The Town Mayor, Will Breare-Hall, received a response today to his letter requesting compensation for Epping Market Traders who will lose business due to the cancellation of the Town Market on July 7th:
Essex County Council (ECC) recognises the Tour de France (TdF) event will have to implement road closures to ensure the race can happen safely across the Essex route. This unfortunately will cause disruption to Epping Town Council’s Monday market, which we have been advised by crowd and traffic management experts, means it will not be safe for the market to operate that day. Although this major event is for one day only, we are working in partnership with Epping Forest District Council to identify if there is a viable solution for the market for that day.
Unfortunately, compensation is not available for the whole of the three stages of the event. The event is funded by budget from central government and managed by the TdFHub, a government limited company. ECC is not the lead organiser responsible for the event. However, we are working closely with key partners including Yorkshire, Cambridge and TDF Hub 2014 to successfully deliver this major sporting event and minimise disruption to residents and businesses wherever possible. The wider benefits of the event include expecting many spectators viewing this once in a lifetime opportunity to see the world class cyclists which we hope will inspire a new generation of people to be more active
We do not have more information about the reference to a “viable solution for the market” as yet, though we are meeting with colleagues from the District Council early next week. The only possible location for the market that has not already been considered would be the Cottis Lane Car Park, which we have understood was to be open as normal on the day of the race.
The letter also contained some information about the street furniture that is being installed in Epping High Street in May:
With regard to your question regarding street furniture I have spoken with ECC highway officers and the 5 pairs of traffic islands in Epping will be replaced with permanent bolt down islands that can be removed for the Tour de France sprint stage and any event in the future that Epping may hold that requires their removal.
The islands are aesthetically pleasing and are in a granite finish to complement the street scene of Epping. The current islands are in a poor state of repair with varying types of solar and normal electrically powered bollards which are old and require a great deal of maintenance. The new islands will have modern solar powered “keep left” signs with no electrical connection, so are greener, easier and cheaper to maintain.
Cllr Ann Naylor CC
We have been delighted with the response from the public following Council’s decision earlier in the year to see if the land at Stonards Hill known as Old Pastures or “EPP B” in the Local Plan could be registered as a Village Green under the Commons Act 2006.
Thanks in large part to the members of the Epping Society, whose members put in a lot of effort to raise awareness of the Campaign, we now have over 170 completed questionnaires from residents which we are now collating and will form the evidence base for our application to the County Council under the Commons Act 2006.
Many thanks to all residents who took the time to complete the questionnaires. We will post further updates here about how things progress. We will not be collecting any further evidence from residents at this stage, so the link to the questionnaire has been removed.
The Town Council has decided to undertake a number of initiatives at it’s meeting on Tuesday designed to improve the character and amenity of the Town for residents and visitors alike.
Blue Plaque Scheme
The Council is looking at introducing a Blue Plaque Scheme in the Town to recognise important people who have lived here in Epping over the centuries and important places and events in the Town’s history.
There are currently only two blue plaques in the Town, one dedicated to Lucien Pissarro at 44 Hemnall Street, (who we covered in last month’s Talk About Epping) and the other to Henry Doubleday in Buttercross Lane that was put up by the Epping Urban District Council, predecessor to the Town Council.
Initially, the Council are looking at memorial plaques for Sir William Addison and former Prime Minister and Town MP Winston Churchill. However, we would be delighted to hear from residents about who or where from the Town’s past should be recognised in this way.
We are also going to contact the County Council to see if they will agree to let us replace the ugly traffic sign on the Town Green (pictured above) with a period fingerpost that would fit much better with the historic setting. We will let you know how we get on.
Still on the subject of signs, we want to try and provide a tourist information board for visitors arriving by tube by the Station. This is something which has been clearly lacking for many years – visitors get off the train and have no idea where the Town, the Forest, the Essex Way or anything else is – If TfL are willing to let us put an information map up, this will hopefully change.
Lastly, the Town Council has decided to turn around one of the benches on the Town Green so it faces into the Green and not out at the road.
This may not seem like a big issue perhaps, but you would be amazed how many times it is raised by residents who want to sit for a moment on the Green and enjoy the open space rather than the traffic around Hemnall Street.
