Community turn out for Freedom Parade 2018

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Community spirit was the order of the day at the 56 Squadron Freedom of the District parade and community picnic and music event, as residents came together to celebrate the RAF’s 100 year anniversary at an event in the sun, laid on by Epping Forest District Council.

Click on an image below to begin the slideshow

Battle of Britain flight and more

Onlookers enjoyed a parade by 56 Squadron through the village of North Weald, culminating in wreath laying at the Memorial at North Weald Museum, ceremonial inspection of 56 Squadron from Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Richard Bassett and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Rosemary Padfield, picnics, music and a special fly-past from a Battle of Britain Memorial flight Hurricane.

Proud moments

Epping Forest District Council’s Chairman, Councillor Richard Bassett said: “It was my privilege and honour to welcome so many residents, and the men and women of 56 Squadron on such a special occasion. It was with enormous pride that councillors took the historic vote to confer of the Freedom of Epping Forest District on 56 Squadron, as a symbol of our wider respect, friendship and affection for all those who have served and protected us over so many years.”

Thank you

“Thank you to our residents for coming and showing your continuing support for our magnificent Armed Forces. It’s been a wonderful day and I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.”

Find out more

Picnic, music and Parade to celebrate Freedom of the District

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Residents are invited to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the RAF with a community picnic, parade, and music laid on by Epping Forest District Council at North Weald Airfield on Sunday 10 June 2018.

RAF 100 Parade and Picnic

March from North Weald

Members of 56 Squadron, which flew Hurricanes from North Weald, will commence proceedings as they march from North Weald Village Hall to the Airfield Gate Guardian with their newly acquired ‘Freedom of the District’ awarded by the Council last month.

Officers and members of 56 Squadron will be accompanied to the Airfield Memorial in Hurricane Way by the Epping Forest Pipe Band and the band of 56 Squadron ATC for the laying of wreaths, before proceeding to the Gate Guardian for a ceremonial inspection and afternoon of picnics and music with the Epping Forest (Brass) Band, Our Voices Choir and 1940’s style singer Diane Moore.

Free entry

Families are invited to join the celebrations at North Weald Airfield. Car parking and entry to the event is free. There will be food and drink concessions for anyone who doesn’t fancy bringing their own picnic.

The Gate Guardian is a replica of a Hurricane flown by 56 Squadron at North Weald. A Hurricane of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will perform flypasts during the parade inspection.

56 Squadron is one of the oldest and most distinguished units of the RAF. Formed during the Great War, it saw service in France as part of the Royal Flying Corps before the formation of the RAF on 1 April 1918.

Long history with RAF

Although North Weald is no longer an RAF base, having been bought by Epping Forest District Council in 1980, the airfield remains the spiritual home of 56 Squadron. The Squadron moved to North Weald in 1927 and remained until 1941. While based at North Weald, it suffered the first RAF loss of World War II,  covered the retreat from Dunkirk and found itself in the thick of the fighting during the Battle of Britain.

The Freedom of the District was bestowed on 56 Squadron at a special meeting of Epping Forest District Council on 24 April.

Outgoing Council Chairman David Stallan stood down at the local elections in May. As a North Weald Ward Councillor, he was especially proud of the part he played in bringing the Freedom of the District to Full Council. However, the Freedom awarded to 56 Squadron is District-wide, reflecting the much wider local involvement of the RAF.

“A true family event”

New Council Chairman, Councillor Richard Bassett, will welcome 56 Squadron back to North Weald.

He said: “RAF 100 and the Freedom of the District is very much in recognition of the wider role played by the RAF in our area.”

“Councillors from all sides of the chamber were so united in wishing to bestow this honour. Apart from North Weald, the RAF had airfields at Stapleford Abbotts and Willingale. Blake Hall was a centre of operations and the Balloon Site at RAF Chigwell was an intelligence centre as well as providing the barrage balloons that helped to protect London. A decoy or dummy airfield was also set up in my home area of Nazeing to lure enemy bombers away from their real targets.

