everythingeppingforest.co.uk covers the Epping Forest district in Essex and features regularly updated news - in words and pictures - has a what's on listings section to highlight local events, a Local Business Directory and a section which allows clubs and organisations to publicise their activities free of charge
 
 
 

































 



















 
 
 
 News Archive     click here
 Sport Archive     click here

Tell us your news...
Publicise your event...
Promote your business...
Have your say...

Buy copies of photos that appear here...

email: everythingeppingforest@googlemail.com
tel: David Jackman on 07710 447868

 

 

 






 

 

 

LOUGHTON: Man, 92, dies after road collision

4.33pm - 29th January 2015

A 92-YEAR-OLD man has died following a road collision in Alderton Hill, Loughton. 
The collision involving the pedestrian and a car driven by a 92-year-old man from Buckhurst Hill, happened at about 6.50pm yesterday (Wednesday). 
The pedestrian, who lives locally, was in collision with a black Renault Modus car travelling towards Debden. 
The car stopped at the scene. 
The pedestrian was taken to Whipps Cross Hospital, Leytonstone. 
Police are appealing for any witnesses to the collision to come forward. They would especially like to speak to anyone who may have seen the pedestrian before the collision. 
The car driver was not injured and was allowed to leave the scene. 
The road was closed until shortly before 2am today (Thursday) while forensic investigations were carried out. 
Anyone with any information should ring the Serious Collision Investigation Unit on Essex Police 101 or email collisionappeal@essex.pnn.police.uk

   

EXCLUSIVE: Dozens of motorists stopped during day-long police operation

3.18pm - 28th January 2015

DOZENS of motorists have been stopped during a day-long police operation across the district.
A van driver stopped for not wearing his seatbelt - while his daughter's giant teddy bear was safely belted up next to him - was among those pulled over.
The 'Surround A Town' initiative targeted road safety across the Epping Forest district. 
Drivers were stopped for using their mobile phone, driving without a seat belt or with illegal tinted windows or number plates. 
Everything Epping Forest was invited to join police for the operation which also involved Essex County Council road safety officers. 
A number of student police officers were also involved as officers mounted checks along Loughton High Road, Epping High Street and at the M11-A414 roundabout at Hastingwood. 
The van driver pulled over in Loughton High Road told Everything Epping Forest: "The teddy bear is my daughter's and she strapped it in so it's been strapped in for the past two weeks. I've just left Sainsbury's from round the corner and I've been collared." 
He added: "I normally wear a seat belt but in a van you're always in and out. Long journeys, I normally wear my seat belt. When you're just going round corners (I) don't." 
Sgt Gary Hills told Everything Epping Forest: "Special operations like this mean we are not going to be sent off to any other jobs. We are solely dealing with seat belts and mobile phones. 
"These sites (Loughton, Epping and Hastingwood) are chosen because they have issues as 'Killed and Seriously Injured' sites. 
"We focus on where those KSIs are, looking at the causes of them, is the cause speed, people not wearing their seat belts, are they distracted on their mobile phones, are they careless driving? And that's the whole reason for the operation today." 

To hear the full interview with the teddy bear van driver click here

To hear the full interview with Sgt Gary Hills click here

 For pictures from 'Surround A Town' operation in Loughton click here

   

NAZEING: Three arrested over suspected £12m tobacco fraud

3.10pm - 28th January 2015

THREE men from Nazeing have been arrested in connection with a suspected £12m tobacco fraud. 
They were detained as part of an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). 
HMRC officers, assisted by Essex Police, raided three private addresses in the Nazeing area early yesterday where they seized documents, computers and mobile phones. 
Peter Millroy, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said: “Our activity sends out a clear message to those involved in this type of criminality. 
"Any attempt to import, distribute or sell UK duty free tobacco goods is treated extremely seriously and we will relentlessly pursue those believed to be involved. 
“Anyone with information about the transport, storage or sale of cheap cigarettes or tobacco can help us by calling the Customs hotline on 0800 59 5000.” 
The men - aged 42, 44 and 71,- were interviewed by HMRC and have been released on bail until April 27. Investigations into the fraud are continuing.

   

CHIGWELL / LEYTONSTONE: Missing man found

12.22pm - 28th January 2015

PHILLIP Hackney, 82, from Chigwell who was reported missing yesterday has been found safe this morning. 
Mr Hackney was found at Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, shortly before 10am. 
He was taken to nearby Whipps Cross Hospital and is receiving treatment having been outdoors all night.

   

CHIGWELL / LEYTONSTONE: Search continues for missing man

8.35am - 28th January 2015

DRIVERS using roads around Chigwell and Leytonstone are being asked to look out for an 82-year-old Chigwell man.
Phillip Hackney, of Chigwell Park Drive, was last seen at about 3.30pm yesterday while accompanying a relative on a visit to Whipps Cross Hospital. 
He went missing while the relative was attending an appointment. Police believe he left to try to make his way home. 
Officers from Essex and the Metropolitan Police have carried out searches along main routes from Leytonstone to Chigwell. 
Mr Hackney is 5ft 8in tall, of average build and has short grey hair. He is wearing a brown jacket and dark brown trousers. 
Anyone who has seen him should call Essex Police on 101.

   

CHIGWELL / LEYTONSTONE: Appeal over missing man

10.28pm - 27th January 2015

POLICE are appealing for help to find an 82-year-old Chigwell man who was last seen at Whipps Cross Hospital this afternoon. 
A police spokesman said Phillip Hackney, of Chigwell Park Drive, was last seen at about 3.30pm today while accompanying a relative on a visit to the hospital in Leytonstone. 
He went missing while the relative was attending an appointment and he is thought to be trying to make his way home. 
Officers from Essex and the Metropolitan Police are searching main routes from Leytonstone to Chigwell.
Mr Hackney is 5ft 8in tall, of average build and has short grey hair. He is wearing a brown jacket and dark brown trousers. 
Anyone who has seen him should call Essex Police on 101.

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Crews tackle chip pan fire

8.46am - 27th January 2015

FIRE crews spent almost an hour tackling a chip pan fire at a flat in Waltham Abbey. 
Crews from Epping and Loughton were called to a second-floor flat in Howard Close at about 6.15pm last night. 
They had put the fire out by 7.05pm but remained on the scene for a further half-an-hour to make sure all hot-spots had been dealt with. 
An Essex Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: "Incidents like this illustrate how important it is to never leave cooking unattended. 
"One out of three house fires start with someone cooking and more than half the domestic fires in Essex start in the kitchen."

   

LOUGHTON: Planning officers against church plans

3.51pm - 26th January 2015

PLANS to replace the Ignite Centre at St Mary's Church, High Road, Loughton, are being recommended for refusal by the district council. 
A decision on the plans will be taken by the area planning committee on Wednesday, February 4. 
The church wants to demolish the two-storey 'Ignite Centre' and replace it with a single-storey multi-purpose community building to be known as the 'Hope Centre' with a glazed link connection to the main church. 
Epping Forest District Council planning officers are recommending that councillors reject the application saying the new extensions would "visually obscure and physically alter the remaining unaltered elevation of the church resulting in significant adverse impacts to the setting of the listed building and detracting from the street scene". 
Loughton Town Council has voiced no objection to the proposals. 
Several petitions signed by a total of 88 people and some 32 letters of support have been sent to the district council.

   

ESSEX: Some police stations could be sold

9.01am - 26th January 2015

A NUMBER of police stations across Essex could be sold, Essex Police has said.
A police report reveals a backlog of maintenance work across the force's property portfolio of some 80 properties, totals an estimated £30m, with an additional £1.75m per year needed to maintain and keep the estate in its current condition. 
Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex Nick Alston said: "Many of the current buildings are old, in need of extensive and expensive maintenance and no longer fit for the demands and purposes of modern policing." 
He describes the £30m figure as "no small total" adding: "particularly with the financial challenges already facing Essex Police, as central government funding continues to reduce". 
He added: "In light of that, these ongoing costs cannot be justified and it is necessary for the Chief Constable and me to make some tough decisions on the future of police buildings, including stations. 
"A review of the options available to us is nearing completion but no final decisions have yet been made.
"The sale of some police stations, the reduction of the size of the Chelmsford-based force Headquarters, and the possible creation of centralised policing hubs in each local authority area are all being considered." 
Mr Alston added: "What will be key to any decisions taken is that our police are best placed and best equipped to deliver quality and accessible policing to the communities they serve."

