Land Army Girls Honoured

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Community, Councillors, Older people, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council

Former Chairman Cllr John Knapman thanked the Land Girls on behalf of the District

Over thirty surviving `Land Girls` who toiled on the Home Front to provide food for Britain were officially honoured at a reception host by Epping Forest District Council at Theydon Bois Village Hall.

Official recognition of their role has been woefully late in coming. When the Women`s Land Army was disbanded in 1950 the members were shabbily treated, receiving neither medals nor gratuities, and being required to return most of their uniforms.

It was not until the new millennium that members of the Women`s Land Army and Women`s Timber Corps were allowed to join the annual Remembrance Day march in London to the Cenotaph, despite the fact that other national service organisations had for some time been part of the parade.

Chairman Cllr Penny Smith listens to stories of happy memories and comradeship

It took a further eight years of pressure before the British Government agreed to officially recognise the efforts of Land Girls in 2008 and award a specially designed badge to commemorate their service.

The badge has been specially designed by the Garter King at Arms and bears the Royal Crown. It shows a gold wheat sheaf on a white background surrounded by a circlet of pine branches and pine cones to indicate the work of both the Land Army and the Timber Corps.

Each `Land Girl` was represented with her official badge and a specially designed certificate by former Chairman of Council, Councillor John Knapman and the Deputy Lieutenant of Essex, Michael Chapman.

Former Chairman Cllr John Knapman enjoys a cup of tea with the Land Girls

The afternoon reception was a very happy occasion with many of the guests getting a chance to recall their wartime memories with fellow `Land Girls`, of whom many are now over 80 years of age. Stories told were of the incredibly hard work, long hours and even some of romance. But overwhelmingly it was a time of happy memories and comradeship.

Following the presentations Florence Harrison 86 from Theydon Bois said I`m very proud to be given this medal, although I didn`t think about what I was doing at the time. We just got on with it and had a thoroughly enjoyable time – just like this afternoon`.

A full list of the Epping Forest District Land Girls who received an official badge is listed below with links to photographs of those who attended the reception.

Susanna Andrewes Ivy Grant Christine Rumball
Frances Astrella Lillian Griffiths Muriel Rush
Marjorie Bird Joan Hammond Doris Sage
Evelyn Bolden Dorothy Harris Margaret Saggers
M P Butcher Florence Harrison Rosetta Saville
Edna Campion Queenie Harvey Doris Seaman
Doreen Childs Betty Holland Joan Sleet
Joan Cloughton Sheila Horsham W M Smith
Sylvia Cole Constance Jackson Myrtle Stallan
Frances Cray Gladys Kempton Margaret Starling
Elsie Dearson Phyllis Kennerley Sylvia Studwick
Irene Edwards Kathleen Knott Mary Trower
Amy Eldridge Rita Lea Lilian Twaites
Joan Everett Jenny Lowe Violet Webb
Lilian Fensom Joan Lynes Barbara Williams
Doreen Fitzpatrick Constance McPhail Rita Williams
Ivy Gaze Jean Ann Murray Joan Wood
Mollie Gingell Joyce Pollard Jessie Wood
Bessie Goss Gwendoline Rae Marcia Wood
Jane Gottschalk Flora Rideout

Election Nominations Confirmed

Written on . Posted in Community, Democracy, Elections, Older people, Residents, Your community, Your council

Nominations have been confirmed for the combined European Parliamentary elections and the Epping Forest District County Council elections to be held on Thursday 4 June 2009.

On the same date by-elections for a District Councillor for the Waltham Abbey Honey Lane Ward and a Parish councillor for the Buckhurst Hill East Ward will also be held.

    Click on the links below for a list of the persons nominated for the 4 June 2009 elections.

