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WALTHAM ABBEY: Beer and wine festival

3.30pm - 20th February 2017

BEERS and wines from around the world will be on offer at a Beer and Wine Tasting Festival in Waltham Abbey. 
Waltham Abbey Town Council is holding the event in the Mead Suite at Town Mead Leisure Park in Brooker Road from 11am until 10pm on Saturday, April 29, and Sunday, April 30. 
Town clerk Kathryn Richmond said: "The festival is always a popular event and we look forward to welcoming many drinkers to Town Mead where they will be able to try a variety of beers and wines." 
The festival will welcome beers from breweries from around the UK including Harold’s Brew, Old Peculiar, Directors, and April 'guest ales'. 
Wines will be available from France, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, California, Italy and Spain. 
There will also be an all-day chargeable barbecue.

   

DISTRICT: Man charged with 22 burglaries

3.07pm - 20th February 2017

A 28-YEAR-OLD man has been charged with 22 counts of burglary in connection with incidents across Essex. 
He was taken to Basildon Police Station for questioning following his arrest in North Weald on Tuesday and was subsequently charged in connection with incidents between July 2016 and February this year in places including Ongar, Brentwood, Shenfield, Bishop’s Stortford and Epping. 
He was due before Chelmsford magistrates on Saturday.

   

EPPING: 42-inch television stolen

1.24pm - 20th February 2017

A 42-INCH plasma television, a Dyson vacuum cleaner and two Swindon Town football shirts, one of which is signed, were stolen in a burglary in Epping. 
The wooden front door of a property in Hemnall Street was smashed and a messy search carried out between 10pm on January 19 and 12.30pm on January 23. Details have only recently been released by police. 
Anyone with any information or has been offered any such items for sale should ring DC Peter Cran at Loughton Police Station on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

   

DISTRICT: New grave-tending service launched

12.12pm - 20th February 2017

A NEW grave-tending service for people who live some distance away or are unable to care for their loved ones' graves has been launched.
D & J Cemetery Care operates throughout the Chelmsford, Harlow, Epping Forest and Uttlesford areas.
Services offered include maintenance around the headstone and edge of plots, the washing of memorials, memorial inspections, the delivery of freshly cut flowers as well as help with grave tracing and photographs for genealogists, cemetery records and grave sitting. 
D & J Cemetery Care is run by Judith Farr who has more than 14 years experience in the management of cemeteries and burials. 
She was deputy clerk, with responsibility for Ongar Cemetery, at Ongar Town Council having spent four years as admin assistant at North Weald Bassett Parish Council. 
Mrs Farr said: "When I was at the council people would ask if the council could provide such a service; clean the graves and remove and provide flowers." 
She added: "The cemetery is always something I have felt passionately about. I enjoy working with people and have empathy with the relatives. 
"It is one of those times when you need people to be helpful and sympathetic. It's a time in peoples' lives when having someone they can talk to makes a difference." 
Mrs Farr's experience with cemetery records was highlighted in the BBC programme Family Finders where she reunited members of a family, where one lived Hertfordshire and the other relative lived in Australia. 
D & J Cemetery Care offers a bespoke service tailored to client's individual requirements. 
For more information, write to D & J Cemetery Care, 60 St Michael's Drive, Roxwell, Essex, CM1 4NU, email office@dandjcemeterycare.co.uk or ring 07729 005295. 
More information can also be found at the D & J Cemetery Care website www.dandjcemeterycare.co.uk

Judith Farr, of D & J Cemetery Care PICTURE

   

LOUGHTON: Closure notice on NuBar

8.50am - 18th February 2017

POLICE issued an immediate closure notice on Nu Bar after it advertised a 'bring a bottle' event a week after its licence was suspended. 
The High Road bar had its licence suspended on Friday, February 10, pending a full hearing on Tuesday, March 7, following a suspected breach of its licence conditions. 
Police yesterday said the bar subsequently advertised a ‘bring a bottle’ event for last night (Friday).
Following officer concerns around anti-social behaviour, authority to issue a closure notice was given under Section 76 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. 
Temporary Epping Forest District Commander Chief Inspector Lewis Basford said: "We have issued this closure notice because of the concerns around anti-social behaviour the advertised ‘bring a bottle’ event may cause. 
"The bar has already had its licence suspended pending a full hearing following a suspected breach of the licence earlier this month. 
"People in Loughton need to be able to enjoy an evening out free from the threat of violence and disorder.
"The vast majority of our pubs and clubs work very closely with us to keep their customers safe but we will take robust steps to enforce the law where we think that safety is at risk.”

