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DISTRICT: MP meets Christmas card competition winner

3.18pm - 10th December 2018

EPPING Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing visited Braeside School in Buckhurst Hill to thank the winner of her annual Christmas card competition, which was again sponsored by Haslers Chartered Accountants.

Freya's design featured Father Christmas flying through the sky towards Big Ben, and bright red Christmas tree baubles. 

Dame Eleanor had to choose a design from hundreds of entries received from more than 20 local schools.

She visited the school to announce the winner and present Freya with a prize and a selection of the special cards. 

Dame Eleanor said: I was delighted to visit Braeside School and to thank the pupils and teachers who had put so much effort into my Christmas card competition. 

"Freya’s design is really brilliant. So full of colour and activity, a lovely bright reflection of the Christmas spirit.” 

Loughton-based Haslers has worked with Dame Eleanor for several years to support her Christmas card competition. 

Haslers chairman Jon O’Shea said: “We would like to congratulate Freya on her fantastic design, which really sums up the Christmas spirit. 

“We have supported this competition for a number of years and are always extremely impressed with the quality of the submissions from local schools. 

“This is a fantastic way to get young people to engage with the wider community and we feel very fortunate to be given this opportunity by Dame Eleanor.” 

More than 900 copies of Freya’s design have been produced and will be sent out to fellow MPs and leading dignitaries, including Prime Minister Theresa May.

   

CHIGWELL: Police renew murder appeal

9.05am - 8th December 2018

FIVE years on from the murder of a teenaged boy in Chigwell, detectives are renewing their appeal for information. 

Ayodele Osifuwa, 16, from east London, was found lying on a grass verge with a leg wound at the roundabout junction of Limes Avenue and Westmede shortly before 9pm on Monday December 9, 2013.

Despite the extensive efforts of medical staff at the Royal London Hospital, he died on Friday, February 7, 2014 - just over a month after what would have been his 17th birthday. 

Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Martin Pasmore, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “It has been five years since the murder of Ayodele Osifuwa and, still, no-one has come forward with the information we need to bring his killer or killers to justice. 

“We know there were a number of witnesses to the attack who have chosen not to tell us what they know. 

“But it has been five years now and Ayodele’s family need to know what happened to him and they need justice. 

“He should have had his whole life ahead of him, instead it was cut short at just 16. 

“The people who took his life are out there, along with the people who know what happened. Please do the right thing and get in touch with us, so we can give his family the justice they deserve.” 

Two people were arrested at the time in connection with the murder but they were later released without charge. 

Anyone with information can contact Harlow’s Major Crime Team on 101, email scdappeals@essex.pnn.police.uk or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

   

EPPING: Festive Friday in Epping

8.51am - 8th December 2018

CROWDS descended on Epping High Street for the Epping Town Council-organised Christmas Market which featured some 70 stalls and festive entertainment. 

While the rain held off, visitors flooded into the town for the market which was officially opened by Town Mayor councillor Nigel Avey. 

Yesterday also saw the start of the four-day Christmas Tree Festival at St Johyn's Church.

A full report will be posted later.

PICTURES

   

BUCKHURST HILL: Crews tackle blaze at David Lloyd Centre

UPDATE 8.51am - 7th December 2018

AN investigation has been launched into the cause of last night's blaze at the David Lloyd Centre, Buckhurst Hill.
Crews were on scene for more than nine hours - with the last relief crew leaving at about 3am today - after the fire started in a sauna and spread to the roof.

10.41pm - 6th December 2018

PICTURES

FIRE crews are continuing to tackle a blaze at the David Lloyd Centre, Buckhurst Hill, more than five hours after the alarm was raised. 

At the height of the blaze four fire crews - from Harlow, Loughton, Waltham Abbey and Woodford - were at the Roding Lane centre after a fire started in a sauna.

An Essex Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said the alarm was raised at about 5.40pm and crews had put out the sauna fire in half-an-hour however the fire had already spread quickly to the roof of the building at the rear of the site. 

Centre staff safely evacuated the buildings. A fire service spokesman, giving an update at 10pm, said two crews remain on the scene and "good progress is being made towards extinguishing the fire". 

Several East of England Ambulance crews were also on the scene, including a Hazardous Area Response Team. 

A spokesman for David Lloyd Centres told Everything Epping Forest: "We can confirm that all members and team were safely evacuated from our Chigwell club this evening after the fire alarm sounded. 

"The emergency services are in attendance (at) the club, which is currently closed. 

"The health and safety of our members and team is always our number one priority." 

PICTURES

   

EPPING: Rotarians seek award nominations

9.21am - 6th December 2018

THE Rotary Club of Epping is seeking nominations for its annual Service Above Self award. 