  • European Parliamentary elections for the Eastern Region statement of persons nominated pdf (58 KB)

    (Pdf provided by Huntingdonshire District Council)

  • County Council elections statement of persons nominated pdf (540 KB)
  • District Council by-election statement of persons nominated pdf (69 KB)
  • Parish Council by-election statement of persons nominated pdf (66 KB)

The deadline for the withdrawal of candidates is noon on Tuesday 12 May 2009.

Feeling Good Keeping Safe

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Older people, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your home

Older people in the Epping Forest District will soon be entertained by a touring play informing them of how distraction burglaries are carried out, and to help them to recognise bogus callers and refuse them entry. A preview of the play ‘Feeling Good, Keeping Safe’ was performed at Theydon Bois Village Hall on Wednesday 29 April 2009. It was organised by the Epping Forest District Safer Communities Partnership and performed by volunteers from the Roding Valley U3A (University of the Third Age).

Volunteers from Roding Valley U3A performing the Feeling Good, Keeping Safe at Theydon Bois

The aim of the show is ‘to improve doorstep crime awareness and avoid becoming a victim’ through the powerful medium of drama. It shows how burglars work and provides audiences with the necessary techniques to keep themselves safe on their doorstep.

 There were 162 offences of distraction burglary reported in the Epping Forest District between 2006 and 2008. In most categories of crime, younger people are more likely to be the victims but with distraction burglaries the trend is reversed with the average age of victims being 81. According to national figures on doorstep crime there are 19,000 offences against older people reported every year, but the real figure may be much higher. A `Help the Aged` survey in 2002 suggested the number of people falling victim to bogus callers in the UK could be as high as 300,000 in the previous 12 months. Research has shown a large under-reporting of incidents as to victims can often feel foolish or embarrassed or even not being aware a crime has been carried out.

Audiences are shown techniques to keep themselves safe on their doorstep

John Gilbert, Chairman of the Epping Forest District Safer Communities Partnership attended the preview of the play and said: “I found the presentation ‘Feeling Good, Keeping Safe’ to be very informative and entertaining. It’s a great way of getting this vitally important message to those who are most at risk from doorstep crime. Whilst the Epping Forest District is a very safe place to live, this does not prevent criminals from targeting the most vulnerable within our communities, particularly the elderly and infirm who often live alone. It is our priority to inform and protect those who may be at risk from bogus callers both at the doorstep and on the telephone.”

Mr Gilbert continued: “We (the Safer Communities Partnership) will continue to support this initiative and look to see how we can provide the same information and support to those unable to attend the shows.”

U3A are committed to lots of shows in the District this year are looking for suggestions for future venues and audiences. If you have a suggestion please contact Caroline Wiggins by email to cwiggins@eppingforestdc.gov.uk or by telephone on 01992 564122.

    Future performances are listed below:

  • Wedsnesday 3 June 2009 at 9:45am
    Buckhurst Court, Albert Road, Buckhurst Hill, Essex IG9 6EH
  • Wedsnesday 10 June 2009 at 9:45am
    Leonard Davis House. Kiln Road, North Weald, Essex CM16 6BS
  • Tuesday 7 July 2009 at 1:45pm
    Frank Bretton House, Bansons Way, Ongar, Essex CM5 9EY
  • Thursday 23 July 2009 at 1:45pm
    Pelly Court, Hemnall Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4NA
  • Thursday 6 August 2009 at 2pm
    Chapel Road, Epping, Essex CM16 5EE
  • Tuesday 22 September 2009 at 2pm
    Epping Methodist Church Hall, 119 High St, Epping, Essex CM16 4BD
  • Monday 28 September 2009 at 2:15pm
    North Weald Village Hall High Rd, North Weald, Epping, Essex CM16 6BU

Veterans Return For Airfield Gate Guardian Dedication

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Community, North Weald Airfield, Older people, Our attractions, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council

RAF veterans returned to North Weald on Sunday 19 April 2009 for the dedication of the Hawker Hurricane replica aeroplane that now stands as a permanent guardian at the gates of the former Battle of Britain Airfield.

