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9.14am - June 30

ONGAR: 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.
9.13am - June 30

ONGAR: 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.
9.12am - June 30

ONGAR: 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.
9.11am - June 30

ONGAR: Dog mess returns in 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.
9.10am - June 30

ONGAR: Residents support yellow line restrictions 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.
1.41pm - June 29

ONGAR: 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." 
1.53pm - June 28

ONGAR: Town 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.
1.27pm - June 28

Mayor: Thank you to all involved with "fantastic" Town Show

The two-day Waltham Abbey Town Show, organised by Waltham Abbey Town Council, has been hailed as a "fantastic family and community event".

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic it was the first Town Show for two years.

Families turned out over the weekend for a variety of entertainment and stalls run by local charities and businesses.

Entertainment at Town Mead included a performance by Streetzahead dance group, Stagecoach Loughton and a display of Morris dancing.

There was also ferret racing, a dog agility course and dog show, Punch and Judy shows and circus skills.

Town Mayor councillor Jodie Lucas said: "I had such a fantastic weekend. Well done and thank you to everybody involved. 

"It was so lovely to see everyone out enjoying themselves with family and friends and with their dogs taking part in the agility course and the dog show.

"I'm so glad we were able to go ahead and despite some challenges and the current situation we were still able to provide a great family and community event."

She added: "We had some great performances across the two days with lots of fantastic stalls and entertainment for the children with circus skills, Punch and Judy, trampolines and the climbing wall! 

"I hope everyone that attended enjoyed themselves too."
8.23pm - June 26

WALTHAM ABBEY: High street retailer Next to "review options" after council rejected distribution centre plans

High street retailer Next is to "take time" to review Epping Forest District Council's decision to reject its plans for a distribution centre in Waltham Abbey before deciding its next step, "including whether to appeal".

Next's proposals for a distribution centre, photo studio and multi-storey car park off Dowding Way, close to the M25, were rejected by 25 votes to 10 at the end of a four-hour extraordinary district council meeting on Thursday.

The reasons for objection include the adverse impact the development would have on the Green Belt, the size of the proposed building, air pollution issues surrounding the nearby forest and the additional traffic the site would attract.

A Next spokesman told Everything Epping Forest today: "Next is naturally disappointed with the decision, which was made against the recommendation of council officers, and with it the opportunity to provide 436 full-time equivalent jobs.

"Next looks forward to receiving the decision notices in due course and we will take the time to review our options, including whether to appeal."
8.14pm - June 26

DISTRICT: Epping Forest Conservatives Annual General Meeting

Epping Forest Conservatives held a carefully planned, socially distanced AGM at Theydon Bois Village Hall. 

Conducted by President Valerie Metcalfe, the association elected Jonathan Hunter as Chairman and thanked retiring Chairman Les Burrows for all his hard work over the last three years. 

Randolph Churchill continues as Patron and John Padfield was made an Honorary Vice President in recognition of his exceptional service to the Party for many years.
1.15pm - June 25

THORNWOOD: Petrol station take-away given go-ahead

Plans for a hot food take-away at Thornwood Filling Station, High Road, Thornwood, have been given the go-ahead but with slightly reduced opening hours than proposed.

A planning application - approved by Epping Forest District Council's area planning sub-committee - is for the installation of plant and machinery to create a small commercial kitchen to produce hot food for takeaway purposes within the existing building.

North Weald Bassett Parish Council had objected to the application.

Clerk Sue De Luca told Wednesday's committee meeting the proposed take-away the council believed the take-away would attract "a completely different clientelle" to the petrol station and shop which is open 24 hours a day.

She added it would change the site from a place where people are passing through to where people will be sitting and waiting (for food to be cooked).

While the application referred to the preparation of breakfast buns and similar fare, Mrs De Luca said the proposal "leaves the door open for anything" - Indian and Chinese food, burgers and kebabs - which would attract people who would be congregating and chatting while the food was cooked as there is no inside waiting area.

The parish council also said there was no need for an additional hot food or takeaway outlet in the area as there are others close by - Munchies in Thornwood and McDonald's at Hastingwood.

Planning officer Jerry Godden, responding to the objections, said litter was not a "material planning issue" while it was considered there would be no harm to the Green Belt given the minor nature of the proposed development.

He added any issues over odour would be covered through the installation of an extraction system and flue while there would be no highways issues as the existing access would be used.

Councillor Holly Whitbread expressed concern over highways issues and what the site could be turned into in the future.

She called for a wider litter picking condition - which Mr Godden said could not be enforced as the applicant is only responsible for what happens on its site - and proposed a change in the take-away's opening hours from the proposed 7am until 11pm to 8am to 8pm.

This proposal was supported by the committee 10-0 with two abstentions with councillors approving the application 9-2 with one abstention.
1.01pm - June 24

CHIGWELL: Regeneration plans for Limes Farm Estate

The Limes Farm Estate is the first Epping Forest District Council housing estate to undergo regeneration work.

A pilot project is seeing the council work with residents to undertake planned maintenance and upgrading work.

Meanwhile a new residents association with 'block champions' has been set up as a direct communication channel between the council and the estate's residents.
12.37pm - June 24

EPPING: Man arrested over car theft after chase through gardens

A suspect apologised to a woman he disturbed in her Epping garden while he was being chased by police investigating the theft of a car in Nazeing, Everything Epping Forest has been told.

The drama unfolded in the Bower Hill area of Epping yesterday afternoon (Wednesday).

Police were contacted at 2.15pm shortly after a vehicle was stolen in Nazeing.

About an hour later the car was located in Epping and a male was seen to run off.

An Everything Epping Forest reader said: "My mother-in-law was in the garden on Bower Hill with my two children and a teenager jumped over her fence being chased by police.

"She said he did apologise and said 'sorry but I'm being chased by the police'. It scared the life out of her being alone with the kids."

A police spokesman said: "With assistance from a member of the public, officers were directed to where a male was hiding in a bush."

The police spokesman confirmed that officers had reported that the suspect "did travel through some gardens".

Another reader described to Everything Epping Forest how she saw about five police cars in Bower Hill "then loads of police on foot down Allnutts Road".

A 22-year-old man, from Harlow, was arrested for the theft of a motor vehicle.

He was also wanted for a number of other matters and has been bailed pending further police enquiries into the theft of the car.

A VW car was taken away on a lorry.

Officers from the Loughton-based Local Policing Team and Community Policing Team were joined by Roads Policing officers in the search for the vehicle and suspect.
12.08pm - June 24

EPPING: £10,000 reward offered as police renew murder appeal a year on

Detectives investigating the murder of Stephen Morrisson have been carrying out anniversary enquiries as a £10,000 Crimestoppers reward is offered for information leading to the conviction of whoever killed the 30-year-old man.

Stephen was stabbed near the Wake Arms roundabout shortly before 8pm on Tuesday, June 23 last year.

He managed to get to the Shell service station where he was found seriously injured.

He died in hospital later that night.

Fourteen people have been arrested in connection with his death.

Six have been released on bail, three have been released under investigation, and five have been told they face no further action.

Officers have been conducting checks as it is announced that a £10,000 reward from Crimestoppers is on offer.

Anyone with any information about Stephen’s murder should ring police on 101 quoting the crime reference number 42/95350/21 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. 
2.55pm - June 23

DISTRICT: Three charities receive £2,650 from Haslers Foundation

Three local charities have received funding from the Haslers Foundation - the in-house charity of Loughton accountancy firm Haslers.

