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NORTH WEALD: Parish council opposes house plans

8.42am - 23rd January 2018

PLANS for a detached house next to 9 Church Lane, North Weald, are being opposed by North Weald Bassett Parish Council. 

Councillors say the two-storey, three-bedroom house next to 9 Church Lane would be an overdevelopment with insufficient parking. 

Other objections include concerns over sewage disposal as the application stated it was 'unknown' how foul sewage would be disposed of. 

Monday's planning committee meeting was told that Essex County Council standards state properties of two or more bedrooms require two spaces per dwelling. 

Councillor Terry Blanks said he was "amazed" such an application should have got this far. 

He added: "Clearly it has not been looked at by Epping Forest District Council. If it has, they were blinkered or blind at the time." He added there was insufficient amenity space. 

Mr Blanks said the application was "totally inadequate" and should have been rejected by district council planning officers who should have told the applicant "go away and start again". 

Residents who spoke at the meeting complained about insufficient parking and disputed the site boundary as shown on the application.

   

DISTRICT: Council could spend £645,000 over three years to fund three police officers and private security patrols

1.44pm - 22nd January 2018

THE district council could spend £215,000 a year for the next three years on funding three full-time Essex Police officers and getting a private security firm to undertake "targeted" patrols. 

The sergeant and two constables would be "tasked and directed" by the council's community safety team.

The cost would be met by a 2.5 per cent (£3.69 increase on Band D council tax bills). 

The council - should approval by given at the cabinet meeting on February 1 - will also commission Parkguard security company to undertake targeted patrols and youth engagement work and provide more Crucial Crew and Reality Roadshow sessions. 

A council report to the cabinet states that District Commander Chief Inspector Lewis Basford has said Essex Police sees the proposal as a "really positive initiative". 

He has told the council that the council-funded officers would only be withdrawn from the area in extreme cases and for "very high priority incidents in Essex". 

Any staff sickness and police training of the officers would see a credit to the council. 

The report adds: "The proposal for the council to fund the employment of additional police officers to supplement the existing local policing resources originally emanated from a series of high profile anti-social behaviour and crime incidents in Hillhouse, Waltham Abbey, and in Epping High Street.

"However, over recent months, the district has also seen a significant escalation in the number of dwelling and motor vehicle burglaries (currently the highest number out of all Essex local authorities), which has resulted in Essex Police deploying a range of county-wide resources to try and address and deter the high level of crime." 

While the cabinet is being asked to approve the initiative, councillors could instead wait until Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst announces his timescale for the proposed increase in the number of police officers in Essex to see whether additional resources will be given to the Epping Forest district.

What do you think?

Loughton Roding Independent councillor Stephen Murray
- We might have no alternative to agree with these proposals but I am far from happy about them. The fact that they are even being suggested clearly demonstrates the rising crime rate we are facing here in Epping Forest and how the large cuts in the police budget over the last few years has left the policing in our area so inadequate that the district council is having to consider spending some of its relatively small budget on police officers that should be provided by the Essex Police from its county wide resources. This in turn means there will be less monies for the services we are legally and traditionally responsible for.

   

CHIGWELL: Students donate hair to children's charity

12.24pm - 22nd January 2018

TWO West Hatch High School students have donated their hair to be used to make wigs for children suffering from cancer. 

Year 12 student Becky Stimson recently had 12 inches of her hair cut off while last month Year 10 student Larni Shulton gave more than seven inches of her hair to the charity. 

Larni said it was a simple thing to do, but something which could make a big difference to the lives of other young girls. 

The Little Princess Trust provides real hair wigs, free of charge, to children across the UK and Ireland who have lost their own hair through cancer treatment. 

Becky's form tutor, Coralie Reid, said: "Becky is such a lovely young lady so it doesn’t surprise me that she has done this, nor that she didn’t want recognition for it, however I think it is a very selfless act that she should be extremely proud of."

PICTURES: Before and after pictures of Becky Stimson who has donated 12 inches of her hair to The Little Princess Trust click here

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Town to hold pancake races

11.24am - 22nd January 2018

PANCAKES will be tossed when Waltham Abbey Town Partnership holds its annual pancake races in Sun Street on Tuesday, February 13. 

The event will be held outside the library with the first race, for local businesses, at 10.30am with races for under-fives at about 11am, primary age children at about 11.30am and adults at about noon. 

For entry forms, email paulviolet45@gmail.com

Spectators welcome.

   

#EEF999LIVE: CHIGWELL: Police find £150,000 'cannabis factory'

6.50pm - 21st January 2018

POLICE investigations are continuing after officers came across a 'cannabis factory' when called to a house in Chigwell. 

Local Policing Team officers received a call to 'insecure premises' in Manor Road at about 10am today.

When they arrived they found some 171 cannabis plants and various pieces of equipment. 

Officers have estimated that the cannabis has a street value of over £150,000.

All plants have been seized and investigations into those responsible are continuing.

   

#EEF999LIVE: EPPING: Man stabbed three times

6.46pm - 21st January 2018

THE sister of a man stabbed in Epping says he was attacked when he refused to hand over the keys to his Mercedes car. 

A gang of masked men stabbed the man three times before driving off in the vehicle. 

The  victim had been on a night out when he was targeted in Cottis Lane, Epping. 

Police say the incident happened at about 3am when six men wearing masks approached the victim, a 26-year-old man from Stanstead Abbots. 

A police spokesman said one of the men stabbed the victim with a knife before stealing keys to his black Mercedes. 