Serving officers and men of 56 Squadron from RAF Waddington, who were based at RAF North Weald for more than 13 years, joined Wing Commander Tom F `Ginger` Neil, DFC who flew the actual Hurricane depicted by the Gate Guardian.

 

North Weald Airfield Gate Guardian Dedication webcast (opens in a new window)

Veterans by North Weald Airfield gate guardian

Other veterans from World War II and the Cold War joined Rev Rayner Harries MBE in the dedication and unveiling of plaques, one of which lists the 50 squadrons that flew from North Weald and another which lists the supporters who made the community partnership project possible, supported by Epping Forest District Council Chairman Councillor John Knapman and airfield historian Arthur Moreton.

  • Arthur Moreton received a Special Award from Chairman John Knapman at the Civic Awards 2009.

A Vampire jet-fighter of the type flown by the RAF at North Weald in the 1950s performed a flypast. A flight of four ex-RAF Bulldog Trainers then flew a `missing man` formation as guests remembered those who did not return.

RAF Vampire jet-fighter

Guests were treated to further flypasts and an aerobatic display as North Weald proved that its flying heritage remains as strong as ever.

North Weald Airfield Gate Guardian

Rev Rayner Harries explained to guests that the Hurricane replica was not to commemorate war. They were gathered to celebrate the `Spirit of North Weald` which `continues to live on in friendship, fellowship and mutual support`. North Weald today enjoys a peaceful legacy, playing its part in the World Scout Jamboree and expecting to become involved in the London 2012 Olympics.

Dedication to the new North Weald Airfield gate guardian

The last RAF fighter squadron left North Weald Airfield in 1958 and it closed as an RAF base in 1964. Today it is owned by Epping Forest District Council. Aviation still plays a major role along with various business and leisure activities. North Weald Airfield also hosts the largest outdoor market in Europe on Saturday each week and Bank Holidays.

Council staffed filmed the dedication service, extracts of which can be viewed from the link at the top of the page.

Housing Strategy Consultation

Written on . Posted in Community, Consultation, Housing, Older people, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Epping Forest District Council is seeking views on a draft Housing Strategy which identifies current and future housing needs and sets out its vision for housing in the district. Residents are invited to read the Consultation Draft and to send their comments to the Council.

Organisations with an interest in housing are also being consulted. A well-attended conference was held in Waltham Abbey on 18 March. A wide range of organisations were represented, including Housing Associations, developers and other Councils. Groups representing people with particular housing needs were also invited to attend the presentations and workshops. Following the conference, local residents now have the opportunity to add their views.

The Consultation Draft Housing Strategy includes the objectives set out in the Council Plan. This states an overall vision, which is that “We want the Epping Forest district to be a safe, healthy and attractive place in which to live and work”. The Plan also sets out five key objectives in relation to housing, which are:

  • To make sure that growth in the number of homes being developed is properly planned (and sustainable)
  • To make affordable housing available (both for rent and for low cost home ownership) in rural and urban locations, for people who want to live in the district
  • To make sure that people with special needs are able to live in suitable accommodation with the right levels of support
  • To accommodate quickly homeless people in suitable, permanent accommodation
  • To make sure that all homes in the district, in both the public and private sector, are in a decent condition.

The Consultation Draft Housing Strategy sets out how the Council is working towards these objectives and how other issues will be approached – such as anti-social behaviour and energy efficiency. It explains how the Capital Programme will be financed and the final chapter includes a detailed action plan.

This is the first Housing Strategy to be published since May 2003. The Government at that time expected Councils to produce their own Strategies, according to a set of guidelines. While this is no longer a requirement, the Council has concluded that it should have an up to date Housing Strategy. After the consultation period, which ends on 5 June this year, the Council will consider all the responses received and then produce its final version for adoption in the summer.