   

ONGAR: Council bans Chinese lanterns

12.02pm - 25th January 2015

ONGAR Town Council is supporting Essex County Council which has agreed a policy to ban the use of Sky Lanterns from its land. 
Sky Lanterns, sometimes known as Chinese Lanterns, are small balloons made from paper and bamboo and usually use a candle as a fuel cell to make the balloon rise. 
The county council and town council have voted to ban the lanterns from being released on their property following a number of national incidents where the lanterns have caused serious damage to property and wildlife. 
They are also litter. 
The policy has been supported by the RSPCA and the National Farmers Union. Ongar Town Council has decided to support the initiative and imposed a ban on lanterns from being released on all of its owned or managed land. 
These areas are the Jubilee Nature Reserve, Love Lane sports fields and all play areas in the town.
Ongar Town Council chairman Diana Roberts said: "We would urge all members of the public to not use these lanterns as it is impossible to predict where they may land or what impact they may have on the environment." 
For more information about the policy contact either Essex County Council, or Ongar Town Council on 01277 365348; email clerk@ongartowncouncil.gov.uk

   

MATCHING TYE: 'Green' business welcomes MP

9.50am - 24th January 2015

HARLOW MP Robert Halfon visited Matching Tye-based family-run joinery specialist Chordal Green. 
CG is a young company with an established reputation for fitting luxury residential and commercial interiors across the UK and abroad. 
Mr Halfon said: "Family businesses are the best sort. I am impressed this is such a family-orientated company. Good businesses don't just rely on their ability to manufacture, but on their personal relationships." 
The firm's successes include being awarded a project to refurbish Ronnie Scott's home and to be commissioned to design and make joinery for a large, modern house in Geneva. 
Chordal Green was started seven years ago. 
Managing director Mark Rutty, who owns and runs the business, has a passion for making bespoke-made furniture. 
From penthouse apartments in Mayfair to sawing a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow in half for a Soho bar - Mark loves high risk, quirky challenges. 
Mr Halfon discussed various issues including road infrastructure, apprenticeships, financial and practical support for small businesses, payment delays and how it feels to work and live close to Harlow. 
The company relies on local suppliers and staff and actively supports apprenticeships. 
Mr Rutty said: "We really appreciate this visit from our MP who expressed an interest in us after talking to colleagues at a networking event for local companies last year.
"Robert Halfon is a huge asset to Harlow and he is obviously sincere in his support of the town and the people who live and work here. 
"Robert demonstrated in-depth knowledge of local issues affecting us. He has a great sense of humour too, he was sporting a fetching green suit and tie in honour of the 'Green' half of our company name which none of us spotted until he was about to leave. We were very impressed with him."

   

DISTRICT: Best Small Shops competition

5.29pm - 23rd January 2015

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing is calling for small shops in Epping Forest to enter the All Party Parliamentary Best Small Shops Competition. 
Mrs Laing said: "This is a great opportunity for small shops in to get recognition for the brilliant work they do supporting the community and creating jobs all year round." 
Small shops can submit their application to the competition via www.bestsmallshops.uk setting out in no more than 500 words why they are the best small shops including; innovation in your business, community engagement and entrepreneurial activity. 
All shortlisted candidates will be invited to a parliamentary reception on February 25 when the winner will be announced.

   

CHIGWELL: School holds sixth form open evening

4.48pm - 23rd January 2015

SOME 170 parents and prospective students attended an additional sixth form open evening at West Hatch High School, Chigwell. 
Last night's event gave students and parents a chance to see around the Chigwell school, speak to students and staff and find out more about what West Hatch High School Sixth Form has to offer.
Presentations on the school's AS and A-level achievements were given by headteacher Frances Howarth and Victoria Schaefer, assistant headteacher responsible for KS5, while talks were also given by head girl Deanna Mathers and Meg Abery. 
Visitors could tour the school to find out more about the various sixth form subject areas with presentations and displays throughout the school, including in chemistry, biology, textiles and music and drama. 
Headteacher Frances Howarth said: "We were very pleased to be able to put on a second evening for prospective sixth form students and were delighted with the numbers who attended. 
"The feedback we had was excellent with parents and students appreciating the subject talks and the opportunities they had to ask questions of those currently studying the courses that we offer. 
"We look forward to many of the students joining us in September." 
Mrs Schaefer said: "The evening was a great success with many students from the local area showing an interest in the variety of subjects we offer. 
"It was fantastic to meet so many dedicated and enthusiastic students."

   

ONGAR: Plans revealed for 105 homes

4.14pm - 23rd January 2015

PLANS for 105 homes on the Fyfield Business Park site have been unveiled. 
A public exhibition for a planned development was staged before Christmas. 
Now Fyfield Joint Venture has submitted an outline planning application to Epping Forest District Council for the scheme which features a mixed use redevelopment of the site. 
Part of the existing business park and community facilities would be retained with new parking areas for the retained uses. 
An extension to the existing café is planned to provide 140sq.m of new retail space as well as recreational facilities including a relocated multi-use play area and junior football pitch and the removal of other buildings. 
Parking, public open space, landscaping and a new site access, including a roundabout off Fyfield Road, is also detailed on the application.

   

DISTRICT: Higher parking charges proposed but still "exceptional value"

3.51pm - 23rd January 2015

HIGHER parking charges will be accompanied by better, more reliable ticket machines and enhanced CCTV, a senior district councillor has said.
Epping Forest District Council has announced a revised strategy for council car parks, to come into force on July 1. 
The strategy and new charging tariffs will be debated by the council's cabinet on Monday, February 2. 
The up to 30 minutes parking in all car parks will increase from 10p to 20p. 
Safer, Greener and Transport portfolio holder Gary Waller said: "We are continuing with a low cost tariff for the first half hour of parking, deliberately intended to support the economic viability of town centre businesses. 
"While the amount is obviously higher than the present 10p it still represents exceptional value bearing in mind that in such neighbouring places as Bishop's Stortford, Woodford, Ilford and Braintree, the initial charge is currently between 80p and £1.10 (for up to an hour).
Increased tariffs, applying in most car parks, will remain competitive with other nearby retail centres. 
For example, it will cost £1.80 to park for up to 2 hours in a short-stay car park, compared with £1.60 at present, Mr Waller said. 
He added: "In return for these increases, we shall be offering better parking facilities, including more user-friendly pay-and-display machines and enhanced CCTV for improved security." 
A charge of £1 will be introduced to park all day on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays in the car parks that are currently free, but motorists will still be able to park for up to two hours on those days without charge. 
Parking will remain free all day at weekends in December. 
Mr Waller said: "This is intended to benefit local retailers on prime shopping days as local shopping trips may well take less than two hours. 
"On the other hand those who park up to catch a train to do their shopping at Westfield or in central London will incur a modest charge." 
Apart from the 20p initial charge for 30 minutes no tariff increases will take place in Waltham Abbey and Ongar car parks, bearing in mind that those places do not provide access to London Underground or national rail services and are localities where local shops need particular support. 
Before the new tariff regime comes into effect in July, new smart pay-and-display machines are to be installed. 
Mr Waller said: "The existing machines are now obsolete and spare parts are becoming ever harder to source. 
The new smart machines, costing £100,000 in total, will not only be cheaper to maintain but they will also provide better value, being linked to the Internet so they can provide us with real time information about customer usage, for instance letting us know when the paper reels are about to run out, so that they can be replaced in good time." 
A similar sum of about £100,000 is to be spent on new CCTV systems to provide all car parks with full coverage and to make them safer to use. 
Mr Waller said: "Although Epping Forest District Council is committed to protecting its residents, for instance with a nil rise in council tax, we are not immune to higher costs, which must be reflected in car park charges. 
"In return we are determined to offer a better customer experience worthy of the national Park Safe accolade which has been awarded to all our council car parks."

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Pie and mash for charity

3.34pm - 23rd January 2015

A RIGHT old Cockney Knees-Up is being held to raise money for The Dream Factory charity. 
The fundraising event is being held by The Pearly Kings & Queens Society at the Marriott Hotel, Waltham Abbey, on Sunday, February 8. 
Pie and mash and 'Rosie Lee' (tea) will be served. 
Doors open at 6.15pm with the pie and mash served at 6.45pm. 
Pearly Kings and Queens will be providing the entertainment at 8pm followed by The Fabulous Blues Brothers (presented by Souled Out).
Tickets, priced £20 each, are available by ringing The Dream Factory on 020 8501 1234 or emailing Avril Mills at avril.dreams@gmail.com
There will also be a raffle with all profits from the evening going to the Dream Factory which makes dreams come true for children and young adults with life-limiting conditions.

