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9.05am - May 31

LOUGHTON: Witness appeal over "assault"

Police are appealing for witnesses following reports of an assault in Loughton earlier this month.

A man and a woman, both known to each other, are believed to have had a verbal altercation between Marlescroft Way and Southview Road on Saturday, May 8.

The man is described as being black with a short afro hairstyle, aged in his late teens and wearing a navy tracksuit.

The victim, a woman in her early 20s, was wearing pink pyjamas at the time of the incident.

Detectives are working to establish what occurred in the lead-up to the incident and if there were any witnesses to the assault itself.

An 18-year-old local man was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm. He has been released on bail while police enquiries continue.

Anyone who was in the area at the time and has not yet spoken to officers, or has access to CCTV or dash cam footage which may be relevant, is asked to ring 101 and quote crime reference number 42/85579/21.

Information or footage can also be given to police online at or by using 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.
9.24am - May 30

WALTHAM ABBEY: Twelve planning applications to be considered

Twelve planning applications are to be considered by Waltham Abbey Town Council's planning and licensing sub-committee which is being held at Waltham Abbey Town Hall, Highbridge Street, at 4pm on Wednesday (June 2).

The applications are:

* dropped kerb for a width of 3 metres, 36 Crooked Mile

* single-storey side extension, 47 Upshire Road

* haybarn, 7 Sergeants Green Lane

* new two-storey building for B1 / B2 / B8 offices, storage and light industrial use

* conversion of garage into habitable room, 3 Cobmead Drive

* retention of a permeable roadway made of broken brick, Normandy Nursery, Avey Lane

* retention of a 40ft container, previously used to block the second site entrance, Normandy Nursery, Avey Lane

* alteration of design and location of house on Plot 1, Fairmead, 1 Church Road, High Beech

* demolition of rear triple garage and conservatory and erection of a single-storey rear extension together with rooms in the roof of the existing bungalow, Roundhills, Mott Street

* work on protected trees - one Willow, one Ash, two Oaks and three Prunus, Baden Drive

* single-storey rear extension and loft conversion with dormer window, 4 Willmott Cottages, Copt Hall Green

* application for a Lawful Development certificate for existing use of Class B8 storage purposes.
9.04am - May 29

EXCLUSIVE PICTURE: All set for new M11 bridge work

A series of overnight motorway closures will begin next week so a bridge can be lifted into place across the M11 near Sheering as part of the new Junction 7A works.

Everything Epping Forest's exclusive drone picture, provided by a reader, shows the road - running Harlow to Cambridge from left to right - with the route of the new road leading into Harlow clearly visible at the top of the picture.

The bridge which will be lifted into place during the closure is already on site and can be seen just off the London-bound carriageway

The closures between Junction 7 (Hastingwood) and Junction 8 (Bishop's Stortford and Stansted) will be in place between 9pm and 5am from Tuesday (June 1) each evening for up to seven weekday nights.

Original planning permission for the new junction was granted in July 2017. 

Work began last summer and is expected to be completed and the new junction opened by 2022.

There will be slip roads on and off the M11 for both northbound and southbound traffic with traffic travelling from the new M11 junction towards Harlow using the two new roundabouts, on either side of the M11, and travel along the new wide two-lane link road to The Campions roundabout.

The planned new Harlow hospital is earmarked for land close to the new junction.
3.53pm - May 28

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"That, apart from their appearance, was one of the reasons for choosing them."
4.16pm - May 27

CHIGWELL: Grange Farm Centre bids farewell to long-serving trustee

Trustees at the Grange Farm Centre, Chigwell, have thanked Roger Neville who has stood down having served as a trustee and treasurer of the Grange Farm Trust for over 20 years.

He has lived in the area all his life and can remember visiting Grange Farm as a young lad, attending donkey derbys and enjoying the Olympic-sized swimming pool.

Chairman of Trustees Trevor Johnson said: "It was therefore fitting that Roger was a driving force in getting the Grange Farm back on its feet.

"Using his brilliant financial mind and his love for the Grange Farm he was able to achieve the goals set out by the Charity Commission.  

"These achievements included not only the facilities that thousands of people enjoy every year but also a well run charity, financially supporting a large number of charities across Essex and London.   

"We wish Roger and his family all the best for the future and welcome him back anytime to enjoy the Grange Farm."
1.53pm - May 27

LOUGHTON: Housing development plan for Pyrles Lane

Land off Pyrles Lane in Loughton is set to be sold by Epping Forest District Council to the wholly council-owned company Qualis Group to build a development of 33 homes.

A currently unoccupied house, valued at £415,000, would have to be bought by Qualis - and demolished - to create a new access to the former nursery site.

The scheme currently comprises 33 houses (20 two-bedroom, seven three-bedroom and six four-bedroom townhouses) with 35 car parking spaces (one per home and two visitor spaces).

The development would include 'affordable' housing with a new access from Pyrles Lane following the demolition of number 79.

A Qualis report states: "To provide a suitable access to the development (in addition to 79 Pyrles Lane) there is the need to acquire three additional portions of land from Epping Forest District Council, including a section of the rear garden to 81 Pyrles Lane."

The report, to be considered by the council's overview and scrutiny committee, adds: "Epping Forest District Council have appointed Savills to value the additional portions of land and these valuations are expected during the week commencing May 24, 2021. 

"Number 79 Pyrles Lane has already been valued at £415,000.

"With regards to 81 Pyrles Lane, this property was sold in 1982 on a long lease and Epping Forest District Council will need to negotiate with the owner for this strip of garden."

The outline proposals are to be discussed by the overview and scrutiny committee so councillors can "make any comments or observations that they would wish Cabinet to consider when a detailed acquisition proposal is put forward by Qualis".

A report to the committee states: "It is expected that any disposal would need to take place at fair market value and that Qualis will also need to apply to the council for acquisition and development finance to enable them to complete the transaction and to develop the site."

The report reveals that Qualis Group, up to the end of April, has spent £273,570 on consultant fees relating to the proposed development.

It is expected, according to Qualis, that a planning application for the site will be submitted in November.
8.56am - May 27

WALTHAM ABBEY: Town council's youngest member elected Town Mayor


Waltham Abbey Town Council's youngest member has been elected Town Mayor for 2021-22.

Councillor Jodie Lucas, 27, told the Annual Council Meeting she was "truly and deeply honoured" to have been nominated for the position.

She succeeds councillor Antony Watts who received his past mayor's badge from councillor Lucas at the meeting held at Waltham Abbey Town Hall on Wednesday.

Councillor Lucas said: "I really am truly and deeply honoured to be elected as Mayor of Waltham Abbey and it is a privilege to accept this position in the town my family has resided in for nearly 200 years."

