Shopping Park in Loughton underway

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Business rates, Chairman, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Councillors, Doing business with the council, Epping, Jobs, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Work has started on the construction of the Epping Forest Shopping Park at Langston Road,  Loughton.

Howard Parkes with (L-R) Councillor Jeane Lea, M and H Project Manager Alex McCalley, Councillor Anne Grigg and Derek Macnab

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Site tour

Councillor Jeane Lea, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council and Councillor Anne Grigg, Cabinet Portfolio Holder responsible for the council-owned scheme met McLaughlin and Harvey construction project manager Alex McCalley and members of the workforce during a tour of the site on Monday 26 September 2016.

Accompanied by the Council’s Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Neighbourhoods Derek Macnab, Councillors Lea and Grigg inspected well-advanced demolition work as the former council depot buildings come down. The adjoining site bought by the council previously is already clear with excavations already evident where surface water storage tanks are to be installed.

Assisted by Alex McCalley of McLaughlin and Harvey, Councillor Lea posed for traditional ground-breaking photographs.

Biggest names in retail

Once completed, Loughton Shopping Park will potentially host some of the biggest names in retail including Next, Aldi, TK Maxx, Pets at Home and Hobbycraft.

New jobs

Around 200 permanent new jobs will be created while rental income from the park will help Epping Forest District Council provide public services to local residents and maintain one of the lowest Council Taxes in Essex. Associated highway improvements on Chigwell Lane will also ease congestion on one of Essex’s busiest roads. There will be on-site shopper car parking for up to 350 cars as well as excellent public transport links a short walk away at Debden Underground Station. With a footprint of 94,000 square feet (or almost 150,000 square feet taking account of mezzanine floors) there will be plenty of retail space with something for everyone including children with Smyths Toys expecting to be a big draw for families.

Boost to the local economy

Councillor Grigg said: ”I was delighted to see the progress. McLaughlin and Harvey has made a cracking start. The site is clean and the demolition work is being carried out with meticulous attention to safety. Now the barriers between the old council depot and the adjoining site have been removed you start to get a real perspective on the size and scale of the shopping park. It will be a fantastic asset and a tremendous boost to the local economy.”

Minimal disruption

During the tour, Alex McCalley explained some of the ways in which McLaughlin and Harvey will minimise disturbance to neighbours. He said: “Years ago we would have had hundreds of lorries coming on and off site as we transported the thousands of tonnes of hardcore rubble. These days we are much more environmentally friendly. Nearly all the rubble will be recycled into the foundations of the new retail park. We are using better methods of pile driving, drilling our way down to the London Clay rather than the old method of banging away with the pile-driver. We are also making contact with our neighbours, keeping people informed and setting up those vital lines of communication that let everyone work together.”

First shoppers next summer

Councillor Jeane Lea was also very impressed: she said: ”McLaughlin and Harvey are one of the most experienced retail park developers. They have worked with some of the biggest companies to deliver large schemes. I would like to thank Alex and his team for such an informative tour and  look forward to being invited back to review progress.”

Construction is expected to take around 40 weeks meaning the first shoppers through the doors next summer.

Chairman ‘shows off’ new museum

Written on . Posted in Arts, Chairman, Civic events, Media, Museum, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council

Our freshly redeveloped museum in Waltham Abbey was ‘shown off’ by Chairman Jeane Lea at the annual civic lunch on Thursday 1 September 2016.

Civic lunch - EFDMuseum

Epping Forest District Museum

Chairman Jeane Lea, a Waltham Abbey councillor, invited chairman and mayors from nearby councils in London and Essex to a guided tour by museum staff around the redeveloped Epping Forest District Museum. The museum was reopened in March 2016 after a 2 year long Heritage Lottery funded redevelopment.

The museum tells the story of the people and events that have shaped the Epping Forest district. You can see the remains of woolly mammoths as well as a wooden turkey, a favourite toy of a Victorian child, plus loads more.

Treated to a tour

Guests were treated to a guided tour of the new community rooms and exhibits and given a chance to see behind the scenes. They were shown the 6 new galleries, allowing for a much greater number of objects to be displayed than ever before.

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Proud to live in Waltham Abbey

Chairman Jeane Lea said: ‘I love the new look and feel of the museum! Our museum is a wonderful asset for the whole district to enjoy. It makes me proud to say I live in Waltham Abbey.’

‘I was honoured to be given the chance to show my guests the fantastic improvements and changes that have taken place. I will definitely be visiting again in the near future.’

‘Thank you to all the museum staff, whose knowledge and hard work has made this such a lovely local museum. I would also like to thank all my guests who raised £265 for my charity, the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust based at North Weald Airfield.’

