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Campling Foods

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

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Millie Maids
Epping's premium cleaning service

Experts in oven cleaning, end of tenancy cleaning and regular visits.
Five Star on Yell, Google and Facebook.
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Howe and Co
mobile fish and chips

Monday: Abridge 5pm-8pm
Tuesday: Toot Hill 4.30pm-5.15pm; Shelley 5.30pm-8.30pm
Wednesday: Coopersale 4.45pm-8.15pm
Thursday: Theydon Bois 4.45pm-8.30pm
Friday: Sheering 4.45pm-9pm
Saturday: High Ongar 4.45pm-5.30pm and Ongar 5.40pm-9pm
Sunday: Epping 4.30pm-8.30pm.
3.27pm - January 31

Buckhurst Hill Parish Council to consider 14 planning applications

Fourteen planning applications will be considered by Buckhurst Hill Parish Council's planning and environment committee which will meet via Zoom at 7pm on Thursday, February 4.

Anyone wanting to join the meeting should email for the Zoom access information.

The applications to be considered are:

* 150 Loughton Way - prior approval for change of use of shop A1 to A3(E) and A5

* 3 Knighton Place, Knighton Lane - crown reduce oak tree to previous points as specified

* 64B Palmerston Road - conversion of garage into habitable room

* 12 Broadfield Way - single storey rear extension.

* 79 Rous Road - Certificate of Lawful Development for proposed loft conversion and rear
dormer including Juliet balcony

* 64B Palmerston Road - application for a Lawful Development Certificate for single-storey extension and rooflight

* Garage block, west of 23 Pentlow Way - application for Approval of Details reserved by Conditions 13 (details of the siting and design of the proposed relocated electricity sub-station) and condition 18 (car parking spaces for people with a disability) for EPF/2021/20. Demolition of existing garages, erection of a residential building with proposed flats with associated parking and landscaping, seven units in total

* Buckhurst Hill Reservoir, High Road - confirmation of conditions 3, 7, 18, 22, 24 and 29 of planning application EPF/0480/04 (redevelopment of site to provide 67 flats including associated amenity space and car parking)

* Buckhurst Hill Community Centre, 4 Westbury Road - fell TPO Ash tree and Lime tree

* 37 Epping New Road - single-storey rear extension and side return

* The Ridings, Manor Road - replacement of existing dwelling plus one additional infill dwelling (revised application to EPF/2767/19

* 33 Starling Close - certificate of Lawful Development for hip to gable roof extension and loft conversion with rear dormer and front roof lights (revised application to EPF/1907/20)

* 80 High Road - application for a Lawful Development Certificate for an addition of a pitched roof structure to the existing flat roofed dormer on the rear

* 33 St Johns Court - prior approval for a 4m deep single-storey rear extension, height to eaves 2.9m and overall height of 3m.
3.25pm - January 31

Buckhurst Hill Parish Council freezes share of council tax bills for 2021-22

Buckhurst Hill Parish Council has frozen its share of council tax bills for 2021-22 having set its precept at £359,979 for the next financial year.

It means council tax bills for 2021-22 will include a band D equivalent of £68.89 towards services provided by the parish council.

The council has kept its precept the same for another year.  

The council's budgets include a new budget item of £5,000 for its Climate Emergency work and £10,000 earmarked for a COVID-19 memorial in the parish.
12.41pm - January 31

SEWARDSTONEBURY: Eighteen people fined after third illegal house party at property in a month

Eighteen revellers caught having an illegal house party at a vacant rented property near Waltham Abbey have been fined nearly £15,000 by Essex Police after officers used new powers available under the Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations.

Police officers attended a house in Bury Road, Sewardstonebury, at 5pm yesterday (Saturday) following reports that a number of partygoers were at the property having a party in breach of the current COVID-19 restrictions.

It is the third time officers have attended an illegal gathering at the property in a month.

Officers were initially refused entry from those inside the property who claimed to be making a music video.

A spokesman said officers gained entry and inside found 18 people clearly having a party while others were still arriving.

Officers quickly contained the party, prevented any others from attending, and fined all of those present before sending them on their way.

Detectives have now started an investigation to establish who organised the event. 

Essex Police is also working with its partners to put measures in place to prevent the future unlawful use of the property.

All 18 people present - including 17 people from London and one from Essex – were fined £800 each following the introduction of higher penalties last week for those caught attending illegal house parties of 15 people or more.

Essex Police Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills said: “This party was a clear and blatant breach of the current restrictions which were put in place to save lives and protect the NHS.

“These selfish individuals not only have no regard for their own safety but they clearly didn’t give a second thought for the safety of the local community, the police officers who had to attend to deal with their reckless behaviour or the NHS which is under unbelievable pressure.

“The legislation exists for a reason, which is to stop the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives. It relies on us working together to drive down the risk of infection.

“The overwhelming majority of people continue to do all they can to support us and help stop the spread of the virus and it is only a selfish few, such as these individuals, who think they can flout the rules with no thought for the health risk posed by their actions.

“But, as the robust action we have taken in this instance demonstrates, Essex Police will simply not tolerate anyone in our county, or visiting our county, who blatantly and flagrantly break the law and put the lives of the people of Essex at risk.”

Essex Police had attended two previous unlawful gatherings at the same property (one on New Year’s Eve and one earlier this month) and an investigation is underway to establish whether all three were organised by the same person. 

Police say they will work with partners to prevent any events taking place at the same venue in the future.

Anyone with any information about who organised the event is asked to contact Loughton CID by ringing 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Police want people to continue to report COVID breaches. This can be done via the Essex Police website by using its Digital 101 service where you can speak to an operator online live time between 7am and 11pm at

Information can also be given via
7.24pm - January 30


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"We all have a part to play in stopping the spread and where we have young people at home we have a duty as parents to ensure they staying safe and following the rules."
3.39pm - January 30

EPPING: Further arrest in murder investigation

A thirteenth person has been arrested in connection with the murder of Stephen Morrison who died after being stabbed in a forest car park off Epping New Road, Epping.

Stephen, 30, was found seriously injured outside the Shell service station on Epping Road, near the Wake Arms roundabout, shortly before 8pm on June 23 last year.

He died in hospital later that evening.

During the early hours yesterday morning (Friday) a 24-year-old man, from London, was arrested on suspicion of murder.

He has been bailed until February while the investigation continues. 

Twelve other people have been arrested in connection with the investigation. 

Three will face no further action, nine are have been released on bail or remain under investigation.
6.35pm - January 29

EPPING / ONGAR: Teenager arrested over possessing imitation firearm

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

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

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

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

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

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

He has since been released under investigation.

Anyone with any information about the incident should ring police on 101 and quote incident 799 of January 28.
5.50pm - January 29

ONGAR: Two men arrested after vehicle stopped at Four Wantz roundabout

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

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

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

Two other men ran off from the petrol station and police enquiries are ongoing to identify them.
5.31pm - January 29

LOUGHTON: Man charged with six shoplifting offences

A man has been charged with six counts of shoplifting after goods worth a three-figure sum were stolen from the BP service station in The Broadway, Debden.

The offences were committed between January 6 and 21.

Jack Robertson, 29, of Barfields, Loughton, was due to appear before Colchester magistrates today (Friday).

Meanwhile, two women were arrested on suspicion of theft on January 24.

One of the women was given a community resolution and the other was dealt with through a conditional caution.
1.33pm - January 29

ONGAR: Car abandoned in flood water

More pictures CLICK HERE

A car was abandoned in flood water at Hallsford Bridge, Ongar, this morning after the driver became stranded.

Another driver and passenger had to push their car out of the water while 4x4 drivers managed to negotiate the flooding on Stondon Road.

Mill Lane - on the other side of Hallsford Bridge - is also flooded but the other usual 'hotspots' in the area are clear.

They include the A414 Epping Road at Ongar and Bobbingworth; and the A113 London Road at Stanford Rivers (by Traceys Farm).

Heavy surface water is again reported on Ongar Road, Abridge - between Passingford Bridge and Abridge village.
3.36pm - January 27

DISTRICT: Parking charges to be introduced in forest car parks

Parking charges are to be introduced at more than a dozen car parks in Epping Forest from the Spring.

The decision has been taken by the City of London Corporation's Epping Forest and Commons Committee. 

The proposals are open for public consultation until Monday, February 15. For more details

The fees have not been confirmed but the City of London has said all the income, less the costs of maintaining the scheme, will be reinvested in the forest.

The cashless charging system will be phased in across the forest's car parks with 14 car parks "that currently experience the most parking issues" to be in the first phase.

They include:

Chingford Hub: Bury Road, The Caddie House (Chingford Golf Course), Connaught Water, Barn Hoppitt (including seasonal overflow) and Connaught Tennis Club.

The committee says this will tackle commuter use at Bury Road and Chingford Golf Course car parks and prevent consequent displacement to Barn Hoppitt, Tennis Club and Connaught Water.

High Beach: Pillow Mounds, Generals Ride & High Beach Visitor Centre with the committee saying this will tackle the over capacity use of the area.
Payment will be by card or mobile phone with the charges reflecting the most common length of time visitors spend in the forest, at one to two hours. 

Parking for Blue Badge holders and motorbikes will be free.
1.27pm - January 27

EPPING: Rotary club seeks award nominations

The Rotary Club of Epping is seeking nominations for its annual 'Service Above Self' award which is presented to someone who lives, comes from, or has very strong connections with the Epping area which includes Epping Town, Theydon Bois, Epping Green, Thornwood and North Weald. 

The award is for particular services to humanity and is in the form of a trophy, which will be held for one year, to be presented at a special meeting in the Spring.

The winner will also receive an inscribed commemorative piece of glassware.

The club is looking for people who have volunteered to serve the community in ordinary ways but to an extraordinary degree (maybe particularly connected with COVID 19).

It could be a neighbour who has always given a helping hand over a long period of time, or a single individual act or possibly help of a special nature. 

As Rotary International is a non-political and non-sectarian organisation the only types of service excluded from the award are those of a political or religious nature.

Nominations should be made in writing by February 19, giving details of the nominee(s) and the reason for the nomination(s).

Nominations should be sent to Rotarian Rev'd Duncan Whitehouse, 3 Lynceley Grange, Epping, Essex, CM16 6RA.

Nominations which have previously been submitted and which did not result in an award can be resubmitted for consideration this year.
7.59pm - January 26

ONGAR: New town council chairman sets out priorities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"It is thanks to Derek that Ongar Town Council is the asset to the community it is today."
6.55pm - January 26

ROYDON: Two arrested after van stopped

Two people have been arrested for various offences after Community Safety Team police officers spotted a van near Roydon.

A spokesman said the vehicle was found to have been stolen from Skegness and w on false registration plates. 

Various stolen items were found in the vehicle. 

One of the arrested duo was wanted on a recall to prison.
6.55pm - January 26

EPPING: No town council objection to High Street nail bar plans

No objection has been voiced by Epping Town Council's planning and general purposes committee to plans to turn the former Grape Tree health food shop in the High Street into a nail bar and beauty salon.

A final decision on the planning application for the vacant premises in Simon Campion Court will be taken by Epping Forest District Council.

Councillor Christine Burgess told tonight's town council committee meeting: "We can have one nail done in each of the nail bars (in Epping)."

Councillor Mari-Louise Whitbread said: "At the end of the day it's another business in the town. Any new business should be encouraged."

Councillor Barbara Scruton said: "It's better than an empty shop."

Councillor Cherry McCredie said: "It's much better for us to have yet another nail bar than another empty property."
2.55pm - January 26

DISTRICT: Police reveal COVID-19 regulation breaches

Police have revealed two incidents - in Epping and Hastingwood - where people breached COVID-19 regulations.

Two people were stopped by officers in Epping, on Tuesday, January 12, after they had travelled from Grays to High Beech.

The pair - one adult and one juvenile – told officers they made the 25-mile journey to go for a jog. The adult was issued with a fixed penalty notice.

In another incident, last month when Essex was under Tier 4 restrictions, roads policing officers stopped four performance cars at the A414-M11 junction at Hastingwood.

It was then confirmed that the vehicles had travelled from the London and Hertfordshire areas for a car cruise.

Eight people were dealt with for breaches of coronavirus legislation.

Each driver was also issued with Section 59 warnings for anti-social (inconsiderate) driving which means that should the driver drive that same or any other vehicle in a similar manner again within 12 months of receiving the warning, the vehicle can be immediately seized by police.
1.41pm - January 26


DISTRICT: Number of district council staff paid £50,000-plus more than doubles in a year

The number of Epping Forest District Council staff receiving salaries and allowances totalling £50,000 and over has more than doubled in a year - with one getting between £230,000 and £234,999 in the year to March 31 last year, Everything Epping Forest can reveal.

Council accounts released to Everything Epping Forest show the number of staff receiving £50,000-plus a year rose from 23 in 2018-19 to 48 in 2019-20.

Loughton Residents' Association councillor Chris Pond described the number of "very highly paid people in a small district council" as "excessive" and added: "Who, I wonder, is worth £234,000 a year to the people of Epping Forest, or about £1.80 per year per head?"

The council told Everything Epping Forest the remuneration figures include salaries, pension contributions, any redundancy payments as well as allowances such as standby / call-out arrangements, car allowances and overtime.

The number of employees receiving between £50,000 and £74,999 rose from 14 in 2019 to 36 in 2020 while the number in the £90,000 to £94,999 bracket increased from one to six.

A council spokesman said: "The banding thresholds have not been changed since their introduction, approximately ten years ago, meaning that as pay rises are implemented the bandings will capture more employees.

"As the remuneration bandings include Employer Pension Contributions these tip employees into higher bandings than the actual salary and allowances they receive."

In a statement, the council said: "The 31 March 2020 figures include the Council’s Common Operating Model for Management / Specialist roles implemented through the 2017-20 People Strategy. 

"As a result, the overall management / supervisory figures reduced from 150 leader / management / supervisory roles to 82 leader / manager and 11 technical specialist roles.

"At the same time the council moved to a new locally determined pay structure the aim of which was for the council to retain and attract a workforce that can deliver the council’s Plans and Projects. 

"Also, our pay, grading and terms and conditions needed to be competitive in the relevant job markets and we recognised that expertise should be valued as much as management responsibilities. 

"Both of these factors moved some roles over into the £50,000-plus bandings.

"The figures include five roles in receipt of a redundancy payment, two roles employed by the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town project and two roles working in Housing Repairs on the standby / call out rota."