All six men then got into the vehicle and drove off towards Loughton. 

The car has not been recovered. 

The victim was taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, with "non-serious" injuries, the police spokesman said. 

The man's sister said he had been stabbed three times in the arm and leg. 

She told Everything Epping Forest: "He had parked round the corner (from Club195). 

"He then went to get into his car but eight boys all with their faces hidden came up behind him demanding that he gave his car over, which he refused. 

"His friend gave them all of his stuff but because my brother refused he got stabbed three times in the arm and leg." 

She said the gang also took her brother's Rolex watch. 

Any witnesses or anyone with information is asked to ring Loughton CID on 101, quoting reference 42/9697/18, or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

   

ONGAR: Town council increases precept

7.34am - 19th January 2018

ONGAR Town Council has approved a 5.87 per cent increase in its precept for the next financial year - the equivalent of a £6.26 increase on Band D bills. 

The budget includes £10,000 for the town's Neighbourhood Plan and £2,000 towards the cost of replacing the council's minibus. 

The budget also includes £4,000 for training - £2,000 more than was included in the 2017-18 budget. 

Council chairman Derek Birch highlighted the reduction, by half, of the council's Support Grant and added that without the earmarked funds - £10,000 for general reserves, £10,000 for the Neighbourhood Plan and £2,000 for a new minibus - the council would have been able to reduce its precept for 2018-19. 

Mr Birch said the council had been "very careful" with the budget which councillor Bruce Freeman said "looks very good".

   

ONGAR: Council awards grants

7.32am - 19th January 2018

ONGAR Town Council has agreed grants totaling £1,778.40. 

The 3rd Ongar Scouts Group will receive £778.40 towards security fencing at its Love Lane headquarters, Ongar in Bloom £500, 1st Ongar Brownies and The Ongar Singers £250 each and St Clare Hospice £200. 

The council, on the proposal of council chairman Derek Birch, rejected two applications - one from Epping Forest District Council's museum, heritage and culture section for £200 to purchase a 15th century silver-gilt finger ring depicting St Barbara which was found in Ongar by a metal detector enthusiast and which the museum wishes to purchase, and a bid for £120 from Epping Forest Citizens Advice Bureau. 

An application from Ongar Town Forum, for £750 for last year's Christmas lights, and a request from Ongar Residents' Association for £1,064.40 for the refurbishment of the flagpole in the Pleasance car park were rejected as the council's policy does not allow retrospective applications.

   

NORTH WEALD: Housing development to be named after council chairman

1.47pm - 18th January 2018

A NEW housing development in North Weald is set to be named after the chairman of the parish council who died last year. 

Epping Forest District Council had agreed to the development behind 9-19 Queens Road being named 'Elizabeth Close' however North Weald Bassett Parish Council has now put forward the name 'Cyril Hawkins Close' following the death of Mr Hawkins last September. 

Mr Hawkins died last September after a short illness. 

He became a councillor in May 1998 and was elected chairman of the parish council in May 2006, a position he still held at the time of his death. 

Mr Hawkins, who earned the name of 'Mr Thornwood', had a particular affection and fondness for Thornwood Common where he was ward councillor.

   

ONGAR: Commissioner to attend public meeting

1.45pm - 18th January 2018

THE Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, Roger Hirst, will be attending a public meeting in Ongar next month. 

Ongar Town Council is hosting the meeting at the Budworth Hall, High Street, at 6pm on Monday, February 12, when questions can be asked about local policing issues.

   

#EEF999LIVE: NORTH WEALD: Armed robbery at bookmakers

1.23pm - 18th January 2018

ARMED police were called out after a man armed with what is believed to be a gun fled with a four-figure sum of cash from the betting office in High Road, North Weald. 

Police say the man went into Coverdale Racing at about 8.40pm last night and demanded money. 

He fled with a four-figure sum of cash. 

He is described as white and wearing dark-coloured clothing, a scarf covering his face and gloves.

Anyone with any information should ring Loughton CID on 101, quoting crime reference number 42/8210/18, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

   

ONGAR: Council's Jubilee Park registers £61,622 loss in nine months

9.56am - 18th January 2018

ONGAR Town Council's Jubilee Park recorded a loss of £61,622 in the first nine months of the current financial year.

Figures being presented to tonight's council meeting reveal that while Jubilee Park income in the first nine months totaled £81,059 expenditure amounted to £142,681. 

The council spent £35,561 on wages for Jubilee Park staff (£31,831 for bar staff and £3,730 for cafe staff).

Among the expenditure items are £41,477 on grounds maintenance, £8,616 on 'utilities', £7,406 on CCTV, £6,611 on rates and £4,333 on 'fixtures'.

Some £4,005 was spent on 'repairs and maintenance'.

Bar takings totaled £68,193 (with bar expenditure amounting to £22,977) while the council received £7,456 from pitch fees. 

The pool table at the Jubilee Park pavilion made a £1,699 profit in the nine months.

Ice cream sales generated income of £225 (a profit of £82). 

Income from the council's minibus totaled £1,251 in the nine months against expenditure of £3,883. 

The council will finalise its 2018-19 budget at tonight's meeting which starts at the council offices in Bansons Way at 8pm. 

Councillors will also set the precept for 2018-19. 

Draft figures indicate an increase of £6.15 for Band D householders should the council's share of council tax bills be increased by 5.76 per cent.

