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LOUGHTON: MP's praise for Hope Centre project

8.19am - 19th September 2017

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing has praised everyone involved with the Hope Centre project at St Mary's Church in Loughton.
The new centre has cost £1.1m, most of which has been raised by members of the church. 
An official opening with a ribbon-cutting was held during the Love Loughton family fun day on Saturday.
Building work on the Hope Centre - that replaces the Ignite Centre which was built in the 1970s and was no longer fit-for-purpose - started in July last year. 
The centre is attached to the main church building via a glazed link and offers a large hall, meeting room, catering facilities and counselling room. 
The centre will offer a range of services to the local community, including Epping Forest Foodbank, Christian counselling, toddler groups and youth work, and activities for the elderly and isolated. The Hope Centre is also available for lettings. 
Mrs Laing, who spoke at the opening along with the Bishop of Barking the Rt Rev'd Peter Hill, Epping Forest District Council chairman Dave Stallan, Loughton Mayor Philip Abraham and vicar Rev'd Malcolm Macdonald, said: "I was delighted to attend the official opening and to see the fabulous new facilities that are available. 
"This project has been funded mostly by the church community and means there are facilities available for many Loughton organisations who now have superb surroundings in which to provide their services. 
"My congratulations go to everyone at St Mary's for ensuring this ambitious project has come to fruition, and also to everyone involved with Saturday's Love Loughton event which attracted many people to the church and its new community centre."



BREAKING: MP seeks urgent talks over "simply impossible" new homes figure for district

8.41pm - 18th September 2017

THOUSANDS more new homes than currently envisaged would need to be built in the district under a new Government housing needs formula, it has emerged. 
Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing says the district would be "adversely affected, to a greater extent than anywhere else in the country" as a result of the new formula. 
She is seeking an urgent meeting with Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid to discuss the figures which would mean 923 new homes a year would have to be built in the Epping Forest district for the next ten years compared to the current figure of 514 a year - an increase of some 79.5 per cent. 
Mrs Laing said: "I have had a meeting to discuss this very worrying development with the leader of Epping Forest District Council (councillor Chris Whitbread) and councillor John Philip (the planning portfolio holder with responsibility for the Local Plan). 
"We are all in agreement that this figure is unsustainable and I've asked the Secretary of State to meet with me as a matter of urgency."
In her letter to Mr Javid, Mrs Laing states: "I can see why this (new formula) will work well in some parts in the country but, as with every 'one size fits all' formula, it does not work for Epping Forest. 
"We have a particular problem in Epping Forest because we are adjacent to the London boundary and therefore subject to the pressures of London, including higher house prices, but we do not benefit from London infrastructure. 
"Additionally, although we are subject to the 'Duty to Cooperate' with our neighbouring authorities in Essex, there is no requirement for the Mayor of London to co-operate with Epping Forest." 
Mrs Laing states that "the only local authorities which have a change similar to or greater than the 80 per cent required of Epping Forest are London boroughs." 
Her letter adds: "Because Epping Forest suffers from the same high house prices as London, your formula treats us as if we are in London. We are not in London." 
Mrs Laing adds: "Epping Forest would be subject to an increase of 79.5 per cent. The district comprises 94 per cent Green Belt land, including the ancient Forest. Putting these two statistics together, your proposals for Epping Forest district are simply impossible to fulfill." 
The current figure of 5,140 new dwellings over the next ten years is already "significantly large", Mrs Laing adds. 
Mrs Laing, in her letter, highlights the "assiduous" work being undertaken on the Epping Forest Local Plan and highlights the consultation which has been carried out "at every stage" as well as issues, such as a Government decision over the new M11 junction 7A which have delayed its completion. 
Mrs Laing also raises the issue of infrastructure needed to support so many additional new homes. 
"The simple fact is that, whereas our local infrastructure, roads, schools and NHS facilities will, with further investment, be able to deal with 5,140 new homes over the next 10 years, it simply will not be able to cope with 9,230 new homes over the same period." 
Mrs Laing's letter adds that she hopes the difficulties imposed by the constraints of Green Belt land will mean that Epping Forest "can be recognised as being something of an anomaly and that the crude statistic of a required increase of some 80 per cent in our assessed housing need can be modified. 
"I hope that you will accept my analysis of the disastrous predicament in which your draft plans would put by constituency and that you will be able to meet me in the near future in order to discuss the matter further."

Eleanor Laing's letter to Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid can be read and downloaded HERE


EPPING: Council to review town's defibrillators

8.13am - 18th September 2017

A REVIEW of the various defibrillators located around Epping is to be carried out by Epping Town Council before it decides whether to purchase one for the Crows Road-High Street area. 
Defibrillators are already located at the Civic Offices, the district council depot, Epping Leisure Centre and St John's Church however councillors are concerned the sites are not open 24 hours a day. 
It has been suggested that a defibrillator is purchased and kept in the telephone box at the Crows Road-High Road junction but councillors fear that it could be a target for vandalism. 
The council will be looking into the best options.


NORTH WEALD: Wreaths laid at Battle of Britain service

1.10pm - 17th September 2017

WREATHS have been laid at the Cross of Sacrifice at St Andrew's Church, North Weald, to mark the 77th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. 
Among those laying wreaths at the service - organised by the North Weald and Ongar branch of the Royal Air Forces Association - were representatives from the association and the airfield, North Weald Royal British Legion president Derek Tringham, Epping Forest District Council chairman Dave Stallan, North Weald Bassett Parish Council vice-chairman Alan Buckley and Ongar Town Council chairman Derek Birch. 
A service of remembrance and commemoratiion, led by priest-in-charge Father James Rodley, was held in the church.  



THEYDON BOIS: New Baptist Church minister inducted

8.41am - 17th September 2017

THE new minister at Theydon Bois Baptist Church has been inducted at a service at the church. 
The service of ordination and induction for Peter Pilavachi was held on Saturday afternoon. 
The service was attended by many church members and representatives from other churches in the area as well as senior members of the Baptist Church, Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing and Theydon Bois Parish Council chairman John Philip.. 