Councillor Chris Pond told Everything Epping Forest: "This is part of the 'corporatisation' of Epping Forest District Council which has seen people hired in who know little of the district, but who are supposed to be very skilled at management. 

"We have also lost any amount of local knowledge and experience. Forty-eight very highly paid people in a small district council is, in my opinion, excessive."

He added: "Who, I wonder, is worth £234,000 a year to the people of Epping Forest, or about £1.80 per year per head?

"At that rate, the head of Essex County Council would get over £2 million a year. This is residents' money."

* Figures included in draft council accounts - which the council has told Everything Epping Forest were incorrect - showed the number of staff receiving £50,000 and over had increased from ten (at March 31, 2019) to 47 (at March 31, 2020).
1.09pm - January 26

HASTINGWOOD: Police pursuit ends with 4x4 abandoned in a field

Two men have been arrested for numerous offences after a police pursuit ended when a 4x4 was found abandoned in a field at Hastingwood.

Police officers had initially responded to a suspected cloned vehicle after an Automatic Number Plate Recognition Camera was activated in the district.

The 4x4 failed to stop for a fog section unit and a pursuit followed. 

The vehicle initially travelled into the Harlow district as further support was provided by the Epping Forest Community Safety Team, Roads Policing officers, Harlow-based officers and the National Police Air Service. 

A police spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: "After a temporary loss, the vehicle was located in a field near the M11 junction 7 roundabout with the suspects having decamped.

"Two men suspected to have fled from the vehicle were successfully detained by officers nearby."

An 18-year-old man, from Harlow, was arrested on suspicion of failing to stop, assault on an emergency worker (non-injury), aggravated vehicle taking, driving otherwise in accordance with a licence, driving without insurance and dangerous driving.

A 20-year-old man, from Harlow, was arrested on suspicion of failing to stop, aggravated vehicle taking, driving otherwise in accordance with a licence, driving without insurance and dangerous driving.

Both men have been released under investigation while police enquiries continue.
7.48pm - January 25

THORNWOOD: Parish council opposes petrol station 'take-away' plan

A planning application to create a 'take-away' at Thornwood Filling Station, High Road, Thornwood, is being opposed by North Weald Bassett Parish Council.

The application with Epping Forest District Council details proposals for 'Rock's Cafe to Go' - which would see a redundant office at the rear of the premises converted into a small commercial kitchen.

Documents submitted with the application state it would be used to prepare, cook and sell take-away food such as breakfast buns "and similar fare".

Clerk Sue DeLuca told tonight's planning committee meeting that the district council's air quality officer had asked for more information regarding the proposed odour control measures.

Councillor Andy Tyler said: "This is a very, very fast corner (near Rye Hill Road). It's one thing going in buying petrol. To have more traffic is potentially dangerous.

"I really do think we should object for where it is, and it would be dramatically increaing the traffic in that area."

He also raised concerns over smells and pollution from the extractor system.

Planning committee chairman Baden Clegg said: "I know this area pretty well and we've had lots of hefty collisions in that Rye Hill Road corner.  It's an incredible dangerous situation. 

"I'm not sure whether this facility is really needed."

Councillor Terry Blanks said: "I think it's a very poor site for such a thing and I'm very concerned about the litter and traffic - and basically I don't think we need it."

He also questioned the mix of petrol and fast food sales on the same site, and was concerned over the potential increase in rubbish.

Parish council chairman Alan Buckley said: "With all this cooking, there will be a lot of cars parked around there while their food is cooked. Is there enough parking away from the pumps for the cars to park?"

The committee agreed unanimously to object to the application for various reasons - highways safety, the potential increase in traffic, litter, smells and pollution, while councillors also questioned the need for such an additional outlet in the area.

The committee is to request that if planning approval is given by the district council that there should be a condition that litter patrols are carried out.
6.08pm - January 25

LOUGHTON: Weapons seizure among police cases praised by Home Secretary

A police operation in Loughton in which a man was arrested and items including a knuckle duster, daggers and CS spray were found has been highlighted as one of the successes of a  countywide initiative which has been praised by Home Secretary Priti Patel.

The arrest last August was made by officers working on Operation Gloss which has seen Essex Police and Border Force officers working on a faster referral system for dealing with drugs, prohibited weapons and firearms components that are flown into the UK via a postal hub near Heathrow.

In the Loughton incident, a warrant was executed at an address where officers found weapons including knuckle duster knives, daggers, CS spray and batons. 

A man was arrested on suspicion of weapons offences and the police investigation remains ongoing. 

Across Essex, more than 120 parcels of weapons and drugs have been intercepted in the last nine months. 

UK Border Force staff identify suspicious packages that come in via international mail and pass them to Essex Police for investigation. 

Depending on the individual circumstances of each case, this could result in the people buying these items being arrested or having their homes searched.

Alternatively, it may be more appropriate to resolve matters through a caution or community resolution, or referring them to a diversionary scheme.

In some cases, it might mean working alongside the Essex Violence and Vulnerability  Unit to safeguard people who are being exploited by criminals, to educate about knife crime, and support them to safely exit gang life or a controlling relationship.

Since the new referral system started in February, police have received 123 notifications about suspicious packages. Of these, 67 contained weapons and 56 contained drugs.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Knife crime and serious violence wreak havoc in our communities, which is why we are giving police forces more resources and powers to keep the public safe.

"Action like Operation Gloss, along with the wider efforts of police, Border Force and other law enforcement agencies, are vital when it comes to stopping dangerous weapons reaching our streets.”

In May last year, a warrant was carried out at an address in Harlow where officers found weapons including stun guns disguised as mobile phones, a walking stick with a concealed knife, and a bracelet with a concealed knife. 

A 55-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of weapons offences. The police investigation remains ongoing.
6.52pm - January 23

LOUGHTON: MP gives update on local post deliveries

Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing has given an update on the situation at Debden Delivery Office and local post deliveries as she promises to "continue to monitor Royal Mail’s performance and insist that the service is improved".

Dame Eleanor said: "I fully appreciate the concerns about the deficiencies in the service currently being received from Royal Mail. 

"I have been aware of this situation for a considerable time and have been in touch with Royal Mail on several occasions."

Dame Eleanor has had a meeting with the National Service Delivery Director who has given her his assurance that he and his team are doing all they can to improve the service.

Dame Eleanor said: "Let me assure constituents, first and foremost, that letters from the NHS, easily identifiable by the blue NHS logo on the outside of the envelope, are being given priority and are being delivered promptly. "Anyone awaiting an invitation for the vaccine will receive their letter on time.

"The prioritisation of letters and essential items being sent to and from the NHS is one of the reasons why other mail deliveries are being delayed. 

"In addition to urgent letters, Royal Mail have also been prioritising the delivery of PPE equipment and Covid test kits which people have to send straight back to the NHS via priority post boxes."

She added: "The circumstances in which we have all had to operate since last spring have led to a massive increase in the volume of mail in general. 

"More parcels are being sent because people do not see their friends and families face to face. More goods are being delivered because we are buying online when we can’t go to shops. The Christmas post, of course, added to the pressures.

"The reason why the situation is particularly bad in our area is that, with infection rates here being amongst the highest in the whole country, the Debden Delivery Office has been hit four times by outbreaks of the virus. Many of the staff have been very seriously ill. 

"I have great sympathy for them and for their families. I am sure you will realise that when one employee contracts the virus, every other employee who has been in contact with him has to isolate at home. That isolation has to happen immediately and therefore the delivery office has had to cope with sudden staff shortages.

"The senior directors at Royal Mail have assured me that they are doing all they can to counteract these difficulties and to get your postal service back to normal. 

"They are now putting on extra deliveries on Sundays and dealing with the backlog. They have also kept on many of the additional staff who had been employed to deal with the Christmas rush.

"I fully appreciate that you will still be angry that you are not receiving post regularly, but I want to give you a full explanation. 

"There is no part of our community which has not been affected by this terrible pandemic. Let us hope that now infection rates are beginning to fall and the most vulnerable among us are being vaccinated that it will not be long before we can return to normal.

"I assure you that I will continue to monitor Royal Mail’s performance and to insist that the service is improved."
7.01pm - January 22

DEBDEN: Petition calls for library move to The Broadway

Almost 700 people have signed an online petition calling for Debden Library to return to The Broadway, and opposing the takeover bid by New City College.

Shops and businesses in The Broadway are also backing the Epping Forest SOLE (Save Our Libraries Essex) campaign, with many more signing petition forms displayed by a number of local businesses. 

The library is currently inside New City College in Borders Lane.

An Epping Forest SOLE spokesman said: "We are delighted the local community and local businesses are getting behind our campaign to see Debden Library return to the heart of our community. One can help the other here. 

"The library will see more users back in The Broadway and library users will then visit local shops. It's a win win situation for all.'

The Epping Forest SOLE online
5.23pm - January 22

DISTRICT: Date set for extraordinary council meeting

The Extraordinary Epping Forest District Council meeting to discuss the Interim Air Mitigation Pollution Strategy which includes a Clean Air Zone and road charging plan will be held on Monday, February 8 (7pm).

Buckhurst Hill Green Party district councillor Steven Neville has said he has been told members of the public will not be able to speak at the meeting but will be able to watch the live webcast.
3.58pm - January 22

BUCKHURST HILL: "Quick-thinking" PCSOs praised after spotting fire

Two police community support officers have been praised for their "quick-thinking" actions which saw them evacuate five people from a burning building in Buckhurst Hill last weekend.

PCSOs Adam Dixon-Peters and Andy Flett were out on patrol on Sunday afternoon when they saw the fire at the Tandoori At The Chambers restaurant in Queen’s Road.

Adam, the dedicated PCSO for Buckhurst Hill, funded by the parish council, said: "I saw smoke billowing out of the chimney of the restaurant and, at the same time, I was flagged down by a member of public.” 

They rushed to the building to see how they could help, concerned that people may still be inside.

Andy said: "Several members of staff were still inside. They told us there’d been a fire in the kitchen downstairs but it had been put out.

"We thought it best to be safe so while Adam evacuated them and made sure everyone was alright I went down to the kitchen to double-check and found another man there so I made sure he left, too"

Staff had already called the fire brigade and so Adam drove the patrol car to one end of the road to block it off to traffic and they both worked to find the owners of parked cars to clear the road outside the restaurant to allow fire engines and an aerial ladder platform get close enough to the burning building.

As fire crews arrived, fellow officers from Loughton Community Policing Team arrived to help evacuate neighbouring buildings and manage the crowd which had gathered.

No-one was injured in the fire which started accidentally in an extraction system.

The four-storey building is home to a restaurant, offices and a flat. Neighbouring homes were also affected by the smoke and three families have had to move out temporarily while the damage to their homes is assessed.

Loughton Community Policing Team Inspector Tom Mitchell said: “I’m proud of Adam and Andy for their brave actions. No-one knows exactly what they will face when they enter a burning building. 

"It’s lucky they were passing by on their patrols at the time and I’m thankful they were able to help evacuate staff and then help the fire crews afterwards."

Grays Fire Station Manager Dave Bond said: "We'd like to thank the PCSOs for their quick-thinking, particularly stopping traffic to allow our crews to get access to the scene and deal with the fire and assisting with keeping passers-by at a safe distance.

"It is another good example of how we work closely with our partners at incidents to keep the people of Essex safe."
3.36pm - January 22

EPPING: Multi-storey car park to come first in town plans

The scheduling for the planned redevelopment of the two car parks in Epping would see the four-level multi-storey car park built before the leisure centre on the Bakers Lane car park, the district council's cabinet has been told.

Qualis Commercial, which has submitted plans for the two sites - with applications to follow for housing on the St John's Road site, at the Conder building site at the Civic Offices and on the current leisure centre site in Hemnall Street - has said there would be no net loss in parking spaces in the town.

The Bakers Lane and Cottis Lane car parks currently have a total of 336 spaces. 

The new leisure centre will have six spaces - all for Blue Badge holders - with 330 spaces in the multi-storey car park.

Epping Town Council has expressed concern at the number of spaces given the additional vehicles the proposed new facilities - leisure centre, cinema, shops and offices - could attract.

Finance and economic development portfolio holder John Philip told last night's cabinet meeting: "To maintain the car parking within Epping we need to convert the other car park (Cottis Lane) into a multi-storey car park.

"In terms of scheduling, clearly we need to get that (the multi-storey car park) in place before we start work on the sports centre so that we don't impact the overall parking provision within Epping allowing our residents to still come in and hopefully support our businesses to keep them going."
5.09pm - January 21

THORNWOOD: 'Take-away' plan for petrol station

Planning permission is being sought to create a 'take-away' at Thornwood Filling Station, High Road, Thornwood.

A planning application with Epping Forest District Council details proposals for 'Rock's Cafe to Go' - which would see a redundant office at the rear of the premises converted into a small commercial kitchen.

Documents submitted with the application state it would be used to prepare, cook and sell take-away foods such as breakfast buns "and similar fare".
4.44pm - January 21
LOUGHTON: College holds virtual open day

Some 10,000 people 'visited' New City College's (Epping Forest College) website for its virtual Open Day with some 1,400 registered attendees to online subject sessions.

Visitors signed in to watch and listen to presentations by teachers on Microsoft Teams and to ask questions about the college and the courses on a live Chatify platform.

There was also a chance to get advice on supported learning, careers, university progression and financial support.

One of the most popular sessions was 'Ask Your Peers' where current student ambassadors were online answering questions from prospective students about college life.

Other popular sessions included Health and Social Care, Construction, Sport, Creative Arts and A-Level Biology, Psychology and Law.

People who missed sessions or did not register on the day can still request to view subject presentations by emailing

Group marketing director Nell McCreadie said: “It was a highly successful event with a wide variety of interesting presentations for students considering coming to study at New City College.

"We have a huge range of subject choice and we welcome students of all abilities. There were some excellent questions during the sessions and some very positive comments from guests about the smooth running of the day.”

The next open events are on February 9, 10 and 11 and Saturday, March 20.

For more information visit
3.22pm - January 21
Herts and West Essex tops table for COVID-19 jabs

The most locally-available statistics for the number of COVID-19 vaccinations given to patients aged 80+ show that 115,304 doses have been administered in the Hertfordshire and West Essex area, which includes Epping Forest - the highest in the East of England.

The Hertfordshire and West Essex area figure (13,995) for the number people 80+ to have received both doses is the fifth highest in England.

Meanwhile the total number of doses administered in Hertfordshire and West Essex (115,304) is the 12th highest in England, with Cumbria and the North East topping the list with 271,536 doses. 