Residents wishing to read the Consultation Draft can download it from the Council’s website www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/housing or they can phone the Housing Information Team on 01992 564292 to request a copy. There is a feedback form on the website. Alternatively, the Council would also welcome comments and suggestions by letter, addressed to the Housing Information and Strategy Team at the Civic Offices in Epping, or by email to: housinginfo@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Crime In Your Community Survey Prize Draw Winner

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Older people, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your home

Congratulations to Shelagne Sheldrake of Ongar, the lucky winner of a £100 Marks & Spencer voucher for completing Epping Forest District Council`s `Crime in your Community` online survey.  Chairman of Council Councillor John Knapman picked the winning number from the replies received.  

Epping Forest District Council`s Safer Communities Partnership undertook the survey between February and March this year via the Council`s website. The aim of the survey was to establish the public`s perception of crime and whether they felt safe.

The results received were measured against local and national indicators to establish the public`s perception of anti-social behaviour. The results showed 94.6% of people feel safe during daylight while out in their local area and 62.5% of people feel safe after dark while out in their local area. 74.1% of people requested an increase of police patrols, 9.8% feel people being drunk or rowdy in public places is a very big problem and 75.9% feel property crimes (vandalism and theft) is the biggest problem where they live.

The results of the survey, carried out over a month from mid February to mid March, will be used to assist in the setting of priorities for the coming year for the Partnership.

Chairman of Council Councillor John Knapman said:  I would like to thank all those who took the time to respond to our survey.  It really is very helpful when planning where to direct resources to know what our residents think about crime and safety.

Makedoandmend

Written on . Posted in Arts, Chigwell, Community, Loughton, Older people, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community

Makedo&mend image

Makedoandmend, an artistic collaboration between young and older people and adults with disabilities from Loughton, Chigwell and Waltham Abbey will be officially launched on Tuesday 7 April 2009 at 3pm at Loughton Youth Centre, 106 Borders Lane, Loughton 1G10 3SB. Vice Chairman of Council Councillor Penny Smith will be attending.

As we end a decade where recycling has become a global imperative, makedo&mend, a multi-disciplinary arts project run by Epping Forest District Council, takes its artistic inspiration from a decade in the previous Century when rationing was the norm, new clothing items rare and a harsh post-war era required people to make do with what they had or mend and repair items normally thrown away. The project sees groups `recycling` the fashion, music and film of the 1940s with contemporary styles to `make do` or `mend`, to create new and original work.

Makedo&mend has distinct strands that feed into each other throughout the year. Young and older people and adults with disabilities from Waltham Abbey, Chigwell and Loughton will collaborate to create a body of work consisting of an original fashion collection, a dance video, a music track and a style magazine featuring all the work produced. The initiative culminates in an exhibition running for two months in partnership with Epping Forest District Museum in Waltham Abbey from 10 October to 1 December incorporating rare pieces from the Museum`s costume collection and a programme of public workshops on the themes of makedo&mend.

The fashion aspect of the project grew out of the need to develop cross-generational relationships in Loughton. Makedo&mend will encourage older residents to pass on their memories and experience of 1940s fashion to young people on a project that is relevant to present day issues.

The London College of Fashion is also involved as a partner in the project to reach out to young people in environments such as youth centres to make them feel confident about their ability to achieve at higher education. As well as bringing generations together and creating pathways to careers, makedo&mend also reaches out to groups in care. Alder House is a residential home for people with disabilities aged 23 to 65 years and they will work with artist Emily Jost to design clothing with a 1940s slant but use their disability as an opportunity for design innovation.

Another aspect of makedo&mend is the music. The music becomes a pathway to mend relationships between groups of young people. A group from Waltham Abbey will create a tune using a 1940s track as inspiration and a group from Limes Farm will work with sound artist Arjunan Manuelpillai to write lyrics and record the vocals. In doing so, this part of the project facilitates two groups of young people who would normally be rivals to share and inspire each other.

