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2.53pm - September 30

HIGH BEECH: Four helicopters based at refurbished forest base

Four National Police Air Service helicopters and a 34-strong staff team are now based at Lippitts Hill at High Beech after the London service severed its ties with the NPAS base at North Weald Airfield.

In a statement, NPAS London said: "At the request of the Metropolitan Police Service, the National Police Air Service has re-established a helicopter base at Lippitts Hill, Epping Forest, Essex.

"NPAS crews, working with four EC145 helicopters, will operate 24 hours, seven days a week, from the newly-refurbished base to support the policing of London.

"The 34-strong team includes pilots, Tactical Flight Officers and Base Managers."

The statement added: "For the last two years the capital has been served primarily from the NPAS base at North Weald – although as a national service, aircraft can be deployed from anywhere across England and Wales when called upon to do so. 

"NPAS has retained its base at North Weald and crews from there continue to serve the East and South East of England, alongside colleagues based in Redhill, Surrey and Benson, Oxfordshire.

"The re-instatement of the Lippitts Hill base brings NPAS’s total number of bases to 15, with a current total fleet of 19 helicopters and four aeroplanes."
9.41am - September 29

EPPING: UPDATE: Masked robbers who stole watches from shop were armed with hand axes

Police have given more information about Monday's robbery at the Luxe Watches shop in Epping High Street - when two masked men armed with hand axes went into the shop at about 11.20am and stole "a number" of watches.

None of the staff were injured.

Police say it is believed the men left the scene in a grey or silver Mini.

No arrests have been made and police enquiries are ongoing.

Detective Inspector Yoni Adler said: “We would like the public to help us and would ask anyone who was in the vicinity at the time to check their dash cam footage to see if they have captured anything that may help our investigation.

“Perhaps you captured someone acting suspiciously at the location or you saw a grey or silver Mini parked nearby.”

Anyone with information should ring 101 and quote incident 362 of September 27 or crime reference 42/211059/21.
7.43pm - September 28

BUCKHURST HILL: Vacancies for School Crossing Patrol Officers

Essex County Council is advertising for a School Crossing Patrol Officer for outside St John's Primary School, High Road, Buckhurst Hill.

Vacancies are available across Essex.

Pay is £11.13 per hour with part-time, term-time hours available.

To apply and for more information visit www.workingforessex.com or ring the Resources Team on 0333 013 5888.
1.26pm - September 28

DISTRICT: Cable theft appeal: Reward increased to £20,000

A reward for information leading to a conviction over the "highly disruptive" theft of cabling from roadsides in the White Roding, Epping and Harlow area has been increased to £20,000.

The reward money is being offered by Openreach through Crimestoppers for anonymous information on the thefts, which left emergency services, residential premises and businesses without the use of their phones, broadband or TV services. 

It follows large sections of live cable being pulled from an underground communications network at Sparrows Lane, White Roding, on July 2 and 21.

On Thursday, July 15, a cable was cut on the B181 at Epping Upland and on July 16 on the A1025 in Harlow. 

All of the thefts occurred between 11pm and 2am.

The damage affected hundreds of Openreach customers including essential emergency services at each location. 

Significant damage was also caused to street furniture and farmland, where cables were dragged through fields.

Phil Breckon, Eastern Regional Manager at Crimestoppers, said: “The reward amount for information on these cable thefts has been increased by Openreach to reflect the huge amount of disruption caused and the importance they place on the issue. 

"The impact on local communities affected, including essential emergency services, which are life-saving, cannot be underestimated.

“This is not a victimless crime and we urge anyone with any information on those behind the thefts to speak up to our charity completely anonymously.

"We know some people feel unable to speak directly to authorities, which is why Crimestoppers is here to help. You can tell our charity what you know whilst protecting your identity and staying 100% anonymous. Always. We’ve kept that promise since we began back in the 1980s.”

Richard Ginnaw, Head of Security Services for Openreach, said: “These incidents have severely impacted the day-to-day lives of people across these areas of Essex and this is why we have increased the reward on offer.

“We are working closely with the police to catch those who are responsible and have deployed additional security enhancements across the area, but we also need your help. 

"Please be vigilant, and if you saw anything suspicious on or around the time of the incidents, please report it. If you prefer not to speak directly to police, contact the charity Crimestoppers anonymously.”

Anyone with any information can ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or use the anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
1.01pm - September 28

BUCKHURST HILL: Search for missing man suspended after body found in woods

Police officers looking for Dean Parker, who was reported missing from Buckhurst Hill on Saturday evening, have suspended their search after a man’s body was found.

Dean, 32, was reported missing at about 9.35pm on Saturday (September 25).

A police spokesman this morning said that a man’s body was found in Knighton Woods yesterday afternoon (Monday).

He has not been formally identified but Dean’s family have been told.

The man’s death is not being treated as suspicious and a file is being prepared for the coroner.
4.57pm - September 27

EPPING: Robbery at luxury watch shop

Police are appealing for information following a robbery at the Luxe Watches shop in High Street, Epping.

Eyewitnesses have reported seeing smoke pouring from the top floor windows over the shop at the time of the incident but it has not been confirmed what caused the smoke.

A police spokesman told Everything Epping Forest officers were alerted to a report of a robbery at the luxury watch shop, near the junction with Cottis Lane, at 11.20am.

Officers remained at the scene this afternoon.

Anyone who may have information that can assist officers with their enquiries is asked to ring police on 101 and quote incident 362 of September 27).

Police are also asking anyone who was in the area of High Street this morning to check their dash cam footage and contact officers if they have captured anything that could help with the investigation.
3.35pm - September 27

ONGAR: Third Farmers' Market and Craft Market

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

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

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

The market runs from 10am until 2pm.

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

"We expect even more on Sunday with all of the September stalls returning."
9.34am - September 27

STONDON MASSEY: Four teenagers seriously injured as car hits tree

Four teenagers are being treated in hospital after a car hit a tree near Ongar.

Police are investigating the crash which involved a silver Volkswagen Passat which left Ongar Road, Stondon Massey at about 12.30am on Saturday morning.

Four people in the car – two teenage boys and two teenage girls - all sustained serious injuries and are currently being treated in hospital.

Police enquiries into the circumstances which led up to the collision are ongoing.

Anyone who saw anything or has CCTV, dashcam or doorbell footage is asked to contact Essex Police.

Information can be submitted online at https://www.essex.police.uk or via the 'Live Chat' button where callers can speak to an online operator between 7am and 11pm (quote incident 32 of September 25).

Information can also be given on 101 or to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
6.07pm - September 26

NAZEING: Man charged with murder

A man has been charged with murder following the death of a man in Nazeing.

Police were called to Palmers Grove at about 7.15am yesterday (Saturday) to reports of a man in his 30s injured.

He later died at the scene.

A short time later a 33 year-old man was arrested.

Robert Crabtree, of Palmers Grove, Nazeing, has now been charged with murder and possession of an offensive weapon and is due to appear at Colchester Magistrates’ Court tomorrow (Monday).

Police are continuing to appeal for anyone who has any information, saw anything, or has any CCTV, dashcam or doorbell footage.

Anyone with any information can submit a report online at https://www.essex.police.uk or use the 'Live Chat' button to speak to an online operator between 7am and 11pm (quote the crime reference number 42/207979/21).