The numbers for west Essex are included in figures published today for Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care System and the Hertfordshire and West Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership.

They show that between December 8 and January 17, a total of 115,304 doses were administered in the Hertfordshire and West Essex area.

Mid and South Essex has the second highest total with 80,211 doses.

The breakdown of the Hertfordshire and West Essex statistics show 47,623 first doses have been given to patients aged under 80 (and 50,815 to patients aged 80-plus) while 2,871 under-80s have received their second dose (and 13,995 patients aged 80-plus have had their second dose).
11.46am - January 21

CHIGWELL: Students take part in 'Bake Off' challenge
Almost 100 students at West Hatch High School, Chigwell, have put their baking skills to the test by taking part in the 'Great West Hatch Bake Off'.

Following the start of the latest COVID-19 'lockdown', the school wanted to continue with the competitive ethos between its 'Houses' and provide pupils with some fun tasks away from normal lessons, whilst providing them with opportunities to earn 'House' points for rewards when they return to school.

Students came up with creative tasty treats at home and sent in pictures of their baking results.

After a week of baking the competition resulted in a tie between Austen House and Brunel House. 

Following the success of the 'Bake Off', the school is now holding weekly house competitions with students now embarking on the second challenge - 'Art Attack'.

Tom McGarr, PE teacher and Student Wellbeing co-ordinator, said “It is great to see so many students and staff get involved with competitive challenges to demonstrate the pride that everyone has for their respective Houses. 

"The hope is that the competitions will bring families together at the same time, whilst also enabling students to learn about different coping strategies through difficult times. 

"Other competitions to come will see exercise, science, cooking and many more skills developed.”
10.21am - January 21

NORTH WEALD: North Weald Post Office to close

North Weald Post Office - at 20 High Road - is to close at 4pm on Wednesday, February 17 "due to the withdrawal of the premises for Post Office use", The Post Office has announced.

A letter from The Post Office states: "The provision of a Post Office service to our customers in the local community is important to us, and we will continue to work hard to restore services in the area as soon as possible. 

"We would welcome any applications from potential retail partners interested in running a branch locally on our behalf.

"The vacancy is currently being advertised on our website - - and applications will be carefully considered."
1.28pm - January 20

New members wanted for Essex Police's local Independent Advisory Group

New members are wanted for Essex Police's Brentwood and Epping Forest Independent Advisory Group.

Essex Police wants to increase membership and improve representation of the diverse communities across the area. 

District Commander Chief Inspector Ant Alcock, who is leading the initiative, is encouraging people to sign up.

He said: "We are looking for individuals who are under-represented in the usual decision-making processes within the police and who may not ordinarily have a voice in conversations that will affect their communities.

"The IAG will discuss hate crime, significant local incidents, procedural changes and any other policing matters that are important to you. 

"Any number of decisions made within policing can have unforeseen impacts on the community and as a member of the IAG you will be able to help us understand these issues and find ways to address them."

For more details
1.07pm - January 20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can donate to Hector's fundraising c
hallenge HERE
12.43pm - January 20

DISTRICT: County council budget - "an investment in the people of Essex"

Essex County Council's share of council tax bills for the next financial year will increase by £19.80 (band D property equivalent).

The council has put forward a 0% council tax increase with a 1.5% increase from the Government’s Adult Social Care precept - half of that available. 

This means for an average Band D property household, the county council element of council tax will increase by £19.80 (38p per week).

Finance cabinet member councillor Chris Whitbread said: “There is no doubt that this last year has been one of the most challenging that our county has ever faced. 

"Today (Tuesday) I am pleased to have agreed a responsible, sustainable budget that will help our economy to recover, that will protect and support our residents and that minimises the impact on council tax, while ensuring essential services continue to be delivered."

He added: “This budget represents an investment in the people of Essex; we have a responsibility as a local authority to achieve the best value for money for taxpayers, while ensuring we help and support all our residents, particularly those that are vulnerable, to live the best life they possibly can.

“It also represents an ambitious investment in our economy, including in our schools, roads and homes now and into the future, due to a significantly increased investment – 50 per cent - in major projects, so that we can build back better.

“In addition, the budget outlines our ongoing investment and commitment to the environment and climate action, including planting more trees, investing in flood defences, and investing in sustainable solutions for our future.  

"Essex County Council continues to make sound financial decisions, as evidenced by approval at today’s (Tuesday) cabinet meeting. 

"We have a strong track record to be proud of, despite the increased pressures faced by the public sector in recent years and should take great strength from this. 

"We have thought very carefully about this budget and have the foundation and agreed plans that will enable us to invest in the future and support Essex to recover and grow.”

The council says it will be investing an additional £33m across its portfolios, with the majority invested in adult social care services to support some of the county’s most vulnerable individuals and those that care for them.

In addition, the council is continuing to grow its investments, with a £1.3billion capital strategy and continued investment in road maintenance and footways, waste and children’s services.
12.22pm - January 20

EPPING: Town council to consider nail bar plans

A planning application submitted to Epping Forest District Council to turn the former Grape Tree health food shop at 3 Simon Campion Court, High Street, Epping, into a nail bar and beauty salon will be considered by Epping Town Council's planning and general purposes committee on Tuesday.
6.06pm - January 19

DISTRICT: Special council meeting will debate Clean Air Zone

The Clean Air Zone and potential road charging plan detailed in Epping Forest District Council's cabinet-approved Interim Air Mitigation Pollution Strategy will be discussed at a special full council meeting.

The meeting was requested by five non-Conservative councillors amid growing concern over the strategy, and the possibility of a road charging scheme for some roads through Epping Forest being implemented in 2025.

Independent Loughton councillor Stephen Murray, who is one of the five councillors who requested the meeting in a letter to council chairman Helen Kane, said: "This is a great step forward."

He said a date for the meeting would be set in the next week.

Loughton Residents Association councillor Chris Pond, who drafted a motion to be considered at the Extraordinary Council Meeting, said the request had been made "to give the whole council an opportunity of deciding on the distribution of development and its effects on the SAC and to give voters the chance to see their councillors' vote on the questions of releasing planning consents and the CAZ".

The Buckhurst Hill Residents' Society committee today said it strongly supported and agreed with Loughton Residents Association saying: "We believe the proper course would be for the council to have raised the Interim Strategy, and the CAZ, as part of the ongoing discussions on the draft Epping Forest Local Plan where the proposals could be fully and publicly discussed and consulted upon, and the proposal (if agreed by the independent Inspector) could then integrated into the provisions of the Local Plan."

The committee added it "would like to express its concern at the way in which the strategy and possible Clean Air Zone for 2025 was passed.

"We feel this is such an important subject it needed public consultation before not after it was put to a vote by the council".

Deputy council leader and planning cabinet member Nigel Bedford has said the cabinet had upheld the decision to adopt the Interim Air Pollution Mitigation Strategy for Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation (SAC) adding "it will allow careful and considered developments in the district to proceed with the appropriate measures to mitigate the impacts on air quality in Epping Forest of any development and the current backlog of planning decisions to be released in the coming months".

Mr Bedford added that how the CAZ will work, charges for the zone and "other issues around its implementation" will require further work over the coming months and years. 

He said: "The most important thing is that my decision both allows a considered approach to development to occur now, whilst consideration is given to what measures are needed to protect our environment and the forest for decades to come."
This was the car park at Spencer Close at St Margaret's Hospital, Epping, at 11.55am today with the building used as the vaccination centre on the right.
5.10pm - January 19

DISTRICT: Questions asked over COVID-19 vaccination programme

For the second successive morning the vaccination centre at St Margaret's Hospital in Epping has stood empty.

This morning - and it was the same yesterday - the direction signs were out but the building at Spencer Close - which has been vaccinating people since before Christmas - was not being used.

But why?

West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is refusing to say how many people have received COVID-19 vaccinations locally and why some patients - some in their 80s and 90s - are being invited to travel to the Excel Centre in London or elsewhere, such as Stevenage or Ipswich, for their first jabs - while the St Margaret's Hospital centre is closed.

Locally there are only two "GP-led" vaccination centres in the Epping Forest district - the one at Spencer Close at St Margaret’s Hospital and Buckhurst Way Clinic in Buckhurst Hill.

James Beaver, writing on the Everything Epping Forest Facebook group, said the Buckhurst Hill centre was also closed yesterday (Monday) and today.

Everything Epping Forest has submitted a number of questions to the CCG which issued a brief statement in response.

It stated: “West Essex has had a really positive start to the vaccination programme and lots of sites are already up and running with more coming online across the coming weeks, providing extra capacity to give people who need it that crucial first dose - which the evidence shows gives you the vast majority of your protection from the virus - as quickly as possible.”

However the fact is that there are still only two centres in Epping Forest, as stated in an NHS coronavirus update posted online last weekend. You can read the article

There are five centres in total in west Essex with the other three in Harlow, Stansted and Saffron Walden.

Background information provided by the CCG states "more sites will be launched in the coming weeks, including some in west Essex".

It adds: "People who fall into the priority groups will be contacted directly by the NHS to book into one of these sites when the time comes. We’ll share details of the sites in west Essex when they go live.

"If you can’t travel or you would rather wait for an appointment closer to home, you can choose to do that, and your local GP-led service will be in touch soon to offer an alternative."

The information adds: "The new guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and Chief Medical Officers on the period between doses also means that we will be able to get the maximum benefit for the most people in the shortest possible time. 

"As the Chief Medical Officers said... this ‘will have the greatest impact on reducing mortality, severe disease and hospitalisations and in protecting the NHS and equivalent health services’. 

"Anyone who needs to have their second vaccine appointment rearranged will be contacted directly. Patients still need to receive their second vaccine at a future date, and it is important that they attend their second appointment once scheduled."

The vaccination centre at St Margaret’s Hospital is continuing to offer first doses to priority groups but the background information adds: "Vaccines are delivered in a phased roll-out and through a planned supply delivery schedule which means some sites might not be vaccinating every day."

Everything Epping Forest has asked the CCG what is preventing the Epping centre from operating additional days and whether the issue relates to staffing or whether there is a limit to how many vaccine doses are being allocated or requested.

Comments on the Everything Epping Forest Facebook group have praised the efficient running of both the Epping and Buckhurst Hill centres, and at the Excel Centre.

Nicky Kelly wrote: "My mum had her vaccination there (Epping) on Friday and the car park was really busy with people queuing to go into the building. Mum was happy with how she was dealt with whilst there. It appeared efficient but most of all she felt comfortable."

Jean Welsby described the situation regarding the number of days the Epping centre is operating as "disgusting" while Paulene Brace wrote: "Think of the amount of people who could get vaccinated. More people and a faster way of clearing all the lists."

Hollie Middleton, whose grandmother had her vaccination at the Excel, wrote: "What a joke, when she could have gone 15 minutes down the road but instead (it took) an hour."

Gloria Yell wrote: "I feel for the people who don’t have a family who can take them to the Excel or Stevenage, or the disabled, or the ones who can’t stand for long in a queue."
2.34pm - January 19

NORTON HEATH: Police find cannabis in man's underpants

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

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

Checks showed the driver had no insurance.

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

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

The vehicle was seized.

All three were dealt with by means of a Community Resolution.
7.04pm - January 18

BUCKHURST HILL: Parish council to consider ten planning applications

Ten planning applications will be considered by Buckhurst Hill Parish Council's planning and environment committee which will meet via Zoom at 7pm on Thursday, January 21.

Anyone wanting to join the meeting should email for the access information.

The applications to be considered are: 

* 4 Wentworth Court, Albert Road - Certificate of Lawful Development for existing use as self-contained holiday flat

* 68 Roding View - two-storey side and rear extensions

* 68 Roding View - two-storey side and rear extensions, roof extension with rear dormer window to facilitate creation of habitable room in the roof space

* 18 Walnut Way - single-storey rear extension

* 3 Gladstone Road - single-storey rear extension and a two-storey side extension

* 26 Roding View - application to determine if Prior Approval is required for a larger home extension measuring 6m height to eaves of 3m and a maximum height of 4m

* 65 Russell Road - Part two-storey rear extension, removal of hipped roof and extension of existing pitched roof to front and rear slopes, raising of gable wall to underside of roof slope, new rear dormer, moderate raising in height of existing chimney to front roof slope

* 2 Princes Road - replacement of a single dwelling with new building consisting of two commercial units and seven fully accessible apartments (amended application to EPF/2378/19)

* 46 Palmerston Road - application for a Lawful Development Certificate for proposed conversion of garage to habitable room

* land adjacent to railway, Buckhurst Way - application to determine if Prior Approval is required for installation of one 1.75m high monopole mounted with six antennas, two 0.3m dishes, six cabinets and one electrical metal cabinet.
4.41pm - January 18

HIGH ONGAR: Fire crews come to the rescue of collapsed horse

Firefighters have rescued an elderly horse after it collapsed and became trapped in High Ongar.

Crews said the 32-year-old horse - which weighs about 500kgs - had collapsed at premises on Nine Ashes Road and was trapped between an exercise area and fences.

Three fire crews managed to move the horse to a safe area using a glide before the animal was rotated as it had been on its side for a prolonged time. 

The horse was unharmed and left in the care of its owner who had owned the horse for 28 years.
4.07pm - January 18

LOUGHTON: Restaurant owner "devastated" after break-in

Burglars who smashed their way into a Loughton Indian restaurant fled with cash, the safe, and a haul of alcohol and soft drinks.

A large brick block was used to smash the front window of Forest Tandoori in Forest Road at about 2am today.

Neighbours are reported to have heard a "huge noise".

The burglars stole money from the tills and the safe which totals about £900.

They also went into the stock room and bar area and stole a large amount of stock, including expensive alcohols, liquor, wine, beer and soft drinks worth about £1,000.

Damage was also caused to the fire exit.

A jacket was left behind by one of the burglars.

Owner and chef Abdul Karim said he was "devastated" adding: "In the middle of a pandemic we have stayed open seven nights a week to provide a home delivery and take-away collection service for our loyal customers who have stood by us.”

Anyone with any information should ring police on 101 quoting incident number 
3.49pm - January 18

BUCKHURST HILL: Benches commemorate VE Day anniversary and COVID-19 heroes

Two benches funded by a share of the £10,000 Locality Fund money allocated to Buckhurst Hill and Loughton South county councillor Valerie Metcalfe to spend on initiatives in her Division and Waitrose's Community Matters initiative are now installed outside the supermarket in Queens Road, Buckhurst Hill.