Councillor Lucas, who has represented the Paternoster ward for more than five years having been co-opted in 2016 and elected in 2019, added: "I have learnt so much both personally and professionally for the best interests of the town and for those that I represent.

"As the youngest member of the council, guidance and support has been an essential aspect of my development."

Councillor Lucas has chosen the mental health charity Young Minds as her charity for the year.

She said: "Mental health and especially children's mental health is something I am personally passionate about. Mental health is at its most prevalent due to the increased stress and strain the pandemic has put on us all, and especially the younger generation."

Councillor Liz Webster, who was re-elected as council leader, had nominated councillor Lucas saying it was a "really, really, great pleasure" to put her forward for the position. Her nomination was seconded by councillor Tim Matthews.

Members of councillor Lucas's family - including her 96-year-old grandmother, Eugenia - were among the members of the public who attended the mayor-making meeting which saw councillor Jeane Lea elected as Deputy Mayor.

* Cheques totaling £4,250 have been presented by Waltham Abbey Town Council to three local organisations.

A cheque for £2,000 was presented to Waltham Abbey Youth 2000 (WAY 2000) while Through the Fight Foundation received £1,250 and 3FoodU £1,000 from outgoing Town Mayor Antony Watts.
9.03am - May 26

MORETON: Parish community group has residents at its heart

A community group which has its villagers at the centre of everything it does now has nine of the 14 seats on Moreton, Bobbingworth and The Lavers Parish Council.

The independent and non-politically aligned Community Spirit group was created in 2019 as a ‘bottom up’ community-led organisation to collate the parish's concerns regarding its future. 

Three ‘Think Tanks’ were held in Magdalen Laver and Moreton in 2019 and in Bobbingworth last year. 

These were attended by 160 parishioners who declared 67 ‘concerns’ ranging from anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping to flooding and wildlife care.

Each 'concern' was placed into either a 'Crime', 'highways', 'environment' or 'welfare' category with a communication and co-ordination hub created to support the categories. 

A Community Spirit spokesman said: "The bedrock of the continual communication are the 40 ‘Lane Ambassadors’ who have volunteered to support dwellings and businesses in the 33 'lanes' in our parish.

"The intent is to grow 'Community Spirit' as a shared and all-encompassing organisation involving as many residents in the parish as possible who are able and willing to get involved.

"Community Spirit is an organisation developed by those who are concerned deeply enough about an issue that they want to become involved. They will either lead or volunteer as active members of a parish 'concern'."

The group has already arranged numerous litter picks and created policies to be implemented in the parish.

The spokesman added: "Each ‘Concern Team’ will debate and decide on the best strategy and plan to represent their 'concern' which they will upload via the 'hub' to the parish inhabitants, delivering the vision for action to enhance the future of the Parish and its Inhabitants."
7.33pm - May 25

DISTRICT: Death announced of former district council chairman

The death has been reported by Epping Forest District Council of former district council chairman Brian Hudspeth at the age of 88.

Mr Hudspeth, who was council chairman in 1991-92, represented North Weald for more than 12 years as a district and parish councillor.

Councillor Stephen Murray described Mr Hudspeth as "an excellent example of political participation" who was "always co-operative and friendly.

"I know how much he was respected in the village."

His death was announced at tonight's Annual Council Meeting - 30 years after he ended his chairmanship of the authority.

Councillor Richard Morgan, who knew Mr Hudspeth from the start of his council career, described him as "a great councillor" who had served on most committees.

He added: "He was a great ambassador for the council when he was chairman. He visited all over the district and spread the word about Epping Forest."

Mr Morgan also highlighted his work with Harlow Rotary Club.

Councillors and council staff held a minute's silence at tonight's Annual Council Meeting.
7.32pm - May 25

DISTRICT: District council chairman and vice-chairman re-elected

Epping Forest District Council chairman councillor Helen Kane has been re-elected for a second year.

Mrs Kane was nominated by council leader Chris Whitbread who said a second term would give her the opportunity to go around the district meeting people, something she had been unable to do during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He added: "This has been a year like no other and hopefully we won't have another one (like it) again."

Councillor Whitbread described Mrs Kane as "not only a hardworking councillor but a unifying councillor".

He added: "I look forward now for you to have the opportunity to take the warmth of your character out to our communities."

Councillor Jo Share-Bernia was re-elected as vice-chairman having been nominated by fellow Buckhurst Hill councillor Aniket Patel.
2.11pm - May 25

LOUGHTON: Car crashes into church for second time in nine years

A car has crashed into the front of Loughton Methodist Church for the second time in less than nine years.

The latest incident happened on Sunday evening when a car apparently came down Traps Hill and across the High Road into the front of the building which is used as a cafe.

Church member Stephen Murray, writing on Facebook, said: "My clear understanding is that the car was coming down Traps Hill at speed, lost control, jumped the front wall and went through our church frontage."

A post on the church's Facebook page stated: "We are thankful that no-one was seriously injured in this incident. Please keep all those involved in your prayers. Our cafe has been moved to another part of the church and remains open."

In July 2012, a church worker was airlifted to hospital with serious injuries after a car went into the front of the church.
1.47pm - May 25

New parish council chairman sees facilities for young people as among his priorities for the year

The new chairman of Buckhurst Hill Parish Council has set out his priorities for the year.

Councillor Steven Neville was elected chairman at the Annual Council Meeting with fellow Green Party councillor Simon Heap elected as vice-chairman.

Councillor Neville said: "I am absolutely delighted that the parish council has chosen me to be their chairman for 2021-22.

"I hope all parish councillors can work together over the next year regardless of the label that they were elected on.

"As a children’s worker I’m keen to promote ideas to improve the offer for children and young people in the area. I hope I can do Buckhurst Hill proud over the next year."

Speaking at the Annual Council Meeting, district councillor Aniket Patel congratulated councillor Neville on his election and highlighted the work of former council chairman Smruti Patel.

Mr Neville thanked former councillors Joseph Barkham, Jane Forker Clark, Sam Clark, Bobby Nagpal, Glenys Reynolds, Sylvia Watson, Neville Wright and Smruti Patel for their service to the community, saying Mrs Patel had put the people of Buckhurst Hill first, working tirelessly both as a councillor and as council chairman.

He said the new council should all be working together for the interests of Buckhurst Hill, to serve the people of Buckhurst Hill.

He told the meeting he would like to see the development of facilities for children and young people, building on the ideas of the skatepark and the revival of the Hornbeam Road playground.

