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Jan 5 15

Juggernauts still plaguing York Hill

by admin


The boundary wall of the end terrace cottage near the entrance to Kings Hill has been repaired after being damaged twice in just a few months. And the culprit:  a giant lorry, AGAIN.

The previous occasion saw the owner running up the road in his pyjamas to catch the offending vehicle.

The second time (pictured) in November the offender was caught on a private Cctv camera: the outline of the truck can be made out at the top of the picture above right.  The damaged wall is pictured above left. Hills Committee continues to press for action to deter these massive intruders with faulty satnavs. The house is now for sale and we offer our condolences to the owner and thanks to Alison Trauttmansdorff for the pictures.


Jan 5 15

Hills plaque to be funded by County

by admin

IN DECEMBER Essex County Council announced they will fund improvements and maintenance work to York Hill Green. This includes the placement of a commemorative plaque on the Green to celebrate its special views over London as well as the 40th anniversary of the Hills Amenity Society.

Other work on the Green will include much needed maintenance of the wooden posts, repositioning and replacement of the yellow grit bin with one in Victorian style, and restyling of road signage to be more in keeping with the conservation area.

Loughton Town Council successfully applied for the funding after over a year’s collaboration with the Hills Amenity Society and the City of London, who own the land. The Plaque will depict the view from the Green, illustrated by local artist Daniel Wallis and installed by Loughton Town Council.

The work is expected to be carried out in the spring with an unveiling ceremony to follow. We will keep you updated, so watch this space! Maybe another excuse for a celebration on the Green?


Jan 5 15

Yellow lines for York Hill and Staples Road

by admin

Jan 4 15

Strong opposition to new housing estate

by admin

Epping Forest District Council has received an application to develop Trevelyan House and its adjoining buildings into a mini estate of 10 homes on the site which abuts the Potato Field allotments.  At its meeting the Hills Amenity Society expressed concern that access to the site might be sought via Church Hill and Monkchester Close, a route which would almost certainly impinge on allotment land.  The development would also create a “development bridge” between Baldwins Hill via Stony Path and the almshouses.

Diane Rhodes has submitted the following detailed opposition to the proposal:

  • Planning Procedures

  • As Loughton Potato Ground (LPG) is the neighbour with the most land adjoining this site, we are disappointed that EFDC did not consult us, particularly as the allotment site is part of the Baldwins Hill Conservation Area.
  • As the applicant, Trevalyn House Limited, is including a section of our land as part of their access to their potential development, they should have served a notice on us before submitting a planning
  • Further, they have signed the Planning Application Form as being the owner of all the land which is completely untrue as evidenced by the Land Registry documents of Loughton Potato Ground and Trevelyan House which are in the possession of EFDC.’s Planning
  • It is unclear whether they are including Epping Forest land owned by the Conservators as being in their ownership too!

As the applicant is not the owner of land he needs to access the site from Monkchester Close, and has not served notice to the LPG, this planning application is invalid as per Article 12 of the Town & Country Planning (Development Management) Procedure Order 2010.   Furthermore, Section 65(5) of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 says that a local planning authority shall not “entertain” any application for planning permission where these requirements have not been satisfied.

It would appear the proper planning procedures have not been followed.

  • Housing

This site is not urban but meets the Essex Design Guide of Arcadia as it is set in the surrounding landscape of Epping Forest, Loughton Potato Ground and Whitaker’s Almshouses which add an air of rurality.   Fewer houses specifically designed for this old part of Loughton would have been preferable than standard designs taken out of a filing cabinet to cram on the site.   The development does not do justice to this particular location.

The present proposal is overdevelopment of the site and the style of houses out of keeping with the location.

