Norwegian weekend – memories and celebration

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Epping, North Weald Airfield, Ongar, Our attractions, Out and about, Your community

Memories of some sad times, adversity, friendships and happy moments were rekindled on Saturday 8 September 2012. Veterans from Norway arrived with serving senior military officers and civic leaders at the civic offices of Epping Forest District Council at the start of a busy day.

Councillor Brian Rolfe, Chairman of Council welcomed his opposite number Mayor Ole Hjartoy of the Norwegian city of Bodo at the steps of the Civic Offices. Speeches and presentations reaffirmed the ties of friendship between two communities forged in war.

Epping brought back memories for several of the veterans who escaped their own country to England in the dark days of World War II, Their struggle continued under the banner of the Royal Air Force in their small Hawker Hurricanes from North Weald.

Veterans recalled many happy hours spent in the Thatched House, Epping to which they would cycle, although they searched in vain for the Carpenters Arms which has since made way for modern development.

After years of closure, Epping Ongar Railway looked spectacular in bright sunshine as the Veterans and guests continued their trip down Memory Lane. A ride on the train from North Weald Station to Ongar included a short break with high demand for ice-cream and cool drinks as temperatures hit the high twenties. North Weald Station was a familiar stepping off point 70 years ago. Veterans smiled as they recalled trips to London for some R and R.

Veterans, civic leaders and top-brass continued to enjoy the hospitality of the welcoming residents of North Weald. At North Weald Airfield younger group of volunteers who arrived in the Norwegian Royal Air Force Hercules on Friday were hard at work, putting the final touches to the refurbishment of an historic revetment. These fortified aircraft bunkers protected Hurricanes, Blenheims and Spitfires from aerial attack by the Luftwaffe.

The particular revetment was used by 331 (N) Squadron. A dedication and the unveiling of a memorial stone brought from Norway took place at sunset with a guard of honour provided by the ATC as well as standard bearers from Norway and the Royal British Legion.  Arthur Moreton of North Weald who was instrumental in organising the events of the weekend spoke movingly in response to a fine speech Cato Gunhfeldt on behalf of the volunteers.

The Squadron bar was renamed ‘The Norwegian Wing’ in honour of the guests. The evening ended with a surprise presentation to Alan Crouchman of The Squadron and Epping Forest District Council’s Airfield Operations Manager Darren Goodey, in recognition of the special efforts made by them and their teams in support of the Norwegian visit.

Memorial stone

A plaque attached to the revetment memorial stone reads

“This Stone, brought from Norway and erected on September 8th 2012 commemorates the 70th anniversary of 331 (N) and 332 (N) Squadrons commencing operations from RAF North Weald in May and June 1942.

The two squadrons became known as The Norwegian Wing, operating from North Weald until the end of March 1944.

The revetment was used by 331 (N) Squadron’s A-Flight”


Have your say on the Local Plan (Community Choices)

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Epping, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Loughton, Ongar, Our countryside, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your environment

The consultation process on the Community Choices document is now well under way, having been launched on 30 July 2012. However, the consultation period will run until 15 October 2012, so there is still plenty of time to get involved.

7 more dates have been added to provide more opportunities for anyone to drop in for more information or to provide their feedback.

Within the Community Choices consultation document we have identified what we believe to be the main issues facing the district over the next 20 years. We also list a range of options to deal with the issues. However, we need the public to provide their opinions on these issues and options.

The consultation documents and additional information are available on our website Hard copies of documents are also available at libraries and council offices.

In addition to making copies of the documents widely available we are holding several drop-in sessions across the district. The sessions are intended to be informal but will be attended by the Forward Planning Team and will give the public the opportunity to ask any questions and give us their views in person.