   

ONGAR: Council continues with club plans

2.21pm - 23rd January 2015

ONGAR Town Council has voted to continue with its plan to take over the management of the Jubilee Park site at Love Lane when the current lease expires next month. 
Jubilee Park manager Angus McKenzie told last night's town council meeting the council's wish was to make the site "a focal point of social life" in Ongar with improved facilities to help the existing clubs develop with improvements carried out to the pavilion. 
"New customers won't be attracted unless its fabric is improved," he said. 
He said the lounge bar would be refurbished and the dance floor sanded and varnished. 
A chemical clean would be carried out on the showers and changing rooms while a new kitchen would be a "real opportunity to increase revenue from customers and private hirers". 
There would be free wi-fi and an extension to the patio which in time could be covered. 
Mr McKenzie added sales would be increased with longer opening hours, marketing, refreshments offered all day and an improved bar profit margin. 
Various events are planned including a French market to coincide with a visit from Ongar's twin town of Cerizay, an event to mark the Magna Carta anniversary, a programme of children's events in the summer and various sport taster days. 
The meeting heard opposition to the council's plans from Hands Off Our Sports Club campaigner John Reynolds and Ongar Social and Sports Club chairman Mark Suker. 
Mr Reynolds said the club, thorough its legal advisers, had written to the council regarding the lease issue. 
Mr Suker said the council had ignored a 600-name petition and the Parish Poll result which opposed the council's takeover. 
"This is hardly democracy in its finest form," he said. 
The meeting was told the Parish Poll had cost the council £2,499.05. 
Speaking ahead of the vote, councillor Andrew Kaye said: "We are trying to move forward for the benefit of the community. 
"We have thought long and hard as to whether we are doing the right thing and whether we can fund it. 
"I can see the other side of the argument but still feel strongly we should carry on as we are (and take over the management). 
Councillor Sheila Jackman said: "I don't think people believe that we have given this serious consideration. 
"We want to see sports flourish as well as the Ongar Social and Sports Club want it to flourish. We want to see it as a clean and attractive building."

What do you think? 
Email your comments to everythingeppingforest@googlemail.com or send them to @eefnews on Twitter


Paul Mendel (@Paul_Mendel on Twitter) - the correct decision. Great opportunity for a community place rather than for a run-down building for a closed group

   

LOUGHTON: Shakespeare actor visits school

2.19pm - 23rd January 2015

PUPILS at Hereward Primary School, Loughton, have been visited by actor Anthony Glenn from the 'Shaking up Shakespeare' company. 
He has been visiting Hereward for more than 15 years to perform different Shakespeare plays with this year's being 'Twelfth Night'. 
During the performance to the whole school, Mr Glenn invited different children to go up to the front to play various roles from the play which added to the humour of the piece. 
Following the thoroughly entertaining portrayal of 'Twelfth Night', Mr Glenn conducted drama workshops for the Year 5 and 6 classes. 
Headteacher Matt Woolard said: "The visit of Anthony Glenn each year is a highlight in the school calendar and encourages the pupils of Hereward Primary School to enjoy and understand the works of Britain's most famous literary figure."

   

DISTRICT: MP signs Holocaust Book of Commitment

12.34pm - 22nd January 2015

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing has signed the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment. 
In doing so Mrs Laing pledged her commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust while also paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people. 
Tuesday, January 27 will mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history.
In the weeks leading up to and after Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events involve schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. 
Mrs Laing said: "Holocaust Memorial Day marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau - and is an important opportunity to remember the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and make sure they are not forgotten. I encourage all constituents to mark the day and to join members of my community in the fight against prejudice and intolerance." 
Holocaust Educational Trust chief executive Karen Pollock said: "We are proud that Mrs Laing is supporting Holocaust Memorial Day. 
"As we mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust and the liberation of the concentration camps in 2015, it is vitally important that we both continue to remember and learn from the appalling events of the Holocaust as well as ensuring that we continue to challenge anti-semitism and all forms of bigotry."

   

DISTRICT: Health bosses holding public meetings

4.23pm - 20th January 2015

A SERIES of public meetings are being held by West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group as health bosses give an update on their five-year plan. 
My Health, My Future, My Say part two follows the large-scale public engagement programme - My Health, My Future, My Say - held across west Essex at the end of 2013. 
The information gathered informed the CCG's 'Five Year Strategic Plan for West Essex Health and Care System 2015-2020' which will be presented at the follow-up events next month. 
CCG chairman Dr Rob Gerlis said: "It's not only important for us to listen to our local communities, we also need to act on what we're hearing.
"This is our chance to show local people that the things they told us during part one of My Health, My Future, My Say have been taken into account, have informed our decision-making over the last year and will continue to inform the way we commission services in the future.
"We want people to feel confident that they can influence the services that will affect them, their friends and family, now, and in the years to come, as well as challenge us when they feel services aren't meeting their needs." 
Chief officer Clare Morris said: "One of the areas we've been working hard on is the joining up of health and social care services in west Essex and, whilst progress still needs to be made the CCG has taken great strides towards achieving an integrated health and care system in the area and will continue to work closely with local partner organisations to realise this fully in the future.
'Naturally the engagement process doesn't stop here; we're constantly seeking local people's perspectives on health services in west Essex. 
"The NHS belongs to the people and so everything we do must reflect local people's needs." 
A panel of senior health and social care representatives from West Essex CCG and partner organisations, including Essex County Council and Princess Alexandra Hospital, will be present at each event and the public will have the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about what their local NHS are working on and where they might affect change. 
Anyone would like to feedback to the CCG on local health services but cannot attend one of these public events can contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 01992 566122 or 561223 or email weccg.comments@nhs.net
The local meetings (7pm-9pm) are at Harlow Leisurezone (February 2), Waltham Abbey Town Hall (February 9) and Epping Hall, Epping (February 26).

   

HASTINGWOOD: Hospice holding Winter Walkies

12.55pm - 19th January 2015

ST Clare Hospice is holding its annual Winter Walkies on Sunday, February 22. 
Dozens of dogs will turn out to support the charity and take part in the sponsored 5km countryside walk.
Almost 90 canines are already registered for the fundraising event which sets off at 11am. 
There will be doggy-friendly fun and games for all the family, including competitions for dogs and owners as well as a children's quiz. 
Free soup and a roll for all walkers will also be available along with other hot refreshments on sale.
Registration costs £10 for adults (£5 for children; £27.50 for two adults and two children). 
For more information, ring 01279 773750, email fund@stclarehospice.org.uk or visit www.stclarehospice.org.uk

   

DISTRICT: Abseil registration opens soon

12.28pm - 19th January 2015

ADVENTUROUS fundraisers will soon be able to register for the Church Langley water tower abseil organised by the Rotary Club of Harlow Tye.
This year is the 18th year of the event which has raised £755,000 for various charities. 
The abseil will take place on Saturday, May 2, and Sunday, May 3. 
For more details visit www.harlowtyerotary.org.uk, email abseil@harlowtyerotary.org.uk or ring 01279 734211 or 01279 731312. Last year's event raised £54,000. 
Registration costs £30 with all sponsorship money raises by participants going to their chosen cause.
Abseilers must be aged 16 years old and over. 
Registration opens on February 1.

   

EPPING: Council freezes council tax for fourth successive year

4.08pm - 16th January 2015

EPPING Town Council has voted to freeze the parish precept for the fourth consecutive year. 
The annual rate payable by a Band D property in Epping remains at £83.84, the rate since 2011-12. 
The council has also frozen fees for market pitches for the third consecutive year and is freezing hire rates for Epping Hall. 
Cemetery fees are increasing to bring them in line with other local cemeteries in Waltham Abbey and Chigwell. 
Mayor Barbara Scruton said: "The council felt that increasing local taxation in the present climate was not the right thing to do. 
"We have frozen fees for the market to support our traders and frozen fees for Epping Hall to encourage local groups to provide activities in the town. 
"The decision to raise cemetery fees was difficult but if we are to keep council tax stable we can't afford to subsidise the cemetery to the extent we have been previously. 
"We still have an ambitious programme for the coming year, which will see us start work on a neighbourhood plan for Epping, give one of our play areas a big overhaul and we will be organising more events for the community than ever before."

