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CHIGWELL: Britain's Got Talent winner performs at Jubilee Lodge 

9.58pm - 20th June 2018

THE winner of this year's Britain's Got Talent, 'Lost Voice Guy', has given a special performance to guests at the Revitalise charity's Jubilee Lodge holiday centre in Chigwell. 

Lee Ridley was welcomed to the centre on Wednesday evening. 

Lee had already performed at Revitalise’s two other holiday centres, in Southampton and Southport. 

Lee won the £250,000 prize - and the chance to perform at the Royal Variety Performance - when he won the 2018 ITV talent show earlier this month.

PICTURES

   

LOUGHTON: Fun day will celebrate church anniversary 

8.52am - 20th June 2018

THE Love Loughton fun day on Saturday, July 7 (noon-3pm) will celebrate the ten-year anniversary of the building works that opened out the front of the St Mary's Church, and the Cafe Hope and Little Lambs nursery opening. 

Cafe Hope will be open during the fun day with a special offer on a hot drink and a slice of homemade cake. 

Little Lambs Nursery will have a stall with crafts for pre-schoolers. 

There will also be numerous other stalls manned by local organisations as well as inflatables and live acts performing outside St Mary's Church in High Road, Loughton. 

There will also be a Love Loughton Community Choir which has been formed to perform on the day.

   

ONGAR: Fourteen musicians prepare for annual competition 

1.12pm - 19th June 2018

FOURTEEN musicians will compete in this year's Essex Young Musician of the Year competition organised by Ongar Music Club.

The age of the entrants ranges from 14 to 25. 

The preliminary round takes place at the Budworth Hall, High Street, Ongar, on Sunday (June 24) with the semi-finals and final at the same venue on Sunday, July 1. 

This is the 35th year that Ongar Music Club has held the competition. 

The semi-finals start at 2pm and the finals at 7pm. Four musicians will be selected for the final when they will each play for 25 minutes. 

There are prizes for the four finalists and two other prizes for the best performers aged under 19. 

Tickets for the semi-finals and final on July 1 cost £7 for the whole day, payable on the door. 

The entrants comprise four pianists, four clarinetists, an oboeist, cellist, trumpeter, soprano and two counter tenors. 

The full list of entrants is: 

* Jacques Allen, piano, from Hornchurch - aged 17 - attends King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford. 

* Rachael Bull, cello, from Billericay - aged 24 - attends Guildhall School of Music and Drama. 

* Jamie Cochrane, piano, from Shenfield - aged 17 - attends King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford. 

* Isaac Cook, piano, from Harlow - aged 14 - attends Burnt Mill Academy, Harlow. 

* Oliver El-Holiby, counter tenor, from Brentwood -aged 25 - has sung with Kings and Clare College choirs, Cambridge. 

* Victoria Richmond, oboe from Wickford - aged 21 - attends Royal College of Music 

* Esme Smith, soprano, from Dunmow - aged 23 - attended Royal Holloway, University of London. 

* Freya Spence, clarinet, from Ilford - aged 22 - attends Royal College of Music. 

* Grace Thorne, clarinet, from Benfleet - aged 16 - attends Southend High School. 

* Alex Usher, clarinet, from Leigh-on-Sea - aged 17 - attends Westcliff HIgh School. 

* Sam Walker, trumpet, from Ilford - aged 20 - attends Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. 

* Ralph Thomas Williams, counter tenor, from Chelmsford - aged 24 - studied at Royal Holloway College, University of London. 

* Vivien Wong, clarinet, from Colchester - aged 14 - attends Colchester High School for Girls. 

* Fangwei Zhao, piano, from Romford - aged 18 - has a place at Royal Northern College of Music for September.

   

NORTH WEALD: No objection to golf club development 'if housing numbers remain within Local Plan figure' 

ARTICLE AMENDED 12.42pm - 20th June 2018
8.55am - 19th June 2018

PLANS for up to 690 homes and community facilities on the former North Weald Golf Club site have met with no objection from North Weald Bassett Parish Council, provided the homes are not in addition to the 1,050 earmarked for the North Weald Village ward in the district Local Plan. 

More than 60 people - including representatives from sporting groups which would benefit from new facilities included in the North Weald Park development plans for 156 acres of land - packed North Weald Library for the parish council's planning committee meeting on Monday. 

The scheme includes up to 690 homes, sports facilities, a medical centre, country park, a 70-bed extra care / nursing home and 70-bed retirement home, a special educational needs centre as well as a convenience store, primary school and scouts facilities. 

Quinn Estates' development director Hamish Buttle said the proposals, for land which is not in agricultural use, offered "significant community benefits". 

He said 40 per cent of the 135 dwellings which formed part of a full planning application would be "affordable". 

He told the meeting: "There is an opportunity through Section 106 payments and contributions to deliver significant highways upgrades at junction 7 (of the M11) and we have had discussions with Highways England and Essex County Council about major works to deliver extra lanes at that junction." 

Epping Youth Football Club chairman Chris Gossan: "We are supporting the development." 

He said the club was finding it difficult to find playing space which was restricting the club's growth. 

