Businesses prepared for Tour de France

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Epping, Local business, Loughton, Media, North Weald Airfield, Ongar, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Parking, Residents, Sports centres and pools, Supporting business, Tour de France, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council

From Willingale to Buckhurst Hill, local businesses are making final preparations for the arrival of the Tour de France on Monday 7 July 2014.

Months of planning is coming together as businesses large and small put their final arrangements in place. Some of the district’s most picturesque villages and rural communities will become the centre of attention including Willingale, Fyfield and Moreton. From village post offices, pubs and corner shops to farmers fields offering parking and camping, the rural areas of Epping Forest will be buzzing with activity.

Tour de France Essex Logo

As the Tour reaches North Weald, the crowds of spectators are expected to get very large. Epping Ongar Railway is planning to bring lots of spectators from Ongar to North Weald by steam train. The parking and campervan facilities at North Weald Airfield are sure to bring in more people. In addition to camping and parking, Toll House Field at Woodside, North Weald is also offering secure bicycle parking for the many cycling enthusiasts expected to line the route. Shops in North Weald and Epping are preparing for large crowds.

Visitors can get in to the Tour de France mood early on Sunday 6 July 2014 with a charity cycling event from North Weald Airfield organised by Epping Forest District Council’s chairman, Councillor Tony Boyce, while the annual Epping Town Show and funfair takes place at Stonards Hill.

With High Street parking off-limits on Monday 7 July, Shaftsbury Farm in Lindsey Street, is offering parking just a 10 minute walk from the action in Epping High Street. Parking can also be booked in advance with St John’s School.

Special arrangements to welcome spectators along the Epping New Road are in hand at Miller and Carter by the Wake Arms, The Robin Hood and The Warren Inn in Buckhurst Hill. Staff and customers are planning to celebrate the day in style at Glyn Hopkins Fiat and Nissan dealership in Buckhurst Hill. The ‘bikers’ café loved by motorcyclists, horse riders and walkers at the Robin Hood roundabout will be sure to have hot tea or ice-cold drinks by the gallon depending on the weather.

Town and Parish councils are also making final preparations. Epping Town, North Weald, Fyfield, Moreton, Waltham Abbey, Loughton and Buckhurst Hill are all taking delivery of Tour de France bunting to give the streets a festival feel. Epping Forest District Council has started to decorate the civic offices where the media centre will be based while Epping shops of every size and description are preparing to put on a real show for the day.

Councillor Anne Grigg, portfolio holder for economic development at Epping Forest District Council said: “As we enter the last few days of preparation, you can feel a sense of excitement and anticipation. On 7 July, Epping Forest District will have its own shop-window to the world. Residents and businesses are making their final plans for this once in a life time event. As visitors come to our towns and villages or see Epping Forest for the first time via the estimated 2.2 billion world-wide TV audience, the shops and businesses of Epping Forest are determined to make the day a fantastic success.”

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North Weald Bassett community exhibition

Written on . Posted in Business, Commercial properties, Community, Consultation, Councillors, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Media, North Weald Airfield, Our attractions, Out and about, Planning, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council

Local residents and everyone else interested in the future of North Weald Bassett village and airfield are invited to an exhibition showcasing the possible scenarios for the growth of North Weald Bassett, arising from the master-planning study commissioned by Epping Forest District Council.

North Weald Bassett Community Exhibition 28 June 2014

Development options

The exhibition in the North Weald Village Hall, North Weald High Road on Saturday 28 June 2014 from 11am to 3pm, is another opportunity for members of the local community to be updated on the master-plan progress. Visitors will be able to review a range of development options influenced by the feedback of residents and stakeholders received so far. These options flow from what local people identified as key issues and priorities for them in establishing a vision for the future of the village.

Please come along

Councillor Richard Bassett, Planning Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council wants to encourage as many people to attend as possible. He said: “The initial consultation was incredibly successful. Local residents, business people and airfield users all sat down with our planning experts to talk through the options. We listened hard but we are not rushing it and want to talk to everyone one more time. So if you are interested in the future of North Weald Bassett and the airfield, whether or not you participated in the last consultation, please come along to the Village Hall and see what you think.”