   

EPPING: Police increase foot patrols

8.11am - 17th February 2017

REPORTED incidents of anti-social behaviour in Epping have reduced since dedicated police foot patrols were introduced to target the problem, police have said. 
In December between 15 and 20 reports were received by police.
Temporary District Commander Chief Inspector Lewis Basford told last night's public meeting in Epping with Essex Police and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst that police were also engaging well with business owners in the town.
On the foot patrols, Mr Basford said: "It's something I brought in and you will see it stay." 
District council leader Chris Whitbread said he believed the "quite dreadful" increase in anti-social behaviour was linked to the closure of the police station and the reduction in the number of Police Community Support Officers.

   

ESSEX: Chief Constable in running for top Met job

8.07am - 17th February 2017

THE Chief Constable of Essex is said to be "doing very well" in the recruitment process to find a replacement for the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe. 
Essex Police and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst told a public meeting in Epping last night that Stephen Kavanagh was one of the best qualified police officers in the country and was "doing very well in the process" to find the successor for Sir Bernard who stands down at the end of this month.

   

EPPING: Council to target anti-social behaviour

8.48am - 15th February 2017

A WORKING group of town councillors is to look into ways to target anti-social behaviour in Epping following a complaint about youths congregating in the High Street. 
Town clerk Beverley Rumsey told last night's council meeting that police have said they are aware of the situation and are patrolling the area.
She said: "They are aware of issues in the High Street and are working with schools and parents. They are keen to see if there is anything that we could do together." 
Councillors were told that groups of youths gather around the off-licence and Collop Carpets shop in the High Street using bad language and also smoking and drinking. 
She added: "They are aware of the situation at Collop Carpets and are working in the High Street in general and working with licensing (at Epping Forest District Council) and the Safer Communities team."
Deputy mayor Tony Church said the issue was not localised to the area outside the off-licence and Collop Carpets. 
He said: "It's not alcohol-related. It's just a place to hang out. They gather in the churchyard. They go behind Club 195." 
Councillor Hugh Pegrum suggested the council could call for more uniformed support in the High Street while councillor Jon Whitehouse encouraged residents to report any incidents as they occur even if they had alerted police to problems in the past. 
Councillor Holly Whitbread will chair the working party and the issue will also be discussed at the annual town meeting.

   

EPPING: Council's views on parking schemes

8.46am - 15th February 2017

A RESIDENTS' parking scheme proposed for Ivy Chimneys Road is being opposed by Epping town councillors who believe it would not solve the problem. 
Councillor Barbara Scruton, speaking at last night's planning and general purposes committee, described Ivy Chimneys Road as "a nightmare". 
She said: "I think we should be lobbying to get some parking bays on the green. I can't see what they would gain from it (residents' parking)." 
Councillor Hugh Pegrum said: "I'm not sure what residents' parking is going to cure." 
Committee chairman Nigel Avey said there needed to be a "more imaginative scheme" to deal with the problem. 

A residents' parking scheme for Stonards Hill scheme is being supported by town councillors while proposals for Lower Swaines are considered "impractical". 
The town council wants Tidys Lane residents consulted over parking in their road after the district council proposed a yellow line restriction while town councillors are suggesting residents' parking. 
Lincolnsfield has also been earmarked for a possible residents' parking scheme with town councillors again calling for residents to be consulted before any decision is taken.

   

EPPING: No objection to dental surgery

8.44am - 15th February 2017

PLANS for a dental practice in first-floor office space over 'Rehab' at 114A High Street, Epping, have met with no objections from town councillors. 
A change of use planning application also includes plans for a new front door and internal alterations. 
A final decision will be taken by Epping Forest District Council.

   

NAVESTOCK: Deer 'run down' and killed in field

2.43pm - 14th February 2017

POLICE appealing for information after a deer was found dead in a field in Navestockside, near Ongar, believe it was hit by a vehicle which also damaged crops. 
Sgt Lisa Cooke, of the Brentwood and Epping Forest Community Policing Team, said: "The actions of those responsible for this incident are despicable. They have not only caused significant damage to crops but have killed a defenceless animal. 
"We are taking this matter extremely seriously and are increasing our patrols in the area. 
"We would urge any farmers or landowners who have seen anything suspicious of indeed suffered anything similar to contact us. 
"We would also urge anyone who knows anything about those responsible to contact Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."