"We can't grow the club and offer development, we are restricted currently by the availability of pitches." 

United Karate Association founder Ian Cuthbert, who is also a board member for Karate England and general secretary of Karate Sport England, highlighted the need for purpose-built facilities for sport, and the need for housing locally so that local people can continue to live in the area. 

He said: "We are totally behind the development and I think it's a fantastic idea." 

3rd North Weald Scouts chairman Mark Stroud told the meeting: 

"We need more houses. We would like our children and our children's children to remain in this area but we also have a social responsibility to ensure that the young people have somewhere to socialise and build skills for life." 

He said the scheme "meets the balance of all these needs" adding: "We would miss a great opportunity if we did not embrace this application."

Councillor Brian Eldridge had earlier told the meeting the scheme was "all very nice" but added: "Many people I've spoken to in Hastingwood are absolutely horrified at the amount of traffic (the scheme would attract)."

Councillor Dave Stallan said the proposal "ticks all the boxes of what North Weald needs" however he voiced concern that the 'up to 690 homes' proposed would be in addition to the 1,050 currently detailed in the district council's Local Plan for the North Weald Village ward. 

He asked: "Why has it not been put forward as an alternative to the Local Plan proposals?" 

He also expressed concern at the developer's claim that the facilities proposed would be at no cost to the taxpayer, and asked whether there would be a legal agreement with the developer over ongoing maintenance of facilities such as the proposed primary school and medical facilities. 

Parish council chairman Alan Buckley said: "We fought long and hard to get our figures down to 1,050 in the Local Plan - that is a disproportionate number. 

"This extra 690 will be in addition to the 1,050. If this application goes through you can bet your bottom dollar that every other developer who has had their plans rejected by the Local Plan will put their plans forward. 

"This will be giving North Weald something like 3,000 new homes. We will no longer be a village we will be a small town. 

"It does tick all the boxes and (the application) is extremely well put together, it covers every residents' dream but having said that..." 

Councillor Terry Blanks voiced concerns over infrastructure and called for the roads and other infrastructure to be in place before other elements of the scheme would be built. 

Councillor Andy Tyler put forward a proposal, which received committee support, that the council made no objection provided the number of homes proposed were included in the number already detailed for the North Weald Village ward in the Local Plan. 

He said: "My concern is I don't want us to be swamped." 

A decision on the planning application - which includes more than 1,000 pages of evidence, 38 of which highlighted the applicants' involvement with the community in drawing up the plans - will be taken by Epping Forest District Council. 

The parish council meeting was told that if approved, it would take ten years for all elements of the proposals to be completed.

   

#EEF999LIVE: HIGH ONGAR: Four arrested after drugs and cash found 

4.01pm - 18th June 2018

FOUR people have been released under investigation after a "large" sum of cash and drugs were found at an address in High Ongar. 

Police say the four were arrested on suspicion of production of cannabis, possession of drugs and money laundering after officers executed a warrant and searched an address near Mill Lane on Thursday morning. 

Two women and two men have since been released under investigation. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Serious and Organised Crime team on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

   

EPPING: Plenty on offer at Epping Town Show 

8.27am - 15th June 2018

A FUN dog show is one of the new attractions at the Epping Town Show which is being held this year at Stonards Hill Recreation Ground on Sunday, July 1 (noon-5pm).

Epping Town Council, which is organising the show, are expecting a flypast by a Hurricane and Spitfire.

More than 60 community stalls will be manned providing information about numerous local organisations, and offering games and selling a variety of goods. 

Refreshment options will include a hog roast. 

Younger visitors can enjoy fairground rides and bouncy castles, Punch and Judy shows, donkey rides, petting farm animals and a circus skills workshop. 

There will also be arena entertainment including pipe, jazz and silver bands, local theatre, singers and dance groups, Morris men and a karate demonstration, special appearances by Peppa Pig and Marshall Dog and a children's art exhibition. 

The Jack Silley Pavilion will be hosting an art exhibition and serving refreshments. Admission is free.

Limited parking is available on-site. 

For more information about the show email Geraldine Vallis at gvallis@eppingtowncouncil.gov.uk or ring 01992 579444.

   

ONGAR: Primary schools to join academy trust 

9.01am - 13th June 2018

THREE Ongar primary schools are to join a local multi-academy trust. 

Chipping Ongar Primary School, High Ongar Primary School and Ongar Primary School will join the Bridge Academy Trust, a multi-academy trust started by Moulsham High School, from September 1 providing "a unique opportunity for all the schools to work closely together to improve the educational opportunities for the families of Ongar".

Each school will retain its own character and will not be changing names or uniforms. 

Creating an Ongar hub within the trust gives the Ongar schools "the ability to truly collaborate to deliver high quality and exciting educational opportunities for the Ongar community and surrounding area". 

The Bridge Academy Trust currently has two member schools - Moulsham High School, which is ranked in the top seven per cent of performing schools in the country, and The Ongar Academy which joined the Bridge Academy Trust in October 2017. 

Bridge Academy Trust chief executive officer Mark Farmer said: "Myself, as CEO and the Trustees of Bridge Academy Trust are very excited and happy to be working with the three primary schools in Ongar. 