Information can also be given to police via 101 or by ringing Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
5.47pm - September 26

NORTH WEALD: Parish council questions "disproportionate" Local Plan housing numbers

The sheer number of new homes earmarked for North Weald Parish in Epping Forest District Council's Local Plan - more than a quarter of the entire allocation for the whole of the Epping Forest district - has been highlighted by the parish council.

While some parts of the district have seen their housing numbers cut in the Main Modification document, there has been no reduction to the housing numbers for the North Weald Bassett Parish.

The revised figures, the parish council states, mean North Weald Bassett Parish is set to get 27.04 per cent of the total housing allocation in the district - a total of 2,272 new homes.

The parish council, in its response to the Main Modification document, asks: "How is the proportionate distribution? How is this fair to the residents of North Weald Bassett Parish?"

The council's response adds: "There are of course a number of factors which have contributed towards this disproportionate distribution, such as the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation.

"Whilst some of these factors are indeed perfectly valid and understood, it remains a reality that by default development will be pushed to the more rural areas of the district - areas that are not sustainable and in key areas within each individual village.

"This seems counter productive."

The parish council's eight-page response states: "The proximity of Thornwood, North Weald and Hastingwood to Epping Underground (station), the attractive employment offer from London, the constraint of the lower forest, and the inability of anyone to make a tangible difference to congestion at The Plain junction in Epping, seems to have been entirely overlooked.

"To locate such large numbers of homes in one small area, without any realistic plans for supporting sustainable infrastructure, will undoubtedly cause problems for the Parish in the future."

The response adds: "There is an argument that many residents may be able to accept the amount of housing being proposed for this area if there was a clear 'benefit' that could be seen, such as greatly improved community facilities, better transport links and routes, or amenities that would improve the daily lives of current residents.

"There is no evidence that this is the case, and the Infrastructure Delivery Structure falls short of providing North Weald Bassett with the facilities it not only deserves, but which it will need in order to function as a community."

The parish council adds that a once proposed new leisure centre on North Weald has been dropped in favour of a new leisure centre in Epping, where fewer homes than originally detailed are now proposed.

To view a full copy of the response, visit www.northweald-pc.gov.uk
12.44pm - September 25
 
NAZEING: Man arrested on suspicion of murder

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder following the death of a man in Nazeing.

Police were called to Palmers Grove at about 7.15am today to reports a man aged in his 30s was injured.

He later died at the scene.

A police spokesman said that a short time later a 33-year-old man, from Nazeing, was arrested on suspicion of murder and is currently in custody.

Anyone with any information about the incident can submit a report online at https://www.essex.police.uk or use the 'Live Chat' button to speak to an online operator between 7am and 11pm (quote incident 316 of September 25).

Information can also be given to Essex Police on 101 or by ringing Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
7.18pm - September 24
 
ROYDON / WALTHAM ABBEY: ​Arsonist jailed for five-and-a-half years

A ​mechanic has described his devastation after an arsonist destroyed the ​Roydon ​business he had built ​up ​over 20 years.

It took over a year to rebuild Spanners Garage in Sedge Green after Mohammed Azizi destroyed two garages and nine vehicles on​ ​July​ 1​ last year.

Azizi had denied any involvement but detectives found DNA evidence on a piece of fabric undamaged by the fire, linking him to the arson.

Six weeks after the initial fire, Azizi set fire to one of his neighbour’s cars​,​ in Bradley Road, Waltham Abbey on August​ 15​.

Residents tried to extinguish the fire while calling emergency services but the Volkswagen Polo was destroyed.

CCTV showed Azizi, 30, had set the car on fire.

A jury convicted him on June ​3 ​of arson and arson with recklessness as to whether life would be endangered following a trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Azizi, of Bradley Road, Waltham Abbey, was sentenced today​ (​Friday​)​ to five years and six months imprisonment.

He was also given an indefinite restraining order​ ​preventing him from visiting either of the areas where his offences were committed.

Speaking after the hearing, the owner of Spanners Garage said: “I spent my whole life building my business up for this one crime to completely destroy it - 20 years burnt down in one night.

“It was just completely demoralising and devastating. Thankfully I am quite a strong person, as I feel that would​ hav​e ruined a lot of people.

“It took over a year to get the business re-built, which is a year without income and a year losing clients to other businesses.

“In total the re-build cost me £250,000. Of this, my insurance covered just over half of it, which meant I had to pay over £100,000 from my savings, my pension.

“I previously had cancer, however I can say this crime has caused me just as much stress as battling that.

“I feel like I have to look over my shoulder now, especially as I don’t know why he’s actually done this. I’ve never done anything to him so I just don’t understand it.”

Detective Inspector Kate Murray, of Loughton CID, said: “Azizi consistently denied his involvement in both arsons, but the evidence proved otherwise.

“We will never know why he committed these crimes, which have caused a huge emotional and financial impact for his victims and fear among the local community.

“He clearly planned what he was going to do and spared no thought for the innocent people he targeted.

“I hope the community will now feel safer that he is behind bars.”
6.54pm - September 24

DISTRICT: Civic Offices 'community hub' to be known as 'The Civic Hub' with rebranding cost "below £15,000"
 
The ground-floor space at the Civic Offices in Epping which is being used as a 'community hub' is set to be known as 'The Civic Hub' with councillors having been told the rebranding exercise is now expected to cost under £15,000, lower than the previously reported £19,450 budget.

The originally stated £19,450 included design work, and modifications, as well as the production and installation of the signage.

However Customer Services service director Rob Pavey told Thursday's Stronger Place Select Committee the £19,450 figure was a "worst case scenario" and he was "confident" the final figure would be "below £15,000".

He said the branding was needed to "help showcase" the ground-floor of the building which is now where local non-council services and organisations are based on different days of the week.

Mr Pavey said: "This is a new offer to the community where services are offered in a new and collaborative way."

The area includes welcome areas, the 'community hub', a conference suite which is available for external hire, and space for Epping Library and a cafe.

The committee had been asked to decide between 'The Civic' and 'The Civic Hub' as the name for the hub area but the choice sparked mixed views, with the naming - and the cost - having come in for criticism on social media since it was revealed by Everything Epping Forest.

Loughton Residents Association councillor Judy Jennings said: "I always thought 'civic' had something to do with the City so do we have delusions of grandeur here? Also 'civic' is not a noun so we can't have 'the civic'."

She said it was a shame there was no reference to Epping Forest in the name and added: "I didn't see the design (logo) as being people, it looked like a flower to me. It didn't look like four people at all, it looked like the petals of a flower."

Council chairman councillor Helen Kane said: "Usually rebranding is a very costly project. It's not easy and it's not cheap. People rebrand because they want to show something different, to make people come to their organisation or whatever it is."

Councillor Ian Hadley said: "I don't like the word 'civic' on its own, it sounds like a theatre or a cinema."

And councillor Richard Bassett said: "Why don't we just call it what it is 'a community centre'? We've got all these community facilities in a centralised place. It's run by the community. As soon as you put the word 'civic' in there they immediately think of the council."