   

LOUGHTON: Prospect of 9,000 more homes if Local Plan deadline not met branded "crude blackmail"

8.33pm - 17th January 2018

THE prospect of the Epping Forest district having to take any additional 9,000 homes should the Local Plan not be submitted by March 31 is "crude blackmail", a Loughton councillor has said. 

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has told Epping Forest District Council that should the March deadline not be met then the district's housing allocation could be increased to some 20,000 homes from the current 11,400.

Loughton town councillor Carol Davies told tonight's Loughton Town Council meeting the threatened increase was "completely mindboggling and blackmail". 

Town and district councillor Chris Pond said the proposed increase was "crude blackmail" by Mr Javid who was pressurising councils to submit their Local Plans by March 31. 

Mr Pond said: "Nobody in the chamber (at Epping Forest District Council when the Plan was approved), including the administration at Epping, thought this was an ideal situation.

"If we (Loughton Town Council) were convinced the Plan was totally unsound we would have to say so but the risk is we would have 20,000 homes." 

Mr Pond said the fight to save Jessel Green - half of which is included in the Local Plan for 154 homes - was "the biggest task this council faces".

   

LOUGHTON: Town council budgets for Local Plan legal fight

8.31pm - 17th January 2018

LOUGHTON Town Council is earmarking £10,000 towards a legal challenge against the district council's Local Plan, should such action be deemed necessary. 

A year ago the council budgeted £15,000 towards a 'war chest' for any Local Plan challenge. 

The item is included in a 2018-19 budget which sees the town council set a Band D precept of £53.59, a £2.43 increase on Band D bills on last year. 

The council's precept totals £665,000.

Councillor Jill Angold-Stephens, vice-chairman of the resources and general purposes committee, told tonight's council meeting the council had to take into account a £13,000 reduction in its Support Grant.

She added the council was budgeting £10,000 towards any potential legal challenge against the Local Plan and £15,000 towards the refurbishment of equipment on the Roding Valley recreation ground. 

Mrs Angold-Stephens added a new initiative for 2018-19 was to employ an apprentice for grounds maintenance and horticulture work, which would cost the council £7,000 in the next financial year. 

Deputy mayor Stephen Murray told the meeting: "No-one likes an increase however small but I think this is a reasonable increase. 

"Obviously we wanted to fund the necessary professional advice if we wanted to challenge the soundness of the Local Plan." 

He added it was "good news" that the budget also including funding for improvements to the Roding Valley recreation ground.

Loughton Residents Association councillor Chris Pond said the £53.59 Band D equivalent was "substianially lower" then Ongar and Epping town councils figures and "probably 50 per cent of Waltham Abbey's". 

He added it was "regrettable to put the council tax up but not at the expense of having to do things less well." 

He described the increase as "justified and desireable".

   

EPPING: Concerns voiced over Local Plan

1.58pm - 17th January 2018

A PACKED Catholic Church Hall heard concerns over the prospect of some 1,305 new homes in Epping - as detailed in the approved district council Local Plan. 

Views expressed at Monday's meeting, organised by the Epping Society, included concerns over the "very brief" six-week consultation period (two of which covered the Christmas and New Year period), during which comments can be expressed over the soundness and legality of the Plan which was approved by the district council before Christmas. 

Concern was also voiced over the amount of documents contained in the Plan and the huge number of houses proposed for Epping of which 950 are earmarked for for borders of Ivy Chimneys. 

The meeting also discussed the wider impact of other planned developments in the district, such as in Thornwood, Hastingwood, North Weald and Harlow. 

More than 200 people attended the meeting which was told how objections can be made to go before the Government’s Planning Inspectorate.

An Epping Society spokesman said: "Residents felt their forcibly expressed views had been totally ignored. 

"They feared the character of our ‘small market town’ would be destroyed by a large estate to the south of Epping and multi-storey flats/shoppers’ car parks in the town centre. 

"The likely effect on Epping of further huge estates in other communities nearby fuelled their rage." 

Epping Society vice-chairman Adam Long and committee members Andrew Smith and Charlie Geddes outlined the main points of the Local Plan and pointed out its perceived shortcomings. 

Epping Society hopes the Plan will be improved as a result of the objections it will submit. Interested parties have until 5pm on Monday, January 29, to comment in writing or online to the district council's planning department.

   

CHIGWELL: Friends group raises £2,000 for Jubilee Lodge

1.35pm - 17th January 2018

SUPPORTERS of the Friends of Revitalise Jubilee Lodge raised £2,000 for the respite holiday centre and its guests. 

The Bridger Day, now in its nineteenth year, saw guests enjoy entertainment and activities including a Bridge tournament, raffle and stall selling books and preserves. 

Refreshments included flapjacks, sandwiches, coffee and cake. 

All proceeds will go towards supporting Revitalise Jubilee Lodge in Chigwell which provides respite holidays for disabled people and carers from around the south east region and beyond. 

Friends of Jubilee Lodge chairman Ros Dover said: "I am so indebted to the local Bridge players who support us year after year, this being our 19th event, and to our helpers who make the day so successful.

"Every event the Friends organise is for the benefit of Jubilee Lodge and the guests and carers it welcomes so it is such a lovely feeling to see exactly where our support is making a difference within the local community."

   

EXCLUSIVE: NORTH WEALD: Former Travelodge is being used as homeless hostel 

12.30pm - 17th January 2018

THE former Travelodge on the A414 at North Weald is being used as a homeless hostel by Redbridge Council, Everything Epping Forest can reveal. 