Epping Food Bank receives £1,250 while the Police Community Clubs of Great Britain gets £700 to support children through its projects which include outreach work with Thomas Willingale and Limes Farm junior schools.

Accuro has received £700 for its weekly Loughton Youth Group for young people with disabilities aged 11 to 19.

The money will be used to purchase gaming equipment and pay for an end-of-term celebration.
2.15pm - June 23

NAZEING: Police discover stolen vehicles and vehicle parts

Numerous stolen vehicles and parts from stolen vehicles have been found by police at an undisclosed location in Nazeing.

Police made the discovery after receiving information "based on tracker technology" on Monday.

Police say "multiple identified stolen vehicles" were discovered after  local officers and officers from the Stolen Vehicle Intelligence Unit were deployed to a lock-up.

Several stolen vehicles were located on false identities along with stolen vehicle parts.

Officers were supported at the scene by Crime Scene Investigators.

The vehicles have been forensically recovered with officers continue to investigate the vehicles discovered "in the hope of identifying a suspect of suspects".

A spokesman said: "Victims will be notified in due course."
6.32pm - June 18

EPPING: Town Show to go ahead

Dozens of community and trade stalls and a host of sideshows are promised at this year's Epping Town Council-organised Epping Town Show at Stonards Hill recreation ground on Sunday, July 4.

The show - which is the first for two years following the COVID-19 lockdown last July - will also feature a funfair and programme of arena acts and entertainment, including pipe and silver bands, dancing, Morris dancing and singers.

Various refreshment options will be available, including a hog roast.

There will also be Punch and Judy shows, a Science Show, donkey rides petting farm animals, a chance to meet alpacas, and a children's area.

Epping's Tesco store has kindly given Epping Town Council a supply of water bottles for volunteers and helpers.

Entry to the show - which runs from noon until 5pm - is free and limited car parking will be available.

Anyone visiting the show can also take their dogs and deckchairs - and are encouraged to take their own sanitiser.

The Town Show will only go ahead in line with the roadmap out of the COVID-19 lockdown and will adhere to the Government's Covid-19 guidelines.

A council spokesman said: "As the COVID-19 situation continues, there will be changes to the look and format of the event to allow for social distancing such as two metres between stalls, and the whole event will be outside on the recreation ground."

For more information, ring the town council on 01992 579444 or email gvallis@eppingtowncouncil.gov.uk
5.53pm - June 18

NAZEING: Parish council submits plans for new community hall and leisure centre

Nazeing Parish Council has submitted a planning application for a new community hall and leisure centre at Bumbles Green.

The council wants to build to new facilities following the demolition of the existing building which, according to a document submitted with application, "has been condemned for structural reasons and is now shut down".

The document adds: "The parish council, on safety grounds, want to demolish the existing structure immediately and this is fundamental to any consent being granted for a replacement building.

"Accordingly, this planning application has three elements - immediate demolition of the existing building to render the site safe, to provide some temporary buildings on site for parish council use until the new building has been completed, and to seek planning permission for the replacement building."
9.03am - June 18

ROYDON: Murder case: Victim's family appeal one year on

The family of a man shot dead outside a property in Water Lane, Roydon, a year ago are pleading for anyone with any information to "do the right thing" and provide police with any information that could help bring his murderers to justice.

Father-of-three Robert Powell, 50, was shot multiple times during the early hours of Saturday, June 13 last year.

Police say three men - Nana Oppong, 41, from Stratford; Israar Shah, 36, from Brentwood; and Temitope Adeyinka, 37, also from Stratford - are believed to have all been involved.

Three rewards of up to £5,000 continue to be offered through Crimestoppers for any information given to them that leads to the arrest and charge of those responsible.

Any information can be given completely anonymously.

A statement released by the family said: “Robert was a loving, caring and compassionate family man. He was a charismatic figure in the community.

“When he walked into a room, he always found someone to talk to, and his easy-going ways meant he always had friends around him.

“He supported his family and enjoyed mentoring young people in the music industry.

“Robert spoke to his mum every day; distance couldn’t keep them apart. He would send her little messages and videos of what he had been doing during the day and always made sure she was okay.

“Our world was shattered when Robert was murdered.

“Please, look into your heart and help us find justice for Robert.

“All we need is someone to do the right thing, right now. The time has come. Please help bring Robert’s murderers to justice.”

Robert leaves three children and two grandchildren.

Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Jennings, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “Our dedicated team of officers and staff are still carrying out an extensive investigation to bring those responsible to justice.

“To anyone who may have withheld information over the past year, now is the time to help Robert’s family get some closure and to clear your conscience.

“A lot can happen over a period of 12 months, and relationships and loyalties can change.

“It’s never too late to help make a difference and if you have any information, no matter how minor you think it may be, please report it to Crimestoppers.”

Nana Oppong, who is also known as Enz, is 5ft 6ins tall, of a proportionate build and has links to the east London areas.

Israar Shah, who also goes by the name of Slick, is 6ft 1ins tall, slim and known to have links to east London and Romford.

Temitope Adeyinka, also known as Limo, is 5ft 8ins and of medium build. He has links to areas in east London, in particular Stratford and Bow.

Information can be given to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via https://crimestoppers-uk.org/.

More information about the reward can also be found
HERE
1.55pm - June 17

NAZEING: Man charged over series of sexual offences

A man has been charged in connection with a series of sexual offences in west Essex and across the border into Hertfordshire.

Police are investigating a number of reports of indecent exposure and sexual assault around the area of Nazeing and Dobbs Weir between January 2017 and May this year.

A 27-year-old man was arrested on May 18 and has now been charged with 17 offences.

Domenico Anselmo, from Nazeing, has been charged with eight counts of indecent exposure, seven counts of sexual assault by touching, one count of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child and one count of outraging public decency.

He was due to appear at Colchester Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

Police enquiries into the incidents are ongoing and anyone with any information is asked to submit a report online at https://www.essex.police.uk, 
use the 'Live Chat' button to speak to an online operator between 7am and 11pm (quote case reference number 42/MZ/14816/21), ring 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
3.47pm - June 15

THEYDON BOIS: Man fined £10,000 over illegal music event

A man has been issued with a £10,000 fine after he was arrested by police who were called to an unlicensed music event which had attracted about 200 people to a field off Forest Drive, Theydon Bois.

The penalty is available to police as part of the coronavirus health protection regulations and is in place to sanction those who police forces believe have played a part in the holding of events which breach restrictions.

Police were called to the location late on Saturday, June 5.

A spokesman said officers were initially met with some hostility however the vast majority of those present were calm and compliant with officers.

A 38-year-old man, who was playing music to the crowd, was arrested on suspicion of breaching coronavirus rules.

The man, from Dunmow, has now been issued with a £10,000 penalty notice for holding or being involved in the holding of a gathering of more than 50 people, the largest number allowed under current coronavirus restrictions.

As part of the police investigation, officers discovered a number of social media posts by the man which were clear advertisements of the event, which included information on how to get tickets.

Officers also seized music equipment such as decks, a speaker system and generator used to power the event.

The man has 28 days to pay the fine. If it is not paid, he will be summonsed to court.  

Superintendent Nick Morris, who has led the Essex Police response to the pandemic, said: “In this case, the individual made a conscious decision to be involved in a blatant breach of the regulations, and therefore it was appropriate for us to take enforcement action.

“This unlicensed event took place at a time which we now know to be a point where positive coronavirus cases were beginning to rise.

"Unfortunately, that trend has continued and events such as this are unhelpful given how hard the people of Essex have worked to suppress the virus in our county.

