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ONGAR: Club and council to meet over invoice

7.25am - 20th January 2017

A MEETING is to be held between Ongar Juniors Football Club and Ongar Town Council over the club's outstanding £1,449 invoice. 
Last night's Jubilee Park Steering Committee agreed that town council chairman Jim Browning should meet with club chairman Mark Preston over the invoice which was first issued for payment last September. 
Committee chairman Derek Birch said: "This is public money and we have a duty to make every effort to collect it." 
The meeting heard that the council agreed last October that section fees for Jubilee Park users should be reviewed but this has not yet happened. 
Councillor Bruce Freeman said: "We seem to have had this problem (invoices) several times with Ongar Juniors. Rugby are desperate for space (at Jubilee Park). Are we backing a dead horse that's not going to pay us?" 
Mr Browning said issues raised by Mr Preston included the fact that the football club owns the goals and makes them available to other clubs. 
Mr Browning said: "They believe that they should have a reduction but would that be fair to squash, tennis and rugby?" 
Clerk Aimi Middlehurst told councillors: "This is a bigger issue than just the fees. You need to be aware of the whole facts before coming to a decision." 
Mr Browning added: "There's a lot of history but you can't change the rules in the middle of a game." 
Three other invoices remain outstanding - Ongar United Football Club (£289), Ongar Vets Over-45s (£100) and Ongar Vets Over-35s (£289).
Writing on Twitter, the club stated: "The fee isn't 'outstanding' its withheld to force Ongar Town Council to have a meeting to discuss the fees.
"Ongar Town Council know the truth. We are being asked for £3,000 per season, far more than any other sports section. We have already paid £1,500. We have withheld half the fee to force a meeting.
"Not so long ago we were paying our fees in advance because there was no money. We were the only club who did. Ongar Town Council are painting a picture of constant late fees. It's the only way we can force meetings."

* Councillor Patrick Bolden has been elected vice-chairman of Ongar Town Council's Jubilee Park Steering Committee following the resignation of councillor Jane Devonald.

   

ONGAR: Debate over "terrible" coffee machine

7.22am - 20th January 2017

THE coffee machine at Ongar Town Council's Jubilee Park pavilion faces an uncertain future after it was claimed it was "not fit for purpose". 
The town council currently pays £1,300 a year for the machine. 
Jubilee Park staff member Mark Jarvis told last night's Jubilee Park Steering Committee only two cups of coffee had been sold this week. However committee chairman councillor Derek Birch said the machine had been "stuck in a cupboard". 
Councillors are to ask the supplier to service the machine and undertake a 'tasting' session with councillors before a decision is made over whether the machine has a future in the pavilion.
If it remains then 'freshly brewed' coffee will be "advertised actively". 
Councillor Bruce Freeman told the meeting: "I've had several cups of coffee (from the machine) and thrown them away. It was so bad you couldn't physically drink it."
He added: "The coffee machine is terrible. No matter what you have it's so poor it's embarrassing."

   

ESSEX: Police precept set for 3.25% increase

1.05pm - 19th January 2017

THE Essex Police share of council tax bills for 2017-18 could rise by 3.25 per cent to help boost the number of police officers in the county. 
Police and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst has proposed the increase which is equivalent to £4.95 per year for a band D property. 
The additional money will go to fund additional resources in line with commitments under the recently published Police and Crime Plan, including an increase in police officers, the doubling of the Special Constable Programme and improvements in the 101 public contact system. 
Mr Hirst said: "As I have gone out and met people from across our county I have consistently heard that people want more local, visible and accessible policing. 
"This proposal delivers a range of tangible investments that will help meet these expectations and make it absolutely clear what the people of Essex will be getting for their money." 
Mr Hirst said: "Essex Police is a very lean force and has the lowest expenditure per resident of any police force in England and Wales. 
"Essex also has one of the lowest council tax precepts for policing in the country and central government funding for policing remains constrained. 
"My proposal to increase the Police proportion of council tax will help us respond to the changing nature of crime and provide more local, visible and accessible policing.”

The additional £3.1m raised through the proposed increase will help fund a number of high impact programmes including: 

* the first phase of a programme to double the number of Special Constables to 700 by 2019 
* increasing the number of police officers to 2,850, an increase of 41 officers for regular front-line policing, for the Serious Crime Directorate and for additional firearm officers 
* adding 15 additional police staff in the Force Control Room to manage additional demand and improve the 101 contact service 
* investment in dealing with digital and cybercrime and online fraud, to help tackle gangs and organised crime 
* investment in the technology that supports the Mobile First Programme, increasing what officers can do via their smartphones on patrol, freeing up time to offer additional support to communities and improving performance management. 

Mr Hirst said the further investment is part of a comprehensive transformation programme currently being delivered by Essex Police. This includes investment in new technology, in training and development and in modern, fit for purpose stations. 
Mr Hirst said: "Essex Police has been assessed by HMIC (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies) to be a force which uses money wisely and has strong leadership in place at all levels. But the size and make-up of our county mean Essex Police has more 999 calls and deals with more victim-based crime than average. 
"Over the last six years we have had made a number of tough decisions to identify savings of over £74m and carefully prioritise were we need to invest the resources we have.”

