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.

Local Strategic Partnership Meeting

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Consultation, Countrycare, Democracy, Gypsy and traveller, Housing, Meetings, Our countryside, Residents, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

The co-ordinating group of local service organisations, Epping Forest Local Strategic Partnership Board welcomed its new Manager, John Houston on Thursday 26 February 2009. John will work for the whole group which includes local Councils, Essex County Council, West Essex PCT, Epping Forest College and Essex Police. Technically he is employed by Epping Forest District Council with funding support from the major statutory partners.

Agenda for Local Strategic Partnership Board meeting on 26 February 2009

Traveller and Gypsy Site Provision Consultation

Following introductions, the Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) Chairperson, Councillor Diana Collins of Epping Forest District Council moved to the first main agenda item, public consultation on future provision of sites for travellers and gypsies. The District Council`s Director of Planning and Economic Development, John Preston gave an outline of the consultation, one of the biggest undertaken by the Council. He explained how the Council would need to analyse the large number of responses and take the process forward. He also informed the LSP of the Planning Inspector`s recommendation to reduce the number of extra pitches from 49 to 39.

John Houston noted the role of the LSP to support disadvantaged people and acknowledged local concerns about the process. He invited the LSP to go through a discussion paper prepared on behalf of its members, to be submitted to the District Council as part of the consultation process. The LSP noted that around 90 pitches already existed in the District. Members of the group considered a number of issues in their discussion, including housing provision, health and fear of crime issues. It was felt that it was important for the LSP to be clear in terms of treating everyone equally and fairly. The group acknowledged the strength of local feeling.

`Credit Crunch` Response

Business input is needed for a co-ordinated response to the Credit Crunch, members of the LSP Board agreed. A Task and Finish Panel of Members will meet to develop ways in which Government Agencies and business might work together to stimulate and support the local economy.

Project Funding

The Essex Partnership has now confirmed that the bids from Epping Forest have been successful and an allocation of £453,855 has been made to support the schemes the Board has endorsed. The LSP Board will be able to move forward on all the proposals.

Projects will include an information guide on Home Safety, a supported volunteering project including opportunities that are tailored to meet personal development needs and pathways to work. People with learning difficulties will benefit from access to the Arts.

Further projects will help the emotional health and wellbeing of children, support for parents and holiday and after-school drop-in sessions for teenagers. Funding will help support vulnerable parents and carers in isolated rural communities. Investment in local CCTV will help to combat crime and anti-social behaviour.

Smoking, Heart Disease, Obesity

Catherine O`Connell of West Essex Primary Care Trust outlined priorities for preventing early deaths in Epping Forest District. Issues of major concern include reducing smoking, combating heart disease and tackling childhood obesity which can lead to health problems in later life. Among other concerns for the area`s children was a lower than hoped for take up of the MMR vaccine. Instances of measles are increasing.

Local hospitals have made huge improvements in patient safety. MRSA infections in local hospitals are now lower than in many other areas.

Life expectancy of the population is improving overall and work is therefore focusing on narrowing the gap between those groups at the lower end of the life expectancy range and the top.

Catherine O`Connell was also proud of the PCT record in providing NHS dentists to any local resident who now needs one. Residents can be referred to their nearest available local dentist through just one phone call.

Housing Strategy

Epping Forest District Council`s Director of Housing, Alan Hall, presented a briefing on the latest developments of the Local Authority Draft Housing Strategy. Numbers and location of affordable housing, balancing urban and rural demand, meeting special needs and ensuring homes meet a high quality standard are enshrined in the latest draft.

More than 7,000 households are not in suitable housing while 1,300 families are assessed as in `housing need`. More families are listed on the Housing Register. Property prices are 11 times average earnings. Up to 2021 there is projected district-wide shortfall of 5,700 affordable homes. Building new affordable homes is closely associated with private sector development. The current slow-down in the commercial new-build market is therefore affecting the number of new-build affordable homes being developed.

Young people are moving out of the district due to high property prices and the population profile is of an increasingly ageing population.

Forty-five actions are listed in the draft plan to address housing issues. Among these actions are facilitating 200 affordable new homes by 2010. Ongoing work with local residents continues to prevent people becoming homeless. The Council will work with a Housing Association to provide a Mortgage Rescue Scheme. All Council homes are on course to achieve the ` Decent Homes ` standard by 2010.

Jade Goody Memorial Service

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Ongar, Your area, Your council

Jade Goody was a local girl. She made Epping Forest District her home, coming to live initially in Ongar and then Upshire.

She passed away at home in Upshire on Mothers` Day on the 22 March 2009.

Jade lived her life in the media spotlight. Her funeral has been arranged to take place at 12 noon on Saturday 4 April 2009. Many mourners are expected to attend the service at St John The Baptist Church in Buckhurst Hill.

The service is expected to receive wide-spread media attention. Standing room in the car park outside the Church has been set aside for the media and members of the public who will be able to hear the service relayed via loud speakers.