LOUGHTON: Church's Hope Centre officially opened

8.38am - 17th September 2017

THE £1.1M Hope Centre at St Mary's Church, Loughton, was officially opened as part of the Love Loughton family fun day. 
Joining church members for the ribbon-cutting were the Bishop of Barking, the Rt Rev Peter Hill, Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing, Epping Forest District Council chairman Dave Stallan and Loughton Mayor Philip Abraham. 
Entertainment on-stage during the afternoon included Rock Choir, Pop Choir, soprano Joanna Forest and footballer freestyle Al Johnson. 
Among the community groups manning stalls in the church were Loughton, Buckhurst Hill and Chigwell Rotary Club, Epping Forest Neighbourhood Watch, Epping Forest Foodbank and Loughton Amateur Dramatic Society. 



EPPING: Four grants awarded

8.56am - 16th September 2017

FOUR grants have been awarded by Epping Town Council in the first phase of its annual grants scheme.
Epping at the Movies receives £693.60 for marketing and publicity of its screenings at Epping Hall while Epping Forest Citizens Advice Bureau receives £503.20 and 1st Theydon Garnon Scouts get £503.20 towards the cost of refurbishing the scout hut. 
A grant of £350 goes to 2nd Epping Rainbows Girlguiding for hall hire and start-up costs. 
A further round of grants will be awarded between now and the end of the financial year.


LOUGHTON: Children given open-air cinema treat

8.33am - 16th September 2017

A TREAT of a free open air cinema on the school field was offered to Thomas Willingale School pupils who had an attendance record of 96 per cent and above.
Tickets for the screening of Disney's Moana were also available for sale to the other children.
Headteacher Teresa Phillips said: "The event was great fun despite the unsettled weather and was very well attended."


#EEF999LIVE: ONGAR: Man charged over stabbing

4.51pm - 15th September 2017

A MAN has been charged with attempted murder after a man was stabbed in the stomach in Ongar.
Anthony Hamilton, 18, of Peterborough Road, Leyton, is due to appear before Chelmsford magistrates today (Friday). 
An 18-year-old woman, from Loughton, who was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder has been released without charge. 
Police yesterday arrested a 20-year-old man, from Buckhurst Hill, on suspicion of attempted murder. He remains in custody for questioning. 
The victim, a man in his 20s, was taken to hospital with a serious injury following the incident in Cripsey Avenue at about 5pm on Wednesday.


EPPING: Award for Epping in Bloom

10.09am - 14th September 2017

THE Epping in Bloom group has received a Silver Gilt award in the Anglia in Bloom competition. 
The award recognises the efforts put in by the group in bringing colour to the town at the community garden next to the Marks and Spencer store and at the Tower Road green, as well as outside Epping Fire Station and at Epping Station. 
The award was presented at a special reception held at Gorleston-on-Sea in Norfolk yesterday. 
Epping in Bloom chairman Victoria Robertson said: "We are absolutely over the moon with the award which was accepted on behalf of everyone who volunteers for the group to ensure Epping is full of floral colour. 
"I would like to thank the Epping in Bloom members that helped look after the displays and garden. It has been a very challenging year so far with strong winds, very dry and hot summer days in June and torrential heavy rain. 
"To receive a silver gilt award was a very pleasant surprise."
Victoria added: "I would like to give my special thanks to Beverley Rumsey (Epping Town Council clerk) and all of the team at Epping Town Council for their administrative support and help in the garden and at Tower Road. 
"Thanks also go to all the children and their families from the six Epping schools, as well as the teachers and all our sponsors. 
"It has been a challenging gardening year and we have received amazing support from local people. We will continue to keep up the good work to make Epping bloom."


ONGAR: Refurbished leisure centre fitness suite unveiled

3.36pm - 14th September 2017

THE newly-refurbished fitness suite at Ongar Leisure Centre has been unveiled. 
The new suite now features a state-of-the-art cardio and strength kit, rowers, multifunctional training equipment and Watt bikes. 
It also has a new training rig, ideal for rehabilitating an injury and high intensity training, as well as a Technogym Skillmill - a powerless treadmill that allows users of all abilities to perform at their own pace.
Saturday's official launch event offered visitors free swimming, badminton and virtual cycling sessions, special deals on membership and the chance to see improvements made following the £450,000 worth of investment.
Investment into Ongar Leisure Centre has also included new energy-saving technology, IT systems and the introduction of state-of-the-art equipment such as SWIMTAG, the latest wearable technology that helps customers track their swim activity. 
Epping Forest District Council leisure and community services portfolio holder Helen Kane said: "It is such a pleasure to see the first major investment of the new leisure contract come to fruition. 
"I know there has been some local concern about the future of the centre but this refurbishment and Places for People Leisure’s investment of £450,000 is a clear commitment to leisure services in Ongar.
"Across the district major refurbishment works start in Epping and Loughton this autumn while preliminary work has already started for the new leisure centre at Waltham Abbey. 
"I’m pleased to say the outlook for leisure services is positive throughout the district." 
Ongar Leisure Centre general manager Geraint Hole said: "We are delighted to be able to offer the local community a newly refurbished and equipped leisure centre that will provide opportunities for everyone to take part in physical activity and enjoy the wide range of facilities on offer. 
"As a social enterprise, we aim to open up even more opportunities for people to adopt a healthier and more active lifestyle and are looking forward to offering customers free sessions as part of this event."

Independent Loughton councillor Stephen Murray - Unfortunately this is not the full picture, the current picture at Loughton Leisure Centre is not so positive. 
The existing creche is likely to close for at least the period of the refurbishment (at least six months) and there is no absolute guarantee that it will be replaced. 
Young parents are far from happy about this. 
Councillor Brookes and myself have been working behind the scenes to try and prevent this closure. Despite the efforts of the portfolio holder this closure is set to take place between November 2017 and May 2018. 
As Loughton councillors we are far from happy and still cannot understand why the need to maintain this creche was not part of the contract giving PfP no option but to continue to provide one without a closure period.