  • Boundaries – Trees/Hedgerow

  • We are not clear from the documents what the applicant proposes for our three boundaries, bearing in mind the Conservation Area (CA) status. These allotments are 200 years old and the second oldest in the country in continuous cultivation and little changed in time.   They were in the forefront of allotment provision in this country.   We are in discussion with English Heritage regarding Historic Landscape status
  • We are concerned about the future health of some of our trees, where it is being proposed to prune them back to the boundary.   As you know trees with 3” diameter or more are designated trees and protected by CA status.   We request Tree Protection Warning Signs to be installed on our trees.
  • We have concerns for the Root Protections Areas (RPA’s) of our trees on the boundaries, particularly where buildings need to be demolished and new building work constructed.
  • We request a Construction Exclusion Zone (CEZ) to protect our trees.
  • It is proposed that protection of trees on the development site and our third party trees are to be under the control of the Local Authority, who refuses to discuss this with us or visit our site, in liaison with the developer and exclude us.

We shall hold the Local Authority responsible for any damage to our trees or their roots or if any die as a result of buildings works.    We shall take the necessary legal action against EFDC and the developer if damage occurs.

We request that no materials or machinery is stored near our trees/hedgerow and no ground disturbance which would affect our trees.   We request our trees and their roots are to be protected by fencing.

We request that the Chairman of LPG is involved in the discussions regarding our boundary trees and hedgerows.

  • Tree Protection

In the Tree Protection Plan seems to show a section of ‘Old Lane’ to be dug up but there is no authority for the developer to do this as they are not the landowner.

  • Highways

We are not allowing the use of Old Lane, which is in our ownership, to be used by anyone delivering to or working on the development site and request a protection barrier so that construction traffic does not go astray.   Neither shall it be used by residents who may live in the houses built there.

If any damage occurs on Old Lane, or trespass, legal action will be taken.

  • Old Lane is not a public footpath or for public access generally and has been in existence and in our ownership for at least 200 years.   It is private land.

We refer to Ordnance Survey map of 1880 which clearly shows the footpath and ‘Old Lane’ leading into the allotments and not part of Trevelyan House which was not in existence then.

Any damage caused to anything or anyone on Loughton Potato Ground as described in our Land Registry document, will be referred to the Charity Commission with whom the land is vested.

  • The entrance to the Trevelyan House site from Monkchester Close is below highway standards and does not meet their criteria.   They have sent a copy of a plan to Essex Highways indicating they own ‘Old Lane’ and can therefore meet the standard.   This is blatant manipulation and completely untrue.   So Essex Highways have given their approval to a false document.
  • Further, there is a highway safety issue when plotholders exit the site, whether pedestrians or cars, on to “Old Lane’, they will not be able to see any traffic exiting the Trevelyan House site and vice versa.   The safety of plotholders seems to have been omitted in these documents.

The entrance of Trevelyan House does not meet highway standards and puts plotholders’ safety at risk.

  • Traffic

Traffic accidents occurring on Goldings Hill, which is the A121 and a Major Distributor Road, are only shown at or near the junction with Monkchester Close as being two or three minor occurrences.   Whereas the number of personal injury accidents on Goldings Hill for the last two years are 22.   There have been other accidents either not reported or not causing personal injury.   There have also been fatal accidents on Goldings Hill.

As can be seen from Essex County Council’s figures, this is a very busy road and is difficult to access on to or from side roads due to the heavy traffic.   It has been proven A-roads are more dangerous than motorways because of side roads and we have six on Goldings Hill.   It is used by vehicles wanting to access or exiting from the M25 motorway about two miles away.

The A121, Goldings Hill, is heavily used by traffic and any additional side road movements will only increase the dangers.

The information given on accessing the town centre, local schools, the college and underground stations on foot are very misleading as new or even existing residents would not walk those distances.   This site is in the northern most part of the town as it is only 2 minutes walk from Epping Forest.

  • Misleading information on accessing essential places.

  • Parking

There is inadequate parking for that number of 3 and 4 bedroom houses and their visitors.   There is no other land available for them to use.

There is inadequate parking for the proposed number of houses and visitors.

  • Appendices A ST-2397-01 and E ST-2397-02 in the Stomor Transport Statement are totally incorrect in terms of land ownership of ‘Old Lane’(see Land Registry documents).

  • Contaminated Lane

We request that no contamination on to LPG takes place when dealing with the contamination of this site.




