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Mar 21 20

Notes from meeting of Hills Amenity Society Committee 4 March 2020

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Hills Amenity Society Committee

Notes of meeting held on 4 March 2020

Hills Amenity Society Committee 4 March 2020 public

Woodberrie, Woodberry Hill: A letter had been sent to the Secretary of State for the Environment officer Louise Phillips, who conducted the inquiry into EFDC planning procedures, and to MP Eleanor Laing highlighting the council’s failure to respond to complaints that the new construction was in the wrong position plus higher and wider than approved. Copies had been sent to district council ceo Georgina Blakemore and local councillors.

6 Ashley Grove: it was reported that a site inspection had been requested.

30 York Hill: originally approved plans had been resubmitted with some adjustments. A site visit had been requested.

69 Church Hill: noted that approval was being sought to build flats on the site

4 Steeds Way: permission was being sought for major changes to this property

21 York Hill – application for rear extension

Potters Close/York Hill: noted that an appeal had been lodged against an application for a two bedroom development on land fronting Potters Close and York Hill and that an objection had been lodged on behalf of Hills Amenity Society.

Applications backlog: The committee was reminded that a backlog of planning applications would be released after 1 April following changes in government regulations.

School drop off: it was reported that Cllr Judy Jennings had secured free parking in on the Traps Hill car park for parents dropping off children for Staples Road School. Permits would be available. Efforts would now be made by the school to persuade parents to use the new facility rather than clogging up Staples Road, York Hill and Queens Road twice a day. The campaign would start with the children with an announcement in assembly.  Following the “Charm Offensive” the situation would be monitored then tougher measures involving traffic wardens and other measures would follow. SC was thanked for his efforts in pressing for action.

Lighting – KL said he had received an assurance from Gavin Jones, ce of ECC, that the light on the corner of Queens Road and Pump Hill should at last be completed on 31 March. Watch this space!

Speeding: KL reported he had received a detailed response on speeding from Gavin Jones, chief executive ECC, showing the outcome from speed tests concluding that the area did not qualify as “only one” of the four areas had mean speeds above 20mph. It was noted that

1 in fact two of the areas had mean speeds above 20mph: Baldwins Hill had clocked 24.4 and 26.1 southbound, thus well in excess of 20mph northbound. Rounding up on decimal points (20.8=21 not 20) plus also meant Queens Road had as well.

2 However Baldwins Hill was not, in the context of road systems, connected with York Hill, Queens Road and Staples Road and should surely thus be considered separately?

KL said he had sent pictures of people speeding and parking dangerously to the CE which the CE said he had not received. It was AGREED to consider the detailed response from ECC at the next meeting. It was noted in particular that  average speeds did not reflect top speeds and there were were two schools in the area which created greater hazards. KL would write to Eleanor Laing protesting that the council’s mechanistic approach did not adequate reflect the situation on the ground cc to Cllr Chris Pond.

Staples Road: since the ditches had been cleared the lay-by had been adopted by pizza delivery vehicles for over-night parking.  Agreed to monitor.

Parking on School Green...A note from a York Hill resident to Cllr Chris Pond had suggested putting boulders on the York Hill boundary of School Green to prevent vehicles churning it up. Epping Forest staff were looking at possible solutions following an inspection which revealed utility services buried along the forest edge at this point preventing the use of bollards.

Agm – still scheduled for 13 May at Gardeners Arms but replies not yet received from some councillors. TS to contact Chris Pond.  If still no response to ask Eleanor Laing.

Newsletter: following the loss of the sponsor for the last few years it was agreed to produce a single sheet presented as four pages A5 together with an email to those for whom we had addresses with a full newsletter or equivalent on the website. Search for a new sponsor would continue. SC would produce a piece about the school drop off arrangements at Traps Hill car park.

Shop front – objections to shop front on corner of The Drive and High Road were noted but that this did not directly impact the Conservation Areas.