EPPING: Council introduces drone ban

2.34pm - 14th September 2017

THE flying of drones on the Stonards Hill recreation ground in Epping is to be banned by Epping Town Council. 
The town council is to amend its current signage highlighting the new rule rather than, for the time being at least, seeking to introduce a bylaw. 
Councillor Hugh Pegrum told Tuesday's council meeting: "It is an accident waiting to happen. We have football, kids running around there and it doesn't seem a very suitable place to be flying drones. 
"If you were there doing a risk assessment you wouldn't say it was a sensible thing to be doing on a public play area."


EPPING: Garnon Bushes receives town council award

9.51am - 14th September 2017

THE Garnon Bushes pub in Coopersale has received the town council's rosebowl award for its summer floral displays. 
The award has been presented annually by the town council since 1990. 
The competition is open to all commercial premises in the town. 
Landlord Mark Barrigan and landlady Pauline Nicholls received the rosebowl and a framed certificate from Town Mayor Tony Church at Tuesday's town council meeting. 
Mr Barrigan said: "The secret is going to a very good garden centre and just really enjoying what we do. I do a lot of the planting and my brother does the upkeep. We are really proud that we've achieved this. It means a lot to us." 
Mr Church said: "We were impressed by the superb floral displays on show at the pub. These have generated many favourable comments from people and the town council felt that the Garnon Bushes was a worthy recipient of the Rosebowl award this year. "



#EEF999LIVE: ONGAR: Two arrested over stabbing

9.24am - 14th September 2017

TWO people have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a man was stabbed in the stomach in Ongar.
Officers were called to Cripsey Avenue at about 5pm yesterday (Wednesday). 
The man, aged in his 20s, was taken to hospital for treatment. His condition last night was described as "serious". 
Police believe he was stabbed while sitting in the back of a car. 
An 18 year-old man from London and an 18 year-old woman, from Loughton, were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder in Loughton in the early hours of this morning. They are currently in police custody.
Anyone with any information about the incident should ring Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


EPPING: WI celebrates centenary

8.42am - 14th September 2017

THE centenary of Epping WI was celebrated with a lunch and unveiling of a new banner and community bench. 
The group has also planted two rose trees in the community garden off Epping High Street to commemorate its first 100 years - a red rose to mark the National Federation WI and a rose/peach rose in recognition of the Essex Federation. 
Some 80 Epping WI members were joined by special guests for the celebration which included talks and a two-course lunch at Epping Hall. 
Barbara Faulkner spoke about the history of hats while Paul Clancy entertained his audience with 'The Art of Magic'. 
Also present at yesterday's gathering were Epping Mayor Tony Church and his partner Hilary, last year's mayor Les Burrows and his wife, Carol, Epping Town Clerk Beverley Rumsey, Essex WI Federation chairman Kay Lodge, WI advisor June Ward and the presidents of Fyfield WI, Ongar WI and Moreton WI.
Epping WI was formed in June 1917 and held its first meeting in September 2017. The first president was Mrs A. Wythes, of Copped Hall. She held the position until 1923. 
A chair used by former Epping WI presidents was gifted to Copped Hall in 2009 in honour of Mrs Wythes.
The group's first talks, in 1917, were on the subject of 'parcels for the front during the war', sugar substitutes and the care of children in winter. 
The first competition saw members make a homemade Christmas gift, with the cost not to exceed six pennies. 
Membership fees were discussed at the first meeting - with a suggestion that two pennies a month should be paid. 
It was also agreed, by a majority vote, that members could take their children to meetings, and they would be cared for in another room. 
Girls could join over the age of 14. 
Epping WI played a significant part in the history of the Women's Institute with vice-president Mrs Trennow putting forward the first national resolution - regarding the provision of a sufficient supply of convenient and sanitary houses - in October 1918. This marked the beginning of the organisation's trademark involvement in campaigning over public affairs. 
In 1932 Essex Federation president Dora Christy presented Epping WI with an award of merit for drama. Drama performances have continued to be put on by Epping WI members. 
Members' are also renowned for their handiwork and collages depicting Epping High Street can be seen around the stairwell at Epping Hall. 
Current president Paula Christy-Harrold, the 29th in Epping WI's history, said: "With a waiting list of around 20 we are really thriving. We offer a range of activities, a book club, craft group, drama, luncheon and walking groups as well as organising theatre trips and plenty of other outings near and far." 
The group also welcomes speakers to its monthly meetings and offers bursaries for members to learn new talents. 
The branch also takes part in the Christmas Tree Festival at St John's Church. 
Mrs Christy-Harrold added: "Most of all we offer friendship and fun and a good social life for many women whether young or old. 
"It is a great community group and as well as the thousands of cakes and jars of jam - and cups of tea - we have made over the years Epping WI has inspired many women to make lasting friendships, and we hope to continue to do so for another 100 years!"



#EEF999LIVE: ONGAR: Man stabbed in stomach while sitting in car

8.09pm - 13th September 2017

A MAN has been stabbed in the stomach while sitting in  a car in Cripsey Avenue, Ongar. 
The victim, a man in his 20s, has been taken to hospital with what police describe as a "serious injury".
Officers were called at about 5pm today (Wednesday) and arrived to find a man with a stab wound to his stomach. 
A police spokesman said it is believed he had been sitting in the back of a car when two men approached the vehicle and attacked him. Detective Inspector Natalie Rooney said: "The victim has suffered a serious injury and has been taken to hospital for treatment. 
"I appreciate this incident will cause concern to local residents but I want to reassure them that we do not believe there is a risk to the wider public. 
"If you saw the incident or have any information about it, please come forward and speak to us.” 
Enquiries are continuing.
The driveway of a house remains cordoned off with police currently examining a car in the drive. 
Anyone with any information about the incident is asked to ring Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


EPPING: Councillors oppose "unique" flats

3.28pm - 13th September 2017

PROPOSALS for a housing development behind Epping High Street, described as "something special and unique", are being opposed by the town council. 
Plans have been drawn up for six flats in two three-storey blocks designed on a forest theme and incorporating woodland and energy sustainable features. 
Pedestrian access off the High Street to the development, bordering the Black Lion pub car park, would be through a 6m-7m tunnel decorated with planting and murals next to the former Torgut dry cleaners shop.
No parking spaces are provided for the scheme which would have 'parking' for 14 bicycles. 
Applicant Ben Spencer told the town council's planning and general purposes committee: "It's really going to feel as if you are walking into something special. 
"We think it's a really unique development, something that's not been seen anywhere else in the country." 
Councillor Barbara Scruton said: "It looks like a storage unit to me. It's overbearing." 
Town mayor Tony Church said: "It's massively overbearing. It's not in keeping with the Black Lion next door." 
Committee chairman Nigel Avey said: "I find the design quite interesting. I like the idea of it being something different. I think it's a nice design but in the wrong place." 
The committee is objecting for various reasons including overdevelopment, the lack of parking and amenity space, and because ground-floor residential accommodation in the High Street is not supported by the town council. 