“We have taken a consistent approach to policing the coronavirus regulations since the beginning of the pandemic and that is to first engage with people, explain the regulations and encourage them to do the right thing.

“Only when those options have been exhausted will we consider enforcement action.”
3.29pm - June 15

WALTHAM ABBEY: Town show to go ahead as planned

Waltham Abbey Town Council has confirmed that the Town Show will go ahead as planned on Saturday and Sunday, June 26 and 27.

The confirmation follows the Prime Minister's announcement that the current COVID-19 lockdown restrictions will be extended by a month until July 19.

A council spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: "The Town Show will still go ahead, all appropriate measures will be in place.

"On a normal year we usually have around 2,000 people attend on any given day of the show and that number is presently half the total number allowed per day for outdoor events. 

"It is expected that numbers will most likely be significantly lower due to the ongoing pandemic."

The event - with stalls, numerous other attractions including a Punch and Judy Show, ferret racing and a visit from the Essex Fire and Rescue Service and The Copped Hall Trust's Rolls Royce - will be held at Town Mead.
2.06pm - June 15

LOUGHTON: Memorial tree to remember Harley

A memorial tree, with a plaque, is to be planted in the Roding Valley recreation ground in Loughton in memory of Debden Park High School student Harley Watson died following a hit-and-run crash outside the school in Willingale Road in December 2019.

Loughton Town Council has agreed to the request to commemorate the life of 12-year-old Harley. 

The town council will fund the planting. 
1.47pm - June 15

THORNWOOD: Petrol station take-away recommended for approval

Plans for a hot food take-away at Thornwood Filling Station, High Road, Thornwood - which have been opposed by the parish council - are being recommended for approval by district council planning officers.

A decision will be taken at the area planning sub-committee on Wednesday, June 23.

North Weald Bassett Parish Council claimed the proposal would generate litter not only in the immediate vicinity of the site but also around the surrounding area due to some people discarding litter from car windows.

The parish council also had concern at the smells, odours and pollution from the small commercial kitchen and felt this is an "inappropriate use in this
area and would be detrimental to nearby residents". 

The parish council also expressed concern over highway safety with
a possible increase in vehicles visiting the site in what has been a dangerous hotspot for accidents.

The council also said it does not seem there is a need for an additional hot food or takeaway outlet in the area as there are others close by, one in Thornwood (Munchies) and one in Hastingwood (McDonalds).

The parish council said that if permission is granted, there should be a litter patrol in place.

 A district council report states that two neighbour objections have been recived "however they related to potential littering on the site which is not a material planning consideration and cannot be taken into account as part of this assessment".
6.09pm - June 13

THORNWOOD: Motorcyclist suffers "potentially life-changing injuries" in collision

A motorcyclist, aged in his 20s, has suffered "potentially life-changing injuries" in a collision with a car on High Road, Thornwood, at about 1.45pm today (Sunday), police have said.

Everything Epping Forest understands the air ambulance was called to the scene near the junction with Woodside.

Police say their enquiries are ongoing.

Anyone who may have witnessed the collision, or has dashcam footage of the incident, is asked to ring police on 101 and quote incident number 756 of today (June 13).

Information can also be given online at https://www.essex.police.uk or by using the 'Live Chat' button to speak to an online operator between 7am and 11pm.
8.36am - June 13

ONGAR: 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".
8.45am - June 12

EPPING: Mayor presents prizes to Epping Playground Association competition winners

PICTURES: For pictures of the prize presentations CLICK HERE

Prizes have been awarded to children who won Epping Playground Association's drawing competition. 

More than 100 children submitted drawings of their dream playground with three entries from each category - KS1, KS2, KS3/KS4 and additional needs - selected as the winners. 

Epping Town Mayor councillor Michael Wright presented the prizes at the Lower Swaines recreation ground in Epping on Friday. 

The children were from a mixture of local schools including Epping Primary, Ivy Chimneys Primary, Coopersale Hall School and St Nicholas School, Old Harlow. 

Each winner received prizes donated by local businesses including Tesco, Jojo Maman Bebe, Piccola, Croft's Dental, Slice, Haywards restaurant and cafes including Starbucks, Fred and Dougs and  Dada's.

* A cheque for £1,185 has been presented by the Rotary Club of Epping to Epping Playground Association.

The association is raising £120,000 to refurbish the play area at the Lower Swaines recreation ground in Epping with the work set to be undertaken in three phases, creating recreation facilities for all ages.

Rotary Club of Epping president Barbara Scruton presented the cheque to Epping Playground Association chairman Siobhan Garrett and project manager Habibah Wise.
8.24am - June 12

DISTRICT: Queen's Birthday Honours List

Ashraf Patel, associate specialist in breast surgery with The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.Mr Patel has been recognised for services to funding and research for breast cancer.

And Joyce Obaseki, the founder of the Grant A Smile charity, who lives in Loughton, receives a British Empire Medal for services to vulnerable people and the community in Loughton especially during Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Patel has worked at St Margaret’s Hospital, Epping, and Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, since 1993. 

Prior to this he completed his medical education at Grant Medical College and surgical training at Tata Memorial Hospital, both in Mumbai.

At the Breast Unit, with the support of his patients, their families and friends and partner charities, he has helped to raise more than £4.5m for The Princess Alexandra Hospital’s Charity.

This money has funded improvements including breast cancer clinical trials, specialist equipment and health and wellbeing programmes, benefiting patients with breast cancer.

Mr Patel said: “I am delighted and humbled to be awarded an MBE. This award is also a recognition of the immense work put in by our charity, research, clinical, administrative and management teams at PAHT.

“I am lucky to be surrounded by hard working team members trying at all times to do their best for our patients.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank my family and friends, my colleagues at work, the advisory board members and my patients. Special thanks go to the executives and PAHT trust board for their support of research and letting it flourish and the trustees of all the charities that support our work in the Breast Unit; The Princess Alexandra Hospital’s Charity, Quest Cancer Research, Together in West Essex, The Maria Falco Memorial Trust and The Kerrie Fitzjohn Memorial Trust.”

Lance McCarthy, chief executive of The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, said: “Congratulations to Ashraf on this wonderful, well-deserved accolade. 

“I’m absolutely delighted for him and the recognition for his outstanding work to support our patients with breast cancer over many years.

"Everyone at PAHT is extremely proud to see his dedication to improving the experience and lives of our patients recognised in this way.”
6.36pm - June 11

ONGAR: 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.”
5.56pm - 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."
1.04pm - June 11

HIGH BEACH: Council appeals to Commissioner to reconsider decision to locate helicopters back at Lippitts Hill

A letter has been sent by Epping Forest District Council to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick appealing for her to reconsider the decision to locate helicopters back at High Beach.

As exclusively revealed by Everything Epping Forest, the Met is to return to its air support unit base at Lippitts Hill later this summer - having been based at North Weald Airfield for the last two years.

Council leader Chris Whitbread and chief executive Georgina Blakemore have sent a joint letter on behalf of the residents of the district expressing "serious concerns" about the proposed relocation.

Everything Epping Forest is awaiting a statement from the Metropolitan Police Service following its exclusive report last month.

The letter states: "We strongly oppose the proposed relocation and appeal to you to reconsider the decision.

"Epping Forest District lies on the borders of London in the county of Essex. Today, the district is served by the Essex Police Service, but parts of the district have long historic ties with the Metropolitan Police.

"At one time the Met served areas of our district including Chigwell, Loughton and Buckhurst Hill.

