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POLICING PLANS: Police stations to be sold

2.35pm - 6th October 2015

THE police stations in Epping, Ongar and Waltham Abbey are set to be sold while the front counter at Loughton Police Station is to close. 
While Loughton Police Station will remain an operational base today's announcement by Essex Police about the future of policing and its property estate means there will be no police building in the district open to the public after next April. 
Essex Police says that over two separate months 381 people visited the front counter at Epping Police Station with six of the visits to report a crime. The majority of visitors were seeking advice. 
At Loughton Police Station over two separate months 744 people visited the front counter - compared with 6,839 in Harlow - with 20 visits being to report a crime. 
As part of the proposed cost-cutting measures, just seven of the 26 Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) posts in Epping Forest and Brentwood would remain. 
A new Community Policing Team for Epping Forest and Brentwood is set to involve one local policing and partnership inspector, two sergeants, ten constables, one dedicated youth officer - and seven PCSOs. 
In a statement, Epping Forest District Commander Chief Inspector Denise Morrissey said the decision over PCSOs "is not one that has been considered lightly by our Chief Constable". 
She added: "With less money it is inevitable that police forces will have to employ less people. But what we must ensure is that the resources we do have are placed where they are needed most - and that is where the most harm is being caused in our communities. 
“I understand many residents in Epping Forest will be saddened to hear that the front counters of Loughton and Epping police stations are being proposed for closure, which is currently the subject of a consultation with affected staff, and that Epping and Ongar are further being proposed for sale.
“Compared to police stations in neighbouring districts, the front counters of Epping Forest and Loughton are under-used by the community. 
"In the face of having to make huge financial savings, under-used facilities are a luxury we can ill-afford.
“The proposed closure of a front counter will have no impact on the level of service residents in Epping Forest can expect from their local officers. 
"I and my teams are thoroughly committed to focusing our efforts where they are needed most. Dedicated officers will continue to investigate your crimes, support victims, respond to emergencies and will continue to work in partnership with the local authority to prevent crime and improve community safety.
“The new Community Policing Teams will be more focused and used more smartly to keep your community safe. These new teams will not work in isolation, they will be supported by detectives in CID, the Domestic Violence, Sexual Offences and Child Abuse investigation teams as well as specialist colleagues across the rest of the county for example the Serious Crime Directorate. 
“Just because a town may no longer have a traditional police station, as we have come to know it, does not mean that your area will not be policed. You will still have dedicated officers ready to respond to emergencies and investigate crimes. 
“For those residents wishing to visit a police station front counter, nearby Harlow will continue to operate front counters seven days a week from 9am to 5pm. 
“I can reassure residents of Epping Forest, that, in the face of Essex Police having to make very difficult decisions about staff and police stations, your officers will continue to be visible in the community, serving victims, catching criminals and providing emergency support.” 

For the full Essex Police media release about the changes CLICK HERE

For more details about the changes in Epping Forest CLICK HERE


POLICING PLANS: MP "most concerned" over planned PCSO cuts

2.33pm - 6th October 2015

ONGAR MP Sir Eric Pickles is "most concerned" about the proposed reduction in PCSOs across Epping Forest and Brentwood. 
Sir Eric, who has spoken to Essex Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston about the proposals, said: “I am most concerned about the future of our PCSOs who do an invaluable job. 
"The PCSOs in Ongar are exceptionally good providing good contacts in the area and I know they hold regular meetings in the (Ongar) library with local residents.
"I want to make sure the service is retained there. 
“I believe the reductions are more severe because of Essex Police’s inability to make sensible decisions over a long time. 
“They seem to be cuts without a purpose other than to cut. I would like to see Essex Police develop a policing policy fit for modern conditions and crime patterns 
“There is now an even bigger onus on the police to be contactable as well as being seen and accessible. The Essex Police and Crime Commissioner has told me it is currently impossible to report crimes by email or send photos or supporting evidence by email. Many forces across the country have already set up robust email reporting 
"The Essex Police and Crime Commissioner has frequently said he would like to raise the Council Tax precept to better fund policing in Essex. "This is in the hands of the people and not the Government. 
"If the PCC feels he needs to make a case then put it to the people of Essex for them to decide.”