The award, first presented in 1986, is awarded 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 winner will hold the trophy for one year and also receive an inscribed commemorative piece of glassware as a personal gift. 

The club is looking for people who have served the community in ordinary ways but to an extraordinary degree. 

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 January 10 with details of the nominee(s) and the reason for the nomination(s). 

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

   

LOUGHTON: School's Christmas collection for Foodbank

8.29am - 6th December 2018

HUNDREDS of tins and packets of food have been collected by staff and students at Roding Valley High School, Loughton, for Epping Forest Foodbank. 

The Christmas collection has been organised by Head Girl Grace Cain and Head Boy Harry Boyd-Walker.

Grace said: "Harry and I are absolutely delighted with the response. "When we launched the appeal a few weeks ago we were hoping for a few items in each box but we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of staff and students and have plenty to deliver to the Epping Forest Foodbank on Friday."

The students decided to make the appeal a 'house competition' with Pankhurst students having currently donated the most items. 

Grace added: "Regardless of which house wins, it has been great to pull together as a whole school and do something to help our local community." 

Assistant headteacher Sam Dyer said: "We are all very proud of Grace and Harry for launching the appeal. The response from our staff and students has been fantastic, just as I expected it would be. 

"We try to support as many different charities as we can. The Epping Forest Foodbank charity is the obvious local choice and supports so many local families all year round."

PICTURE

   

LOUGHTON: Children perform Christmas shows

3.40pm - 5th December 2018

CHILDREN at Hereward Primary School have been performing their Christmas shows. 

For pictures of the Reception nativity CLICK HERE
For pictures of the Years 3 and 3 'Christmas At The Movies' show CLICK HERE

   

DISTRICT: Sports clubs support Foodbank

3.25pm - 5th December 2018

A CHRISTMAS appeal collection by Epping Upper Clapton Rugby Club, Epping Youth FC and Epping Netball Club has resulted in 80kg of goods being presented to Epping Forest Foodbank. 

Epping Upper Clapton club chairman Paul Donnelly said: "This is double what we achieved last Christmas."

   

DEBDEN: Santa Run raises £6,500 for hospice

9.32am - 5th December 2018

PICTURES

MORE than 150 people dressed as Father Christmas took part in the fifth annual Debden Santa Run which looks set to have raised about £6,500 for St Clare Hospice. 

The 5km event is organised bdraising lead Dani De’ath said: “Geraldine has been a massive supporter of St Clare for many years and her Santa Run is one of the best community events of the season. 

"This year was so fun and it was amazing to once again witness such a great turnout at the event. 

"The flocks of Santas running down The Broadway really are a sight to behold! 

"We’d like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who participated and helped to spread the St Clare festive cheer in the local community, and a massive ‘thank you’ to Geraldine for organising the event, and for her continued support in helping us to raise vital funds during the festive period, helping us to care for patients and their families this Christmas.” 

PICTURES

   

NORTH WEALD: Parish council proposing 'Save Our Library' campaign

10.07am - 4th December 2018

A WIDESPREAD campaign to fight for North Weald Library is being proposed by North Weald Bassett Parish Council. 

Monday's meeting was given a list of possible ways to try and drum up support over Essex County Council's proposals which could see North Weald - and three other libraries in the district - closed. 

North Weald Library also accommodates the parish council's office and is used to hold council meetings. Banners, meetings, pop-up shops, open evenings and posters as well as social media have all been suggested. 

Councillors are also keen to encourage as many people as possible to respond to the county council's consultation which has to be completed online. 

Parish council officer Jo Tyler told the meeting: "It's not just North Weald people (using the library). People come from Ongar because they prefer this library. We get people from Coopersale and Epping. It's making sure those people know about it (the proposals)." 

The parish council is proposing to form a working group to co-ordinate a campaign to raise awareness. 

Councillor Brian Eldridge asked: "If it (North Weald Library) goes, what then happens to the parish council? 

"What happens to us all? We wouldn't be able to store things in the village hall." 

Council chairman Alan Buckley said: "The main thing is to get as many people as possible to fill the form in online. 

"It's something we need to give a lot of thought to in the next few weeks." 

Councillor Andy Tyler had earlier told the meeting that should North Weald Library close - and the parish council become effectively 'homeless' - "we won't be the same council, we won't be the same village". 

He added: "I just think it's a very, very sad situation." 

The council will consider the matter at its next meeting, when it will discuss a budget item to cover campaign costs. 

North Weald Preservation Society chairman Ken Knight expressed concern at the proposals being suggested by Essex County Council saying North Weald was not only a library and home to the parish council but was used for group reading for mothers and young children, a knitting group and others including villagers who use the county council computers. 