CHIGWELL: Hindu Temple plan for school site

3.28pm - 12th September 2017

PLANS have been submitted to turn the former Beis Shammai School building in High Road, Chigwell, into a Hindu Temple.
The application before Epping Forest District Council details external works to the existing derelict building including some demolition of external walls, the removal of the existing roof to the main hall and its replacement with a 1m higher pitched roof. Various other alterations are also proposed. 
A supporting document submitted with the planning application states: "The brief is to re-use the existing building shell and refurbish it into a Hindu Temple. 
"There are some alterations to the existing building which require planning consent. 
"We believe the site and wider area would benefit by bringing this building back into use with an occupant that is sustainable in ensuring that it is well maintained." 
The document adds: "The general arrangement is designed around the circulation of the building. 
"An important aspect of a Hindu Temple is that shoes must be taken off before users can go into the two main spaces; the Mandir and Main Hall. 
"The order in which most people would use this building is to enter through the main entrance and store their shoes in the shoe rack area. 
"The male and female shoe racks are separated. "For sanitary purposes, the WC facilities are through the shoe rack areas to encourage users to put their shoes on before using the bathroom. 
"The Mandir is the next place where people would tend to go, to pray. They then make their way to the main hall. 
"The Mandir is a more transitional space as it is where people will pray for a period of time and move to the Main Hall. The Main Hall is an area where people sit and where the main events and ‘services’ are held. 
"Part of the main hall is where people will have small amounts of food. 
"The Pujari is a room which is occupied by the Hindu Priest. This requirement is ancillary to the Mandir and not intended as permanent residential accommodation. 
"The proposed scheme reuses most the external shell and existing structure."
The footprint of the existing building is slightly increased in gross internal area by 11 sq.m. 
Access would be unchanged with the approach of the main road and circulation around the site as existing. Entrances would be level entry to allow wheelchair access. 
The core is altered to meet current Building Regulations and to include a lift. 
The maximum height of the building will be slightly reduced with the proposed roof works not exceeding the maximum height of the existing building.


EPPING: Inspectors praise Coopersale Hall School

3.23pm - 12th September 2017

COOPERSALE Hall School has been praised by Independent Schools Inspectorate inspectors who spent several days at the Epping school scrutinising all aspects of the education provided. 
The final reports have now been received and headmistress Kaye Lovejoy and group managing principal Matthew Hagger are delighted with the results. 
This was the first of the Department for Education’s new-style inspections that were introduced last September to inspect against three areas - the quality of pupils’ personal development, the quality of pupils’ academic and other achievements and focussed compliance. 
Under the new framework schools are only given 24 hours’ notice of an inspection. 
Mr Hagger said: "We are delighted that Coopersale Hall has received such positive reports, which contain numerous comments that support and acknowledge the many positive achievements Coopersale Hall has made in recent years as we were judged to be ‘Excellent or ‘Good’ in all areas. 
"With such rigorous criteria for inspections nowadays this is a far higher standard than the national trend.” Inspectors highlighted the excellent quality of the pupils’ personal development adding that pupils leave the school as confident young people with high aspirations for their future and feel well prepared for the transition to senior school. 
All pupils demonstrate an outstanding cultural understanding and strong respect for diversity. 
Supported by the school’s strong sense of community, pupils have an excellent awareness of those around them. 
Pupils also have an outstanding sense of social responsibility while their achievement in academic and other areas are good. 
Older pupils are consistently successful in gaining places at selective senior schools and at all ages pupils willingly engage with their learning and display positive attitudes. 
Recent results are excellent, particularly the proportion of children exceeding the expected levels of development in reading and writing.
The inspectors added that pupils demonstrate high levels of concentration and apply themselves readily to the tasks set. 
Excellent scientific skills were observed in the presentations provided by older pupils as part of ‘science week’ and teaching assistants are used highly effectively to support individual pupils. 
The Focussed Compliance Inspection scrutinises all aspects of the Department for Education’s legal requirements, including the incredibly complex laws relating to the employment of staff, the welfare and safety of pupils and the curriculum and supporting documentation. 
The school was fully compliant with the Education Regulations and no further action is required.


NORTH WEALD: Police to seek planning consent as part of airfield relocation

5.17pm - 11th September 2017

THE National Police Air Service is to submit plans for a hangar on North Weald Airfield after its relocation from Lippitts Hill, High Beach, was supported by Epping Forest District Council. 
The hangar is required as part of NPAS's plans to move to North Weald before its lease expires at the end of March next year. 
Two helicopters and a fixed wing aircraft will be based there, with police operations ongoing 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year - with a maximum of some 20,000 air movements (10,000 up and 10,000 down) each year. 
If planning approval is granted later this year the proposal will be subject to final scrutiny by the NPAS National Board. 
Chief Superintendent Tyron Joyce, Chief Operating Officer for the National Police Air Service, said: "As part of our national network of 15 air bases, from which we provide 24/7/365 borderless air support to all 43 police forces across England and Wales, NPAS London is critical to our national operation. 
"Securing a new site to seamlessly continue our operations is clearly a high priority for NPAS and one which we hope we are now a step closer to following the Epping Forest District Council cabinet meeting."