“Other parts of the District were real targets too, including the munitions factories of Royal Ordnance in Waltham Abbey.”

“This is therefore a district-wide celebration of the RAF and everyone is invited to join us on 10 June. It will be a true family event.”

Event details

The parade sets off from North Weald Village Hall at 12.30pm. Residents can park their cars at North Weald Airfield before the parade arrives at 1.30pm with Diane Moore bringing the music to a close at around 4.45pm.

Line the parade route

Councillor Bassett added: “It would be great to see people lining the parade route from North Weald Village Hall to the Airfield Memorial, as well as enjoying their picnics and music on the Airfield. I hope the British Summer Sun shines on us. Bring sensible shoes, sunscreen and clothing for all weathers!

Annual Council 24 May 2018

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Councillor Richard Bassett is the new Chairman of Epping Forest District Council.

His appointment follows the retirement of David Stallan. Councillor Ricki Gadsby is the Council’s new Vice-Chairman. Following the retirement of Will Breare-Hall at the local elections, Council Leader Chris Whitbread has added Councillor Nigel Avey to his Cabinet.

Chairman Cllr Richard Bassett

Click on an image below to start the slideshow

Cabinet appointments

  • Leader – Councillor Chris Whitbread
  • Assets & Economic Development – Councillor Anne Grigg
  • Environment – Councillor Nigel Avey
  • Finance – Councillor Gagan Mohindra
  • Planning & Governance – Councillor John Philip
  • Housing and Deputy Leader of Council – Councillor Syd Stavrou
  • Leisure & Community Services – Councillor Helen Kane
  • Safer, Greener & Transport – Councillor Sam Kane
  • Technology & Support Services – Councillor Alan Lion

‘What a year and what an experience’

In his closing speech to councillors, David Stallan said that he would not have missed his year as chairman for the world! Among the ‘standout’ moments of his year, Dave listed teeing off at Chairman’s Charity Golf Day, his ‘visit’ to the gym, a steam train footplate, aircraft simulator, sports events the Petanque trophy wrestled back – all in fun – two Chinese delegations, the Ongar Festival, many arts events and working with the Youth Council. As Chairman, Dave learned that a few hundred pounds can make a massive difference. Through generosity of others he raised £5,500 for local charities and Diabetes UK.

It was Dave’s sad duty to announce the passing of 11 current and former councillors during his year. Concluding with thanks to his family he noted not only ‘two great women behind me – daughter Amy and wife Sue, but also a third Pat Seager, the Chairman’s Secretary.

Praise for David Stallan

Chris Whitbread led thanks to David Stallan. During a tough year including meetings on the Local Plan, Councillor Whitbread described Dave Stallan as first class, handling himself so well as he travelled across the district by being himself and being such a ‘nice guy’.

Councillor Whitbread said: “A good chairman brings the whole council together – you had a brilliant year – thank you”.

Councillors Stephen Murray, Caroline Pond, Anne Grigg, Jon Whitehouse and Stephen Neville echoed Chris Whitbread’s words – thanking David Stallan for a brilliant year.

Communities Director Alan Hall thanked Dave Stallan on behalf of the staff recalling their years working closely together on council housing and Dave’s support for council staff.

In one of his first presentations as Chairman, Councillor Richard Bassett also had great please in presenting Dave Stallan with a long service medal for 19 years representing the residents of North Weald.

New Chairman

Richard Bassett’s nomination for Chairman was proposed by Councillor Mary Sartin. Councillor Bassett took on his first cabinet role in 2010 before accepting the role of vice-chairman last year. As a former Chairman, councillor Sartin assured Councillor Bassett that he would meet many wonderful people over the coming year.

Thanking fellow councillors for bestowing the honour of Chairman on him, Councillor Bassett particularly singled out Dave Stallan for his support over the year. Councillor Bassett is making small business his theme for the year. He will undertake to get out and meet as many businesses as possible.