   

LOUGHTON: NuBar licence suspended

2.33pm - 14th February 2017

THE Nu Bar in Loughton has had its licence temporarily suspended pending a full hearing at Epping Forest District Council's licensing committee.
An expedited review was brought by Essex Police after an incident in the bar in the early hours of the morning on February 5, alongside an alleged breach of licence conditions, the council said.
An Epping Forest District Council spokesman said: ”The decision was taken by licensing sub-committee councillors to temporarily suspend the licence which means any licensable activities are not permitted to take place in the interim period between now and the full licensing committee hearing unless an interim hearing is applied for by the licence holder. 
”A final decision will be reached at this meeting, which is scheduled for March 7. 
"At the hearing councillors will assess the evidence brought by Essex Police and make the decision to either amend the licence or its conditions, allow it to remain in place or revoke the licence completely.” 
The applicant, Essex Police Chief Inspector Lewis Basford, said: ”Essex Police is continuing to work around the issue of public safety and crime and disorder in the night-time economy.”

   

ONGAR: Form-filling error ahead of council election

1.29pm - 14th February 2017

THE Ongar Residents Association candidate for the Ongar Town Council by-election will not be described as such on the ballot paper because of an incorrectly completed nomination form, it has emerged. 
Epping Forest District Council had issued a Notice of Poll which described Simon Cole, of Crossbow Court, Ongar, as 'Ongar Residents Association'. However the notice was reissued later the same day with the 'Description (if any)' box left blank. 
A district council spokesman told Everything Epping Forest: "The notice was reissued as Mr Cole has not described himself as ORA on his nomination form. This was picked up in our checking processes. I understand that he is standing for the Residents Association however." 
Two candidates are contesting the Greensted ward by-election which has been called following the resignation of Ongar Residents Association councillor Nathan Fletcher. 
Brian Surtees, of Bowes Drive, Ongar, is standing for the Liberal Democrats. 
Ongar Town Council chairman James Browning - an Ongar Residents Association committee member - told Everything Epping Forest: "Simon Cole personally returned his nomination form to Epping Forest District Council and in his presence the Election Office checked and confirmed it was completed correctly. Subsequently the Election Office identified an error within the description section of the nomination form; it should contain details of any political party/organisation the candidate is standing for. 
"Epping Forest District Council have acknowledged issues with this section of the nomination form many times before. In the past some candidates have put their personal characteristics not their political allegiance. 
"The nomination is still valid and the election will go ahead but without reference to Simon being the candidate for the Ongar Residents Association on any official documentation. 
"Simon Cole is the prime candidate representing Ongar Residents Association in the Greensted election."
He added: "Simon asks the residents of Greensted to support him and a group of like-minded people who formed the Ongar Residents Association to ensure that the voice of the town is heard so that a small minority do not make decisions and take actions that ignore the majority view. 
"Simon hopes to influence policy to ensure the Ongar we all enjoy remains for us and our children, the town is not over-developed but sympathetically improved."
Mr Surtees told Everything Epping Forest: "The box for Mr Cole's description on the ballot paper will be left blank as a result of an error in his nomination. This does not mean that he no longer represents the Ongar Residents Association or that they are not sponsoring him as a candidate.
"The residents' association are influential on the town council and it is time there was real transparency about their aims and membership which are not easily discoverable on their website." 
The election - with the polling station at the Budworth Hall, High Street, Ongar - is on Thursday, March 2, with the polling station open between 7am and 10pm. 

Candidate information: 

Simon Cole - married with a family , Mr Cole has lived in Ongar 16 years (including ten years in Greensted). He joined Ongar Allotments and Garden Society and become chairman and engaged with the town council. An allotment holder, he also helps twice a year planting the High Street tubs and troughs. 
Mr Cole works as business improvement manager in the mechanical section of a major construction company in London. 
Brian Surtees - an Ongar parish'town councillor for more than 25 years until 2015 and a district councillor since 2014.  Mr Surtees is also a governor at Chipping Ongar Primary School and a local priest. 
Mr Surtees has lived with his family in the area since the early 1980s.

   

EPPING: Academy Arts seals O2 date

4.39pm - 13th February 2017

THE Epping-based Academy Arts Theatre School is through to the Grand Final of the Jack Petchey ‘Glee Club Challenge’. 
Academy Arts Theatre was one of four groups selected at a regional final at the Civic Theatre, Chelmsford.
‘Don’t stop believin’ was the mantra for each group as they performed twice for the judges. 
Academy Arts Theatre School has been based in Epping for ten years. 
The group numbers 14 and ranges in age from 16 to 20. They performed an item from musical theatre show ‘Song for a New World’ and ‘Wings’ by Little Mix. 
The Grand Final is at the O2 Arena on Sunday, March 19, when prizes worth £5,000 will be up for grabs.
Academy Arts founder Nina Jones said: “The kids loved boot camp. They had a great time and so enjoyed working with professionals and getting feedback from them not just from us teachers. 
"They all want to do performing arts professionally so to get this far in the Glee Challenge is great. They are so excited and a really tight-knit group. While we were not confident at first our hopes are raised after getting to the final and seeing so many strong groups. We can’t wait!"