The council has confirmed it is using the former hotel - which most recently was the Epping Phoenix Hotel - as 'bed and breakfast accommodation'. 

A kitchen has been installed since its days as hotel accommodation. 

Redbridge Council's housing cabinet member councillor Farah Hussain said: "We have a block booking arrangement with the private sector provider (Finefair) for this accommodation. 

"Given this is relatively close to Redbridge it will be used in those circumstances where we have to use bed and breakfast accommodation. 

"We are currently reducing the use of this type of provision and finding better options for residents who come to us for assistance when they are homeless but given the pressures on housing and the levels of demand we will still require some accommodation of this type." 

He added: "The planning and utility issues were dealt with by the provider and had to be in order before we would use the premises. 

"As part of the refurbishment kitchen facilities were installed. 

"The premises will be used in the immediate future to place homeless families; it is not possible to say for how long we will need to use it as we are striving to find better alternatives." 

A Redbridge Council spokesman told Everything Epping Forest that planning permission for the new use was not required. 

A spokesman for Epping Forest District Council, which is the local planning authority, said: "Planning permission for change of use would be required if the primary use of a hotel changes to hostel use. Primary meaning sole or majority use. 

"If a hotel is used to provide a small number of homeless people with temporary accommodation, then planning permission would not be required.

 "To date we have not received any planning applications for change of use to a hostel." 

The site is within the boundaries of both North Weald Bassett Parish Council and Moreton, Bobbingworth and The Lavers Parish Council. 

Both councils have told Everything Epping Forest they became aware of the hostel use on Monday.

In a joint statement the parish councils said: "Surely there should be an effective communication system in place, at a minimum between local planning authorities (in this case Epping Forest District Council and Redbridge Council) to ensure that all the relevant parties are advised of such uses so that checks can be made to ascertain if the appropriate planning permissions and services are in place to ensure the safety and welfare of these individuals." 

The former Travelodge and Little Chef restaurant were purchased by Phoenix Publishing and Media, based in Jiangsu Province, China, in late 2013 when it was announced that a complete refurbishment, including a Chinese restaurant, was planned - to attract tourists from the Far East. 

Speaking at the time, the company said it hoped to attract visitors from Chinese schools, businesses and tourists. 

It is not known whether the ownership had changed hands by the time Epping Phoenix Hotel closed some months ago. 

Sixty-two per cent of TripAdvisor reviewers rated the Epping Phoenix Hotel as "terrible" with the most recent review - December, 12, 2016 - describing it as the "hotel from hell". 

Another guest, in a review posted the same day, described their visit as "a nightmare experience". 

Finefair has been asked to comment about the hostel arrangements.

   

LOUGHTON: Development of 105 apartments recommended for approval 

2.46pm - 15th January 2018

PLANS to demolish three houses in Alderton Hill and build a linked-block development of 105 elderly persons apartments are being recommended for approval by district council planning officers. 

The proposals for the site of 13, 15 and 15A Alderton Hill include integrated care facilities with supporting amenity facilities, landscaping, and 64 parking spaces in undercroft parking at the rear and south side of the block. 

Some 136 letters of objection - and 22 letters of support - have been sent to the district council. 

Loughton Town Council has objected saying the six-storey proposals are "too bulky" and an overdevelopment of the site. 

Councillors added the apartments would be detrimental to the amenities of neighbours and also voiced concerns over traffic. 

Loughton Residents' Association's Plans Group says the proposals are "wholly out-of-character" due to the design and height of the planned blocks. 

Essex County Council Highways have said the proposals would not be detrimental. 

A planning officer's report to the district council's area planning committee on Wednesday, January 24, states: "The proposed development provides a new form of care accommodation - self contained apartments which give occupants not only much cherished independence but also provides them with neighbours and a ready made ’community’. 

"The development makes more effective use of a site that lies close to town centre facilities and a Tube station. 

"It is acknowledged that the design and mass of the proposed buildings is considerable in terms of its scale and different from the remainder of Alderton Hill.

"However this site has different characteristics to the remainder of Alderton Hill, is towards the lower end close to the recently built McCarthy and Stone development and the proposal would not set an undesirable precedent for similar development in this road."

   

#EEF999LIVE: Off-duty officer praised over flytipping case 

8.24am - 14th January 2018

POLICE officers - including an off-duty officer - have been praised for their efforts after a man was reported for flytipping in Buckhurst Hill. 

The man is now facing prosecution after off-duty PC Andy Cook came across a "suspicious" vehicle in Roding Lane yesterday morning, moments before various items - including building waste - were dumped. 

PC Cook alerted colleagues who detained a man. 

A van has been seized. 

District Commander Chief Inspector Lewis Basford said the man had been interviewed and a file sent to the Crown Prosecution Service.

PC Cook was assisted by on-duty officer PC Mike King. 

Mr Basford said: "I'm really proud that officers from my team are always doing what they can both on duty and in this case off duty. 

"I hope it goes to show residents that we care about the local area and will always act when we can." 

He added: "I'm really pleased with this individual being caught as the team are always looking to target individuals carrying waste who then go on to commit flytipping. 

"Flytipping costs the local authority a significant amount of money to clear up and it is unsightly for local residents. 

"I look forward to updating residents with the court result in the next few weeks."

   

EPPING: Primary school nets funding for pond work 

2.19pm - 12th January 2018

EPPING Primary School has received £3,500 from Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme to further develop its pond and meadow area. 