* North Weald Bassett Parish Council's Adriana Jones, who was clerking Monday's meeting, told the parish council: "The first we knew about it (the library consultation and proposed closure of North Weald Library) in the office was through Everything Epping Forest."

   

NORTH WEALD: Councillor compares barbers' shop signage to "fairground"

9.40am - 4th December 2018

ILLUMINATED signage at a new Turkish barbers in the parade of shops in High Road, North Weald, is being questioned by North Weald Bassett Parish Council. 

The council is to contact Epping Forest District Council enforcement officers over the frontage which parish council chairman Alan Buckley said "looks a bit like a fairground" when he raised the issue at Monday's planning committee.

   

COOPERSALE: Armed police called to 'armed' men in forest

8.49am - 4th December 2018

ARMED police were called to forest land between Epping and North Weald when they responded to a report that men thought to be armed were seen in the area. 

Officers were alerted shortly before 11am yesterday. 

The Essex Police helicopter was also involved in a search. 

A police spokesman told Everything Epping Forest this morning: "We were called at around 10.50am yesterday (Monday) with reports of men acting suspiciously in woodland off Coopersale, Epping. 

"The caller reported that they believed the men were armed and we attended the scene before locating three people carrying bags. 

"We found no weapons and we left the scene satisfied no offences had been committed." 

Everything Epping Forest understands the search focused on an area between the Coopersale turning and Woodside.

   

DISTRICT: District council relocation plans could involve town and parish councils

2.56pm - 3rd December 2018

THE prospect of Epping Forest District Council moving the majority of its Civic Offices staff to North Weald "presents opportunities" for the council to discuss office needs with Epping Town Council and North Weald Bassett Parish Council, the district council has said. 

All but 40 of the district council staff could move to new multi-million-pound offices off Blenheim Way at North Weald Airfield as part of major redevelopment plans - which include housing - for part of the Civic Offices site in Epping. 

District council leader Chris Whitbread said: "Building offices on land we already own next to the airfield will bring new business and employment opportunities to the village. 

"Rationalising our office needs also presents opportunities to talk to North Weald Bassett Parish Council.

“We are already discussing office sharing possibilities with Epping Town Council at the Civic Offices that will cut everyone’s costs, particularly good news for our Council Tax payers. We will be keen to explore similar opportunities at North Weald.” 

News of district council staff relocating to North Weald comes at the same time as the future of North Weald Library, which currently includes the office of North Weald Bassett Parish Council, is under threat as part of Essex County Council's shake-up of library services which details North Weald as one of four libraries in the district under threat of closure. 

Mr Whitbread added: “It is rare for a district council to have the capacity and the ambition to deliver on proposals of this scale. 

"Epping Forest District Council is different. Against the backdrop of falling central government spending, we have invested where it counts. We are funding additional police officers. 

“The Epping Forest Shopping Park, our brand-new leisure centre in Waltham Abbey, new council housing and new partners such as the National Police Air Service arrival at North Weald Airfield show what we can do.” 

He added: "Quietly, efficiently and effectively we are delivering the projects and services our residents, businesses and customers want. 

"This is an exciting time and I am very proud of the leading role Epping Forest District Council is taking in the delivery of a better future.”

   

EPPING: More than 50 homes and public cafe planned as part of Civic Office site redevelopment

8.44am - 3rd December 2018

Major redevelopment plans for the Civic Offices site include:

* Building dozens of new homes
* Moving out the majority of council staff to new accommodation on North Weald Airfield
* Leasing unused council office space to local businesses
* Converting old 323 High Street building into flats
* Opening a public cafe in the Civic Offices building


MORE than 50 homes could be built on part of the Civic Offices site in Epping with changes to the newer part of the main building set to include a public cafe and offices for local businesses. 

Some 1.63 acres of land could accommodate 40 two-bedroom flats in two 20-flat blocks with a further 25 'affordable' homes also built. 

The council estimates the housing could generate £30m-£33m with the private dwellings expected to sell for £600,000-£650,000 each. 

Many council employees could move from the main Civic Offices to new office accommodation on North Weald Airfield, estimated to cost between £8m and £8.5m, leaving some 40 civic, democratic and customer service staff at the Civic Offices. 

The spare space, over two floors, could be rented to local businesses including start-up businesses. A council report estimates the first phase of refurbishment would cost £1.5m, rising to a total of £3m over ten years. 

The new housing would take up land to the rear of the site with the land sale generating some £10m, a cabinet report states, while the total new-build cost would total some £8.5m. 

The 323 High Street building could be converted into residential use - possibly three one-bedroom flats and two two-bedroom flats. 