   

ONGAR: Council set to go-ahead with club plans

7.27am - 16th January 2015

ONGAR Town Council's finance committee has voted to continue with the council's plans to take over the management of Ongar Social and Sports Club following a Parish Poll result which opposed the council's intentions. 
A recommendation from the finance committee will be discussed by full council next Thursday.
Councillor Sheila Jackman told last night's committee meeting: "I don't think anything has changed from our original decision. 
"We thought very carefully about the decision and since then we have been working up very detailed plans to benefit both sport and community activities for the town." 
Councillor Andrew Kaye said: "We have all thought long and hard over a considerable time. 
"We must go ahead. We discussed at great length how we are going to fund it. 
"A lot of hard work has gone into it and I feel very strongly that we should carry on as we are and steer a straight course." 
The result of the Parish Poll - when 416 votes were cast from an electorate of 5,234 - was 163 votes in support of the council's plans and 252 against. The result of the poll is not binding.
Council chairman Diana Roberts said: "It's not a vote of the whole town. It doesn't represent the majority of the people in the town."
Councillor Daniel Gambardella asked that given the size of the Poll majority whether there were any chance of the club and council working together to find a solution to the ongoing situation.
Opponent John Reynolds, addressing the council, said the result of the Parish Poll sent a "clear message" (opposing the council's takeover of the management of the club when the current lease expires on February 10) . 
He added that the Parish Poll majority, 89 votes, would have been "much higher" if postal votes and normal polling hours had been used. 
He questioned various statements made by the town council in its pre-poll leaflet which had been circulated to homes throughout the town.
Mr Reynolds said the club was taking legal advice and would give an update to the full council meeting following a meeting of the club's executive committee next week. 
The cost of the Parish Poll has yet to be announced by Epping Forest District Council but it is expected to be between £3,000 and £5,000.

   

ONGAR: Council plans council tax freeze

7.25am - 16th January 2015

ONGAR Town Council is set to freeze its precept for the 2015-16 financial year. 
The finance committee last night voted for no increase and a final decision will be taken at next Thursday's full council meeting. 
Committee chairman Brian Surtees said: "I think the council should be grateful to the committees that they are not looking for any money that either isn't needed or won't be spent in the coming year." 
The council is set to declare a 2015-16 precept of £268,336. 
* The finance committee also voted to freeze hire charges for the council's minibus and the council offices in Bansons Lane, and to pay for six Play in the Park sessions run by Epping Forest District Council this year.

   

EPPING: Town to host Italian market

3.24pm - 15th January 2015

A TASTE of Italy will be coming to Epping next month when the town council hosts an Italian market.
A range of Italian delicacies will be on sale from a host of stalls along the High Street between 9am and 4pm on Saturday, February 7. 
Town clerk Alan Shaw said: "The visit of a French market to the town last year was a popular attraction and we anticipate the visit of the Italian stalls will be an equal draw." 
Simon Faro, from Italia In Piazza, said: "So many things can be associated with Italy such as fast cars, sunshine and football, but undoubtedly the biggest thing is food. 
"Italy's passion and love for food is second to none. 
"We will be bringing real Italian food, made in Italy, right to your neighbourhood. And when we say made in Italy we mean real Italian foods served by real Italians!" 
He added: "Please come along and take a look at what Italy really has to offer. 
"Our prices are lower than other outlets and markets. In fact they are almost the same price you would expect to pay in Italy, but with no need to take a flight!"

   

LOUGHTON: Crime writer suffers stroke

9.57am - 15th January 2015

CRIME writer Ruth Rendell, who lived in Loughton for a time and was a reporter on the then West Essex Gazette newspaper, is reported to be in a critical but stable condition after suffering a stroke. 
Rendell - Baroness Rendell of Babergh - has previously lived in Shelley Grove in Loughton and attended Loughton County High School for Girls. 
She later joined the local newspaper and worked at its then offices on the corner of High Road and Forest Road. 
Some of her fiction locations are based in and around the Epping Forest area. 
It is being reported this morning that she suffered a "serious stroke" last week and is being looked after in hospital.

   

CHIGWELL: Choir supports two charities

2.19pm - 14th January 2015

THE Chigwell School Chapel Choir continued its fundraising efforts by performing a charity concert at Christ Church, Spitalfields, London. 
The concert raised almost £13,000 for the charities Smiles with Grace and Kids Inspire. 
Smiles with Grace was founded by Chigwell student Grace Boxall who died following a brave fight against cancer. 
Kids Inspire provides therapy for children traumatised by abuse or bereavement and is currently supporting nearly 400 children in Essex through clinical support and love. 
The programme included works by Handel, who wrote The Messiah also in aid of a children's charity, and the Spotless Rose by Paul Mealor who supported the concert. 
The school's Director of Music, Howard Ebden, said: "The choristers of the school inspired all those present with some glorious sounds and singing of the highest calibre." 
The Chapel Choir has raised over £40,000 in two years, with two corporate concerts, a rowathon on the Serpentine, Hyde Park; and the sale of the latest Chapel Choir CD which went as far as America, New Zealand and Holland.

   

LOUGHTON: Gold award for council 

1.43pm - 14th January 2015

LOUGHTON Town Council has received a Quality Gold award the new Local Council Award Scheme.
Loughton was one of 12 Essex councils to take part in the pilot project run by the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) and Essex Association of Local Councils (EALC). 
Loughton is one of the first in the country to receive the Quality Gold award and shares this honour in Essex with Waltham Abbey Town Council and Danbury Parish Council. 
The new scheme, officially launched this month, replaces the Quality Council award scheme which operated from 2004. 
There are now three levels - Foundation, Quality and Quality Gold. 
To achieve Quality Gold a council needs to demonstrate it is at the forefront of best practice by achieving excellent standards in community governance, community leadership and performance management.

   

ONGAR: Club welcomes council grant

1.18pm - 14th January 2015

THE Ongar Club for the Handicapped has received a £300 grant from Ongar Town Council to purchase tables and chairs for its outdoor meetings. 
The items will be used at garden parties held during the summer months at the homes of members and friends of the club which starts its new season on February 18. 
Club chairman Colin Green said: "We would like to thank the council very much for their help." 
The club's usual meetings are held at St James Hall, St James Avenue, Ongar. 
The club's membership is currently full but help is needed to transport members to and from meetings.
For more details, ring chairman Colin Green on 01992 522500.

   

WANSTEAD: Golfers support charity

12.17pm - 14th January 2015

GOLFERS at Wanstead Golf Club have raised £7,100 for The Dream Factory thanks to a year of fundraising. 
The charity, which makes dreams come true for children and young adults with life-limiting conditions, was chosen by club captain Tony Mansfield. 
The fundraising year began with the Captain's Drive-In which was attended by professional golfer and Dream Factory patron Simon Khan with a golf bag signed by Simon attracting a £1,000 bid in an auction. The event raised some £2,000. 
Meanwhile £800 was raised by lady captain Denise McKenzie who auctioned her reserved parking space for the year. 
Other events during the year included golf days and social events as well as donations from members.
Mr Mansfield said: "I was looking for a charity to do with kids and one that's local. I had looked into charities that did not have enormous administrative costs and The Dream Factory fitted the bill." 
He added: "Everybody at the club knew their donation would be going to a very worthy cause." 
The Dream Factory was formed by Epping mother Avril Mills after her son, Oliver, died from leukaemia at the age of nine. 
Since The Dream Factory was formed six years ago some 300-plus dreams have been fulfilled. 
The charity is working on more than 60 new requests.
Avril Mills said: "I'm honoured that Tony and the golf club chose us as their charity for the year. They are all such lovely people and their fundraising will help us grant even more dreams." 
Mr Mansfield presented the cheque to Avril's son Josh, 17, at a lunch at the golf club on Sunday. 
The club's efforts will enable two or three families to enjoy a break at Disneyland Paris.

   

EPPING: Council questions over Pizza Express signage

8.44am - 14th January 2015

EPPING Town Council is to object to the neon-lit signage on the Pizza Express restaurant in the High Street. 
The frontage, in the conservation area, has been installed without planning approval. 
Town councillors voiced concern over why enforcement action has not been taken against the company which opened the outlet in early December. 
Planning and general purposes committee chairman Nigel Avey told last night's meeting: "I could read a book under it at night." 
He added: "This is clearly in breach of planning law so why have they been allowed to carry on?"