"There are a number of historic legacies associated with our connection, including the former helicopter base at Lippitts Hill.

"Lippitts Hill lies within the heart of Epping Forest. The forest is a sensitive and delicate natural environment. It is a Special Area of Conservation of global significance, being one of the few remaining areas of original deciduous woodland left in the UK. The delicate eco-system of Epping Forest including special and rare species, plants and fungi is particularly vulnerable to air pollution.

"The forest is a source of great pride and concern to our local residents. Statutory regulations and strict oversight by the Corporation of London are designed to protect and preserve it, not only for the people of Essex. It is a place of peace and wellbeing enjoyed equally by our close neighbours in London. However, the environmental pressures on the forest are severe. 

"Pollution levels are too high. The district council, working in conjunction with local residents, the Corporation of London and other stakeholders is doing all we can to protect and preserve our Forest for future generations.

"The environmental impact of helicopter operations speaks for itself.

"The current NPAS base at North Weald is at a long-established airfield shared with other notable aviation operators including the Herts and Essex Air-Ambulance.

"The airfield is owned by Epping Forest District Council and we have worked in partnership with NPAS to support the construction of a brand new helicopter facility. 

"While our major concerns are not financial in this case, NPAS has a long lease with the council and will continue to provide air support for other police forces. It cannot be good value for the tax paying residents of either London or Essex, for the Metropolitan Police to leave such a recently delivered new facility.

"Our other main concern is for those residents living near Lippitts Hill within Epping Forest, High Beach and Waltham Abbey.

"It is one thing to buy a new house or home next to an existing airfield - you know what you are getting with aircraft coming and going before you purchase. However, many of the residents in and around Lippitts Hill have had no such choice. Many will have bought their homes in good faith and the understanding that helicopter operations had ceased with no reason to expect a return.

"The consequential noise, pollution and general disturbance associated with these helicopters at Lippitts Hill would be very hard to justify.

"If the historic legacy did not exist, it is almost inconceivable that anyone would consider Epping Forest to be a suitable location. 

"If planning permission was required, the district council, supported by the Corporation of London, environmental groups, other stakeholders and local residents would almost certainly turn any application down. 

"As such the Metropolitan Police has an ethical and moral duty as well as a legal ability to consider in taking this decision.

"We do not presume to advise you on the operational requirements of the Metropolitan Police Service. As a district council we have a strong and active partnership with the Essex Police Service. 

"We actively fund additional police officers and provide accommodation along with day to day support.

"We fully support the difficult and sometimes dangerous role the police perform in maintaining our safety, rights and freedoms. However, if the operational requirements of the Metropolitan Police require a better alternative to North Weald, we respectfully say that Lippitts Hill is not the answer.

"There are many other potential aviation locations both in and around London that would serve the Metropolitan Police Service just as well if not better than Lippitts Hill.

"If you are determined to find an alternative, please take a closer look at some of the other alternatives and help us to protect and preserve Epping Forest now and for the future."
2.27pm - June 10

EPPING: Pavement widening project costs over £83,300, report reveals

Pavement widening work and new street furniture in Epping High Street has cost more than £83,350.

The figures have been published by Epping Forest District Council in the same cabinet papers where a consultant's report detailing regeneration ideas for the High Street states that the new areas could be removed in December.

Meanwhile the town is seen as an ideal location for an e-scooter rental scheme trial and its widened pavements identified as potential performance space for street musicians and buskers.

A council cabinet report details the cost of some elements of the work which has seen three stretches of pavement widened to improve social distancing, and new planters, litter bins and cycle racks installed.

The report published today - to be presented to the next cabinet meeting - quotes a figure of £75,000 for the "pavement widening scheme".

Fourteen new litter bins have cost an additional £3,000 while the repair / painting of 30 bollards has cost £1,000.

The cost of work on 'tree pits' and paving is put at £4,200.

No costs are detailed for the sanding and painting of six new 'bike loops', 14 'conservation railings' and metal work on a bench at the water fountain.

A report by Studio 3 which suggests short and longer-term ways to regenerate the High Street - along with other retail areas in the district - states: "Moving forward, it has been decided that a more permanent temporary pavement area be established and that it will remain there until a potential removal date of December 2021."

This is the work which has recently been completed.

The report adds: "The loss of parking spaces doesn’t appear to be making a particular difference to town centre parking and only accounts for a small percentage of the overall parking spaces. 

"As a result, I see this scheme, particularly in the main stretch of High street from St John's Church to the council offices, as an excellent way of testing the ground for a permanent extension of the pavement and also as a way of encouraging shops to extend their business to include both on-street trading and on-street hospitality. 

"The widened area could also be used as a performance space for street musicians and buskers, adding to the overall atmosphere. This will all add to the attractiveness of the town centre, increase the feeling of community and make the town more of a destination to visitors.

The report also states that "consideration should be given to implementing an electric scooter rental scheme to help support a ‘green’ alternative to local travel that is convenient, clean and affordable and helps to mitigate reduced public transport capacity and allow for social distancing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic". 

The report adds: "E-scooters can reduce reliance on car trips, reduce congestion and improve air quality.

"The Department for Transport expanded trials of rental e-scooters and legislation was introduced to allow e-scooters to use highways and cycle routes. 

"Only e-scooters in an approved trial are legal. Privately-owned scooters will still be illegal on public networks.

"It may be worth (the council) consulting Buckinghamshire Council which introduced this service on a 12-month trial in Aylesbury and High Wycombe.

"The scooters have defined parking areas and also a defined operating area, outside which they cease to run.

"This would be a great scheme to assist in discouraging car usage in Epping.

Scooters could be made available at the station and at various locations in and around the town centre. 

"If successful, consideration could be given to extending the scheme to other areas within the district."
9.33am - June 10

EPPING: Floral displays ready for summer

Floral displays in Epping - at Tower Road green and in the community garden next to the Marks and Spencer store - have been replanted for summer thanks to the efforts of the Epping in Bloom group.

The group received £1,000 funding from Epping Town Council to go towards the costs for the new plants.

Volunteers removed the winter flowering plants and replaced them with a mix of salivas, verbenas, geraniums and begonias.

New trough planters have been added at the community garden to create a sensory walk way and more plants will be added shortly.

Chairman Victoria Robertson said: "We have been receiving such wonderful feedback from visitors who have only discovered the garden since the lockdowns during their daily exercise.

"Many say the garden has now become their sanctuary. Friendships have been made and one local lady was telling us the garden has brought her so much joy. She Ioved going there daily to talk to people and admire the blooms.

"It really is so heartwarming for us as volunteers to hear such lovely feedback because we all love what we do to bring a sense or community to the town."

To volunteer or to get more details about Epping in Bloom email eppinginbloom@gmail.com
12.55pm - June 9

EPPING: Council opts for 'cool white' lights for Christmas tree

Epping town councillors - who have agreed to new lights on the town's Christmas tree this year - have voted unanimously for brighter 'cool white' lights instead of "more subtle" 'warm white' lights.  

The new lights have been approved following criticism about the lights on the tree on the piazza last year.

Councillor Grahame Scruton, who proposed 'cool white' lights, said: "We need brightness because we were criticised last year. We want impact. It has to be 'cool'."

Clerk Beverley Rumsey told Tuesday's council meeting that as well as the new, brighter, lights there will also be an illuminated star on the top of the tree.
12.54pm - June 9

EPPING: Waterless toilets for allotments

Waterless toilets are to be installed by Epping Town Council at the council's two allotment sites, in Meadow Road and Lower Bury Lane.