We have added 7 extra dates to our original list, the full, up-to-date schedule is as follows:

  1. 4  September 2012 – 5pm to 9pm – Sheering Village Hall, Sheering
  2. 5  September 2012 – 5pm to 9pm – Jack Silley Pavilion, Epping
  3. 6  September 2012 – 5pm to 9pm – Roding Valley Hall, Buckhurst Hill
  4. 10  September 2012 – 5pm to 9pm – Fyfield Village Hall, Fyfield
  5. 11  September 2012 – 5pm to 9pm – Waltham Abbey Town Hall, Waltham Abbey
  6. 12  September 2012 – 5.45pm to 9pm – Abridge Village Hall, Abridge
  7. 13  September 2012 – 5pm to 9pm – Roydon Marina Village, Roydon
  8. 17  September 2012 – 5pm to 9pm – Epping Hall, Epping
  9. 18  September 2012 – 5pm to 9pm – Loughton Council Chamber, Loughton
  10. 19  September 2012 – 5pm to 9pm – Nazeing Leisure Centre, Bumble’s Green
  11. 20  September 2012 – 5pm to 9pm – Chigwell Parish Council Offices, Chigwell
  12. 25  September 2012 – 5pm to 9pm – Ongar Town Council, Chipping Ongar
  13. 26  September 2012 – 6.30pm to 9pm – Theydon Bois Village Hall, Theydon Bois
  14. 27  September 2012 – 5pm to 9pm – North Weald Village Hall Lounge, North Weald

Epping Forest inclusion forum

Written on . Posted in Community, Epping, Residents, Your area, Your community

A new forum is being launched in Epping next month. Parents, guardians, carers and supporters of disabled people are invited to the launch of the Epping Forest inclusion forum in the clubhouse at Upper Clapton Rugby Club, Upland Road, Epping, CM16 6NL on Monday 17 September from 6.30pm to 8pm.

The forum, which is being co-ordinated by the community services department of Epping Forest District Council, will be the steering group for the Epping Forest inclusion project. It will give people who know and understand the needs of disabled people the opportunity of having their say in the development of leisure opportunities for disabled people.

The inclusion project is funded by Essex County Council and aims to develop non- prescriptive leisure and short break opportunities for people with disabilities by consulting with those who know their needs best.

The Upper Clapton Rugby Club is also supporting the forum by delivering a free tag rugby session alongside the event for children and young people.

For more information or to register with the forum, please contact Fabrizio Luca Ferrari on 01992 564220, or email

Residents urged to take part in consultation – Local Plan video

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Consultation, Councillors, Epping, Housing, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Loughton, Ongar, Our countryside, Planning, Private housing, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your environment, Your home

The issues and options consultation phase of the new Local Plan, ‘Community Choices’ runs from 30 July to 15 October. Here, Councillor Richard Bassett, the Council’s Planning Portfolio Holder talks about some of the key elements and encourages residents to become involved.


Click ‘Community Choices’ to view all the information and take part in the Local Plan consultation. 


Awards for Countrycare

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chairman, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Our countryside, Out and about, Trees and landscapes

Two Living Landscape awards were presented to Countrycare officers Nicola Rogers, Kevin Mason and Councillor Gary Waller Safer, Greener and Highways Portfolio Holder at the meeting of Epping Forest District Council on 31 July. The awards from the Essex Wildlife Trust were presented by Councillor Brian Rolfe, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council.

Afterwards, Councillor Waller said: “I’m delighted that Countrycare has received two Living Landscape awards from the Essex Wildlife Trust. These awards are part of a national initiative to create landscapes which provide enhanced conditions for wildlife to thrive. Ten awards were made for 2011-12 in Essex, and Epping Forest Countrycare received two of them. Epping Forest District Council is in fact the only council in Essex to receive an award and the only organisation of any kind to receive two.”

He continued: “Nicola Rogers’s project was for green hay strewning to enhance the floral diversity of a grassland site at Linders Field Local Nature Reserve, Buckhurst Hill, and Kevin Mason’s project involved the planting and traditional management of hedgerows at Weald Common Local Nature Reserve. Congratulations are due to both of them.”


Olympic air security in Epping

Written on . Posted in Epping, Olympics, Out and about, Your area, Your council

Air observer team
Olympic Leaflets Air Observer

As part of the Olympic Games 2012 security arrangements the council has agreed to allow the Ministry of Defence to use the top of the civic offices tower as an air observation post staffed by the Army. There are 15 other similar sites strategically placed around London which offer the best views of the airspace over London.