   

EPPING: Proposed flats "so out of character"

8.42am - 14th January 2015

A BLOCK of five flats proposed for Kendal Avenue, Epping, is being opposed by the town council after it was described as "so out of character". 
The town council's planning and general purposes committee last night agreed to object to the application to demolish 16 Kendal Avenue and build a three-storey building with basement parking and a fourth floor in the roof to accommodate a total of five two-bedroom flats. 
Committee chairman Nigel Avey said: "If we are going to put flats in Kendal Avenue we will set a precedent for everyone else. It's absolutely not in character." 
Councillor Janet Hedges said the council should object "in the strongest terms possible." 
Mayor Barbara Scruton said: "It's a building that is so out of character." 
The committee objected for various reasons including overdevelopment and the proposed building being detrimental to the street scene. 
A final decision will be taken by Epping Forest District Council.

   

EPPING: Council freezes precept

8.40am - 14th January 2015

EPPING Town Council has voted to freeze its precept for 2015-16 which means a Band D household will pay £83.84 for the services provided by the town council in the next financial year.

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: National award for council

1.17pm - 13th January 2015

WALTHAM Abbey Town Council has received a 'quality gold' award from the National Association of Local Councils. 
The achievement recognises that the council achieves good practice in governance, community engagement and council improvement. 
Moreover the council goes above and beyond its legal obligations, leading its communities and continuously seeking opportunities to improve and develop even further. 
The award scheme's report highlighted the council's particular areas of strength including its services and engagement with residents. 
The Local Council Award Scheme is a peer assessed programme designed to both provide the tools and encouragement to those councils at the beginning of their improvement journeys as well as promoting and recognising councils that are at the cutting edge of the sector. 
Mayor Ann Mitchell said: "We are pleased to have been able to participate in the pilot scheme and to be one of the two first Quality Gold awards to be made in the country. 
"Councillors and staff have worked hard to achieve this accolade and we are thrilled to be able to celebrate this award." 
The council is now reviewing ways in which it can keep on improving and welcomes input from local people and partners. 
The council provides a wide range of services and is currently working on a new skate park extension to complement the facilities at Town Mead Leisure Park.

   

WOODFORD GREEN: Hospice benefits from darts tournament

1.15pm - 13th January 2015

HAVEN House Hospice has received £17,350 from the PDC World Darts Championships thanks to a darts challenge and raffle held at the tournament at Alexandra Palace. 
The charity also receives a £9,000 donation from bookmaker William Hill after Adrian Lewis recorded a nine-dart finish. 
Haven House is the beneficiary for all PDC (Professional Darts Corporation) fundraising events. 
The relationship has come about through PDC chairman Barry Hearn, a patron of the Woodford Green charity. 
Through his various sporting businesses Mr Hearn has raised over £350,000 for the charity since 2011.
Hospice chief executive Mike Palfreman said: 'This is always a really fun event, darts fans really get into the spirit of things and give generously to our raffles and darts challenges." 
The money will help to fund services, such as therapeutic yoga, music therapy and parent training sessions, in the hospice's Holistic Care Centre.

   

DISTRICT: "First class" youth council praised

7.52am - 13th January 2015

MEMBERS of Epping Forest Youth Council have highlighted their work and achievements in the district since they were elected last April. 
The highlight, last night's overview and scrutiny committee meeting heard, was the youth conference held at the Civic Offices and attended by pupils from some ten secondary schools in and around the district.
The youth council spearheaded a bullying awareness campaign and is continuing with an Intergenerational Project involving youth councillors and residents at some of the district's sheltered housing schemes. 
In the past nine months the youth council has attracted some £2,850 in external funding. 
Roydon district councillor Mary Sartin said she was "really impressed" with the work of the youth council.
Loughton councillor Stephen Murray, who praised the youth council members on their work and presentation, said: "I'm gobsmacked by the presentation. 
"The quality of your presentation was as good as many presentations we have from other bodies. The quality of what you are doing is first class."

   

DISTRICT: Car prize in hospice raffle

4.44pm - 12th January 2015

A NEW car is the first prize in St Clare Hospice's spring raffle. 
The Hastingwood-based hospice, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, has teamed up with Harlow-based Insight Private Finance to give away a silver Suzuki Alto, worth £7,500, as well as 24 other prizes. 
Second prize is £1,000 cash, third prize is a 40in TV, fourth prize is a £250 shopping voucher, fifth prize is a 10ins tablet while 20 £25 gift vouchers are also up for grabs. 
The charity hopes to raise £40,000 from the raffle. 
St Clare lottery manager Caron Lakey said: "St Clare's passion and purpose is to be there for those facing the difficult journey of living with a life-limiting illness and your support enables us to provide our specialist care here at the hospice and in people's homes. This time is precious and your help means so much to those families."
The 25 lucky winners will be picked by a special guest at the Harvey Centre, Harlow on March 31 (2pm).
Raffle tickets, priced £2 each, are on sale until March 23 from all eight of the St Clare Hospice shops as well as the hospice reception and other outlets.

   

EPPING: Launch of 'Stepping Up' campaign

3.38pm - 12th January 2015

A NEW campaign will be launched in Epping High Street on Thursday and Friday focusing on how local people can 'step up' to create stronger communities. 
The #SteppingUp campaign puts the spotlight on five simple steps people can take which can have a hugely beneficial effect personally, in communities and for public services. 
The steps are: 
Volunteering - this could be anything from neighbourhood watch to coaching at sporting clubs 
Providing informal care - for example checking on vulnerable older neighbours 
Giving children the best start in life - encouraging parents to take more responsibility for their children's development and wellbeing 
Keeping healthy and active - encouraging people to take more care of their own health and lead healthier lifestyles 
Reusing and recycling more - 52.6 per cent of all household waste is now being recycled, composted or reused in Essex. Essex County Council wants to work with residents to encourage more use of kerbside recycling collections. 
A multi-coloured cube will be outside Barclays Bank in Epping High Street from 10am to 3pm featuring interactive content, mini-quizzes and animations on the themes. 
People can sign up to volunteer and find out more about local activities. 
The events are being run in partnership with local voluntary organisations, the district councils, colleges and the NHS. 
Essex County Council finance cabinet member councillor John Spence said: "We're talking about five steps but together they represent a triple-jump to mutual success. The more of these steps each of us take, the better it is for the individual, the community and the services we offer. 
"Indeed, the #SteppingUp campaign will play an integral role in helping us assure quality of services despite financial constraints."
Epping Forest District Council chairman Tony Boyce said: "Our community has so much to offer as volunteers. The reward is knowing that you have made someone's life a little easier. 
"It's also a great way to get out and meet new people, learn new skills and have fun. 
"People often think that they do not have the skills required to volunteer but everyone has something to give to society and you don't have to be a professional. After all, Noah's ark was built by amateurs, the Titanic was built by professionals. 
"So why not give it a go? Pick up the phone or send an email and contact Voluntary Action Epping Forest. There's a huge range of volunteering opportunities available and they'll be able to advise what is best for you. 
"The most difficult part of volunteering is making the first move, so be brave and just try it. Whether it's caring, befriending or gardening I truly believe that volunteering can be great for your physical and mental wellbeing. So 'step up' and let's make 2015 the Year of Volunteer." 
Voluntary Action Epping Forest chief officer Jacqui Foile said: "We are delighted to take part in the #SteppingUp campaign and are looking forward to talking to people about the different local volunteering opportunities ranging from befriending the elderly to providing administrative support to a local charity.
"We will also be showcasing our new scheme, Time Banking, which provides a great way for individuals to meet new people in the community, make friends, help others and perhaps also receive some help back when you need it." 
West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group chief officer Clare Morris said: "Tackling the root causes of ill health means helping people to look after themselves better; a much more positive approach for the long term. 
"We know that when neighbours come together to shape local services their communities are stronger for that. 
"We want to find ways to give people more control over their own care, support neighbourliness and work with our partners to impact on major health risks like obesity, smoking and alcohol consumption."
The campaign will be supported across Essex County Council's social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter. 
Follow it by searching for #SteppingUp There is also a microsite www.steppingup-essex.org

   

BUCKHURST HILL: Blaze at hair salon

8.57am - 12th January 2015

THREE fire crews were called to deal with a fire in a hair salon in Queens Road, Buckhurst Hill.
Firefighters from Loughton and Woodford were called to the two-storey building at 7.35pm last night and took about 40 minutes to deal with the incident. 
The building was heavily smoke-logged and crews used a high pressure fan to ventilate the property. 
An investigation is being carried out to establish the cause of the fire.