POLICING PLANS: YOUR VIEWS: Police station closures "disgraceful"

2.32pm - 6th October 2015

VISITORS to Everything Epping Forest's social media pages have been giving their reaction to the Essex Police announcement. 
Janet Barrell, writing on the Everything Epping Forest Facebook page, described the proposals as "ridiculous". 
Ron Wood wrote: "Good grief." 
In a post on Everything Epping Forest's Twitter feed - @eefnews - Bettina (@BeautySwot) described the proposals as a "dreadful decision" while Steve (@steveswimmer) wrote: "Epping and Ongar must be a crime free zone." 
What do you think about the announcement? 
Email everythingeppingforest@googlemail.com, text your comments (and your name) to 07710 447868, post them on the Everything Epping Forest Facebook page or group, or send them via Twitter to @eefnews.


WALTHAM ABBEY: Plenty of entertainment at King Harold Day

8.40am - 6th October 2015

SATURDAY sees this year’s King Harold Day in the Abbey Gardens, Waltham Abbey, with organisers promising old favourites and many new attractions too. 
The day commemorates Harold Godwinsson, King Harold II, who was Lord of the Manor of Waltham when he was Earl of Essex and East Anglia, owned much land and property in the area, and whose family home with his handfast wife, Edith Swan-Neck, was at Nazeing. 
Harold founded the Minster Church which eventually became the Great Abbey, and legend has it that his body was brought back to the Abbey after his death at the Battle of Senlac Hill (Hastings) in 1066. 
King Harold Day features the traditional costumed procession through the town centre, starting from Waltham Abbey Library in Sun Street at noon and ending at the King Harold Memorial Stone in the Abbey Churchyard where guests will place flowers on the Stone. 
This year has a Magna Carta theme, in this its 800th anniversary year. Medieval musicians, Trouvère, were asked by the Tower of London to prepare some music for their Magna Carta event and Trouvère will play it on Saturday. 
Waltham Abbey Historical Society will have a facsimile copy of the Magna Carta on display and it is hoped that the sealing of Magna Carta will be re-enacted. 
Coda Falconry will have their birds of prey on show and will fly them once in the morning and once in the afternoon. 
Chingford Morris Men will perform their Mummers’ Play and morris dancing. AIM Academy of Dance, based in the town, will perform contemporary dance with a medieval theme. 
And there will be Have-a-Go Archery with Epping Archers as well as animals to get close to, and bees in an observation hive. 
Two more modern visitors will be the Copped Hall vintage Rolls Royce and Epping Ongar Railways’ Supercar. 
There will be craft stalls around the gardens and in the Abbey Church Centre, and exhibitions and hands on activities for children. 
Waltham Abbey primary schools have been invited to submit work for display around the Abbey Church where there will be a special recital at 12.30pm of 'Music for King Harold Day'. 
Guided tours of the Abbey Church (small charge for church funds) will take place at 11.30am and 2.30pm.
Visitors are invited to 'Strike a Blow for Harold' when they are on a conducted tour of the Ringing Chamber at the Abbey Church. They can see the Abbey’s ring of 12 bells - more than most churches have - and also the newly-restored clock mechanism. 
King Harold Day is in the Abbey Church, Abbey Churchyard and Abbey Gardens from 10am until 4pm.


CHIGWELL: Students enjoy team building day

5.42pm - 5th October 2015

YEAR 12 students at West Hatch High School took part in a team building day at Lambourne End Outdoor Activity Centre. 
The day enabled students to work in teams and to feel a real sense of achievement as they took on a variety of outdoor activities. 
The students were challenged to raft building, river crossings using a variety of rope bridges, archery, caving and team building games that required them to work together to climb walls and cross a ditch.
Head of Sixth Form Anjala Sharma said: "The day enabled students and staff to interact and have a day of ‘bonding’ outside of the school environment.
"The Sixth Form team would like to congratulate the Year 12s that attended for their effort and enthusiasm throughout the day.”