Shoppers could vote for the school through the tokens issued at the checkouts at the Tesco stores in Epping, Ongar and Theydon Bois during September and October. 

Work has already begun on bringing the project to life. 

The school is trying to develop and preserve the nature area in the grounds. 

Currently there is a pond area which is safely enclosed for pupils however the school wanted to build a wooden 'dipping platform' which would enable all of the 420 pupils to safely observe pond life and carry out pond dipping as part of their studies linked to many different aspects of the school curriculum.

Headteacher Tracy O’Donnell said: "The pond is an invaluable asset to our school and the new dipping platform and improvements to the meadow area will further enable our pupils to use it to enhance their learning. 

"We really appreciate Tesco’s support with our project."

   

LOUGHTON: RNLI branch raises over £13,000 in a year 

1.54pm - 12th January 2018

THE Loughton and Woodford branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution raised £13,079.92 last year.

Branch chairman and honorary secretary Mike Evans said: "We would like to thank everyone whose generous support during the year contributed to the total. 

"The new Shannon class all weather lifeboats now in service cost £2.2m each and are replacing long-serving Tyne and Mersey class boats which have done magnificent work in saving life and giving help to 'those in peril'. 

"Powered by waterjet engines, the Shannon is fast and highly manouverable. Our nearest lifeboat is Tower based at the floating station by Waterloo Bridge and manned 24 hours a day. It was again the busiest station in the country last year."

   

ONGAR: No town council objection to Bansons Lane flats 

1.43pm - 12th January 2018

PLANS for a block of eight apartments on Bansons Lane have met with no objection from Ongar Town Council. 

The three-storey development, with underground parking for ten cars, is earmarked for land between the telephone exchange and the former doctors' surgery. 

A spokeswoman for applicant Brodie Property Group told last night's Ongar Town Council planning and environment, public relations and open spaces committee that four letters of objection had been received - three of them from staff at Martyn Pattie Architects which occupies the former GP surgery. 

She said: "This is a very sustainable development in a town centre location." 

She added ten parking spaces, including two visitor spaces, were included in the development. 

"This is the right balance of parking when there are a number of public car parks adjacent to the site." 

She added there was the opportunity for the skate park to be enhanced. 

Local resident Jeff Banks said the area of the nearby skate park and adjacent land is owned by the Castle Farm Trust. 

He told the meeting: "As a town centre site that's not in the Green Belt it should be considered for a development site. It's a very unloved area. It was (when he visited the site) strewn with bottles, cigarette packets and crisp packets. 

"These proposals will bring it into good use and enhance the overall area." 

Councillor Jane Battersby said she considered the development "a little bit large" and highlighted the various advisory documents from Essex County Council, highways, archaeology, and others which referred to trees and habitat that contained matters that would need to be met by the developer. 

She added: "I think it (the site) would be better than it is now, but it is a little bit large." 

Council chairman Derek Birch said: "I still think it's large for the area that's going to be developed. I have reservations on the size of the construction and the look of it bearing in mind where it's going." 

She suggested the design needed to be "softened down". 

Councillor John Reynolds described the proposals as a "good design" and welcomed the possible enhancement of the skate park. 

Councillor Bruce Freeman said: "We do sorely need housing units for people to stay in the town."

   

ONGAR: No objection to nail bar plans 

1.40pm - 12th January 2018

PLANS for a nail bar in the former kitchen shop at 85 High Street, Ongar, have met with no objection from Ongar Town Council.

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Council increases precept 

10.21am - 12th January 2018

WALTHAM Abbey Town Council has increased its precept for the next financial year by 1.95%, with a Band D equivalent increase of £2.06 per year.

The increase in the precept from £800,400 to £825,800 covers the reduction in the Local Council Tax Scheme mitigation grant, but this is the last year the council will receive any grant for this. 

The town council will be looking at facilities on Larsen’s recreation ground, and also the war memorial in Farm Hill Road in 2018-19. 

* Waltham Abbey Town Council has agreed to award the YES Partnership £500 towards a youth conference being held in Waltham Abbey. 

The funding has been made possible by the YES Partnership now holding formal charity status.

   

LOUGHTON: Children take part in one-man Shakespeare show 

7.41am - 12th January 2018

SHAKESPEARE actor Anthony Glenn visited Hereward Primary School to perform 'Romeo and Juliet' as a one-man show with pupils taking on different roles. 

The visit was part of the school's annual 'Shakespeare Week' which incorporated drama workshops and studies of the play itself. 

English Co-ordinator Caroline Hilton said: "This was an amazing opportunity for all the children to watch a Shakespeare play come to life. They were enthralled by the performance."

PICTURES

   

ONGAR: Council to think again over five paragraph Local Plan response 

10.14pm - 11th January 2018

ONGAR Town Council is to review its response to the district council's Local Plan after just five paragraphs were put forward for submission. 

Councillor Jane Battersby told tonight's planning and environment, public relations and open spaces committee that she had typed a response following a private meeting of councillors. 

She said: "We said everything we needed to say in our first submission." 

However council chairman Derek Birch suggested that the feedback should be reviewed by councillors and members of the Neighbourhood Plan group. 

He said: "It obviously appears there are quite a few flaws in the Plan." 

He added he felt the council needed to "look a bit further into the response". 

The intended response has not been made public but when held up by a councillor at the meeting it appeared to fill less than half a page of A4 paper. 