As a trustee of Epping Forest Community Transport, Councillor Bassett also wants to raise its profile along with young people’s sports groups during his year as Chairman.

Key appointments

Other key appointments at Annual Council included:

  • Chairman Plans Sub Committee East– Councillor Paul Keska
  • Chairman Plans Sub Committee West– Councillor Liz Webster
  • Chairman Plans Sub Committee South – Councillor Darshan Sunger
  • Chairman District Development Management Committee – Councillor Brian Sandler
  • Chairman Overview and Scrutiny Committee – Councillor Mary Sartin

Council remembers Elizabeth Downes

Tributes were paid to former Nazeing ward councillor Elizabeth Downes who passed away on 7 May. As a fellow councillor from Nazeing, Richard Bassett shared some thoughts on his predecessor, remembered by local residents as a lovely lady.

Council 24 April 18 – Freedom of the District – RAF 100 anniversary celebrations

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The ‘red carpet’ was rolled out for the Royal Air Force when the ‘Freedom of Epping Forest District’ was conferred on 56 Squadron. Wing Commander Matt Fleckney, Officer Commanding 56 Squadron, witnessed the sealing of the ‘Freedom’ with Council Chairman, Councillor David Stallan at a special meeting of Epping Forest District Council to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the RAF on 1 April 1918.

RAF, ATC, North Weald Operations and Airfield Historian Arthur Moreton

(Click on an image to start the slideshow)

The meeting unanimously passed the motion proposed by Councillor Brian Rolfe and seconded by Councillor Anne Grigg.

“That, in the year of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918, this Council reaffirms its commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant and the bonds of friendship between our Armed Forces and the people of Epping Forest District through the conferral of the Freedom of the District on 56 Squadron – the Royal Air Force”.

The District and the RAF

Epping Forest District has a long and profound relationship with the RAF. The associations stretch back as early as 1916, when the fledgling Royal Flying Corps first arrived at North Weald.

By the end of World War II, the district had three airfields at North Weald, Stapleford Abbotts and Willingale. Blake Hall had become a centre of RAF operations while RAF Chigwell – known as the ‘Balloon Site’ for its barrage balloons also became an intelligence centre. In Nazeing a dummy airfield was created in to draw enemy bombers away from their real targets.

Norwegian connections

North Weald also became an important focus of Norwegian national resistance. Escaping the invasion of their homeland, Norwegian pilots flying Spitfires under the colours of the RAF became some of the most successful squadrons of WWII.

Squadron 56

However, 56 Squadron has by far the longest relationship with the District. Based at North Weald from 1927 until 1941, 56 Squadron’s honors include Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain. The 56 Squadron Standard is displayed in St Andrew’s Church, North Weald.

Personal accounts and tributes

Before opening the debate to Councillors, Councillor Stallan broke with convention by asking the Council’s Director of Communities, Alan Hall to read a personal statement. Alan Hall, spoke with pride of his father, Sergeant Bill Hall, an instrument maker who worked on the Hurricanes of 56 Squadron at North Weald. In later years, Bill Hall left no doubt of his affection for the ‘Fighting 56’ frequently reminding his family how it was his job to turn on the light at the top of St Andrew’s Church tower to guide the pilots safely back the base after dark.

Councillors spoke with emotion. An RAF veteran in his own right, Councillor Rolfe led the calls for the ‘Freedom’ to be conferred. Councillor Stephen Murray spoke of the military traditions of his own family and the insight he had received through his brother’s RAF service.

Councillor Chris Pond described the history of a previous owner of his house in Loughton – a young RAF officer shot down and killed in defence of his country. Councillor Anne Grigg joined Councillor Murray is speaking of the proud record of 56 Squadron and it’s sad distinction of being the first RAF squadron to lose a pilot – killed in action – in World War II.