   

UPDATE: Six people taken to hospital

4.41pm - 18th January 2017

SIX people were taken to hospital following a crash involving three buses and a lorry on High Road, Thornwood. 
East of England Ambulance Service says nine people were assessed at the scene. 
The incident, near the junction with Upland Road,happened at about 10.40am. 
Fire crews from Epping and Harlow were called to deal with a large diesel spillage. 
Ambulance resources were on scene within five minutes with the service dispatching two rapid response vehicles, an ambulance officer, and four ambulances. 
An East of England Ambulance Service spokesman said six people were taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow. Three had suspected neck injuries and three were taken for further assessments as a precaution. 
The spokesman added: "Thankfully, none of their injuries were thought to be life-threatening and we wish them the best for their recoveries." 
Police closed the road while the incident was cleared.
The road was re-opened at about 2.30pm.

   

NORTH WEALD: 700-home 'Garden Village' proposed

2.27pm - 18th January 2017

EXCLUSIVE

'North Weald Park' plan for 700 homes, schools and sports facilities is "once in a generation opportunity"

A 700-HOME Garden Village-type development with sports facilities, schools, retail outlets and a Park and Ride to Epping Station is proposed for North Weald, Everything Epping Forest can reveal. 
Quinn Estates has drawn up proposals which it describes as a "once in a generation opportunity to create a mixed use development with an incredible sporting and education legacy for Essex and Epping Forest district" for the North Weald Golf Club site off Rayley Lane and Canes Lane. 
Some 165 acres are included in the plans which are expected to go out for public consultation in March before a planning application is submitted in May. 

The 'North Weald Park' plan includes: 

* 700 homes (with 40 per cent 'affordable housing') 
* A business park (possible 800 new jobs) 
* Improved bus services
* A Park and Ride to Epping Station 
* A primary school / grammar school (possible 80 new jobs) 
* A 30-hectare country park 
* A 'sports hub' with a 3,000sq.ft clubhouse and pitches 
* A central village green surrounded by healthcare, restaurant and food provision
* A new home for North Weald scouts 
* A medical centre with GP surgery, dentist, nursery and pharmacy (possible 75 new jobs) 
* Food retail outlets (possible 75 new jobs). 

A promotional brochure seen by Everything Epping Forest states: "This development can be delivered without affecting the living standards of residents of North Weald Bassett as it is separate and non-overbearing." 
The developer hopes that, should planning permission be granted, work on the homes would start in October next year with the schools opening in September 2020.

What do you think about the proposals?
Email everythingeppingforest@gmail.com or post your comments on the Everything Epping Forest social media feeds - the Everything Epping Forest Facebook page and group, or on Twitter @eefnews

Gary Irwin (by email)
- I think this is a terrible idea. It will line the pockets of the developer for sure. 700 homes. Where will all these people drive, commute and drive to when they are ill, and buy their groceries? We do not have the infrastructure in North Weald. As it stands traffic congestion is at an all-time high during rush hour. Noise and air pollution are getting worse on a weekly basis, transport is awful (cars, buses and trains). No parking is available in Epping. Trains are completely full up and uncomfortable. Epping Station is overcrowded and the car park is always full by 7.30am! The only way this can work is to build more roads (add more lanes), open Ongar and North Weald stations, create more bus lanes, reopen St Margaret's Hospital Accident and Emergency department, build a large supermarket, only allow electric cars into the area and add more cameras. I’m sure there are funds available for this with the huge council tax income that the council receives. Just because there are green fields here doesn’t mean they should be built on. Please re-consider and wake up to the facts!

Kathy Roberts (by email)
- Now that's a plan. As a North Weald resident for close to 35 years I am sure I speak for the majority of residence that nobody wants to see North Weald developed but the reality is that it will be. After placing a no vote of confidence to the recent proposed developments for North weald I read this plan with interest. It makes sense. 'North Weald Park', it’s got my vote!

Tony Wright (by email)
- We have too many golf courses that a few people use, and we have not enough homes that many people need. It will be nice to see a new doctors surgery in North Weald as well.

Ann Burwood (via the Everything Epping Forest Facebook group)
- Need to put a stop on all this building.

Stanley Perry (by email)
- My wife and I moved to North Weald last September. We came from Loughton after 18 years to retire in a village community. Since living here we have found the main road continuously congested with roadworks and heavy traffic. Parking in Epping and getting to the station is frankly a nightmare. Parking at the station impossible. When I had to go to Harlow hospital as an emergency they could not cope and I was in a side room for numerous hours prior to being attended to and then admitted. When I was admitted I was out in a room which was hardly hygienic and the bathroom and toilet facilities were disgusting to put it mildly. How can the area possibly cope with the intensity of more homes and more traffic and more people if we cannot cope at all now? Opening up North Weald Station on the Central Line is the only way it would stand a chance of working. Let's be sensible and go that way first and decongest the whole area?

Peter Brown (by email)
- I think this is a real positive proposal - I hope the developer can provide jobs and affordable housing which are really needed in the area. I look forward to seeing more plans at the public consultation in March but I think this is a really good idea in principle.

Ellen Dyer (by email)
- 40 per cent affordable housing gives me the opportunity to get on the housing ladder. Completely support this project! 

James Mortimer (by email)
- Great news for Epping. I used to live in Kent and when I moved here I was shocked by how expensive houses are. Young people like myself need every bit of help and so the 'affordable housing' looks a great idea. It will be good news for everyone concerned if it is not just houses but other things too after all without jobs where does everyone work who lives in these houses? I am sure there will be those against (the proposals) but better on a golf club than on farmland. No one I know plays golf anymore, it has had its day. 