Councillors also agreed for quotes to be obtained for the cost of a brick-built toilet at the town's cemetery in Bury Lane.

Councillor Christine Burgess, who is chairman of Epping Horticultural Society, told Tuesday's town council meeting she fully supported the toilets and described the Meadow Road allotment toilets as "not usable".

She added: "They are absolutely disgusting. You would only use them if you absolutely have too. In the case of ladies, you wouldn't (use them)."

A council report stated: "It would be advantageous to be able to provide some toilet facilities at both Bury Lane Cemetery and our allotment sites. 

"People travel long distances to our cemetery and its rural location means limited ablution options. It would also be beneficial for our staff.

"Both allotment sites have extremely basic toilet facilities which are not fit for purpose and our allotment holders often spend very long periods of time at the site. 

"Once again, it would also be beneficial for our staff. Both allotment sites have been very well used over the last year and are very popular and well attended (especially the larger site at Meadow Road)."

The idea was supported by local resident Graham Foy who told the meeting it would be "fantastic" to have waterless toilets "that look like a shed that fit in nicely with the environment" at the Meadow Road and Lower Bury Lane allotment sites.

Each toilet will cost about £1,039 (excluding VAT).
12.52pm - June 9

EPPING:  Council votes against bandstand idea

An idea to have a bandstand on the Stonards Hill recreation ground in Epping has been dismissed by town councillors.

The suggestion, which was brought to the council by councillors Cherry McCredie and Barbara Scruton, was to fund the project entirely through external funding.

But councillor Christine Burgess voiced concerns over the idea which, she said, could be a target for vandalism.

She told Tuesday's council meeting: "I feel it's an invitation for vandals. There's no way of making sure it's safe all the time, from vandals, drug dealers, county liners - you name them they will be up there.

"Anywhere there's space where young people will congregate they will.

"I feel it's asking for trouble for the town. It will give the town a bad reputation."

She added: "I don't think it's correct. The money to be raised for it should go to other things that are far more important at this present time. 

"There are needy people and needy organisations and to ask people to support that much (£55,000) is not moral."

Councillor Barbara Scruton said: "It's very sad if all we can think about is things being vandalised. We need to have some trust in our youngsters.

"I certainly don't want vandalism up at Stonards but I do think as a town we should be a little bit more creative and think what the town needs."

Town Mayor Michael Wright said it was "the wrong time" to approach the public or businesses for funding.

Local resident Graham Foy had earlier told the meeting: "They (bandstands) look fantastic in the right settings. People are concerned that if you are going to put a structure at great cost there will be some resentment."

He added: "Stonards is a brilliant park. The cafe with toilets has been fantastic. They (people he had spoken to about the bandstand idea) don't think it would be value for money to build an insecure structure with a roof on it. It wouldn't add value for two or three times (of use) a year.

"We've had some issues in the past when there was a steel structure on the football pitch before - (with people) banging and shouting."

He questioned a suitable location for a bandstand and suggested a "Victorian-style" bandstand would be better suited to the town green however with the green under the ownership of the City of London Corporation it was considered that the Corporation would not approve such a structure on its land.
12.50pm - June 9

EPPING:  Mixed response to wider pavement areas along High Street

The new wider pavement areas along Epping High Street have sparked a mixed response from town councillors with one branding the work "completely nuts" and "crazy" while another said it gives the town "a real fresh look".

The wider stretches - outside Barclays Bank, between Cottis Lane and Marks and Spencer, and between Buttercross Lane and the NatWest bank - have been installed by Epping Forest District Council to improve social distancing.

It allows for the removal of unsightly orange barriers and has seen the installation of additional floral planters.

However the scheme has come in for criticism as it has been completed just as the country appears to be heading towards the end of social distancing.

Councillor Hugh Pegrum, who asked for the work to be discussed at Tuesday's town council meeting, said: "I think the whole scheme is completely nuts. It's crazy."

He said: "The colour is wrong, the place is wrong, it's a waste of money and we coming out of social distancing fairly soon."

He also highlighted the lack of discussion and consultation and claimed 12 parking spaces had been lost.

"I thought at the time they (the orange barriers) were meant to be temporary and at the end of social distancing they would disappear.

"We are surely closer to the end of social distancing and yet all of a sudden the highways have dumped big brown splodges..."

He added: "Why has all this money been wasted when the government has said social distancing is coming to an end?

"The cars that parked outside Boots used to be able to go on the 'slip road' to M&S. They now have to back out onto the High Street.

"Far from being safer, it's less safe because traffic is going to back out."

Councillor Christine Burgess said: "People don't actually walk on this yellow stuff. I'm quite bemused that people don't walk on it. 

"I think it alters the character of Epping. I think it's totally out of character. Nobody likes it really. Why have they spent this money?

"This... what a waste?"

Councillor Mari-Louise Whitbread said: "I personally like it, it's a real fresh look. It enhances the market. People are enjoying the High Street much more. It gives more space. I just think it gives everyone somewhere to go."

Councillor Barbara Scruton, who said six or eight parking spaces had been removed as a result of the work, said: "I think it lightens the High Street and gives it a modern view.

"I like walking on it instead of tripping up on paving stones, I feel safe on it you can wheel wheelchairs and babies on it."

Councillor Nigel Avey, whose district council cabinet portfolio included highways, told the meeting the work is "temporary" and a period of consultation would be carried out to decide whether the areas should remain.

Epping Forest District Council has said the areas could be removed in qw to 18 months' time.

Councillor Avey said: "This is still temporary. There will be consultation and there will be a chance to change it, I hope we won't change it."

He said additional street furniture is still to be installed, including cycle racks.

"There will be people who don't like it, but isn't that always the way with decisions we make as councillors?

"This was a bold initiative and gives more space to the High Street."
9.24am - June 9

ONGAR: 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.
4.16pm - June 8

ABRIDGE: Councillor thanks highways teams as road reopens earlier than expected

County councillor Jaymey McIvor has thanked the highways teams who have re-opened Abridge Road ahead of schedule after it was closed following a burst water main.
 
The road through the village reopened this morning (Tuesday) after the burst on Friday morning saw the road collapse near Market Place.

The road was not expected to reopen until tomorrow (Wednesday).

Traffic was diverted with some drivers cutting through the residential roads off Hoe Lane and Ongar Road. 

Ongar & Rural county councillor Jaymey McIvor, whose division includes Abridge, said: "I would like to say an enormous thank you to the residents who have been so patient whilst the urgent works have taken place.

“I am delighted the road has opened ahead of schedule and this is credit to councillor Lee Scott (Essex County Council cabinet member for highways maintenance and sustainable transport) and his hard-working team who I was pleased to meet on site this week.”
6.40pm - June 7

NORTH WEALD: Blue benches installed in Parish

Two blue benches have been installed by North Weald Bassett Parish Council which has completed its COVID-19 Reflection Bench Project.

The benches are made from recycled materials and have been installed within the Parish after the parish council received £500 grant funding from the Essex Association of Local Councils towards this project.

One bench has been installed in North Weald Village near the village flagpole on the corner of Wheelers Farm Gardens.

The other is near the play area at Thornwood Common.

Rainbow stones have been placed around the North Weald bench.