Visit the museum

Thousands turn out for Air Fête

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Community, Media, North Weald Airfield, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Something for all the family – thousands headed to the Centenary Air Fête on Sunday 17 July 2016 to celebrate 100 years of flying at North Weald Airfield.

Fun on the carousel

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Happy in the hot sunshine

Beautiful aeroplanes lined the perimeter tracks while a mini-zoo, face-painting, bouncy castles, fairground attractions and charity stalls kept the children happy in the hot sunshine. Crowds were entertained at the central arena with music, dance, gymnastic displays, stunt bikes, WW1 Re-enactors and presentations.

From ice cream and burgers to North Weald Airfield’s own centenary celebration beer ‘Scramble’ there was something for everyone to enjoy at the Epping Forest District Council-owned airfield.

Royal Norwegian Air Force

The Chairman of Epping Forest District Council Councillor Jeane Lea hosted a VIP delegation flown in by the Royal Norwegian Air Force on Saturday. Among the guests was Major General Wilhelm Mohr (99), known as the father of the Royal Norwegian Air Force.

General Mohr flew spitfires from North Weald Airfield in 1942 and was joined by a number of British veterans including Air Commodore Roger Topp AFC, the former commander of 111 Squadron, the RAF’s Black Arrows based at North Weald from 1953 to 1957.

The Royal Norwegian Air Force Falcon performed a flypast and dipped its wings as it left for the return trip to Oslo.

Profits for local charities

Profits from the day organised jointly by the Events Team at Weald Aviation and Epping Forest District Council are to be donated to Voluntary Action Epping Forest for use by local charities and voluntary groups.

Military vehicles, re-enactors & planes

There was a wide selection of military vehicles and re-enactors including groups dressed in the uniforms of the First World War. MiGs, Vampires and a Hawker Hunter of the Cold War stood alongside WW2 aircraft including the P51 Mustang and a newly arrived Hawker Sea Fury. North Weald Model Flying Club had miniature versions of several full-sized planes on display.

There were classic cars and motorbikes to admire along with the latest video games to play in virtual reality. ‘Children’ of all ages also had the chance to sit in the Essex Fire and Rescue fire engine and talk to the paramedics from the East of England Ambulance Service.


There were helicopter pleasure flights and chances to sign up for flying lessons. The Essex Police helicopter made an appearance while the airfield-based Herts and Essex Air-Ambulance returned from an operational call during the afternoon.

Special presentations

The day concluded with special presentations to Air Commodore Topp and Arthur Moreton, a long standing resident and expert on North Weald Airfield who has devoted many years of his life to preserving the special cultural bond between North Weald and the people of Norway.


Epping celebrates Armed Forces Day

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

The Armed Forces Day flag was raised in Epping on Monday 20 June 2016 to mark the start of Armed Forces Day celebrations. Chairman Jeane Lea and Reverend Peter Smith of Waltham Abbey Church were joined by councillors, staff and members of the public in a flag raising ceremony at Epping Forest District Council’s civic offices.

Chairman Jeane Lea and Rev Peter Smith holding the Armed Forces Day flag

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Led by Chairman Jeane Lea, the ceremony showed the district’s support for the men and women who make up our Armed Forces. As a mark of respect both the Union flag and the Armed Forces Day flag were lowered to half mast in tribute to the Labour MP Jo Cox, who was tragically killed in her West Yorkshire constituency on Thursday.

Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day takes place Saturday 25 June 2016. Showing support for our Armed Forces provides a much valued morale boost for the troops and their families.

Our Armed Forces defend the UK and its interests. They work around the world, promoting peace, delivering aid, tackling drug smugglers, providing security and fighting terrorism.

Our chance to say thank you

Chairman Jeane Lea said: “Raising the Armed Forces Day flag is our chance to say thank you to all the extraordinary men and women who protect us, on behalf of the Epping Forest district I would like to say a big thank you.”

“Armed Forces Day also gives us all a great opportunity to help raise awareness of the contribution and sacrifices our Armed Forces, both past and present, have made for our country.”


Skye terrier takes home the gold

Written on . Posted in Animal welfare, Chairman, Civic events, Community, Councillors, Health, Media, Older people, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Performance, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Epping Forest districts dog lovers came to Waltham Abbey and saw Bruce the Skye Terrier take home the best in show title.

Companion Dog Show 2016

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Responsible dog ownership

Our Companion dog show, a must for all dog lovers, took place at the Town Mead Park in Waltham Abbey on Sunday 5 June 2016. It raised an amazing £1,572  for the German Shepherd Rescue (West Essex) charity as well as promoting responsible dog ownership.

On the day there were 18 novelty classes, 8 pedigree and 5 obedience classes to compete in, as well as German Shepard dog rallies.

