.

Police were made aware yesterday afternoon (Thursday) of "suspicious activity involving two people in a vehicle in the Epping area".

Before officers arrived, police were told that the vehicle had left the area.

It was later located in Ongar by Community Safety Team officers.

A police spokesman said one person made off from officers and enquiries are ongoing to locate him.

A teenaged boy, from Epping, was arrested on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle, two offences of possession of an offensive weapon, possession of cannabis and possession of an imitation firearm.

He has since been released under investigation.

Anyone with any information about the incident should ring police on 101 and quote incident 799 of January 28.
5.52pm - January 29

Two men arrested after vehicle stopped at Four Wantz roundabout

Two men were arrested after a vehicle suspected of being linked to hare coursing was stopped at the BP service station at the Four Wantz roundabout, Ongar, yesterday.

Loughton Town Centre Team officers assisted by Local Policing Team officers stopped the vehicle which was also linked to the theft of plant machinery.

Two men remained in custody this morning while police enquiries continued having been arrested on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle, going equipped to steal and theft of plant machinery.

Two other men ran off from the petrol station and police enquiries are ongoing to identify them.
8.07pm - January 26

New town council chairman sets out priorities

The new chairman of Ongar Town Council has targeted the town's Neighbourhood Plan and the rejuvenation of the High Street as his top priorities.

Councillor Kevin Piggott, who was elected as chairman to replace Derek Birch at last Thursday's meeting, said the Plan - once approved - will shape the future of the town for years to come.

Mr Piggott said: "I want every councillor to remember that we are a team that works together. Joint decisions are made for the benefit of our community and I want our residents to know that we are happy for them to engage with the council and, where possible, we will help.

"The main issue at the moment is to get The Ongar Neighbourhood Plan approved.

"This will be very important in the not-so-distant future. It will help to ensure any development within Ongar is sympathetic to the rural nature of the town, remains in keeping with what we already love about where we live, and hopefully improve it at the same time."

He added: "Last year councillors spent time gathering evidence highlighting concerns over the decline of Ongar, a project overseen by Derek Birch.

"A report was prepared and submitted to Epping Forest District Council which has taken on board many of the recommendations and (a consultant commissioned by the district council) recently prepared a 'Regenerating Ongar Study'. 

"Ongar Town Council looks forward to working alongside Epping Forest District Council to improve our town."

The consultant's report details a number of ideas to rejuvenate the town, with a number of so-called 'quick wins' to smarten up the High Street - including repairs to paving, new bollards and regular litter and street cleaning.

Longer-term ideas include a 'community hub' at the library, a 'Love Ongar' discount card and moving the Wednesday market to the weekend so that it coincides with the Epping-Ongar railway service, with the market possibly featuring specialist markets and antique sales.

* Mr Piggott, on behalf of the council, thanked Mr Birch for his "great work and effort" that he gave to the council during his six years as a councillor, and four years as chairman.

"It is thanks to Derek that Ongar Town Council is the asset to the community it is today."
1.02pm - January 20

Hector, nine, sets himself 1km a day lockdown challenge for hospice

A nine-year-old Ongar boy has set himself the challenge of running 1km on a running machine every day until the current COVID-19 lockdown ends, to raise money for St Clare Hospice which cared for his grandfather, Bobby. 

Hector Bodiam began his challenge on January 6 when his primary school was shut due to the pandemic and his family wanted to find a way to keep physically active during the winter lockdown. 

Hector’s grandfather, Bob Bowers, was cared for on the hospice’s Inpatient Unit for two weeks before his death from oesophageal cancer in April 2017.

Hector initially set himself a fundraising target of £100 – an amount which he smashed just three days, reaching over £1,000. 

His fundraising page is currently on more than £1,500 which is enough to fund more than thirty 90-minute home visits by one of the charity’s Hospice at Home healthcare assistants. 

Hector’s mother, Claire Bodiam, said: “The idea for Hector’s fundraising challenge came about because of Lockdown 3.0 and his school shutting once again. 

"As a family we’ve been trying to keep active during the winter lockdown, when we can barely leave the house and the weather is gloomy. 

"Luckily we have a running machine which we’ve all been using. Hector and his brothers are missing their PE lessons and football practice, so they’ve all been having a go on the running machine.

“Hector decided that to keep himself motivated, and to make a difference to help others, he would raise sponsorship whilst doing his 1km every day. 

"St Clare Hospice cared for his grandad Bobby and we felt it was the perfect charity to support as a way of saying ‘thank you’ to the hospice. 

"We were bowled away that he raised over £1,000 in just three days, and it’s a fantastic motivator for Hector - he is so eager to get on the running machine every day to do his kilometre.

“We don’t know how long this lockdown will be, it could be four weeks or four months! But Hector is determined to keep it going throughout. 

"He loved his grandad so much and St Clare’s is such an incredible place and a great local cause who need our support through the pandemic more than ever.” 

You can donate to Hector's fundraising c
hallenge HERE
2.40pm - January 19

NORTON HEATH: Police find cannabis in man's underpants

Two men were found in possession of cannabis - one with the drug concealed in his underpants and the other with the drug hidden in a sock - when police stopped a car at Norton Heath.