   

DISTRICT: Registration open for abseil

2.02pm - 13th February 2017

REGISTRATION is open for Harlow Tye Rotary Club's annual charity abseil from the top of the Church Langley water tower. 
Abseilers can raise money for any charity or voluntary organisation. 
The club is holding the event on Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30. 
In the 19-year history of the event some £850,000 has been raised for hundreds of causes. 
There is a £35 entry fee but all the sponsorship money collected goes to the group of the individual's choice. 
Abseilers must be aged 16 and over. 
For more details, visit www.harlowtyerotary.org.uk and follow the instructions to download a registration form and conditions of entry. 
You can also e-mail abseil@harlowtyerotary.org.uk or ring Bill Colton on 07711 982671.

   

NORTH WEALD: Work underway on care home garden

11.54am - 12th February 2017

A TEAM of volunteers from the Epping in Bloom group have come together to help transform the garden at the Cunningham House care home, North Weald. 
The group first became involved when chairman Victoria Robertson was approached by two members of staff from Cunningham House when she was at Happy Grow Garden Centre in Thornwood. 
Victoria said: "The plan is to get residents out into the garden more this year and to get them involved with watering duties, planting and deadheading."
It is hoped the restored garden will also be used to host more family get-togethers and open days. 
This week some 3,500 litres of soil and two tons of sand were delivered to the home in Pike Way along with eight raised beds. 
The six volunteers also filled an ornamental boat with soil and made a sail. Victoria added: "We will begin restoring, painting and planting on Friday, February 24, from 10am so if anyone is able to help they will be most welcome." 
Additional features such as a vertical growing lettuce, strawberries, radishes and spring onions will also be planted. 
Epping in Bloom is appealing to anyone with grass or herbs which could be donated to contact the group.

   

EPPING: MP presents debating trophies

9.29am - 11th February 2017

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing visited Epping St John's School to present the engraved cup to the two students who won the 2016 Epping Forest Schools Parliamentary Debating Competition. 
Teale Cunningham and Marni Rollason each received a cup - and the competition trophy which they will hold until November when the school hosts this year's competition. 
The debating competition has been organised by Mrs Laing for the last 14 years. 
Teams from secondary schools across the district spoke either for or against the Motion "This House believes that Britain's influence in the world will be greater once it leaves the European Union." 
Mrs Laing said: "The standard of debate at the competition continues to improve year on year. There was a great debate and the judges found it hard to choose a winner because there was so much talent. 
"I really hope that the experience of taking part in a competition like this will be good for everyone who spoke and I look forward to hosting this year's competition later in the year. 
"I was delighted to meet Teale and Marni again and to present them with their cups. They were a great team and a credit to their school."

PICTURE

   

EXCLUSIVE: ONGAR: Man who saved footballer's life: "I just did it"

4.56pm - 10th February 2017

AN off-duty firefighter has recounted how he saved the life of a fellow footballer at Ongar's Jubilee Park after the veteran suffered a heart attack. 
David Burke was in the showers at the Jubilee Pavilion having played for Newport Over-45 Veterans against Ongar Veterans last November when he collapsed. 
He can remember nothing more about the drama until he woke up in Basildon University Hospital with his wife and stepdaughter at his bedside. 
The drama happened the day after his 56th birthday. 
He was placed in an induced coma for 48 hours and spent five days in hospital. He had six stents inserted and is now feeling fine. 
Mr Burke, who lives in Saffron Walden, was delighted to meet his lifesaver, Terry Hughes, for the first time when Ongar MP Sir Eric Pickles visited the Jubilee Pavilion this afternoon to officially launch a new defibrillator. 
Mr Hughes was in a neighbouring changing room when Mr Burke collapsed. 
A London firefighter based at Leyton, Mr Hughes had undertaken a spell working as a co-responder and immediately knew what to do. 
He recalled: "Someone came running in saying 'does anyone do first aid, we've got a collapsed player in the next dressing room'. 
"I just did it. I went in there. He wasn't breathing and didn't look well. I checked his breathing and commenced CPR until the ambulance arrived." 
Mr Hughes, who lives in Ongar, was assisted by Matt Kent who kept Mr Burke's airway clear. 
Mr Hughes added: "The ambulance was here pretty quick and they put the defibrillator on him straight away. If we had had one here at the time I could have had it on him in 30 seconds. "
It's great to have one here now. Kids play up here, grandads come and watch, it's just good to have one."
Thanking Mr Hughes for saving his life, Mr Burke told Everything Epping Forest: "These things aren't planned and when they do happen you're totally dependent on someone nearby knowing what they are doing.
 "At the time my team wasn't so sure what to do, they were in shock. Somebody who wasn't from our club coming in with the knowledge has made a massive difference. It could have been the difference between life and death. We had the right person at the right time." 
Ongar Town Council has purchased the defibrillator which is now on the wall outside the front of the Jubilee Pavilion so it is available 24 hours a day. 
Sir Eric joined councillors and Ongar Fire Station Watch Manager Kevin Smith for the unveiling. 
Town council chairman James Browning: “This is a real positive for all members of the Ongar community as the device can be accessed at all times."
The council now plans to work with Mr Smith to provide defibrillator training to local user groups and volunteers. 