The large number of people and media expected to attend the funeral is likely to lead to some local traffic disruption. Essex Police will close Buckhurst Hill High Road from Gladstone Road to Russell Road and Church Road from 11am until 2pm.

The funeral cortege will pass slowly through Loughton High Road before making its way up to Buckhurst Hill High Road.

St John The Baptist is a relatively small church. There is very little public car parking in the immediate area. Bus routes will be diverted during the period of the road closure. However, members of the public wishing to pay their respects are advised to leave their cars at home. Buckhurst Hill Railway Station on the Central Line is a short walk via Palmerston Road from the Church. Normal bus services to Buckhurst Hill include the 397, 20 and 549.

Residents living in the vicinity of Buckhurst Hill and Loughton are advised to adjust their travel plans through Saturday morning and into the afternoon.

Councillor John Knapman, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council said: “Jade made her home in our district, first in Ongar and then in Upshire. She lived her life in the full glare of the media spotlight. She was a controversial figure but made many friends and will be missed. I am sure the residents of Epping Forest would join with me in offering our condolences to her family and young sons. To lose your mother at such a young age is a tragedy. Once Jade is laid to rest, I hope the outside world will give her family the time and space they will now need to mourn in private.”

Civic Awards 2009

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Your council

Coat of Arms

The Chairman of Epping Forest District Council Councillor John Knapman honoured local community heroes at the annual Civic Awards and Dinner held at Woolston Manor Golf and Country Club on Friday 27 March 2009.

The Civic Awards are a chance for Councillors and members of the community to recognise the people who give their time and energy to others or for conduct above and beyond the call of duty. The evening was presided over by Toastmaster Robert Pursell.

Winners at the 2009 Civic Awards

To watch the awards presentation in full click on the link below.

Watch the webcastWatch webcast of the Civic Awards 2009
(opens in a new window)
  • Leisure Bursary

  • Community Service Medals

  • Staff Awards

  • Special Awards

  • Young Citizen of the Year

  • Citizen of the Year

The evening concluded with the announcement of almost £1,500 sponsorship raised for the Chairman’s charities Jubilee Lodge, Chigwell Riding Trust for Special Needs and St Clare Hospice. The Chairman agreed to abseil from Church Langley Water Tower.

Civic Awards 2009 Community Service Medals

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Community, Crime and safety, Loughton, Ongar, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

You can watch the awards presentation in full. Click the back button at the bottom of the page and click the link to watch the webcast.

Community Service medals are awarded to members of the Emergency Services who have made a special contribution or shown care and dedication well above and beyond the call of duty.

Police Community Support Officer Hayley Toye

Chairman John Knapman with PCSO Hayley ToyeEpping Forest District Council supports its local PCSOs, and works in partnership with them and Essex Police, and provides funding. As a result there has been real benefits from the introduction of PCSOs. No-one illustrates that better than the winner of the Epping Forest Police Community Service Medal for 2009.

Hayley Toye is a dedicated Officer serving the neighbourhood of Debden. Well known by local Councillors, residents and young people, she has made a particularly strong impact on anti-social behaviour. Her strength lies in talking with people and listening to them.

Building relationships and trust, Hayley has tackled problems as diverse as graffiti, racial abuse, shoplifting and inconsiderate parking. She uses her initiative to find new ways of communicating with local young people, one particular notable example being her Halloween disco.

Essex Ambulance Service Paramedic Brian Clark

Chairman John Knapman with Louise SamouelleBased at Ongar Ambulance Station, Brian Clark has been saving lives since 1980.

He is described as a `lovely, caring gentleman ` and he can be unaware of his impact on the people around him. Attending a minor emergency, Brian was surprised when the patient recognised him as the man who had saved his life years earlier. He has a reputation for remaining calm and level headed in pressurised and extreme situations.

Brian plays a big part in the social calendar of his station and the same friendly approach has endeared him to many of the new recruits he has mentored and trained over the years.

Brian is unable to receive his Community Service Medal in person but representing him at the awards presentation is Brian’s manager from the Essex Ambulance Service, Louise Samouelle.

Chairman Invites Exchange Teachers to Tea

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Your council

Chairman John Knapman with teachers on the exchange visit

The Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor John Knapman hosted an afternoon tea and tour of the Civic Offices on Friday 6 February 2009 for teachers from India visiting local schools on a Teacher Exchange Visit.

During their visit they were introduced to Eleanor Laing, the Member of Parliament for the Epping Forest Constituency, and Ben Murphy, the Epping Town Mayor. The visitors were given the opportunity to discuss areas of mutual interest and had the opportunity to view the Council Chamber and climbing the tower, which gives wonderful views of the Epping area. They were presented with gifts depicting the Councils Coat of Arms for them to display in their schools on their return.

Chairman John Knapman with guests and exchange teachers

The local schools taking part in the exchange were St John`s CE School in Epping and West Hatch High School in Chigwell with the visitors representing the JNV School in Faridabad, close to New Delhi. The exchange is part of the Youth Sports Trust and UK Sport initiative to ensure a long-lasting legacy to sport following the 2012 London Olympics. The guests visited the Olympic site at Stratford, London attractions including Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, and Epping Forest in the snow during their weeklong visit.