Committee chairman Laurence Mendoza said it made no reference to concerns over traffic levels at the A414 Four Wantz roundabout. 

Councillor Battersby said: "If you feel so strongly about it, it's a shame you didn't do something about it before this date." 

Councillor Christine Feetham said all objection issues had been raised in the council's response to the draft Local Plan. 

"We did a very full response," she said. 

Mr Mendoza said the intended response "says nothing". It was agreed that councillors would review the response with any amendments going before next week's full council meeting. 

Local landowner Jim Padfield, speaking during the public session at the start of the meeting, called on the council to submit a "substantive submission" to what he described as a "totally flawed and totally unsound" Local Plan. 

He said the Local Plan proposed some 400 homes in the area of the Four Wantz roundabout in six years.

"If that doesn't ruin Ongar I don't known what will," he said. 

Commenting on the Neighbourhood Plan and discussions which have taken place over the Neighbourhood Plan structure as part of a town council committee, Mr Padfield said: "You've got to have a Neighboudhood Plan. It's now three months since the last decision was made. There is nobody who comes out of this with any credit. 

"Someone has got to start getting out of a trench and get this group going. 

"This council has got to somehow rise above the voices that got themselves in a trench, and you have to do that tonight."

   

ONGAR: Councillor's dead rat mailout idea to attract litter pickers 

10.10pm - 11th January 2018

THE chairman of one of Ongar Town Council's committees has suggested sending dead rats out with notifications about the council's litter pick events to try and attract more volunteers.

Councillor Laurence Mendoza, chairman of the planning and environment, public relations and open spaces committee - speaking at tonight's meeting - criticised residents for not turning out to help at the events. 

He said fewer than 30 people had helped at the three litter picks he had attended and called on the town council to "do something shocking" to attract helpers. 

He suggested sending dead rats with notifications of future litter picks. 

Mr Mendoza slammed the response from the town's 7,500 residents saying "none of them can be bothered and just drop rubbish". 

Councillor Janet Bicknell said: "Apathy (in Ongar) in terrific."

What do you think?

Barbara Pearson (writing on Everything Epping Forest's Facebook group)
- Can we have this person's (councillor Laurence Mendoza's) address to forward the rats to. Public Health might be interested in such folly. 

Adam Seffens (writing on Everything Epping Forest's Facebook group) - Why not send an Ongar councillor out. Now there’s real rubbish. 

Kim Sharpington (writing on Everything Epping Forest's Facebook page) - What!!!!!

   

ONGAR: Town council to spend £600 on children's donkey rides

10.08pm - 11th January 2018

ONGAR Town Council is to spend £600 on providing Sunday children's donkey rides on the nature reserve at the bottom of Ongar High Street. 

Planning and environment, public relations and open spaces committee chairman Laurence Mendoza, who proposed the idea, said it would cost £300 a time, on Sunday, May 6, and Sunday, June 3 - with four donkeys involved on each date. 

He said: "It's going to benefit the community and the chances of it being a failure are remote." 

He said there would be a £1 a ride charge, with the £300 cost increasing to an undisclosed amount if the initiative was run in July and August. 

Mr Mendoza said the venture, which he suggested could attract interest from a local business, would be "virtually self-funding".

Councillor Bruce Freeman said: "I think it's a good idea that Ongar Town Council is seen to do something for the younger community." 

Councillor Jane Battersby said she was opposed to donkeys being used for rides."

What do you think?

Carina Hill (writing on Everything Epping Forest's Facenbook group)
- I thought we had moved on a bit and people were generally more enlightened about exploiting animals and their suffering. If this goes ahead then clearly not.

Chris (on email)
- Struggling to believe anyone in this day and age could even think this let alone seriously suggest it for children's entertainment. It is massively cruel to the animals. If it goes ahead it will be picketed, or maybe we can just make a blockade from the dead rats he's going to be distributing around the town.

Alison Wingfield (writing on Everything Epping Forest's Twitter feed @eefnews)
- A petition has been going around Facebook regarding donkey rides on beaches and saying it is cruel, and no thought is taken for the animals welfare and Health and Safety etc, and is being looked into by Parliament via the petition. So can someone enlighten them of the sad-minded person's idea.

Gary Holland (writing on Everything Epping Forest's Facebook page)
- £600, self funding? Really. What happens if we have bad weather? I know what will happen. No donkey rides but still costs us £600. Do me a favour and come up with something else. Donkey rides are all about the fun of going to the seaside. Can I also ask where everyone parks their car if it's something arranged to bring people to the town? 

Paula Brown (writing on Everything Epping Forest's Facebook page)
- Will the donkeys get a say on whether they are dragged up and down in the name of children’s entertainment?!

Barbara Pearson (writing on Everything Epping Forest's Facebook group)
- Bizarre use of our money.

Vera Robinson (writing on Everything Epping Forest's Facebook group) - If parents want their children to ride on donkeys then surely they would pay for it themselves. 

Jo Spencer (writing on Everything Epping Forest's Facebook group) - Go to the seaside. 

Sue Gilliat (writing on Everything Epping Forest's Facebook group) - It's cruel to the donkeys 

J. Tong (writing on Everything Epping Forest's Facebook group) - As long as they are supervised. Donkeys can be dangerous.

   

DISTRICT: Planning application fees to rise by 20%

2.16pm - 11th January 2018

PLANNING application fees levied by Epping Forest District Council are to increase by 20 per cent.

The council says the increase, the first for five years, is in line with new government regulations agreed by Parliament last month. 