The committee voted for 'The Civic Hub' with the name to forward to the cabinet for final approval.
3.31pm - September 24

WALTHAM ABBEY: Two men charged after car crashes into house

Two men have been charged after a car crashed into the front of a house in Waltham Abbey.

Police were called to Stanway Road at about 6.50am yesterday.

Two men were later arrested.

Michael Zahra, 36, of Turpin Road, Romford, has now been charged with failing to provide a specimen.

William Smith, 37, of Leamington Road, Romford, has been charged with failing to provide a specimen and using threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

They are both due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on October 12.
3.01pm - September 23

BUCKHURST HILL: Floodlights installed at football club

Floodlights have been installed at Buckhurst Hill Football Club in the latest stage of the club's ground development.

The floodlights follow the official opening of the new 100-seater stand which was opened by Epping Forest District Council chairman councillor Helen Kane before the club's first appearance - and victory over Enfield - in the FA Vase.

Club chairman Simon Cornwell described the floodlights as "another chapter on this amazing journey" for the club which is pushing for promotion from First Division South of the Thurlow Nunn League in its first season in senior football.

The club is planning an official launch of the floodlights ahead of its first league game under the lights.

On Sunday, Buckhurst Hill visit fellow First Division South side Newbury Forest in the 2nd Round Qualifying of the FA Vase (2pm kick-off).
2.27pm - September 23

WALTHAM ABBEY: Car crashes into house

Firefighters called to reports that a car had crashed into a house in Waltham Abbey this morning feared people were trapped inside the property, it has emerged.

Emergency crews were called to Stanway Road shortly before 7am after the vehicle went into the front of a house.

The property is having to be assessed for structural damage and the area remained cordoned off this lunchtime.

An Essex County Fire and Rescue Service spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: “Firefighters were called to Stanway Road, Waltham Abbey, at 6.58am to reports that a car had collided with a house and the residents were trapped inside. 

“On arrival, crews reported that a car had collided with the front of a house and nobody was trapped in the car or the house. 

"Firefighters from the Urban Search and Rescue team have been working throughout the day to make the house structurally safe and remain at the scene.”

Essex Police has been asked for a statement about the incident.
3.49pm - September 22

DISTRICT: District council budgets over £19,400 to rename part of Civic Offices

Epping Forest District Council has earmarked over £19,400 to rebrand the part of the Civic Offices in Epping now being used as the 'Epping Community Hub'.

Following the £8.5m refurbishment of the building, the ground-floor is being used by a range of local organisations and services.

Now councillors are being asked to decide whether they favour the name 'The Civic' or 'The Civic Hub' for the space.

A council report states: "Initially, it is important to stress that this report is not proposing a re-naming of the Civic Offices. Instead, this report asks members (councillors) to consider the re-branding of the Civic Offices ground floor to promote the area as a new destination where Epping Forest District Council services work collaboratively with partners to provide wraparound solutions for residents and wider community activity".

The report adds: "The ground floor of the refurbished building now operates as a hub for council front-line services operating with a wide range of partners to provide joined-up solutions for the community with the aim of providing added value and improved outcomes for those who visit the new facility.

"This is a real step-change for how the council works with partners and uses the asset that is the Civic Offices to provide services to the community.

"The ground floor comprises a general Welcome Area for the whole building, including for those visiting commercial tenants and is resourced by Epping Forest District Council staff from Customer Services supported by the Concierge Service.

"Around the Welcome Area is a general customer lounge for waiting and more informal conversations, private interview rooms, self-serve customer terminals and the Community Hub room.

"The flow of the ground floor takes you from the Welcome Area to the Conference Suite. This area whilst available for Epping Forest District Council activity is also a facility which can be hired by partners to use and wider community activity.

"Leading on from the Conference Suite is the café area and potential location of the Epping library.

"There is common activity that the library engages in that closely relates to the services provided by the other partners on the ground floor, notably well-being and digital inclusion.

"Again the Conference Suite is available to support any joint activity for events or other activity... Signs currently exist in a temporary format but a more suitable solution is needed to improve the visitor experience.

"The close proximity and integration of the ground floor and activity within it lends itself to one common branding. Initially a separate brand was to be developed for the Community Hub itself but given the flow and connectivity between the areas it has been concluded that a single branding incorporating signage be used for the ground floor.

"The branding needs to reflect that it is not a single organisation-based area but instead demonstrates the collaborative nature of the activity - one customer visiting multiple services in one space.

"Work has been taking place over the summer developing what the branding could look like. Two options have come forward for what the ground floor can be termed as ‘The Civic’ or ‘The Civic Hub’.

"The term ‘The Civic’ seeks to capture the use of the ground floor space in a term that is more colloquial in nature and distinguishes it from the more formal name for the building. ‘The Civic Hub’ provides a more conventional name for the area."

The report states that the cost of the branding exercise is £19,450, including design and installation with the cost to be met from an existing budget.

The favoured name will go before the council cabinet next month.
1.11pm - September 21

EPPING: Playground fundraisers holding 'HappyFest' event

A variety of entertainment - including live music, a dance-along and numerous stalls - will be at the Lower Swaines recreation ground in Epping on Sunday (September 26) for Epping Playground Association's 'HappyFest' event.

The event, which will be opened at noon by Epping Town Mayor councillor Michael Wright, will feature the association's plans to refurbish the playground with equipment for children of all ages.

The event runs from noon until 4.30pm.

Money raised will go towards the ongoing fundraising efforts to raise money for new play equipment.

Refreshments will be available.
12.52pm - September 21

LOUGHTON: Police name victim

A woman who died following a collision with a car in Loughton last month has been named by police as 53-year-old Karen Bailey.

She was injured in Grosvenor Drive - near the entrance to Davenant Foundation School - shortly before 12.15am on Friday, August 20.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

A 61-year-old man, from Loughton, was arrested on suspicion of murder in the early hours of the same day.

He is currently on bail until November 12.
12.29pm - September 21

WALTHAM ABBEY: Police officers "followed policies and procedures" in pursuit

Officers acted appropriately, following policies and procedures during a pursuit prior to a fatal road traffic collision in Waltham Abbey, an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation concluded.

The collision occurred on March 28, 2019, in Parklands when a Vauxhall Corsa, which had failed to stop for police, collided with a Vauxhall Mokka and a Range Rover, killing the driver of the Corsa,

Jessica Ladkin, 31, (also known as Jessica Michael). The driver of the Mokka sustained serious life-changing injuries.

The IOPC investigation established that a police car from the combined Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit had been following the Corsa after it was identified as being uninsured. 

Officers made two attempts to stop the Corsa before the collision.

IOPC investigators attended the scene at the time and the police post incident procedure. Investigators gathered and assessed evidence including the incident data recorder, radio communications, dashcam footage captured from the Vauxhall Mokka, CCTV, body-worn video footage, statements from the officers involved and witness statements. 

The six-month investigation concluded there was no indication that any of the officers may have committed a criminal offence or behaved in a manner justifying the bringing of disciplinary proceedings. All officers were treated as witnesses throughout.

An inquest jury at Chelmsford Coroners Court on Monday (September 20) returned a finding of death by road traffic collision for Ms Ladkin.

Regional Director Graham Beesley said: “The consequences of this incident are tragic and my thoughts are with Ms Ladkin’s family and all those who were affected by the events that evening. 