Harriet Beesley (by email)
- To me, this development brings many opportunities - not only a chance to actually get onto the property ladder with affordable housing - but great benefits to the community with the new school, a medical centre, sports hub etc. I think it would be great for the area.

Neil Barnett (by email)
- I read the article about North Weald Park with interest - affordable housing, employment, new schools and sports facilities - this is what the area needs to support young people who are struggling to access the property market locally. 

Bounty Miller (by email)
- I have been reading the article on the website and I agree with the Quinn Estates quote that this is a once in lifetime opportunity. I am personally in no situation to ever be able to buy especially in Epping and I welcome with open hands the idea of affordable houses, which might give me the opportunity to actually be able to buy within the new development. This development is offering everything from community services to two new schools and this will produce new employment for the area, at the end of the day we need more jobs, everyone has the right to make living and be able to live. 

Debbie Hedger (by email)
- What an amazing scheme. The benefits to the community are overwhelming and this is exactly the sort of scheme that should be encouraged. It has the right mix of community, economic and social benefits. The project will bring jobs, sports facilities, good housing and medical facilities, not to mention new educational establishments, what is there not to like about it! 

Sarah Walsh (by email)
- What a fantastic idea! New affordable homes, new jobs, new and improved public transport, new schools, new surgery, dentist etc. We need all this. Please get on with it!

Daniel Paye (by email)
- I would just like to say I was reading this article on the way to work this morning and love the idea! With houses prices so high it's difficult for me to find a place that's affordable but with this there could be potential for me to get onto the property ladder if I plan ahead.

Ron Wood (via the Everything Epping Forest Facebook page)
- Only 700...

Kerry Bates (via the Everything Epping Forest Facebook group)
- What about a new hospital? Princess Alexandra A and E can't cope as it is, will St Margaret's reopen an A and E department? 

Liam Collins (@ScLiamCollins on Twitter)
- Are any of these facilities guaranteed? We don't want the houses built then the funding running out for everything else.

Amanda Louise (via the Everything Epping Forest Facebook group)
- Not so good for us North Weald residents who chose to move to a village rather than a big modern town full of new builds. Such a shame.

Tracey Pollard (by email)
- This will change the feel of the village and it won't be long before other developers infill between the two sites. Traffic will increase massively and most people will try and park in Epping rather than use the park and ride. The trains are already too busy during rush hour.

Epping Forest Greens (@efgreens on Twitter)
- Certainly an interesting development which would see roughly 1,500-2,000 extra people in North Weald, maybe more. 

ROM (@rmrt688 on Twitter) - Surely they have to open the old North Weald Station if this goes through? A Park and Ride to Epping is just going to make an already oversubscribed service worse! Can't see it helping us in the Epping end in truth. More transport required in the area.

   

THORNWOOD: Four taken to hospital

UPDATED 4.19pm
2.15pm - 18th January 2017

FOUR people were taken to hospital after a collision involving two buses and a lorry on High Road, Thornwood. 
A spokesman for East of England Ambulance Service said ten people had been assessed at the scene. None of the injured have serious or life-threatening injuries.
The 'shunt' collision happened near the junction with Upland Road at about 10.40am. 
Fire crews from Epping and Harlow were called to deal with a large diesel spill.
The road was re-opened at about 2.30pm.

   

NORTH WEALD: Council set for precept rise

2.13pm - 18th January 2017

NORTH Weald Bassett Parish Council is proposing to increase its precept for the 2017-18 financial year.
The two per cent rise means the amount each household in the Parish would pay to the parish council in the next financial year would increase by £1.28 for the year. 
The total precept - the amount requested by the parish council to provide its services and support initiatives throughout North Weald, Hastingwood and Thornwood Common - is £175,485 (a nil increase would have seen a precept of £172,034).
The budget includes £3,000 for Weald Common, £3,000 for street lighting, a £3,000 contingency fund should the Government decide to cap local councils' spending and £3,000 for a 'New Home Fund' should the parish council move out of its current base at North Weald Library. 
Councillor Terry Blanks, supporting an increase in the precept, told Monday's finance and general purposes committee: "We are looking at changes coming along. We have the issue of the library which may be coming forward. We may have to think about considerable funds for moving. We really ought to be building up a bit of reserves for this." 
Councillor Andy Tyler said: "I think we have to increase just to safeguard ourselves." 
The council has also had to consider a reduction in the amount of money it will receive from the Government with its Parish Support Grant being reduced by £10,541 over the next three years (by £7,027 in 2017-18 and £3,514 in 2018-19). 
The council has earmarked money to repolish the floor at the Parish Hall, Thornwood Common, and also purchase 20 padded chairs and a microwave for the hall.
A contribution of about £500 will be made towards the fundraising for a defibrillator at Thornwood Parish Hall while £500 will cover the cost of annual maintenance and insurance of the CCTV systems at Weald Common and the High Road shops. 
Two dog waste bins are to be provided for Blenheim Square while the council will again be offering financial support to two Play in the Park events, at Queens Hall, North Weald, and Thornwood Common. 
Donations of £200 are to be made to both the Marie Curie charity and the Essex Air Ambulance. 
The budget will go before the next full council meeting for final approval."