Quindici garden: a complaint had been received from a York Hill resident about the state of the fence and garden. TS agreed to have a word with the owner about the negative impact on the entrance to the York Hill and Staples Road Conservation areas.

Meetings: in the absence of a secretary, TS agreed to take responsibility for reminders about meetings and BH and IL for notes of meetings.

Gardens competition: it was agreed that this would be resumed this year.  SC and PW

Next meeting April 29: plan for agm and organise gardens competition.

Nov 24 19

Town Council seeks to ban further massive developments

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Loughton Town Council has requested a one-mile cordon sanitaire around the Forest in Loughton, where no new dwellings or huge enlargements would be permitted, to minimise future damage to the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation. The request follows realisation of the full impact of development and future proposals on the Special Area such as Jessel Green and Woodberrie (pictured seemingly towering over the existing house) in the York Hill Conservation Area. An irony to the Woodberrie development is that the Arts and Crafts house may now have figured twice in momentous change in the last 50 years. In 1972 the Hills Amenity Society was formed to oppose development by pulling down the old house and erecting four new homes. This followed in due course with the creation of the York Hill and then Baldwins Hill and Staples Road Conservation Areas.

Nov 24 19

News update – November 2019

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Road issues top Hills agenda

The Hills Committee has taken the opportunity of the Essex Highways Users Survey, open until 15 December, to raise a number of road related issues. These include failure to replace heritage lamp standards when damaged with like for like leaving an eclectic muddle; the clash of LED versus sodium lighting and the “never-never” completed lamppost on the corner of Queens Road and Pump Hill; the “screamingly obvious” need for 20 mph speed limits; parking on footpaths and verges; and the plague of HGVs far too large for our narrow roads. Report Pages 6 and 7.


The planning report highlighted that an application had been submitted for a Lawful Development Certificate for a proposed shed/pool outbuilding as part of the redevelopment and extension of Woodberrie (development pictured right).

It was noted that no decision had yet been recorded on applications to extend 30 York Hill, 17 Stony Path but 6 Ashley Grove application had been turned down.

The District Council had received three applications in respect of 32 Queens Road for an annexe, a single storey extension and Prior approval application for a 6 metre deep single storey rear extension, height to eaves 2.5 metres and maximum height of 4 metres. The Council had responded that prior approval was not required for the six metre deep rear extension which the Committee felt should be a matter for concern.

New speed trials

Following speed strip trials in York Hill reported previously the North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) has carried out further trials, this time in Queens Road, and we await results.

At the November Hills Committee Meeting thanks were expressed to Cllr Chris Pond for this follow-up action.

The dangerous ‘never-never’ lamppost 

It was noted that the new lamppost (pictured) partly installed more than 12 months ago at the top of Queens Road was still not connected despite promises made by County Council officials at a meeting at County Hall attended by Cllr Pond and a Hills Committee representative last July. It was agreed to publicise a complaint number and urge residents sharing concerns about this dark corner to register their complaints. (See Page 7)

Parking on School Green 

Parking on School Green at the Staples Road-York Hill junction was raised as an ongoing concern and it was agreed to maintain pressure on the Forest conservators to take action. Delay in action was apparently due to checks being made on possible service pipes along the York Hill length of the green.

Damage by large vehicles 

The Committee heard damage by large vehicles had been growing along with the ongoing major development and redevelopment of Woodberrie, the site on the corner of Woodbury Hill and Kings Hill. This included posts taken out on the corner of York Hill and Woodbury Hill, the Woodbury Hill road sign on the corner of Kings Hill, hedging along Woodbury Hill and the triangle of forest land by Dryads Hall.

Neighbourhood Watch report

It was welcome news that the number of incidents of crime reported in the Hills was continuing at about one third of that 12 months ago. Illustrations show from left crime in August 20 19, 2 crime in September 2019 and 3 the summary of crime from July 2018, the worst month noted to date, to September 2019.


