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May 18 20

Listen to Hills Councillor Forum and AGM – 13 May 20

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Some 50 of us joined up on Zoom on 13 May 2020 for the best-attended AGM organised by the Hills Amenity Society for many years featuring a Hills Councillor Forum. Submitted questions formed the basis of introductory remarks by each of the five Hills resident councillors on our panel.

The panel of Councillors at the Hills Councillor Forum on 13 May. From left Cllr Chris Pond, Cllr Robert Jennings, Cllr Michael Owen, Cllr Robert Jennings and Cllr Judith Jennings

Click to hear
Cllr Chris Pond Cllr Caroline Pond Cllr M Owen Cllr R Jennings Cllr J Jennings
and for question time CLICK HERE and the AGM CLICK HERE

Please note the recordings are available on Dropbox. You may be asked to provide an email address, then click Web View. The use should be free of charge.

Cllr Judith Jennings opened with comments on back to school for Staples Road School, parking problems on School Green and the project she has led to secure school run parking slots in the Traps Hill car park. Cllr Robert Jennings described some of the wide ranging issues he has dealt with recently – from domestic abuse to….blocked drains. Cllr Michael Owen, a resident of Baldwins Hill, discussed some of the issues raised about speeding and the potential for closure of Baldwins Hill to prevent through traffic. Cllr Caroline Pond addressed the importance of reinstatement work to hedges, verges and road surfaces once the major development project at Woodberrie in Woodbury Hill was completed and multi storey development fears for council-owned Centric Parade on the High Road and Cllr Chris Pond, who serves on all three Town, District and County Councils dealt with…everything else. He fielded most of the subsequent questions raised by those on the screen on topics covering street lighting, in particular the two-year wait for the new lamp on the corner of Queens Road to be completed, varying types of new LED lighting, missing and unsafe lamps, speeding controls, double red lining of five and half miles of roads through the forest and the impact of the Special Area status recently conferred on the area around the forest which is delaying many applications.

The meeting was chaired by Toby Scrutton, chair of the Hills Amenity Society, who introduced the Councillor Forum and thanked the five participants most sincerely as well as all those who took the trouble to take part

May 11 20

HAS AGM 13 May 2020 Agenda and Accounts

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Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the Hills Amenity Society will be held on Wednesday 13 May 2020 at 7.30pm on Zoom

1 Apologies for absence

2. Chairman’s report:

3. Treasurer’s Report and Adoption of Accounts for 2019-20 

4. Election of Officers

The current officers and Committee Members are:

Chairman: Toby Scrutton

Hon. Treasurer: Peter Wynn

Hon. Secretary: Vacant

Committee: Stephen Cohen, Wendy Fisher, Brenda Harris, Ian Locks, Parag Shah, Kevin Little, Sarah Little, Marcus Warren,

Nominations have been invited but none received.  

6. Any other business notified on advance of the meeting: None received.

The meeting will be followed by the Hills Councillor Forum to which we will welcome 

Cllr Judy Jennings, Cllr Bob Jennings, Cllr Michael Owen, Cllr Chris Pond, Cllr Caroline Pond

Forum questions have been submitted on a number of topics including

Street lighting; Hedges/trees/verges: who is responsible? eg Woodbury Hill

Dam at west end of Baldwins Hill pond: any more info on disruption to residents

Rubbish and litter

Blocked Drains

Quindici Garden, bottom of York Hill 

Speeding – Is there a special case for Baldwins Hill? Proposal to shut off the road between Ash Green and Baldwins Hill forest slope

Parking on and around School Green and arrangements for school run parking at Traps Hill car park

Back to school arrangements at Staples Road

Planning issues including position on Special Area status?

Double red lining on roads around the forest

Income from subs, donations and newsletter ads for 2019/20 was £475, a decrease since last year due to less subs receipts and ad/sponsorship income.

However, expenditure was somewhat less than the previous year there being no fees for web hosting and web domain renewal which was covered for 2 years by last year’s payment and no cost for printing AGM publicity materials which were produced by a committee member.

Following our proposal last year it is now possible for sub donation payments to be made online to:-

Sort code 20-52-74 Account no. 73459152 Name Hills Amenity Society

Please use your surname and 1st line of address as reference

A copy of the accounts will be available on the website.

Peter Wynn Hon. Treasurer

Apr 16 20

Good news on Staples Road School parking

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Good news for Staples Road School parents and local residents for when schools get back to normality. Epping Forest council have worked with the school and others to provide 30 Traps Hill car parking spaces for parents dropping off and collecting their children.

This will hopefully give parents somewhere helpful to park, whilst reducing congestion and parking issues that locals will be all too aware of. We have our fingers crossed it will allow school green to recover from the relentless mud churning due to off-road parking. And if it goes well it should also means drop offs and pickups can be quicker for parents.

The Hills Committee welcomes the scheme and will be watching closely to see if it helps the situation once school resumes.

Councillor Judy Jennings, central to the plans, said before schools were shut:  ‘I am very pleased that this scheme will start soon after Easter and my grateful thanks to Jane Harvey, Head of Staples Road School who has had many meetings to enable the scheme to get underway. 

‘It will enable our children to make their journey to school breathing fresh, clean air, free from pollution and from the threat of traffic on the roads.

‘I am sure that parents and children will take up the scheme with enthusiasm as a way to safeguard and protect children on their way to and from Staples Road School.’

Apr 14 20

Hills ‘virtual’ Councillor Forum and AGM – Wednesday 13 May at 7.30pm

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To take part please email or call 07710099343

Apr 14 20

Hills Amenity Society Subscription Renewals

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Please click here to renew your subscription

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