   

CHIGWELL: Former West Hatch pupil through The Voice blind audition

7.50pm - 10th January 2015

A FORMER West Hatch High School student is through to the next stage of the BBC ONE talent show The Voice. 
Ryan Green, who left the Chigwell school in 2013 having studied GCSE music, was among the performers in the first show of the new series. 
It is the second time he has appeared on the show having failed to get through the blind audition stage last year.
This time he was chosen by Rita Ora who is making her debut as one of the four coaches. 
Ryan said he wanted to get back on The Voice to show the panel how he has progressed over the past year. 
Last year Ryan, 18, who lives in Hainault, performed 'Don't Go' by Josh Kumra. This year he sang 'Magic' by Coldplay. 
Ryan said: "I was really nervous and worried about not getting through again and what it might do to my career but I got up on stage and was only singing for about ten seconds, looked up and Rita Ora had turned round! Obviously I had done something right in the first few seconds!" 
Ryan added: "I had such a great experience last year and to get to perform in front of the four coaches was great. I had such a great time. 
"I wanted to go back and show them how I've improved in the last year so I put myself forward again." 
Ryan is a singer/pianist who during his time at West Hatch High School was a regular at school concerts sometimes performing his own work. 
West Hatch High School music teacher Mauro Sheehan said: "Ryan performed at every concert the school has put on during his time at West Hatch and also at various local functions." 
Ryan also plays percussion and attended Redbridge Music School. He is currently studying full-time at the Brit School. 
Ryan is the latest West Hatch student to appear on a national television talent show. 
Jonathan Antoine and Charlotte Jaconelli, the singing duo Jonathan and Charlotte, were runners-up in ITV's Britain's Got Talent three years ago while Sonny Jay, part of the Loveable Rogues, reached the final in the same year. 
Meanwhile John Wilding reached the judges' houses stage on ITV's X-Factor for two successive years in 2010 and 2011.

Ryan Green performing on The Voice on BBC ONE tonight PICTURE

   

LOUGHTON / WOODFORD: RNLI fundraising tops £10,800 in a year

3.04pm - 10th January 2015

A TOTAL of £10,852.55 was raised by the Loughton and Woodford branch of the RNLI last year. 
Branch chairman and secretary Mike Evans said: "We wish to thank everyone who supported the lifeboats during the year and the small but gallant band of volunteer collectors without whom such a result would not have been possible." 
The charity has awarded a Silver Badge to the branch's honorary box secretary and stamp appeal organiser Leila Mothew whose efforts contribute substantial sums each year. 
Meanwhile committee members Mike and Caroline McSean were awarded Bronze Badges for the substantial contributions they have made to the success of the branch. 
The branch needs more volunteers to assist with its fundraising efforts. For more details write to Mike Evans, 32 York Hill, Loughton.

   

EXCLUSIVE: ONGAR: Archaeologists make "significant" discovery

2.46pm - 10th January 2015

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have unearthed "significant" remains revealing previously unknown information about life in Ongar as early as the 12th century. 
An archaeological excavation was carried out on land at Bansons Yard behind Central House off the High Street before work started on a housing scheme.
The land - which includes the former car wash site - is just outside the previously known former medieval town enclosure and outside later medieval and post-medieval development along the High Street.
However a report into the findings of the archaeological 'dig' state the work "revealed the presence of relatively extensive and complex remains primarily relating to the occupation of the site in the 12th to 14th centuries." 
The report adds: "Significantly, these remains lie outside the known/projected extents of the medieval town enclosure and are the first excavated evidence of contemporary medieval occupation activity beyond its confines." 
The archaeologists say they discovered at least three "enclosure systems" that are occupied by timber building remains and also found evidence which indicates a range of occupation - processing / production and agricultural activities within the rear of a number of land plots at the northern fringe of the settlement during the medieval period. 
The report adds: "Although no pre-medieval remains were identified, late medieval decline in occupation activity and eventual reversion to apparent agricultural cultivation is charted, prior to the Victorian and later industrial use of this site." 
Archaeology South-East, which was commissioned to undertake the excavation, concludes that the findings are of "sufficient significance and potential to merit dissemination by means of an article in the Essex Archaeology and History journal".

   

M25: Man charged over fatal collision

UPDATED 2.46pm - 10th January 2015

Adam Olkusz entered no plea when he appeared before Chelmsford magistrates this morning. 
He was remanded in custody to appear at Chelmsford Crown Court on Tuesday, January 27. 

9.11am - 10th January 2015

A MAN is due in court today (Saturday) charged with causing death by dangerous driving following a road collision on the M25. 
Adam Olkusz, a 25-year-old unemployed man of no fixed address, will appear before magistrates in Chelmsford. 
He was charged with the offence yesterday (Friday). The collision between junctions 26 and 27 happened at about 1.50am on Tuesday, December 9, and involved multiple vehicles including a Peugeot car, a Scania lorry, a DAF artic, a Mercedes lorry and a Romanian lorry. 
Bhagwant Singh, a 39-year-old man from Leicestershire, died and four other people were injured and required hospital treatment. 
A 33-year-old man, from Leicester, was also arrested following the incident on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving. He is on bail pending further enquiries until Wednesday, April 8.

   

ABBESS RODING: Appeal over stolen £13,000 statue

7.27am - 9th January 2015

POLICE investigating a burglary in Abbess Roding are asking the public to keep an eye out for a distinctive statue worth £13,000. 
Thieves removed the bronze statue from the garden of a property overnight on November 13 last year. Details of the theft were only released by police today. 
The one-off 22ins high statue is signed 'Butler 2009' and was recently valued at over £13,000. 
Anyone with any information about the theft or the current whereabouts of the statue should ring PC Tracy Topche on Essex Police 101. 

The statue PICTURE

   

ONGAR: Call for better 30mph signage

7.25am - 9th January 2015

A CALL has been made for better signage for the 30mph limit on the A414 Epping Road, Ongar.
Councillor Brian Surtees told last night's Ongar Town Council planning and environment committee: "It's not really fair if people are at risk of being ticketed if the road is not properly signed." 
He wants to see improved signage - possibly with 30mph roundels on the road - on the stretch of A414 from the Four Wantz roundabout to near the bridge before the Vojan restaurant.

   

ONGAR: No objection to office plans

7.24am - 9th January 2015

ONGAR Town Council's planning and environment committee has voiced no objection to plans to turn the former Ongar Health Centre in Bansons Lane into offices and a one-bedroom flat.

   

LOUGHTON: Nominations wanted for Citizenship awards

10.38am - 8th January 2015

LOUGHTON Town Council is seeking nominations for its 2015 Citizenship Awards. 
Nominations can be for anyone who has shown outstanding courage or bravery, or undertaken exceptional voluntary service in the town and whose good works deserve to be recognised. 
Entries are invited from local residents, businesses, colleges, schools, groups or societies. 
The town council is particularly keen to receive entries for the under-25 years of age category 
The closing date for nominations is January 31. 
The awards will be presented at the town's annual civic service at Loughton Methodist Church on Sunday, March 1. 
The winners will receive an illuminated scroll and a £250 cheque for their favourite charity. 
For full details and a nomination form ring the council on 020 8508 4200 or visit www.loughton-tc.gov.uk

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Armed robbery at Co-op

10.08am - 8th January 2015

CCTV images have been released by detectives appealing to trace two men following an armed robbery at the Co-op store in Sun Street, Waltham Abbey. 
Two men threatened staff at about 5.20pm on Saturday, December 27. 
They were armed with a golf club and what was believed to be a sledge hammer. 
They fled with a four-figure sum of cash from the tills. No one was injured.
he men are thought to have left in a red Audi TT. 
Both men were white and wore hooded tops, grey jogging bottoms and scarves covering their faces. One wore white trainers. 
Anyone with any information should ring PC Rob Guiney at Loughton CID on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. 