HGVs still going astray in the Hills  

Chair Toby Scrutton said heavy goods vehicles mostly from Eastern Europe were s

till trying to take the ‘short cut’ to Enfield using York Hill despite new signage put up to deter them.  He showed the meeting his most recent pictures of a truck, this time with a UK plate, in August.


Next Meeting

The next meeting of the committee will be on Wednesday 8 January. If you are a paid up member of the Hills Amenity Society and would like to attend, please email the Hon. Sec. at



Jul 17 19

Hills street lighting on EC Highways agenda

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The vexed question of street lighting in the three Hills Conservation Areas, highlighted at the Hills Amenity Society open meeting in May, was elevated to priority status at a meeting organised by Cllr. Chris Pond at Essex County Council yesterday. The meeting was chaired by Deputy Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Infrastructure Cllr Kevin Bentley, attended by four senior officials – and I was invited to attend representing Hills Amenity Society. Attending to broken lamps, painting those in poor repair and, most importantly, installing new equipment to moderate brightness are, we were assured, all in hand for the next couple of months.
Hopefully a really good outcome and many thanks to Cllr. Chris for pushing this to priority level on the ECC agenda.

May 16 19

Hills Amenity Society AGM 16 May 2019 Agenda, Report and Account

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The Hills Amenity Society AGM, as previously notified, will take place on Thursday 16 May 2019 at The Gardeners Arms, York Hill, Loughton commencing at 7.30pm and followed by an open forum to meet the Hills local councillors.  All Hills Residents are welcome to attend.


1 Welcome

2 Chairman’s report

3 Hon. Treasurer’s Report and adoption of Accounts

4 Election of Officers

5 Any Other Business related to Hills Amenity Society

Followed by open forum on issues affecting the Hills

AGM 16 May 2019 Agenda and Accounts

Minutes of previous AGM

Minutes from the Hills Amenity Society AGM on 22 May 2018


Apr 15 19

Watch out they’re after your car!

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The danger of car theft was writ large for local residents with this post on the HillsWatch Facebook page: “Just had 4 people on my drive who broke the back window of my car. Made off in a white focus ST. The lovely man in the middle stands by the front with an axe (inset and enlarged) clearly in view. Alarm woke us up and they ran off.- Baldwin’s Hill.”  This prompted another resident to post “The man looks similar to the man who stole from our

car last year. We do have his name.” Followed by a Pump Hill resident who wrote: “Someone tried to get into my car on Pump Hill on Sunday night – alarm went off and I saw one man run off wearing a light coloured hoody.”  And: ”Our car was stolen off our drive early hours Saturday morning 00:06 on Kings Green, Loughton. GY64 UUK, navy Range Rover Evoque – please let me know if you may have seen it or anything in relation. We have him on camera!”

This exchange may well have persuaded a young person (who is indeed ‘known to the authorities”) to go elsewhere, if it were indeed that person – and a few more of us to remember two things:

1 Use a steering wheel lock –

Enough to deter anyone

but the most determined

2 Use a car key signal blocker case

– guaranteed protection for around £6 for two.  What not to like?

Apr 15 19

Meet your local Councillors on 16 May

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There’s a lot about lighting in the Spring/Summer edition of the Hills Newsletter (available online here), mainly because the County Council is switching to LED lighting but without necessarily heeding the needs of Conservation Areas far away from Chelmsford. In fact there’s a lot about roads generally: more parking… by residents, commuters, those who work in the High Road. Should we have residents parking areas? Speeding – with the hopeful news of speed being monitored. And more vehicle crime, particularly of the fashionable ‘key-less’ theft variety, all of which is monitored by the 50-strong HillsWatch group on Facebook. We do our bit – but the real heavy lifting is done by those who serve as our representatives on the Town, District and County local authorities.  Those representing the Hills have been invited to form a panel at an open meeting at The Gardeners on 16 May at 7. 30pm. Do come along to meet them and to have your say.