Councillor Jon Whitehouse spoke of joining the Chairman only a few days previously to rededicate a war memorial, counting the cost of war and what we ask members of the armed services to do.

Perhaps the most moving contribution from Councillor Syd Stavrou described the loss of the father she never knew – part of a Lancaster crew, shot down and killed in Germany months before she was born.

Freedom accepted

Wing Commander Matt Fleckney was joined in the Council Chamber by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Essex Michael Chapman and officers of 56 Squadron. He took great pleasure in accepting the Freedom of the District. Describing North Weald as the ‘Spiritual Home’ of 56 Squadron, the Wing Commander also reflecting on the RAF’s wider connections across the district, the ‘finest hour’ in the sky above, the jet age and some of the brave people who did not return.

56 Squadron will exercise the Freedom of the District with a parade from North Weald Village Hall to the Airfield Gate Guardian on Sunday 10 June.

Other business

In keeping with protocol, the agreement to confer the Freedom of the District concluded the business of the extraordinary meeting of Full Council. Following a short break, the second meeting of the evening convened at 8pm with a minutes silence to remember former councillors Ron Braybrook and Peter Riley, plus Peter Adams, an independent member of the Standards Committee since December 2012.

Portfolio Holders answered questions on a range of subjects including:

  • Lorry parking in Waltham Abbey
  • Food banks
  • Progress towards the redevelopment of the St John’s Road area of Epping
  • The Local Plan
  • Pollution caused by stationary cars with idling engines
  • Recycling (Epping Forest District Council’s domestic recycling is the 22 highest of all 350 English councils)
  • Additional council funded police officers due to begin work in June
  • The completion of a £1.1million refurbishment of Epping Sports Centre and plans to provide even better sports facilities for residents in the future
  • Epping Forest Shopping Park, the Broadway and its new Landmark Building
  • Sport and Leisure Centre water quality at Loughton and Ongar
  • Council House building programme
  • Electoral Review
  • The Restore charity
  • Waltham Abbey’s new leisure centre due for completion in November
  • Reduced price home composting bins
  • Voluntary Action Epping Forest

RAF Freedom of District motion to be put to Council

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On the 100th anniversary of the formation of the RAF in April 1918, a motion to confer the Freedom of Epping Forest District on 56 Squadron is to be put to a special meeting of Epping Forest District Council at 7pm on Tuesday 24 April.

56 Squadron Standard at North Weald Gate Guardian

56 Squadron

56 Squadron operated from North Weald Airfield between 1927 and the Battle of Britain in 1941. They are the longest of any squadron to be based at the airfield which is now owned by Epping Forest District Council (EFDC). The motion to confer the Freedom of the whole district is a reflection of the wider local role played by the RAF.

This includes other airfields and facilities at

  • Ongar
  • Willingale
  • Stapleford Abbots
  • Chigwell
  • Nazeing

Representatives from the RAF will attend the meeting where a council majority of at least two thirds will be required to confer the honour.

100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force

National celebrations are being held during 2018 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Air Force. North Weald Airfield opened 2 years before the founding of the Royal Air Force. The first operational flight of the Royal Flying Corps at North Weald took place in June 1916.

56 Squadron is one of the most distinguished units of the RAF. By the outbreak of war in 1939, it was equipped with the new Hawker Hurricane fighters with which North Weald was to become most closely associated. The Hurricanes of 56 Squadron covered the retreat from Dunkirk and were among the first committed to what became known as the Battle of Britain. When 56 Squadron finally transferred to RAF Duxford via Martlesham Heath in June 1941 it had been based in North Weald for 14 years.

Parade and community music event

Should the motion to grant the Freedom of the District to 56 Squadron be passed by Full Council, a local commemorative celebration at North Weald is being planned for Sunday 10 June. A parade and community music event are being organised with 56 Squadron and local organisations.

The special meeting on 24 April, starts at 7pm and is open to the public. You can watch the webcast live here.