BREAKING NEWS: EPPING: Supermarket and cinema plans come step closer

4.37pm - 5th October 2015

THE long-awaiting redevelopment of the St John's Road area of Epping is set to take a major step forward in the next few weeks, it has emerged. 
A district council report published today also reveals that a planning application for the major development - which will include a three-screen cinema, food store and some housing - is set to be submitted early next year. 
A legal issue surrounding Epping Forest District Council's sale of Lindsay House, in Lindsey Street, to Essex County Council has delayed the project but the report states that matters relating a covenant and detailed negotiations over the conditions of sale are set to be concluded "in the next few weeks". 
The property is then set to be used to house "vulnerable adults". 
The St John's Road development arrangements will see Epping Forest District Council purchase the county council's land holding at St John's Road. 
Frontier Estates, chosen as the preferred development partner, has drawn up proposals for a food store, three-screen cinema, mix of shops and restaurants, new offices for Epping Town Council (and meeting rooms), and some residential properties. 
The town council will eventually move into new accommodation at the Centrepoint building. 
A report to the district council's asset management and economic development cabinet committee on Thursday, October 15, states that the scheme "is regarded as delivering the aspirations of the design and development brief, offering facilities to a wide cross section of the local community".


DISTRICT: Doctors urge smokers to join quit challenge

9.56am - 4th October 2015

DOCTORS are encouraging people to sign-up the stop smoking challenge, Stoptober. 
Doctors from NHS West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, which plans and buys NHS services on behalf of people in Epping Forest, Harlow and Uttlesford, are adding their voice to the national campaign.
Stoptober is the country’s 28-day mass quit attempt from Public Health England. 
Clinical director Dr Christine Moss said: “Stopping smoking is always a challenge but by signing up to the Stoptober mass quit attempt you will be joining thousands of people making a positive change to their wellbeing. 
“By stopping smoking for 28 days you are five times more likely to stop for good so this is the perfect time to sign up to receive the support you need.” 
To stand an even better chance of quitting for good, people are encouraged to sign up with their friends, family and colleagues as evidence reveals this type of ‘social quitting’ can dramatically improve people’s chances of successfully stopping. 
Research shows smokers are two-thirds (67 per cent) more likely to quit when their spouse stops smoking, and a third more likely to quit when a close friend (36 per cent) or someone they work with (34 per cent) stops. 
The data also shows individuals are much more likely (61 per cent) to smoke if their partner or a close friend smokes, showing the powerful influence that people’s social networks have on their own smoking behaviour. 
This is backed up by a study of smokers in Australia, Canada, the UK and the United States which shows that the fewer smoking friends someone has, the more likely they are to succeed in a quit attempt.
By signing up to Stoptober, smokers can choose from a range of free support tools including a mobile phone app which includes lots more tips and advice. 
To sign up, search 'Stoptober' online or visit www.smokefree.nhs.uk/stoptober


CHIGWELL / ABRIDGE: Two "highly experienced and professional" pilots die in plane crash

7.00pm - 3rd October 2015

THE owner of the plane which crashed near Chigwell claiming the lives of the two crew members on board says both were "highly experienced professional pilots". 
The eight-seater Beechcraft King Air 200 came down in a field off Gravel Lane at about 10.20am today.
Fire crews arrived to find the plane "100 per cent well alight". 
More than a dozen firefighters - from Loughton, Stansted and Grays - were called out to deal with the incident. 
Air Accident Investigation Branch officers were expected at the scene late this afternoon as police maintained a presence at the scene. 
Two ambulances were seen leaving the area. 
Various roads in the area, including Abridge Road at the junction with Gravel Lane, Millers Lane, Lambourne Road and Pudding Lane have been closed. 
A police spokesman said investigations are on-going. 
DCI Ronnie Egan, speaking at the scene, expressed her condolences to the families of those who died.
London Executive Aviation has said the executive turboprop plane, which was owned and operated by the company, had taken off from Stapleford Airfield and was heading for Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
The plane was manufactured in 1981 and had its most recent scheduled maintenance inspection on June 12 this year. 
In a statement, the company said both crew members were highly experienced, professional pilots. 
The captain had extensive experience of flying King Air aircraft and was a CAA flying examiner. 
London Executive Aviation’s managing director George Galanopoulos, who has visited the accident site, said: “Everybody at London Executive Aviation is shocked and deeply saddened by this tragic accident.
"Our hearts go out to the families and friends of our colleagues who lost their lives. We will do everything possible to support them at this difficult time. 
"We will also co-operate fully with the authorities charged with investigating the causes of the accident.”