Two-thirds of the cost was met by the Locality Fund - after each county councillor was given £10,000 to spend on projects within their area - with one-third coming from the Waitrose scheme.

One of the teak benches commemorates the 75th anniversary of VE Day while the other recognises the contributions made by the NHS and all frontline workers during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Pictured (left to right) are Waitrose Community Matters co-ordinator Linda Neighbour, Buckhurst Hill and Loughton South county councillor Valerie Metcalfe, Waitrose deputy branch manager Natasha Anastasi, Waitrose assistant team manager Charlie Aguis, Buckhurst Hill Parish Council clerk Liz Petyt-Start, Buckhurst Hill Parish Council chairman councillor Smruti Patel and Waitrose Community Matters co-ordinator Maxine Battams.
2.40pm - January 18

NORTH WEALD: Parish council freezes share of council tax bills
North Weald Bassett Parish Council is not increasing its share of council tax bills for 2021-22 as it agreed a precept of £220,376 for the next financial year.

Additional items for the next financial year will include:

* £2,000 towards a Play Area Emergency Repairs Fund

* £5,000 into a rolling programme fund to replace older street lights when necessary

* £2,500 for a parish council-run handyman scheme which is the final tranche towards that match-funded by the Essex Association of Local Councils' Local Services Fund

* £7,500 various works on Weald Common, including addressing the drainage issues

* £1,500 towards barriers for the car park at the Parish Hall at Thornwood

* £1,500 initial start-up for various projects at Hastingwood including an Everything Council public event

* £2,500 towards perimeter fencing and new gate at the Queens Road allotments

* £2,000 towards a remedy for new surface at Wheelers Farm Gardens allotments car park

* £5,490 towards electronic storage of historic council records

* £600 towards after-care of new tree planting

* £181 towards additional CCTV at the Memorial Playing Fields play area and basketball court (additional funds will be sourced from earmarked reserves)

* Vandalism in the parish – due to the amount of anti-social behaviour, funds will be taken from earmarked reserves and replaced in next year's precept if they cannot be recovered from the perpetrators.
9.17am - January 18

LOUGHTON: Double fatal crash: Crown Court case adjourned

The case of a 22-year-old man charged over the deaths of two people in a road crash on Goldings Hill, Loughton, 17  months ago has been adjourned by Chelmsford Crown Court until mid-February.

The charges follow a crash involving a BMW M3 car near the Wake Arms roundabout.

The case of Kane Faulkner-Wild, of Connaught Avenue, Chingford, was listed at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court last Wednesday.

He 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.  

Former Roding Valley High School students Sophia Khan, 16, and Max Halcrow, 21, both from Loughton, were in the car that hit a tree on August 24, 2019. They died from their injuries.

Two teenaged girls were seriously injured and left with life-changing injuries.
8.44pm - January 17

BUCKHURST HILL: Families left temporarily homeless after blaze

Three families have been left temporarily homeless after a fire in Queens Road, Buckhurst Hill.

Essex Fire and Rescue Service were called to a fire in a four-storey building at the top of Queens Road, and took until about 8pm to put out the fire.

Relief crews are now on the scene to tackle any hotspots.

An Essex County Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: "Three families who live next to the building have had to move out temporarily while the damage to their homes is assessed."

Station Manager Dave Bond praised the hard work of crews from Loughton, Waltham Abbey and Grays who tackled the fire in "arduous conditions" and the excellent joint working with two crews from London Fire Brigade.

An investigation will be carried out to establish the cause of the fire.

* UPDATE: The investigation determined that the fire started accidentally in an extractor system.
6.44pm - January 17

DISTRICT: Five non-Tory councillors demand special council meeting to discuss CAZ plan

Five non-Conservative district councillors are calling for a special full council meeting to discuss the controversial Clean Air Zone plan which includes charging drivers to use certain roads through Epping Forest.

The 'group of five' are Loughton Residents' Association councillor Chris Pond - who has composed a suggestion motion for any extraordinary meeting - Loughton Residents Association councillor Michael Owen, Independent councillor Stephen Murray, Liberal Democrat councillor Jon Whitehouse and Green councillor Steven Neville.

The five have today written to Epping Forest District Council chairman Helen Kane demanding the extraordinary meeting. They believe it is the first "requisition" in 40 years "such is the importance of the matter".

The Motion states that "the council hereby declares it will determine planning applications only on the basis of the law, including the NPPF and other National Planning Guidance, the 1998 Local Plan, and the latest iteration of the new local plan, incorporating provisions which have been approved after consultation with the public and examination by the Inspector. 
"The Interim Air Quality Strategy December 2020,  and any prospect of a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) made under it, unless and until it has been approved and so incorporated by her, together with evidence the CAZ can be implemented prior to the erection and completion of any new housing, cannot carry any material planning weight and should be treated as wholly null and void".

The Interim Air Pollution Mitigation Strategy for Epping Forest has been adopted by the district council cabinet after a 'call-in' by Loughton Residents Association and Green Party councillors.

Planning cabinet member Nigel Bedford, who this afternoon told Everything Epping Forest he was unaware of any letter or meeting request, has said the cabinet had "upheld the decision to adopt the Interim Air Pollution Mitigation Strategy for Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation (SAC)" adding: "It will allow careful and considered developments in the district to proceed with the appropriate measures to mitigate the impacts on air quality in Epping Forest of any development and the current backlog of planning decisions to be released in the coming months."

One of the measures in the strategy is that a Clean Air Zone is considered for implementation in 2025.

In a statement, Mr Bedford said how the CAZ will work, charges for the zone and "other issues around its implementation" will require further work over the coming months and years. 

In his statement, issued through the council, Mr Bedford added: "The most important thing is that my decision both allows a considered approach to development to occur now, whilst consideration is given to what measures are needed to protect our environment and the forest for decades to come."

Waltham Abbey Town Council discussed the CAZ issue on Wednesday when town mayor Antony Watts described the proposal as "bunkum".
12.48pm - January 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are now six vacancies - two vacancies in the Marden Ash ward, two in the Chipping Ongar ward and one each in the Greensted and Shelley wards.
7.46pm - January 16

WALTHAM ABBEY: Man arrested over stolen car

A man has been released under investigation having been arrested in Waltham Abbey on Thursday evening on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle.

Community Safety Team officers had spotted a vehicle shortly before two of the three occupants ran off.

An 18-year-old man, from London, was detained and the vehicle was identified as having recently been reported stolen. 

The man was arrested at the scene and taken into custody. The vehicle was recovered. 

The man has been released under investigation pending further enquiries.
UPDATE 1.06pm - January 17

Further damage has been caused to the green over the past two days.

(Photo: Sam Knipes)

2.07pm - January 16

TOOT HILL: Joyriders damage village green

Joyriders have caused "devastating" damage by driving a car onto the village green at Toot Hill on successive evenings.

Resident Sam Knipes told Thursday's Stanford Rivers Parish Council meeting the damage was caused last Saturday evening and Sunday evening with the grass "torn up" and deep ruts left across the green.

He said: "There's no doubt in my mind it was intentional. It's a devastating bit of damage that they've done."

He said a vehicle thought to be responsible was caught on CCTV having been driven from the direction of the Green Man pub, but the vehicle's registration plate could not be seen.

Parish council chairman John Glover said: "Once the grass starts growing it will recover, the edges may need a bit of trimming. 

"This was the first time (it has happened) and we need to keep an eye out for the future."
1.50pm - January 16

BUCKHURST HILL: Libby's plight sparks stem cell donor appeal

A 12-year-old Buckhurst Hill girl receiving treatment for a rare blood disorder has been the inspiration behind a fundraising appeal which has raised over £32,000 for blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan.

Libby Cotts was diagnosed with severe Aplastic Anaemia in October and was told she urgently needed a stem cell transplant from a stranger to cure the blood disorder. 

Libby, an active sports enthusiast, was due to receive her transplant just before Christmas but the stem cell donor became unavailable – meaning the search for her stem cell hero goes on.

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Anthony Nolan’s fundraising activity and a large number of people joining the charity’s register in early December means there is a backlog of about 25,000 potential donors. 

The charity has been overwhelmed with support and need to raise up to an extra £500,000 to add people to the register, from ordering more swab packs to analysing completed swabs in its laboratory.

Any one of the 25,000 people who have applied to join the Anthony Nolan could be a match for Libby or one of the 2,300 patients in the UK who need a stem cell transplant from a donor each year. 

Libby and her family are sharing their story to inspire people to urgently donate money to the 'Love for Libby' campaign and help to add the donors to the register.

Libby's mum, Gemma, said: "It started with a few bruises during the summer holidays. Libby had been on lot of bike rides during lockdown so we didn’t think anything of it - you wouldn’t. There were also some spots on her legs, but we thought it was a reaction to a salt scrub she had tried.

"During a hockey session at school Libby took a hit to her hand. A bruise developed extremely quickly, and the matron knew this wasn’t right. 

"She didn’t think it should be broken but encouraged us to get it checked out."

Libby was taken to hospital for a check-up where a blood test revealed there was something very wrong with her immune system.

Gemma said: "It was at that point they mentioned it could be leukaemia. I couldn’t believe it; I was shocked and stunned. It was unbelievable and I started crying.

"I’d come in to hospital with Libby because of a suspected broken hand!  Libby had been feeling absolutely fine. She hadn’t had a cough or cold since February.

"Treatment started straight away - Libby needed platelets, and to be taken to the specialist hospital at Great Ormond Street. They sent us in a cab with a nurse, and Libby’s bloods.

The next stage was for a blood transfusion and a bone marrow aspiration to find out what we were dealing with."

Libby was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia, a serious condition affecting the blood where the bone marrow and stem cells do not produce enough blood cells. Her diagnosis meant she could no longer take part in her favourite sports or have horse riding lessons.

In addition to their fundraising activity, the family have also created special wristbands which are being sold on Libby’s website,, in aid of Anthony Nolan.

Support the Love for Libby appeal at

Find out more about Anthony Nolan’s work at

In Libby’s case, the lifesaving stem cells will be collected from her donor’s bone marrow.
9.12am - January 16

CHIGWELL: Four charged after £340,000 in cash and cocaine seized

Four suspected members of an Albanian organised crime group - including a man from Chigwell - have been charged with money laundering and drug supply offences after £340,000 in cash and cocaine worth £400,000 was seized.

Officers from the Organised Crime Partnership (OCP), a joint National Crime Agency and Metropolitan Police Service unit, arrested the men on Wednesday at addresses across London and Essex.

Rrustem Dauti, 30, and Fisnik Kurtucai, 32, were arrested by officers on Cambridge Road North, Chiswick, on suspicion of money laundering after officers recovered a bag containing approximately £100,000 cash.

The OCP arrested another man, Florian Meshi, 22, for immigration and drug supply offences whilst searching Dauti’s property in Trotwood, Chigwell, where a further £140,000 in cash and a cutting agent for cocaine was seized.

A search of  Meshi’s address was carried out where officers arrested a fourth man, Azem Gashi, 26, for drug offences after four kilos of cocaine were found at the property, along with approximately £100,000 in cash.

All four men have been remanded in custody to appear at Isleworth Crown Court on February 12.

Organised Crime Partnership operations m,anager Matt McMillan said: “The NCA and Met continue to work in partnership to detect and apprehend individuals suspected of profiting from drug trafficking.

"These were large cash seizures, with the ability to cause serious disruption to serious and organised crime."
6.41pm - January 15
Epping plans: Parking concerns and question mark over need for more shop space

Epping Town Council has expressed concerns over the amount of parking proposed as part of the redevelopment plans for the Bakers Lane and Cottis Lane car parks with councillors also questioning the need for additional retail space when there are already empty shops in the town.

Councillors welcomed the prospect of a new leisure centre, on the Bakers Lane car park, but highlighted the amount of parking - six spaces for Blue Badge holders only - which is proposed.

Deputy Mayor Michael Wright told Thursday's town council meeting: "I think the benefits for the town are going to be absolutely enormous.

"This (the leisure centre) is an excellent idea; we have all these facilities coming into Epping.

"Possibly a little bit more could have been done with the parking facilities, particularly the disabled parking. If we get people coming from outside the area, particularly juniors coming on coaches, it could be a problem."

Councillor Barbara Scruton said: "There is a lack of disabled parking. I am also concerned about the effect on Bakers Villas.

"It will have an effect on them not just in terms of a blank wall but noise."

Councillor John Duffell said: "It's good to know the young people of the town have something to look forward to."

He added the comments sent to the town council on behalf of Bakers Villas did "raise concerns" and added: "Parking doesn't seem to be that great."

Councillor Nigel Avey said he was "very relieved" the town was to get a new leisure centre "with everything in it that everybody wanted".

He added: "The original (Bakers Lane leisure centre) plans had parking (more than 70 spaces) but because residents wanted all that is in the current leisure centre plus the pool, there had to be sacrifices."

Councillor Marie-Louise Whitbread said she was "very excited" about the leisure centre "not only for the youngsters but people of all ages.

"The people of Epping will benefit from it."

Commenting on the leisure centre parking, she said: "I do think people will walk to this centrally located facility. I'm very, very excited about it."

Councillor Ingrid Black, who echoed the parking concerns, said: "It will be an asset for the town and something we have wanted for a long time."

Councillor Hugh Pegrum said: "Generally speaking I'm very pleased the district council are looking at the five sites together. Generally speaking I do quite like the whole scheme. I'm not quite convinced about the parking spaces. I can't see the multi-storey is replacing the number we will lose - at the Conder building and the current sports centre site."

And he questioned whether the market traders' vans would be able to access the multi-storey car park.

Councillor Jon Whitehouse said: "The current sports centre is beyond its useful life. It's gradually falling apart and we need a replacement in Epping.

"The fact they have chosen the smallest of the three sites (off St John's Road) for the sports centre does mean it's a much bulkier, taller building than it might have been on a larger site and that's to fit everything in.

"The consequence is the relationship with the neighbours, Bakers Villas and Albany Court, needs to be considered."

Town Mayor Grahame Scruton said: "The main thing that has suffered is the parking. We've wanted it (the leisure centre) for a long time so in general it has got my support."

Does Epping need more retail space?

Additional retail space is proposed as part of the Cottis Yard scheme - along with a 330-space, four-level car park, cinema and office space.

However the demand for more shop units was questioned by councillors when numerous premises are already standing empty.

Deputy Mayor Michael Wright said he would prefer the earmarked shop space be used for additional parking.