PICTURES

1A, 2A and 3A - Ongar MP Sir Eric Pickles and Ongar Town Council chairman James Browning 

4A - (left to right) Terry Hughes, Ongar Town Council chairman James Browning, Sir Eric Pickles and David Burke 

5A - David Burke (right) meets Terry Hughes, the man who saved his life after he suffered a heart attack

6A - David Burke (left) meets Terry Hughes, the man who saved his life after he suffered a heart attack

   

DISTRICT: Hospice launches £50 challenge

3.50pm - 9th February 2017

ST Clare Hospice is calling on businesses and schools to take up the St Clare ‘£50 Challenge’.
The Hastingwood-based hospice is again running the annual fundraising investment initiative which sees businesses compete to grow their £50 seed funding stake into as healthy a profit as possible for the charity. 
This year schools are invited to also take part with some businesses getting the opportunity to mentor students and assist pupils in growing their own investments. 
The £50 Challenge for businesses runs from April 3 until June 30 with the £50 Youth Social Action Challenge from September 4 until December 15. 
For more information, ring Amy Jacobs on 01279 773758 or email amy.jacobs@stclarehospice.org.uk

   

CHIGWELL: Student tries speed dating-style interview

8.39am - 9th February 2017

A WEST Hatch High School student has taken part in a new speed dating-style session as part of her preparation for a medical school interview.
Year 13 student Anoushka Sharma attended a Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) course hosted by The Medic Portal. MMIs are a new way of interviewing potential students. 
With seven to ten 'stations' each manned by an interviewer, students move from 'station' to 'station' spending about five minutes at each, with the interviewers asking a range of questions. 
Anoushka said: "The course gave me the opportunity to practice a full MMI circuit with medical professionals which mimics the real interview.
"The course was particularly beneficial as after each station the interviewer was able to give feedback on my performance. 
"This now gives me the chance to improve on my interview techniques for my forthcoming interview."

   

NORTH WEALD: Council approves fees rise

8.38am - 9th February 2017

NORTH Weald Bassett Parish Council has agreed a 5% increase in cemetery fees for 2017-18 and a 10% rise in allotment fees for 2018-19.

   

THEYDON GARNON: Scouts win weekend challenge

2.21pm - 8th February 2017

THE 1st Theydon Garnon Scout Troop is celebrating after returning victorious from an adventure challenge weekend. 
The annual 24-hour survival competition - the Brass Monkey Challenge - saw more than 150 Scouts, Guides and Explorer Scouts from across the Royal Forest Scout District, from Buckhurst Hill to Ongar, build their own shelters and cook meals over an open fire whilst making camp gadgets from natural materials. 
They were set tasks such as First Aid scenarios, problem solving and a Scout Knowledge check. 
The weekend, at Thriftwood Scout Camp in Brentwood, began in pouring rain for the first few hours and then as night drew in the temperatures dropped to below freezing. 
The 1st Theydon Garnon team lead by Ben Roberts, 13, with Dan Padian, 12, Henry Davies, 11, Alfie Williams, 11, and Tommy Somers, 11, won the competition showing great skill and determination. 
For their dinner they skinned and prepared rabbit which was cooked along with bacon sausages, and they built a pit fire showing true scouting skills. 
Scout Leader Jacqui Mortimer said she was "immensely proud" of the team's achievements. 