CHIGWELL: New headteacher on his new role and school's expansion

4.50pm - 11th September 2017

WITH a new headteacher and major expansion plans about to be realised it is an exciting time in the history of West Hatch High School. 
Daniel Leonard has been at the Chigwell school for nine years and admits he is in a good place to start his time as headteacher. 
He arrived at West Hatch nine years ago as an assistant headteacher and in January 2011 was appointed a deputy headteacher. 
Two years ago he was made associate headteacher and is now experiencing his first few days as headteacher having taken over from Frances Howarth who retired in the summer after some 20 years at the school. 
Mr Leonard said: "I just feel very proud to be the head. I've been here for quite a long time so it's a nice place to be starting from. "If you go to a new school you don't have the background, you don't know the students, the parents but I've got all that knowledge. 
"Having had such fantastic (A-Level and GCSE exam) results this year it's a really nice place to start from. "The students have come in with a great attitude and I've had lots of great comments about how great the Year 7 students are so I'm enjoying it." 
Mr Leonard takes on the headship as West Hatch prepares to grow. From next September West Hatch will be offering an extra 60 places in Year 7 with that figure to be repeated each year for the next five years. 
Mr Leonard said: "Obviously with the expansion we will need new facilities and Essex County Council has committed to funding the school to increase its capacity. 
"Probably the most exciting part is that we will be aiming to build a new sports centre with a fitness suite, dance studio and a PE classroom. 
"That's really exciting for the school. We have such a wonderful tradition within sport and dance to be able to give them the facilities they deserve will be a really great thing for us as a school. We've also got a new English block coming and some new science labs and technology rooms so we will be able to fulfill the needs of the pupils in terms of space." 
Mr Leonard added: "It's an exciting, challenging time to make sure we maintain the ethos and reputation that the school has had in the past. It's very exciting move into the future for the school. 
"Ever since I've been here one of the things we've always been very proud of is we never just rest on our laurels. We know that whatever we do we are looking to improve. 
"Even with the great results we've had this year we are looking for that to be the base line from now on as we move forward. We are always looking to improve. 
"We want to keep improving standards across the school in terms of teaching and learning, in terms of behaviour and the attitude of pupils to learning and we want to continue to offer pupils the best possible education and make sure that we really prepare them for the next stages of their lives."

AUDIO: New West Hatch High School headteacher Daniel Leonard speaks about the first days in his new role and the school's expansion from next September CLICK HERE



LOUGHTON: Deputy mayor opens new-look hospice shop

8.51am - 11th September 2017

ST Clare Hospice’s Loughton charity shop was officially re-opened by deputy mayor Stephen Murray as it revealed its new look as ‘271 Fashion’. 
The shop, at 271 High Road, has undergone a makeover and been re-branded as a men’s and women’s fashion specialist. 
Mr Murray said: "I was delighted to launch St Clare’s new-look store in Loughton and to do my bit to help a fantastic local charity. 
"St Clare’s Retail team have to raise around £500,000 every year to help the hospice continue to deliver its care, free of charge, and so it is so important to help support the charity by donating and shopping in their stores. 
"I love the new style they have gone for at 271 - they have some great high street fashion brands as well as new stock, and plenty of both menswear and ladies’ fashion."
The St Clare Hospice van will be parked in Loughton Morrison’s car park on Saturday, September 23 (10am-3pm) for a donation drive event where people can donate men’s and women’s fashion goods. 
For every bag of donations received, the donor will be entered into a free prize draw to win an Aromatherapy Back and Neck massage at the Mode Beauty Therapy salon in Loughton.


NORTH WEALD: MP pays tribute to parish council chairman

8.47am - 10th September 2017

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing has expressed her "deep sadness" following the announcement of the death of councillor Cyril Hawkins, the chairman of North Weald Bassett Parish Council. 
Mr Hawkins, who died on Thursday, had been parish council chairman continuously since 2006. 
Mrs Laing said: "I was shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the death of Mr Hawkins who has been a leading light on the parish council in North Weald - which includes the Thornwood Common area for which I am MP - for many years. 
"In addition to his parish council work he has been a key figure in Thornwood Common, and in particular at the Parish Hall. 
"Many people have already paid tribute to his work in the parish. I would like to echo those words and also express my sincere condolences to his wife, Shirley, who is known to many through her work at Epping Forest District Council."


DISTRICT: MP wears it pink to promote breast cancer event

5.06pm - 9th September 2017

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing dressed in pink to lend her support to Breast Cancer Now’s flagship fundraiser, wear it pink. 
Thousands of people will be supporting the cause by adding a splash of pink to their outfits on Friday, October 20, to help raise vital funds for breast cancer research. 
Mrs Laing is encouraging constituents to join her and sign up to take part in the UK’s biggest pink fundraiser. 
The event, which takes place during October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is in its 16th year and has raised over £30m to date for Breast Cancer Now’s life-saving research. 
Mrs Laing joined fellow parliamentarians in Westminster this week to show her support for the thousands of women and men affected by breast cancer each year, encouraging people across the UK to take part on wear it pink day. 
Anyone can take part in the day which brings together schools, workplaces and communities. 
Participants just need to wear something pink, or hold a pink event and make a donation to Breast Cancer Now. 
Mrs Laing continues her support for women affected by breast cancer by joining more than 190 MPs in being a Breast Cancer Now Ambassador, championing breast cancer issues both in Epping Forest but nationally, working towards a day that the disease will stop taking lives. 
Mrs Laing said: "Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. One in eight women will face it in their lifetime and every year around 11,500 women and 80 men lose their lives to the disease. 
"This is why I’m urging everyone in Epping Forest to take part in wear it pink on Friday, October 20. It’s such a fun and easy way to support Breast Cancer Now’s vital research, and help stop breast cancer taking the lives of those we love. 
"Breast cancer affects so many people in Epping Forest so as a Breast Cancer Now Ambassador I am proud to take part in wear it pink to raise awareness of the impact of the disease locally and to support for Breast Cancer Now’s vital research. 
"I hope that everybody will join me and wear it pink on Friday, October 20." 
Also in attendance was Sky News presenter and former Olympic gymnast Jacquie Beltrao. Jacquie, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. 
Jacquie said: "I’m very proud to support wear it pink; it’s a great excuse to dress up in pink and have some fun while raising money for a really important cause. 
"I have had breast cancer myself and following my diagnosis and treatment have become incredibly passionate about raising awareness and funds for research. 
“Wear it pink has raised over £30m for Breast Cancer Now, which is incredible. 
"The event raises funds for the charity’s world-class research which will hopefully one day put a stop to this dreadful disease. 
"That is why I’m asking people across the country join me, and the MPs who took part in Westminster, by adding a splash of pink to their outfits on wear it pink day and donating to Breast Cancer Now. I hope lots of people across the UK take part!" 
Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said: "It is fantastic that so many MPs dressed up in pink at our Westminster wear it pink event and we are really grateful for all of the support and enthusiasm shown. 
"We hope that by wearing pink, Mrs Laing will encourage her constituents to get involved in their local community and help us fund life-saving research this Breast Cancer Awareness Month."