“When fatal road traffic incidents involving the police occur it is important we establish the circumstances surrounding them. 

"Having conducted a thorough investigation we found the officers’ involved followed policies and procedures during the pursuit which lasted under a minute.”

Hertfordshire Constabulary made a mandatory referral following the collision in March 2019 as is standard in cases where a death has occurred following police contact. 

Prior to Ms Ladkin’s inquest, IOPC provided its investigation report to family members, Hertfordshire Constabulary and HM Coroner. 
5.09pm - September 17

EXCLUSIVE

LOUGHTON: Cinema plan for High Road


Plans have been revealed to turn the HSBC bank branch in High Road, Loughton, into a 'boutique' 40-seater cinema.

A document submitted to Epping Forest District Council as part of a change of use planning application states the proposal is to use the premises at 191 High Road as a 'mixed-use workspace' during the day and as a cinema in the evening.

The document states that the plans "will ensure a financially viable venture that attracts visitors to the centre of Loughton during both the day and evening".

It adds: "We believe this use will complement the existing use of the first-floor occupants and overall building landlords (Lopping Hall which is a property of interest), who are fully aware of and support our proposal as our proposed use fits with their board of trustees' mission of adding value and facilities to the community of Loughton. 

"More generally we believe this will add to the diversity of the town centre and meet a growing need for the working from home community as well as adding to the town centre's evening offering by adding a boutique cinema to the existing economy of restaurants and bars."

The proposals would create ten full-time equivalent jobs.

The intention is to have a daily single film screening at 7.30pm in a "secure, soundproof venue adding to the existing evening economy of Loughton High Road". 

The applicant will also be applying for an alcohol license

The building is locally listed but the current proposals do not involve any external works and will therefore not materially impact on the external appearance of the property, the document states. 

"The proposals will, however, ensure that the heritage asset remains in active use."

The plan is to use the building as a 'casual workspace' during the day - between 8am and 6.30pm "attracting home workers looking to change their scenery for a few hours and attracting them to the high street daytime economy and attracting those further afield for meetings".

Access would be controlled with a subscription membership with a check-in desk, with access restricted when capacity is met. 

Refreshments will be available for members to purchase during their stay.

During the evening, the space will convert to a cinema set-up from 6.30pm until 11pm and will attract a maximum of 40 people for a single 7.30pm showing.

The application will be considered by Loughton Town Council before a decision is taken by Epping Forest District Council.
1.58pm - September 17

ONGAR: Councillor disqualified over non-attendance reinstated following appeal

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

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

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

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

He assured the council his current situation meant he would be able to attend meetings.
1.19pm - September 17

EPPING: Town council recognises award recipients

For pictures CLICK HERE

Epping Town Council has publicly thanked local people and organisations who have received council awards over the past two years.

Usual award presentations had to be cancelled because of the COVID-19 lockdowns but on Thursday Epping Town Mayor councillor Michael Wright hosted a 'garden party' at Epping Hall to recognise the recipients.

Allotment Awards: Ms K Birk received the 2019 award for the best kept allotment at Lower Bury Lane with Mrs L Layne receiving the 2020 award.
Mrs C Hassall-Kingham won both the 2019 and 2020 awards for the best kept Meadow Road plot.

Civic Award 2019: John Whalley and Emma Phillips received the Civic Award for the refurbishment of 48 Hemnall Street, Epping.
Mayor Michael Wright said the council recognised the "attention to detail" and presented them with the 2019 award.
Mr Wright said: "Part of Epping’s character comes from its history, conservation area and carefully-styled buildings. It is important to Epping Town Council that our buildings continue to respect the style of the town and conservation area.

Townsperson of the Year: Liz Jones was recognised in 2019 for her community work which includes helping and supporting Epping Tangent, St Clare Hospice, the Friends of St Margaret's Hospital, Epping Bowls Club and the charity Oxfam.
Jacqui Mortimer received the 2020 award for her involvement with 1st Theydon Garnon Scout Group, the annual Christmas Tree Festival at St John’s Church and organising the May Fayre with Friends of Swaines Green. During lockdown she also made PPE for Princess Alexandra Hospital.
Each year the town council presents a Townsperson of the Year Award to someone who has made an outstanding personal contribution to the town. Nominations are invited from community groups and residents

Community Awards: Churches Together received the 2019 award for organising the Christmas Day lunches for people who are alone over the festive period.
Mayor Michael Wright said: "It is wonderful to know that we have so many community groups also doing wonderful things. Epping Town Council presents a Community Award each year to a group or local organisation who have also made an outstanding contribution to Epping’s community."
The 2020 award went to Voluntary Action Epping Forest for its continuing work with volunteers and which, in 2020, co-ordinated food and supplies to support the community during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Young Townspeople of the Year: The 2020 award was presented jointly to Julie Turrell and George Sack.
Mayor Michael Wright said Julie Turrell, who runs Julies at Stonards, has made her café "such an important central part of the facilities" at the Stonards Hill recreation ground.
He added: "Julie's provided a vital outdoor lifeline to many who were not able to enjoy other things during the lockdown periods."
George Sack, a pupil at Epping St John’s School, supported fellow students with their online learning during the COVID-19 lockdowns with his efforts recognised by his teachers who nominated him for the award.

Long Service Award: The council's Town Supervisor and Cemetery Superintendent Bill Towers was recognised for his long service having reached the landmark of 35 years with the council in 2020.
Mr Wright said: "On a typical day Bill can be found putting together a waterless toilet, servicing a lawn mower, tarmacking a piece of path, inspecting a playground, mending the tennis court fencing, assessing the health of a tree, digging in the cemetery or anything else that is thrown at him.
"Times that by 35 (and include 22 years of running the Monday market) and you can see what a varied, interesting and hard job Bill has."
When the council asked Mr Towers to choose a gift he chose trees for the Bury Lane Cemetery to mark ‘The Lost Year’ due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Community Project: Epping Playground Association, formed in 2019, was recognised for its continuing efforts to raise money to refurbish the Lower Swaines recreation ground in. The association has now raised over £25,000 and is holding a fundraising launch event, ‘HappyFest’, at the recreation ground from noon until 4.30pm on Sunday, September 26, when plans for the new playground, which will have facilities for children of all ages, will be on display.
12.45pm - September 17

CHIGWELL: West Hatch High School holding Year 6 open evening

West Hatch High School is holding its Open Evening for Year 6 students on Thursday, September 30, between 6pm and 9pm with talks from headteacher Daniel Leonard at 6.30pm, 7.15pm and 8pm.

Families will be invited to tour the school, either independently or with the support of a tour guide, and listen to a talk by headteacher Daniel Leonard and students about the ethos and values of West Hatch and how the school develops students both academically and personally.

Mr Leonard said: “We are excited to be welcoming families into the school and will finally be able to share our new, outstanding facilities which have been completed over the last two years. 

"We will also be offering families tours during the school day following our Open Evening, although these are limited in number and on a first come, first served basis. 

"I look forward to welcoming members of our community into our wonderful school and sharing with them what makes West Hatch such a special place."