For the latest pictures from the scene CLICK HERE


LOUGHTON: Boys experience Day of Dance

5.03pm - 2nd October 2015

YEAR 7 boys at Roding Valley High School, Loughton, have taken part in a Day of Dance with Epping Forest Arts. 
The boys took part in a variety of dance workshops which culminated in a showcase performance this afternoon. 
They experienced many different styles of dance including contemporary, street, stomp and breakdance.
Headteacher James Luck said: "The students had a superb time and were really challenged in terms of their fitness levels and their concentration. The day was a great way to enrich their curricular experience.
"Hopefully many will take up the further opportunities in dance offered to them outside of school as a result."



LOUGHTON: Woman found safe and well

UPDATE 8.16am - 3rd October 2015

Police say Madalyn Gilbey was found safe and well in London yesterday afternoon.

10.12am - 2nd October 2015

POLICE are appealing for help to trace a 19-year-old woman from Loughton who has been reported missing. 
Police say Madalyn Gilbey was found safe and well in London yesterday afternoon.
Madalyn Gilbey, who is also known as Lyn, has not been seen since she left her home at about 4.45pm last night (Thursday). 
Officers and her family are concerned for her safety. She is described as white, 5ft 9ins tall, with shoulder length blonde hair. 
She was last seen wearing denim blue ripped jeans and a black puffa-style jacket. 
Anyone with information is asked to call police at Loughton on 101.


ONGAR: Council requests extra police patrols

8.17am - 2nd October 2015

ONGAR Town Council has asked for additional police patrols after evidence of drugs use was found at all of the council's play areas. 
Meanwhile increased litter - including soiled nappies - has been reported at the Shelley play area.

The town council is making a grant application to Essex County Council's Community Initiatives Fund for funding for new swings at the Greensted Road play area. 
The council has set aside £450 of 'seed capital' for the equipment.


ONGAR: Two candidates for town council by-election

5.20pm - 1st October 2015

TWO candidates - Derek Birch (Ongar Residents Association) and Brian Surtees (Liberal Democrat) - will contest the Ongar Town Council (Chipping Ongar ward) by-election on Thursday, October 22. 
The by-election, which follows the resignation of councillor Lynn Hawkins, is set to cost the town council over £3,000.


DISTRICT: Coffee mornings support cancer charity

5.11pm - 1st October 2015

PUPILS at Bancroft’s School, Woodford Green, raised over £900 with a coffee morning for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Both prep and senior schools held cake sales during break times last Thursday and Friday with homemade cakes, cookies, brownies, biscuits and other treats on sale. 
In the Senior School pupils crowded around the stalls which were organised by Year 7 pupils. 
Meanwhile, a coffeee morning supported by Waltham Abbey Town Council at the Town Mead Sports and Social Club raised over £400 for Macmillan Cancer Support. 
Organisers thank the customers and staff and everyone who donated raffle prizes and cakes. 
Mayor Helen Kane was among those who supported the event. 
She said: “It is heart-warming to see the support for this amazing charity."


WALTHAM ABBEY: Royal Gunpowder Mills plans to go on show

5.09pm - 1st October 2015

PLANS for the future of the Royal Gunpowder Mills site in Waltham Abbey will go on show on Tuesday. 
A public exhibition is being held at the Mills site in Beaulieu Drive between 2pm and 8pm.