"We very much look forward in supporting them to ensure that all children in Ongar have a first-class experience through their educational journey and beyond."

   

DEBDEN: MP visits Restore Community Centre 

8.23am - 13th June 2018

EPPING Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing visited the Restore Community Centre in The Broadway, Debden, ahead of their move out of their current premises. 

Restore has provided a range of community activities at its Broadway base for the last six years but is now preparing to move its groups and activities to other venues in the area. 

The outlet for the Epping Forest Foodbank, which operates at Restore on Saturday mornings, will be moving to Debden Library at Epping Forest College. 

Other activities will be transferred to Trinity Church in Mannock Drive and Oakwood Hill Community Centre.

Dame Eleanor said: "I was delighted to visit Restore and meet the staff and some of the local people who benefit from its activities. 

"Restore provides a wide range of activities and I am pleased that these will be able to continue when Restore spreads its wings around the Debden and Loughton area." 

Restore's last day at The Broadway is Saturday, June 23.

Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing with (left to right) Restore leader Ian King, assistant centre manager Matt Chow and centre manager Judy Lovell PICTURE

   

EPPING: Epping Neighbourhood Plan - the next stage 

8.25am - 12th June 2018

THE views of Epping residents are to be sought in the next stage of the process which will see Epping have its own Neighbourhood Plan.

The document will detail how Epping should grow in the future. 

Epping Town Council's Neighbourhood Planning Advisory Committee has been working on the Neighbourhood Plan for the last three years and is now ready to get feedback on the draft document. 

Neighbourhood Planning Advisory Committee Chairman and Town Mayor Nigel Avey said: “Epping Town Council appreciates that Epping will be required to grow over the coming years and wants to positively influence that growth to protect the character of our historic town. 

"We are keen to protect a mix of dwellings to reflect the needs of local residents and for these reasons the council chose to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan.” 

Epping Town Council started the process with local consultation in 2016 to determine the key local issues. 

The Neighbourhood Planning Advisory Committee - consisting of councillors, resident stakeholders and key community members with specific areas of expertise, including history, conservation and business - used the key issues as part of their research. 

These included transport and parking, the arts, culture and recreation, and the natural environment. 

The council received grant funding and has worked with a Town Planner to develop and work up a draft Plan.

Each household and business in Epping parish (about 5,500 in total) will receive a consultation form through their letterbox so they can share their views on the Neighbourhood Plan. 

The form can also be completed online. Comments should be returned by July 31. 

The results will then be analysed and the necessary amendments made before it is submitted for examination. 

For more information go to the council website http://www.eppingtowncouncil.gov.uk/, email info@eppingtowncouncil.gov.uk or ring 01992 579444. 

Hard copy responses can be taken to Epping Tesco; Epping Hall; the Epping Delivery Office in Epping High Street; Little Kitchen in Epping High Street; and the Theydon Oak pub. 

All responses received by July 31 will be entered into a draw for a £20 gift voucher.

   

EPPING: Community Picnic to become annual event 

9.07am - 11th June 2018

A COMMUNITY Picnic held by Epping in Bloom at the Market Garden, Epping, on Saturday is to become an annual event. 

Local residents had been invited to apply for free tickets to the event which featured music from the Epping Forest Band, and Jahdre Hayward, head chef at Hayward's restaurant at Bell Common, who gave a live demonstration. 

He showed guests how to make a tomato canape and a radish, carrot and fennel salad using fresh ingredients from the Market Garden. 

Epping in Bloom chairman Victoria Robertson demonstrated how to plant a summer hanging basket. 

Staff from Epping's Tesco store also supported the day. 

Victoria Robertson said: "The day could not gave gone ahead without the Tesco Bags of Help scheme which saw shoppers choosing Epping in Bloom to receive their till tokens. 

"I would like to thank all the local residents who came along and everyone who voted for Epping in Bloom at the Tesco stores in Theydon Bois, Ongar and Epping. 

"The Epping in Bloom team made sure everyone had a fabulous day. 

"There was plenty of food and drinks, all purchased from Tesco, and homemade cakes some of which were made by Epping WI president Paula Christy-Harrold and her members." 

Victoria added: "The feedback has been so wonderful and we are so glad the 60 guests enjoyed themselves. "We are going to be making it into an annual event." 

For details about how to sponsor next year's community picnic email Eppinginbloom@gmail.com

PICTURES

   

NORTH WEALD: 'Freedom of District' parade for 56 Squadron 

4.30pm - 10th June 2018

PICTURES

HUNDREDS of people lined North Weald High Road as the district celebrated the honour of Freedom of the District which has been bestowed on 56 Squadron.

The Squadron was based at North Weald Airfield during the Battle of Britain. 

The community picnic, parade and music event also celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the RAF. 

56 Squadron flew Hurricanes from North Weald during the war. 

The parade, led by the Epping Forest Pipe Band - and with the band of 56 Squadron ATC - set off from North Weald Village Hall, to the Debt of Honour where two wreaths were laid. 

Later the Freedom was celebrated at the Airfield Gate Guardian where the salute was taken, and the parade inspected, by Epping Forest District Council chairman Richard Bassett and Deputy Lieutenant of Essex Rosemary Padfield.