As most residents will be aware (unless you have been hiding from all media coverage, in which case I congratulate you for finding your way here) there will be a mini-sprint stage of the Tour de France on 7th July that has it’s climax (and the finish line!) at the Plaza (by the water fountain) in the High Street.
Epping is expected to have several thousand spectators watching the sprint in the market place and along the Town Greens – it promises to be an exciting and memorable day for the whole town, but it will not be without disruption- the Town Council is able to provide some more information about the arrangements on the day:
- North Weald Market will take place as usual on Saturday 5th July
- Epping Town Show will take place on Sunday 6th July – there should be no disruption caused by the Tour that will affect it.
- As was announced last week, the Monday market is cancelled on 7th July. The Town Council has made a request to Epping Forest District Council that no street trading licences be issued on the day so as not to further disadvantage market traders and we are pleased to report that the District Council have granted this request. We have also asked Essex County Council to consider deploying Trading Standards on the day to deal with any sellers of counterfeit Tour memorabilia that may target Epping for the event.
- Road Closures – The entire route was originally going to be closed from 7.30 in the morning on July 7th. Thanks to lobbying from the District Council, organisers have agreed to push that time back to 9am along the route south of the Talbot roundabout, which will lessen the disruption for Epping to some degree. The roads are not going to re-open until 5 pm, however. There will be much more detail about the closures and diversion routes coming in the next couple of months.
- Although the High Street closed to all traffic, there will be 5 crossing points for pedestrians open for the majority of the day to allow movement around the Town. These will obviously be closed when the caravan of the race comes through.
- The organisers will be providing toilet facilities for spectators in Epping, exact numbers and location to be confirmed.
- There are no plans for “big screens” in Epping.
- The District Council is looking into provision of cycle storage in Epping, and the possibility of a “Park and Walk” scheme for people who want to see the Tour in North Weald. Access to North Weald Airfield will be possible on the day via J7 and the A414. The A414 will be closed between the Rayley Lane roundabout and the Talbot, however.
- Schools – each school will make its own decision as to whether or not to open on the day. The Town Council will publicise this when it has the information.
- Essex County Council are maintaining an FAQ for residents and visitors concerning the Tour. It can be found at http://www.essex.gov.uk/Pages/Tour-de-France.aspx
Please share your views/ thoughts about the visit of the World’s largest free spectator sporting event!
The Town Council has reluctantly taken the decision to cancel the Monday Market on July 7th, the day Stage 3 of the Tour de France will be passing through the Town. After receipt of the draft travel and crowd management plan, it became obvious that if the organisers were expecting up to 6,000 people to watch the event from the Market place, there would be no possibility the market could be held.
Essex County Council own the Market place (it is part of the public highway) and they are organising the road closures in conjunction with the event organisers.
In June it will be 70 years since the loss with all hands of HMS Sickle, the warship adopted by the towns of Epping and Harlow during warship week in 1942.
The people of Epping, Harlow and villages raised £176,000 to sponsor the vessel, which was commissioned in December 1942. Sickle spent most of her active service in the Mediterranean. The stories of her patrols during the war have been collated by local historian John Duffel, and and can be found here [click here]
The Town Council, Epping Forest District Museum, St John’s Church and the British Legion are organising events on June 18th to mark the 70th anniversary of the loss, which will include:
- A one day exhibition of the history of the Sickle to be held at Epping Hall
- A memorial service to be held in St John’s Church; and
- Providing a permanent memorial plaque for the men of Sickle, to be placed in the Garden of Remembrance at St John’s Church with the Civilian Memorial so that respects can be paid each and every Remembrance Sunday.
The Town Council has agreed to underwrite the cost of the plaque, but it is hoped that the costs will be met by public subscription.
HM S/M Sickle
We’re pleased to say that the latest edition of Talk About Epping has come back from the printers and will be landing on the doormats of residents over the next few weeks as our small army of volunteers brave the monsoon weather to get them out.
We’ve put some effort into updating the look and feel of the magazine to hopefully make it a more attractive publication and we will be working hard to improve the production values further with magazine quality articles of interest to people in the Town. In this edition, we have a round up of the Christmas events in the Town, usual local organisations and events and a really interesting piece about a former Epping resident!