   

LOUGHTON: Children get taste of Shakespeare

9.28am - 18th January 2017

CHILDREN at Hereward Primary School were visited by actor Anthony Glenn who performed his own inimitable rendition of Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' to the whole school. 
From the moment the play began, the children were enthralled by his performance which involved children from the audience playing various roles. 
Mr Glenn also delivered some inspired workshops to the older pupils which generated a real buzz about Shakespeare in the school. 
English Co-ordinator Latoya Ekrem said: "Anthony motivated and enthused each individual child, making them feel confident about performing and understanding such a complex play. He truly inspired the children."

   

CHIGWELL: Languages visit to Cambridge

6.01pm - 17th January 2017

YEAR 8 and 9 students at West Hatch High School have been encouraged to consider studying Languages at GCSE and University by attending a taster day at Downing College, Cambridge. 
Students had a general talk about languages and experienced taster lessons in French, Arabic and Japanese.
Languages specialist Aimee Rodway said: "It was lovely to see the students so passionate about languages and wanting to start learning even more." 
Year 8 student Charlotte Kent said: "It was fun to learn new languages that we don't often hear about and speak to students from Cambridge University."

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Council increases precept

5.17pm - 16th January 2017

WALTHAM Abbey Town Council is increasing its precept by 1.95 per cent for the next financial year as it prepares for "another challenging year". 
The council has had to accommodate a reduction of almost £25,000 in the money it receives from the Government for 2017-18. 
At the same time it is looking to generate more income through hire bookings for its facilities - Waltham Abbey Town Hall and Town Mead.
Cllr Antony Watts, chairman of the Policy & Resources Committee, said: "Waltham Abbey Town Council has another challenging year ahead. 
"The council has set its budget for 2017-18 after a detailed scrutiny of all the council's income and expenditure, and having taken into account the decrease in the support grant which we receive via the district council." 
The council is hoping to increase the number of Town Hall and Town Mead Club bookings in the next year. The increasing number of wedding bookings at Waltham Abbey Town Hall have already been welcomed by the council with the venue now available for ceremonies as well as receptions. 
Cllr Watts added: "Our budget allows the council to make provision for long-term projects, such as the extension to the town cemetery, and the precept increase of 1.95 per cent - the equivalent of an additional £2.02 on each Band D council tax bill per year - will allow the council to keep its rolling five-year financial plan on track whilst maintaining robust reserves and investing in the future."

   

EPPING: Council freezes council tax

9.26am - 14th January 2017

EPPING Town Council has confirmed plans to continue with its programme of playground refurbishment in the next financial year while freezing its precept for 2017-18. 
The town council has five playgrounds and plans to refurbish one area each year. 
Town clerk Beverley Rumsey said: "We have successfully received funding for our previous two playgrounds but we need to use some of our own funds to be able to attract outside assistance."
Frampton Road is the council's smallest playground which is being refurbished in the 2016-17 financial year at a cost of £38,000.
In the 2017-18 financial year the council will refurbish a larger playground, probably Parklands at Coopersale. 
The precept was increased last year to pay for an extension to Bury Lane cemetery and to cover the cost of the council's Neighbourhood Planning. 
The decision to freeze the council's share of council tax bills for 2017-18 means Epping Town Council's share of council tax bills will remain at £85.52 per Band D equivalent property.
The council has also frozen market pitch fees to help traders at the weekly Monday market.

   

EPPING: Epping in Bloom competitions

9.24am - 14th January 2017

TWO competitions have been launched by the Epping in Bloom group. 
Young visitors to the organisation's Market Garden area next to the Marks and Spencer store, off Epping High Street, are invited to search out six woodland animals hidden among the plants. 
Meanwhile Epping in Bloom has launched a Growing Community competition and is seeking entries from people able to grow herbs, fruit or vegetables in a fun, inventive way. 
Produce must be grown in a pot or hanging basket (no size restriction).
 Decorations can be added to the outside of the pot which could be painted. 
Photographs of entries must be with Epping in Bloom - email to eppinginbloom@gmail.com - by July 7. 
The winner will receive their prize at the Epping in Bloom presentation evening. 
The Community Garden Competition is open to under-16s who must seek out the six woodland animals which have been hidden around the Market Garden area. 
Locations of the six animals should be written down, along with the entrant's name, address and telephone number, and posted into the Epping in Bloom post box at the garden. 
Entries can also be emailed to eppinginbloom@gmail.com
The winner will be announced at the end of March. Epping in Bloom chairman Victoria Robertson said: "Hosting a community competition at the start of the year will help bring people together, help to get the children involved and create community awareness." 
With help from local volunteers, schools and Epping Town Council, Epping in Bloom is responsible for the planters at Tower Road and outside Epping Fire Station and floral displays at Epping Station. Its achievements have already been recognised in the Anglia in Bloom awards. 
The organisation, which recently welcomed several new members, is appealing for funds to enable it to continue with its work. 
Planks of woods for the raised fruit and vegetable beds which will be installed near the Market Garden entrance are on sale for £20 each. 
The wood can be engraved with the name of the donor or a loved one; they could also be purchased as a special Valentine's gift and bear a couple's initials and a heart. 
The beds could be installed in early April.

   

BUCKHURST HILL: Man charged over armed robbery

1.16pm - 13th January 2017

A MAN has been charged in connection with Tuesday's armed robbery at the Luxe Watches shop in Queens Road, Buckhurst Hill. 
Essex Police and the Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad carried out a joint operation yesterday (Thursday) at addresses in Edmonton and Muswell Hill, north London. 
Unemployed Joshua Jordan-Rose, 19, of Grosvenor Road, Muswell Hill, has been charged with robbery and possession of an imitation firearm with intent. He is due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court today. 
A 20-year-old man, from Enfield, who was arrested on suspicion of robbery was released without charge and faces no further action.