There was also a flypast by a Hurricane from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Guests included Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing and former Essex County Council chairman John Aldridge and his wife Christine.

The event also included music from the Epping Forest Band, Our Voices Choir and 1940s-style singer Diane Moore.

PICTURES

   

DISTRICT: MP made a Dame in Queen's Birthday Honours 

9.11am - 10th June 2018

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing has been made a Dame in the Queen's Birthday Honours List. 

Mrs Laing, who has been Member of Parliament for Epping Forest for 21 years - said the news came as an "amazing surprise". 

Mrs Laing was a Shadow Minister for 12 years and has been a Deputy Speaker for the last four-and-a-half years. 

She was appointed a member of the Privy Council, the formal body of advisers to the Queen, last November.

Mrs Laing said: "This is an amazing surprise but I am absolutely delighted. 

"It has been a great honour to serve the people of Epping Forest for so many years, and to be able to continue to serve them as their Member of Parliament."

   

THORNWOOD: Bench dedicated to former council chairman 

9.01am - 8th June 2018

A BENCH in the grounds of the Parish Hall, Thornwood Common, has been dedicated to the late chairman of North Weald Bassett Parish Council Cyril Hawkins. 

A ribbon to mark the dedication was cut by Cyril's widow Shirley. 

North Weald Bassett Parish Council chairman councillor Alan Buckley said: "Cyril was a man who spent much of his life dedicated not only to the parish council and The Parish Hall but also to the village of Thornwood. 

"Thornwood held a very special place in Cyril's heart as did the people who lived and worked in the village.

"The wording on the bench is a fitting tribute to someone who was more than just a man or a counciilor. He was 'Mr Thornwood' and will always be remembered as a such." 

The main function room within the Parish Hall at Thornwood has been named 'The Cyril Hawkins Room' after Mr Hawkins who died last September.

PICTURES

   

THORNWOOD: No objection to pitch plans 

8.58am - 8th June 2018

NORTH Weald Bassett Parish Council has voiced no objection, subject to a number of comments regarding infrastructure, to plans for a new all-weather pitch to replace the grass pitch at Upper Clapton Rugby Club, Thornwood Common.

The club's plans include relocating already-approved floodlights, alterations to an approved function hall (which includes removing a planned gymnasium), alterations to the approved car parking layout which includes an additional 22 spaces to take the total number of spaces to 216.

   

DISTRICT: One parade after another for Pipe Band 

11.03am - 6th June 2018

THE Epping Forest Pipe Band were part of the annual Sunset Parade with the Chingford Branch of the Royal British Legion. 

The band will also be taking part in the 56 Squadron 'Freedom of the District' Parade through North Weald on Sunday.

The parade leaves North Weald Village Hall in High Road, North Weald, at 12.30pm. 

The band are looking for new members to play the bagpipes, snare drum, tenor drum or bass drum.

Tuition is provided. 

For more details ring Pipe Major Simon Bredin on 07974 666956.

   

THEYDON BOIS: Care home ranked "outstanding" 

10.59am - 6th June 2018

THE Frank Foster House care home in Theydon Bois has been ranked "outstanding" following an unannounced visit by Care Quality Commission inspectors. 

Findings within the report, following a two-day visit in March included ‘exceptional standards of care’ and ‘a committed and well-trained group of staff’ who ‘support people in a kind and caring manner.’ 

The report added: "Independence, privacy and dignity was promoted and respected. Staff took account of people's individual needs and preferences and people were encouraged to be involved in making decisions about their care." 

Cheryl Wright, manager of the Runwood Homes care home, said: "We are so very proud of this fantastic achievement. 

"All our staff are incredibly passionate about providing the best personalised care as well as ensuring a comfortable, engaging and stimulating living environment for residents. 

"Everyone is welcome at Frank Foster House; visit us, chat with staff and residents and take a tour of our beautiful home." 

Frank Foster House has 80 en-suite bedrooms with a dedicated area for dementia care.

For the full CQC report click here

   

NORTH WEALD: Developer reveals community-focused plans for former golf club 

4.36pm - 5th June 2018

DEVELOPMENT plans for up to 690 homes and a host of community benefits including a primary school, shops and medical facilities on the edge of North Weald have been revealed. 

Developer Quinn Estates and homebuilder Redrow Homes have submitted a joint planning application for the former North Weald Golf Club site off Rayley Lane. 

Outline planning permission is being sought for up to 555 dwellings, including affordable and key worker homes, a 70-bed retirement development and 70-bed extra care / nursing care accommodation. 

The application also details a two-form entry primary school with outdoor space and parking, a Special Educational Needs Centre, a 'local centre' with retail space and a community centre along with a sports hub with open-air pitches, a pavilion, facilities for scouts, office space, and a country park covering more than 25 acres.

A new roundabout onto the A414 is also proposed. 

Full planning permission is being sought for 135 dwellings, including 40 per cent affordable housing, with access off Rayley Lane and internal circulation roads. 

Quinn Estates' development director Hamish Buttle told Monday's North Weald Bassett Parish Council meeting that the planning application had been submitted. 