WALTHAM ABBEY: 'Peaceful protest' after boy injured by fishing wire

8.42am - 9th September 2017

A 'PEACEFUL protest' is being held after a young boy suffered facial injuries when fishing line was tied at knee height between posts and fences on the Ninefields estate. 
Organisers say the gathering, at Ninefields Square at 11am today (Saturday), will display a united community following the incident which has been described by a senior councillor as "a mindless and stupid act". 
Epping Forest District Council Safer, Greener and Transport portfolio holder councillor Sam Kane issued a statement about the anti-social behaviour at Thursday's council cabinet meeting. 
He said: "Fellow councillors will know that Epping Forest District Council is working in partnership with local residents and other organisations to improve the quality of life for everyone in and around Hillhouse on the Ninefields housing estate in Waltham Abbey. 
"Work has started in just the last few weeks on a brand new leisure centre. Health, housing and social facilities are coming together in a major multi-million pound investment. 
"The vast majority of residents in this area are the most decent and law-abiding citizens you could ever wish to meet. We also know there is an element of anti-social behaviour, a group of people who seem intent on making the lives of everyone else miserable. 
"We are working with all our partners, including Essex Police, to tackle this behaviour but events in the last day or so have taken a new and very ugly twist. 
"Fishing line has been tied at knee height between posts and fences with the deliberate intention of tripping and hurting people. This mindless and stupid act has resulted in injury to a small child. 
"I know this will come as a shock to you and I know every councillor would wish to send our sympathy to this innocent young child and his family. 
"Local residents and all right-minded people will be incensed by this latest incident. Through this meeting I want to let our residents know that we stand with them. The anti-social behaviour of the last few weeks must now stop." 
A temporary dispersal order has been put in place. 
Mr Kane added: "Council staff have been working incredibly hard. Plans of action drawn up with Essex Police even before this latest event are being put into effect now. 
"We believe we know who the perpetrators are. It saddens me to say that they are very young. 
"We have been working with our local schools and have passed the identities of the perpetrators to Essex Police. 
"Enough is enough. Anti-social behaviour is a blight on our communities which must end. 
"As the action plan goes into effect I expect to see the situation improve significantly. I also know that you can never eliminate all crime but with the support of my council colleagues I want to send out a clear message - we stand with all the decent and law-abiding residents of Waltham Abbey. 
"We will not let the few ruin the lives of the many."


NORTH WEALD: Death announced of parish council chairman

2.35pm - 8th September 2017

NORTH Weald Bassett Parish Council has announced the death of council chairman Cyril Hawkins. 
Mr Hawkins died yesterday (Thursday) after a short spell in hospital. 
Parish council clerk Sue DeLuca said: "Cyril was a stalwart of the council working not only for the Parish as a whole but with a particular fondness and affection for Thornwood Common." 
Mr Hawkins had been chairman of the parish council since 2006. 
A further update will be published following an informal meeting of the parish council on Wednesday (September 13).


#EEF999LIVE: Police appeal for motorcyclists

1.46pm - 8th September 2017

POLICE want to speak to motorcyclists following an incident in Loughton High Road on Sunday, August 20. 
At about 4.40pm, witnesses reported seeing off-road motorcycle riders carrying out wheelies while squeezing between opposing traffic flows. 
They were also reported to have jumped red traffic lights and been overtaking vehicles dangerously.
Police want to hear from anyone who was in the area around the time of the incident, or who has information about the people in the CCTV images. 
Anyone with any information should ring PC Paul Walker at Loughton Police Station on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. 

Link to pictures CLICK HERE


LOUGHTON: Hope Centre ready for Love Loughton Day opening

3.36pm - 7th September 2017

A NEW community centre in Loughton will be officially opened during the Love Loughton fun day on Saturday, September 16. 
The opening of the St Mary's Hope Centre will take place at 1.30pm. Love Loughton runs from noon until 4pm. 
There will be a wide variety of live acts performing at Love Loughton, including Rock Choir, Zumba and Pop Choir, Jeltz and football freestyler Al Johnson. 
There will also be a range of refreshments, side shows and a bouncy castle as well as numerous local organisations manning stalls. 
They include the Rotary club (raising awareness of stroke), Epping Forest Neighbourhood Watch, Loughton Amateur Dramatic Society, Grow Community Garden, Epping Forest Field Studies Centre, St Michael’s Red Balloon Family, Gideons and Loughton Voluntary Care. 
Building work on the new centre started in July last year. 
The Hope Centre replaces the former Ignite Centre which was built in the 1970s and was no longer fit-for-purpose. 
The centre has cost £1.1m, most of which has been raised by members of the church. 
The Hope Centre, which is attached to the main church building via a glazed link, offers a large hall, meeting room, catering facilities and counselling room. 
The centre will offer a range of services to the local community, including Loughton Foodbank, Christian counselling, toddler groups and youth work, and activities for the elderly and isolated. The Hope Centre is also available for lettings. 
St Mary's vicar Rev'd Malcolm Macdonald said: "After a year of building we are so excited to be able to open the Hope Centre at the heart of the High Road in Loughton. 
"St Mary's is all about bringing love and hope to our beautiful town. "Everyone is warmly invited to come to Love Loughton and have a good look inside the new Hope Centre. 
"There is good news and hope on our High Road."