   

M11: Work on new junction could start in 2019

1.01pm - 13th January 2017

WORK on a new M11 junction 7A could begin in two years, the Government has said. 
The Department for Transport has today given its support to the new junction at Sheering saying it will help ensure the delivery of 15,000 homes and support continued growth in the local economy. 
The junction will provide better access to the motorway for residents of Harlow and Sawbridgeworth and reduce congestion on the existing junction 7 at Hastingwood, the Government said. 
The project will be part-funded by Essex County Council.
Essex County Council deputy leader Kevin Bentley, cabinet member for economic growth, regeneration and partnerships, said: “I am delighted the Government has backed this vital junction which offers a much-needed link for residents and business across west Essex. 
“Plans for Junction 7A were agreed by Essex County Council cabinet last month following a public consultation to ensure Junction 7A delivers benefits for everyone in Essex. 
“Creating a key link to the M11 for Harlow, reductions in congestion and business growth opportunities are just a handful of reasons this plan has received unrivalled support. 
“It is important we now move quickly so drivers and businesses across Essex can feel the positive effect of this work as soon as possible.” 
Harlow MP Robert Halfon, who started a campaign for a new junction ten years ago, said: "Whilst I realise that while this is a difficult decision for some, it is incredibly important for the future of the whole of Harlow. 
"It will unlock more housing and unlock more money to rebuild our town centre. 
"It means more jobs, more businesses and more prosperity, all which will help build an even better Harlow."

   

ONGAR: 'No need' for polling cards

8.51am - 13th January 2017

ONGAR town councillors have voted to not have polling cards for a forthcoming election to fill a councillor vacancy to save the council £200. 
The election, to fill the seat previously held by Ongar Residents Association councillor Nathan Fletcher who resigned last month, could cost the council about £3,000. 
Council chairman Jim Browning told last night's meeting: "It (having polling cards) is pro-active, that it makes people aware an election is pending." 
He added he thought the council could "get the message out" about the election without the need for the cards. 
A date for the Greensted ward election is yet to be finalised. 
Mr Browning said Mr Fletcher - the eighth Ongar town councillor to stand down since the last full council elections in May 2015 - had resigned "due to a work life balance". 
He said he had reluctantly accepted his resignation and wished Mr Fletcher every success for the future.

   

ONGAR: Former councillor remembered

8.49am - 13th January 2017

ONGAR town councillors observed a minute's silence following the death of long-time councillor Ron Barnes. 
Mr Barnes represented the then Ongar Parish Council from 1967 until he resigned in 2003, and was a Shelley district councillor from May 1979 until May 2003. 
Town council chairman Jim Browning, speaking at last night's council meeting, offered condolences to Mr Barnes's family and friends and paid tribute to his "distinguished service to the community".

   

ONGAR: Council budget delay

7.29am - 13th January 2017

THE proposed transfer of the Jubilee Park facilities from Ongar Town Council to a community trust is "not guaranteed" to be completed by March 31. 
Council chairman Jim Browning reported the possible delay to last night's council meeting explaining the council had to defer discussions over its 2017-18 budget until the Jubilee Park Steering Committee discusses its element of the finances next Thursday. 
The possibility that the transfer may not be finalised by March 31 means the council has to set a Jubilee Park budget to be included in the 2017-18 budget. 
An extraordinary council meeting to discuss the full council budget will be held on Thursday, January 26.

   

ONGAR: Councillor's home plan opposed

7.27am - 13th January 2017

PLANS for a property behind a house in High Street, Ongar - at the bottom of Churchill Close - is the "worst type of overdevelopment", it has been claimed. 
Town councillor Bruce Freeman is seeking planning permission for a two-storey 'bungalow' behind Croft Cottage however objector Stephen Pryke, speaking at last night's town council meeting, questioned the description saying: "It's not a bungalow. It's designed with accommodation on the first floor." 
Access and surface water issues are also concerns, Mr Pryke said. 
He told the planning and environment and public relations committee: "There will be danger and disruption during construction and for local residents if it were ever occupied. 
"This will be creating a very dangerous precedent for future development." 
Mr Pryke, a chartered surveyor and joint owner of a property in Churchill Close, added: "I've never seen such a good example of inappropriate development." 
Councillor Janet Bicknell described the access, over a public footpath at the bottom of Churchill Close, as "very dangerous" while councillor Patrick Bolden said: "It's not a very good road anyway. It's a difficult road. It's a very difficult situation." 
Council chairman Jim Browning voiced concerns over access and feared a "conflict" between pedestrians and vehicles. 
He said he would object on the grounds of overdevelopment "in the strongest possible terms". 
The committee voted to object to the application which will now be discussed by district councillors.

   

BUCKHURST HILL Two arrested over armed raid

2.16pm - 12th January 2017

TWO men have been arrested in connection with Tuesday's armed robbery at Luxe Watches shop in Queens Road, Buckhurst Hill. 
A joint operation involving Essex Police and the Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad was carried out at addresses in Edmonton and Muswell Hill, north London, at about 6am today. 
A 19-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of robbery and possession of firearms with intent and a 20-year-old man arrested on suspicion of robbery. 
Both remain in custody.