Mr Buttle has been fully engaged with the parish council over several months about the inclusion of a new community hub for North Weald Bassett Parish Council and a new medical centre, which forms part of the development proposal. 

Quinn Estates' chairman Mark Quinn said: "This is a real opportunity to take a poor quality piece of land, which is not in agricultural use and is not viable in its current use, and deliver an exceptional scheme that helps address Epping Forest’s chronic housing shortage and widening affordability gap, whilst also delivering game-changing sporting, educational and community benefits for the people of the Epping Forest district and Essex.

"The fact that we are providing such significant education, sporting and community infrastructure together with an unprecedented 40 per cent affordable housing and substantial S106 contributions, probably explains the reason why nearly 1,000 people wrote letters of support - more support than any other site received during the council’s consultation process. 

"We believe that what we are offering creates a very special circumstance and justifies developing this site ahead of any other site in the council’s draft Local Plan.

"With our reputation for doing what we say we do, and our track record for delivery, we look forward to working with the council and the local community to bring this exciting development forward during the planning application process over the next 12 months.”

   

#EEF999LIVE: EPPING: Woman knocked unconscious in home 

4.32pm - 5th June 2018

A WOMAN was knocked unconscious when she confronted a man in her Epping home. 

Police say a man gained entry to a property in King Henry’s Walk, on the Kingswood Park estate, at about 9.30pm on Sunday. 

When the victim, a woman in her 40s, confronted the man he pushed her over causing her to hit her head and lose consciousness. 

She suffered a fractured cheek which needs surgery. It is not known at this stage if anything was taken. 

The man has been described as white, aged in his 30s, of medium build and wearing a t-shirt and jeans.

Anyone who saw or heard anything, or has any information about the incident, is asked to ring Essex Police on 101, quoting crime reference number 42/78068/18, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

   

DISTRICT: MP backs new hospital calls 

1.14pm - 5th June 2018

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing is giving her support to calls for a new Harlow hospital saying a new facility providing various services in one location would "benefit everyone". 

Mrs Laing is one of seven Essex MPs who have sent a joint letter, originated by Harlow MP Robert Halfon, to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. 

The future of Harlow's Princess Alexandra Hospital will now be discussed in Parliament tonight. 

Mrs Laing said: "The hospital now serves a much wider area and a greater population then was originally planned when it was built so many years ago and we have to respond to the changing needs of our local community. 

"Everyone will benefit from a health campus where different services are all brought together in one place." 

The debate is part of Mr Halfon’s ongoing campaign for capital funding for a new hospital in Harlow. 

The campaign is supported by key health organisations and a number of other MPs representing neighbouring constituencies. 

The letter presses the need for a new hospital in Harlow. 

Mr Halfon said: "Protecting Our NHS has been one of my priorities since becoming MP and this debate is an absolutely vital part of my campaign to ensure that healthcare in Harlow is fit for the 21st Century. 

"Due to changes to NHS services in neighbouring towns, and Harlow’s growing population, the Princess Alexandra serves a huge number of patients. 

"The failing infrastructure means that the hardworking staff are finding it increasingly difficult to care for residents of Harlow and the surrounding area. 

"In our letter we made clear that there continues to be a vital and pressing need for the development of a new health campus in Harlow. 

"During the debate I will raise this with Health Ministers and press for capital funding to make it a reality."

   

NORTH WEALD: Council seeks your airfield memories 

1.01pm - 5th June 2018

NORTH Weald Bassett Parish Council is inviting people with memories of North Weald Airfield to share them at the council's stand at next Sunday's Freedom of the District Parade and Community Picnic. 

The event is being held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the RAF. 

The parish council will have a gazebo where visitors can recount their memories of North Weald Airfield over the years. 

Members of 56 Squadron, which flew Hurricanes from North Weald, will get the event underway when they march from North Weald Village Hall to the Airfield Gate Guardian with their newly-acquired ‘Freedom of the District’ awarded by Epping Forest District Council last month. 

Officers and members of 56 Squadron will be accompanied to the Airfield Memorial in Hurricane Way by Epping Forest Pipe Band and the band of 56 Squadron ATC for the laying of wreaths before proceeding to the Gate Guardian for a ceremonial inspection and afternoon of picnics and music with Epping Forest (Brass) Band, Our Voices Choir and 1940s-style singer Diane Moore. 

Families are invited to join the celebrations at North Weald Airfield. Car parking and entry to the event is free. Visitors are encouraged to take a picnic but food and drink will also be on sale. 

56 Squadron is one of the oldest and most distinguished units of the RAF. 

Formed during the Great War, it saw service in France as part of the Royal Flying Corps before the formation of the RAF on 1 April 1918.

Although North Weald is no longer an RAF base, having been bought by Epping Forest District Council in 1980, the airfield remains the spiritual home of 56 Squadron. 

The Squadron moved to North Weald in 1927 and remained until 1941. 

While based at North Weald, it suffered the first RAF loss of the Second World War, covered the retreat from Dunkirk and found itself in the thick of the fighting during the Battle of Britain. 