He said: "It (the Cottis Lane car park area) is a secondary position in Epping and they are proposing to put shops there. There are a lot of empty shops in Epping and there has been for quite a while. Peoples' shopping habits have changed particularly with the pandemic."

Councillor Richard Griffiths, who supported the additional retail space, said: "To create a living and shopping area you do need a critical mass of retail and other facilities."

He added there was a "real danger" the Cottis Lane, Bakers Lane and proposed St John's Road housing development would be treated differently to the High Street.

"We need to do everything we can to make it, and the High Street, all one area."

Councillor John Duffell said the design of the Cottis Yard development "does remind you of Harlow". He added: "Shops are closing and we are struggling to fill them."

He suggested a museum could be included and expressed concern over the impact of the development on Bakers Villas

Councillor Mari-Louise Whitbread said: "This (Cottis Lane area) is just another part of Epping. The retail will support the cinema. This is another place for someone to walk to in Epping. I do support the retail but appreciate some of the shops in Epping are empty. You might get different sorts of retail."

Town mayor Grahame Scruton suggested an improvement could be made to the layout by moving the car park closer to the Marks and Spencer store and removing the retail units to create a wider space between the 'Cottis Yard' buildings and Bakers Villas.
2.30pm - January 15
ONGAR: Six vacancies on town council following resignation of chairman

The chairman of Ongar Town Council has resigned leaving six vacancies on the council.

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

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

There are now two vacancies in the Marden Ash ward, two in the Chipping Ongar ward and one each in the Greensted and Shelley wards. 
1.36pm - January 15

EPPING: Town council sets budget for 2021-22
Epping Town Council is to increase its share of council tax by £4.97 for a band D equivalent property for the next financial year.

Town clerk Beverley Rumsey told Thursday's council meeting the council had seen a £50,000 loss in income for its halls and an additional loss in income from the weekly Monday market during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Town Mayor Grahame Scruton said: "Really we are faced with this increase... I don't see what else we can do."
9.36am - January 15

LOUGHTON: Man jailed for eight years over stabbing
A man has been jailed for eight years for stabbing another man in a house in Loughton.

Sean Thompson had sent threatening messages to the victim late in the evening and demanded he meet him to discuss a family dispute.

The victim, who knew Thompson but was not related to him, went to Thompson’s then home address in Colebrook Gardens, Loughton.

They became involved in an argument during which Thompson punched the 30-year-old man and threatened him. He then went inside the house and returned with a large kitchen knife.

He stabbed the victim in the chest, causing life-threatening injuries.

Thompson, 30, was arrested the following day following the attack on August 30 last year.

On October 22 he admitted wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and possession of a bladed article in a public place.

He was jailed on Friday, January 8, for eight years.

Investigating officer PC Jamie Williams, of Loughton CID, said: “The court heard Thompson had been suffering from stress and substance misuse at the time of the attack, and had shown remorse for his actions.

“However this is not an excuse for the violence he used that night, which could so easily have been fatal.

“I hope the sentence will give Thompson time to reflect on the consequences of his actions, which have left a lasting emotional and physical impact on his victim.”  
12.37pm - January 14

WALTHAM ABBEY: Green agenda for town council in next financial year

Waltham Abbey Town Council has voted to make no increase to its share of council tax bills for the next financial year.

The council has agreed a precept of £855,395 for 2021-22.

Town Mayor councillor Antony Watts said: "We have agreed to fund the reduction in the tax base from reserves this year and there will be no increase whatsoever in the band D equivalent.

"We all understand how difficult it will be next year. We have been prudent in previous years so that we can do this."

He added: "We have got quite a few exciting projects coming forward in relation to our green policy and we want to press on with our aim to become a carbon neutral council.

"We aim to bring on stream as many of our green initiatives as we can in the next financial year.

"Not only is it good for the environment but it will be good for the budget in future years."

Councillor Watts thanked Town Clerk Jodie Law and Deputy Town Clerk Liz Cody for their work on the budget.
10.42am - January 14

DISTRICT: Clean Air Zone road charging plan is "bunkum" and "beggers belief" - Waltham Abbey Town Council

A plan to charge drivers to use roads through Epping Forest covered by a planned Clean Air Zone "beggers belief" and has been described as "bunkum" by the mayor of Waltham Abbey who thinks it might infringe the Epping Forest Act.

Waltham Abbey Town Council is opposing the proposals which could be introduced in 2025.

The council's policy and resources committee is to call on Epping Forest District Council to subsidise a local bus route  which uses for proposed CAZ roads to mitigate the impact of the scheme on local residents.

The council has also highlighted the lack of north facing slip roads at Debden as a key factor stating that if they were to be introduced then a significant amount of traffic wanting to head north on the M11 would not need to travel through the forest to junction 26 of the M25 to then join the M11 at junction 27.

Mr Watts told the meeting the proposed CAZ roughly covered a triangle betweeen the Wake Arms roundabout, Robin Hood roundabout and the middle of Loughton.

He said: "I think it's important to understand that this is being imposed on Epping Forest District Council from what I can understand by the environmental lobby in order to allow Epping Forest District Council to get their Local Plan through.

"The joke is that any CAZ will not be implemented by Epping Forest District Council because they don't have the legal authority to do so. It will have to be done, I believe, by either Essex County Council or as a separate Act of Parliament.

"It has has many hurdles to go through. We know what will happen. We know everyone will just avoid it."

He added: "It might even infringe the Epping Forest Act because on the road that goes from the Robin Hood roundabout into Loughton there are at least two car parks which in effect you would charging people to have access too. 

"Whether they can do that under the Epping Forest Act is an interesting point."

Councillor Liz Webster said the CAZ plan "beggers belief" and highlighted the north facing slips roads issue onto the M11 at Loughton which she said could ease the problem of drivers from Woodford and Chigwell using forest roads.

She said: "If we go back a few years when the M11 was built, in their wisdom they had south facing slip roads so people could access the M11 to go into London. They never built the north facing slip roads at that time because the Bank of England was there.

"If they had opened up the north facing slip roads people in Chigwell, Woodford and places like that who wanted to get on the M11 would go on those north facing slip roads straight up onto the M11.

"Now lorries and HGVs have to come through the forest to get down Woodredon Hill to pick up junction 26 on the M25 and take the first turning off onto the M11.

Mr Watts said: "Basically it's just bunkum."

He said Epping Forest District Council should subsidise the 66 bus route to an equivalent charge to the average mileage charge for motorists to travel between Waltham Abbey and Loughton Station, for example, during any period that the CAZ was in operation.

Mr Watts said: "If you are going to be stupid enough to try and implement this sort of thing, this is the stick but you must also give people a carrot. 

"We've all been talking about better public transport and that would be an ideal opportunity for Epping Forest District Council to show they are backing the use of public transport. 

"Heaven knows you might even then be able to influence enough people that you get this ten per cent decrease in vehicle useage over the period.

Mrs Webster added: "We have very little public transport and it puts us in a worst position."

The town council said it would work with Loughton Town Council to oppose the proposals.


Epping Forest District Council planning cabinet member Nigel Bedford has said the adoption of the Interim Air Pollution Mitigation Strategy for Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation by the council cabinet "will allow careful and considered developments in the district to proceed with the appropriate measures to mitigate the impacts on air quality in Epping Forest of any development and the current backlog of planning decisions to be released in the coming months".

He confirmed one of the measures being considered is a clean air zone with various issues such as how the zone will work and the charging system to be worked on "over the coming months / years". 

Mr Bedford added: "A suite of other measures will be introduced earlier to achieve a ten per cent conversion of petrol cars to Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV) by 2024-25.

"Proposals such as the clean air zone will require detailed consideration and consultation which will include aspects of charging. 

"The most important thing is that my decision both allows a considered approach to development to occur now, whilst consideration is given to what measures are needed to protect our environment and the forest for decades to come." 
4.23pm - January 13

WALTHAM ABBEY: Town council voices no objection to plan for flats over Co-op supermarket

Waltham Abbey Town Council has voiced no objection to plans for five flats above the Co-op supermarket in Sun Street, Waltham Abbey.

Initially eight properties were proposed but the scheme has been reduced to five - four two-bedroom and one one-bedroom - following pre-application advice from Epping Forest District Council.

Committee chairman Jodie Lucas said because of the town centre location there was no requirement to provide parking.

She told today's planning and licensing committee meeting: "I can't see any objection. They are raising the roof height but it is set back and not overlooking anyone."

A report from dpa architects, submitted with the planning application, states: "Three flats will be duplexes and two will be single-storey. Each would comprise an open plan living/kitchen/dining area.

"The bedrooms of the duplexes will have a bathroom with an additional shower room or WC. The single-storey units will have a family bathroom."
2.04pm - January 13

VOTE 2021: Government announces local elections to go ahead as scheduled

The local (parish, town, district and county council) elections and the election for a Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex will go ahead as scheduled - although the Government has said it will keep the matter "under review".

In confirming that the Government intends that the elections will go ahead as planned on Thursday, May 6, Cabinet Office Minister Chloe Smith has told the House of Commons: "Safe and secure elections are the cornerstone of any democracy."

She highlighted that many elections had already been delayed from May last year and said: "There should be a high bar for any delay."

Locally there will be elections for seats on Epping Forest District Council (postponed from May 2020), all seats on Essex County Council and for some local parish and town councils.

There is also the election of a Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex.

Ms Smith added that a "strong set of measures" would be in place for the elections and stressed the various options open to the electorate.

She said additional measures were planned for voters to have a proxy vote while there was still also the option of postal votes.
12.31pm - January 13

DISTRICT: Online group opposing possible road charging scheme nears 2,000 members

An online group opposing a district council strategy which details a charging scheme for drivers using some roads through Epping Forest is gathering momentum.

Almost 2,000 people have now joined the SAY NO TO - EFDC - CAZ (Clean Air Zone) group on Facebook, which was set up after the Interim Air Pollution Mitigation Strategy for Epping Forest was adopted by the cabinet after a 'call-in' by Loughton Residents Association and Green Party councillors.

The Facebook group is inviting opponents to email their district councillors and MP in a bid to get the possibility of a 'congestion charge'-type scheme dropped.

Epping Forest District Council planning cabinet member Nigel Bedford has confirmed the cabinet decision to adopt strategy.

He said: "We have upheld the decision to adopt the Interim Air Pollution Mitigation Strategy for Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation (SAC). 

"It will allow careful and considered developments in the district to proceed with the appropriate measures to mitigate the impacts on air quality in Epping Forest of any development and the current backlog of planning decisions to be released in the coming months.

"The Interim Air Pollution Mitigation strategy identifies as one of the measures that a clean air zone is being considered for implementation in 2025. 

"How this clean air zone will work, charges for the zone and other issues around its implementation will of course require further work over the coming months / years. 

"A suite of other measures will be introduced earlier to achieve a 10 per cent conversion of petrol cars to Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV) by 2024-25.

"Proposals such as the clean air zone will require detailed consideration and consultation which will include aspects of charging. 

"The most important thing is that my decision both allows a considered approach to development to occur now, whilst consideration is given to what measures are needed to protect our environment and the forest for decades to come."
12.03pm - January 13

EPPING: Monday Market to close temporarily

The Epping Monday Market will be closed for the remainder of January and possibly February, Epping Town Council has announced.

The market has been open for ‘essentials’ traders in line with Government guidance to enable people to buy their vital goods outdoors. 

The council has decided to close the market until mid-February or the beginning of March, depending on the health situation and Government guidance at the time.

The decision has been made by Epping Town Council and the 'essential' traders together. 

A town council spokesman said: "We will miss our Monday Market while it is closed, but we hope to be able to welcome our traders back safely as soon as possible."
7.45pm - January 12

EPPING: Parking issues highlighted as town council debates car park development plans

Concerns over the amount of parking detailed for the proposed new leisure centre in Epping and a question mark over the need for shop space as part of the Cottis Lane car park proposals have been voiced by the town council.

The planning and general purposes committee agreed to voice no objection to the leisure centre plans with councillors to have a fuller discussion about both schemes, including the Cottis Lane proposals - which include a 330-space, four-level car park, cinema, retail and office space - at Thursday's council meeting.

The leisure centre proposals show six parking spaces, all for Blue Badge holders.

Deputy Mayor Michael Wright told tonight's meeting: "It's absolutely fantastic that after ten years we have now got to this stage, that we have a leisure centre that's fit for this town.

"I think there is a lack of parking for people who are handicapped etc that might want to use the leisure centre.

"We can talk about the design until the cows come home and all have different ideas. I think it's a big asset for the town."

Town Mayor Grahame Scruton said: "Leisure centres these days are a box and therefore you have to put a box on the site. 

"As far as the parking is concerned, we have been told by Qualis it started as a small leisure centre and something had to give (now that a sports hall and squash courts are included). 

"It's not the prettiest building in the world but I think it should have our support."

Councillor Barbara Scruton said: "It's just the parking that's an issue. Everything is compromised. We now have the squash courts (included in the proposals) which everyone wanted.

"It is what it is. Yes, we've been wanting a sports centre and we've got one and we should support it."

Committee chairman Nigel Avey said: "It's just what Epping needs. I think it looks an interesting building. The old sports centre (facilities) will be put on that site. 

"I think it will be a real achievement to build that for the town."

Resident Mary Mott told the meeting it was "fantastic" to have a new leisure centre for Epping but she raised concerns over the absence of any natural light into the proposed first-floor studios. 

She said Qualis had told her it "may be possible" to add roof lights.

Issues such as the fate of the public toilets in the Cottis Lane car park during building work and the affect the 'Cottis Yard' development would have on Bakers Villas were expressed by a resident.

Councillors highlighted the proposed loss of 32 trees from the Cottis Lane site.

On the issue of parking, councillor Barbara Scruton said: "If we've got a sports centre and attracting people from outside the town, surely we need more car parking spaces than the same as we have now?"

Deputy Mayor Michael Wright said: "What we are crying out for in Epping is parking spaces. Why we would need empty shops along that position (the proposed Cottis Yard development) is quite beyond me.

"We have a number of shops in Epping which are empty. Peoples' (shopping) habits are changing dramatically and they are buying online.

"When we need parking spaces why have we got shops that are probably going to remain empty."

* Planning and general purposes committee chairman Nigel Avey had directed councillors that the committee was "considering these (plans) as planning issues" and asked councillors to save any non-planning comments about the proposals until Thursday's council meeting.
5.09pm - January 12

NORTH WEALD: Update on gas / electricity issue in High Road

UK Power Networks and Cadent have given Everything Epping Forest an update on the ongoing gas and electricity issue which has closed High Road, North Weald.