Get ready for Le Tour

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Community, Epping, Leader, Local business, Loughton, North Weald Airfield, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Tour de France, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Your community

The Tour de France comes to Epping Forest on Monday 7 July. Residents and business people can find out more about Stage 3 of the Tour de France at Epping Forest District Council. A team of officers at the Civic Offices in Epping High Street will be available between 6.30pm and 8.30pm on Thursday 12 June to answer questions about the route and the management of the race.

Tour de France Essex Logo

The Tour de France is the world’s third largest sporting event. It is customary to start the race outside France and the Grand Depart returns to the UK this year for the first time since 2007. Stage 1 and 2 will cover large areas of Yorkshire before the Tour heads south for the start of Stage 3 in Cambridge.

The race will be preceded by a Caravane Publicitaire, a carnival of media and sponsors vehicles full of colour and noise. Travelling through Saffron Walden and Finchingfield before skirting Chelmsford and Roxwell, the Caravane is expected to enter Epping Forest District near Willingale at about 12.25pm. The race itself is expected about 2 hours later.

Cycling is now one of the biggest sports in the UK. Many thousands of enthusiasts are expected to join residents and visitors lining the roads of the District to cheer the riders on. The Tour is completely free to view.

Villages and towns on the route are planning different ways to welcome the Tour. In France, the Tour is turned into a festival over several days. Epping Town Show takes place on Sunday 6 July and the Fun Fair is staying overnight to extend the celebrations into Monday. North Weald is expecting day-trippers from Ongar to arrive via steam train on the heritage Epping and Ongar Railway while visitors by car will be able to park at North Weald Airfield. Special celebrations are being planned in smaller villages on the route including Moreton (including extra temporary parking) and Fyfield. At Willingale Cricket Club, the organisers of temporary parking are also laying on hot food and drink at the Village Hall .

People are expected to make their way on foot from as far as Theydon Bois, Waltham Abbey, Loughton and Buckhurst Hill to watch the race which travels through the Forest from the Wake Arms roundabout down the A104 Epping New Road to Woodford.

Epping High Street is expected to draw the biggest crowds, many arriving by train via the Central Line to Epping Underground Station. Forklift trucks and delivery vehicles will be working from early in the morning as the race organisers and world’s media prepare for the excitement of the sprint section down the length of the High Street.

Road closures will make travel across the District difficult. The route following country lanes north of Ongar and the A414 to the Talbot roundabout at North Weald will be closed from 8am. The route south of the Talbot closes at 9am and is not scheduled to reopen until 5pm.

Essex County Council and Epping Forest District Council are working together with many partners including the Tour organisers and Government to raise public awareness. Detailed information is available on a range of websites. Leaflets and letters have been sent out while posters have been distributed to local shops and businesses.

Councillor Chris Whitbread, Leader of Epping Forest District Council said: “7 July is going to be truly amazing. The District has never seen anything like it and might well never do so again. Thousands of residents and visitors are preparing to enjoy the day with family and friends but if you run a business or are a resident with special concerns, the staff at the Council will do their best to help you organise yourself around the day. Just pop in to see us between 6.30pm and 8.30pm on 12 June for an informal chat.”


Extreme Torque Show

Written on . Posted in Media, North Weald Airfield, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Sports, Your area

Spectacular adrenalin fuelled entertainment for all the family to enjoy.

The Extreme Torque Show has monster trucks, motorbikes and the urban sports of BMX and parkour at North Weald Airfield on Sunday 4 May and Monday 5 May 2014.

Extreme Torque Show

All day entertainment

  • Monster trucks
  • BMX & mountain bikes
  • Free running
  • Street bikes
  • Freestyle motocross
  • Two wheel driving
  • Trade stands
  • Fun fair rides
  • Children’s workshops

Meet the stuntmen and check out the pit areas with performers and vehicles throughout the day.

Good food, market stalls and fun fair rides will keep you busy from 10am to 5pm – just bring plenty of enthusiastic energy with you to keep you going through the day.


Advance tickets (receive a free brochure valued at £5 per booking)

  • Adults £15
  • Child/Concession £7 (child age 3 to 15 inclusive/disabled/OAP)

Gate tickets (on the day)

  • Adults £18
  • Child/Concession £8 (child age 3 to 15 inclusive/disabled/OAP).