We hope you enjoy it. Please do let us have your feedback and if there are any local clubs, societies, organisations or any budding writers, local historians or anyone who has anything to contribute that might be of interest to local people, please do get in touch and drop us a line
Many residents will not be aware that the District Council is currently preparing a new Local Plan. As part of the process, there are areas that are currently designated as Green Belt (and therefore protected from development) which have been put forward for consideration to be released for future development. The consultation document can be found here. The portion of the document that covers Epping Greenbelt starts on page 82.
The focus of this post is the land marked on the plan as “Epp B”, also known as “Old Pastures”. A view across the land is pictured at the top of the post. This land is next to the Stonards Hill Recreation ground and stretches along Stonards Hill up to the Epping – Ongar Railway line and backs onto the St Margarets Hospital site. (See Map below)
Epping residents have enjoyed access across this land as though it was a public open space for as long as anybody can remember. The Town Council’s staff see residents accessing the land from the Recreation Ground on a daily basis to walk dogs, walks to Coopersale, picnics in the summer or sledging in the winter when there is snow.
The Town Council is seeking to protect the land for future generations by applying to have it registered as a Common.
This is where we need your help. To qualify for registration, we must be able to evidence that “a significant number of the inhabitants of any locality, or of any neighbourhood within a locality, have indulged as of right in lawful sports and pastimes on the land for a period of at least 20 years”
We are looking for Local Residents (or former Local Residents) who use or who have used this land for recreation to come forward and provide evidence to support our application. Please tell friends and family who use the land for recreation to do the same.
Registration as a Common would protect the land from development and ensure the right of residents to use the land for recreation.
If you use “EPP B” or have done in the past , please complete the attached questionnaire and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org . Even better would be if you could print it and sign it, then send it in as we will need you to sign a form at some point for evidential reasons when we make the application!
One of the items of business Council had to consider this week was what to do about the Mayoral Chain of Office.
The Chain is the Civic Regalia of the Town Mayor but was previously the chain of the former Epping Urban District Council, which was abolished (with all other Urban District Councils) in 1974 when the District Councils were created. It was the Chairman’s Chain of Office from 1894 until 1973 and when the Town Council was created in 1974 (along with the office of Town Mayor) it became the Mayor’s chain of Office.
The chain and the office are synonymous: The only thing that marks a Town Mayor is the chain and the present Town Mayor has remarked that when the Mayor is invited to Civic functions “it’s the Chain that’s been invited, not me”.
The Chain has been engraved with the name (and term of office) of every Chairman of Epping Urban District Council and every Town Mayor from 1974 to date. The problem facing Council is that they have run out of tablets to engrave names on to! The Town Council had to decide whether to add extra links to the chain to enable this tradition to continue and how many to add.
Their decision was to add 20 links, which will have enough space for the next 40 years
Council discussed proposals for improvements to the Ivy Chimneys Play Area at Tuesday’s meeting. The proposals were to spend the £40,000 of section 106 money from the redevelopment of the Spotted Dog to provide improved facilities in the Playground.
The items that had been quoted for included:
- an inclusive (flat to ground) roundabout;
- A see-saw
- Hanging Spinners
- New cradle swing set to replace the existing 50 year old one
- A basket, cradle or team swing (like the one at Stonards Hill)
- A ball game
- Some teen/ adult outdoor gym equipment outside the fenced play area
- New safety gates on the play area entrances
- Provision of a tarmac path from the Ivy Chimneys Rd gate into the play area (to join up with the tarmac pad where the roundabout was proposed near the bench)
Council decided a number of things:
- They didn’t want to provide the adult outdoor gym equipment but wanted to focus on the child play area
- They wanted to invest some additional funding above and beyond the £40k to make further improvements
- They wanted to seek additional grant funding from Essex County Council to further increase the available budget
- They wanted to consult more with the Ivy Chimneys School and the local residents
- They felt more should be invested in the wet pour (i.e. the surfacing) to provide hop scotch etc and an all weather play area.
The Clerk will be writing to local residents and contacting the School for more views about the playground but the consultation starts now! So if you are an Epping resident who uses the Ivy Chimneys playground (or your children/ grandchildren do) please get in touch and tell us what you would like us to provide for you