Both benches feature a brass plaque which reads:

NORTH WEALD BASSETT PARISH COUNCIL
REFLECTION BENCH 2020
WHY NOT SIT HERE
REST A WHILE AND CONTEMPLATE
“TOMORROW WILL BE A GOOD DAY”
Words spoken by: Captain Sir Tom Moore

The project was initially put forward by parish councillor Andy Tyler who felt the project would be a good memorial for the year 2020.
6.11pm - June 7

MP praises NHS staff and volunteers as The Murray Hall COVID-19 vaccination centre passes milestone of 15,000 jabs

Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing has praised everyone involved with the success of the COVID-19 vaccination centre at The Murray Hall, Loughton - which has passed the milestone of 15,000 vaccinations.

Dame Eleanor, who recently received her second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca at the centre, has thanked the NHS staff and volunteers working at the centre which is being run by Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust.

It was set up with the support of various bodies, including Epping Forest District Council and Loughton Town Council with its vaccinators including officers from the Air Assault Brigade based at Colchester while volunteers have included the St John's Ambulance representatives, and Epping Forest College which is continuing to provide free parking a short walk from The Murray Hall.

Loughton Town Council has given its approval for The Murray Hall to continue to be used as an NHS Covid-19 vaccination centre until next February.

Dame Eleanor said: "The success of the centre is the result of a real community effort where everyone - from NHS bosses to the Army and local volunteer organisations - have come together. I have heard so many comments from people who have really appreciated being able to have their vaccinations close to home, without having to travel out of the local area potentially twice for their jabs.

Dame Eleanor added: "I visited the centre shortly after it first opened and was there to receive my first vaccination and I continue to be really impressed by the efficient way that everything is running and the high number of people who have been vaccinated."
5.49pm - June 6

ABRIDGE: Villagers thanked for their patience following main road closure

County councillor Jaymey McIvor has thanked Abridge villagers and motorists for their patience following the closure of the A113 Abridge Road through the village following a burst water main.

A burst near the Hoe Lane roundabout forced the closure of the road through the village in Friday morning.

Mr McIvor, who represents the Ongar & Rural Division which includes Abridge, has been in contact with Essex Highways with the road now expected to reopen on Wednesday.

He said: “I would like to thank everyone who has contacted me in relation to the sudden closure of the Abridge through road. 

"I am in regular contact with Essex Highways who are keeping me updated on the situation. 

"I would encourage residents to continue to use alternative routes for their journeys and allow the highways teams to conduct the urgent works. 

"Thank you to all the local residents and motorists for their patience and co-operation."

He added: "As a local resident and small business owner, I want to reassure residents and business owners affected that I understand their frustration about the timing of this incident. 

"Please know we are doing all we can to resolve it as a matter of urgency.”
3.20pm - June 6

THEYDON BOIS: Objects thrown at police called to unlicensed music event

A man has been arrested after police were called to an unlicensed music event in Theydon Bois which had attracted up to 200 people.

Officers were met with "some hostility" when they arrived at the event in a field off Forest Drive shortly before 11pm last night.

A police spokesman said: "It was evident that a DJ was playing loud music through a sound system.

"As our officers first tried to engage, they were met with some hostility and had objects thrown at them. No officers were struck or injured."

The spokesman added: "During this time, some attendees began leaving the area and shortly after 1am the music was turned off and larger crowds began to leave.

"At that stage the attendees were friendly, calm and compliant and thanked officers for their help in leaving the area."

Among the items seized by officers were a set of decks, speakers and a generator.

One man was arrested on suspicion of a breach of coronavirus legislation.

Chief Superintendent Tom Simons said: “Essex Police does not tolerate attacks, no matter how minor, upon officers who are just doing their job by responding to incidents reported to them by the public.

"In this instance, thankfully no officers were injured and the attendees did eventually disperse when they were asked to do so and that is a credit to the officers who attended the scene and worked under very difficult circumstances.

"As a result of our initial investigations, we have seized a number of items of musical equipment and one man has been arrested.

"As you will appreciate, the investigation is in its early stages and where action is required, we will take it.”
4.35pm - June 5

WALTHAM ABBEY: Woman arrested after woman hit by car

 A woman has been arrested after a woman suffered serious injuries when she was struck by a car in Badburgham Court, Waltham Abbey, shortly before 1.45am today (Saturday).

Police were called by the ambulance service after a car collided with the woman who remains in hospital.

A 28-year-old woman, from Waltham Abbey, has been arrested on suspicion of GBH with intent, failing to stop and driving whilst unfit through drink or drugs.

She remains in custody for questioning.

A police spokesman said officers do not believe there is any wider threat to the community.

Officers want to hear from anybody who witnessed the incident or has relevant dashcam or Ring doorbell footage.

Anyone with information on the incident but who has not yet spoken to police, should ring 101 and quote incident 94 of June 5.

Information can also be submitted online at https://www.essex.police.uk or via the 'Live Chat' button where you can 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.
6.27pm - June 4

LOUGHTON: MP cuts ribbon to open Chigwell Window Centre's new showroom

A fourth showroom for Chigwell Window Centre has been officially opened in Loughton.

Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing was invited to perform the ribbon cutting at the High Road branch today (Saturday).

The company opened its first showroom in Collier Row in March 2016. 

A second showroom was opened in Billericay in August 2017 while in 2019 Chigwell Window Centre opened a showroom in Manchester. 

Dame Eleanor said: "I was delighted to be invited to officially open Chigwell Window Centre's new showroom in Loughton High Road. 

"The past year has been extremely difficult for businesses and our local economy and so it is extremely heartening to see a local company able to expand during these difficult and uncertain times."

Chigwell Window Centre, part of the Chigwell Group of companies manufacture, can supply and install a wide range of high quality home improvement products to trade and residential customers. 

With a manufacturing capacity of 200 products a week, Chigwell Window Centre has its own state-of-the-art factories in Essex where it can custom-design its high-performance double glazing products to meet each individual project. 

All its products are manufactured in-house in one of the company's four factories in Hainault.
6.27pm - June 4

DEBDEN: Facelift ideas for The Broadway revealed

Ideas to regenerate The Broadway in Debden have been revealed with a number of so-called 'quick wins' and longer-term ideas such as turning the area into a "cafe culture" area with street trading and markets.

Various ideas are included in a consultant's report which will go before district councillors next week.

The report states: "Unusually, The Broadway is home to a bank and also has a new post office on its way.

"It has wide, attractive boulevard pavements which could lend themselves nicely to a café culture, street trading and markets.

"If done properly The Broadway could become a real destination for locals and visitors alike."

The report adds: "The Broadway is a striking development and an example of 1950s architecture at its best and something that should be cherished and maintained."

The report acknowledges the impact the nearby Epping Forest Shopping Park in Langston Road has had on The Broadway stating: "It was originally meant to be fashion-led has become very much mixed use, with only three of the 12 outlets being fashion based and the remainder including a supermarket, greeting cards shop, pet shop, interiors shop, coffee shop and bakers.

"Having said that, The Broadway is fairly well tenanted with only 4% of the shops being physically empty - well under half of the national average. 

"Speaking to the landlord it would appear that the empty shops are actually under offer and/or awaiting fit out - which would mean that, remarkably in the current climate and in comparison to high streets up and down the country, The Broadway is 100% tenanted. 

"We now therefore need to establish that The Broadway is meeting the needs and requirements of its customer base and take steps to increase footfall.

"It is felt that The Broadway has a great deal of potential to be made a much more attractive space and appeal to a wider and increasingly larger percentage of both visitors and residents."

The suggested 'quick wins' include regular sweeping and cleaning and emptying of litter bins on The Broadway, regular rubbish clearance, repairs or replacement of bollards and broken paving, a cheaper parking tariff to encourage shoppers, and the resurfacing of the central reservation with "substantial" planters, in size and strength, sited at regular intervals along The Broadway to deter vehicles from mounting the central reservation and to add greenery and colour to enhance the streetscape.