Apr 15 19

Testing speeds for 20mph zone

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Speed tests are to be carried out in York Hill following pressure from Hills Amenity Society for a 20mph speed limit throughout the Hills which has been taken up by Councillor Chris Pond. He has succeeded in escalating the project with the support of Loughton Town Council but says officers have warned the area may not meet minimum criteria for adoption of 20mph zone. Strips will appear across the road in two places to measure speed, after which the County Council will consider the proposal and decide which, if any, areas may be included. ECC adopts a flexible approach to speed limit variation. Its public statement reads: “Priority will need to be given to locations that demonstrate a collision saving and added benefits including improvements in quality of life and community benefits and encouragement of healthier and more sustainable transport modes such as walking and cycling.” If it is decided to proceed with a 20mph limit roundels (as illustrated) will have to be painted on the roads affected.  This was publicised in the Hills Newsletter last autumn and no objections in principle have been received.

If you would like to join the campaign to slow down traffic in the Hills you can use your wheelie bin as a “weapon”.  Stickers are available FREE from the Hon. Sec. by emailing


Apr 15 19

Brilliant white LEDs lights prompt pleas for softer versions

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Brilliant white LED lights now being used by ECC as replacements have resulted in some strong protests.

Wrote a Baldwins Hill resident: ”They look terrible! Should we complain to ECC? Aren’t these lights supposed to be part of the ‘conservation’ area?”

“Brilliant whites” have also appeared at the top of York Hill (pictured) and adjacent to School Green by Forest Way. Councillor Chris Pond has complained to ECC about the harsh LED pressing for softer ones. A perhaps more in keeping “brilliant orange” is the replacement unit at the Kings Hill, Woodbury junction…bright but softer and perhaps the acceptable standard for future replacements?
Motorway style? Residents at the top of picturesque Forest Way have taken “direct action” against against the “motorway” style lamp replacement (3) on the edge of the forest. Strong protests have been made to the County Council. Cllr Pond is claiming a “small victory” on this one which he says the council plans to “embellish” in the summer.

At the junction of Queens Road and Pump Hill a heritage lamp which “disappeared” a couple of years ago leaving a dark junction has at last been replaced on the opposite side of the road, but by another distinctly “non-H” lamp put in place some weeks back, but now leaning perilously while residents press for a heritage replacement (just outside the conservation area).

While in Stony Path, the “mysterious disappearance” of an expensive heritage lantern has been the subject of Council of a council inquiry into suspected “resident action”. There is now a “hopefully temporary non-H” “brilliant white” replacement lantern on top of a heritage post.

Oh, and many of the “black” heritage posts are now a speckled rusty colour, badly in need of a coat of paint.

Councillor Pond continues to fight for in-keeping street lights in the conservation areas:  “Heritage lampposts are expensive to maintain and replace and they are an important feature of the CAs. but Highways budgets are tight.  Make your protest to ECC: I will support you.”

The issue of lighting has prompted lively discussion on HillsWatch, the Amenity Society Facebook page with some support for brighter lighting but general support for in-keeping lampposts and the softer LEDs – a position which the Hills Committee strongly supports.


Oct 19 18

Hills 2018 Best Front Garden

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Hills 2018 Best Front Garden

This year’s winner of the Hills Amenity Society shield for the best front garden Mr Bill Jamison of 11 Forest Way, the narrow road leading up from York Hill to the forest (top). In the opinion of the judging panel this was an outstanding example of care and attention.  “Chelsea Flower Show standard,” said one.The shield will be presented Bill Jamison at the Hills Lunch on Sunday 4 November 12.30-2.30. Other shortlisted entries, pictured clockwise from top left: Gardeners Arms, York Hill; 6 Wallers Hoppet; Ingleside Cottage, 87 York Hill; 1 Kings Green;31 Staples Road; 11 Wallers Hoppet;
Congratulations to all in the Hills who take pride in keeping their front gardens looking neat, tidy and often very attractive:  front gardens in the Hills are a key feature of the three conservation areas and this annual competition has existed for nearly 50 years to encourage us all to keep front gardens looking good….and well done the winner.