The parade sets off from North Weald Village Hall at 12.30pm. 

Residents can park at North Weald Airfield before the parade arrives at 1.30pm with Diane Moore bringing the music to a close at about 4.45pm.

   

NORTH WEALD: Events company eyes up airfield 

4.35pm - 4th June 2018

AN outdoor events company has earmarked North Weald Airfield as a potential venue for a family-orientated weekend event and a classic car event, Epping Forest District Council has revealed. 

The council said the company had made enquiries about the possibility of holding the events but no further information has been made public at this stage.

   

EPPING: Petition calls for retention of sports centre 

4.32pm - 4th June 2018

A 1,790-NAME petition calling for the retention of a sports centre in Epping has been sent to Epping Forest District Council. 

The lead petitioners are to be told by the council that the council has yet to take any formal decision on the future of the Hemnall Street centre and "at this point" the council is exploring options to meet the leisure needs of existing and future residents of the local area with its "preferred approach" being to ensure that the existing sports centre remained open until any new alternative facilities were provided. 

A council cabinet report states that the council's new contract with Places for People Leisure, which commenced in January last year, will result in £14.5m improvements to its leisure facilities, including a new £11m leisure centre in Waltham Abbey, to replace Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool; a £2m health and fitness suite extension at Loughton Leisure Centre, £400,000 invested in refurbishing Ongar Leisure Centre and £1.1m at Epping Sports Centre. 

The recently completed improvements to Epping Sports Centre include the conversion of the squash courts to provide a new movement studio, a new Crèche and spin studio, enlargement of the fitness suite and a full refurbishment of the changing rooms.

The council states: "This clearly demonstrates a strong commitment to the future of leisure centre provision generally, and refutes any suggestions that the council is running Epping Sports Centre down.

"However by virtue of the age and condition of both Ongar and Epping sports centres, the council - as part of the procurement process for the Leisure Management Contract - asked bidders to develop an indicative cost estimate for the construction and management of a new leisure centre, to potentially replace both facilities. 

"It has been made clear that the council has not taken a formal decision to close and relocate either centre however, as the contract is for 20 years, it was considered prudent to explore the possibility of providing a new centre as the existing centres have already reached their design life. 

"As such, they present increasing risks with respect to the costs of maintenance as well as not fully meeting modern expectations. "In addition, Epping Sports Centre, in particular, has poor access for people with disabilities and constrained parking provision."

   

LOUGHTON: Student Council members visit Parliament 

9.44am - 2nd June 2018

MEMBERS of Hereward Primary School's Student Council were given a tour of Parliament and met Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing when they visited the Education Centre at Westminster. 

Mrs Laing said: "The children asked brilliant questions and had some great ideas for new laws! I was very impressed by their immediate understanding of how Parliament works and their enthusiasm for becoming MPs in the future!” 

School Council Leader Sophie Chapman said: "What a fantastic day it was. Not only did the children have the chance to venture into the Houses of Parliament, but they were also surprised with a visit from our Member of Parliament, Eleanor Laing. 

"It was such a delight to see the children buzzing with excitement and enthusiasm throughout the day."

School Council representative Summer said: "The trip was spectacular. I really enjoyed meeting our MP and talking about how our laws are made. It was certainly something that I will always remember."

   

LOUGHTON: Burglar jailed for three years 

9.36am - 2nd June 2018

A BURGLAR who was caught on CCTV breaking into a house in Loughton has been jailed for three years.

Daniel Witham was filmed walking down a side entrance to a property in Colebrook Lane at about 7.30am on Friday, April 20 last year, climb onto a shed and into the back garden. 

He is then seen going into the shed, returning with a hammer which he used to smash a glass panel of the back door. 

After climbing through a window, he is later seen leaving through a rear window with a dark-coloured satchel which he did not have before going inside. 

Climbing back onto the shed, he left the property into the side entrance and out to the road where he walked away. 

When Detective Constable Rob Guiney, from Loughton CID, viewed the CCTV footage he recognised the man as Daniel Witham. 

Witham, 30, of no fixed address, was arrested on Wednesday, April 25, following an early morning arrest enquiry where he tried to run from officers, and charged with burglary the following day. 

Appearing at Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday (May 31), he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years. 

DC Guiney said: “Daniel Witham’s actions were brazen, breaking into someone’s home in the middle of the morning. He has little regard for people’s property, happily causing damage in order to steal. 

“He was caught on camera and due to the evidence against him had little choice but to admit his guilt.”

   

LOUGHTON: MP opens Open Door Friendship Group 

8.59am - 2nd June 2018

A GROUP where adults with mental ill health can meet has been officially opened by Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing. 

Open Door Friendship Group opened its doors at St Michael and All Angels Church, Roding Road, Loughton, on Friday with a ribbon-cutting by Mrs Laing. 

Open Door has been created by a small group of people who have received National Lottery funding, grant aid from Epping Forest District Council and funding from the Essex Community Foundation. 

The committee consists of carers and service users. 

Group chairperson and founder Paula Wilson said: "We feel there is a need for a club where vulnerable or isolated adults can meet on a weekly basis. 

"The nearest club providing this opportunity is supported by Mind in Brentwood." 