PICTURES

   

EPPING: Rotary club presents cheque

1.45pm - 8th February 2017

ROTARIANS visited Epping St John's School to present money raised at the Carols on the Green on Christmas Eve.
The event has been organised by The Rotary Club of Epping and Epping Forest Rotary Club for 14 years.
Headteacher Allan Osborne was presented with a cheque for £1,500. 
Rebecca Harvey, subject leader for music, said: "The money will be used to buy some new music stands and instruments for the music department and funding one-to-one instrumental lessons for some of our students." 
Last Christmas Eve's event on the Town Green attracted a record crowd. Song sheets enabled the audience to sing along with the choir and orchestra from Epping St John's School. 
Mulled wine and mince pies were served and £2,532 was collected, all of which will be distributed between Epping St John’s School and local primary schools to support their music departments. 
Rotary Club of Epping president Barbara Scruton said: "The two Rotary clubs working together enjoy organising Carols on the Green and supporting music in our schools. 
"It has become a popular annual event and this year it has been my pleasure to present the cheque to the headteacher of Epping St John's School on behalf of the two clubs. I hope it will enable more children to enjoy playing a musical instrument. 
"We were delighted to visit the school to meet some of the music students, many of whom were involved with the event. During our discussions it was clear what a key part music plays at Epping St John's and I was impressed by their enthusiasm."

   

DISTRICT: Council set for income boost

1.41pm - 8th February 2017

THE district council's coffers are set to be boosted by some £2.7m a year when the new Epping Forest Shopping Park in Loughton opens, it has been revealed. 
The cash boost has been published as the council says "good financial planning" over many years has enabled it to propose a freeze of its share of council tax bills for a seventh successive year.
It means the district council's share of a Band D council tax bill would remain at £148.77. 
Rents for council property tenants are set to come down by 1% in line with national guidelines. 
Finance Portfolio Holder Gagan Mohindra said: ”This (the budget) hasn’t been achieved overnight. Even before the financial crisis of 2008, Epping Forest District Council was setting out our stall as an efficient low-tax council. 
"As central government funding has reduced year on year we set our sights on becoming financially independent.” 
The council has managed the process through a combination of reduced costs and increased income. 
Mr Mohindra said: ”Over the years we have cut our costs dramatically. Our revenue budget not many years ago was over £18m. That has been reduced to a little over £13m for next year. 
”We have adapted and moved with the times. We have changed the way we work, making better use of technology wherever possible, changing our structures and streamlining our services to ensure we remain as lean and efficient as possible. 
"That process is ongoing. We are now embarking on a more intensive transformation which may see much more use of flexible and home working, reductions in office space and more productivity.” 
He added: “We have also embraced private sector partnerships wherever we believed it could deliver better services. 
"Next month Places for People takes on the management of our sports and leisure centres. We already had a good track record with our previous provider. This new contract will see not only reductions in the cost to the council but will also potentially see the development of a brand new leisure centre in Waltham Abbey and improvements to other facilities. 
"This is against a backdrop of other councils cutting back and closing down their leisure offering. 
”Our residents also play a huge role in our success. Recent fluctuations in recycling have seen the cost of our waste collection service increase, but overall, with the help of our residents diverting domestic waste from landfill to recycling, our new contract is saving many thousands of pounds every year. 
”And while our costs are coming down, we are increasing our income. Epping Forest District Council is one of the biggest land owners in our area. Our portfolio of shops, industrial estates, commercial units, car parks and North Weald Airfield brings in a significant rental income. This money is ploughed back into providing local services.
"That income is set to be boosted by as much as £2.7m per annum when Epping Forest Shopping Park opens later this year.” 
Council leader Chris Whitbread congratulated Mr Mohindra and thanked the finance team for their hard work on another strong budget. 
He said: “The hallmark of a good council is to be low tax whilst protecting front line services. Councillor Mohindra and his team have done a marvellous job in bringing forward this budget. Times are tough. We are seeing substantial increases in council tax everywhere else. But we have been able to buck the trend at Epping Forest District Council. 
”The foundations of our financial strength can be found in years of careful management and investment. "It has been a job well done but we must continue to look forward. Later this year I hope to see new changes to the management of our pay and display car parks which will cut costs without increasing charges. "Longer term we are also looking at better use of our offices in Epping. 
”We have excellent management and staff committed to getting the best value out of every penny. 
"It is by far the best way to balance the books but we never forget our purpose is to provide the best possible service at the least possible cost to our local residents.”

   

THORNWOOD: Flats idea for High Road site

1.13pm - 8th February 2017

THE owner of the Popplewells Coachworks site is considering submitting plans for a housing development on the land. 
A scheme of 14 flats with parking underneath has been drawn up by Jeffrey Coward for the High Road site however no planning application has been submitted. 
Mr Coward told Monday's parish council planning committee that a scheme for 14 houses had been drawn up but not progressed because of flood risk issues detailed in a flood risk assessment of the site.
He said: "It's a site which is right in the middle of Thornwood. I have lived in Thornwood since I was nine. My family have owned this property for 40 years. I really now think that while it has had a lot of support from all quarters it is now something that I need support for from the parish council." 
He added: "If it is something that the parish council feel would be better off as a residential development I am willing to go forward with that. 
"There will be issues with the flood assessment. We are quite willing to design around anything. It is next to residential. It has residential virtually on three sides. 
"I think it would enhance the middle of the village. I'm just looking for the support of the parish council to see if there is any steer or agreement that I can move forward with it." 
Planning committee chairman Baden Clegg said no decision could be made by the parish council be made regarding any support until the council had received plans for a proposal. 
"I live in Thornwood and I would like to see more housing development on that site so long as it is in keeping with what is around it but we can't comment until we see some strategic plans."