For more information visit the school's website at https://www.westhatch.net/
8.01pm - September 16

LOUGHTON: Man arrested in murder case rebailed until November

A man arrested on suspicion of murder following the death of a woman who died following reports that she had been in collision with a vehicle in Grosvenor Drive, Loughton, has been rebailed until November.

The 61-year-old man, who was initially bailed until today (Thursday), has now been rebailed until November 12, a police spokesman told Everything Epping Forest this evening.

The woman, aged in her 50s, was pronounced dead at the scene - close to Davenant Foundation School - following the reported collision which happened shortly before 12.15am on Friday, August 20.
4.16pm - September 15

LOUGHTON: Driver sought after police pursuit crash

Police are hunting the driver of a car which was pursued by officers from Waltham Cross to Loughton where it crashed on Epping New Road yesterday.

It is understood that four people were in the VW Scirocco when it crashed at the end of the pursuit which involved Hertfordshire Constabulary officers who first spotted the car - which police have described as a "vehicle of interest" - in Eleanor Cross Road, Waltham Cross.

Three people were detained.

A Hertfordshire Constabulary spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: "At about 4.55pm on Tuesday (September 14) police were alerted to a vehicle of interest travelling in Eleanor Cross Road, Waltham Cross.

"The vehicle was followed into Essex ground where it then failed to stop for police.

"The vehicle crashed and the occupants fled the scene.

"Three people were detained for a search but nothing was found.

"The vehicle was recovered and enquiries are continuing to trace the driver."
4.16pm - September 15

EPPING: Theydon Oak pub receives floral award

The Theydon Oak pub has been presented with Epping Town Council's Epping in Bloom rosebowl which is awarded annually for the best floral display for business premises in the town.

Town Mayor councillor Michael Wright, who visited the Coopersale Street pub today (Wednesday) to hand over the trophy and a certificate, said: "It was a very hard decision for the council but after a lot of deliberation it was decided that the Theydon Oak - because of the colour, style and amount of floral displays - was the worthy winner this year."

It is the second time in three years and the ninth time since the award was first presented in 1990 that the Theydon Oak pub has held the award.
12.43pm - September 15

NORTH WEALD: "Dangerous paedophile" jailed for 15 years

A woman who was sexually abused as a child by a North Weald man who has been jailed for 15 years has praised the police officers who handled her case which she said had "finished with the best outcome possible".

Richard Wardley, 50, of Higham View, North Weald, was sentenced to 15 years in prison yesterday (Tuesday).

He was also given an additional year on extended licence.

Wardley befriended and groomed the victim in the late 1990s and earlier 2000s to the point where they were involved in a sexual relationship.

When the girl’s family became suspicious about the nature of their relationship, they ensured he did not see her again but in 2017 he tried to make contact with her, sending her a message on Facebook.

This contact prompted the victim, who had come to realise she had been groomed by Wardley, to contact police and report what had happened.

When officers carried out a search of Wardley’s home address in Higham View in November 2017 they found VHS tapes which included what appeared to be a covert recording of the victim in a state of undress.

Officers also seized several other items of digital equipment including phones, laptops and computer hard drives.

When they were forensically examined, about 100,000 indecent images of children were found.

He was convicted of multiple sexual offences on July 30.

The woman, who is remaining anonymous, said: “The crimes that were committed against me in my childhood have always been somewhere in my mind: sometimes buried deep whilst at other times they have acted as a constant torment.

“As an adult I understand the implications of being manipulated, groomed and sexually abused. I understand the impact it has had on my life and the decisions I have made.

“The police officers that worked on this case understood all this from the very start. They have listened carefully to my words without judgement.

“They have, where possible, given me control of where and how I have presented my evidence with consideration to my life as a whole.

“They have been discrete, worked tirelessly and have been a continuous support to both myself and my immediate family alongside the Citizens Advice Outreach Service and the County Witness Care teams.

“Their holistic approach has allowed me to say out loud events that I have never voiced before which although was terribly uncomfortable, was manageable with the patience and empathy shown.

“This has collectively ensured that a dangerous paedophile has been removed from society and thus helps to ensure the safety of more children and young persons.

“Although it has been a long, stressful, even exhausting process, it has finished with the best outcome possible.

“I have been heard. People have listened. I have been believed.

“Now I can move on with an even greater respect and admiration for the Police Force and the supporting teams within the Criminal Justice System."

Investigating officer Detective Constable Carol Astbury said: “Richard Wardley is predatory individual who took advantage of a young girl for his own sexual gratification.

“The huge library of indecent images of children further emphasises the danger he poses to young people.

“The victim has been incredibly brave. It takes a huge amount of courage to report what she had been subjected to.

“She has put her life on hold while the court process was taking place so I’m delighted for her that Wardley has been held accountable for his actions.

“I hope this will help her move forward.”

Anyone who has been affected by grooming or sexual abuse can report it to police by ringing 101 or contacting Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

For more about the specialist teams which investigate sexual offences and how victims are supported go to https://www.essex.police.uk/news/essex/news/news/2021/june/essex-how-we-support-victims-of-rape-and-sexual-assault/
12.29pm - September 15

ROYDON: Senior detective pays tribute to Terry Lubbock

The detective leading the investigation into the murder of Stuart Lubbock has paid tribute to Stuart's father who died this morning from cancer aged 76.

Terry Lubbock had fought tirelessly for justice for his son following his death more than 20 years ago, after he attended a party at the Roydon home of entertainer Michael Barrymore.

Senior Investigation Officer Detective Superintendent Stephen Jennings, who is heading the investigation into the murder and indecent assault of Stuart Lubbock, said: “It is with a really heavy heart that I and my colleagues at Essex Police today learned of the sad news of the passing of Terry Lubbock.

“Since I first met Terry, when I became the Senior Investigating Officer into Stuart’s murder, I have come to know him professionally and personally.

“First and foremost Terry was a devoted father, he loved his son Stuart immensely and he understandably never got over the tragedy of not only losing his son, but also the fact that - like us -  he never gave up on his search for answers about how Stuart came to meet his death.

“I know from speaking with him on many occasions that at times this must have felt like an unbearable burden for Terry."

He added: "For all of us at Essex Police who had the pleasure of meeting Terry and his family over the years, I know I speak for all of us when I say we were always struck by his dignity and good grace.

“Terry’s devotion to his son and to his pursuit of justice knew no bounds. He was an example to many of us in his relentless quest for truth and justice.

“Our investigation into Stuart’s death will not end with Terry’s death - as long as the case remains open, we will do all we can to deliver justice for him and his family. To this end we urge anyone who has information about Stuart’s death to please now, more than ever, do the right thing and come forward."

Anyone with any information about the case can ring Essex Police on 101.
12.14pm - September 15

EPPING: Town council appealing to buskers

Epping Town Council has progressed the idea of allowing buskers to perform on the piazza in Epping High Street, and is now welcoming approaches from musicians who are interested in performing on Monday market days.
8.34pm - September 14

LOUGHTON: Debden Park High School holding open morning

Debden Park High School is holding a face-to-face open morning on Saturday (September 18) between 9am and 12.30pm.

Year 6 students from local primary schools have been sent a 'Golden Ticket' inviting them for a 30-minute tour accompanied by one member of their family. 

To ensure groups are not too big, parents have to ring 020 8508 2979 to book their place on one of the guided tours.