All planning applications which have not been validated before January 17 will have to pay the increased fee. 

The three most popular applications in the district are single dwelling householder applications for alterations/extensions.These fees will increase from £172 to £206. 

Fees for full applications for new dwellings will increase from £385 to £462 per dwelling while fees for notifications for prior approval for a change of use will rise from £80 to £96.

Planning and governance portfolio holder John Philip said: "Currently the planning fees do not cover our planning service costs. We don’t think all Council Tax payers should part fund a service the majority of them do not use. 

"There is an argument that users of the planning service should be paying more already. 

"The proposed increases by the government were agreed at Cabinet on March 9 last year and the increase in planning application fees will be used to enhance the planning service provided by Epping Forest District Council."

   

EPPING: Council agrees precept increase

1.44pm - 11th January 2018

EPPING Town Council has agreed a 2% increase to its council tax precept for the next financial year. 

The rise means the amount paid by Band D householders for the council's services will be £87.23. 

The council's total precept is £458,099. 

Town Clerk Beverley Rumsey said: "We are about to undertake our third playground refurbishment, at Parklands, Coopersale. 

"We have a rolling programme of playground refurbishments and the increase in precept will help towards keeping our reserves at the required level so we can plan for such major works."

She added: "The increase is well below inflation and we incur increases on operational costs year on year as we deliver the many services we do for the town. 

"We will be finalising the Neighbourhood Plan in this financial year.

"In addition, Epping Town Council pays for all the Christmas lights and trees in the town."

   

EPPING: War memorial work completed

1.41pm - 11th January 2018

EPPING War Memorial has been cleaned by a specialist conservator and the lettering has been selectively re-etched and painted. 

Epping Town Council took advice from the War Memorials Trust and conservation professionals before undertaking the vital works.

The lettering had become worn and partially illegible over time and now all the names can be seen.

Epping War Memorial has Grade II listed status and any work must be planned carefully before the precious monument can be touched. 

Town Clerk Beverley Rumsey said: "Epping Town Council are proud to be custodians of Epping War Memorial which is so important to our town. 

"We are very grateful to the War Memorials Trust who offered specialist advice and gave us a grant. 

"We picked a specialist conservator to undertake the very skilled work and we are delighted that all the names can now be read clearly."

   

#EEF999LIVE: BUCKHURST HILL: Armed men target house

1.38pm - 11th January 2018

TWO people were threatened at gunpoint when three masked raiders forced their way into a house in Buckhurst Hill. 

The men, all dressed in black, targeted a house in Boxted Close at about 9.40pm last night (Wednesday).

They fled with two watches, each worth a four-figure sum, jewellery, two mobile phones, and a purse.

Detective Inspector Colin Norton, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "This was a frightening ordeal for the victims who were threatened in their own home. 

"This is a busy residential area and it is my belief that someone will have seen or heard something. 

"I believe this was a targeted incident and it is really important we identify and catch those responsible." 

Anyone with any information should ring 101, email scd.appeals.essex@essex.pnn.police.uk or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

   

EPPING: Council opposes phone box vending machines

8.32am - 11th January 2018

EPPING Town Council has objected to plans to turn two telephone boxes in Epping High Street into vending machine outlets selling stationery and greetings cards. 

The Giving Hands charity has submitted a planning application to Epping Forest District Council to turn the old-style red boxes outside the Card Factory shop into self-contained retail units. 

Once the telephones have been removed, one of the boxes would have a vending machine selling stationery and the other a vending machine for greetings cards. 

Mayor Tony Church told Tuesday's town council planning and general purposes committee: "I'm not sure vending machines in the High Street is the best use (of the phone boxes). You are then going to get other areas wanting vending machines." 

He added: "It's not right for the street scene."

   

NORTH WEALD: Cemetery extension opened

4.15pm - 10th January 2018

AN extension to the North Weald Bassett Parish Council cemetery has been officially opened at a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Among the dignitaries were Deputy Lieutenant of Essex Rosemary Padfield, Essex County Council chairman John Aldridge, Epping Forest District Council chairman Dave Stallan, North Weald Bassett Parish Council chairman Alan Buckley, Epping Mayor Tony Church and Loughton Mayor Philip Abraham. 

The original cemetery, which was previously farmland, was opened in the late 1990s. 

The extension - named Meadow Brook - is a full lawn cemetery. 

The cemetery, next to St Andrew's Church, has sections for cremated remains and full burials as well as a garden of remembrance and a memorial garden. 

The ribbon cutting was performed by Deputy Lieutenant of Essex Rosemary Padfield whose family farmed the land before it became the cemetery. 

She said: "Over the years I have watched it develop into this tranquil setting we see before us today." 

The ceremony ended with prayers led by Father James Rodley from St Andrews Church.

PICTURES

AUDIO: You can hear an audio report on the official opening HERE

   

#EEF999LIVE: LOUGHTON: Men arrested after cocaine and tablets seized

8.50am - 8th January 2018

TWO men have been released under investigation after being arrested over the discovery of a haul of drugs in Loughton. 

The seizure was made when officers stopped a car in Newmans Lane. 

Nine wraps of cocaine and 42 MDMA tablets were recovered along with a quantity of cash. 

A man, aged in his 20s from Loughton, and a 19-year-old man, from Ongar, were arrested and have been released under investigation while the substances are sent away for forensic examination.