   

COOPERSALE: Lorry crash driver freed

9.15am - 12th January 2017

A LORRY driver has been freed after his HGV left Houblons Hill, Coopersale, and ended up on its side in a field. 
Emergency crews were called out at 7.20am today. 
Firefighters from Epping and Loughton and paramedics took almost an hour to deal with the incident. 
The driver's condition is not known.

   

EPPING: Rotary club's festive fundraising

9.06am - 12th January 2017

THE Rotary Club of Epping raised almost £10,000 with its Santa sleigh which toured the area before Christmas, and Carols on the Green on Christmas Eve. 
Santa and his sleigh travelled around the streets of Epping, Theydon Bois and North Weald in the run-up to Christmas and greeted shoppers in the High Street and at the Tesco store in Epping. 
A record £6,437 was collected which will support charities and good causes. 
The club also decorated a tree for the Christmas Tree Festival at St John’s Church. The tree was decorated in purple to represent Rotary throughout the world working to end polio. 
The tree was taken from the church to light up the Epping in Bloom garden by the Marks and Spencer store for the rest of the Christmas period. 
Carols on the Green attracted a record crowd to the Town Green with the audience singing carols along with a choir and orchestra from Epping St Johns School. 
Mulled wine and mince pies were much appreciated. 
The £2,532 collected will go to local schools to support their music departments. 
Club president Barbara Scruton said: "It was a brilliant build-up to the holiday and the results of our Christmas activities were exceptional. Thank you to everyone for their generosity and support.” 
Mrs Scruton reported the fundraising results and thanked Rotarians for their efforts and support when the club met on Tuesday for the first lunchtime meeting of the new year. 
On Christmas Day Rotarians volunteered to provide transport for the local churches' Christmas lunch.

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Students visit Lille

3.37pm - 11th January 2017

STUDENTS in Years 8, 9 and 11 at King Harold Academy enjoyed a day trip to Lille in Northern France.
The group arrived at lunchtime and headed straight to the famous Christmas market where the students could purchase lunch and presents and practise their basic language skills. 
They later visited La Gaufre de Houplines, a museum/shop where they learnt about the local delicacy, sampling the famous Flemish-style waffles.

   

BUCKHURST HILL: Staff threatened at gunpoint

3.35pm - 11th January 2017

STAFF at the Luxe Watches shop in Queens Road, Buckhurst Hill, were threatened at gunpoint, police have revealed. 
Police have issued descriptions of two men following the raid which happened at about 5.30pm yesterday (Tuesday). 
The member of staff, one of three in the shop at the time, was forced to hand over jewellery, including a number of watches. None of the staff were injured. 
One of the robbers had a tattoo sleeve on one arm and was wearing black-rimmed glasses, a long navy woollen coat and light blue shirt.
He is described as aged 25, black, about 6ft tall and slim. He is believed to have been carrying a handgun which he used to threaten the staff. 
The second suspect was described as mixed race, aged about 20, slim with afro hair. He was wearing a light-coloured shirt and beige jeans. He was carrying a light-coloured rucksack. 
One of the men smashed the glass in the shop door with a hammer.
Both robbers then ran off down Queens Road through an alleyway which connects to Westbury Lane.
Anyone with information should ring Loughton CID on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

   

BUCKHURST HILL: Armed raiders target shop

8.16am - 11th January 2017

ROBBERS reported to have been armed with a gun and sledgehammer targeted a designer watch store in Buckhurst Hill. 
The raiders struck at Luxe Watches in Queens Road late afternoon yesterday. 
Social media reports from eyewitnesses state windows at the shop were smashed and blood could be seen in the area. 
There was also a report that smoke was seen billowing from the premises. 
Police cordoned off the road as an investigation was launched. 
The police helicopter was also seen hovering over the area. 
The robbers escaped with an undisclosed amount of property.
Further information is expected to be released by police today. 
Anyone with any information should ring police on 101.

   

ONGAR: Council chairman sent "discourteous" email

8.01am - 10th January 2017

ONGAR: Town council faces £1,965 bill for investigation into chairman and vice-chairman

THE chairman of Ongar Town Council has been told to undergo training after he sent a "discourteous" email about deputy clerk Judith Farr. 
Ongar Residents Association councillor James Browning intended to send the email to a fellow councillor but sent it to Mrs Farr herself. 
Mrs Farr made a formal complaint to Epping Forest District Council about the email claiming Mr Browning had failed to treat her "with respect". 
District council monitoring officer Coleen O'Boyle said the email was "discourteous in its reference to the staff member" but added: "I accept the email was not intended for the (deputy) clerk to receive and you immediately apologised. It should be noted that in this case I would have required such an apology to have been made as part of this decision." 
Mrs O'Boyle added: "On the basis of the evidence submitted I have concluded that this instance alone does not amount to bullying." 

ONGAR: Council vice-chairman in breach of Code of Conduct for failing to leave council meetings

UPDATED 7.46pm - 20th January 2017

The original article, posted on January 10, stated that councillor John Reynolds was in breach of the Code of Conduct because he failed to declare an interest. 
Everything Epping Forest would like to clarify that Mr Reynolds was found to be in breach of the adopted Code of Conduct because having declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest - that he was an allotment holder - he remained in two town council meetings, on March 24 and April 14 last year, when an allotment-related matter was discussed.