Some places are still available but are being booked up fast.  Anyone interested in attending is asked to ring the school as soon as possible. 

Headteacher Helen Gascoyne said: "We are absolutely thrilled to be able to open our doors again to welcome Year 6 students and their parents and carers into our school. 

"After the last couple of years we have held virtual events but our students and staff are so excited to be able to show off exactly what makes Debden Park such a special place.

"Open Morning is one of the best days in our school calendar and I'm confident all our visitors on Saturday will see exactly what it means to BE successful at Debden Park High School and will BE inspired by our outstanding school."
7.58pm - September 14

EPPING: Town sites - More homes planned than detailed in Local Plan

The number of homes earmarked for three sites in Epping is 71 more than is detailed in the yet-to-be-adopted Local Plan, it has been revealed.

Amended plans for the St John's Road site - where 184 apartments, the vast majority one-bedroom, and two cottages converted from existing buildings are planned - were considered by town councillors on Tuesday.

Qualis Commercial managing director Simon Rutter told the meeting the amended applications had been submitted after 22 documents had been updated after 13 pages of consultation responses had been received.

He said Qualis is proposing 270 homes across three sites (the Conder Building at the Civic Offices; the St John's Road site and the current Epping Sports Centre site) while 199 units are earmarked for the sites in the Local Plan.

The Qualis development plans also include a new leisure centre on the Bakers Lane car park and a multi-storey car park, cinema, public toilets and office and retail space on the Cottis Lane car park.

Commenting on amendments made to the proposed St John's Road development, Mr Rutter said some roof designs had been changed to include more gable roofs, in keeping with the Centrepoint building, while some blocks had been split to "improve wayfinding" across the site.

Councillor Barbara Scruton expressed concern over the parking provision, stating that the 113 one-bedroom, 63 two-bedroom and eight three-bedroom flats proposed totalled 273 bedrooms.

Mr Rutter confirmed that 53 parking spaces are proposed.

Councillor Scruton added: "I don't think you've addressed all the issues we wanted to be addressed. The design could be more in keeping with the town."

Town Mayor Michael Wright queried the four-storey buildings proposed and voiced concern over the impact the development would have on neighbouring Epping Hall.

He said: "We will have to have the lights on during the day.

"This is the market town of Epping. This is not east London and we don't want lots of one-bed flats all over the place."

Councillor Christine Burgess highlighted the number of people who now work from home and said two-bedroom rather than one-bedroom homes were required.

Mr Rutter said a district council housing needs study and an independent report concluded there was a shortage of one-bedroom accommodation in Epping and an "overwhelming" demand for such accommodation in the town centre.

He said: "The benefit of one-bed units is they are providing accommodation for part of the market that doesn't neccessarily drive and so the town centre is where they want to live."

He added: "I think the design fits into Epping. We went through four pre-application meetings, five quality review panels, two consultation events over 12 months and spent the last six months talking. This scheme has been aired for the past 18 months."

Councillor Barbara Scruton replied: "We've been objecting for those 18 months too."

Councillor Simon Baker welcomed the development saying there were 20 to 30-year-olds who were looking for flats "and we need more social housing."

He added: "St John's is the idea site for that. If we are going to have more flats in Epping, St John's is the best site for it."

Christine Burgess highlighted the number of people who now work from home and said two-bedroom rather than one-bedroom homes were required.
3.05pm - September 14

BUCKHURST HILL: Parish council to consider 'jumble trail day'

The idea of a 'jumble trail day' in Buckhurst Hill is to be considered by Buckhurst Hill Parish Council.

A local resident spoke about the idea at Thursday's parish council meeting having noticed the amount of items which are being left outside homes to be taken by passers-by.

He said he intended to hold the event early next spring.

No charge is made for any of the items which are left out for collection.

A map would be produced to highlight properties taking part in the day.

The idea will be discussed by the parish council's recreation and community committee.
3.04pm - September 14

BUCKHURST HILL: Speedwatch volunteers wanted

The Speedwatch scheme for Buckhurst Hill is appealing for new volunteers and a co-ordinator.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the roles can email parish council clerk Liz Petyt-Start at office@buckhursthillpc.gov.uk
1.52pm - September 14

NORTH WEALD: Parish council holding series of community events

North Weald Bassett Parish Council is hosting community events in North Weald Village, Thornwood and Hastingwood giving residents the opportunity to meet their local ward councillors and find out what the council has been up to over the past 18 months.

The events are at:

* North Weald Village Hall - Friday, September 24 (6.30pm to 8.30pm)

* The Parish Hall, Thornwood Common - Saturday, September 25 (10am to noon)

* Hastingwood Village Hall - Saturday, September 25 (2pm to 4pm).

There will also be a Local Plan stand and a Neighbourhood Plan stand.
3.03pm - September 13

BUCKHURST HILL: Parish council makes Red Cross donation

A donation of £1,000 is to be given to the Red Cross by Buckhurst Hill Parish Council to support the charity's work assisting with the Afghanistan crisis.
2.43pm - September 13

BUCKHURST HILL: Parish council continuing with plans for COVID-19 memorial space

Buckhurst Hill Parish Council is continuing with its work in drawing up plans for a COVID-19 memorial in the parish.

A memorial within the flower bed on the corner of Palmerston Road and Kings Avenue has been identified as a possible location.

Councillor Ken Williamson told Thursday's parish council meeting: "It would not be a memorial for just those who died, it's for everything that has gone on throughout the pandemic."

The parish council has set up a working group to discuss ideas.
1.35pm - September 13

BUCKHURST HILL: Plaque recognises Holocaust survivors' home

A plaque has been unveiled at Holmehurst in Buckhurst Hill where Holocaust survivors lived for two years.

A lunch at the property was hosted by current owners Wendy and Richard Higgins to mark the end of 'The Boys: Holocaust Survivors in the Epping Forest District' exhibition at the Epping Forest District Museum in Waltham Abbey.

Among the guests at the lunch were Angela Cohen MBE, chairman of ’45 Aid Society - a charity set up by The Boys to raise money for charitable causes - Angela’s son, TV personality Rob Rinder MBE, Lord Lieutenant of Essex Jennifer Tolhurst, Rabbi Odom Brandman, of Buckhurst Hill Chabad, and Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing.

After the lunch a blue plaque was unveiled on the front of the house to mark its unique history, including the stay of The Boys.

Of the original group of 732 child survivors who came to the UK after liberation, 300 went to live in Windermere in the Lake District and 26 of those later went on to live at Holmehurst.

The ‘Loughton Boys’ stayed in Holmehurst, a 19th century mansion close to Epping Forest, between 1945 and 1947. 

Three of those original ‘Loughton Boys’ - Sir Ben Helfgott, Jan Goldberger and Harry Spiro - took part in the event and remembered their time in Essex with great affection.

Museum staff worked closely with the ’45 Aid Society for over two years to create the exhibition.

As part of the project they also produced a teaching pack as a resource on Holocaust studies for local secondary schools.

Dame Eleanor Laing MP said: "It was a true honour to be at the plaque unveiling of Holmehurst and to meet some of the ‘Loughton Boys’ and their families.

"It was an historic occasion to remember the Jewish boys who were brought to live in Loughton by Sir Nicholas Winton to escape the atrocities of the Holocaust.