The report states work should be undertaken to attract new businesses and brands while "thought could also be given to holding an empty unit for short-term rental for pop-up shops, start-up ventures, new/irregular non-high street retailers to test the water for their market and for more experiential and art-based activities including exhibitions, shows and demonstrations". 

A shuttle bus / park and ride service between The Broadway and Epping Forest Shopping Park potentially linked with the demand responsive transport work currently being undertaken across the district is another suggestion.

A similar list of 'quick wins' has been drawn up for Loughton High Road and Buckhurst Hill (Queens Road and Station Way).
2.43pm - June 4

ONGAR: 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.
1.59pm - June 4

ABRIDGE: Road through village closed following burst water main

PICTURES

The road through Abridge could be closed over the weekend while repairs are carried out following a burst water main which caused the road to collapse in two places.

A number of homes in The Poplars and Market Place area are currently without water with bottled supplies available in Market Place.

An Affinity Water worker speaking at the scene told Everything Epping Forest the main repairs are expected to be completed this afternoon however the extent of the damage to the road surface could mean the road being closed over the weekend, and possibly until Monday.

Access through the village is blocked off at the mini-roundabout at the Hoe Lane junction with traffic taking an alternative route through the Pancroft estate.

Heavy traffic is advised to follow the diversion signed from the Gravel Lane roundabout.

Traffic travelling from Chigwell can still access the Shell petrol station on London Road.
8.18am - June 4

EPPING / LOUGHTON: Former Arsenal goalkeeper dies aged 51


Former Arsenal, Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Alan Miller - who was born in Epping and went to school in Loughton - has died at the age of 51.

Loughton Roding Independent councillor Stephen Murray said: "I remember Alan well as a Loughton school pupil in the early 1980s. He attended Epping Forest High School in Borders Lane (an amalgamation of the two Lucton schools). 

"He was a lovely lad and I have over the years followed his career in football with interest. 

"His family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers."

He made five appearances for Arsenal and was an unused substitute as the Gunners won the FA and League Cup double in 1993, as well as the European Cup Winners' Cup a year later.

He also had loan spells with Huddersfield Town, Grimsby Town, Bristol City, Coventry City and St Johnstone.   

Former Arsenal team-mate Lee Dixon tweeted: "Devastated to hear the news that our team mate Alan Miller has passed away. He was one of life's good guys. What a man. Heart of gold. RIP my friend."
3.34pm - June 3

WALTHAM ABBEY: Arsonist convicted over blazes which caused damage costing over £250,000

An arsonist who caused hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage has been convicted following a trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Mohammed Azizi had set fires at a garage in Sedge Green on July 1 last year and to a VW Polo parked in Bradley Road, Waltham Abbey, six weeks later.

The fire at the garage burnt several vehicles and a building causing £250,000 worth of damage.

Through their investigation, officers were able to identify DNA evidence which established Azizi was at the scene.

On August 15, Azizi, 30, of Bradley Road, Waltham Abbey, was caught on CCTV setting a fire underneath a VW Polo parked next to a residential address.

Later that month he was charged.

He denied arson, arson with recklessness as to whether life would be endangered, and malicious communications.

He was found guilty of the arson offences but was found not guilty of malicious communications.

He is due to be sentenced on August 13.

Detective Inspector Kate Murray, from Loughton CID, said: “Mohammed Azizi caused hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage and put lives at risk.

“His actions were premeditated and reckless and he clearly poses a significant danger to the public.

“I know these incidents caused significant concern within the community and I’m glad we’ve been able to bring Aziz to justice.

“He now faces time behind bars and our communities will be a safer place as a result.”
2.13pm - June 2

EXCLUSIVE

Council hopes to persuade Met not to reopen High Beach air base saying "there are other options in and around London"

Epping Forest District Council has told Everything Epping Forest it "will do all we can" to try and persuade the Metropolitan Police Service not to reopen its air support unit site at High Beach.

The council has told Everything Epping Forest "there are other options in and around London that could have a far less detrimental impact on residents and the local environment" than reopening its air base in Epping Forest".

The council has issued a full statement to Everything Epping Forest following yesterday's exclusive report that confirmed police helicopters are to return to Lippitts Hill.

A National Police Air Service email seen by Everything Epping Forest confirmed helicopters "will most certainly" return in "late August or early September".

Residents living near the site, which closed a couple of years ago when the Met's air service transferred to the National Police Air Service, are opposed to the return of the Met's air support team while Epping residents have welcomed news saying it will reduce the number of  helicopter movements over the town to and from the present base at North Weald Airfield.

The council says it has "explored every avenue" to challenge the move back to Lippitts Hill however with planning consent still in place for the site there appears to be nothing the council can do, at the present time, to prevent the controversial return.

Epping Forest District Council says it wants to assure residents that it opposes any return of police helicopters to Lippitts Hill.

The National Police Air Service is a joint operation providing air support to police services across the UK. 

The Metropolitan Police Service flew helicopters from the forest base from 1980 until a couple of years ago when it relocated to North Weald Airfield as part of the National Police Air Service which provides air support to police services across the UK.

NPAS currently operates two helicopters (a third non-operational aircraft is also accommodated) from new £4m facilities on North Weald Airfield.

A council spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: “Lippitts Hill had a number of drawbacks including noise nuisance to local residents and pollution in a Special Area of Conservation. 

"North Weald is an established airfield with many other aviation operators including the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance as well as private companies. 

"NPAS has made a long-term commitment to flying at North Weald with significant investment in brand new facilities.

"As the owner of the airfield, Epping Forest District Council does have a commercial interest in the retention of NPAS at North Weald but our concerns are not financial. 

"We have a lease agreement which NPAS would continue to honour, and we also understand that NPAS would remain at North Weald. 

"The difficulty has arisen for operational reasons with the Metropolitan Police Service which needs to reduce response times for certain tasks and sees a return to Lippitts Hill as a solution.

"Epping Forest lies outside the control of Epping Forest District Council. It is owned and managed by the Corporation of London but the old helicopter base at Lippitts Hill belongs to the Metropolitan Police which retains historic permissions to resume flying.  

"District councillors are appealing to the Metropolitan Police to reconsider.”

The council spokesman added: “It is not for Epping Forest District Council to advise the Metropolitan Police on operational matters but there are other options in and around London that could have a far less detrimental impact on residents and the local environment.

"We don’t have the final say but we will do all we can to persuade the Metropolitan Police Service not to relocate back Lippitts Hill.”
4.45pm - June 1

EXCLUSIVE

Police to reopen High Beach helicopter base

* District council "explored every avenue" to challenge decision
* Return of helicopters "won't help" forest pollution issue
* Nearby residents "very unhappy" at resumption of flights
* National Police Air Service to remain on North Weald Airfield 


The Metropolitan Police Service is to reopen its air support unit site in High Beach, Everything Epping Forest can reveal. 

A senior district councillor has told Everything Epping Forest that Epping Forest District Council "explored every avenue" to try and challenge the decision but said the force has a "legal right" to resume helicopter flights at the Lippitts Hill base where the necessary planning consent remains in place despite the site having closed some years ago.

An email sent by the National Police Air Service to a High Beach resident on Tuesday, April 27, reads: "Aviation will most certainly return to Lippitts Hill late August or early September.

"NPAS is the operator of police air support for England and Wales and whilst it is a collaboration of all the English and Welsh police services there is a ‘customer / client’ type of relationship that exists whereby NPAS is required to meet the demands of the customer.