Committee chairmen for the year were also elected:

Finance and Establishment - councillor Matt West
Recreation and Community - councillor Sarah Goodfellow
Planning and Environment - councillor Anne Redelinghuys
Accommodation - councillor Simon Heap
Personnel - councillor Steven Neville. 
12.52pm - May 25

WALTHAM ABBEY: Three arrested after police respond to report of man threatened with firearm

Three people have been released by police after officers were called to reports that a man had been threatened with a firearm in Waltham Abbey on Sunday evening.

A man was arrested on suspicion of possessing a firearm while a man and a woman were detained on suspicion of possessing drugs with intent to supply.

A police spokesman said: "We were called to an incident in Waltham Abbey around 10pm on Sunday (May 23).

"It was reported that a man visiting an address in Beechfield Walk had been threatened with a firearm.

"Officers attended and arrested a man and two women at the scene, all from the area.

"A 21-year-old man arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm was released on bail until June 17.

"A 23-year-old woman and a 40-year-old woman who were arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs have been released under investigation."
12.35pm - May 25

ONGAR: Diabolical" kerb repairs are "urgent make-safe" temporary measure - Essex Highways

Work carried out on kerbstones in Ongar is an "urgent make-safe" repair, Essex Highways has said, after the work was described as "totally and utterly diabolical" and "disgustingly chronically bad" by Everything Epping Forest Facebook group members.

Several locations where lorries have damaged kerbs were reported to Essex County Council highways after residents contacted Ongar Town Council.

Now some work has been carried out sparking the criticism on social media.

Similar work where asphalt has been used to secure loose kerbstones rather than the kerbstones being replaced has been reported elsewhere in Ongar and elsewhere around the district.

A spokesman for Essex Highways told Everything Epping Forest: “These are examples of urgent 'make-safe' repairs where we respond urgently to reports of loose and perhaps dangerous kerbs or missing kerbs. 

"We fill in with asphalt as a temporary repair until we can return as soon as possible to repair the kerb permanently with similar kerbstones."

The spokesman added: "It may be that we need to source the correct kerbstone, or that to do a full repair by digging out the existing surface to fix the new kerb is a longer job needing full crew and equipment and/or if it is on a faster or busier road we may need to 'book roadspace', that is to secure a permit to close a lane or the road while we carry out the full repair safely."

No timescale was given in the statement regarding when the "full repair" to the Ongar roads will be carried out.
3.03pm - May 21

WALTHAM ABBEY: New councillor co-opted onto town council

Waltham Abbey Town Council has co-opted Tim Matthews onto the council to fill the vacant High Beech Ward seat.

Mr Matthews was elected in the High Beech Ward for Epping Forest District Council on May 6 and is Waltham Abbey Town Council’s fifth councillor to sit on both the town and district councils.

Councillor Matthews said: “It is a great honour to have been co-opted on to Waltham Abbey Town Council.

"I was born and raised in the Waltham Abbey area and still live there today with my young family."

He added: "I look forward to being able to represent the residents from all areas of Waltham Abbey.

"I strongly believe Waltham Abbey is a very special place that I would love to see thrive.

"I will do everything possible within my new position to make this happen and ensure we leave it in a strong position for future generations to enjoy."
2.40pm - May 21

NAZEING: Two men arrested over series of sexual offences

Two men have been arrested in connection with a series of sexual offences in the Nazeing and Dobbs Weir area.

Police are investigating a number of reports of indecent exposure and sexual assault around the area, often by the Lee Navigation.

The incidents took place between July last year and May 12 this year.

A 24-year-old man, from Bishop’s Stortford, was arrested on May 15 and has been bailed until June 12 while a 27-year-old man, from Nazeing, who was arrested on May 18 has been bailed until June 13.

A police spokesman said: "We know that sometimes victims don't recognise that a crime has been committed against them.

"If you feel any similar offences may have been committed against you, or someone you know, please come forward and report that crime to us."

Offences can be reported by ringing 101 or by visiting the Essex Police website.

In an emergency, callers should always ring 999.
7.10pm - May 20

LOUGHTON / BUCKHURST HILL: Pedestrian dies three days after collision

A man seriously injured in a collision with a car in Rangers Road, Loughton, on Sunday, has died in hospital.

Police were called shortly after 11.05am to reports of a collision involving a pedestrian and a silver BMW.

The pedestrian, a man in his 20s, was airlifted to hospital with life-threatening injuries and died there three days later.

Police want to thank the members of the public who stopped and helped with first aid at the scene.

No-one has been arrested in connection with the collision but police continue to carry out enquiries.

Anyone who saw what happened or has CCTV or dash cam footage of the incident or the moments before it can submit a report online at or use the 'Live Chat' button to speak to an online operator between 7am and 11pm (quote incident 405 of May 26).

Information can also be given on 101 or to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
3.41pm - May 20

WALTHAM ABBEY: Mayor reflects on "difficult couple of years"

The Mayor of Waltham Abbey has reflected on "a difficult couple of years" caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and praised the town's community spirit as he prepares to hand over his chain of office next week.

Councillor Antony Watts, who has been Town Mayor for the last two years, has also remembered the family of Neil Darnell, the father-of-two who died in a hit-and-run road crash in Farm Hill Road, Waltham Abbey, last month, saying Mr Darnell and his family "will always be in my thoughts".

Mr Watts, in his annual report at the end of the 2020-21 civic year, said: "It's been a difficult couple of years. For most of us, we are looking forward to getting back to some sense of normality, albeit living with this virus.

"I count my blessings as I’ve only lost one friend to this dreadful disease. It has taken the lives of so many too soon but left so many more with their grief. 

"My thoughts and best wishes go out to you all, and to those unfortunate to have 'Long Covid' and who are still struggling with its effects. 

"I was warned over a year ago that we will probably have to live with COVID-19 for years to come.

"One person and family will always be in my thoughts; the care home worker who tragically died just a few days after her husband."

He added: "Alas, life, and death goes on outside COVID-19 and the whole town's thoughts and prayers are with Neil Darnell's family." 

Mr Watts added that his "biggest regret" at the end of his two-year spell as Mayor is that because of the pandemic he has not been able to play a more active role.

He said: "One of the great privileges and pleasures of the office is to get out and about meeting people, in the town and representing it elsewhere. That has just simply not been possible. I have tried to 'do my bit' with so many others and have hopefully helped in some small measure. 

"Of course, the most effective weapon in our armoury is the vaccine. I’ve had my first dose and, like many, felt relieved that at last we finally seem to be getting the better of this deadly enemy. But we will also have to continue being careful, wearing masks indoors,social distancing and washing hands.

"For many it has been, and continues to be a very difficult time but there have been many positive stories. 

"Waltham Abbey has always been a supportive community and this has never been more evident than during this past year. 