The purpose of the air observation post is to monitor the restricted airspace in and around London throughout the period of the Olympic Games. To do this the Army will be using thermal imaging binoculars and an Air Detection Alerting Device (ADAD).  No weapons will be at this site.

The Army will be based at the civic offices for approximately 2 months.

If anyone would like further information on the air observation team please read  Olympic Leaflets Air Observer (pdf 1.5mb) – a leaflet produced by the Ministry of Defence.


Torchbearers shine across region

Written on . Posted in Community, Epping, Olympics, Our activities, Out and about, Waltham Abbey, Your community

Torchbearers from the Epping Forest district proudly represented the area far and wide across the Eastern Region of the UK.

Scarlett Stock of North Weald was nominated by friends and colleagues for her work supporting the district’s young people on Epping Forest District Youth Council. Scarlett carried the Flame in front of huge crowds in Maldon.

Holly Lambert from Waltham Abbey travelled out of the County to Haverhill in Suffolk for her big moment while Daniel Spillman of Epping and Joseph Farquharson from Theydon Bois carried the Flame through the streets of Colchester.

Leslie Snellin from Abridge had less far to travel when he carried the Torch in Brentwood.

Grace Boxall from Buckhurst Hill will be carrying the Flame through Redbridge on 22 July 2012.

Torchbearers in Waltham Abbey

The 5 Torchbearers who ran with the Flame in Waltham Abbey are

  1. Liu Dong – Beijing
  2. Steven Basing – Bumbles Green
  3. Suki Brownsdon – GB and Australia
  4. Ishan Guha – India
  5. Hannah Agyeman-Prempeh – Basildon

Cheering crowds in Waltham Abbey

Epping Art Festival

Written on . Posted in Arts, Community, Epping, Older people, Out and about, Young people, Your area, Your community


As part of the Epping Art Festival on Saturday 14 July, Epping Art Society are running a number of events. Their ‘flagship event’ is an art exhibition in the reception area at the councils Civic Offices. Over 20 local artists will be exhibiting their work in this show which will include local views and churches, landscapes from further afield, cityscapes, paintings of flowers and a few quirky ceramic pictures. All works will be for sale at very affordable prices.

If you are interested in seeing how these paintings are produced then look out for Epping Art Society members who will be painting around Epping during the day. You may find them on the green or near Argus Lighting and the Bookshop.

If you or your children would like to do a bit of painting then Epping Art Society have two activities just for you. Roger Fitzgibbon will be running a children’s workshop on how to draw portraits. He will be outside Costa Coffee and, outside the now sadly closed Pen to Paper, there will be an opportunity for anyone to ‘Paint the Town’. Peter Cartwright has painted a very large painting of Epping, but has left the foreground empty. He would like visitors to the Art Festival to help fill this foreground in with drawings of themselves, their dog or any other pet, flowers, trees, in fact anything they like. Drawing material will be provided.

Finally, if your children are interested in making animals from clay then find Sally Macpherson in the craft area. She will be showing children how to make hedgehogs, frogs, snails, mice and other small animals from clay. The children can then take their finished pieces home with them.’


Honouring Britain’s Armed Forces

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Epping, Out and about, Your area, Your council

For the fourth year running, Epping Forest District Council is once again proudly flying the official Armed Forces Day flag at the Civic Offices in Epping. The flag is part of celebrations to honour Britain’s Armed Forces – past, present and future.

Councils, organisations and individuals across the country and around the world simultaneously held flag-raising ceremonies on Monday 25 June. The specially-designed flag, based on the Union Jack, was raised together in ceremonies across the country at 10.30am. This marks a week of events for Armed Forces Day which is on Saturday 30 June. Armed Forces Day flags will also be flown where British servicemen and women are serving overseas.