"Remembering the millions of people who died in the Holocaust is vitally important, not only for the Jewish community but for the country as a whole."

She added: "It was a privilege to be with the survivors and their families on such a special occasion. We will never forget."
7.36pm - September 10

BUCKHURST HILL: Solution found to Roding Valley Hall car park issues

The Roding Valley Hall car park in Station Way, Buckhurst Hill, will now be open from 8.30am until 6.30pm on weekdays and Saturdays with three shopkeepers responsible for opening and closing the car park, the parish council has agreed.

The car park had previously been opened and closed by parish council staff. 

However Thursday's parish council meeting was told that issues had arisen when the car park was not opened as scheduled and indiscriminately closed without notice, sometimes for several days.

Traders told councillors that any closure was "crippling" businesses in Station Way.

One shopkeeper told the meeting: "It's a huge struggle at the moment. By shutting the car park it's really damaging the businesses."

He added: "We have offered to take on the responsibility of opening and closing the gates. We are responsible people. We wouldn't abuse it. We turn up in the morning and don't know whether it will be open and closed."

Councillor Jo Share-Bernia said it is "catastrophic" for businesses when the car park was closed.

The parish council had reverted to restricted opening times rather than leaving the car park open 24 hours a day to prevent all-day commuter parking.
2.29pm - September 10

BUCKHURST HILL: Call on parish council to detail proposals for its near "£1m" of reserves

A call has been made on Buckhurst Hill Parish Council to set out its 'vision and priorities' and give details about how it intends to use its "very healthy reserves" said to total almost £1m following the election of a new council in May.

The issue of the future of Buckhurst Hill Library and the parish council's two community halls - The Woollard Centre and Roding Valley Hall - was also raised by local resident, and district councillor, Aniket Patel at Thursday's parish council meeting.

Mr Patel, who was speaking as a local resident during the public participation item on the agenda, said he was keen to see the Queen's Road library used as a community facility.

He told the meeting: "For me this is an iconic building. It's right in the centre of the community and we should be promoting this as a community hall and one that the community can truly benefit from."

Regarding the council's community halls, Mr Patel - who had been chairman of the parish council under the previous administration - highlighted the money the parish council has spent on maintenance on both of the buildings.

He said: "Both are in a particular state where we have to prop them up with parish reserves and I see this as a waste of parish money."

He said the parish council was "sitting on some very healthy reserves" of close to £1m which he described as an "incredible" sum for a parish council.

He said the parish council is "cash rich" and added: "I would like to see how that money is going to be reinvested into the community."

Parish council chairman Steven Neville said eight of the 11 parish councillors are new to the council having been elected in May and the council had decided to look again at proposals for the two halls.

Commenting on the future of the library, Mr Neville highlighted that the building is not in the parish council's ownership as it is owned by Essex County Council adding: "It's they that really need to work in tandem (with the parish council) to create the community hub."
8.28am - September 10

DISTRICT: County councillor marks 999 Day

Ongar & Rural Division Essex county councillor Jaymey McIvor has thanked Essex Police, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, the NPAS helicopter service and the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance on 999 Day.

He said: "We have more than 999 reasons to thank our emergency services. They are our calm in our moments of challenge.

"Every day we should salute the work of these incredible selfless individuals but today seemed like the perfect opportunity to take the time to thank the teams in Ongar and North Weald.”

He added: "I’m sure I can speak on behalf of all the people I represent when I thank our heroes who are ready to serve us 24/7."

Councillor McIvor gifted a thank you balloon and card which read: “Thank you for all you do for us on the ground and in the air. We are grateful for all you do today and every day”.

The balloon and cards are located in the staff rooms of the facilities visited by councillor McIvor.
9.38am - September 9

LOUGHTON: Town council objects to Ginger Pig outdoor seating plan

An application by The Ginger Pig butchers shop in High Road, Loughton, for a pavement licence which would allow it to have tables and chairs outside is being opposed by Loughton Town Council.

The planning and licensing committee has objected to Epping Forest District Council saying "it is already far too congested outside this shop with customers queuing on what is an extremely busy corner".

The committee adds: "Patrons constantly pull up in their vehicles parking on the pavement. To add tables and chairs would exacerbate an existing hazard for the safety of pedestrians passing by."

The council has also stressed the shop is a butcher’s not a licensed café and the granting of a pavement licence "would be unfair to other licensed cafes within the High Road".
5.53pm - September 8

BUCKHURST HILL: Epping Forest District Council chairman to open new stand

The chairman of Epping Forest District Council will officially open the new 100-seater stand at Buckhurst Hill Football Club on Saturday.

Councillor Helen Kane will be joined by the chairman of Buckhurst Hill Parish Council, councillor Steven Neville, other councillors and community representatives for the official opening at Roding Lane at 1pm.

The opening takes place before the club's biggest ever fixture - its first appearance in the FA Vase when it takes on Enfield with a 3pm kick-off.

Club chairman Simon Cornwell said: "We are looking forward to a magical point in our history and showcasing all that is positive about grassroots football and making dreams possible with the success of our first team on days like Saturday.

"It is an incredible achievement by all involved in the Buckhurst Hill family and the local community."

A variety of age groups from across the club will also be in attendance highlighting the club's "next generation".

* Buckhurst Hill Football Club's first team has had a successful start to the season having recorded a six-match unbeaten start to the season in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division South following its promotion from the Essex Olympian League for this campaign.

The first team suffered its first defeat of the season last Saturday but remains just three points off the top of the league with games in hand over the top sides.
2.41pm - September 7

LOUGHTON: Primary school welcomes new zebra crossing

A new zebra crossing on Willingale Road in Debden is being welcomed by Thomas Willingale School and Nursery after years of campaigning.

Headteacher Teresa Phillips said: "Everyone at Thomas Willingale School and Nursery is celebrating having a new zebra crossing outside the school after many years of lobbying!

"A huge thank you to all the parents who helped us with our campaign. 

"The children now have a safe place to cross after many years without a school crossing patrol." 
2.05pm - September 7

NORTH WEALD: Parish council looks to return to library

North Weald Bassett Parish Council is considering a move back into its office at North Weald Library having run its services from The Parish Hall at Thornwood during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parish council clerk Sue de Luca told Monday's parish council meeting the return could be achieved "if we took appropriate measures" at the library.

She added that with bookings returning it was becoming increasingly difficult for the parish council to continue to operate its face-to-face administrative centre at the Parish Hall.

Should the return to the library go ahead, the parish council could then hire out its current office space at The Parish Hall as a small meeting room, the meeting was told.

The move would see a maximum of two parish council staff working in the library at any one time.

Mrs de Luca said: "We had to move out (of the library) because under risk assessment we couldn't keep you (councillors) and the staff safe but we feel we could now if we took appropriate measures.

"We should ask Essex County Council that if we go back we go back on our terms with an enhanced Service Level Agreement which includes work being carried out to room at the back and the storage area."