A spokesman for UK Power Networks said: "Our staff are attending the site in North Weald following a fault on the electricity network that interrupted power supplies. 

"A generator is currently supplying all customers and our engineers are working safely and quickly to restore the cables back to normal as soon as possible. 

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

In a statement issued, yesterday afternoon, a Cadent spokesperson said: “Our emergency teams were called to reports of a smell of gas in the area on Friday.  We discovered that an electrical cable shortage had damaged a gas pipe.  

"We've repaired the gas pipe, ready for UK Power Network to complete the repairs. There are currently no customers without a gas supply.”

No timescale has been given for the work to be carried out, however local councillor Nigel Bedford stated on Sunday that the road could be closed for about four days.
4.51pm - January 12

ONGAR: Report details suggestions to improve "overlooked" High Street

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

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

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

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

'Quick Win' ideas:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He also states that he believes, despite the well-known issues that exist over the matter, that feasibility studies are undertaken to establish the practicality of reinstating the Epping-Ongar railway as a regular service.
6.09pm - January 11

THEYDON GARNON: Woman freed from car after M25 collision

A woman had to be freed from her car after a two-vehicle collision on the M25 at the Theydon Garnon interchange this afternoon,

Fire crews from Ongar, Loughton, Waltham Abbey and Epping were called out at 2pm and took about 55 minutes to release the woman who was left in the care of the ambulance service.

Some of the firefighters who attended are on-call firefighters who live or work within five minutes of an on-call fire station. 

If you live or work within five minutes of an on-call fire station, you could be paid to protect your community as an on-call firefighter.

For more details

9.13am - January 12

FYFIELD: Resignations leave parish council with only three members

Only three parish councillors remain on Fyfield Parish Council following the resignation of three councillors, including the chairman.

The clerk has also resigned with an interim clerk currently in place.

Councillor Barbara Saward was elected chairman for Monday's meeting only, with no decision taken over a chairman for the remainder of the council year.

The other two remaining councillors are Dan Webster and Sandra Mead.

Resident Cheryl Hadley asked the meeting whether the previous clerk, Charlotte Collins, had been approached to return to the council.

Councillor Webster told the meeting: "She didn't resign because of any particular person. The reasons why she resigned you would have to ask her. 

"We didn't approach her formally (to return) because she made it very clear she was very unhappy and (the council) didn't feel it was appropriate to go back to her."

District councillor Ian Hadley said he hoped there would be "a stable council for the next few months".

Councillor Seward thanked those councillors who had resigned for their contribution to the council.

Referring to the possible co-option of new councillors, Mr Hadley said: "It could be difficult carrying on with just three (councillors).

* The parish council agreed to formally approach Charlotte Collins to see if she was interested in returning, before advertising for a new clerk through the Essex Association of Local Councils.

* The parish council agreed to retain interim clerk Katharine Perry until a replacement is appointed.

* Councillor Sandra Mead was appointed as the parish council's representative on the Village Hall Committee.

Parish council freezes share of council tax bills

Fyfield Parish Council has voted to freeze its share of council tax bills for the next financial year.

Councillor Dan Webster told Monday's council meeting the council had increased its precept last year and had planned another rise for 2021-22 however that was now not considered necessary as Ongar Junior Football Club was now paying for some of the grass cutting.

Parish council finalising football club contract

Fyfield Parish Council is finalising a three-year contract with Ongar Juniors Football Club, with a break clause at the end of each season, for the use of Fyfield Sports Field.

Interim parish council clerk Katharine Perry told Monday's council meeting the club had said there was no immediate urgency as it did not expect to have any fixtures in the next three months because of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Library plan for phone box

The Fyfield telephone box is set to be turned into a library, after the box was 'decommissioned' by BT and formally transferred to The Friends of Fyfield Phone Box.

The box will become a 'book exchange' with villagers, at a future date, to be asked to donate books.

Fyfield district councillor Ian Hadley told Monday's parish council meeting: "The outside will look the same and it will be clean and tidy."

New village sign

The parish council has agreed to replace the village, at the Dunmow Road-Queen Street junction, with a double-sided sign.

Pedestrian crossing idea for village

Villagers are to be asked for their views on the location for a possible pedestrian crossing in Fyfield.

Ongar Division county councillor Maggie McEwen has proposed making a request to the Local Highways Panel and had suggested a spot near the shop and the Queen Street junction.

The council had previously suggested a site nearer Houchin Drive.

District councillor Ian Hadley said: "I certainly think something is needed the way traffic comes through."

The parish council will also ask Essex Highways for advice on a possible location.

Parish council to raise flooding issue with Environment Agency

Fyfield Parish Council is to contact the Environment Agency about the regular flooding that occurs on the B184 Dunmow Road near Birds Green Road.
5.07pm - January 11

LOUGHTON: RNLI branch raised almost £5,000 last year

The Loughton and Woodford branch of the RNLI raised £4,950.63 last year - despite being unable to undertake any of its regular fundraising activities after February.

The total includes a generous donation from a supporter.

Branch spokesman Mike Evans said: "This is a huge drop from the previous year, something experienced across the whole of the RNLI.

"Whilst income has fallen the cost of running the Lifeboat Service has not.

"Our crews continue to give aid and save lives, their difficult and dangerous work being made harder by the need to wear PPE and socially distance as far as possible (something not easily done on an inshore lifeboat).

"Quite often they are called out because of the foolhardiness of people who over-estimate their capabilities and under-estimate the power and dangers of the sea, as anyone who has watched the television series Saving Lives at Sea will be aware of.

"As ever contributions are most gratefully received, now more so than ever."

The branch has a JustGiving page
8.52pm - January 10

NORTH WEALD: Drivers ignore 'road closed' signs to drive through High Road barriers

Drivers have ignored 'road closed' signs and driven through roadwork barriers at the scene of the "major" gas leak in High Road, North Weald.

The road remains closed to motorists outside the parade of shops as work continues to establish the cause of the leak which was first reported on Friday evening.

One High Road resident told Everything Epping Forest she saw two drivers - the first of which hit the barriers as it went through - in the space of about 30 minutes,

She challenged another driver and called the police.

She told Everything Epping Forest: "I've seen two (cars) and I stopped one, a white Audi, as he wouldn’t move so I called the police. He soon reversed when he heard me give them his registration!

"All this happened in the half an hour I was watching after I just went to close my curtains. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing."
8.52pm - January 10

NORTH WEALD: Drivers ignore 'road closed' signs to drive through High Road barriers

Drivers have ignored 'road closed' signs and driven through roadwork barriers at the scene of the "major" gas leak in High Road, North Weald.

The road remains closed to motorists outside the parade of shops as work continues to establish the cause of the leak which was first reported on Friday evening.

One High Road resident told Everything Epping Forest she saw two drivers - the first of which hit the barriers as it went through - in the space of about 30 minutes,

She challenged another driver and called the police.

She told Everything Epping Forest: "I've seen two (cars) and I stopped one, a white Audi, as he wouldn’t move so I called the police. He soon reversed when he heard me give them his registration!

"All this happened in the half an hour I was watching after I just went to close my curtains. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing."
12.55pm - January 10

NORTH WEALD: "Major" gas leak 'could close High Road for four days"

Engineers are still working to identify the cause of a major gas leak in High Road, North Weald, with a parish councillor saying he has been told the road could be closed for four days.

Engineers were called out on Friday evening when the smell of gas was first noticed. A strong smell of smell was still noticeable in the centre of the village yesterday.

This morning a wider area of the High Road was being dug up as workmen from Cadent and UK Power Networks worked outside the parade of shops as they tried to find the cause of the leak.

Everything Epping Forest understands that no properties are without gas.

A Cadent spokesperson told Everything Epping Forest: “We are responding to reports of a smell of gas in the area. Our engineers are currently on site, and the cause is being investigated.”

Everything Epping Forest has asked UK Power Networks for a statement.

The High Road is open to pedestrians - and the businesses remain open - with a signed diversion taking traffic along the A414 from the Talbot to the M11-A414 interchange at Hastingwood and along the B1393 Thornwood Road to The Plain and Epping Road.

Epping Forest District Council deputy leader and North Weald parish councillor Nigel Bedford said: "The road is closed for approximately four days. It’s a major gas leak that has also entered the electricity cables.

"The High Road is a 'priority one' route and emergency services will not get through.

"People should not try to drive to the shops."
9.30am - January 10

DISTRICT: 'Congestion charge'-type plan to drive through parts of Epping Forest

Motorists could have to pay a daily 'congestion charge'-type fee to drive through parts of Epping Forest under a Clean Air Zone scheme supported by Epping Forest District Council.

The council's Interim Air Pollution Strategy includes a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) charging scheme for petrol and diesel vehicles from 2025.

Loughton Residents Association (LRA) which, with Green Party councillors, demanded a 'call-in' of the adoption of the strategy, told Everything Epping Forest a CAZ would be similar to the London Congestion Zone with most petrol and diesel private and commercial vehicles entering a zone around and including the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation facing a similar charge.

LRA councillor Chris Pond told Thursday's overview and scrutiny committee, which heard the call-in, that it could mean a £12.50 charge to drive from Theydon Bois to Epping.

An LRA statement, issued after the call-in was defeated 7-5 with five abstentions, stated: "The council is trying to avoid the effect of laws which prohibit the building of new homes if the effect of the extra residents (singly or along with other new homes) would adversely affect the EFSAC (Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation). 

"A backlog of planning applications for developments large and small has built up over the last 18 months, and understandably those developers affected are putting pressure on the council to resolve the issue.

"By introducing an Interim Air Pollution Strategy and committing themselves to introducing a CAZ in 2025 the council are aiming to resolve the situation. 

"However, it does not lie wholly in the council’s power to introduce a CAZ - they will need to get various other bodies to agree, or in order to do so alone they may need to put a Private Bill through Parliament. All this without any apparent public consultation.

"Our understanding is that, without any absolute certainty that the CAZ will in fact be introduced, the Interim Strategy may not meet the relevant legal requirements for protecting the EFSAC."

The main routes affected by the CAZ would be the A121 (High Road/Goldings Hill), A104 (Epping New Road), A121 Woodredon Hill and the A1069 (Rangers Road).

The LRA statement added: "LRA believes the principal way of preventing further damage being done to the forest should be severely restricting extra housing near the forest, not by a cumbersome charging system which would be in danger of diverting traffic into residential areas and alienating residents’ support."

A council report on the adoption of the strategy states: "The introduction of a CAZ (Clear Air Zone) covering the SAC (Special Area of Conservation) from 2025 would involve charging people driving certain types of vehicle through the zone based upon the age and type of their vehicle. 

"The aim is to encourage motorists to replace older vehicles with newer vehicles compliant with the latest emissions standards, and in particular Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs), through a graduated charging system (for example, zero charge for ULEV owners or an increased charge for petrol car owners). 

"It would potentially also encourage those motorists who were able to, to use other routes instead of using roads in close proximity to the Epping Forest SAC."

The report adds: "The council recognises that the implementation of a CAZ will not come without some impact on residents and businesses across the district but it also has a legal responsibility to ensure that it can support the delivery of new homes and jobs without having an adverse effect on the integrity of the Epping Forest SAC."

Speaking during the call-in debate, LRA councillor David Wixley said: "I think it's unfortunate that this has come about this way. If ever a document warranted a briefing for all members to attend it would be this document."

Councillor Steven Neville highlighted issues with the feasibility of electric charging points at residents' homes and the fact that any CAZ would require Government consent and would have to feature in the council's Local Plan.

LRA councillor Howard Kauffman said the issue is "so fundamental to the health and wellbeing of our residents" adding: "It's a matter of great gravity".

He added: "The forest is 90 per cent of our district. The forest is massively suffering from pollution but I do feel this issue should have been dealt with in a more transparent and collegiate manner."

Councillor Sheree Rackham said it was a "big" issue but something "we need to look into deeply and implement".

Councillor David Dorrell said there was a "pressing need" for a "meaningful consultation" rather than "just impose it on them (the electorate)".

In reply to a question from Mr Dorrell about planned consultation, Nigel Bedford, portfolio holder for community and partnership services,  said there would be consultation "on the final scheme" while planning officer Alison Blom-Cooper added there would be consultation at various stages.

Mr Bedford said: "I dare say some residents will object to it (a Clean Air Zone)."

Independent Loughton councillor Stephen Murray highlighted the lack of consultation with all district councillors over the draft strategy and defended the call-in which had been criticised in a council media release. 

"The call-in is the only mechanism for this discussion. We have all benefited from the discussion (at overview and scrutiny committee) but it wouldn't have happened without the call-in."

He said: "We all understand the importance of the SAC (Special Area of Conservation). We love our forest. That's one of the reasons why people want to live in Epping Forest.

"The SAC is regarded as one of the most important in western Europe.

We have more ancient trees in Epping Forest than they have in the whole of France. 
"We are talking about something that is really significant."

A Facebook group has been set up to oppose the idea
3.17pm - January 9

EPPING: League of Friends receives district council grant

The League of Friends of St Margaret's has received a £1,125 grant from Epping Forest District Council which went towards the cost of giving every patient in the Epping Forest Unit and Mental Health Unit on the St Margaret's Hospital site in Epping a Christmas gift.
2.58pm - January 9

LOUGHTON: Nominations open for Loughton Citizenship Awards

Nominations are open for Loughton Town Council's Citizenship Awards which recognise local people for their efforts in the local community.

This may be through long service for a voluntary organisation or local charity, good neighbourliness, running a campaign to improve community facilities or cohesion, or by an act of courage or bravery.

Any Loughton resident or a Loughton employer, educational institution, group or society can submit a nomination, but should not let the nominee know at this stage.

The closing date for nominations is February 19.

There are three categories - acts of courage or bravery in the past year that have resulted, for instance, in the prevention of a serious crime or the rescue of individuals from danger; and voluntary service (for people aged 25 or over and for people aged under 25.

Each category winner will receive a silver bowl, an illuminated scroll and a cheque for £250 made payable to their favourite local charity.

For more information, visit the town council website

The awards will be presented at the Annual Town Meeting at The Murray Hall, Borders Lane, Loughton, on Wednesday, March 10 (Covid-19 restrictions permitting).
6.05pm - January 8

LOUGHTON: Harley's mum pays tribute to her son after a man is sentenced for his manslaughter

The mother of Harley Watson who died after he was struck by a car deliberately driven at him, also injuring a group of people, has paid tribute to her "kind and caring" son after a man was sentenced for his manslaughter.