Image details – John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library. Make do and mend, pamphlet, ca 1943. JCPML00715/7 Original held by National Archives of Australia B5641/1, K4.

European Elections 2009

Written on . Posted in Community, Democracy, Elections, Older people, Residents, Your community, Your council

It has been confirmed that European Parliamentary elections will take place across Europe between 4 and 7 June 2009. The UK polling day is Thursday 4 June 2009. Epping Forest District residents will be voting to elect seven Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) for the Eastern region. Those elected will represent the Region for a five-year term. A total of 500 million European citizens in 27 countries will be voting for 736 MEPs on the same date. The election will be run from a regional policy centre in Huntingdon by the Regional Returning Officer. On the same date an election for seven the County Councillors for the Epping Forest District will also be held.

The Electoral Services Team at Epping Forest District Council would like to remind residents that if your name does not appear on the Register of Electors 2009, you will not be able to vote in either election. There are no scheduled elections for District Councillors this year.

The Register of Electors (also known as the Electoral Register, the Electoral List, the Electoral Roll or even the Voters’ Register) was published on 1 December 2008 following the Annual Canvass of Electors. If you moved house after 15 October 2008 your name might not appear on the Register at your new address. To update your registration call the Electoral Services Team on 01992 564411 for a voter registration form (even if you are paying Council Tax at your new address it does not automatically mean you are on the Register of Electors). You can check your entry in the Register of Electors by contacting the Electoral Services Team on 01992 564411 or view the Electoral Register at the Civic Offices in Epping, Waltham Abbey Town Hall or at the Council`s Information desk inside Loughton Library.

The Council must receive voter registration forms by 5pm on 19 May 2009 for them to take effect for the 2009 European elections. If you are unable to vote in person on polling day and you have not already registered for a postal or proxy vote, please contact Electoral Services for details about how to apply. If you have moved or changed your name since applying for a postal vote, it will now be invalid so you will need to complete a new application. The closing date for completed postal applications is 5pm on 19 May 2009 and for proxy applications is 5pm on 27 May 2009.

Epping Forest District Council`s Ian Willett is the local / deputy Returning Officer for these elections said: “This year polling day is on 4 June 2009 and not the usual day in May. This is because the Government has decided to delay the County Council elections so that they are held on the same day as those for the European Parliament. Voters should bear this in mind if they want a postal or proxy vote and make sure they are registered to vote on polling day.

Mr Willett continued: “The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy but if you don’t register and obtain a postal or proxy vote if you need one, you lose that right and won’t be able to vote. If you don’t have a vote, you can’t have your say. If you are not sure about what you need to do, call the Electoral Services Team on 01992 564411 now.”

Provisional Site Allocation Reduced

Written on . Posted in Community, Countryside and wildlife, Democracy, Gypsy and traveller, Leader, Local plan / planning our future, Older people, Our countryside, Planning, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Go East, the regional office of the Government says the provisional allocation of additional gypsy and traveller site pitches for Epping Forest district has been reduced by ten from 49 to 39. The announcement is contained in the Examination in Public (EiP) Report into the Review of Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation in the East of England published on 18 December 2008. The EiP report now forms the basis of recommendations to the Government which will hold further consultation before issuing its final allocations next year.

Councillors and Planning Officers have consistently argued for a reduction in the number of pitches allocated to Epping Forest district. While Councillors feel the allocation remains unfairly high for Epping Forest in comparison to other districts, the reduction is a vindication of their stance. The Council will continue to press for further reductions.

The reduction for Epping Forest district is in marked contrast to most other parts of the region. Overall, the EiP has increased the regional allocation of extra traveller and gypsy pitches by a further 50 from 1,187 to 1,237.

The Government announcement comes as residents continue to respond to local consultation on the future provision of traveller and gypsy sites in the district.