   

EPPING: Police public meeting

5.38pm - 7th February 2017

QUESTIONS on crime and community safety can be put to Police and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst at a public meeting in Epping on Thursday, February 16. 
Mr Hirst will be joined by Epping Forest and Brentwood District Commander Lewis Basford and members of the Epping Forest Community Safety Partnership. 
Mr Hirst said: "I welcome the opportunity to meet with local residents and I urge everyone who wants to have their say on crime and policing related issues in the district to come along.” 
The meeting is in the council chamber at the Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, at 6.30pm.

   

ONGAR: Two to fight town council by-election

5.16pm - 7th February 2017

TWO candidates will contest the Ongar Town Council by-election for a Greensted ward seat on Thursday, March 2. 
Simon Cole is standing for Ongar Residents Association while Brian Surtees is standing for the Liberal Democrats.
The ballot has been called following the resignation of Ongar Residents Association councillor Nathan Fletcher.

   

NORTH WEALD: Council votes for 2% precept rise

5.08pm - 7th February 2017

NORTH Weald Bassett Parish Council has approved a two per cent increase on its precept for the 2017-18 financial year. 
The precept - the amount requested by the parish council to provide its services and support initiatives throughout North Weald, Hastingwood and Thornwood Common - is £175,475. 
It means a £1.28 increase in the parish council's share of Band D council tax bills for the next financial year. 
Councillors voted 9-3 to support the council's 2017-18 precept increase. 
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. 
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.

   

BUCKHURST HILL: Council freezes precept

5.04pm - 7th February 2017

BUCKHURST Hill Parish Council has unanimously agreed to freeze its share of council tax bills for a fifth successive year. 
Councillors have set the council's 2017-18 precept at £356,465 which means that the council’s share of a Band D council tax bill remains at £68.89. 
Buckhurst Hill is one of the most densely populated parish council areas in the Epping Forest district but has managed to remain a low tax council whilst still providing an extensive range of services to the local community; including annual support for keeping the public library open for two additional days each week, the maintenance of the playgrounds, older persons forum, the Community Cinema screenings as well as the Christmas lights and 'Christmas in Queens Road' event. 
Council chairman Neville Wright, speaking following the decision of the parish council at its meeting last Thursday, said: “We have delivered the fifth consecutive freeze in the precept, with improved services. 
"We will always fight to deliver better services for the people of Buckhurst Hill. 
"We set out not to increase the precept if at all avoidable and I am delighted to say that we have delivered just that, no increase."

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Council holds civic service

5.01pm - 7th February 2017

WALTHAM Abbey Town Council held its annual Civic Service at the Abbey Church, Waltham Abbey. 
The service was conducted by the Rector of Waltham Abbey, the Rev'd Peter Smith, and featured the Abbey Church Choristers and a solo by Laurence Williams who sang an extract from Mendelssohn's 'Elijah'. 
Civic dignitaries from across Epping Forest and neighbouring boroughs were among the congregation. Waltham Abbey mayor councillor Helen Kane said: "I was delighted to be able to host today's service and to welcome civic leaders from other authorities and also members of the Abbey Church congregation." 
Refreshments were served in the town hall after the service.

PICTURES

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Teenagers robbed at knifepoint

2.22pm - 6th February 2017

TWO teenaged boys were robbed of their mobile phones at knifepoint in Waltham Abbey. 
The boys, aged 16 and 17, were walking in Howard Close at 6.40pm on Friday when they saw two suspects, one with a knife. They demanded their property and stole an iPhone 6 Plus and a Samsung S3.
Neither victim was hurt. 
One of the suspects was white and wore a dark blue hooded top with the hood tightened around his face.
The other was black and wore a black jacket or hooded top, also with the hood tightened around his face.
Both were thought to be aged in their late teens. 
Anyone who saw the suspects around the time of the incident or anyone with CCTV footage covering the area are asked to ring DC Ben Elliott at Loughton CID on 101. 
Information can also be given anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

   

LOUGHTON: School team in quiz semi-final

2.20pm - 6th February 2017

A TEAM of children at Hereward Primary School are into the semi-final of the National Quiz-Club Championships for Primary Schools. 
The three Hereward teams came first, second and third with the winning team - Karis-Joy (Captain - Year 6), Rhys (Year 5), Rachel (Year 4) and Beniamin (Year 3) - qualifying for the national semi-finals. 
This is the seventh time in eight years that a Hereward team has achieved such a feat. 
Headteacher Matt Woolard said: "I am so proud of all the children who took part and who yet again displayed their wonderful general knowledge and aptitude for learning. 
"They performed confidently and are looking forward to the next round."

