Respond to the Annual Canvass by 21 August

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There are still 27,000 properties in the Epping Forest District yet to respond to the annual canvass. If you are one of those properties, respond online, by text or by phone before 21 August 2018.

Annual Canvass 2018

A couple of weeks ago, all homes in the Epping Forest District were sent a Household Enquiry Form through the post. Households are legally required to respond even if none of the details have changed.

You could be fined

Don’t ignore the form – if you do you may face a fine of up to £1,000. Please respond immediately if you have not already done so.

Complete your form by 21 August 2018 at the very latest.

Reminders are costly

Simon Hill, Electoral Registration Officer said: “Last year 60% of households used one of the automated response options but many more could have done, particularly if there are no changes to the details. Using them saves time and money.

“There are still 27,000 properties yet to respond. Please respond now to save us having to send out a reminder form which is costly.”

How to respond

Using the 2 part security code on your household enquiry form you can choose one of the following options:

If there are changes

  • Amend the information online easily and quickly online
  • Amend the form and return it in the prepaid envelope – please make sure you give a contact phone number or email address in case of queries.

Additions to your household?

  • Stage 1 is responding to the Household Enquiry Form
  • Stage 2 is completing the registration process for new electors at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Epping Forest Community Safety Hub opening

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A new joint District Community Safety Hub bringing Epping Forest District Council and Essex Police closer together in the fight against local crime was officially launched on 20 July 2018.

Community Hub opening

(L-R) Council Leader Chris Whitbread, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community Safety Sam Kane, Epping Forest District Council Chairman Richard Bassett, Assistant Chief Constable Andy Prophet, Essex Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst, and Dame Eleanor Laing MP, at the official launch of the new Epping Forest Community Safety Hub.

The Council and Essex Police joined forces, together with other agencies, to create the Hub, at the Civic Offices in Epping.

Guests, including Rt. Hon. Dame Eleanor Laing MP, Roger Hirst (Essex Police Fire and Crime Commissioner), Assistant Chief Constable Andy Prophet, Council Chairman Richard Bassett, and local councillors, joined Council and Police officers to open the Hub which has been in operation since the end of June 2018.

Stronger partnerships

The launch marks an even stronger partnership between Epping Forest District Council and Essex Police. The Hub comprises the Council’s Community Safety Team, a Police Sergeant and two experienced Police Constables all funded and tasked by the Council. The team is already working together with other partners involved with crime prevention and community safety.

Coordinated approach

The Council’s Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, Councillor Sam Kane, hosted the Launch and said: “Over recent years there has been a sustained demand for councils to increase the use of their powers to deal with anti-social behaviour, disorder and environmental crime. At the same time, the Government has introduced significant new legislation giving police and councils effective new powers to deal with these issues. Epping Forest District Council is already making use of the new powers but enforcement is often the main responsibility of the Police, which can lead to a disjointed approach. Better coordination through the creation of this unique Community Safety Hub will prove to be revolutionary for the District.”

Brilliant initiative

Rt. Hon. Dame Eleanor Laing unveiled the plaque for the Launch and said: “This is a brilliant initiative. I am genuinely delighted to unveil the plaque to mark the launch of the Epping Forest Community Safety Hub. There is in our area increasing fear of a rise in crime and I am pleased to be able to tell people that Epping Forest District Council in conjunction with Essex Police and our local community are doing something about it.

“I would like thank the district council, Essex Police and everyone who has been involved in making this ground-breaking initiative come together.”

First initiative of its kind

Councillor Sam Kane said: “I believe this is the first initiative of a district council both funding and tasking police officers anywhere in the country. I am confident it will become a flagship for others to follow. The Council and Essex Police are proud of the close links that we already have. The new Community Safety Hub is a powerful demonstration of our continuing and innovative partnership working.”

Chief Inspector Lewis Basford, District Commander for Epping Forest and Brentwood added: “This commitment is a fantastic demonstration of what local partnerships can do. It means more police, more problems solved, better engagement and ultimately safer communities.”

Epping Forest District Council will review its commitment to fund the three police officers after three years.

Further information

Annual elections canvass forms arriving soon

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Household Enquiry Forms will be dropping through letterboxes over the next few weeks and it is essential that every home within the Epping Forest District responds by 21 August 2018.

Annual canvass

Legal requirement

If you live at an address in the district, you are legally required to respond and we are urging local residents to do it as soon as the form arrives, to help cut down the £20,000 cost of reminders last year.