ONGAR Town Council vice-chairman John Reynolds has also been instructed to attend Code of Conduct training after he admitted breaching the Code of Conduct adopted by the council by remaining in two council meetings after he declared an interest. 
Councillor Reynolds, who is chairman of Ongar Residents Association, has been told to attend the same further Code of Conduct training session as Mr Browning, which will be laid on for all Ongar town councillors. 
Mrs O'Boyle, detailing the conclusion of an investigation by the council's investigation officer, stated in her letter that Mr Reynolds had a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest as an allotment holder and was therefore in breach of the Code of Conduct adopted by the town council when he remained in town council meetings on March 24 and April 14 last year. 
Mrs O'Boyle says his interests are contrary to the lawful requirements of the Localism Act 2011 however she concluded it was "not appropriate" to refer the matter for prosecution. 
She added that if Mr Reynolds attends further training, and because he admitted remaining in the meetings, no public hearing is required. 
Everything Epping Forest has asked both Mr Browning and Mr Reynolds to comment. 

The £1,965 which Epping Forest District Council has charged the town council for the investigations will have to be found from the town council's reserves.
The matter is being reported to Thursday's full council meeting when councillors are set to make a date for the training session.

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: French students visit school

2.52pm - 9th January 2017

THE King Harold Academy has welcomed students and staff from Le Collège Sainte-Marie in Chavagnes-en-Paillers (Vendée) in France for the third successive year. 
Nineteen Year 9 students and two of their teachers visited the Waltham Abbey school for a day of lessons and a chance to sample life in an English school. 
The students met in the Learning Resource Centre were they introduced each other. 
They spent the morning getting to know one another, playing games and interacting in French and English. 
Small groups of students were taken on a tour of King Harold Academy when they observing lessons. 
At break time the students could mix with the rest of the school and experience the difference between British schools and French schools. 
Lunch was traditional fish and chips. 
In addition, all students had a taste of brioche which was brought by the French visitors.

   

ONGAR: Council committee vacancies

2.18pm - 9th January 2017

VACANCIES exist on several Ongar Town Council committees following a series of resignations.
Councillor Paul Keska has resigned from the Open Spaces Committee while councillor Jane Devonald has stood down from the Planning and Environment and Public Relations Committee and the Open Spaces Committee. 
A vacancy also exists on the Jubilee Park Committee.

   

ONGAR: Council facing election bill

2.15pm - 9th January 2017

ONGAR Town Council will have to dip into its reserves to cover the cost of an election following the resignation of Greensted councillor Nathan Fletcher. 
Mr Fletcher is the eighth Ongar town councillor to resign since the full council elections in May 2015. 
An election will be held following a request from ten electors. 
Thursday's full council meeting will be told that as the council had agreed not to budget for any election costs in the current financial year, the costs of the poll will have to be met from 'general reserves'.

   

LOUGHTON: Shopping park taking shape

9.13am - 7th January 2017

WORK to transform the former council depot site in Langston Road into the multi-million-pound Epping Forest Shopping Park is ahead of schedule. 
Epping Forest District Council's assets portfolio holder Anne Grigg, in an update to councillors at the last cabinet meeting, said: “Construction is going really well. We are obviously entering the worst of the winter months. We had some extremely cold temperatures at the end of November but so far McLaughlin and Harvey seem to have managed very well. 
“The site is clean and well organised. Installation of the steel frames is very fast. There is still a long way to go but at this rate we should have our first shops moving in by the end of the summer with a potential official opening in time for next Christmas. 
“We have a great line-up of businesses preparing to move in and I know many local residents can’t wait for the park to open. However this is more than just a flagship retail development. 
"Epping Forest Shopping Park will bring much needed jobs and investment to the district. It will encourage residents to spend more money locally, boosting the local economy. 
"Rental income to Epping Forest District Council will help to pay for local services and keep Council Tax down.” 
Council chairman Jeane Lea said: “It is a great privilege to be involved. I was very pleased to hear all the steel is British-made. I can only say how well the works are going and congratulate everyone involved. I can’t wait to see the first units open."

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Industrial yard blaze

10.21am - 6th January 2017

SIX fire crews have been tackling a major blaze at an industrial yard in Waltham Abbey. 
Crews from Loughton, Waltham Abbey, Epping, Chingford, Cheshunt and Basildon were called out to the premises in Avey Lane at about 6.15am.
An Essex Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: "When crews arrived they reported that acetylene cylinders were involved and immediately set up a 200m safety cordon around the cylinders which is standard procedure for this type of incident." 

PICTURE 1 PICTURE 2 (Photos by Paul Wood)

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Council renews road plea

7.29am - 6th January 2017

WALTHAM Abbey Town Council is stepping up its calls for action on Crooked Mile after a two-car collision left two people needing hospital treatment. 
A man and a woman were injured in the crash which closed the road on Tuesday evening. 
It is understood that a man was taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, with head and back injuries and a suspected leg injury while a woman, who had been trapped in a vehicle, was taken to hospital in a serious condition with undisclosed injuries. 
The town council has repeatedly called for traffic calming measures along the road and, following a collision last November, agreed to raise the matter again with the local Highways Panel and Waltham Abbey county councillor Ricki Gadsby. 
Waltham Abbey Town Council leader Liz Webster said: "The town council is sorry to hear about this most recent accident and hope that those involved make a speedy recovery. We would also like to thank the emergency services for their work. 
"The town council has been working hard communicating with Essex Highways over this stretch of road for some time now, stressing the dangers of the road and trying to persuade them to take some action to improve road safety. 
"We hope they will now take notice and do something about it."