   

#EEF999LIVE: ONGAR: Woman arrested over drugs seizure

3.01pm - 7th January 2018

A WOMAN has been arrested and a "large amount" of a class B drug - believed to be cannabis - seized in a police operation in Ongar. 

A 39-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of possessing a class B substance with intent to supply.

Officers executed a drugs warrant at an address in the Shelley area of Ongar.

The woman remained in police custody this morning.

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Students take to airwaves

1.54pm - 4th January 2018

ELEVEN King Harold Academy students are to work with Loughton Youth Project to create a fortnightly radio programme.

In preparation, the Year 8 to Year 10 students visited The Space at Loughton Library to meet with Nick Robinson to discuss the project and were thrown in at the deep end when Nick announced that they were going to do their first live radio broadcast that afternoon.

The students quickly organised themselves into producers, technicians, researchers and hosts and with the help of Nick devised the 30-minute programme which included an interview with him about working in radio, a discussion about the concerns in the rise of diabetes and what they as young people need to be aware of. 

The broadcast also featured a selection of music and a game which saw four of the students having to gurgle a tune and with the others having to guess the song. 

The students have since broadcast another 30-minute programme which involved a discussion about 'What Christmas means to you?', an interview with one of LYP's technicians and Martin Scarth, chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Music teacher Rebecca Harvey said: "It was wonderful to see the reaction of the students change from being nervous to confidently speaking live on radio and despite being in different year groups they worked really well as a team. 

"We all had a fantastic time and would like to thank Nick for this wonderful opportunity for our students. We’re looking forward to continuing with the project as a team."

   

STAPLEFORD TAWNEY: Police appeal over three-vehicle crash

9.27am - 4th January 2018

POLICE are appealing for witnesses to the three-vehicle collision on London Road, Stapleford Tawney, which left two people injured - with a woman suffering life-changing injuries. 

The collision happened at 9.40am on Tuesday at the junction with Epping Lane and involved a blue Ford Fiesta, a grey Range Rover Evoque and a black Ford Mondeo.

A 19-year-old woman was taken by air ambulance to the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, for treatment to life-changing injuries. She is in a stable condition. 

A man in his 40s was treated at the scene for slight injuries. 

Anyone who saw the collision or has dash cam footage is asked to ring PC Jason Mowbrey at the Chigwell Road Policing Unit on 101.

   

STAPLEFORD TAWNEY: Woman freed from three-vehicle crash

12.52pm - 2nd January 2018

A WOMAN has been freed from her vehicle following a three-vehicle collision on the A113 London Road at Stapleford Tawney. 

Fire crews from Brentwood and Ongar were called out at 9.40am and took about 50 minutes, working with paramedics, to release the woman who was left in the care of the ambulance service.

It is understood that the air ambulance was also at the scene of the crash which happened near the M25 bridge close to the Epping Lane junction at Passingford Bridge.

   

DISTRICT: Dance school principal's BEM "an amazing surprise"

7.41am - 2nd January 2018

A LONG-time principal of the Buckhurst Hill and Woodford School of Dancing has described her British Empire Medal in the New Year Honours List as "an amazing surprise". 

Sonia Bond receives her BEM for services to dance. Mrs Bond, who lives at Matching Green, told Everything Epping Forest: "This news is certainly an amazing surprise and obviously very exciting! Huge thanks to all who have made this happen." 

She added: "Dance is my passion and I’ve been involved with dance all my life because I love it! 

"When teaching the big reward is seeing pupils develop their ability and confidence through enjoyment and achievement of exams, festivals, shows and performances, and to see them advance from tiny tots to confident students." 

Mrs Bond is one of the two current principals - along with her sister, Juliet Locks - of the dance school. 

Mrs Bond's mother, Doreen, was also a former principal of the dance school which, having been established in 1922, is reputed to be the longest established dance school in the area. 

Mrs Bond's two daughters, Emma Jane and Lucy, are full-time teachers at the school. 

Mrs Bond is a Fellow and Examiner of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing and was the Chairman of the Classical Greek Dance Association for eight years (1994-2002), and vice-chairman for three years.

She has also had numerous roles with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance, founded the Epping Forest Dance Festival in 1994 and has also adjudicated at major dance festivals and organised major dance events.

   

DISTRICT: Dance school principal in Honours List

7.35am - 2nd January 2018

A LONG-time principal of the Buckhurst Hill and Woodford School of Dancing has received a British Empire Medal in the New Year Honours List. 

Sonia Bond - who receives the award for services to dance - is one of the two current principals - along with her sister, Juliet Locks - of the dance school. 

Mrs Bond's mother, Doreen, was also a former principal of the dance school which, having been established in 1922, is reputed to be the longest established dance school in the area. 

Mrs Bond's two daughters, Emma Jane and Lucy, are full-time teachers at the school. 

Mrs Bond is a Fellow and Examiner of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing and was the Chairman of the Classical Greek Dance Association for eight years (1994-2002), and vice-chairman for three years.

She has also had numerous roles with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance, founded the Epping Forest Dance Festival in 1994 and has also adjudicated at major dance festivals and organised major dance events. 

* Also receiving a British Empire Medal is DeanMilton, from Chigwell. who is recognised for voluntary service to young people and charitable fundraising. He was leader of the 11th Ilford North Scouts and was regional commissioner of the Scout Association in Greater London. 

* Fiona McCormack, from Chigwell, receives a British Empire Medal for services to children and young adults with special educational needs in Essex, Hertfordshire and London.