Terence Glover was today given an indefinite hospital order after killing 12-year-old Harley.

He died after he was hit by a car outside his school - Debden Park High in Willingale Road, Loughton - at 3.20pm on Monday, December 2, 2019.

A number of other people were injured including five teenaged boys, a teenaged girl, and a woman aged in her 20s who was a teacher at the school.

Glover, 52, of Newmans Lane, Loughton, pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility and ten counts of attempted murder last November.

Today he was told he will serve his sentence in a secure hospital. 

Glover has been sentenced to 15 years for Harley’s manslaughter with a concurrent ten-year sentence for the counts of attempted murder.

Glover will not be released until it is deemed safe to do so. 

Should he be deemed mentally fit to be discharged from hospital at any point in his sentence, he will be transferred to a prison.

Harley's mum, Jo, said: "Harley was a kind, caring, selfless, intelligent and comical young man. He had a very bright future ahead of him which was cruelly cut short through no fault of his own. 

"He was dearly loved and is sorely missed by his family and many friends."

Investigating officer Heather Apen, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "My thoughts are with Harley’s parents today and with all the victims who were injured and traumatised by Glover’s deliberate actions.

“They have all been so brave throughout the course of this investigation and have shown the utmost dignity at today’s hearing.

“This outcome will not bring Harley back, and it won’t stop victims and their loved ones from reliving the terror they felt that December afternoon, but I do hope that Glover’s conviction and, now, his secure detention, means they can start to rebuild their lives, safe in the knowledge that he no longer poses a threat to their community.”

Numerous tributes have been paid to Harley since his death, including two occasions when his school organised minute's applause, the latter on the first anniversary of his death when a sculpture in Harley's memory was unveiled at the school.

Friends of Harley held a memorial ride out on their bikes around the Debden Estate just days after his death, and a minute's applause rang out days later at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as Harley's favourite club organised a special tribute at a Premier League match.
3.24pm - January 8

BUCKHURST HILL: Parish council "vigorously" opposes starter homes plan

Plans for eight one-bedroom 'starter homes' behind Queens Road, Buckhurst Hill, are being "vigorously" opposed by the parish council.

Parish councillors have expressed serious concerns over the proposals for behind 75-77 Queens Road.

Planning and environment committee chairman Bobby Nagpal told Thursday's meeting the proposals were a "gross" over-development and detailed a "severe" lack of parking and amenity space.

A report submitted to Epping Forest District Council with the planning application stated: "The proposed accommodation is targeted at young professionals looking for a starter home with a location that benefits from good transport connections and access to local facilities.

"The proposals seek to provide five ground-floor one-bed flats and a further three (one-bedroom flats) at first floor level. 

"This makes use of the full depth of the existing buildings at ground floor but provides a lesser extent of new accommodation at first floor."
1.53pm - January 8

DISTRICT: COVID-19 fast testing centre opens at Theydon Bois Village Hall

A fast testing centre for Epping Forest district residents who do not have Covid-19 symptoms has opened at Theydon Bois Village Hall. 

Results are given in about 30 minutes. 

Tests are by appointment only and can be booked online

Anyone unable to book online can ring 0333 772 6144 to arrange an appointment. Lines are open 8am-8pm daily.

You can also email and a member of staff will contact you to arrange an appointment.

The centre has been opened in response to the current infection rate in the district, now reaching 1321.9 cases per 100,000 population (according January 7 data). 

As at December 31, Epping Forest had the highest case rate in Essex.

Dr Mike Gogarty, Essex’s Director of Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Infection rates in Epping Forest are rising rapidly and local NHS services are coming under significant strain as a result of the new variant of Covid-19. 

"A ‘critical incident’ was declared last week with critical care and bed capacity rising as well as high staff sickness and self-isolation levels.

"This additional testing centre will allow us to test even more people in the worst affected areas where we continue to see worryingly high rates. 

"We know over 5,000 people have already been tested at the first three fast testing centres which we have opened.

"Testing people who feel well will help identify the hidden cases in the community – people who may be unwittingly infecting others. 

"If you test positive with one of the new fast tests, you will be asked to self-isolate, and take a further test to confirm the initial result."

Councillor John Spence, cabinet member for Adults and Health at Essex County Council, said: “We are absolutely determined to do all we can to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in Essex, especially in the areas like Epping Forest where we are seeing cases continue to increase considerably as a result of the new variant.

“Targeted testing programmes are one part of how we will continue to tackle the virus, in addition to everyone playing their part in following the latest lockdown rules to limit the spread. 

"An appointment to carry out a Covid-19 test will count as an essential journey under the lockdown rules.”

Epping Forest District Council leader Chris Whitbread said: "It’s great news that we have another resource in the district to help us beat the spread of this dreadful virus.

"The tests are quick to do, with results in around 30 minutes. 

"The rate at which this new strain is spreading in our communities is frightening. Whereas in the first wave it seemed that we did not know many family, friends or colleagues who were infected, now there are dozens and some are very poorly indeed.

"We must do all that we can to stop the spread and this includes the simple practices of wearing a mask, washing our hands and staying at least two metres apart.”

* Anyone with symptoms should book a test via the NHS Test and Trace App or at
12.47pm - January 8

DISTRICT: Home testing COVID-19 kits available from 'collect and drop-off' venue

Home testing COVID-19 kits for people without symptoms are available from the Lindsey Street Community Association in Frampton Road, Epping.

Anyone visiting the site should collect the kit, take it home, register a home test kit at GOV.UK, do the test and drop it back to the collect and drop-off venue at Lindsey Street Community Association, correctly packaged as instructed.

A courier collects completed tests each day. 

Tests must not be put in the post.

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is available to anyone living or working in a highest alert area, who do not have COVID-19 symptoms.

The site is open Monday to Wednesday 9.30am to 4.30pm and Thursday 9.30am to midday. It is closed on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Test results are managed by the NHS Test and Trace system and results are usually back within 24 to 48 hours via email, text message or telephone.

Anyone with symptoms must not attend the Frampton Road site and should book a COVID test online.

It is advised not to take a test if you have previously tested positive via a PCR test in the last 12 weeks as this could give a false result.

On-site employees are not able to interact with people returning completed tests and attendees are responsible for securely packaging their own completed tests.
6.37pm - January 7

DISTRICT: District council given funds to pay to people self-isolating

Epping Forest District Council is receiving £266,220 from Essex County Council to pay to residents, in £500 one-off grants, who are self-isolating and ineligible for the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment from the Government.

The £3m funding given to the county council from the Government's Contain Outbreak Management Fund is to ensure that those that must stay at home are given the financial means to do so.

The £500 grant per resident will be a one-off payment to cover the two-week self-isolation period.

People may not qualify for Government support because, for instance, they are on zero hours contracts, self-employed and trading for less than one year or self-employed without access to support because of low trading returns.

The funds can be accessed by residents by making an application on the Epping Forest District Council website.
6.02pm - January 7

EPPING: Multi-storey car park is priority in town centre redevelopment plans

Qualis Commercial has told Everything Epping Forest that should planning approval be granted, the Cottis Lane development will see the multi-storey car park built first with the proposed cinema and shops to be "phased".

The applications for both the Cottis Lane car park and the Bakers Lane car park, where a new leisure centre is proposed, will be considered by Epping town councillors on Tuesday evening.

A Qualis Commercial spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: "Subject to planning being approved, the car park will be proceeding first with the cinema and shops being phased to ensure that what is delivered is suitable for a post-Covid economy and is appropriate and complements the High Street. 

"Our proposals have been designed to protect and enhance Epping High Street."
3.48pm - January 7

LOUGHTON: MP calls for "rapid and significant improvement" to "unacceptable" postal situation

Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing has taken up the cases of numerous constituents who have not had regular postal deliveries for more than two months, and is calling on Royal Mail to make a "rapid and significant improvement" to the current "unacceptable" situation.

One Chigwell resident who contacted Dame Eleanor said that since early November they regularly receive just one delivery a week, and have had no deliveries at all since December 23.  

They said they are concerned their son could miss vital hospital appointments if letters are not received.

Another constituent, in Buckhurst Hill, said he was anxiously waiting for bank cards to be delivered.

Royal Mail senior public affairs manager Michael Hogg has told Dame Eleanor 43 per cent of staff at the Debden Delivery Office, which serves the IG8 postcode area, are currently off work, with the figure up from 40 per cent on December 11.

He said the absences were for coronavirus-related issues, and with five staff members now shielding. 

He added some staff were absent for long-term sickness reasons, weekly rest days and annual holidays.

Mr Hogg added: "We continue to have a range of measures in place to adhere to the Government's social distancing guidelines to protect our people and the communities we serve. 

"Volumes are also up on this time in previous years putting additional pressure on our people."

Additional agency support workers and vehicle hire put in place to manage deliveries at the Debden Delivery Office over the Christmas period have been kept on to help address the issue, he said.

He said deliveries are taking place "at least every other day and collections from Post Offices, postboxes and businesses are taking place as usual".

Dame Eleanor said: "Obviously my best wishes go to all those staff who are off sick or having to shield however it is an unacceptable situation that so many people in the area have been without regular postal deliveries for such a long time."

She added: "When so many people are having to stay at home, it is all the more important that they can expect regular post deliveries so they can keep in touch with loved ones, and not have the worry of not receiving important items of mail such as hospital appointment dates, financial documents and bank cards.

"I have written to Royal Mail and welcome the reply that promises that the cases I have highlighted will be investigated.

"I sincerely hope there is a rapid and significant improvement in the level of service currently being provided in the area and that deliveries can very soon return to the level of service expected."   
2.47pm - January 6

NAZEING: Boat owners fined over raves

Police have issued three £10,000 fines to boat owners for organising raves on their vessels on the River Lea on the Nazeing-Broxbourne border over the festive period.

Most recently, Hertfordshire police officers were called to reports of a New Year’s Eve party boat on the river near Dobbs Weir.

Officers found about 40 people on a boat set up for a rave, with DJ equipment, a bar and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) canisters.

A 33-year-old man, from east London, is being issued with a £10,000 Fixed Penalty Notice for organising and selling tickets to the illegal event. 

He will also receive a Community Protection Warning (CPW) not to return to the area.

Before Christmas, police officers were called to different vessels nearby on the River Lea - on Friday, December 11, and Sunday, December 13 - where they dispersed more than 100 people, arresting a man who refused to co-operate.

On Thursday, December 17, Broxbourne Safer Neighbourhood Team officers attended the river intending to serve a closure order on the vessels involved.

They entered one boat under a Section 17 order, and seized four generators, four large speakers, two large amplifiers and a large quantity of alcohol.

The second craft was ordered to leave the borough of Broxbourne. 

Owners of both vessels, men aged 30 and 31, both from north London, are being issued with £10,000 FPNs and CPWs.

Sgt Chris Fisher, from Broxbourne Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “My team worked hard over the festive period to disperse and prevent illegal raves on board boats moored along the river.

"Even if we weren’t living through a pandemic and under strict rules not to socialise in large groups to prevent coronavirus transmission, these party boats would be illegal, representing a grave danger to anyone who attends.

"They are dangerous for attendees with no crowd control measures, medical staff or security provision on site.

"Currently our area has one of the highest case rates in the region so this makes it even more important that people adhere to the rules and not mix in large groups."

He added: "I’d appeal to everyone’s sense of decency to do the right thing and follow the clear lockdown rules now in place."
12.50pm - January 6

EPPING: Town council to consider car park development plans

The development plans for the Bakers Lane and Cottis Lane car parks in Epping will be considered by Epping Town Council on Tuesday.

Qualis Commercial has submitted its proposals for a new leisure centre including a swimming pool, learner pool, sports hall and squash courts on the Bakers Lane car park and a 330-space, four-level car park, cinema, retail and office space on the Cottis Lane car park.

The applications will be considered by the town council's planning and general purposes committee at 6.30pm on Tuesday.
12.10pm - January 6

NORTH WEALD: Lorries start arriving at Inland Border Facility

Lorries have started to use the new Inland Border Facility on North Weald airfield, Everything Epping Forest can reveal.

A Turkish-registered lorry was seen entering the site this morning.

It was first seen parked on Merlin Way before it was driven to the Rayley Lane entrance and directed along to the Canes Lane A414 roundabout and back onto Rayley Lane where it turned right into the checkpoint area.

Officials will check the documents of HGVs entering and leaving the country now that the UK has left the EU.

News that the airfield was to be put to such use was revealed by Everything Epping Forest 16 months ago when district council leader Chris Whitbread made an announcement at a council meeting.

Work to develop an area of the council-owned airfield has been ongoing for months while staff are still being recruited for the site which will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

As Everything Epping Forest recently revealed, Epping Forest District Council will receive £694,000 in rent in the next financial year.

That follows the announcement that HMRC will pay the council a separate £500,000 while the council has already received another six-figure sum - £50,000 of which has gone to North Weald Bassett Parish Council.

Lorries have designated routes to the site from the M25, M11 and A12 and A414.

The main concern of the parish council is the impact on local roads if lorry drivers ignore the designated routes or if their sat-navs indicate an alternative route.

Parish councillors are especially concerned about HGVs that might come through North Weald Village and use Church Lane.

The planning consent allows 53 lorries to be on the site at any one time.

But another concern of the parish council is what happens to lorries which might have to wait to get into the checkpoint - and the fear that they will park on local roads.

The Inland Border Facility could be operational for two years.
8.47pm - January 5

ONGAR: Town council opposes car showroom site apartments plan

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

A previous application was rejected by Epping Forest District Council.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Councillors had been disappointed at the proposed loss of a "prime greenfield location".
3.27pm - January 5

DISTRICT: Confusion over second COVID-19 vaccinations

Patients are confused over what is happening locally with the second COVID-19 vaccinations.

The first vaccinations were given at the vaccination centre on the St Margaret's Hospital site in Epping three weeks ago, with patients scheduled to receive their second jab this week.

NHS guidance released last week stated that the second Pfizer vaccination can now be given up to 12 weeks after the first, with health trusts looking to give as many people in the top priority group their first vaccination which offers a high level of protection against COVID-19.

However the issue has been complicated following reports that second vaccinations are still being given in some parts of the country, including Redbridge and Ilford.

Relatives of people scheduled to have their second vaccination this week have posted their concerns on the Everything Epping Forest Facebook group.