"The immediacy with which community support groups swung into action was breathtaking. The Town Hall has done its part, giving financial support to our customers, providing seed funding for 3Food4U and support groups and, of course, making the building available for the NHS.

"The Town Hall is there as a facilitator. The real work is done by each and every one of you. It might be collecting shopping or prescriptions, arranging food parcels, or just being there to provide a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. 

"I am so immensely proud of everyone who has helped and are still playing their part. It’s what makes our town and our community such a great place. It’s not unique. Communities all over the country have done their bit.

"I know, I’m a newcomer having lived here since 1985 but it is my town. Our community spirit existed long before COVID-19. It will survive COVID-19, and I hope that later in the year we will all be able to celebrate it."
5.11pm - May 19

EPPING: Outgoing Mayor wishes successor a more "normal" year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I wish Michael an enjoyable and indeed a more ‘normal’ year as Mayor."
4.41pm - May 19

WALTHAM ABBEY: Nine-hour music event gets go-ahead

A nine-hour live music event at the J26 Diner, off Honey Lane, Waltham Abbey, for 450 people has been given the go-ahead - a month after an initial application was rejected.

Epping Forest District Council's licensing sub-committee refused an application for a Temporary Event Notice last month on the grounds of "public safety" after Essex Police licensing officer Ronan McManus expressed concern over pedestrians and HGVs sharing the same entrance and exit, and the potential for people under the influence of alcohol wandering onto the nearby M25.

However a new application for the event - running from 2pm until 11pm on Saturday, June 26 - was approved last week after district councillors were given reassurances over the issues and the objections which were set to be challenged at an appeal to magistrates.

Sarah Clover, speaking for the applicants, said there were two main issues which had been the subject of the sub-committee's initial decision to refuse a Temporary Event Notice for the event.

These were the issue of conflict between pedestrians and vehicles on the site, and the fear that intoxicated people could wander onto the M25.

Ms Clover told the sub-committee the conflict issue had been resolved as HGV movements would be grounded for the entirety of the event and also for two hours before and two hours after the event.

On the issue of people possibly walking onto the motorway, she said the likelihood was a "complete mismatch" between the "very, very unlikely" chance of it happening and she cited the example of motorway service areas selling alcohol and no such incidents of drunkenness having been reported nationally.

She said event-goers would arrive and be directed to a car park.

"It's not a common thing for people to get roaring drunk because they have to get themselves home again."

She added that since the original application had been rejected the proposed fencing had been upgraded with steel panels instead of wooden panels proposed.

Mr McManus told last Thursday's meeting that Essex Police repeated its objections and concerns and, again, referred to an unlicensed event at the site last August.

He also repeated his concerns over the possibility of intoxicated people walking onto the M25, issues over the number of taxi being available and the lack of public transport in the immediate area.

"Our concerns remain the same," he said.

The hearing was told the event is aimed at people aged 25 to 40.
7.49am - May 19

WALTHAM ABBEY: All set for Waltham Abbey Town Show - COVID-19 restrictions allowing

More than 20 stalls have registered for the Waltham Abbey Town Show which Waltham Abbey Town Council hopes can go ahead as scheduled at the end of June, depending on COVID-19 restrictions.

The final stage of the Government's roadmap is set to see COVID-19 restrictions lifted on June 21.

Waltham Abbey Town Council, which organises the show, is currently working on the show going ahead at Town Mead on Saturday and Sunday, June 26 and 27.

In addition to the stalls, numerous attractions are planned including a Punch and Judy Show, ferret racing (thanks to Southern Ferrets) and a visit from the Essex Fire and Rescue Service and The Copped Hall Trust's Rolls Royce.

There will also be a mixture of stage performances, and a DJ.

Anyone interested in finding out more about having a stall or performing at the show should email or ring 01992 714949 for more information.
7.49am - May 19

CHIGWELL: Two men charged over assault on Rabbi

Two men have been charged in connection with the assault on Chigwell and Hainault Synogogue Rabbi Rafi Goodman in Limes Avenue. Chigwell, on Sunday afternoon.

Rabbi Rafi, 31, was treated in hospital for head wounds.

Abderrahman Brahimi, 25, and Souraka Djabouri, 18, both of Tudor Crescent, Ilford, are due to appear at Colchester Magistrates’ Court today (Wednesday) charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, robbery and religiously aggravated criminal damage.
4.02pm - May 18

WALTHAM ABBEY: Development of 28 houses set for old swimming pool site

A development of 28 houses is being proposed for the site of the old Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool in Roundhills, Waltham Abbey.

Qualis Commercial - part of the wholly district council-owned Qualis Group - is behind the plans.

The development would see six three-bedroom houses and 22 two-bedroom houses.

It is unclear from flyers being distributed in the area whether the homes are for sale or rent.

Each house would have one parking space with the development would have three visitor spaces.

An area of community space for outdoor play with seating is also proposed.
7.23pm - May 17

CHIGWELL: Police make two arrests over religiously-aggravated assault

Two people have been arrested in connection with a religiously-aggravated assault in Chigwell.

Chigwell and Hainault Synagogue Rabbi Rafi Goodwin was assaulted in Limes Avenue shortly after 1.15pm yesterday (Sunday).

It was reported he had been attacked with an unknown item following a verbal altercation.

He required hospital treatment and his phone was stolen.

Two men from Ilford, aged 18 and 25, were arrested this afternoon on suspicion of GBH with intent.

They are currently in custody.

Throughout today police officers have been engaging with local Jewish communities to provide reassurance and updates following the incident.

Community members and religious leaders, who are celebrating Shavuot, have been speaking to officers in Chigwell this morning.

Chief Superintendent Stuart Hooper said: "We know this is a very important time - a time for communities to come together, to be around each other and celebrate. We do not want anyone to feel that they cannot do that safely.

“Officers have spent the day speaking with the Jewish community to provide reassurance.

“At this time we do not believe this incident is related to events taking place overseas or incidents which have taken place elsewhere in the country.”

Police are continuing to appeal for anyone with any information about yesterday’s incident to contact us.

Anyone with information about the incident, relevant CCTV, dashcam or ring door bell footage - particularly in the areas of Limes Avenue, Tudor Crescent and Fencepiece Road - is asked to contact Loughton CID on 101 quoting the crime reference number 42/92174/21.
8.05am - May 17

CHIGWELL: Detectives treating attack on Rabbi as "religiously-aggravated" assault

​Detectives ​say they ​are progressing their investigation following reports of a religiously-aggravated assault ​after Chigwell and Hainault Synagogue Rabbi Rafi Goodwin was attacked in Limes Avenue, Chigwell, at about 1.15pm​ yesterday (Sunday​).