Airfield firefighter wins prestigious award

Written on . Posted in Epping, Media, North Weald Airfield, Ongar, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Members of the North Weald Airfield Operations Team attended an award ceremony at the International Fire Training Centre (IFTC), Teeside Airport on Wednesday 16 April 2014.

Sam with his awardPrestigious award

Sam Read, who was until recently a Duty Officer at the Airfield, was there to receive the prestigious IFTC 2013 Award for Top Lower Category Aerodrome Initial Student.

Sam successfully completed a Junior Officer Airport Fire Fighting Course at Teeside last year along with his opposite number, Duty Officer Colin I’anson, who also attended the award ceremony and dinner afterwards.

During his time at the Airfield Sam was instrumental in developing our provision of fire cover for aviation, and was one of the organisers of Exercise Blackout, the major emergency services incident scenario held at the airfield back in January, which was a great success.

Read more about Exercise Blackout at Training day for rescue services.

Elliott, Sam and ColinLife-long ambition

He is now taking the first step of a life-long ambition to become an airline pilot. He was one of only 6 out of 600 applicants selected by West Atlantic Airlines for their cadet programme. Sam is currently training for his ATPL and will be learning to fly ATPs and Boeing 737s based out of Coventry.

We wish him the best of luck for the future.

Operations Officer Elliott Foster was at Teeside too. He has recently been given the responsibility of Leading Firefighter at North Weald and will be attending the Junior Officer course himself in October, so he took the opportunity to have a tour of the IFTC before the ceremony.

In his spare time he is a Retained Firefighter at the Ongar Fire Station, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather who were both firefighters locally.

Exercise Blackout

North Weald Airfield hosted Exercise Blackout, a multi-agency, multi-casualty exercise involving 2 lorries, a coach, 4 cars, a motorbike and a light twin aircraft. It is vital that our emergency services are able to practice for such accidents.


New Air Ambulance response cars

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Emergencies, Epping, Health, Loughton, Media, North Weald Airfield, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community

Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust will be able to provide trauma care at times when its helicopters are unable to fly thanks to 2 new fast response cars.

At present, the helicopters operate during daylight hours and the Herts Air Ambulance has a dispensation to fly when North Weald Airfield is closed. A special photoshoot was held at the airfield on Monday 24 March to showcase the 2 new cars before they went operational.

Response car blue lights

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The Vauxhall Insignia VXRs carry a doctor, paramedic, full life-saving equipment and drugs exactly like the helicopters and will be based at North Weald and Earls Colne. Unlike the helicopters, the cars are not weather dependent thereby improving the resilience of the service. The team can provide advanced care to patients whatever the weather, day or night.

With roof markings of 07 and 55, which match the helicopter call signs, they will initially enable the service to respond to incidents during the hours of darkness on Friday and Saturday nights. The response cars were launched during a special ceremony at the CEME Conference Centre in Rainham on Wednesday 26 March.

Evolution of the service

Ben Myer, Deputy Clinical Manager/Response Car Project Lead at the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust, described how the initiative came about: “The process of car selection started over a year ago and has involved an extensive trial period and search for suitable cars that meet the required criteria for safety, storage space for medical equipment, security, comfort, and of course, responsiveness and handling. This resulted in the charity purchasing 2 Vauxhall Insignia VXR’s fitted with state of the art blue lights and bespoke livery.”

Dr Adam Chesters, Clinical Research and Training Lead at the Trust, is enthusiastic about the initiative: “Deploying a car-based doctor  and paramedic team is an evolution of the service that will allow us to continue to provide advanced care to our patients, even when the helicopter is not available. We are excited to be able to use this extended service as we continue to train new Doctors and Paramedics as part of a national training initiative for pre-hospital medical care.”

Support your life-saving charity

The vehicles will be a welcome sight across the district. The air ambulances receive no public funding and rely on public subscriptions to carry out their life-saving work.

Find out how you can help on the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust website.


Traders decline market offer

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Community, Consultation, Councillors, Epping, Local business, Loughton, North Weald Airfield, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Parking, Residents, Supporting business, Tour de France, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Your community, Your council

Epping MarketTraders have declined an offer to hold Epping Market in Cottis Lane Car Park when the Tour de France comes to the District on 7 July.

See Epping Town Council website here.