Three people have been dealt with after Operational Support Group officers quizzed the occupants of a Ford car at the Norton Heath Service Station on the A414 yesterday.

Checks showed the driver had no insurance.

A search of the front seat passenger revealed a small quantity of cannabis in his underpants while the rear seat passenger had an amount of the drug in a sock.

The Essex OSG tweeted: "None had good reason to be out in a car together."

The vehicle was seized.

All three were dealt with by means of a Community Resolution.
12.51pm - January 17

Town council chairman quits council "leaving it in better condition" than when first elected

The chairman of Ongar Town Council whose resignation from the council will be formally reported to the council on Thursday has told Everything Epping Forest he is "leaving it in better condition" than when he was first elected.

Derek Birch has been a town councillor for almost six years, and chairman for four years.

He told Everything Epping Forest: "During my tenure a considerable number of beneficial improvements were made to the council.

"The Love Lane sports facilities were an administrative and financial burden, which was not sustainable or value for money. 

"The Ongar Community Sporting Trust charity was set up to remove this burden and put the facility back into the hands of the users.

"The mini-van was under-utilised and costing more than the revenue it generated and the old council utility van urgently needed replacing. Selling the mini-van and the old council van provided sufficient money to buy the new council van with no cost to the council.

"The council administration, the biggest financial expenditure, was reorganised to fit the business requirements. Reducing staff and working hours provided a significant savings for use elsewhere.

"Council committees meet frequently but the approval process could take months. Streamlining the committees into one allowed decisions to be made quickly and actioned faster.

"The old CCTV system was not fit for purpose, it had suffered from lack of investment and reached its sell-by date years ago. A new CCTV system is installed providing more cameras with night-time vision and monitoring."

Mr Birch added: "Councils are often criticised for not listening to residents. Shelley residents and children asked for more equipment at Shelley Park. The funds were available and more equipment will be installed when COVID-19 allows.

"Ongar Town Council provided more grant funding to local organisations and activities, funding the town's flowers, Christmas lights, relaying of the petanque pitch, town festival, sports clubs, Alzheimer’s club, scouts, cubs and many more.

"A decision was made to upgrade the 120 street lights owned by the town council to LED. This is a long-term strategy with the benefit of reducing expenditure, environmental impact and LED bulbs have longer lifespan. The funding for this has been achieved from the savings made.

"Forward planning required building up a reserve fund to purchase land for a new cemetery. Although the cemetery has another 20 to 30 years before it is full, plans need to be put in place now.

"The Neighbourhood Plan is a valuable document for the future development of Ongar and is nearing completion. It is presently in its final approval stage.

"Ongar has deteriorated over several years and to highlight this 'A Regenerating Ongar' report was compiled by Ongar Town Council and sent to Epping Forest District Council and Essex County Council. 

"It was shared with Paul Messenger, the consultant employed by the district council to look into and recommend high street regeneration. 

"The report proved beneficial as Paul included many areas from the document in his report to Epping Forest District Council.

"The council tax has been stabilised with increases kept to a minimum. Ongar had suffered with large unacceptable increases in the past. 

"Because of the reorganisation this year, there will be a substantial decrease in Ongar’s council tax."

Mr Birch concluded: "I now wish to pursue other interests which I had put on hold, and consider this to be a suitable time to stand down from Ongar Council and as chairman, leaving it in better condition than when I was first elected."

His resignation is the third from the council in three months following the resignation of Mary Dadd last October and Danella Azzopardi in December.

There are now six vacancies - two vacancies in the Marden Ash ward, two in the Chipping Ongar ward and one each in the Greensted and Shelley wards.
2.36pm - January 15

Six vacancies on town council after chairman resigns
 
The chairman of Ongar Town Council has resigned leaving six vacancies on the council.

The resignation of Derek Birch will be reported to Thursday's council meeting.

It is the third resignation from the council in three months following the resignation of Mary Dadd last October and Danella Azzopardi in December.

There are now two vacancies in the Marden Ash ward, two in the Chipping Ongar ward and one each in the Greensted and Shelley wards. 
4.53pm - January 12

Report details suggestions to improve "overlooked" High Street

The idea of another supermarket and the need for a "reliable" post office are just two of the suggestions included in a new report looking at ways to improve the sustainability of Ongar High Street which "appears to have been overlooked and has fallen slightly into decline". 

Various suggestions are included in a report by a firm of independent business consultants on behalf of Epping Forest District Council.

What do you think of the suggestions? Would they improve Ongar High Street?

* Attracting another supermarket
* A "reliable" post office
* Moving market day to weekends
* A 'Community Hub' at the library
* A 'Love Ongar' discount card for residents.
* Free town centre wi-fi

'Quick Win' ideas:

* Regular street sweeping
* Litter bins emptied
* Clearance of rubbish from near recycling bins in Budworth Hall car park
* Replacement of broken or previously removed bollards
* Replacement or relaying of broken and uneven paving
* Make first-hour parking free.