EPPING: Blue plaque commemorates historian and writer

3.30pm - 7th September 2017

A BLUE plaque marking the former Epping High Street home of local historian and author Sidney Hills has been unveiled by Epping Town Council. 
Sidney Hills came from a very old Epping family, tracing through his mother’s line, the Hummerstons, back to beyond 1785 in Epping. 
Sidney’s aunt, Elsie Hummerston, ran the local bakers and his uncle, George Hummerston, ran the local greengrocers. 
His aunt lived at 47 High Street while Sidney and his parents lived next door, at 45 High Street, where he continued to live after he married his wife, Doris. They both later moved to Chapel Road to the newly-built warden-assisted properties. 
Sidney was born in St John’s Road in 1896 and lived in Epping all his life. He went to school at the Epping and Theydon School (the then Elementary School). 
After the First World War, in which he fought, he had many jobs, starting as a stone mason, a reporter for the Epping Gazette and eventually working for another old Epping family, at the Cottis foundry for more than 40 years. 
His father had also worked for the Cottis family at the Cottis garage whilst also being the first secretary and treasurer for the original Epping Town Football Club in the late 1890s, a club Sidney continued to support. 
Sidney’s mother, Elizabeth Ada Hills, was a local historian and published several books about Epping. 
Following in her footsteps, Sidney will be remembered as one of Epping’s foremost historians. 
Sidney had a regular column in the Essex Countryside magazine and in the West Essex Gazette noting and recording the history and life of Epping.
He also wrote many articles on such subjects as the origins and life in the Epping workhouse which started off in the High Street and later moved to The Plain to later be taken over by the Army in 1917, to become St Margaret’s Hospital. 
Sidney also kept a pictorial record of Epping with many of the earliest photographs being saved for prosperity of Epping in a book entitled ‘Epping: the Bygone days’. 
He also wrote several books which have become local treasures now stored in the Essex Records Office.
Town Mayor Tony Church remembers meeting both Sidney and Doris who were great friends of his grandfather, Jim Church. 
Mr Church said: "I always remember them fondly, particularly the historical stories of Epping he used to tell." 
Local resident Wendy Jonas nominated Mr Hills for the blue plaque which was unveiled at a short ceremony attended by members of his family and town councillors, Freemen of the Town and others interested in the town's history. 
Also present was Sarah Joy, from Essex Record Office, who played a recording of Mr Hills recalling bygone days in Epping, including the time when a car was seen driving through the High Street for the first time. 
Mr Church described Mr Hills as "one of Epping’s great historians and writers".



#EEF999LIVE: ONGAR/EPPING: Suspended prison sentence and 30-month ban for drink-driver

5.37pm - 6th September 2017

A WOMAN from Ongar has been sentenced to a 16-week suspended prison sentence after she left a man with a serious brain injury following a road crash in Epping. 
Nancy Madden, 22, of Fyfield Road, appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates Court yesterday (Tuesday) when she pleaded guilty to drink-driving and careless driving. 
On Thursday, December 8 last year Madden was driving her Fiat 500 in Hemnall Street with her then boyfriend when she hit a tree. 
She sustained a serious leg injury and her 20-year-old passenger was hospitalised for eight months with a brain injury which he is likely to take at least another year to recover from. 
Neither Madden nor her passenger were wearing seat belts. 
Madden was found to have 146 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of her blood. 
In England the legal alcohol limit for drivers is 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood. 
In addition to her suspended prison sentence, Madden was also given a 30-month driving ban and will have to complete 100 hours of unpaid work. She also has to pay a £725 fine and costs.


ONGAR: No Christmas lights event this year

8.15am - 6th September 2017

THE traditional Christmas lights switch-on event in Ongar will not be held this year, Ongar Town Forum has confirmed. 
The decision has been blamed on a lack of volunteers - and a lack of support from pubs and restaurants, with only two pubs contributing towards the cost of the festivities. 
Ongar Town Forum chairman Martyn Pattie said: "We have been struggling with getting volunteers to help run the Christmas lights event for many years as it involves a lot of work including raising appropriately £8,000 each year from sponsors, businesses and street collections. 
"This year we do not feel we have adequate people and the time to run it again." 
He added: "It is very sad as it is a very popular event and the High Street is full for the switch on. Shops, restaurants and pubs benefit greatly from the event as do families and children.
 "It is particularly disappointing that apart from The Stag pub and The Kings Head pub and restaurant none of the other pubs and restaurants give anything towards it. 
"We are putting up the lights for the town out of our funds but not running an event on the night."

Colin Johnson (writing on Everything Epping Forest's Facebook page) - After experiencing my first Christmas in Ongar last year and going to the 'switch on' I'm not surprised there aren't any supporters. A lot of houses have more impressive Christmas lights!


NORTH WEALD: Police helicopter base move 'could safeguard flying at airfield'

8.03am - 5th September 2017

THE possible relocation of the Metropolitan Police helicopter base to North Weald Airfield could safeguard flying at the airfield, the parish council believes. 
The National Police Air Service (NPAS) has approached Epping Forest District Council, which owns the airfield, about the possible move as it has been given notice to leave Lippitts Hill at High Beach by the time its lease expires at the end of next March. 
District and parish councillor Anne Grigg told last night's parish council meeting: "At present all the responses (I have received) have been positive but we have a long way to go on that. 
"For over 20 years I've been trying to keep flying at North Weald. There is a possibility this agreement could safeguard flying at North Weald for the future. We need to look at it carefully."
 Acting council chairman Baden Clegg said he summed up the feeling of councillors at the meeting saying: "We more than quite welcome the addition of the police helicopter at North Weald." 
The move would bring an additional 20,000 air movements (10,000 up and 10,000 down) a year, with the police helicopters operating 24 hours a day. 
To accommodate the aircraft and have space to store and maintain its fleet NAPS would need at least one acre of land where a 35m x 35m (1,225sq.m) hangar could be built, along with some portable office accommodation for support staff.  
The airfield is already used as a base by the Herts and Essex Air Ambulance Service which has recently approached the council about establishing a more permanent base at the airfield. It currently operates two helicopters from North Weald. 
A report to Thursday's district council cabinet highlights the potential increase in flights and says it is a "key consideration" for any potential relocation. 
While the air ambulance service currently registers some 1,300 movements a year the NAPS operation would see some 20,000 movements per annum with flights 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  
The cabinet report states negotiations with NAPS indicate that Epping Forest District Council could receive about £120,000 per annum in ground rent and movement fees (with the number of movements capped at 20,000).  
The cabinet report concludes: "In reaching a decision on the NPAS proposal, members (councillors) will need to balance the likely environmental impact against the potential revenue benefits to the council of the proposal, which is in line with the council’s stated objective of intensifying aviation activity.  
"This also needs to be considered alongside our role as a public body in supporting the police in ensuring community safety and crime reduction."