Epping Town Council consulted traders on the temporary relocation of the market for one day after receiving the offer from Epping Forest District Council to make the Pay and Display car park behind Marks and Spencer available on a one-off basis. Councillor Will Breare-Hall, Mayor of Epping Town Council and a member of the District Council Cabinet said: “The Town Council sought permission to move the market to Cottis Lane because we considered it important to support the traders, on what will be one of the busiest days in Epping for many years. However, our consultation with them revealed that they don’t wish us to pursue this option further and we respect their decision.”

Thousands of spectators are expected to throng Epping High Street where the rolling sprint section of  Stage 3 of this Year’s Tour de France takes place. Estimates of up to 20,000 people lining the streets of Epping meant the holding of the market in its usual High Street location would be impossible.

Epping Forest District Council made the offer of Cottis Lane Car Park after establishing that temporary parking facilities will be made available by St John’s School. The District Council will now consider whether Cottis Lane should revert to its normal use or could provide a base for other activities such as a themed continental market.


Accident involving Aeroplane

Written on . Posted in North Weald Airfield, Residents, Your community, Your council

An aeroplane believed to have been flying from North Weald airfield has crashed outside Chelmsford. According to Essex Fire and Rescue Service, fire appliances from Chelmsford, Colchester and Maldon attended and extinguished a fire at the scene. Police family liaison officers have arrived at North Weald Airfield.

The aircraft is a Yak 52 two-person single engine aeroplane. According to the Fire Service, the plane crashed in a field at Cooksmill Green near the A414. North Weald Control Tower received calls from the Essex Police helicopter just after 3pm today (Saturday 29 March). No one else is believed to have been involved. It is too early to say what caused the accident which will be the subject of an investigation by the Air Accident Investigation Branch.

North Weald Airfield is owned by Epping Forest District Council.  Deputy Chief Executive Derek Macnab arrived at the airfield soon after the incident. He said: “People at North Weald Airfield are shocked and dismayed following reports of an aircraft crash at Cooksmill Green earlier this afternoon. Details are yet to be confirmed but our thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends of those involved.”

Essex Fire and Rescue Service website reported  that Firefighters extinguished the fire. On arrival the commander reported  that the plane was completely alight. Crews used foam and had extinguished the fire by 15.55 hours.

A statement by Essex Police says:

Two people have died after a YAK 52 light aircraft was seen to be in difficulties and then crashed into a field off the A414 near Cooksmill Green (between Writtle and Ongar) around 2.55pm today (March 29).

Emergency services rushed to the scene and fire crews extinguished the fire caused when the plane crashed.  Two men, a pilot and his passenger, both from Essex were on board. The plane had flown out from North Weald airfield.

Investigators from the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) will be investigating the cause of the crash.

Update – In a statement issued on Sunday (20 March) Alan Crouchman of The Squadron at North Weald said: “We are all deeply saddened and shocked at the loss of the two very close friends of ours. The  thoughts and condolences of everyone at the Airfield go out to their families at this very difficult time.”


Tour de France market day offer declined

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Commercial properties, Community, Consultation, Epping, Leader, Local business, Loughton, North Weald Airfield, Our attractions, Parking, Residents, Supporting business, Tour de France, Your community, Your council

Tour de France Essex LogoUpdate – Traders have declined an offer to hold Epping Market in Cottis Lane Car Park when the Tour de France comes to the District on 7 July 2014.


Tour de France market day offer

Epping Market looks set to go ahead when the Tour de France comes to Epping on 7 July. There were fears that the thousands of spectators in Epping High Street would make it impossible for the market to go ahead. Epping Town Council had been left with no choice but to cancel the regular High Street event. Now, an offer has been made by Epping Forest District Council to provide an alternative venue at Cottis Lane Car Park.

The announcement came at the meeting of Epping Town Council on Tuesday 25 March where Epping Forest District Council’s Emergency Planning Officer, Peter Charman was giving an update on the latest Tour related developments. The District Council has been working with many partners behind the scenes to ensure market traders don’t lose out. Following news that St John’s School would be able to provide additional parking facilities, senior district councillors agreed that Epping Forest District Council can put the Cottis Lane car park at the disposal of Epping Town Council for the market.