​A police spokesman said it is believed that two teenagers stepped out in front of ​his car whil​e​ he was driving, they shouted at him and spoke in a derogatory way about his religion before damaging the car.

When he got out of his car to confront them, he was attacked with an unknown object.​ ​During the attack ​his​ phone was stolen.

​Rabbi Rafi was taken to King George's Hospital in Ilford. He was allowed home after treatment.

The two boys - believed to be aged between 15 and 18 - are believed to have fled on foot.

They have both been described as of Asian ethnicity. One was 5ft 9ins tall and wore his hair in an Afro-style. The other was 5ft 7ins tall. Both wore black jackets and the latter wore grey tracksuit bottoms.

​The police spokesman added: "We know this incident may be concerning for those in the local area and we are working quickly to identify those responsible and to liaise with community leaders for any further support for those impacted."

Anyone with information is asked to ring Loughton CID on 101 quoting crime reference number 42/92174/21.

​Information can also be given through the Essex Police website, or by using the ‘Live Chat’ function.

​Information can be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
8.01pm - May 16

UPDATE: Redbridge Council leader Jas Athwal has tweeted that Essex Police has confirmed it is treating the incident as an anti-semitic hate crime however it is not linking the motives of the crime to heightened tensions in the Middle East and the current hostilities in Israel and Palestine.

Essex Police is yet to issue a statement on the incident.

7.22pm - May 16

CHIGWELL: Rabbi "brutally attacked" on Limes Farm Estate

A Rabbi at the Chigwell and Hainault Synagogue has suffered head injuries in a "brutal" assault on the Limes Farm Estate.

Police have yet to release any information about the incident but Everything Epping Forest understands the attack on Rabbi Rafi Goodwin happened near Westmede on the estate this morning.

A statement issued by Chigwell and Hainault Synagogue said Rabbi Rafi was attacked suffered cuts to the top of his head and around one eye when he was assaulted by "by a couple of youths".

He was taken to King George's Hospital in Ilford. 

The statement added: "From the description of how the incident started, it does not, at this point, appear to be an anti-semitic attack."

The statement said: "The people on the Estate have been really supportive and sent many messages of sympathy".

Redbridge Council leader Jas Athwal said: "I am deeply disturbed and saddened to hear of the attack on Rabbi Rafi. Faith leaders and local residents have joined with me to send our best wishes to Rabbi Rafi for a speedy recovery.

"I am in regular contact with senior police officers to ensure the safety of local people.

"As a precautionary measure, police patrols are being increased around synagogues across the borough.

"Redbridge Council has offered all the support we can to the police to bring the perpetrators to justice and ensure the safety of worshippers going forward.

"We are proud of our rich diversity and active faith communities in Redbridge have a long track record of supporting each other."

He has urged anyone with any information about the "unprovoked and cowardly attack" to contact police.

He added: "I want to extend my deepest sympathy to Rabbi Rafi during this difficult time and myself, the police and Redbridge Council staff stand ready to support and assist the Chigwell and Hainault Shul."

Writing on Twitter, Mr Athwal said: "I am shocked and disturbed by the attack Rabbi Rafi.

"Redbridge and Essex Police have assured me that patrols will increase to ensure the safety of worshippers.

"I have reached out to our local Jewish communities to offer the full support of our council."

Rabbi Rafi's friend, Moshe Freedman - the Rabbi of New West End Synagogue - wrote on Twitter: "Please pray for my dear friend and colleague Rabbi Rafi Goodwin who has been brutally attacked this morning near to his synagogue in Chigwell."

Anyone with any information about the assault should ring police on 101.
3.04pm - May 16

LOUGHTON: Pedestrian suffers "life-threatening" injuries in road collision

A pedestrian has suffered "life-threatening" injuries in a collision with a car on Rangers Road, on the Chingford / Loughton / Buckhurst Hill border.

Police officers remain at the scene and are appealing for witnesses.
Officers were called shortly after 11.05am to reports that a pedestrian and silver BMW had been involved in a collision.

Officers have thanked members of the public who stopped and give first aid to the man who suffered serious injuries.

The car driver stopped at the scene.

A police spokesman said the pedestrian, a man in his 20s, has been airlifted to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Rangers Road remains closed from the junction with Epping New Road with drivers asked to seek alternative routes.

Anyone who saw the collision and has not yet spoken to officers, or anyone who was in the area and may have CCTV or dashcam prior to the incident is asked to ring police on 101 or email the Serious Collision Investigation Unit directly on
6.23pm - May 14

ONGAR: Town council to consider seven planning applications

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:

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. 
4.45pm - May 14

BUCKHURST HILL: Annual Council Meeting

The Annual Meeting of Buckhurst Hill Parish Council will be held at Buckhurst Hill Library, Queens Road, Buckhurst Hill, at 7pm on Thursday, May 20.

Anyone intended to attend the meeting should email

The meeting will include the election of a chairman and vice-chairman for the council year, the election of committee members and chairmen, and will also decide on the appointment of council representatives on a range of outside organisations.

Councillors will also be asked to agree a chairman's charity for 2021-22. 
3.03pm - May 14

WALTHAM ABBEY: Second teenager charged with murder after death of man "with a heart of gold"

The family of a man who died after being hit by a car in Waltham Abbey have described him as a “genuine force of life” with “a heart of gold” who would always “go out of his way to help others”.

Police today said a second 17-year-old boy had been charged with murder following the collision which happened in Farm Hill Road on Friday, April 16.

Local man Neil Darnell, 50, was found injured at about 10am after he was hit by a car.

He died in hospital two days later as a result of his injuries.

In a statement, those closest to him said: “No family should ever have to go through losing a loved one in these circumstances.

“Neil was a compassionate and loving family man. He had celebrated 26 years of marriage to his wife, Michelle, was a devoted father to his two daughters, Alice and Grace, and loved nothing more than taking his little dog, Ted, out for walks.

“He was extremely proud to have served his country with the British Army for six years, including in the first Gulf War, and would go out of his way to help others.

“Neil also completed three marathons, including both the London and Chelmsford marathons, to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust and the Alzheimer’s Association.

“He was always happy, always joking and could always see the brighter side of life.

“In the coming years, Neil and Michelle had plans to move to the countryside and travel to a long list of destinations they hadn’t yet had the time to visit.

“Neil was particularly looking forward to devoting more time to his passion for cooking, sampling different craft beers and bourbons, and seeing his beloved Arsenal play.

“Through such a senseless act, these aspirations have been taken from both ourselves and from Neil, and our lives have been changed forever.

“We are all completely heartbroken and no words can express how much Neil will be missed.”

