Local news

Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing supports CPRE Green Belt campaign

Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing has today given her support to a new initiative launched by the Campaign to Protect Rural England to ‘Save the Green Belt’.

The campaign follows recently released data that shows that 226,000 houses are currently planned for development on Green Belt land.

2015 marks the 60th anniversary of the Green Belt.

Since 1955, when it first became national planning policy, the Green Belt has been hugely successful in protecting the countryside and aiding the regeneration of towns and cities across England.

The Epping Forest district is more than 90 per cent Green Belt and benefits from historic protections from the City of London as well as the national planning framework.

The present national Green Belt policy - introduced under this and the last Government - is one of the most protectionist ever and the Conservative Manifesto included an explicit promise to uphold the Green Belt's protection.

Mrs Laing said: “We need new houses and we must support the expansion of businesses but if we lose some of our precious Green Belt we lose it forever.

“We must protect it and find other ways for expansion. At present I see no good reason to destroy our Green Belt - not when there is currently enough previously developed brownfield land available in England to build more than one million homes.”

Mrs Laing added: “There are, of course, some exceptional circumstances that mean small amounts of Green Belt have to be sacrificed, for example when brownfield land would otherwise go to waste, but those must be exceptions, not the norm.

“Epping Forest District Council is very good at protecting the Green Belt and I commend the council for that.

“The national legislation is in place to protect our Green Belt.

“I am pleased that this national campaign draws attention to the duty on local planning authorities to use this legislation properly and increases pressure on developers to act responsibly.”

African drumming at town council family fun day

African drumming was among the entertainment at the latest family fun day held by Ongar Town Council at the Jubilee Park and Pavilion, Ongar.

Visitors could try their hand at drumming while there was also an array of inflatables for children to enjoy.

The Jubilee Pavilion was open as usual with visitors able to try out the table tennis table which has been donated to the town council.

Jubilee Park manager Angus McKenzie said: "We were delighted with the turnout at Friday's (July 31) event which saw more than 100 children and adults enjoy the entertainment provided.

"We are holding the family fun days on Fridays throughout the summer holidays and look forward to welcoming more people in the coming weeks."


Harlow estate agents hosts fun day for St Clare

A Harlow estate agents is hoping to raise thousands of pounds for St Clare Hospice by organising what they hope will be the town’s biggest family fun day of the summer.

More than 40 attractions for the young and young at heart await visitors to the Reyland Johnson Charity Fun Day at The Link social club on Saturday, August 15 from 1pm to 6pm.

The event has been organised by the company’s community-minded directors James Reyland and Ben Johnson as part of the Hospice’s annual £50 Challenge fundraising initiative where the supporters are given £50 seed funding to grow into a profit for the Hastingwood-based charity.

Ben said: “James and I have been estate agents in Harlow for 15 years now, having worked for various agencies in the town, and we were always frustrated with the lack of enthusiasm to support local charities and community associations. So when we opened Reyland Johnson Estate Agents at the beginning of 2014, we decided to show the residents of Harlow just how much we really do care for our town by giving back to our community. In that time, we have helped and donated to five primary schools, two football clubs and our biggest donation last year was to St Clare Hospice.

“This year, we decided to continue our support and in an attempt to raise as much as possible for this fantastic charity, we have arranged the fun day. There are not many communities that benefit from the incredible specialist care that is provided to local people by St Clare Hospice and we hope everyone else feels the same and will come along on August 15 to show their support. All the money raised on the day will be donated to St Clare so they can continue to be there for local families facing one of life’s most difficult journeys.”

Attractions for all ages will include five bouncy castles, an inflatable football pitch, a penalty shoot out, swing boats, face painting, teddy bear auction, dance demonstrations and a raffle with a top prize of £250 cash.

Families can try their hand at a variety of sideshows and competitions, such as a tin can alley, coconut shy and Man versus Food-style contest, as well as keeping an eye out for appearances from some of Disney’s best-loved characters.

In addition, there will be a display of American classic cars and Essex Police will also be bringing along some of their vehicles.

There will also be stalls selling everything from glitter tattoos and hair accessories to handmade gifts as well as live music from local band Sax on Fire and a DJ plus refreshments including a burger stall, candyfloss and ice cream van. The majority of stallholders have kindly pledged to donate a percentage of their takings on the day to St Clare to boost funds.

Entry to the fun day is just £1 for adults and free for children.

Reyland Johnson are appealing for extra tombola prizes, so if you have something you can donate, please call 01279 216216. For fun day updates, see their Facebook page

Chigwell School student awarded bronze medal in International Physics Olympiad

Chigwell School student Bianca Andrei has been awarded a bronze medal representing the United Kingdom in the International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) in Mumbai in India.

This was an outstanding achievement given that Bianca still has a year to go to complete her A-levels.  

Eighty-four countries were represented in the annual physics competition which is open to secondary school students from across the world.  

It involved individual theoretical and experimental competitions in Physics.  

Bianca said her experience in India was hard to describe due to the sheer scale of the Olympiad event but that it was amazing to meet and make friends from all over the world and learn more about the subject.

Bianca was the only female member of the UK's six-member team.

Chigwell School headmaster Michael Punt, who is also a physicist, said: "I am extremely proud of Bianca who has worked incredibly hard over the last few months, preparing for the Olympiad on top of her AS-levels."

Parish council opposes "completely inappropriate" Hastingwood waste site plans


North Weald Bassett Parish Council is strongly opposing a proposal for land next to the M11-A414 roundabout at Hastingwood to be used as a waste site.

Essex County Council is suggesting that the Green Belt land could be used for open-air disposal of inert construction, demolition and excavation waste.

Parish council chairman Cyril Hawkins said: "As it currently stands this would suggest that a 'Construction Demolition and Excavation' waste site could be located next to housing, a hospice, garden centre and restaurant which is completely inappropriate.

“There are concerns at the number of lorry movements especially as the county council would have no further involvement in either running the site or in terms of traffic movements to and from waste facilities, and both their origin and destination.

“The parish council says it has been calculated that there would be a minimum of eight large lorries entering and exiting the site every hour seven days a week 52 weeks a year.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee councillors at Epping Forest District Council say the proposal should be rejected.

District councillors fear it would increase traffic congestion around Junction 7 of the M11.