PICTURE 1  PICTURE 2

   

LOUGHTON: Photos clue in hunt for burglar

10.05am - 8th January 2015

POLICE are hoping two family photos could be important clues in the search for a burglar who targeted a house in Loughton. 
The images of a woman and a child were taken on an iPad stolen from a house in Oakwood Hill. 
But unknown to the person who took the pictures, they later appeared on a photo stream used by the rightful owner. 
The £400 iPad2 is believed to have been taken by a thief who entered the house between December 15 and 16 when builders carrying out renovation work had left the front door open. 
Investigating officer PC Leon Rossi said: "The house owner had no idea the iPad had been taken until she saw the pictures of the unknown woman and child on her iPhone. 
She checked the house and found that the iPad had been taken.
"Whoever took the pictures probably had no idea that the victim's ipad, iPhone and computer were all synchronised for photo storage. 
"It is possible the pictures were taken by a family who bought the iPad without knowing it had been stolen. "We hope they will come forward to help us with our investigations into the burglary.
"We would also like to hear from anyone who recognises the woman or knows where the picture of the child was taken." 
Anyone with information should ring PC Rossi at Loughton CID on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. 

PICTURE 1  PICTURE 2

   

ROYDON: Family's tribute to "gentle giant"

4.25pm - 7th January 2015

THE family of a man who died following a road collision in Roydon have been paying tribute to the "gentle giant". 
Jonathan Aicken, 24, of Foldcroft, Harlow, was riding a motorbike which was involved in a collision in Tylers Road in the early hours of Christmas Eve. 
A family tribute, issued by Essex Police, said: "Jon was known affectionately among his friends as Panda. He was a gentle giant who lived life to the full. 
"His passions were motorbikes, Viking culture and loud music, attending many live gigs and music festivals both within the UK and across Europe. 
"Jon was a regular at The Square (the Harlow music venue), well known for his bear hugs and caring nature. If he heard that any of the girls in his circle of friends were walking home alone he would go miles out of his way to make sure they got home safely. 
"Jon will be missed by his mum, Anne, brothers, James and Nick, as well as his extended family and large circle of friends. 
"His family are overwhelmed by the messages of support and the generous donations to the fund organised by his friends to cover funeral costs, which has raised £7,500." 
* A 25-year-old woman from Hatfield in Hertfordshire was arrested on Christmas Day on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving. 
She has been bailed pending further police enquiries until Monday, January 26.

   

REDBRIDGE: Jobs to go as council plans £5m savings

3.40pm - 7th January 2015

REDUCTIONS in the number of managers across Redbridge Council together with a recruitment freeze could deliver £5m savings. 
Councillors will consider the move at a meeting on Thursday, January 15. 
Redbridge Council's Government grant will have been reduced by £100m by 2018 and it is facing a £70m budget shortfall. 
A report to be discussed next week recommends a new, more streamlined management structure to reduce costs. 
It is recommended that three chief officer posts - including Housing, Property and Services to Young People - will be removed saving more than £260,000 each year. 
The services from these posts will be transferred to the remaining chief officers.
If agreed, the changes would cut the overall size of the senior management team and represents a reduction of a third of chief officers since 2006. 
Redbridge Council says it already has fewer senior managers than almost every other London borough. However due to the severity of the cuts being faced by the council the report also recommends a reduction of a third of managers across the authority by the end of 2015. 
Alongside the changes, the council will freeze recruitment, although exceptions will be made for critical posts. 
Council leader Jas Athwal said: "These are not decisions that will be taken lightly. We need to ensure, and we will, that we continue to deliver important and essential outcomes for our residents, albeit with a leaner staffing structure. 
"This is a difficult time for us all but there has been no greater time to ensure we conduct our business fairly and ensure our residents receive affordable services. 
"The scale of these cuts is like nothing we've ever faced before and if this government were to get its way, would be deeper and harsher in the future. 
"We want the public to know that we will do all we can to reduce our costs while maintaining essential front line services."

   

CHIGWELL: School holding sixth form open evening

11.53am - 7th January 2015

WEST Hatch High School will open its doors to potential Sixth Form students at an additional Open Evening on Thursday, January 22. 
The Sixth Form event - between 6.30pm and 8.30pm - will give students and parents a chance to see around the Chigwell school, speak to students and staff and find out more about what West Hatch High School Sixth Form has to offer. 
Vicky Schaefer, Assistant Headteacher responsible for KS5, said: "At West Hatch we strive to deliver the best teaching and learning for our students to achieve their full potential. 
"Our academic standards are high, our success is proved and our breadth of extra-curricular activities offer students a fantastic experience of post-16 study." 
This year the school recorded excellent A-level results with an overall pass rate of 99 per cent, and with 50 per cent of Year 13 students achieving A*, A and B grades. 
Many West Hatch High School students achieve places at Russell Group universities or join the job market in competitive careers and industries. 
Headteacher Frances Howarth said: "Students in the sixth form have access to so many opportunities to develop and shine ensuring when they leave us they have the edge and can compete with the best. 
"We welcome all prospective students to visit us on January 22 to find out more about the exciting range of academic and vocational courses on offer."

   

WOODFORD GREEN: Hospice role for sports promoter

8.21am - 7th January 2015

SPORTS promoter Barry Hearn has been appointed a patron at Haven House Hospice. 
Mr Hearn has supported the Woodford Green hospice for a number of years and has raised £350,000 for the charity through his many business and sporting ventures. 
Haven House has been the chosen charity for both World Snooker and Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) thanks to Mr Hearn's role as chairman of both organisations. 
In addition he has secured a raft of sportspeople and auction prizes to help the charity's fundraising efforts. 
Mr Hearn said: "I've really got to know the staff at Haven House over the years and have seen for myself the great work that the hospice does for children and families in the local community. 
"I'm proud to support Haven House and even prouder to have been made a patron." 
Hospice chief executive Mike Palfreman said: "We're delighted Barry has accepted our invitation to become the hospice's newest patron. Mr Hearn has been a key supporter for many years and we wanted to formally recognize his outstanding contribution. 
"As a patron, Mr Hearn will be joining an exclusive group of people who have supported our hospice over a long period of time, either through significant donations to our work or connecting us with others who share our vision in supporting local life-limited children and families." 
Mr Hearn joins MP Iain Duncan Smith, actors Gary Lucy, Vicki Michelle and Ray Winstone and TV presenter Ben Shephard as patrons of the charity. 
TV star Mark Wright is an ambassador for Haven House.

   

ESSEX: Police reveal Christmas anti drink-drive results

5.40pm - 6th January 2015

A TOTAL of 175 drivers were arrested during Essex Police's 2014 Christmas Anti-Drink Drive campaign.
A total of 2,429 drivers were stopped and breathalysed between December 1 and January 1 and 143 were found to be driving over the legal alcohol limit or refused or failed to provide a sample. 
A further 32 were arrested in connection with drug driving legislation. 
During the 2013 campaign 3,409 drivers were breathalysed and 124 were arrested for driving over the limit or refusing or failing to give a sample of breath. 
Casualty reduction manager Adam Pipe said: "It is always frustrating to see that, despite knowing the consequences, some drivers still consider themselves to be above the law by getting behind the wheel having knowingly consumed too much alcohol. 
"This year we breathalysed fewer drivers and arrested more on suspicion of drink driving. Whilst this appears disappointing on first sight it can be explained by a more targeted approach taken during this year's campaign. 
"This year we were able to target our patrols more specifically to areas where intelligence told us people were drink-driving. 
"We were also able to act on information received from members of the public about people who regularly get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol." 
He added: "Our Christmas Anti-Drink Drive Campaign may have come to an end but Essex Police takes a robust approach to drink drivers 365 days a year. Drink driving isn't just about Christmas - it ruins lives all year round. 
"Perpetual drink drivers will choose to drink and drive any day of the year so I want to ask for support from the public 365 days a year to help take them off the roads of Essex. 
"Please help keep the county's roads safe by reporting drink drivers."