In Epping Forest, the District Council’s Chairman, Councillor Brian Rolfe was joined by senior councillors, officers from the district council, members of the Royal British Legion and the school council from The White Bridge Junior School, Loughton for a short service conducted by the Reverend Geoffrey Connor, Team Leader at St John’s Church, Epping. A performance by trumpet player Michael Wood from The Epping Forest Band accompanied the raising of the flag.

“Armed Forces Day goes a long way to keeping morale high amongst our serving personnel, today we invite the whole nation to show support for our military community, both serving and retired, at home and abroad,” said Councillor Rolfe.

“The UK Armed Forces defend the UK and its interests. They are busy working around the world, promoting peace, delivering aid, tackling drug smugglers and providing security and fighting terrorism. By raising this flag for Armed Forces Day we can show them that the work they are doing is very much appreciated.”

Last year over 4,000 flags were flown around the country and Epping Forest will once again fly the flag throughout the week (25-30 June).

Last cabinet meeting before election

Written on . Posted in Animal welfare, Business, Epping, Housing, Local plan / planning our future, Meetings, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council

St John’s Road development, housing improvements, dog control orders were among the items discussed by members of Epping Forest District Council’s cabinet met on Monday 23 April 2012.

St John’s Road development

Watch the report on the St John’s Road development

St John’s Road development consultation closed at 5pm. A petition was handed in before the meeting of the cabinet which will be looked at under petition rules. Councillors were anxious that as many people as possible responded to the formal consultation process in order to play a full part in the planning process.

Overview and scrutiny

Watch the report on overview and scrutiny

Further work on fire-safety in communal areas of flats is to be undertaken by the housing scrutiny standing panel. Among the items to be progressed in the new municipal year will be the scrutiny of the roll-out of high-speed broadband across the district.

Extra £770,000 for housing

Watch the report on housing improvements and service enhancements

The new self-financing strategy for the housing revenue account is beginning to show tangible benefits as councillors decide how to spend the additional £770,000 of improvements to the housing stock. Tenants and leaseholders consulted on the proposals have expressed support.

The 15 programmes of improvement proposed by the housing scrutiny panel and supported by the cabinet are:

  1. Mains-powered smoke detectors in every council property – £325,000 in 2012/13
  2. Free handyperson scheme for elderly and disabled tenants in sheltered and other council accommodation – £13,000 one-off for new van and £77,500 ongoing
  3. Increased disabled adaptations budget for one year – £75,000
  4. Conversion of communal toilets into disabled toilets in sheltered housing and community halls – £40,000
  5. Refurbishment of common room and communal kitchen at Jessopp Court, Waltham Abbey – £35,000
  6. Expansion and refurbishment of Princesfield Estate Play Area – £30,000
  7. Permanent part-time housing fraud officer – £8,000
  8. New senior housing officer (social housing fraud) – £28,500
  9. Key safes for sheltered housing schemes – £25,000
  10. New under-occupation officer £24,000
  11. Increase existing budget for estate improvements and enhancements by £20,000
  12. Expand Voluntary Action Epping Forest garden maintenance scheme for older and disabled tenants – £20,000 2012/13 and £20,000 2013/14
  13. Additional dog waste bins on housing estates – £7,500
  14. Grant to Epping Forest Recycling Scheme providing furniture to tenants in economic hardship moving into unfurnished homes – £10,000
  15. In-year housing improvements and enhancements fund £40,000

 Dog control orders – consultation

Watch the report on dog control orders

Consultation on greater powers to regulate and control the activities of irresponsible dog owners is to be carried out by Epping Forest District Council. Under the proposals, dog-walkers could be restricted to walking no more than four dogs at a time, encourage the removal of dog faeces, and powers to instruct dog-walkers to put their dogs on leads at the request of an authorised officer.

Councillors are at pains to emphasise the consultation nature of the proposals to cabinet. The vast majority of dog owners are responsible and the Council has no intention to penalise them through changes to local dog control orders.

In addition to the general invitation to residents to comment, Town and Parish Councils which control large areas of land popular with dog-walkers are among those to be consulted directly.

Powers to enforce dog orders could be extended to include council officers, PCSOs and designated officers of the Corporation of London responsible for Epping Forest