The form also ensures that Epping Forest can keep the electoral register up to date and that you are able to vote should there be an unexpected election.

Online – saves time and money

Simon Hill, Electoral Registration Officer said: “It’s important that residents respond immediately to the form online, by phone or by text, so we can make sure we have the right details on the electoral register for every address in Epping Forest.”

“Last year 60% of households used one of the automated response options but many more could have done, particularly if there are no changes to the details. Using them saves time and money.”

Register and respond to canvass form

If you’re not currently registered, your name will not appear on the form. If you want to register, the easiest way is online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote or call the Electoral Services office on 01992 564411.

At the same time as registering you must also respond to the canvass form.

People who have moved address recently are particularly encouraged to keep an eye out for the form and check the details. Research by the independent Electoral Commission indicates that recent home movers are far less likely to be registered than those that have lived at the same address for a long time.

Do it online, by phone or by text now

It’s easiest and quickest to confirm your details online, by phone or by text. You can also let us know of any changes online. By using one of the automated response options you are helping to keep our costs down.

Make sure you can vote

“People think that they are automatically added to the register of electors because they are paying Council Tax, but that’s not the case,” said Simon Hill. “The annual canvass happens every year and even if nothing in your household has changed, you still need to confirm your details.”

It can affect your credit rating

It is important to remember that not being on the register can affect your ability to open a bank account, get a loan, credit, a mortgage or even a mobile phone, because it can affect your credit rating.

Respond by 21 August

Don’t ignore the form. By law you must confirm your details, or you may face a fine of up to £1,000. Please respond immediately if you have not already done so, please complete your form by 21 August 2018 at the very latest.

£783 raised at Chairman’s charity golf day

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The Chairman of Council, Councillor Richard Bassett, hit the opening tee shot at the Epping Forest District Council Chairman’s charity golf day at Chigwell Golf Club on Tuesday 3 July 2018.


Click on an image below for slideshow


After apologising for the divot from his first shot, 24 golfers took to the fairways alongside the Chairman. The group was comprised of Councillors, officers and former employees.

£783 raised for Chairmans charities

The golfers raised a magnificent £783 for the Chairman’s chosen charities, including; Epping Forest Community Transport, a local charity which meets the needs of local people who are unable to use conventional public transport and towards grants for children’s charities and clubs across the district.

Thank you

Chairman of the Council, Councillor Richard Bassett said: “It was a fabulously sunny day and the standard of the golf was very high. Congratulations to Trevor Johnson, David Clifton, Wendy MacLeod and Steve Smith on their respective victories! A fun day was had by all and even better still –  a sizeable amount was raised! Thank you to everyone that took part and helped raise funds for such worthy causes.”

Youth Council celebrate ten year anniversary

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Epping Forest Youth Council marked its 10 year anniversary with an evening reception at the Houses of Parliament, hosted by the Right Honourable Dame Eleanor Laing, MP on Wednesday 5 July 2018.

Youth Council 10 year anniversary

(Please click on an image below to begin slideshow)

 

The evening celebrated ten years of local youth democracy in Epping Forest and over 80 Youth Councillors past and present were there to share their experiences.

The Youth Council presented a film highlighting their work, photographs spanning the 10 years were displayed for guests enjoyment alongside examples of their youth-lead project work.

Democratic voice for young people

Through Epping Forest Youth Council, local young people are given a democratic voice and are able to influence the decisions that directly affect their lives.

Youth Councillors have developed and delivered a range of project work covering themes such as; promotion of activities for young people, personal safety awareness, drugs education, youth volunteering and positive mental health campaigns in consultation with their peers.

Inspired speeches

The recently honoured host, Dame Eleanor Laing MP, delivered a key note speech praising the work of the Youth Council over the ten years.

Encouraging and inspiring speeches were given from the Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Richard Bassett, Leisure and Community Services Portfolio Holder, Councillor Helen Kane, Councillor Holly Whitbread, High Sheriff of Essex Bryan Burrough, Roger Hirst, Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner and 5 current and past Youth Councillors; Ellis Spicer, Jaymey McIvor, Matthew Tinker, Adam Freeman and Florence New.

Further information

If you would like more information about the work of the Youth Council or would like to get in touch with a Youth Councillor about an issue please contact Diane Gilson-Butler

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