More information about this event will be available nearer the time.

EFDC Coat of Arms and RAF Squadron 56 logo EFDC Coat of Arms and RAF Squadron 56 logo

Local heroes celebrated at awards evening

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The district’s most celebrated residents were recognised at the annual Epping Forest District Council Civic Awards Ceremony held at the Marriott Hotel in Waltham Abbey on Friday 16 March 2018.

Winners at the Civic Awards 2018

You make the world a better place

The glittering awards evening was hosted by the Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor David Stallan.

Chairman David Stallan said: “Every year we dedicate an evening to celebrate Epping Forest’s residents achievements, successes and their unwavering dedication to the area and their communities. This year was no different.”

“To the winners and runners up, congratulations. It is people like you that make the world a better place. Thank you for your selflessness, generosity and compassion.”

In honour and celebration of the Youth Council’s 10th anniversary this year, serving and former Youth Councillors were asked to present each award to the winners.

Click on the award below for details

 

Council Tax is set for 2018/19

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At a meeting of Council on 22 February 2018, Epping Forest District Councillors made the decision to increase Council Tax for the first time since 2010, following the inclusion of law and order initiatives to improve anti-social issues in the district.

Tax levels may be set higher still as Essex County Council, Essex Police, Essex Fire and Rescue and some Town and Parish Council’s have confirmed increases their Council Tax share too.

An average Band D property will pay an extra £3.69 a year for their District Council Tax contribution.

 

Council Tax

Epping Forest District Councillors agreed the 2.48% increase in the District Council’s portion of Council Tax to absorb the cost of 3 extra police officers employed to work closely with the Community Safety Team. The decision was taken as residents call for more visible policing to deter and deal with cases of anti-social behaviour in local towns and villages.

Finance Portfolio Holder, Councillor Gagan Mohindra said: “This budget is a significant departure from our policy in recent years as it proposes the first increase in Council Tax since 2010/11. This change is necessary to provide additional funds to combat the scourge of anti-social behaviour. Earlier we discussed the problems being faced by our residents on a daily basis and it is vital that we act to address these. We hope that over the 3 year trial period we are providing funding for, the police will be in a better place than they are now and that it will be possible to withdraw our support.”

“This is the first time for eight years that we are increasing the Council Tax but it is for a specific reason and for a limited time period, to provide the public with additional services they have said they want.”

Derek Macnab – Chief Executive

Following the announcement that Epping Forest District Council’s Chief Executive Glen Chipp, is leaving to become Chief Executive of Horsham District Council, Council agreed the recommendation to appointment Derek Macnab as acting Chief Executive and Head of Paid Services with immediate effect.

Council Leader, Councillor Chris Whitbread, thanked Glen Chipp for his service to Epping Forest District Council and its residents before welcoming the appointment of Derek Macnab.

He said: “Derek Macnab’s brief is to maintain the momentum of our modernisation and organisational development of the Council. No doubt he will bring his own personal style and approach to the process, but the drivers for change remain. We are a strong, well-managed Council moving towards a position of financial independence as central government funding ends.”

A minute for reflection

A minute’s silence was observed by Council in memory of Councillor Brian Surtees and former Council Leader Di Collins, who both passed away earlier this month.

A heartfelt speech was first given by Council Leader Chris Whitbread, offering sincere condolences to the friends and family of both former Councillors. An abundance of tributes from Councillors from all parties followed, praising and sharing kind words in memory of both Councillor Brian Surtees and Di Collins.

Elections 2018

Simon Hill has been appointed as Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer for Epping Forest District Council in advance of this year’s elections, on 3 May 2018.

Mr Hill was also appointed Monitoring Officer for the Council, a role which is responsible for the governance of Council officers and elected Councillors.

Nominate a young person for a Sports Award

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Do you know a young person, aged between 13 and 25, that lives in the district that is a County or National standard athlete in their sport?