On Saturday, May 8, a 17-year old boy, from Cheshunt, was arrested in Harlow and charged with murder.

He appeared at Colchester Magistrates’ Court on May 10 and will next appear at Chelmsford Crown Court on July 6.

Yesterday, a 17-year-old boy, from Hertford, was also arrested and charged with murder.

He is due to appear at Colchester Magistrates’ Court today (Friday).

Detectives are continuing to investigate the circumstances behind the collision and ask anyone who has yet to speak to them and has any information or footage, to contact the Major Crime Team quoting reference 42/72816/21 at

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

Information can also be given by ringing 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or by visiting
8.05am - 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.
5.03pm - May 12

NORTH WEALD: Parish council has now received £90,000 as part of airfield HMRC checkpoint arrangements

North Weald Bassett Parish Council has now received £90,000 to spend locally as part of the arrangement between Epping Forest District Council and the HMRC over the Inland Border Facility on North Weald Airfield.

The parish council received £50,000 in the last financial year, and has now confirmed a further payment of £40,000.

The airfield checkpoint, with the entrance off Rayley Lane and the exit off Merlin Way, checks the paperwork for HGVs entering and leaving the UK.

It came into operation on January 1 following the UK's exit from the EU.

The parish council has been liaising with the district council over various issues surrounding the site, including the parking of lorries in Vicarage Lane, the 'clearway' in Vicarage Lane, and the need for additional signage.

* Councillor Alan Buckley has been re-elected chairman of North Weald Bassett Parish Council for 2021-22 with councillor Anne Grigg re-elected as vice-chairman.
8.26pm - May 11

EPPING: Town council objects to housing plans on three sites

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"The parking is ridiculous. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Epping Sports Centre site:

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

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

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

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

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

Conder Building site:

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

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

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

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

Mr Scruton, commenting on all three sites, said: "If we get it wrong, we - the residents - have to live with it."
7.26pm - May 10

DISTRICT: Loughton councillor leads new Opposition group on county council

A 'non-aligned' group of Essex county councillors - with Loughton Residents Association county councillor Chris Pond as group leader - has become the new official opposition group on Essex County Council.

The group has ten Independents, resident association, Green Party and locally-focused representatives.

It is larger than the Liberal Democrats (eight councillors) and Labour (five councillors).

Dr Pond told Everything Epping Forest: "Our group will stand up for communities throughout the county when their interests are threatened, and will advocate localism in the face of big-party dogmatism. We will be tireless advocates of local people."

He added: "When the administration do something right we will support them. When they do not, we will be in the first rank of resisting them."

Dr Pond's appointment comes 40 years to the day that Loughton Residents Association's first councillor, Howard Kleyn, took his seat at County Hall, Chelmsford.

Dr Pond was re-elected to the Loughton Central division seat with two-thirds of the vote.

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.

5.11pm - May 10

ONGAR: 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.
1.37pm - May 10

LOUGHTON: Town council marks 25th anniversary

Two of the original members of Loughton Town Council remain on the council which is 25 years old.

The council held its inaugural meeting on May 8, 1996.

A campaign for a local council in the 1980s also resulted in the creation of Buckhurst Hill Parish Council and Chigwell Parish Council.

Two of Loughton Town Council's founding members were re-elected last Thursday when councillor Loughton Residents Association councillor Chris Pond (Loughton St John’s ward) and Independent councillor Stephen Murray (Loughton Roding Ward) comfortably retained their seats.

The town council is involved in the provision of many local services and facilities such as allotments, Loughton Cemetery, open spaces,  Roding Valley Recreation Ground including football pitches and tennis courts, Hillyfields and Millennium Remembrance Grove, Willingale Road playing field and the Memorial Rose Garden in Roding Road.

The council also comments on local and strategic plans and the runs Kingsley Hall and Murray Hall (community centres), playgrounds and outdoor gyms and provides heritage plaques across the town, finances the town's Christmas lights, maintains the war memorials and makes small grants to local organisations as well as running community events and the annual Christmas card and Christmas window competitions.

Mr Murray said: "Perhaps one of our proudest and most important achievements is the role we (the council) played in fully supporting the community-based campaign to save Jessel Green as a public open space, in the heart of one of our town’s most built-up areas."

The town council is made up of seven wards - Alderton, Broadway, Fairmead, Forest, Roding, St John’s and St Mary’s.

Last Thursday, 21 Loughton Residents Association councillors and one Independent councillor were elected to serve on the new town council.
1.08pm - May 10

DISTRICT: Councils return to face-to-face meetings

North Weald Bassett Parish Council will be the first council in the district to return to face-to-face meetings following the Government's decision that virtual meetings should end from May 7.

However some councils have said they will still continue with Zoom meetings while others have decided to defer meetings until the situation becomes clearer and further COVID-19 restrictions are lifted - currently set for May 17 and June 21.

North Weald Bassett Parish Council's COVID-secure face-to-face meeting takes place at The Parish Hall, Thornwood, at 7.30pm tonight.

Epping Town Council will return to face-to-face meetings tomorrow when the planning and general purposes committee meets at Epping Hall at 6.30pm to discuss various planning applications, including the three schemes for housing in the town - at the St John's Road site, current Epping Sports Centre site and the site of the Conder Building at the Civic Offices.

Stanford Rivers Parish Council will meet on Thursday (5.30pm) but has decided to continue with a virtual meeting.

Epping Forest District Council is set to return to face-to-face meetings, in the refurbished Civic Offices.

A council spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: "It looks like most of our meetings can be accommodated safely within the council chamber but our new open plan configuration for our ground floor meeting rooms (we will have five with sliding panels allowing us to open up a very large space) should enable us to hold full council meetings. 

"We are working on the details at the moment. And of course we will continue to encourage social distancing by providing the full webcasting service of all our meetings to public and press."
9.03am - May 10

WALTHAM ABBEY: Boy, 17, faces murder charge after road crash

A 17-year-old boy has been charged with murder in connection with the death of Neil Darnell, 50, who died following a collision with a car in Farm Hill Road at 10am on Friday, April 16.

The boy, from the Cheshunt area, was arrested in Harlow on Saturday.

He has now been charged with murder and is due to appear at Colchester Magistrates’ Court today (Monday).
5.45pm - May 9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His injuries and condition is not known.
1.44pm - May 9

WALTHAM ABBEY: Boy, 17, arrested over fatal crash

A 17-year-old boy, from the Cheshunt area, has been arrested in connection with the fail-to-stop collision in Waltham Abbey last month after which a 50-year-old local man died.

Neil Darnell died in hospital two days after he was in collision with a car in Farm Hill Road at 10am on Friday, April 16.

