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Conservatives select Buckhurst Hill West candidate

BUCKHURST Hill West parish councillor Joanne Share-Bernia has been unanimously selected by Epping Forest Conservatives to stand in the Buckhurst Hill West ward at the Epping Forest District Council elections on Thursday, May 3. 
District councillor and Epping Forest Conservative Association officer Gavin Chambers said: "I am delighted that Joanne, who is both a friend and colleague, has been selected. I know how hard she already works for our community. 
"Jo always responds to whatever she is asked to do, and I welcome the fact that she will join our Conservative team in Buckhurst Hill. 
"I look forward to the opportunity to work alongside her at the district council." 
Joanne said: "Over the last six years on the parish council, I have gained a lot of experience of the issues and concerns which face our residents in Buckhurst Hill. 
"I am delighted that I will now have the opportunity to use that knowledge and insight at the district council. 
"I have already met and know so many people locally and my hope is that I will be able to help with their problems even more than previously."


Former UKIP councillor joins Conservatives

FORMER UKIP district councillor David Dorrell has joined the Conservative group on Epping Forest District Council and has been selected as Conservative candidate Waltham Abbey Paternoster at the May elections. 
Mr Dorrell said: "As one who campaigned passionately for Vote Leave it has become clear in the 18 months since that the Conservatives are the only party that can or even want to deliver a pragmatic Brexit, opening up global future opportunities while safeguarding business in the short term. 
"At a local level I wholeheartedly support the Conservative ethos of delivering essential services as efficiently as possible, while keeping council tax frozen, and I have been particularly impressed with how well the Transformation programme is being managed to this end. 
"I look forward to being able to continue representing my residents' interests as I always have, but with more support and better contacts at both district and county level, I hope to get even more done for them in the future." 
Mr Dorrell was originally elected in Waltham Abbey Paternoster as a UKIP district councillor in May 2014. 
He resigned from UKIP at the time of last year's elections since when he has been sitting as an Independent councillor.


Green Party co-leader to visit Buckhurst Hill

GREEN Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley will visit Buckhurst Hill on Saturday (February 10) to speak to residents and small business owners about how the Green Party is working to improve their community. 
Mr Bartley, a dedicated disability rights campaigner and father to a disabled son, will visit Buckhurst Hill Station where Green Party councillor Steven Neville has successfully campaigned for step-free access. 
During Saturday's visit, he will also go to Lower Queens Road where small businesses and flats are under threat as a potential site for development in the district council's Local Plan. 
The visit is part of a local Green Party action day of campaigning ahead of the May district council elections when Mr Neville will be standing for re-election. 
Mr Bartley said: "With just two district councillors, the Greens in Epping Forest are making a real difference from securing step-free access at Buckhurst Hill Station to reducing plastic use in the council offices and across Epping Forest. 
"They are the voice of local people whether it be supporting the local campaign to save a well-loved green space or fighting to save shops and other small businesses from demolition. 
"One of those businesses, the IG9 cafe, has a great reputation for their vegan options so I'm particularly looking forward to visiting and finding out more." 
Mr Neville, one of two Green Party district councillors for Buckhurst Hill East, said: "I am delighted Jonathan is coming to see some of the work we have been doing. 
"Step-free access for Buckhurst Hill Station has been long overdue and is a must for disabled people, the elderly and parents with small children especially. 
"Our fight to save the shops and homes of those in Lower Queens Road is very important." 
He added: "We believe in a strong local small business sector and that people should not be turfed out of their homes for redevelopment. This is part of the work of I have been doing over four years representing my residents."


Longest-serving district councillor to seek re-election

THE longest-serving district councillor, Stephen Murray, has announced his intention to seek re-election to Epping Forest District Council in May for a further four-year term. 
Mr Murray, the Independent councillor for Loughton Roding and longest serving district councillor, has served continuously on the district council for 36 years having been first elected for the Loughton Broadway ward in May 1982. 
He represented Loughton Broadway for 16 years before switching to Loughton Roding in 1998 which he has represented for the last 20 years. 
He said: "I have also served on Loughton Town council for 18 years and am currently deputy mayor.
"I enjoy getting involved in local issues, particularly ward issues and being able to offer advice to local residents.
"One of the main issues at the moment is undoubtedly the threat posed to our green lungs / village greens within Loughton. 
"I will continue to be very supportive of the 'Save Jessel Green Campaign'." 
Mr Murray has just retired from full-time teaching at Roding Valley High School and hopes to be able to devote even more time to his council duties if re-elected in May. 
He said: "My main passion is being able to support local groups within our community and dealing with individual residents enquiries.
"As an Independent I will simply be standing on my track record and getting the best deal for the area I represent and the wider district."


Greens stand aside to help save Jessel Green

EPPING Forest Green Party members have voted not to contest wards held by Loughton Residents Association (LRA) in May's Epping Forest District Council elections.
Buckhurst Hill East Green Party councillor Steven Neville said: "Saving our precious green spaces is a must and I know Jessel Green is well used by the residents who live there.
"It is with this in mind that we are not standing against the LRA who serve the residents of Loughton well at the next local elections. It is decision of a poll of our members and is the right one at this moment in time."
Epping Forest Green Party co-ordinator Dave Plummer said: "Epping Forest Green Party officers thought very hard before suggesting this to our members. We believe that everybody who wants to vote Green should be able to.
"However every vote for a non-LRA candidate is a vote that could lose an LRA seat on the district council, making the fight to save Jessel Green even harder.
"We're proud of our members for voting to stand aside on this one occasion and in this very specific circumstance.
"Saving Jessel Green is too important to risk undermining the campaign for the sake of party politics."
Mr Neville and Green Party councillor Simon Heap, who also represents Buckhurst Hill East, both voted against building on Jessel Green at December's Local Plan meeting and say they are working to protect shops and housing near Buckhurst Hill station from redevelopment.
The LRA-held wards in question are Loughton Alderton, Loughton Broadway, Loughton Fairmead, Loughton Forest, Loughton St John's and Loughton St Mary's.