Bruce the Skye terrier took home best in show with Cindy the Pembroke Corgi taking home best veteran.

Helping with the judging were Chairman of Epping Forest District Council Councillor Jeane Lea and Waltham Abbey Mayor Councillor Helen Kane.

Chairman Jeane Lea said: “Our dog show is brilliant at bringing the community together and shows the strong bonds families have with their pets. Today was a lovely day and it was obvious to me just how much we love our animals – take a look at all the great pictures.”

Get your dog chipped

She continued: ‘It is important to look after your dog responsibly. From April it has been a legal requirement to microchip your dog and you could be fined up to £500 if your dog isn’t chipped by the time they’re 8 months old. Something as simple as a microchip could reunite you with your pooch if they were to get lost. Don’t delay, microchip your dog today!’

Museum reopening a huge success

Written on . Posted in Arts, Chairman, Community, Councillors, Media, Museum, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Epping Forest District Museum reopened it’s doors to the public on Saturday 19 March 2016 after a 2 year long Heritage Lottery funded redevelopment.

EFD Museum reopening

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The bells of Waltham Abbey Church rang as reenactors from the 44th East Essex Regiment marched up Sun Street towards the museum to help the Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Liz Webster cut the ribbon to officially reopen the museum.

Party atmosphere

A party atmosphere was enjoyed by all who came to celebrate the museum’s special day. They were treated to a jive dance demonstration and a morris dancing display by the Chingford Morris Men in Sun Street.

Over 750 people visited the museum, they enjoyed activities including decorating eggs in the new community space, and were given access to all the museum’s new galleries for the first time.

Welcome back

Museum staff were thrilled with the positive feedback they received. Comments include “Big improvement, proud to live in the Abbey” and “Welcome back! We’ve missed the museum and love the new look!

Museum on the Move

The museum team also celebrated the reopening of the museum by making a film showing what has been going on behind the scenes. The ‘Museum on the Move’ film also features as part of the museum’s first temporary exhibition all about transport through history.

Epping Forest District Museum reopens

Future events

This reopening sees a new start in the museum’s history with a fantastic programme of events and activities coming up in the next year. The museum’s annual Easter Egg Hunt will be back this year taking place on Saturday 26 March from 10am to 3pm. The public is invited to follow the trail around the museum and solve the puzzle to win their chocolate prize. The event is free and open to all.

Follow us

Keep up to date with the project and all of our current events through our social media channels.

Stars shine bright at civic awards

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Community, Councillors, Media, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Performance, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Working with the council, Young people, Your community, Your council

It was a bittersweet Epping Forest District civic awards ceremony at Gilwell Park on Friday 18 March as councillors and guests came together to honour the district’s finest.

Watch our video

In pictures

Civic Awards 2016

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Citizen of the Year

The evening hosted by the Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Elizabeth Webster, culminated with the announcement of the prestigious Citizen of the Year Award to Thornwood resident and Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator Mick Sheen. Mick passed away suddenly on 30 January. He knew he had been nominated for the award but did not know that he was the winner. Colin Green of Toot Hill was highly commended for his long years of service to Essex Police and volunteer work in and around Ongar.

Chairman Liz Webster paid tributes to all the award winners but particularly Mick Sheen whose family were understandably unable to attend. Mick’s friends Caroline Wiggins and Colin Freeman accepted the award on his family’s behalf.

Chairman Webster said: ‘I hope this recognition will give Mick’s family some small comfort at such a difficult time. Our hearts and wishes are with his wife June, daughters Samantha and Sue and the rest of their family.’

Volunteer Team of the Year

Epping Forest Countrycare received a special Volunteer Team of the Year award. Ray Ellis, Cherry McCredie, Polly Nichols, Jack Welchman, Mary Dodd, Pam Mayes, Abigail Oldham and Kevin Mason received the award on behalf of all the district’s Countrycare volunteers.

Young Citizen of the Year

Molly Gayler from Lambourne End is the Epping Forest District Young Citizen of the Year. Introducing the award, Vice-Chairman of Epping Forest Council, Councillor Jeane Lea described Molly’s wonderful work supporting children with disabilities and her passion for sport. Samantha Burton and Jordan Michaelson, both from Waltham Abbey received commendations in the Young Citizen category. Ellouise Lemon who also received a commendation was unable to attend the ceremony.

Community Service Medals

Councillor Mary Sartin introduced the Community Service Medals awarded to Sub Officer Jonathan Ford of Red Watch, Loughton (Essex Fire and Rescue Service), Collette Howell represented by Stuart Miller (East of England Ambulance Service), and PC Paul Richards (Essex Police).

Youth Council Cup

Epping Forest District Youth Council Cup winners Joseph Pasco, Malachi Fontenelle, Chloe McKendrick and Doncho Atanassov were introduced by Councillor Richard Morgan.