The council estimates that the one-bed flats could fetch £300,000 each and the two-bed flats £500,000. Councillors have been told that since September a number of partners and agencies have been approached or have approached the council to discuss the opportunity of locating services in the Civic building. 

These include Essex County Council, Essex Police, West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group and Corporation of London.

The cabinet report adds: "Parish and town council opportunities working within (the) EFDC estate are also being explored where this accommodation project could work for customers, residents and organisations. 

"Exploratory discussions with a variety of businesses are in progress and a decision to move forward with soft market testing would enable further viability to commence." 

An 'accommodation option' document to be presented to next week's cabinet meeting explains how a new public entrance could be created in the main Civic Offices building to access a "possible franchise coffee-cafe venture" which could be open to the public and office users "to create a vibrant community and co-working space, and for informal meetings". 

Suggested new office accommodation on North Weald Airfield would require some 35,000sq.ft of space and would cost an estimated £8m-£8.5m.

Council leader Chris Whitbread said: “Epping Forest District Council is modernising to ensure we are fit for the future. 

"The overall number of staff we employ is reducing. Along with agile home working, we are radically reducing our need for office space. 

"Moving all but our customer facing, civic and democratic staff to North Weald will significantly reduce our office costs but that must not come at an economic price to Epping High Street. 

"Bringing new commercial businesses and long-standing partners such as Essex Police into Epping will help to ensure a healthy lunchtime cashflow for High Street businesses. 

"Leasing out the Civic Offices also gives the district council more income to spend on local services.”

   

EPPING: Epping in Bloom volunteers switch on festive lights

9.48am - 2nd December 2018

SOME 2,000 festive lights at the Market Garden Terrace in Epping were switched on by young Epping in Bloom member Holly Lucken. 

Epping in Bloom chairman Victoria Robertson thanked everyone for attending and for the amazing support and feedback that Epping in Bloom has received from its volunteers throughout the year. 

Deputy town mayor Grahame Scruton spoke about how much the garden brings joy to residents and thanked Epping in Bloom for its hard work. 

Victoria said: "Many local residents came along with their families and M&S sponsored the evening with plenty of mince pies for everyone. 

"Mulled wine was served and lots of decorated jam jar tea-lights lined the paths. 

"Carols were sung, accompanied by live guitar music played by Epping in Bloom members Cherry and Gema." 

She added: "It was Epping in Bloom's third year of switching on festive lights in the Market Garden Terrace."

PICTURES

   

LOUGHTON: VAT man completes Ironman challenge

9.10am - 1st December 2018

A VAT executive at Loughton-based accountancy firm Haslers Chartered Accountants has completed a long-distance triathlon in Copenhagen. 

Lee Ervin swam 2.4 miles, cycled 112 miles and ran 26.2 miles in 12 hours 50 minutes. 

Lee said: "After a years’ worth of hard training I was delighted to finally take part. I had adversity to deal with during the run which made for a hard end to the day but I crossed the finish line with the knowledge I had helped contribute to our fantastic charity challenge. 

"I’m happy to say that I can now call myself an 'Ironman'. Words can’t really express how good it felt to finish.”

Haslers chairman Jon O’Shea said: "Everyone is so proud of what Lee has achieved. Having taken part in a number of long-distance events myself, I can fully appreciate the effort and mental strength that it takes to cross the finish line."

   

DISTRICT: Recycling scheme reaps rewards

9.07am - 1st December 2018

A SCHEME that rewards residents for recycling and boosts local charities has been operating in the district for over a year. 

Money raised through the scheme has been shared out between Epping Forest Community Transport, Chigwell Riding Trust, Epping Forest Foodbank and Safer Places. 

Epping Forest Recycling Rewards focuses on blocks of flats in the district where contamination in recycling has been high. 

The scheme helps incentivise residents to sort their recycling and cut down on contamination. 

Some 100 blocks have been taking part with almost a third of residents earning ‘Green Points’. 

Each month the six residents who have collected the most points receive a £25 voucher to spend at M&S, iTunes, Love2shop, and local leisure centres, or to donate to one of the charities supported by the scheme.

In the year to July contamination rates across the participating blocks dropped dramatically.

Environment portfolio holder Nigel Avey said: "We knew recycling rates in flats were below where they should be so this scheme is a wonderful opportunity for residents involved, to improve their recycling rates and get rewarded for doing so. 

"We monitor the quality of recycling being produced by flats in Epping Forest and reward residents for recycling more of the right things. 

"The blocks earn ‘Green Points’ depending on how they are performing and can also earn extra points for things like reporting fly-tipping and using recycling centres for household waste.” 

Local businesses have signed up to the scheme to offer discounts to participating residents.