Jan 4 15

All three appraisals now adopted – and allotments included

by admin

ALL THREE CHARACTER APPRAISALS prepared and developed in draft by the Hills Amenity Society have now been adapted for adoption by Epping Forest District Council, the first two in April and the third, Baldwins Hill, in June.

The appraisals, which can be found on the Council’s website or are available in hard copy form from the Council offices, define the character of the three areas and outline management plans for the area.

The major change is to the Baldwins Hill Conservation Area which, following pressure from the Hills Amenity Society and other bodies, now includes the Almshouses and adjoining Loughton Potato Ground which has been widely welcomed as important protection for the future.

The management plan for Staples Road states:


General management objectives to preserve and enhance the conservation area


1. Ensure that any new development is to a high standard and is sympathetic to the character and appearance of the conservation area in terms of scale, massing, style and materials.

2. Discourage the use of unsympathetic modern materials such as uPVC, untreated aluminium and concrete roof tiles.

3. Ensure that the clean and tidy environment expected in a conservation area is maintained.

Short term objectives for enhancement

4. Discuss with local community groups how we can inform new residents and businesses that their properties are in a conservation area and the responsibility that this entails.

5. Carry out an audit of street furniture with particular reference to repair or replacing where necessary.

Medium term objectives for enhancement

6. Evaluate the visual impact and necessity of signage in the conservation area with a view to removing any unnecessary signs and replacing those necessary ones with more sympathetic alternatives.

And for Baldwins Hill only:

- Assess the current conservation area boundary and see if alterations need to be made


May 28 14

Plan to grow Baldwins Hill Conservation Area

by admin

Historic allotments and almshouses to be given protection?

The historic Loughton Potato Ground allotments and the Almshouses at the bottom of Stony Path are being recommended to Epping Forest District Council for inclusion in the Baldwins Hill Conservation Area.

The surprise move, advocated in 2009 in the Hills Amenity Society draft appraisal for Baldwins Hill, follows growing recent interest in developing land adjacent to the allotments accessed from Monkchester Close, seen by many as the “thin end of a wedge” to begin a case for developing the allotments.

The Conservation Officer, Maria Kitts, and Asst Director for Development Control, Nigel Richardson, supported by Cllrs Caroline Pond and Bob Jennings, are understood to be recommending the move to Cabinet when the Baldwins Hill appraisals are discussed.

Nigel Richardson, has circulated the map (labove) for information.  He said: “At this stage the appraisal has yet to be put forward for Council Cabinet approval and as such, has still to be formally adopted.”   He added that he was “reasonably confident” the Cabinet would accept it.

Welcoming the news, Diane Rhodes, plotholder of the Potato Ground and ex Trustee, said she was “absolutely delighted” with the about-turn by the Council and felt this would offer a great deal of important protection against those with thoughts of encroaching on to the site which has such great historic significance and is much valued by today’s plotholders.

Map shows proposed Baldwins Hill Conservation Area including the Potato Grounds and Almshouses at the bottom of Stony Path. Baldwins Hill runs bottom left to top centre


May 21 14

Update – May 2014

by admin

The Hills e-newsletter for Spring 2014 is now available online here. We hope to distribute a revised paper version of this over the next couple of weeks.  Subscriptions are now due:  please download the Hills Subscription form.

Hills Picnic this Sunday, Sunday 25 May

Open Meeting and AGM Thurs 29 May 7.30 at The Gardeners Arms:  All Welcome

Decision still waited on Staples Road Primary School extension for 105 more pupils

York Hill and Staples Road Appraisals are approved

ECC change of heart on time of lights out?

Parking remedies to be announced soon

New Hills building boom promises disruption

·        Woodbury Hill scene changer plan for new house and contemporary extension

·         Bid for extra floors on York Crescent flats

·        Big Plan for Baldwins Hill home

·         Triangle of development for Pump Hill/Queens Road

·         Why do you live here? – A personal plea

·         Plan to rebuild gable Lodge

…and York Hill pothole filled at last!