   

ONGAR: Academy team confirms location of new school

8.38am - 6th January 2015

NEGOTIATIONS over the location of The Ongar Academy are centred on land next to Ongar Leisure Centre, it has been confirmed. 
The land is currently owned by Epping Forest District Council and has long been the preferred site for the new school which is set to open in September. 
Epping Forest District Council deputy chief executive Derek Macnab said: "Given the level of support that the district council has publically expressed to date, coupled with the endorsement of the principle of the Academy sharing use of the Ongar Leisure Centre, enshrined within the recently adopted Leisure Strategy, I can confirm that the council is likely, in principle, to be supportive of disposing the site to the Secretary of State for Education, subject to the 'Heads of Terms' being agreed by members at their next cabinet meeting." 
The land, previously part of the Ongar Comprehensive School campus, is subject to a covenant in favour of Essex County Council, restricting the site to 'leisure' uses but the county council has indicated support for broadening the covenant to include 'state-funded education'. 
Should the proposals be approved by the district and county councils, the Department for Education will discuss the proposed designs with planners before submitting a full planning application.
It is expected that the school will share use of Ongar Leisure Centre and possibly other facilities on the site. 
The Ongar Academy Trust chairman, Pete Marchant, said: "We are very happy with this outcome which makes perfect sense for the Academy and for Ongar. The 'Heads of Terms', which are the agreed conditions on which legal contracts are drawn up, are all drafted now, both for acquiring the site and the change of covenant. We expect these will be agreed shortly." 
During the interim period it is anticipated that the Academy will be accommodated in temporary facilities on the same site, which are likely to include elements of new build, alongside some existing facilities. 
Any temporary arrangements will also be subject to normal planning procedures and it is common practice for Free Schools to use a combination of temporary and/or existing facilities in their first years of opening. 
The Ongar Academy headteacher David Grant will host two open days on the site for those with children starting secondary school in September 2015 or later. 
Parents and children will be able to meet the team, receive detailed information about the curriculum and get the latest updates about the school premises. 
The Open Days are on Saturday, January 17, and Sunday, January 25 (9am-noon) at the Adult Community Learning Centre, The Gables, Fyfield Road, Ongar. 
Mr Grant said: "Both myself and the Governing Body have had a very busy period meeting parents and undertaking presentations in local primary schools. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and we received enough applications to fill a whole form group in under a week and two weeks later had exceeded 50 per cent of our numbers. 
"I am very grateful to the many parents who have applied for a place so far and have had the pleasure of phoning them individually to introduce myself. 
"I am really looking forward to welcoming their children to the school community over the coming months."
Mr Grant added: "Now we are able to confirm that our preferred site looks set to become a reality I have every confidence we will receive more than enough applications over the next few weeks to fill the final remaining places and I would urge parents to get their applications in while they still can. 
"As I have been saying to parents, this really is a unique opportunity as for this year only they are able to apply for a place at The Ongar Academy in addition to applying for a place at an existing school through Essex County Council. 
"In this way parents have the power of choice which they will never have had before." 
In addition to the Open Days, two consultation sessions will be held at Ongar Town Council, Bansons Way, Ongar, on Wednesday, January (7.30pm-9pm) and Saturday, January 17 (2.30pm-4.30pm).

   

EPPING: Weather facts for 2014

8.35am - 6th January 2015

WHEN over six inches of rain was collected in January last year at the Epping home of amateur weather enthusiast Tony Harvey one could have reasonably expected a very wet year to follow.
In reality last year was wet and fairly warm and the large total of nearly 40 inches of rain recorded in 2000 appeared under threat if the pattern was to continue through last year. 
In the event 34 inches of rain were recorded in 2014 - just three inches short of the total for 2012 and considerably more than the about average figure of 26.39 ins for 2013. 
Four months last year saw over four inches of rain but March, April, June and September were notably drier. 
A total of an inch of rain in a 24-hour period usually occurs only once or twice a year in Epping, Mr Harvey said, but amounts in excess of one inch were recorded on the consecutive days of October 13 and 14. 
Mr Harvey, of Rayfield, Epping, said: "I have been collecting rainfall for over 50 years and I believe this is the only time an inch or more has been noted on two consecutive days."
Winter 2013-14 just did not occur. In early 2014 there were no significant frosts and not a flake of snow was to be seen. The coldest day was not until the start of winter 2014-15 on December 6 with a temperature of about 37F. 
In fact the last three early mornings of the year (immediately post-Christmas) were the coldest of the year.
A temperature of about 86F was noted on July 18 and this was probably the warmest day of the year locally. 
Monthly rainfall figures for 2014: January 6.14ins; February 3.55ins; March 1.15ins; April 0.65ins May 3.45ins; June 0.81ins; July 3.16ins; August 4.02ins; September 0.44ins; October 4.21ins; November 4.21ins; December 2.23ins. Total 34.02ins.

   

LOUGHTON: Man charged over dog attack

1.52pm - 5th January 2015

A MAN has been charged following an incident in Loughton when a man was threatened with a knife and his dog was stabbed.
Police were called following an incident at Borders Lane, near Epping Forest College, at about 7pm on Wednesday, August 20 last year. 
A 23-year-old man from Peterborough has been charged with attempted wounding with intent, threatening a person with an offensive weapon in a public place and causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
He has been bailed to appear before Chelmsford magistrates on Wednesday (January 7).

   

CHIGWELL: Break-in at convenience store

12.41pm - 5th January 2015

FOUR people are being sought by police after thousands of pounds worth of goods were stolen from a Chigwell food store. 
The break-in happened at Mace Food and Wine in Brook Parade in the early hours of December 30. 
Four suspects broke in to the convenience store by forcing the rear door and breaking the lock at about 2.50am. 
Police say they stole a large quantity of cigarettes, alcohol worth a four-figure sum and a blue Ford Transit van. 
Police are investigating the possibility the suspects could be from either Essex or London. 
Anyone who recognises any of the people in the images is asked to contact Pc Uyan Kupeli at Loughton Police Station on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. 

Police have released CCTV images following the break-in click here

   

ONGAR: PICTURES: Roads flooded

11.17am - 4th January 2015

SEVERAL roads around Ongar are flooded following yesterday's heavy rain. 
Worst affected is Watery Lane, Matching - near Matching Green - which is closed because of the depth of flood water at the ford. 
Police last night reported that the water was "waist high". 
Stondon Road in Ongar is also flooded but passable with care. 
Heavy surface water affecting both lanes has been reported at several locations along the road between Moreton Road, Ongar, and Matching Green. 

Watery Lane, Matching PICTURE 

Stondon Road, Ongar PICTURE

   

THEYDON GARNON: Eight injured in M11 crash

10.59am - 4th January 2015

EIGHT people were taken to hospital following a five-vehicle collision on the M11 near Theydon Garnon.
One of the injured remains in hospital this morning. The woman is being treated for serious but non-life threatening injuries. 
The incident happened at 12.50pm yesterday on the southbound carriageway just before junction six (the M25 interchange at Theydon Garnon)
A police spokesman said investigations indicate that the crash occurred in slow moving traffic on the approach to the slip road. 
There was an initial collision between a Nissan Micra and a Skoda Octavia, before a VW Passat collided with a Ford Mondeo and a Ford Fusion. 
All the vehicles were travelling on the M11 towards London. 
Eight people were taken to the Royal London, Whipps Cross and Basildon hospitals for treatment. All but one of the casualties has now been released following treatment. 
The M11 was closed for six-and-a-half hours causing significant disruption for motorists. 
The road was fully re-opened at 7.20pm. 
Officers at the Chigwell Road Policing Unit are appealing for any witnesses to the serious collision to contact them on 101.

   

BUCKHURST HILL: BEM for Ministry of Justice work

8.00am - 2nd January 2015

AN employee at the Ministry of Justice in London who lives in Buckhurst Hill has received a British Empire Medal in the New Year Honours List. 
Kamal El-Hajji is front of house security manager at the Ministry of Justice headquarters. 
He receives the award, which will be presented to him by the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Lord Petre, for services to the Ministry of Justice.

   

EPPING: Charity's festive boost

7.58am - 2nd January 2015

THE Dream Factory charity has received almost £4,000 over the Christmas period thanks to the Christmas Tree Festival at St John's Church, Epping, and donations collected at Epping's M&S Simply Food store. 
The charity spent four days bag packing and collecting donations at the M&S Simply Food store until Christmas Eve with volunteers - including many students from Epping St John's School - raising a total of £2,267. 
Meanwhile the charity will receive £1,657.85 having been chosen as one of the charities to benefit from the four-day Christmas Tree Festival at St John's Church at the beginning of December. 
Avril Mills, founder of The Dream Factory which makes dreams come true for children and young adults with life-limiting conditions, said: "Many thanks to everyone who supported The Dream Factory and helping us raise such an amazing amount."