"The customer in this case is the Metropolitan Police Service and they have requested air support for London be returned to Lippitts Hill to meet response times to the ever changing needs and security issues affecting the capital."

It is unclear what implications, if any, there will be for the council's Interim Air Pollution Mitigation Strategy and the possibility of a Clean Air Zone (CAZ).

The council hopes a CAZ will not need to be introduced but if a Clean Air Zone is implemented it could see charges to drive on some roads through Epping Forest. 

Loughton Residents' Association councillor Chris Pond, who led a group of five non-majority group councillors who called for an extraordinary council meeting in February to discuss the pollution strategy, said the return of helicopters to High Beach "won't help" pollution in the forest.

The air support unit was established at Lippitts Hill in 1980, but the site was closed with the transfer of the Met's air support resources to the National Police Air Service which opened a purpose-built £4m base on North Weald Airfield two years ago.

The reopening of the High Beach site - which Everything Epping Forest understands has recently undergone refurbishment work - is being opposed by local residents who have expressed concern over potential noise and fumes, flight paths and other issues including the increase in traffic on local roads. They add that they believe the helicopters should continue to be based at North Weald.

Resident Carol Moya told Everything Epping Forest: "The structural plan of High Beach has changed considerably over the last three years, since the helicopters moved away, and some new housing has been built directly under one of the flight paths."

Another National Police Air Service email, sent last Tuesday (May 25) and seen by Everything Epping Forest, states: "The flight paths have been discussed and confirmed. They will mirror as far as reasonably practicable that of the past."

A district council source told Everything Epping Forest: "The position for the council is that NPAS has invested in a brand new state-of-the-art facility at North Weald Airfield. Our relationship with NPAS is commercial. They have a long lease and are not leaving North Weald, as far as I know.

"The Met Police wants its old arrangement at Lippitts Hill back.

"However from an environmental perspective North Weald is obviously a better location."

Epping Forest District Council customer and corporate support services portfolio holder councillor Sam Kane told Everything Epping Forest he was "extremely surprised" when he learnt of a letter from the MPS "advising of their intention to resume operation at the Lippitts Hill base".

He added: "In my view the helicopters belong in North Weald and not in the heart of the forest. 

"The council have explored every avenue open to them to challenge the decision but it appears that the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) do have the legal right to return to the base and resume their operations again.

"As things stand Epping Forest District Council have no further measures available to prevent the resumption of flights at the site. 

"MPS have not provided a confirmed date when operations will resume nor any explanation as to why they are returning to Lippitts Hill. 

"Going forward all we can do is carefully monitor activity at the site and enforce the conditions that were imposed when permission was first granted. 

"I have great sympathy with the residents affected by the MPS decision, particularly those who have moved to the area more recently and have no previous experience of the noise nuisance that will be caused by flights in and out of the site."

Epping Forest District Council planning officer Andrew Marx, in an email to councillor Kane, said he had met with colleagues in Environmental Health and spoken with the Met and its planning representative to discuss the return to High Beach.

He said: "We appreciate the concerns of the local community and I have written to the planning representative and the Met officers responsible to ask whether they will be engaging with the local residents before flights commence.

"I have suggested that they arrange periodic liaison meetings with local residents and that they inform us of a suitable channel for complaints regarding disturbance from flights directly to the Met or the base.

"However as it appears, at this point in time, that neither Planning nor Environmental Health (officers) may have any controls over the re-starting of the flights or the undertaking of flights from the site I do not consider there is much more we are able to do at this point in time.

"We will no doubt be asked to formally investigate the lawfulness (in planning terms) of the flights recommencing, but we are unable to do so until activities have actually started.

"There is an extant planning permission that allows flights by helicopters from the site, subject to conditions.

"I have asked that the Met confirms the date of actual commencement as information I have received is that they may not be starting on June 1, 2021, as previously indicated by them."


Return of helicopters to Lippitts Hill "won't help" forest pollution

The return of police helicopters to Lippitts Hill "won't help" the issue of air pollution in Epping Forest, a councillor has said.

Loughton Residents' Association councillor Chris Pond led a group of five non-majority group councillors who called for an extraordinary council meeting in February to discuss the pollution strategy.

He told Everything Epping Forest: "Of course the police in London must have access to air services for everyone's wellbeing and security but we all thought the transfer of police helicopter activities to North Weald would remove some of the noise and pollution away from the adjacent towns of Chingford and Loughton and the centre of the Special Area of Conservation. Evidently not!"

He added: "Air pollution and the delicate ecology of the forest and the proposed CAZ is already an important issue. A helicopter base in the very heart of the SAC (Special Area of Conservation) won't help matters."

The February extraordinary council meeting voted to set up a cross party advisory group to come up with initiatives not currently in the strategy to advance air quality improvements with the objective of removing the need for a CAZ (Clean Air Zone).


Residents oppose reopening - living without helicopters has been "bliss"

People living near the Lippitts Hill site say it should not reopen and that the police helicopters should remain on North Weald Airfield.

Local resident Carol Moya told Everything Epping Forest: "We are very disappointed that the council is unable to legally stop the helicopters from returning. This is due to existing permissions in place.

"The structural plan of High Beach has changed considerably over the last three years, since the helicopters moved away, and some new housing has been built directly under one of the flight paths.

"Residents are very concerned about potential damage to their mental and physical health should the helicopters return for reasons which include interrupted sleep, not being able to be heard, or being able to hear when craft land and take off abd the permanent smell of aviation fuel in the air. The particulates are comparable to diesel."

Another resident said: "Residents are very unhappy. North Weald is, after all, a registered regulated airfield and not a field in the middle of a residential area surrounded by Epping Forest."

She added: "My husband has lived in High Beach for 64 years. We have lived next door to the Camp for nearly 30 years. 

"The last two years (while the helicopters have been based at North Weald Airfield) have been bliss!  

"Our main issue is not so much the noise, but the aviation fuel fumes are not so good. It makes a nonsense of the proposed CAZ."

* Everything Epping Forest has contacted the Metropolitan Police Service and National Police Air Service for statements.
2.38pm - June 1

LOUGHTON: New Town Mayor elected

Councillor Rose Brookes has been elected as the Loughton Town Mayor for 2021-22.

She first served on Loughton Town Council from 2004 until 2012 and then rejoined the council in 2016.

Councillor Chris Pond, in his nomination, said: "Rose was a long-standing member of the council and understood the needs of the residents in Alderton, the Broadway and Roding wards. She will make a good Town Mayor with her caring approach.”

The Loughton Roding ward councillor said she was thrilled to have been elected as Mayor and felt honoured to have been given the opportunity to serve the community in such a role.

She also thanked her fellow councillors for their nomination and said she would be concentrating on the community and especially the young people and community events to help bring normality back to Loughton.

Councillors paid tribute to the work of outgoing mayor councillor Stella Murphy who, over her two years in the role, had attended 65 events and engagements and met many interesting and hard-working volunteers from charities, schools, community groups and organisations.

* Councillor Barbara Cohen was elected Deputy Town Mayor.
8.01am - June 1

LOUGHTON: Double fatal road crash; trial date set

A 22-year-old man charged over the deaths of two people in a road crash on Goldings Hill, Loughton, 22 months ago is set to stand trial in November.

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

The charges follow a crash involving a BMW M3 car near the Wake Arms roundabout on August 24, 2019.

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

Two teenage girls were seriously injured and left with life-changing injuries.
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