May 20 14

Hills AGM – Thursday 29 May

by admin

at The Gardeners Arms, York Hill

at 7.30pm

Topics will include planning proposals, lighting,

Staples Road School, planning, issues—and the  picnic

Patricia Moxley will speak on why we need trees




May 20 14

The Hills Picnic – Sunday 25 May

by admin

Remember that happy Bank Holiday picnic last summer?

Let’s have a picnic!

Sun 25 May


It’s that time of year again! The bank holiday Sunday will be another opportunity to hang out the flags on York Hill Green. Epping Forest Commissioners and the police have approved the closure of roads at the top of York Hill from 12.00 noon to 4pm. So bring out the chairs, rugs and pack your picnic hampers.

After last year’s fun you don’t need a better excuse to enjoy your Sunday afternoon with friends and join us on the green and in the Gardeners Arms.
It’s entirely FREE so just turn up and enjoy. And if you would like to take part by offering cakes for charity, face painting or help put up flags please contact



May 19 14

Two appraisals given go-ahead by Council

by admin

Working Party will now seek meeting to discuss action plan

Two of the three appraisals of the Hills Conservation Areas have now been approved for publication by Epping Forest District Council—six years after work began by a special committee of the Hills Amenity Society to draft them.

Conservation Area Officer Maria Kitts announced the good news in an email to Ian Locks who chaired the working party which met over a two year period.

Ms Kitts explained Internal debates about levels of responsibility led to the decision that character appraisals had to be authorised by Cabinet, rather than by a Planning Committee.

Said Ms Kitts: “The good news is that the Staples Road and York Hill Character Appraisals have been officially published, as agreed by Cabinet last month. I have been hanging fire because the documents are with a printing firm as we speak and so I don’t yet have any hard copies, which are due in the next few working days.

“Electronic copies of the appraisals will be uploaded to the website asap and I will be writing to all the residents to inform them of where they can view the published appraisals.”

The Baldwins Hill Character Appraisal, and a request to create an Article 4 Direction, will be put before the next Cabinet meeting in June as there is not one in May due to the council elections.

All three appraisals were revised by the Council before publication but with some of our major proposals omitted.

However the council has agreed to meet representatives of the Hills to discuss some of the key recommendations by the Hills working party.  These included the introduction of a 20mph speed limit throughout the conservation areas and the extension to York and Baldwins Hills of what is known as the Article Four Direction which applies in Staples Road and particularly applies to changes to frontages and boundary markers.

The main purpose of the Appraisals is to protect the status of the conservation areas and provide a reference point for future planning approvals.

After a relatively quiet few years a spate of major new projects is threatening to disrupt the area once again in future years including the pulling down and rebuilding of Mulberry and the possibility of a new house and major extension to Woodberrie, both in Woodbury Hill. A similar concentration of projects applies at the top of Queens Road and in Pump Hill.  See “Three in a Row” on our website.

The Baldwins Hill Appraisal is likely to be the most radical with the introduction of an Article Four Direction which will bring in tight new controls to road boundaries and the fronts of properties.

Once formally adopted, residents would be notified by post and the document would be published online, as well as hard copies being made available at the Civic Offices.

Said Maria Kitts: “I am working on the creation of an Article 4 Direction for Baldwins Hill which will be accompanied by letters/leaflets to the residents explaining the document and specifying the period of time during which they can make representations. If all goes to plan, it is possible that Baldwins Hill will also be considered at the next DDCC meeting.”

Ian Locks, who chaired the working group which prepared the three appraisals, said: “This is so long awaited – but perhaps even more welcome because of that.  We very much hope the adoption of these reports will help to maintain the character of the three conservation areas.  Always remembering, of course, that the purpose is not to prevent change –rather to try to ensure that change enhances rather than diminishes the amenities, character and appearance of at least the three conserved areas.”

Local authorities have a duty to formulate and publish proposals for the preservation and enhancement of their conservation areas and to this effect would normally draw up a character appraisal defining what special characteristics that area has, noting buildings and features of importance and identifying possible ways in which the area might be further enhanced in the future.

Once approved and published the document can then be used for all manner of useful purposes including increasing public awareness of the area’s special character, providing a useful tool to guide future development in the area.