ONGAR: Young Musician finalist to give concert

11.46am - 4th September 2017

ONE of the award winners in this year's Essex Young Musician of the Year competition will be returning to perform for Ongar Music Club later this month. 
Flutist Felicity Latham, from Roxwell, near Chelmsford, was third in this year's competition which was held by the club at the Budworth Hall, Ongar, in July. 
Felicity, with pianist Joanna Smith, will be performing at the High Street venue again on Friday, September 15 (8pm) with a programme of French and American music. 
Felicity, a former student at Chelmsford County High School, is now a postgraduate student at the Royal Welsh School of Music and Drama. 
Tickets, priced £5 for non-members, will be available on the door. The concert is free to Ongar Music Club members. 
The performance will follow a short AGM and cheese and wine reception.


BUCKHURST HILL: Faulty electricity meter blamed for house fire

11.16am - 4th September 2017

A HOUSE has been left uninhabitable after a fire in a faulty electricity meter. 
Firefighters from Loughton, Woodford and Waltham Abbey were called to the property in Loughton Way, Buckhurst Hill, at 2.20am today. 
They arrived to find the hall and staircase on fire and the property full of smoke. Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus took about 30 minutes to put the fire out. 
Crews then ventilated the house to clear the smoke. 
An Essex Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: "The house has been badly damaged by the fire and is no longer habitable. 
"The cause of the fire was found to be a faulty electricity meter."


DISTRICT: Petition calls for better waste site provision

11.14am - 4th September 2017

A PETITION is calling for better waste disposal provision in Epping Forest. 
The petition, started by Epping Forest Forum's Paul Morris, calls on Essex County Council to 'review the council waste disposal centre policy for Epping Forest and provide at least one centre in the district that can accept DIY waste such as other parts of the county have.' 
Green district councillor Steven Neville said: "Greens on Essex County Council opposed the changes to waste disposal sites back when they were first proposed in October 2016. 
"We knew refusing DIY waste would lead to an inevitable increase in fly-tipping, blighting our district, and that residents would find themselves having to drive miles extra to find a council tip. 
"Unfortunately we've been proved correct." 
James Abbott, the Green Party's county councillor for Witham North, led the county council Green Group's opposition to the changes last year. 
He said: "Since being elected to Essex County Council in 2013 I have fought to keep recycling centres local and accessible. We should be making it as easy as possible for people to recycle, not increasing restrictions on the few that we have." 
The petition to Essex County Council is online


EEF999LIVE: NORTH WEALD: Missing man found after police appeal

UPDATE 8.45am - 4th September 2017

Police say he has been found. 

8.13am - 4th September 2017

POLICE are appealing for information to find a man who has been missing from his home in North Weald for more than 24 hours. 
Duncan Vitalis, 43, was last seen about 1am yesterday (Sunday) and his family are concerned for his welfare. He is described as black, about 6ft 1ins tall and of stocky build. 
He was last seen wearing a brown shirt with a yellow Franklin and Marshall logo, dark grey pyjama bottoms, white Nike Air Force trainers and a black bomber jacket. 
Anyone with information is asked to ring Loughton Police Station on 101.


DISTRICT: Conduct allegations made against five councillors

3.30pm - 1st September 2017

ALLEGATIONS regarding the conduct of five district, town or parish councillors were received by Epping Forest District Council in the 2016-17 council year. 
Deputy Monitoring Officer Simon Hill told the last standards committee meeting that two of the cases remained "active". 
He added the majority of allegations regarding the conduct of councillors arose from issues at planning meetings.


#EEF999LIVE: HASTINGWOOD: Motorcyclist dies in M11 crash

7.35am - 1st September 2017

POLICE want to trace a lorry after a motorcyclist died in a collision involving a motorbike and car on the southbound M11 near Hastingwood. 
Police say the collision happened near junction 7 at about 11.35am yesterday (Thursday). 
The motorcyclist, a man in his 50s from Nottingham, died at the scene. 
Officers closed the road while they investigated the incident. 
Inspector Danny Parsons said: "We urgently need to trace a lorry in connection with this incident which was travelling southbound at the time. 
The lorry had a black trailer with an image of fruit on it, possibly a tomato.
 "If this is your lorry, you recognise it, or if you have any dashcam footage of the incident please contact us." Anyone with any information is asked to ring Essex Police on 101, email collision.appeals@essex.pnn.police.uk, or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


EPPING: 'Pavements are so bad we help customers to their cars'

7.34am - 1st September 2017

THE state of the pavements in Epping High Street is so poor that some elderly customers at the NatWest bank are being helped to their cars by staff. 
The bank has reacted to calls from Epping Town Council for businesses to report areas of damaged paving to Essex County Council. 
The town council has reported its concerns to the county council in an attempt to get the whole High Street assessed and repaired. 
Despite constant reporting of individual locations, the condition of the pavements is getting worse and not enough repairs are being undertaken, the town council says. 
The council adds that the state of the pavements is putting shoppers at risk, particularly as Epping hosts its busy Monday market. 
NatWest branch manager Sarah Elliott told Everything Epping Forest about six people have tripped on the pavement outside the branch with two people, who suffered head injuries, requiring treatment from paramedics. 
She said: "Most people have been elderly often with mobility issues which shakes them up even more.
"I am also aware that people have tripped further up the High Street outside other shops. 
"What concerns me most is a lot of my customers are elderly and because we are aware of the state of the pavements directly outside the bank myself and my staff worry they may trip so are helping them to their cars." 
A member of bank staff has also fallen narrowly avoiding hitting her head on the letter box.

PICTURES: NatWest personal banker Shula Willson (left) and branch manager Sarah Elliott with the uneven pavement outside the Epping High Street branch CLICK HERE and HERE