   

LOUGHTON: Haslers welcomes new chairman

10.23am - 5th January 2017

LOUGHTON-based accountants Haslers has welcomed Jon O’Shea as the company's new chairman.
He takes over from long-standing Partner Laurence Jacobs. 
Mr Jacobs, who was chairman for a five-year term, will continue to work as a Partner within the Business Services Group assisting clients with specialist advice, alongside his regular audit work. 
Mr O'Shea trained at BDO Stoy Hayward in London until March 1990 when he joined Haslers - later becoming a Partner in April 1997. 
He passed his Institute of Taxation exams in 1990 and went on to become a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. 
He is responsible for the day-to-day running of the tax department, ensuring client compliance issues are kept up-to-date and is the head of the firm tax investigations unit. 
He said: “I am delighted to be taking on the position of chairman at Haslers. 
The firm continues to see strong, consistent growth and our forward-thinking approach have ensured that we remain competitive. 
“I hope my time in this position will be as successful as my predecessor, who has done an exceptional job leading our team at Haslers with the help of the Board and the rest of the Partners.” 
Mr O'Shea is well-known in Essex for his charity work which includes completing an around the world marathon challenge which saw him run on each of the Earth’s continents, including Antarctica. 
Mr Jacobs said: “Since joining the firm more than two decades ago Jon has shown determination, passion and a great aptitude for the job - and I can think of no one better to be taking on this role.”

   

ONGAR: New role for London's Burning star

8.48am - 4th January 2017

NOW a qualified sports therapist, a television star who appeared in every episode of the ITV drama series London's Burning is providing sports therapy sessions near Ongar. 
Glen Murphy, who used to live in Stapleford Abbotts and Blackmore, is offering sessions at The PT Barn off Ongar Road, Kelvedon Hatch, on a month-long trial basis. 
He told Everything Epping Forest: "It has got to be the greatest thing, being able to help people with pain."
Mr Murphy is qualified as a sports injury therapist with the Association of Holistic and Complementary Practitioners, a far cry from his days as a busy firefighter in London's Burning.
Away from his sports injury work, Mr Murphy has seen his film, 'Person in Italia' (Lost in Italy), released in America and shooting for another film, 'Finger of Suspicion' - starring Ray Winstone - is due to start later this year.
The semi-professional footballer and former international boxer first appeared on television in the series Shine on Harvey Moon in the 1980s. 
He has also appeared in Dr Who, The Bill and Casualty, in addition to his London's Burning role as Firefighter George Green. 
He received an MBE in 2007 for services to charity after raising £1m for various children’s causes.

   

ROYDON: MP takes reading scheme to school

10.31am - 1st January 2017

CHILDREN at Roydon Primary School were read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by MP Robert Halfon when he took his 'Reading with Rob' scheme to the village. 
He also answered questions on the book and presented the class with 'Reading with Rob' certificates and bookmarks. 
Mr Halfon said: “It was a pleasure to be able to read to the children in the school's fantastic new library this time. 
"These visits are a really important part of my community diary which I do as often as possible to share my love of books and reading."

   

DISTRICT: PCSO targets number plate thefts

9.59am - 1st January 2017

A LOUGHTON-based PCSO recognised a number of number plate thefts in the area and secured funding to help reduce the crime.
Following a spate of thefts in Waltham Abbey and the surrounding area in the second half of last year PCSO Hayley Shelton successfully bid for £750 from the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) Board to pay for 1,000 anti-tamper number plate screw kits. 
With PCSO Louise Coveney and some of Waltham Abbey’s Active Citizens, Hayley has been working offering the kits free of charge in recent in recent weeks. 
Some have been supplied to car sales garages in Epping and Loughton to fit to new vehicles. 
Hayley said: "It is lovely to see that the Proceeds of Crime Act has funded this crime reduction initiative. "Waltham Abbey has been hit with a number of thefts of number plates and I know how many crimes that one offence can commit. 
"We have been using as many opportunities as possible to give anti-tamper number plate kits to as many Waltham Abbey residents as possible.”

   

DISTRICT: Hospice's JanuDry challenge

9.54am - 1st January 2017

DRINKERS are being encouraged to support St Clare Hospice's JanuDry challenge and give up alcohol for the whole of this month. 
St Clare Hospice’s director of income generation, Cheryl Armitage, said: “After an endless run of Christmas parties and festive events our first-ever JanuDry challenge is a great way to start 2017. 
"We want as many St Clare supporters to swap their social drinking for social fundraising for the 31 days of January - a great way to feel good both inside and out this new year!” 
The month long challenge encourages participants to donate the money they save from not buying alcohol to support the Hastingwood-based charity. 
Cheryl said: “You would be surprised how much you can save just by abstaining from your usual social drinking. If you normally drink ten pints per week, you could save £160 in one month, or ten gin and tonics and four glasses of wine would be £280. It will also save your body around 10,000 calories - so it will leave you feeling healthier too.” 
Nursing assistant Jasmin Laskey, 25, who has been working for the Hospice at Home team for two years, has pledged her support to the challenge. 
She said: “I saw the advert for JanuDry in the staff newsletter and thought it sounded like a fun way to start the year, and to support St Clare. 
"I know I will be going to lots of parties throughout December and it is a good way to get the New Year on to a healthier track." 
For more about the St Clare JanuDry challenge visit www.stclarehospice.org.uk/event/janudry
For more information, or to let the team know that you will be taking up the challenge, ring 01279 773750 or email fund@stclarehospice.org.uk