The teenager was arrested in Harlow last night and remains in custody where he is being questioned on suspicion of murder.

Detectives are continuing to investigate the circumstances behind the collision and thank witnesses who have helped with their enquiries.

Anyone who has yet to speak to detectives and has any information or footage is asked to contact the Major Crime Team quoting reference 42/72816/21 by emailing, contacting police online at or by ringing 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
3.17pm - May 8

EPPING: Town council to consider housing plans

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

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

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

A total of 53 parking spaces are proposed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyone wishing to speak at the meeting must contact the town council ahead of the meeting.
2.32pm - May 8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Work will be undertaken if successful funding can be obtained.

* A separate project being looked at is the estimated £100,000-plus replacement of the skatepark on a similar or slightly larger footprint.
2.00pm - May 8

ONGAR: 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.
1.59pm - May 8

ONGAR: 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.
1.58pm - 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.
3.55pm - May 6

WALTHAM ABBEY: Man dies in road collision

A man has died following a collision involving a car and a lorry on Dowding Way, Waltham Abbey.

The man, who was driving the car, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The collision happened shortly before midday.

The road remains closed while police officers investigate the incident and recover the vehicles.

A police spokesman said the road is likely to remain shut into this evening.

Anyone who saw the collision or has dash cam footage is asked to contact police on 101 (quoting incident 386 of May 6) or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
6.02pm - May 5

NORTH WEALD: Parish council opposes "far too big" housing scheme

The 'village concept' of North Weald would disappear if plans for hundreds of homes on the former North Weald Golf Club site are approved, the parish council has said.

North Weald Bassett Parish Council has stated that when other proposed local developments are taken into account - the 1,050 homes in the district council Local Plan for North Weald plus 1,050 homes for the Latton Priory site and the residential home and care home proposals in the 'North Weald Park' plans - some 2,600 new dwellings could be built in the Parish.

That could mean an additional 6,000 residents, parish council chairman Alan Buckley told Monday's planning committee meeting.

He added: "This gives me grave concerns."

Originally the parish council supported the 'North Weald Park' proposals, provided the 555 homes were taken off the 1,050-home allocation detailed for North Weald Village in the Local Plan.

Mr Buckley added the proposals would attract additional traffic to North Weald with traffic levels further increased by traffic set to travel to and from the airfield where a Masterplan details office space, and a new access road off Epping Road near the Debt of Honour, and to and from the proposed 'North Weald Park' Park and Ride.

He said: "That will bring a lot more traffic into the Parish of North Weald.

"We are putting an awful lot of traffic and people into a small area and no-one can tell me we've tried to expand the roads in this area. 

"Anybody who is local to this area knows how much of a nightmare this area can be.

"We are putting an awful lot of projects into one small area. It would have been bad enough with 1,050 homes but with another 50-60 per cent I just feel it's unacceptable."

Mr Buckley added: "When this was first proposed, the residents were very, very keen to ensure that North Weald retained its identity as a village. 

"With all these homes the concept of a village disappears. All we seem to be doing is bringing more and more people and cars into North Weald. It's far too big."

Mr Buckley said all the proposed housing sites are within "one square mile" with an "horrendous" number of homes currently being proposed.

"The centre of North Weald moves out (with the North Weald Park proposals) and impacts even more on the Hastingwood and Thornwood side of the Parish. It's far too large for a small area."

Councillor Andy Irvine said: "Our job is to represent our parishioners and I don't have any that have come up to me and said they want more traffic."

He added the area was already faced with additional traffic using the Inland Border Facility on the airfield, and the proposals to hold the airfield market on Sundays as well as Saturdays.

Councillor Anne Grigg said: "This site is in the Green Belt. If granted the space between the village and this site will probably go to infill and that means another few hundred houses. 

She added that while the scheme "has its good points" the plus points were outweighed by the Green Belt issue and the amount of traffic that would be generated.

The idea of developing the North Weald Golf Club site was first raised by Quinn Estates in early 2017 with the first application submitted in June 2018. 

Three amended applications have since been submitted.

Parish council planning officer Adriana Jones told Monday's meeting the latest application clarified the situation regarding the green space and bus proposals.

She added a letter from the Land Trust confirmed to Quinn Estates that the Trust would be willing to take on the management of an initial 15.69 hectare area of open space.

There was now also a letter to Quinn Estates from Galleon Travel confirming that Quinn Estates will provide three fully electric buses so that Galleon Travel / Trustbus can enhance the 420 service with stops to Epping and Harlow via the new park and ride site.

The parish council voted to object to the latest application on the grounds that far too many homes are proposed, with the number not being removed from the current North Weald Village allocation - and also concerns over the density, Green Belt issues and it going against the Local Plan.

The council's statement to the district council adds that while good community facilities are proposed in the plans "they do not outweigh the high number of homes (proposed) which would change the make-up of the village".

The application continues to propose the original elements - up to 555 homes (including affordable homes) 70-bed retirement accommodation, 70-bed extra care/nursing care accommodation, a two-form entry primary school, a medical centre, retail and office space, a community centre, sports hub with sports pitches, a sports pavilion scout hut, and formal and informal open space with a country park and a Park and Ride facility, and a new roundabout on the A414.

Of the 555 dwellings proposed, full planning permission is being sought for 116 dwellings (with 40 per cent 'affordable'), a community centre, open space and access off Rayley Lane.
5.39pm - May 5

LOUGHTON: School raises £400 for National Autistic Society


Children and staff at Hereward Primary School, Loughton, wore bright - rainbow - colours to support Autism Awareness Month raising £400 for the National Autistic Society.

The Colebrook Lane school dedicated Friday to supporting the cause raising money to support families in the UK.

The school's charity co-ordinator, Janice Whitehead, said: "I was overwhelmed by the fabulous response.

"The children came to school dressed in a wonderful array of colours and a big thank you goes to our parents, staff and children for supporting our ongoing charity work."

The school supports a range of charities throughout the year.
9.15am - May 5

NORTH WEALD: Parish council objects to airfield Sunday market plan

A proposal to expand the North Weald Airfield market to Sundays, in addition to the current Saturday and Bank Holiday Monday opening, has been branded "absolutely appalling" and opposed unanimously by North Weald Bassett Parish Council.

Hastingwood councillor Andy Irvine, speaking at Monday's parish council planning committee meeting, highlighted existing issues with traffic on local roads caused by the markets, and the inconvenience the market brings to local residents.

He added: "The whole idea to bring more and more and more traffic to Hastingwood, Thornwood and North Weald so Epping Forest District Council can monitize their asset (the airfield) is repugnant."