If so, why not nominate them for the Epping Forest District Council Young Sports award 2018!

Sports award poster

The winner of this award could get up to £1,000 towards

  • Help to buy specialist equipment or materials
  • Help towards competition/event entry fees or associated travel and accommodation costs
  • Help to fund extra or specialist coaching

Nomination details

To be eligible for the award your nominee must:

  • Be aged 13-25 on or before the closing date for applications on 24 November 17
  • Compete at county, regional or national level in a nationally governed sport
  • Live in the Epping Forest District
  • If at College or University, return ‘home’ to Epping Forest District during the holidays

Make a nomination

The deadline for applications is Friday 24 November 2017

Further information

Contact Fabrizio Ferrari

Chairman celebrates district’s attractions

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Chairman of Council Councillor Dave Stallan celebrated the district’s tourist attractions at North Weald Airfield and on the Epping Ongar railway recently.

Chairman's Civic lunch on the Epping Ongar railway 2017

A host of distinguished guests from authorities across Essex and the newly appoint Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst enjoyed a trip on a vintage bus to North Weald Station.

From there, guests were taken on a Diesel Multi Unit (DMU) train to Coopersale. On return to North Weald they changed trains and enjoyed a trip on a magnificent steam engine the Metropolitan E Class No. 1, which was built around 1901.

Rodger Green a long-serving volunteer at the railway gave a fascinating tour and talk on the history of Ongar Station and the Epping Ongar Railway. Everyone then returned to North Weald Station and onwards again on the bus to North Weald Airfield.

Showcasing what the district has to offer

The Chairman of Council, Councillor Stallan who was given the opportunity to ride the steam engine said: “As a North Weald resident, I often hear the trains pass along the track, whilst on the train I was amazed at the heat and the amount of work it takes to keep the coal fire fed to keep the steam at the correct pressure.”

“From the train I was able to enjoy a glorious view of the surrounding countryside and the beautiful Autumnal colours of the forest along the line.”

Councillor Stallan also added “This was a fantastic opportunity to showcase all that the district has to offer to residents and visitors alike.”

I am most grateful to the Epping Ongar Railway for hosting us on the day. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves but more importantly, many more people are now aware of this attraction and will spread the word about our marvellous district and all it has to offer.”

Everyone welcome

Managing Director of the Epping Ongar Railway, who was also the bus driver for the day, Roger Wright said: “We are all very proud of the Epping Ongar Railway and hope that we will be welcoming many more visitors soon.”

£500 raised for Chairman’s charities

On the day the Chairman raised a total of £500 for his charities and local causes

  • The Norway House Garden Project
  • Safer Places
  • Epping & Ongar Air Cadets
  • Diabetes UK

Epping Ongar Railway

Enjoy the Epping Ongar railway for yourself. More information can be found at:

Nominate your Young Citizen of the Year 2018

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The search is on for the Epping Forest District Young Citizen of the Year 2018.

Young Citizen of the Year

Highlighting positive contributions

The annual award presented to a young person in the district highlights extraordinary commitments, efforts and achievements made by young people in the district.

The finalists will be invited to attend the District Council`s Civic Awards ceremony in March 2018 where the winner will receive an award of £300 and a certificate of achievement.

Tomorrow’s future

Chairman David Stallan said: ‘The Young Citizen of the Year is part of the yearly Citizen of the Year awards, which is a great event showcasing the fantastic work that goes on throughout the district.”

“It’s important that we recognise all the good young people do in our community. The younger generation are our future and it always great to see the steps they are making to make the district a better place. If you know anyone between the ages 11 and 18 and feel they deserve recognition as well as £300 towards their work nominate them for an award today.”

Make a nomination

To nominate a young person aged between 11 and 18 for the Young Citizen of the Year award either

The closing date for nominations is Friday 24th November 2017.

Further information

For further information please contact Diane Gilson-Butler, Youth Engagement Officer