These ideas are included in the report which looks into all aspects of the High Street - and has come up with suggestions to improve the economic viability of the town and to "improve short and medium-term sustainability of businesses in the High Street".

The report from Paul Messenger, from independent business consultants Studio 3,
describes Ongar as "a lovely town comprising a beautiful high street lined with attractive listed buildings".

But it adds: "The town appears to have been overlooked and has fallen slightly into decline as a result.

"A number of the buildings require some love and attention and the High Street and town centre have a number of maintenance issues which need addressing."

The report, written last November, adds: "The High Street is fairly spread out and has a current retail vacancy rate of circa 14 per cent - fractionally above the national average.

"There are a good range of shops, however it is not felt that these are meeting the needs of a growing local community and that as a result people are tending to shop at the larger adjoining towns.

"In addition, the town centre does little to make itself appealing to or provide for the large number of visitors which come to Ongar each year."

Suggested 'Quick Wins' include ongoing sweeping of the High Street and the emptying of litter bins, regular clearance of rubbish from around the recycling bins in the Budworth Hall car park and elsewhere in the town, the replacement or broken or previously removed bollards, the replacement or relaying of broken and uneven paving and a change to the parking charges to make the first hour free.

The report also proposes the appointment of a district council-appointed Town Centre Manager with "buy in, action and leadership" provided by Ongar Town Council, and the setting up of a Town Team of residents, businesses and retailers to ensure "considerable two-way dialogue" over any proposals.

Mr Messenger's report also suggests moving market day from Wednesday to the weekend so that coincides with the running of trains on the Epping-Ongar Railway, and perhaps adding speciality markets - such as a Farmers' Market, French market and antiques.

A Community Hub based in the library which could co-ordinate events and town activities, perhaps with a police help desk, mini job centre and tourist information base and for a location for youth facilities.

A 'Love Ongar' card scheme could be developed to offer residents discounts, offers and preferential rates to encourage people to use local services.

Free wi-fi in the town centre is also suggested.

Mr Messenger adds that "some consideration" should be given to standardising the shop fronts in the High Street "and making them more appropriate in colour and design to the town centre".

He also states that he believes, despite the well-known issues that exist over the matter, that feasibility studies are undertaken to establish the practicality of reinstating the Epping-Ongar railway as a regular service.
8.44pm - January 5

Town council opposes car showroom site apartments plan

Revised plans to build nine two-bedroom apartments on the site of the Ongar Bridge car showroom in Ongar High Street are being opposed by Ongar Town Council.

A previous application was rejected by Epping Forest District Council.

Councillor Simon Cole told tonight's planning and environment committee that the proposed 15 parking spaces went against the district council's parking policy.

He added: "You just know that the pavement is going to be bumper to bumper parking."

Council chairman Derek Birch said there was insufficient parking for the number of apartments, and added the proposals must comply with the town council's draft Neighbourhood Plan.

He said: "It goes against many policies in our Neighbourhood Plan - the height, the parking the amenities. 

"It doesn't enhance the area, it's too high, there's insufficient parking and it's a loss of employment space which is very important."

Committee chairman Kevin Piggott said: "Looking at it, there's not an awful lot that has changed (from the original application). They've just gathered more supporting evidence from people."

A letter from Melville Dunbar Associates, submitted with the revised application, states amendments have been made to overcome issues relating to parking, cycles and the provision of amenity space. 

It adds: "We remain convinced this proposed development represents the best option for ensuring a significant enhancement to the character of the conservation area."

The application papers state the site is "too cramped and too small" for a modern car sales and servicing use.

Ongar Town Council had supported the original application in principle but had requested a condition for additional parking, and had expressed concern over the amount of private amenity space proposed.

Councillors had been disappointed at the proposed loss of a "prime greenfield location".
12.37pm - January 3

​Celebrity couple scrap controversial boundary walls plan for new home

Celebrity couple Mark Wright and Michelle Keegan have withdrawn a planning application for perimeter walls, entrance gates and piers at their under-construction new home near Ongar.

The proposals had sparked opposition from Stanford Rivers Parish Council and Epping Forest District Council's trees and landscape officer.

The parish council had said the walls would be "inappropriate" in the rural setting of the property, off a country lane.

Parish council chairman John Glover told a parish council meeting: "Those sort of opaque barriers are everything that we don't want in the area. They are for a builders' yard or transport yard.

"What we want is wooden fencing you can see through with hedges, not the entrance to a castle or a prison."

Councillor Sheila Jackman said the proposals were "inappropriate development in a rural area".

Epping Forest District Council's trees and landscape officer Melinda Barham had told planning officers she had no objection to the gates and piers but said the rendered perimeter walls - 1.8m high along one section and 2.1m high along another section - would be "totally out of keeping and fail to enhance the rural landscape setting". 

In a letter to planning officers, she said: "None of the other properties on this lane (of which there are only a few) have such inappropriate boundary treatments."

She added council records showed a public footpath would be blocked if the walls were built.

The couple are still waiting for a district council decision over amended plans to change the design of the Georgian-style house, with a new-look front facade and to add windows in the front elevation, alter the rear elevation and change the design of the roof.
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