Debra Feldman wrote: "This is all really confusing. I’m aware of three people in Redbridge who had their second jabs cancelled by text but received calls yesterday (Monday) to say they’re going ahead as planned - some areas clearly going with the Pfizer three weeks apart guidelines."

Mark Cadman wrote: "My relative in Southampton had their second jab today so local decisions on the second jab."

Debbie Clayden wrote: "It must be very confusing for the age group involved. 

"My mother has an appointment for tomorrow (Wednesday) but it has not been cancelled and have read that second jabs are still being given in some areas."

A woman who emailed Everything Epping Forest wrote: "I have been trying to find out about the second vaccine appointment for my mother who is due her second jab tomorrow but has not been notified that it is cancelled.

"St Margaret’s (hospital) car park will be chaotic if lots of elderly patients are turning up for new appointments and second ones, only to be turned away."

Maria Shepherd, writing on the Everything Epping Forest Facebook group, said: "Some areas are doing the second vaccination on the original timescales to those who had already had the first, before the policy changed."

And Karen Pitcher wrote: "In Ilford second jabs are apparently going ahead as planned."

However it is unclear what the situation is in west Essex.

Everything Epping Forest asked West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group to clarify the position and was emailed an NHS letter sent to all health trusts and trust chief executives explaining the 12-week interval guidance.

A further request for a statement has been made to the CCG, and Stellar Healthcare which arranges patients' appointments, asking whether west Essex patients who have already had their first vaccination will get their second as scheduled, and how are they will be contacted if their appointment has to be rescheduled.

Everything Epping Forest has also asked why no vaccinations were taking place at the 'vaccination centre' at Spencer Close on the St Margaret's Hospital site today given that the Government has said the vaccination programme is being ramped up as it hopes to see two million vaccinations given each week nationwide.
2.27pm - January 5

CHIGWELL: Man arrested after police smell cannabis

A 28-year-old man from London has been released by police under investigation after being arrested for suspected drug driving in Copperfield, Chigwell.

Patrolling officers noticed a smell of cannabis coming from the vehicle in front of them and stopped it at 9.50pm on Saturday.

A man gave a positive drugs test for cannabis and was arrested on suspicion of drug driving by a Special Constabulary officer. 

The man has been released under investigation pending the results of a blood test.
UPDATE 2.13pm - January 5

A 21-year-old man, from Hertfordshire, who was arrested near to where the police pursuit ended on Thornwood Road, Epping, yesterday has been released under investigation.

The man was arrested on suspicion of failing to stop for police, dangerous driving, driving whilst unfit through drink/drugs, and theft of a motor vehicle. 

He has been released under investigation for the majority of offences while enquiries continue. 

He will face no further action in relation to his arrest on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle. 

A 22-year-old man, from London, who was arrested on suspicion of careless driving, theft of a motor vehicle and obstructing a police officer has been released from custody and will face no further action.

5.39pm - January 4

THORNWOOD: Two arrested after police pursuit on M25 and M11 to Thornwood

Two men have been arrested after a police pursuit which began when a car failed to stop for police officers on the M25 ended in Thornwood.

A police spokesman told Everything Epping Forest a black Vauxhall Astra car failed to stop for officers when requested to do so on the M25 at about midday today.

The spokesman added: "Police followed the vehicle where it exited the M25 on to the M11 northbound.

"The vehicle came to a stop on Thornwood Road, Epping, and the driver de-camped."

Two men were later arrested.

A 21-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle, dangerous driving, failing to stop for police and being unfit to drive through drink or drugs. 

As part of the investigation a second man, aged 24, was also arrested on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle, careless driving and for obstructing police.

Both men are currently in police custody.
4.32pm - January 4

BUCKHURST HILL: Parish council to consider 11 planning applications

Eleven planning applications will be considered by Buckhurst Hill Parish Council's planning and environment committee at its virtual meeting on Thursday (January 7).

Anyone wanting to attend the meeting, which will be held via Zoom, should email for the access information.

The applications to be discussed are:

* 10 Fernside - application for Prior Approval of a proposed enlargement of a house by construction of additional storeys

* 2 Chestnut Avenue - single-storey rear extension, two-storey side extension and loft conversion

* rear of 75, 75A-C and 77 Queens Road - demolition of structures to the rear of 75-77 Queens Road and erection of eight new dwellings

* 28 Holly Close - single-storey rear extension and level outdoor seating area with steps to garden

* 40 Russell Road - application for Lawful Development Certificate for a single-storey rear extension.

28 Holly Close - application for Lawful development Certificate for loft conversion with rear dormer including Juliet balcony and front rooflights

* 7 Knighton Lane - prior approval for enlargement of house by construction of additional storey (revised application)

* 111 Rous Road -  application for Lawful Development Certificate for existing rear dormer, ground-floor rear extension and first-floor side/rear extension

* 20 Stag Lane - ground-floor side and rear side infill extension

* 104 Buckhurst Way - double-storey side extension and single-storey rear extension with rear terrace following demolition of existing garage and conservatory

* 25 Dene Road - application for Lawful Development Certificate for a single-storey rear extension.
12.29pm - January 4

NORTH WEALD: Job vacancies at Inland Border Facility

A recruitment agency is still looking to fill vacancies for administrative staff to work at the Inland Border facility - the HGV Brexit checkpoint - on North Weald airfield. 

The closing date for applications is January 27 and 29.
12.06pm - January 4

CHIGWELL: Trees and shrubs plan for Limes Farm Estate

Plans for planting new trees and shrubs around the Limes Farm Estate in Chigwell are underway.  

Epping Forest District Council says it is working with residents to agree plans for improving the estate.

Limes Farm residents recently suggested the planting of new trees and this is now being expanded to include large planting areas of different types, including trees, shrubs and wildflower meadows. 

Plans are in the early stages but it is hoped some work will start this year. 
12.03pm - January 4

EPPING: Dunmow move for Team Curate

Rev'd Tom Warmington, Team Curate with the Epping Team Ministry, has been appointed vicar at St Mary's Church, Dunmow, and St Andrew's Church, Barnston.

He will take up his new appointment after Easter.
12.59pm - January 3

DISTRICT: Publican offers closed pubs as COVID-19 vaccination hubs

Publican Adam Brooks, who runs the Three Colts pub in Princes Road, Buckhurst Hill, and the Owl pub at Lippitts Hill, High Beach, has contacted health chiefs at West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) offering his pubs as vaccination hubs as the COVID-19 vaccination rollout continues.

Mr Brooks is awaiting a response from the CCG.
12.39pm - January 3

​ONGAR: Celebrity couple scrap controversial boundary walls plan for new home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The couple are still waiting for a district council decision over amended plans to change the design of the Georgian-style house, with a new-look front facade and to add windows in the front elevation, alter the rear elevation and change the design of the roof.
4.31pm - January 2

SEWARDSTONEBURY: Twenty-seven people receive Fixed Penalty Notices over house party

​Police now say 27 people were given fixed penalty notices for attending a house party in Bury Road, Sewardstonebury, in the early hours of New Year's Day.

​About 100 people were attending the event.

A​ woman was issued a £10,000 fine for organising the party​.​
2.34pm - January 2

The father of Stuart Lubbock who died after attending a party at the entertainer Michael Barrymore's home is still fighting for justice

AUDIO: To listen to the exclusive interview with Terry Lubbock CLICK HERE


The father of Stuart Lubbock who died after attending a party at the Roydon home of entertainer Michael Barrymore has told Everything Epping Forest he is "getting stronger and stronger for justice" as the 20th anniversary of his son's death approaches.

Terry Lubbock gave an exclusive audio interview to Everything Epping Forest as he renewed his call for a second inquest into his son's death which happened on March 31, 2001.

Terry Lubbock - "I'm not going to relax or die until I get some glimmer of light for justice"

Police issued a fresh appeal last year after Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Jennings was appointed as the new Senior Investigating Officer in the case and a £20,000 reward was offered.

Stuart, 31, suffered serious internal injuries which police believe were inflicted when he was sexually assaulted in a jacuzzi at Barrymore's then home in Beaumont Park Drive, Roydon.

Speaking at the press conference last year, DCI Jennings said: "Nine people went to the party at Michael Barrymore's house but only one of them - Stuart - ended up being violently sexually assaulted and murdered."

Essex Police said that in the aftermath of the discovery of Stuart's body in the swimming pool some people left the property while others, who had not been at the party, arrived and key items of possible forensic interest disappeared.

These were a door handle and a swimming pool thermometer.

Speaking to Everything Epping Forest today, Terry Lubbock - who now lives in care home in Harlow - said: "I'm still fighting and I'm fighting for justice. This is all about my son, Stuart. Somebody somewhere has been hiding the truth."

With the landmark date approaching, Mr Lubbock believes the 20th anniversary is another opportunity to renew an appeal for information.

He told Everything Epping Forest: "The main thing I want now is a second inquest. If there is any justice in the world... we should have another inquest and they should say exactly what happened to my son and everybody will know in black and white what happened . Those injures actually killed my son.

"That should have come out (at the inquest) and it didn't. It's taken me nearly 20 years now and I'm still fighting. 

"I'm getting stronger and stronger now for justice and I'm not going to relax or die until I get some glimmer of light for justice, and that is what we are going for with (a call for) a new inquest."

Mr Lubbock has campaigned tirelessly for the truth after Stuart died after returning to the television personality's home with eight others following a night out in Harlow.

A post mortem examination found Stuart suffered horrific anal injuries which experts believe were the result of a serious sexual assault that happened prior to Stuart's death.

The cause of Stuart's death remains un-ascertained and an inquest, held at the Civic Offices in Epping in 2002, recorded an open verdict.

Police hope the reward offered by Essex Police and Crimestoppers "can give us the breakthrough that we need".

The reward will only be available for information given to Crimestoppers and not the police. 

To be eligible for the reward, the information must lead to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the rape and murder of Stuart Lubbock.

Information can be given to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
3.52pm - January 1

DISTRICT: Hospice's bereavement support helpline gets £100,000 boost

St Clare Hospice has secured £100,000 from Barclays Bank to continue its Bereavement Support Helpline for a further year.

The helpline is run by a team of hospice staff and volunteers, trained to deliver immediate emotional support and practical guidance for those who would like extra support after the loss of someone close. 

The helpline - 01279 967670 - operates between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

The service was launched last June in response to a community requirement for immediate emotional support, information and guidance as the number of people experiencing bereavement has increased during the Covid-19 pandemic. 
3.25pm - January 1

WALTHAM ABBEY: Plans submitted for care home

Plans have been revealed for an 80-bed care home off Sewardstone Road, Waltham Abbey.

A planning application has been submitted for the development on the site of 'Chapelfield' and Sewardstone House.

The proposed development includes the demolition of the existing residential dwelling, garden centre and outbuildings.
2.38pm - January 1

VOTE 2021: Long-serving Loughton town councillor to stand again

Long-serving Independent Loughton Roding ward councillor Stephen Murray will be seeking re-election to Loughton Town Council next May.

Mr Murray has been a Loughton councillor for nearly 39 years having been first elected in 1982. 

He served as Town Mayor between May 2018 and May 2019.

He said: "I will be standing on my track record of dealing with local issues and my vision for the town council  to continue to be a provider of local services  a strong community voice and event organiser for our town.

"I will continue to be a strong voice supporting the retention of Loughton Library as a vibrant place of learning and a strong community hub."

He added: "I hope the residents in Roding Ward might consider using one of their four town council votes to support my re-election, however the beauty of elections is that the outcome can never be predicted."
9.30am - January 1

SEWARDSTONEBURY: Woman fined £10,000 for organising house party

More than 25 people have been issued with fixed penalty notices and a woman fined £10,000 for organising a house party with around 100 attendees on Bury Road, Sewardstonebury.

Police seized equipment inside the property.

A dispersal order authorised in the early hours remains in place until midday today (Friday).

A police spokesman said the gathering is in clear breach of the Government’s Covid-19 regulations.

The dispersal order covers Bury Road between the junction of Daws Hill and Rangers Road and also includes Gillwell Lane, Farm End, Woodman Lane and Hornbeam Lane. 

It allows police officers to move anyone on from the area to prevent anti-social behaviour, crime or disorder.
9.15am - January 1

EPPING: Town centre parking: Do the numbers add up?

Full details of parking provision in Epping once the two car parks are redeveloped are contained in documents submitted by Qualis Commercial in its planning applications for the Bakers Lane and Cottis Lane car parks.

Parking has been a constant concern since the proposals were first revealed, and Qualis has always said there will be no overall net loss of spaces as a result of the schemes.

But do the numbers add up?

The facts are:

There are currently a total of 336 spaces in the two car parks (203 in the Cottis Lane car park and 133 in the Bakers Lane car park).

The plans show 336 spaces in the new developments (six at the new leisure centre on the Bakers Lane car park - all of which will be for Blue Badge holders - and 330 in a four-level multi-storey on the Cottis Lane car park).


336 spaces before redevelopment
336 after redevelopment = no overall loss.


* The documents state that "at the time of opening" 50 of the 330 Cottis Lane multi-storey spaces "will be used by Electric Vehicles only".

If the car park is full, unless there are 50 cars being charged, this reduces the number of 'normal' spaces by up to 50 - reducing the car park to a potential 280 spaces rather than 330.


* The six spaces at the new leisure centre will all be for blue badge holders.

QUESTION: Where will car-using staff and users of the leisure centre park? 
ANSWER: In the multi-storey car park.


* It has been suggested a covenant could ban or at least restrict parking on the new St John's Road housing development where some 178 apartments - and two houses created from converted cottages - are set to be built (according to the last proposals).

QUESTION: Where will the tenants park?
ANSWER: In the multi-storey car park (perhaps having bought a season ticket).


* There is no mention of any designated long-stay parking (to replace the 133 spaces in the current long-stay Bakers Lane car park).

QUESTION: Where will long-stay vehicles be parked?
ANSWER: In the multi-storey car park (perhaps having bought a season ticket).


* Proposals for the 'Cottis Yard' development including a cinema, retail and office space.

QUESTION: Where will the cinema-goers and potential restaurant customers park? Will part of the multi-storey car park be designated for cinema parking and / or long-stay parking?

If so, this will reduce the number of spaces for shoppers when compared to the number of spaces available in the town today.

ANSWER: They will park in the multi-storey car park.


* The development will be phased, but whichever element of the scheme is built first will seriously reduce the amount of spaces available in the town.

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