She added: "When people have been discharged from an acute psychiatric ward in our area there are no places for them to meet informally. 

"They leave hospital having been in contact with people 24 hours a day seven days a week to return sometimes to their home alone which can prove too much of a contrast and quite quickly people find themselves back in hospital. 

"We aim to stop that cycle of events by providing this much-needed social and inclusive club. 

"When our members feel down or alone they will have something to look forward to. They will meet people and establish friendships which could enable them to meet at other times." 

The Open Door Friendship Group has funding for two years and is looking at raising more money so it can increase the number of days it can open.

At present Open Door will be open on Fridays between 3.30pm and 5.30pm with activities, cups of tea and chat. 

A facilitator supported by the Epping Forest Volunteer Bureau will be at the club each week. 

Mrs Laing said: "Paula has done a magnificent job in pioneering this idea of a friendship group. It is widely recognised now in the medical profession that people, whether they have mental health problems or not, don't just need the technical support of doctors and nurses, they often need someone to talk to.

"Having this opportunity to come to the church hall once a week creates a hub as a result of which people will meet other people, meet new friends, develop new associations and I have every confidence that this project will go from strength to strength and has the potential to help an enormous number of people."

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ONGAR: Town council scraps committees and will no longer consider planning applications 

1.20pm - 1st June 2018

ONGAR Town Council has scrapped all but one of its committees and will no longer consider planning applications. 

The Jubilee Park Committee is the only committee to continue - with the planning and environment, public relations and open spaces committee (PEPROS) and the finance, human resources and staffing committee - disbanded. 

Only the Jubilee Park Steering Committee survives while the PEPROS sub-committee, which deals with the Neighbourhood Plan, is renamed the Neighbourhood Plan Sub-Committee.

In a statement, the council confirmed: "The planning committee is disbanded and Ongar Town Council will no longer consider planning applications. 

"All concerns and objections should be made directly to Epping Forest District Council and the district councillors. 

"The reasoning behind this decision is that when Ongar Town Council has, in the past objected to planning applications or agreed with residents who raise concerns over an application, these have not been taken into consideration by Epping Forest District Council and the application has been approved.

"We feel that by maintaining a 'planning' committee, which is clearly impotent, we are misleading the public, giving false hope and misdirecting any concerns they have. 

"Councillors will still be informed of planning applications for the Ongar wards and we believe it would be likely to have more impact if members of the public made their own representations to Epping Forest District Council and district councillors. 

"We will continue to flag up any planning proposals that are likely to have a significant impact upon Ongar and fight for the interests of our constituents, but we will no longer formally meet as a planning committee to formulate our responses."

Your comments:

Mary Dadd, Ongar Neighbourhood Plan Community Group chairman, by email - I read with dismay that Ongar Town Council will no longer be commenting on planning applications for the Ongar area. 
This is despite the town council being a consultee of the local planning authority (Epping Forest District Council) together with other local councils, Essex Highways, the Environment Agency, Sport England etc. Local councils have additional local knowledge and usually know local opinion. 
Thus their ‘material planning concern’ comments are given considerable weight when applying Local and National Planning Policies, some of which may be ambiguous or subjective. 
For this reason, town councils generally have more influence with the planning authority than individuals. 
There is no doubt that Ongar needs a strong and informed voice on planning matters. 
It is an unprecedented time in Ongar’s history, because of the expected growth of approximately one third between 2011 and 2026. Epping Forest District Council is set to delegate more decisions to its officers rather than to be decided by elected district councillors. 
Thus scrutiny of planning applications by town councils is ever more important. Ongar Neighbourhood Plan Community Group is in the process of preparing specific planning policies for Ongar in the form of the Ongar Neighbourhood Plan based on the community’s opinions and supported by evidence. 
Our residents care about Ongar. They are speaking up, telling us their opinions and joining our groups. Now is surely not the time for Ongar Town Council to abdicate its responsibility on planning matters. 
If, as they say, Ongar Town Council aren’t being listened to by Epping Forest District Council (the local planning authority) then perhaps it is the town councillors that need to up their game and become more informed about how the planning process works. 
Neither Ongar Town Council’s statement nor Cllr Mendoza’s letter (both featured in the June edition of Ongar News) inspires confidence. 
I therefore urge Ongar Town Council to think again and speak up for Ongar too!