Sports and Creativity Awards

Councillor Richard Morgan also invited Naomi Harryman of Thornwood to receive the Sports Award of £1,000 from the Chairman. Taylor Danson, Allie Munro and Lynne Jefferies of The Shambles Theatre Company received the Creativity Award for £1,500 to support their ground-breaking work holding violence against women up to the spotlight and tackling the issues around mental health for men.

Chairman’s Charity

Master of Ceremonies Ted Prior announced that almost £1,000 had been raised for the Chairman’s Charity, the Royal British Legion, in a raffle during the evening.


Flying the flag for Commonwealth Day

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Community, Democracy, Epping, Media, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council

The Commonwealth flag was raised outside the civic offices in Epping to celebrate Commonwealth Day.

Joining with local authorities throughout the UK on 14 March 2016, this year’s theme An Inclusive Commonwealth celebrates the diversity of the Commonwealth.

Chairman Liz Webster with the Commonwealth flag

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Proud to be part of

Chairman of Council, Councillor Liz Webster said: “The Commonwealth is made up of 2 billion people from 53 countries, of many faiths, races, languages and cultures, we at Epping Forest District Council are proud to be part of this great family.”

An Inclusive Commonwealth

This year’s theme celebrates the diversity of the Commonwealth, which is made up of more than 2 billion people. Every one of them is different, and each of them has something unique to offer.

The Commonwealth Charter asserts that everyone is equal and deserves to be treated fairly, whether they are rich or poor, without regard to their race, age, gender, belief or other identity.

The Commonwealth builds a better world by including and respecting everybody and the richness of their personalities.

Find out more


£900 raised at charity quiz

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Councillors, Media, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council

The annual Chairman’s quiz night raised over £900 for this years Chairman’s charity, The Royal British Legion on Friday 26 February at Theydon Bois Village Hall.

Chairman's quiz 2016

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Quizmasters Ian Willet and John Gilbert both former council employees along with current members of staff all gave their time for free to ensure the quiz ran smoothly.

Chairman of Council, Councillor Liz Webster presided over the night, with 17 team taking part. In one of the closest completions in many years, the Scrambled Eggheads, led by Councillor Stephen Neville’s, took the lead with longstanding champions the Grand Slammers coming second.

1st place in the fancy dress competition went to the HR Hurricanes. Dressed in sheepskin bomber jackets and fake moustaches, they were paying tribute to the WW2 pilots who flew from North Weald Airfield.

Wonderful way to bring the community together

Chairman Liz Webster said: “We had such a lovely evening. Thanks to the amazing turnout we raised over £900 for my charity, The Royal British Legion. The quiz was a huge success and is a wonderful way to bring the community together and have fun while raising money.”

Volunteer Essex website goes live

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Councillors, Media, Older people, Out and about, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Finding volunteering opportunities in Essex is easier than ever with the launch of the Volunteer Essex website.

The website was simultaneously launched across Essex on 14 January 2016, the Epping Forest launch taking place at Loughton Library. Epping Forest District Council Chairman, Councillor Liz Webster cut a ribbon to mark its launch.

Give volunteering a go

Search for volunteering opportunities throughout Essex by

  • Postcode
  • Interests
  • Activities

Visit the Volunteer Essex website

Volunteer Essex new website launch

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The Volunteer Essex website has a comprehensive directory of volunteering roles that are maintained, managed and quality checked by the Volunteer Centres Essex network. It also has a range of features and information to help people get involved.

One-stop shop for volunteering

“The Volunteer Essex website is a one-stop shop for anyone interested in volunteering” said Chairman Liz Webster.

“It holds details of more than 2,000 unique volunteering roles, available to residents throughout Essex. It also promotes the fabulous work of over 1,000 community groups and charities active in the county.”

“Voluntary Action Epping Forest manages the volunteer centre in the Epping Forest district. It does not just help local people to volunteer – it also offers support to community groups and organisations to develop volunteering roles.”

Chairman Liz Webster ended with: “These are challenging times and as a community we need to work together to ensure a happy and healthy community for all.”

Why volunteer?

People choose to volunteer for many reasons. Some want to make a difference to the people around them and give something back to the community. Others want to develop new skills and knowledge. All find it both challenging and rewarding.

Epping Town Mayor Councillor Michael Wright, Loughton Town Mayor Councillor Judy Jennings, Myrna Gilbert Trustee for Voluntary Action Epping Forest, Maggie Gilchrist Volunteer Centre Coordinator, Sally Panrucker, Marc Balkham Staff at Voluntary Action Epping Forest, Volunteers Alan Oyston, Linda Mays and James Gilchrist all helped to promote the launch.