Chairman, Councillor John Knapman said: The visit is a wonderful chance for the schools involved to develop a growing bond between the teachers and hopefully at a later date between the pupils. It is the start of an exchange program, which can grow. Although the Indian school system is based on the British system the problems in each country can be very diverse, but on the hand very similar, therefore we have much to learn from each other.

Quiz Raises Funds for Chairman`s Charities

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Your council

Free love and bearded women helped raise funds for the Chairman of Epping Forest District Council`s Chairman`s charities following a quiz held at Theydon Bois Village Hall on Friday 20 February 2009. Almost 100 people made up the 14 teams taking part including questions on the history of Epping Forest District, food, films and famous historical figures.

The Chairman presents the trophy to the Caterpillars

In a keenly-fought contest, the defending champions `Caterpillars` from Loughton held off the challenge from `The Grand Slammers` from the Planning Directorate to retain their title. The champions snatched victory in the last of the 12 rounds. They scored a maximum of 20 points in the final round on history, winning by a single point despite going into the last round 5 points down.

The `Table of Free Love`, a team from the Council`s Housing Directorate came third and won the prize for the best dressed table, narrowly beating the `Hot Fuzz` team which included two bearded women! The Chairman`s team `The Hen Pecked Husbands and the Peckers` finished a respectable tenth. The quiz was hosted by Ian Willett and Ian White, assisted by members of the Democratic Services Team. All those involved donated their time for free.

The Chairman with the best dressed table, the Table of Free Love

The Chairman, Councillor John Knapman, thanked all the teams for taking part and said that the evening had raised almost £500. The money will be used to purchase a Wii console for the residents at Parsonage Court in Loughton and a new computer for residents at Jubilee Lodge in Chigwell.

Results of the Chairman`s Charity Quiz 2009

  1. Caterpillars “ 210 points
  2. The Grand Slammers – 209 points
  3. Table of Free Love – 179 points
  4. Di`s Die Hards – 169 points
  5. The Press Ganged – 162 points
  6. The Tawney Owls – 162 points
  7. Sixties Staplers – 159 points
  8. Missing In Action – 158 points
  9. Neigh Chance – 150 points
  10. The Hen Pecked Husbands and the Peckers – 147 points
  11. Hot Fuzz – 142 points
  12. Epping Forest Youth Council – 138 points
  13. Sewardstone Swots – 117 points
  14. Harlow Tye Rotary Club – 111 points

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.”

A WOW of a Gift

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

Councillor John Knapman, Chairman of Council visited Vitalise – Jubilee Lodge in Chigwell for the official opening of the new `Wow` room. Vitalise – Jubilee Lodge is one of the charities to benefit from his fundraising during his year in office. At Vitalise they believe that everyone deserves a break and they offer respite options with real freedom and choice to disabled people and carers alike. They provide an alternative to traditional respite care by offering breaks in a relaxed, holiday environment but with nursing care and personal support available. The new interactive room is specially equipped with a large 46 LCD screen connected to a Nintendo Wii, which Councillor Knapman has donated from his charity fundraising. The Wii will be used by the centre`s visiting guests with physical disabilities.

Chairman John Knapman with guests at Jubilee Lodge

Councillor Knapman said: I am delighted to see the `Wow` room in use. This addition is a great asset to the facilities at Jubilee Lodge as the Wii is very versatile and can be used by guests of all ages and all abilities. I am really glad that my charity fundraising has been able to supply this additional facility to a very worthy local charity.

Centre Manager Steve Trump commented: There are quite a number of the games that can be played and enjoyed by people with limited mobility and after an initial reticence at using the new technology, the Wii with its widescreen TV has quickly become a favourite pastime of many of our guests.

He went on to say: With very little guidance and support required from the staff, racing and bowling games are proving a hit. There are now more opportunities for both guests and volunteers to interact with each other and to use the enhanced computer room facilities at Jubilee Lodge.

Celebrating Success

Written on . Posted in Business, Chairman, Councillors, Meetings, Our performance, Performance, Your council

Chairman of Council, Councillor John Knapman recently presented Epping Forest District Council staff with certificates following their success in training and qualifications.

Chairman John Knapman and Council staff

Celebrating Success is an annual event organised by the Council at which staff who have attained professional accreditations, completed in-house training and development programmes and also achieved vocational qualifications receive their awards. Also invited are staff who have either completed, or are soon to complete, 25 years` service with the Council or its predecessor Authorities.

Councillor John Knapman said: As a Council we have invested heavily in staff training and development and have been an Investor in People since 2001. This year, in March, we were re-accredited against the Investors in People standard for the third time, achieving very high standards. The Council sees staff development as a key link to improving services to our residents and I was delighted to present certificates to those staff who have achieved success in their training over the last year.