   

LOUGHTON: Police link knife attacks

3.57pm - 4th February 2017

TWO men have been threatened with a knife after they left Debden Station. 
Detectives believe the same man is responsible for the robbery and attempted robbery which happened within about half-an-hour last night (Friday). 
A 42-year-old man was walking along an alleyway off Schoolhouse Gardens - having got off a train at Debden Station - when he was approached by a man at about 6.15pm. 
The man threatened him with a knife and demanded his wallet but the victim hit him with his umbrella and the suspect ran off empty handed into Lucton Mews, towards a nearby field. 
He was described as aged in his late teens to early 20s, black, about 6ft tall and of medium build. 
He was wearing a black hooded top with the hood up, a grey scarf covering his face and dark coloured tracksuit bottoms. 
In the second incident a 34-year-old man had left the station when he was was approached by a man with a knife in Cedar Drive at 6.50pm. 
The man demanded his black leather Mulberry wallet and ran off with it. 
He was described as of mixed heritage, aged about 17 or 18, of slight build, with black curly hair. His face was covered and he wore a dark hooded top. 
Police want to hear from any witnesses who saw the incident or saw a man matching the descriptions at Debden Station. 
Officers also want to speak to anyone who has CCTV footage covering the areas. 
Anyone with information should ring Loughton CID on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

   

ONGAR: Homes plan for builders yard

8.57am - 4th February 2017

PLANS have been revealed for a development of five houses on the Noble and Taylor building company's site off High Street, Ongar. 
A terrace of four two-bedroom and one three-bedroom houses - described in a document submitted with the planning application as "small cottage-style houses" - are earmarked for Taylors Yard. 
The existing buildings at the rear of the site, which include a plant shed, carpenters shop, and machine shop, would be demolished. 
The layout provides for two parking space per dwelling, courtyard gardens, and turning areas. 
The application will be considered by Ongar Town Council before a decision is taken by Epping Forest District Council.

   

THEYDON BOIS: Boy injured in fail-to-stop collision

10.01am - 3rd February 2017

A FOUR-YEAR-OLD boy has been injured in a fail-to-stop collision in Theydon Bois. 
Police say the incident happened at about 3.15pm yesterday (Thursday) as the boy was using the zebra crossing near the Tesco Express store in Coppice Row. 
He was in collision with a light blue Nissan Juke which briefly stopped before leaving the scene. 
The boy was taken to hospital with a suspected fractured leg but his injuries are not described as life-threatening, police said. 
Anyone with any information is asked to ring PC Bob Colbert, from the Chigwell Roads Policing Unit, on 101 or email collisionappeal@essex.pnn.police.uk

   

WALTHAM ABBEY: Charity holding Cockney Night

12.46pm - 1st February 2017

TICKETS are on sale for a Cockney Night in aid of The Dream Factory charity. 
Pearly Kings and Queens from across east London are coming together for the event at the Marriott Hotel, Waltham Abbey, on Sunday, March 5. 
Dream Factory founder Avril Mills said: "It promises to be another great event and our thanks go to the Pearly Kings and Queens for their ongoing support which is so much appreciated. 
"We are delighted that Doreen Golding, the Pearly Queen of Old Kent Road, is one of our Patrons. 
"We look forward to see many of our regular supporters, and new supporters for a right old knees-up!"
Tickets, priced £25 each, include a two-course dinner and entertainment with music from The Souled Out Brothers. 
To book tickets, and for more details, ring 020 8501 1234 or email info@yourdreamfactory.org.uk

   

NORTH WEALD: Police appeal over missing boy

12.48pm - 1st February 2017

POLICE are appealing for information to find a 17-year-old boy reported missing from North Weald. 
Patrick Habimana was last seen on Friday, January 6. 
A police spokesman said there is concern for his welfare. Patrick has links to Chelmsford and the Redbridge area, specifically Hackney, Woodford and Romford. 
Anyone who knows of Patrick’s whereabouts is asked to ring Harlow Police Station on 101. 

Picture: Patrick Habimana CLICK HERE