Parish councillors agreed the idea of a return to the library should be pursued through county councillor Chris Whitbread.
1.33pm - September 7

ONGAR: County councillor keen to learn more about Shelley Estate proposals

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

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

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

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

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

Epping Forest District Council has said fuller details will be published when the plans are "more established".
1.31pm - September 7

ONGAR: County councillor “committed” to finding long-term solution to High Street traffic

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cllr McIvor and Mr Burghart have joined forces and along with the support from Ongar Town Council and other key community stakeholders hope to bring forward a solution in Ongar’s best interests. 
6.12pm - September 6

EPPING: Civic Offices refurbishment cost over £8.5m, report reveals

The refurbishment of the Civic Offices in Epping cost over £8.5m - some £460,000 under the agreed budget, a district council report reveals.

Several walls have been removed to create open space areas with mechanical, electrical and plumbing services upgraded to fit the new layout.

New toilet and kitchen facilities have been installed, the main atrium lighting and link building rooflight renewed and new air conditioning units installed.

Cabling has been replaced, the fire alarm system improved and solar panels installed.

The building has also been redecorated with new furniture, fixtures and equipment installed.

The work - which has now been completed with the new-look offices set to be officially opened in October - includes a new ICT workstream including a new Visitor Management System, Microsoft Teams enabled meeting rooms, 'bring your own device' (BYOD) conference suite rooms that adapt into larger conference spaces, technology to enable collaborative working, digital signs and a resource/room booking system.

An accommodation project report prepared for the council's cabinet states: "The agreed budget for the project was approved at £8.979m which was split across both capital and revenue. 

"In addition to this was a contribution received from ICT within the capital budget for a further £15,000. This meant the project had an overall total committed budget of £8.984m.

"To date there has been an actual spend of £8.523,698 across both capital and revenue leaving a current variance of £460,302 against the committed budget."

The report highlights a number of "clear benefits defined to support environmental gains throughout the delivery of the project".

These include the new solar panels, a reduction in gas usage through more efficient boilers, a reduction in electricity usage through a combined heat and power installation, reduced water consumption and the a new lighting control system to increase efficiencies. 

Various "project benefits" detailed in the report include expected income of about £500,000 in rent from the new housing proposed for the site of the Conder building.

The council has sold the Conder building land into Qualis Commercial for £14.6m. 

The report adds: "These properties will be available for rent and so will provide a long-term revenue income of c£500,000 per annum to the council.

There is also an expected revenue saving of £200,000 for the overhead maintenance costs in the reduction of office space by losing the current Conder building, the report adds.

The report states: "The refurbishment of the Civic Offices commenced on-site in July 2020 when construction contractor mobilisation and full strip-out of existing internals started... The project was completed on-plan in April 2021 and the building formally handed over to EFDC."
2.21pm - September 6

WALTHAM ABBEY: Firefighters called after van hits house

Fire crews from Loughton and Chingford were called to a house off Monkswood Avenue, Waltham Abbey, this morning after a van struck the front of a house and hit a gas box.

Gas engineers from Cadent as well as police officers were also on the scene.

The property sustained structural damage but no-one was trapped either in the house or the van.

An Essex County Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson told Everything Epping Forest: “Firefighters were called to Windsor Wood in Waltham Abbey at 11:04am to reports that a van had collided with a gas box in a house. 

“On arrival, crews reported that a van had collided with a house and had hit a gas box. 

“Nobody was trapped inside the vehicle or house and crews worked with the gas board to check if there was a gas leak. 

“Firefighters confirmed there was no gas leak and left the scene in the care of the gas board and homeowners.”
6.58pm - September 5

ONGAR: More stalls and more visitors at September market

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

This month saw entertainment provided by Toot Hill Folk Club.

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

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

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

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

The October market will be on Sunday, October 3, again from 10am until 2pm.
1.08pm - September 4

WALTHAM ABBEY: Town council hosts horticultural show and Waltham Abbey in Bloom presentations

PICTURES

Flowers and vegetables, scarecrows designed by children and homemade pickles were just some of the entries submitted for the seventh Waltham Abbey horticultural show and Waltham Abbey In Bloom competition.

The events, held by Waltham Abbey Town Council in conjunction with the allotment association, culminated with the presentation of certificates and trophies at Waltham Abbey Town Hall on Friday evening.

Waltham Abbey in Bloom prizes included awards for the 'Most Colourful Public House' and 'Most Colourful Business Frontage' both of which were won by The Welsh Harp.

Hillhouse Primary School won the 'Best School Garden with Pupil Involvement' and the 'Best Communal Container' category and was second in the tallest sunflower category.

Numerous horticultural show awards were presented with Monica Brzoza and Steven Moore receiving the 'Best in Show' trophy. The winner was based on the number of points gathered in all categories.

Town Mayor councillor Jodie Lucas, who announced the winners and presented certificates for the winners and second and third placed entries in a range of categories, said: "Well done to everybody.

"It was fantastic to visit the allotments and the schools to see what had been grown, and it was an absolute pleasure to see all the entries brought along to the town hall for judging.

"Congratulations to everyone who took part."
9.13am - September 3

WALTHAM ABBEY: Fourth person dies following M25 collision

​A fourth person injured during a collision on the M25 on Monday​, August​ 23​, has now died.

Police were called to the anti-clockwise carriageway between Junctions 27 and 26 just after 6.15pm.

Three people were pronounced dead at the scene.

Essex Police have named the victims who were all passengers in a minibus.

Despite the best efforts of emergency services and members of the public who attempted first aid, 31-year-old Abigaile Muamba, from Edmonton Green; Dexter Augustus, 60, from Waltham Forest, and Jennifer Smith, 59, from Stratford, were all pronounced dead at the scene.

Lisa Gardiner, 44, from Walthamstow, has now died of her injuries.

Inspector Mark Fraser, who leads the force’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in this awful incident.
“My officers are working tirelessly to try and piece up what led to the collision.

“If you saw the three vehicles prior to the collision - a Mondeo, a minibus and a lorry - or have any dash cam of their movements, please contact us.

“Four people have lost their lives and we need to get to the bottom of what happened.”

Two men were arrested that evening - the minibus driver and a lorry driver.

The minibus driver has since been de-arrested following new information.

The lorry driver, a 64-year-old man from Ipswich, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, causing serious injury by dangerous driving, and driving whilst unfit through drink or drugs.

Anyone who witnessed the collision, has dash cam footage or information on it should submit a report online or use the 'Live Chat' button to speak to an online operator between 7am and 11pm.

Information can also be given on 101 (incident 972 of Monday, August 23) or via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
8.52am - September 3

NORTH WEALD: Detectives continue to appeal for information after boy stabbed

​Detectives are continuing to investigate ​- and want to trace two people - ​after a teenager was stabbed in North Weald.

​Police believe a verbal argument at a bus stop on High Road turned into a physical fight just before 9.15pm last Friday (August 27).

A 17-year-old boy was taken to hospital for treatment but did not suffer serious injuries.

A 14-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm, suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and possession of cannabis.

He has been released under investigation while we continue our enquiries.

An 18-year-old man arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm ​has been​ released without charge.

​A police spokesman said: "​We are continuing to look for two further individuals in connection with our investigation.​"

​Anyone with information about the incident, or who may have relevant CCTV or dashcam footage, is asked to contact Loughton CID and quote reference number 42/181010/21.

​Information can also be given online at ​https://www.essex.police.uk/​, by ringing 101​ or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

 
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