The Tour de FranceEpping Market has a charter going back to medieval times. The deal to use Cottis Lane as a one-off is still subject to detailed discussions but Councillor Chris Whitbread, Leader of Epping Forest District Council is confident the market can now go ahead.


He said: “Overall, the arrival of the Tour de France in Epping Forest is one of the biggest boosts to the economy we could wish for. It will be a bonanza for High Street shops as thousands of extra visitors arrive early for the Epping Show on Sunday and take up their positions for the sprint on Monday. The problem has always been what to do with the market. It was clear that for health and safety reasons there wasn’t enough room for the anticipated 20,000 spectators and the market in the High Street. Cottis Lane Car Park behind Marks and Spencer’s is only a few seconds walk from the High Street and should make an excellent temporary location for the day.”

Epping MarketCouncillor Whitbread continued: “I agreed the principle with Cabinet Portfolio Holder Councillor Gary Waller and we will now be talking through the details with Epping Town Council.”

The next edition of the District Council magazine, The Forester due out in April, will provide local residents and businesses with more information about the arrival of the Tour. The message to all residents and businesses from the Council is to plan ahead. The Tour enters the District from Chelmsford and will follow country lanes past Willingale, Fyfield and Moreton before crossing the A414 at the Talbot roundabout. The route north of the Talbot will be closed to all other traffic from 8am.

After crossing the A414, the racers will continue through North Weald. The District Council is developing plans to handle many of the expected spectators by opening up North Weald Airfield as a ‘Park and Walk’ facility after persuading the organisers to keep access between the M11 and the airfield open. Limited caravan and campervan facilities will also be available to allow people to stay overnight at the airfield. Additional temporary campsites and car parks are being planned by a number of farmers to cater for visitors along the route.

The route south of the A414 will be closed to all traffic from 9am in another concession by the organisers to Epping Forest District Council. From North Weald, the racers will sprint down Epping High Street, race to the Wake Arms roundabout and then follow the A104 Epping New Road all the way past Loughton and Buckhurst Hill before leaving the District. The Stage finishes on the Mall outside Buckingham Palace.

Councillor Whitbread said: “It is going to be an incredible day. The Tour is one of the World’s greatest sporting events and it is entirely free to watch. There will be a carnival atmosphere unlike anything we have seen since the Olympics. It certainly won’t be business as usual, but by getting into the spirit of the occasion and making plans now, I am confident it will be a terrific boost to the District.”


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Training day for rescue services

Written on . Posted in Crime and safety, Emergencies, Media, North Weald Airfield, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Travel, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Essex-based emergency services played out a realistic multi-vehicle motorway crash rescue at a training event on North Weald Airfield on Tuesday 21 January 2014.

Adding extra spice to the scenario of crushed and overturned lorries, a passenger coach, numerous cars and a motorbike was a light plane provided through the Airfield Operations Team from Epping Forest District Council which owns North Weald Airfield and hosted the event.

The day began with a layer of thick fog. The sound of rota-blades announced the arrival of the Herts Essex Air Ambulance and the airfield’s own Fire and Rescue team to extinguish fires set around the plane. A small army of emergency service vehicles and personnel soon followed to deal with numerous casualties played by a mixture of mannequins and live medical students from 3 hospitals in London and Romford.

Participants included

  • Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust
  • Essex Fire and Rescue Service
  • The East of England Ambulance Service
  • The British Association for Immediate Care
  • Essex Police
  • Ambulance HART – Hazardous Area Response Team
  • Highways Agency
  • BJG 24 Hour Breakdown and Recovery Solutions
  • St John Ambulance
  • 16 Close Support Medical Regiment
  • Epping Forest District Council – North Weald Airfield
  • North Weald Flying Services
  • Students from Queen’s Hospital, Romford
  • Students from St George Hospital, Tooting
  • Students from Queen Mary Hospital, South London

The medical students played their roles with cries and calls for help as the teams of Fire Fighters and medics planned and implemented the response. Teams of observers monitored the process for a full de-brief in the airfield control tower at the end of the day.


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Councillor Anne Grigg, Asset Management Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council said: “This was a truly impressive display of professionalism and training by the emergency services. We all hope these kinds of events never happen for real but it is very reassuring to see how well the emergency services train and prepare. It was very pleasing to put North Weald Airfield at their disposal for the day and also very valuable training for our own airfield based rescue teams.”