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Apr 15 19

Watch out they’re after your car!

by admin

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

by admin


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

by admin

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

by admin

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.


Oct 19 18

Crime vanishes as police take notice

by admin

Police crime figures for June, July and August tell a remarkable story: early in the year Baldwins Hill was plagued with a series of car break-ins. In mid-summer the unmistakeable signs of drug dealing and petty (and not so petty) crime that went with it. Complaints to police went unheeded until a meeting was called at the Foresters Arms in mid-August to form a Neighbourhood Watch group for that area. Police moved in and Bingo! – no crime reported in Baldwins Hill (see illustrations right) which show six, five and zero crimes reported. Councillor Stephen Pewsey commented: “I’ve noticed static police vehicles on Baldwins Hill, just deterring drug dealing, drug abuse and drug driving. It is good news that, stretched as they are, police are taking the problem seriously”. Can this last? Probably not: as reported on HillsWatch on 27 September by Jane “Our neighbour had their Range Rover stolen off their driveway last night in Baldwins Hill !!! He told me…(he) has CCTV to look at. He is not in the (HillsWatch) group so thought I’d post warning…Vermin. Be aware.”

Loughton Community Police Team commented: “We encourage reporting of incidents to inform decision and officer/staff deployment but also to give Essex police a more accurate picture of demand. The tale of Baldwins Hill shows persistence CAN pay off.

So please log all local crime at and help us get a little more attention from


Oct 19 18

Plans for 20mph zones move step closer

by admin

Council would like to hear your views

Loughton Town Council’s Local Highways Panel and its Heritage and Environment Committee have agreed to support the request made by the Hills Amenity Society for a 20 mph speed limit zone throughout the conservation areas and nearby roads. The request was made through Councillor Chris Pond when he addressed an open meeting of the Hills at the Gardeners Arms in May.

Cllr. Pond subsequently arranged for a council officer to visit the area and examine the proposal. He reports: “The officer asked me to make sure the HAS realise that, in order to comply with the law, roundels will have to be painted on the road surface. Having been round the area, she thought it might detract from the Conservation Area. The newsletter might be a way of gauging local reaction.”

Would roundels at the start of each section of, for example, York Hill, Staples Road, Queens Road and Baldwins Hill, be acceptable as a calming measure along our narrow roads?

A sign of exasperation with speeding motorists is exampled by the two“skid-risk 20mph” signs which have appeared between the top and narrowest part of York Hill.

Please make your views known on HillsWatch Facebook page, email or contact Cllr Pond direct by emailing


Aug 18 18

Baldwins Hill Watch group formed

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Residents push back after series of car break-ins and thefts believed linked to increase in drug dealing and taking

A new neighbourhood watch group was formed for the Baldwins Hill area last night (Wednesday) by some 20 residents who met at the Foresters Arms at the invitation of licensee Lucy and organised by Sue Taylor of the Epping Forest Neighbourhood Watch.

The new group will be run by Lucy and will focus on the current prime concern of drug dealing and taking which the meeting concluded is leading to many related offence of theft from vehicles and homes and anti-social behaviour generally. Hills Watch will establish a link to the new group and work closely with it.  Hills Amenity Society welcomes this initiative and hopes it will lead to other associated groups being established along the forest edge in the York Hill, Staples Road, Queens Road and linked roads.

Co-ordinator Lucy can be contacted at (or by visiting the pub for a drink and/or meal!

Addressing the group former police officer Paul Harris offered a great deal of good advice on keeping homes, cars and possession safe. He also proposed a plan for pulsing back on drugs and drug dealing which the meeting concluded is at the root of the current spate of offences.

He urged all residents to start a log of what they see by:

  • Recording time, date and location
  • Numbers of people with and descriptions where possible
  • Registration numbers of vehicles
  • What is left behind (capsules, cigarette papers etc)

He said that by recording such information and filing it with Essex Police we would raise the level of priority given to this area. As always, in cases of emergency ring 999, less urgent to 101 and for the record by email to or using the online service


Jul 19 18

Epstein’s famous studio TRASHED!

by admin

Epping Forest District Council decided no prior notification or permission was required to demolish Sir Jacob Epstein’s former studios in the grounds of 46 Baldwins Hill on the corner with Whitakers Way and the developers wasted no time at the end of July in demolishing the wooden building – apparently in the way of their plans for developing this site. The ignominious end for the great man’s studio was to be dumped in a skip – pictured here for posterity. A sad loss.


May 15 18

Hills issues raised at meetings with the police

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Police Commissioner hears message loud and clear

Both impressive and a bit depressing was the verdict of the meeting with the Police and Fire Crime Commissioner for Essex with Police and Fire colleagues at EFDC council chamber. Impressive because the commitment to get things right came through strongly. A bit depressing that with their resources the police can only ever hope to target prio

rities. Impressive because they caught a pest who had been breaking into cars along Baldwins

Hill. Depressing because he got nine weeks in jail…suspended. Impressive – and hopeful – because the Commissioner is dedicated to raising the number of volunteer ‘specials’ to bring back local policing, so he has heard the message that we feel neglected when victims of crime and no one takes any notice. Depressing because so few of us went to Epping to deliver the message that we care. So let’s try and do better next time!

Street lights ‘no crime impact’

Apparently turning off street lights in the small hours has not affected crime levels according to a report prepared for Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex Roger Hirst (pictured). Full report on

Drugs, car theft and parking

Drug dealing, car theft and parking emerged as the three top concerns of residents who attended the meeting with Loughton Neighbourhood Police at St. Mary’s Church. The meeting, impressively led by PC Mark Arnold, was an opportunity for Loughton residents to share their concerns and for the police team of PC Arnold and two PCSO colleagues to explain the daily challenge of their small team dealing with an average seven calls a day, seven days a week. The need to prioritise was obvious and calls involving threat or harm to life had to come first – unless the duty team was directed to a major incident elsewhere in Essex. To scale the problem,

the 197 calls one recent month in Loughton and Debden compared with 141 in Waltham Abbey, 115 in Epping and 51 in Ongar.
The consensus of the meeting was this was a highly committed team determined not to be overwhelmed by the size of the challenge facing them and to focus on the things which were causing greatest distress. PC Arnold and his colleagues received well-deserved applause. We heard that publi

c nuisance offences  – youths cycling dangerously along pavements, jostling, disturbance and the like – had subsided with the colder weather and following the closure of two trouble spots in the High Road.The idea of more match-funded or group funded specials for areas where there is a special need for more policing is there on the table. ..oh and we learned that the car thief apprehended and convicted after a long-running spate in Baldwins Hill had apparently moved to Debden with his suspended sentence. Hopefully a sufficiently long walk from the Hills!