Jim Padfield, by email - Anyone who has attended Ongar Town Council meetings over recent months will not be surprised to hear that all is not well. 
Rarely has a body so unrepentantly published its own failures as in the recent press statement announcing that the council has disbanded its own planning committee.
The council complains that Epping Forest District Council takes no notice of its opinion. 
Again this comes as no surprise.
I have listened to many an Ongar Town Council planning meeting and have been horrified at the lack of any even basic knowledge and as a result of course Epping Forest District Council is not able to take notice. 
However when done properly parish and town council input is crucial in bringing local knowledge to the attention of otherwise distant officers. 
Councillors forget it is not their planning committee it is Ongar’s planning committee. This is just one of a litany of failures by the council. 
Ongar’s Neighbourhood Plan Group has suffered continually at the hands of this chaotic council. 
Internal divisions within the council delayed the application for the group’s grant and then when it was eventually received they could not agree how it was to be spent, so believe it or not most of it was sent back again.
The result is that now the grant has to be applied for again, that is when they eventually work out how to do it. 
Ongar faces its biggest planning challenge since Abercrombie nearly three generations ago yet because of the council’s inadequacies residents are denied representation, denied proper open scrutiny of the issues affecting the town. 
Without doubt being a councillor is an onerous and too often a thankless task. Those who take up the burden almost always deserve support. 
However it seems to me that there needs to be some heart searching amongst some of Ongar’s councillors. Do their interests and motives really fit with the best interests of the whole town. 
One councillor told me that they were wasting their time having planning meetings. 
My response was that there is a simple answer to that and it is not getting rid of the Committee. 

Paul Mendel, writing on the Everything Epping Forest Facebook group - It was always about Jubilee Park hence why the Ongar Residents Association formed and the people that really care about Ongar left Ongar Town Council. 

Adam Seffens, writing on the Everything Epping Forest Facebook page - Looking forward to the cut in council tax.

Tony Sach, writing on the Everything Epping Forest Facebook group: Finally open about their intentions take Jubilee Park back to their control and **** the rest. When are the people of Ongar going to get rid of them before they get rid of Ongar!" 

Chigwell Parish Council vice-chairman Richard Alvin, writing on the Everything Epping Forest Facebook page: "The council will no longer comment on planning applications!? Are they allowed to do that? Personally I think they will be letting down the residents of Ongar if they go forward with that."

   

DISTRICT: Hospice supporter treks in Nepal 

10.34am - 1st June 2018

ST Clare Hospice supporter Meg Martin has completed a ten-day trek challenge through the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal. 

Over the past eight years, Meg - who lives in Coopersale - has trekked along the Great Wall of China, the Inca Trail in Peru and the Grand Canyon - raising almost £15,000 for the hospice. 

This year Meg raised over £4,400 in sponsorship from her Himalayan adventure, enough to fund over 45 days of life-changing, rehabilitative occupational therapy.

In total, Meg has raised almost £20,000 for St Clare Hospice over the years. 

Meg said: "It was a great experience to share with lovely members of the group, all of whom had experienced some kind of loss in their lives which had inspired them to do something adventurous to support a charity. 

"Some days were very strenuous, trekking thousands of steps uphill or downhill, with stunning sunrises and sunsets. Then, there was the fun of eating curries every day and coping with very little washing! 

"I can't wait for my next charity trek which will be when I'm 65 and therefore an extra special one. I'm already exploring what's on offer! 

"My two highlights were reaching the summit of Poon Hill at 5am and watching the sun come up from behind the mountains – stunning! The other was dancing on stage dressed in a Nepalese outfit, with official dancers in a show!” 

Commenting on why she fundraises for St Clare, Meg said: "My mother and father both died in a hospice, and I’ve never forgotten how compassionate, kind and helpful the staff were. 

"The hospice movement is very dear to me, as not only did they support mum and dad, but they supported us as a family as well. 

"I was quite young when I lost my parents, so the hospice’s help and guidance were vital for me. 

"I want to give something back and make sure others will be supported in years to come, like my family was." 

To donate towards Meg's trek fundraising go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MegMartinNepal

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Council elects new mayor 

7.43am - 1st June 2018

WALTHAM Abbey town councillor Jeanne Lea has been elected the new mayor of Waltham Abbey with councillor Antony Watts elected deputy mayor. 

Mrs Lea said it was a great honour to have been elected to serve the town for the coming municipal year.

She takes over from councillor Mick Fitch who handed over the chain of office at the annual council meeting on Wednesday.

Mr Fitch said: "It is a privilege to have served the town. I'm just glad I have had the opportunity to be mayor and pleased to hand over to Jeanne. I've enjoyed my year and sad to give it up." 

Councillor Liz Webster, who was re-elected as council leader, proposed councillor Lea for mayor. 

Mrs Webster said: "We all know that this has been her home town for over 60 years and that she carries out her surgery duties in Tesco (where she works)." 

She added: "I know you will do us a grand job." 

Councillor Richard James was re-elected deputy council leader. 

Councillor Lea said she would be supporting the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance during her year in office.

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WALTHAM ABBEY: Retired teacher receives Freedom of the Town 

7.41am - 1st June 2018

A RETIRED teacher who dedicated almost three decades to teaching in Waltham Abbey has been awarded the Freedom of the Town by Waltham Abbey Town Council. 

Karen Matthews, who lives in Upshire, taught at Holy Cross School for 12 years, and for 15 years at St Lawrence and Hillhouse schools. 

Next year will mark her 40th anniversary with the local brownies and guides. 

A former District Commissioner and the current leader of 1st Upshire Guides, Karen - who lives in Upshire - has also served for some 30 years on Upshire Village Hall, 20 years of which have been spent as treasurer. 

Karen, who received her scroll of honour from mayor Mick Fitch at Wednesday's annual council meeting, said of her award: 

"It's great. I'm really privileged. It's nice to be appreciated. It's a great honour."

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