Councillor Terry Blanks told the meeting: "This is appalling. Does that mean there will be Saturday, Sunday and Monday (markets) three days running on some occasions. That's absolutely appalling. We can't cope with the traffic we've got at the moment."

Parish council chairman Alan Buckley said: "I'm surprised they are even going for this. By all accounts the Saturday market is very poorly attended (by traders) now.

"You used to have four aisles and the thing has shrunk already. Any traders coming down on a Saturday will have to stay over (to attend on the Sunday). 

"I really can't see the necessity when the size of the Saturday market has diminished."
4.29pm - May 3

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

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

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

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

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

St Clare Hospice also has a campaign 'Nurses Are...' that is focusing on the charity's need for specialist palliative care nurses to add to its teams so it can continue to provide outstanding care to people with life-limiting conditions.

The cheque was presented to Mr Bailey by Rotary Club of Epping president Barbara Scruton.
3.22pm - May 3

STAPLEFORD ABBOTTS: Police appeal after car crashes off road

A man suffered injuries described as "not life-threatening or life-changing" when a Mini car left Stapleford Road, Stapleford Abbotts, at about 5.30am today.

Police officers arrived alongside colleagues from the ambulance and fire services and found a Mini had left the road.

Anyone who witnessed the incident, has footage of what led to it or has information about it should submit a report online at or use the 'Live Chat' button to speak to an online operator between 7am and 11pm.

Information can also be given on 101 (incident 165 of May 3) or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or
2.58pm - May 3

LOUGHTON: Man suffers head injuries

A man aged in his 20s suffered head injuries when he was assaulted outside the Nisa shop in Borders Lane, Loughton.

Police were called by the ambulance service shortly before 6.45pm last night.

The man required hospital treatment.

No arrests have been made and police enquiries are ongoing.

Anyone with information or has footage should submit a report online at or use the 'Live Chat' button to speak to an online operator between 7am and 11pm.

Information can also be given via 101 (incident 1052 of May 2) and anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or
2.02pm - May 3


EPPING: "Nuclear power station" blunder included in St John's Road housing development report

It must surely go down as one of the most embarrassing 'copy-and-paste' errors but according to a specially commissioned report submitted with the planning application for 186 homes on the St John's Road site in Epping, a "new nuclear power station" is included in the proposals.

The typographical blunder was reported to Epping Forest District Council early last week but the document is still on its planning portal today along with hundreds of other reports relating to the three sites earmarked for housing in the town, totaling thousands of pages. 

Cotswold Archaeology, which was commissioned by Qualis Commercial to prepare the document, has been asked to explain the apparent glaring 'copy and paste' error.

The 85-page Heritage Statement begins with a summary which correctly states "the proposed development will comprise the redevelopment of the site for residential development as well as associated car parking and landscaping".

Yet three pages later the document reads: "The proposed development will comprise the construction of a new nuclear power station, with an associated access road and car park."

Eagle-eyed Everything Epping Forest reader Roger Lowry, who has trawled through the thousands of pages of paperwork submitted with the application on behalf of The Epping Society, told Everything Epping Forest: "Let us generously assume this is a copy/paste error rather than a leak; not that 'leak' is a great word in this context."

He added: "What it does tell us is that Epping Forest District Council have not checked what is published."

Cotswold Archaeology has been asked to comment on the "nuclear power station" reference.

The Epping Society asked the district council on March 30 whether the deadline for comments - currently May 12-13 - can be extended, especially because of the current local election campaign, COVID-19 restrictions and the sheer amount and complexity of the documentation to be studied.

The planning applications and supporting documentation for the three sites - St John's Road (EPF/0917/21), the current Epping Sports Centre site in Hemnall Street (EPF/0918/21) and the Conder Building site at the Civic Offices (EPF/0919/21 and EPF/1042/21)- can be found on the Epping Forest District Council website - - in the Planning section.
1.42pm - May 2

THORNWOOD: Three men arrested after crash released under investigation

​Three men who were arrested after a Jaguar XE was involved in a collision on High Road, Thornwood, shortly before 4am on Saturday have been released under investigation.

A 21-year-old man and an 18-year-old man were arrested on suspicion of attempted theft of a motor vehicle, theft of a motor vehicle, using a motor vehicle in public place without third party insurance, driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence, failing to stop when required and causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

A 28-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving and theft of a motor vehicle.
1.42pm - 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: 

Meeting ID: 834 8409 6913 
Passcode: 932843
2.39pm - May 1

CHIGWELL: Static 48-hour cycle fundraiser for India's COVID-19 emergency

A 48-hour static cycle challenge is being held by members of the Chigwell Mandir (Temple) to raise money to provide critical care equipment for the COVID-19 victims in India.

The challenge started this morning (Saturday) and continues until Monday morning.

The fundraisers, aged between 16 and 65, were joined by Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing and Chigwell Parish Council chairman Pranav Bhanot for the start of the marathon challenge.

The Chigwell participants of the 'Cycle to Save Lives' India Covid Appeal - as well as others in Neasden and Leicester - aim to cover a distance of more than 7,600 kilometres, the distance between London and New Delhi.

Money raised will help the emergency Covid relief effort in India and support relief work undertaken by BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha in India.

Dame Eleanor said: "I was delighted to be able to support such a magnificent fundraising effort.

"Everyone is heartbroken at the images coming out of India and the Covid-19 situation there. We all want to do what we can to help.

"The UK has very strong ties with India and it is great to see the Mandir community here in Chigwell taking this brilliant initiative.

"I sincerely hope that people all over the country will respond to this appeal."

To support the fundraising effort

For more details email

BAPS has already responded with a new 500-bed facility in Atladara, Gujarat, equipped with ICU facilities and life-saving oxygen as well as PPE for medical staff.

This is in addition to ongoing relief work in India since the pandemic began, with the distribution of hot meals, fresh vegetables, ration kits, N95 masks, and more.

An international emergency campaign has been launched to provide further critical care and support to the needy as the devastating second wave in India intensifies.
9.18am - May 1

THORNWOOD: Car containing five people crashes; three people arrested

Three people have been taken to hospital after a Jaguar XE containing five people was involved in a collision on Epping Road, Thornwood, shortly before 4am today (Saturday).

Three people who were in the car have been taken to hospital and have been arrested on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle, being unfit to drive through drink or drugs and dangerous driving. 

Two other people remain outstanding.

The road is currently closed in both directions and police are advising motorists to avoid the area as officers continue our investigations. 

Anyone who witnessed the incident or has any footage is asked to contact police online at or use the 'Live Chat' button to speak to an online operator between 7am and 11pm.

Information can also be given via 101 (incident 158 of May 1) or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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