Councillor Mrs Anne Grigg, Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council said: The announcement is a move in the right direction but I don`t think it goes far enough. Local residents are very concerned about the high number of extra traveller and gypsy pitches the district is being asked to accommodate. Epping Forest district already has more gypsy and traveller accommodation than most other areas. Even with the potential reduction from 49 to 39 extra pitches, we are still being asked to take substantially more than many other areas. We will continue to argue for further reductions.

The Secretary of State will consider the Review of Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation in the East of England and the recommendations of the EiP before issuing any proposed changes in the Spring. There will then be a further period of consultation. Go East says that the Secretary of State will publish the finalised policy in the Summer of 2009.

Council Pays Tribute to Local Hero

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Leader, Meetings, Older people, Young people, Your community, Your council

Tributes to Georgie Sparks at the Epping memorial

Councillors from Epping Forest District Council stood in silence at the beginning of the Council meeting on Tuesday 16 December 2008 in tribute to Royal Marine Georgie Sparks who was killed in action in Afghanistan.

 

Tributes at the Epping memeorial

Personal tributes were paid by Chairman of Council John Knapman and Council Leader Diana Collins. The Council offered its condolences to his family and friends including his sister Katie.

Watch the webcastwebcast of Council meeting on Tuesday 16 December 2008 (opens in a new window)

The following article first appeared on the website www.everythingeppingforest.co.uk (opens in a new window)

Epping came to a standstill on Saturday morning as the town remembered Royal Marine Georgie Sparks who was killed in action in Afghanistan. Hundreds of people packed into St John’s Church to pay tribute to the serviceman, on what would have been his 20th birthday.

A guard of honour stood outside as Royal Marine colleagues carried his coffin, draped in a Union flag, into the church. Georgie died along with Marine Tony Evans after both were on foot patrol with J Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines. They were north-west of Lashkar Gah, in Helmand province, when they moved on to the roof of a compound. There was an attack by insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades and both were badly wounded.

Colleagues and war veterans joined members of Georgie’s family and local dignitaries – including Epping mayor Ben Murphy and Epping Forest District Council chairman John Knapman for his funeral service which included tributes from Georgie’s sister, Katie. She described how proud she was to have a brother like Georgie – who was known as Sparky to his friends – and also paid tribute to the four Marines who just hours earlier had also been killed in Afghanistan.

Mr Murphy told the everythingeppingforest website: “Today was obviously a highly emotional day for our town, the Royal Marine Corps, and for a family who have had to say goodbye to their brave son on his 20th birthday, just a week before Christmas.” He added: “Family, friends and comrades paid tribute to a remarkable, dedicated young man who valued his family enormously. This young man chose coming home to see his family every weekend he could over going out on the town with his fellow Marines.”

Epping High Street was closed to traffic as shoppers stood in silence. Several men removed their hats as a mark of respect as Georgie’s coffin, flanked by Royal Marines, made its way to the church. Mr Murphy said: “Today, Epping was shown the hard reality this country faces from fighting in a war against terrorism and injustice on behalf of those who are unable to defend themselves. We are all so proud of this young man who wasn’t afraid to stand up and be counted and who sadly lost his life doing so. May he rest in peace eternal.”

Georgie and colleague Tony Evans both received immediate medical attention after they were injured and were moved to a secure location before being put on a helicopter to be transferred back to Camp Bastion. However both died during the flight.

Georgie joined the Royal Marines in June 2006 and passed out from training in July 2007, joining 42 Commando a few days later. During his time at 42 Commando he qualified as a sniper. His parents, Wayne and Toni, and sister, Katie, said: “We have lost our best friend as well as our son. We are so very proud of Georgie – he always wanted to be a Royal Marine. Georgie loved the outdoors – fishing, shooting, paintballing – and was very close to his family.

We miss him so much.” Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Stickland Royal Marines, Commanding Officer, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said: “Marine Georgie Sparks was a quiet, understated professional. He lost his life fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with his comrades, covering their actions with his expert sniper skills.”