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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.



May 18 14

County thinking again on dark streets

by admin

Switch off and on to match train times?

Essex County Council is keeping under review its decision to switch off streetlights across the county. This began as between midnight and 5am and is currently 1am to 5am.

Loughton Residents Association representative on the council, councillor Chris Pond, and Loughton Town Council had been pressing the county council to allow the lights to remain on everywhere in Loughton until 15 minutes after the last train arrives and to come on again 15 minutes before the first train in the mornings in recognition of the fact that Loughton’s economy and social life is firmly attuned to public transport times.

This was something also suggested by many residents who filled in the Hills Amenity Society questionnaire on the subject of part night lighting last year.

Councillor Pond said while he would welcome the change of turn off time from midnight to 1am, a subsequent later switch on at 6am would still not be convenient for those heading to work early on dark mornings in winter months.

He said: “The lights off time was changed to 1-5 during late April. That’s fine, BUT of course it has been light by 5 in May. The real test will be when early risers set off for work in September, not to mention November.

The bus stops served by early and late buses should remain protected by virtue of my agreement with the Council.”

Currently, other than where roads meet the county council’s strict exception criteria (i.e. the High Road and around roundabouts) or where there are legal or technical constraints preventing part night switch off (currently areas including a part of Staples Road, Englands Lane and Smarts Lane), lights are now out between midnight and 5am.

Anyone with queries about the switch off in their street can contact Essex County Council’s Customer Services Department via email at or write to: Customer Services, Essex Highways, PO Box 11, County Hall, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 1LX.

We’ll let you know via the HAS website when we hear more.

Although the 9 December date for Lights Out in the Hills was delayed until after the Christmas and New Year period, the regime of darkness between the hours of midnight and 5am was in force until April.

So far no horror stories have reached the Hills Amenity Society about incidents resulting from the darkness despite mixed feelings towards the policy expressed by some residents who had raised concerns about increased crime including burglaries and vandalism, and personal safety.

The policy of switching the streetlights off overnight is part of a nationwide move by councils to cut carbon emissions as well as to make financial savings. The lights that remain on are those in the town centre around retail and banking facilities and those at transport interchanges such as roundabouts.

The roll out of the policy in the Loughton area followed a pilot study in Maldon and Uttlesford by Essex County Council which reported no increase in crime levels in those areas as a result of part night lighting. There was also no demonstrable increase in road collisions.

It’s worth knowing that Essex County Council says on its website that Essex Police can ask for lights to be turned back on if they can demonstrate that there had been a significant increase in crime due to the introduction of part night lighting in an area. They won’t however, consider requests from individuals/members of the public.



May 16 14

New proposals for Hills parking

by admin

Consultation period will follow publication

Following last year’s parking consultation with residents, the North Essex Parking Partnership have identified several parking issues in the Hills area and intend to publish plans to resolve these shortly before a consultation period on the changes.

A residents’ parking permit scheme was decided against as a remedy to current problems after the initial consultation. Instead, residents identified key areas that needed attention through more targeted, smaller scale restrictions such as double yellow lines in key areas.

Details have not yet been finalised but Shane Taylor at the North Essex Parking Partnership said

“It is envisaged that the planning for those roads will be completed and finalised shortly after the Easter break which will provide adequate time for the commencement of the consultation period.

Our pictures show some of
the parking by selfish drivers
around York Hill and Staples Road

“The changes will be advertised once they are ready which will include an official consultation period where comments, including objections could be heard.”

Thank you to all Hills residents who participated in the North Essex Parking Partnership’s residents’ parking survey. It has helped the partnership to understand and deal with the parking issues in the area.  The partnership has informed Loughton Council that most people voted against implementing residents’ parking. Therefore, residents’ parking will not be put in place. Instead, residents reported specific problems that they felt would not be solved by introducing residents’ permits. Following this feedback the partnership will be implementing specific parking restrictions to deal with these reported problems. No details have been decided yet but we will keep you informed.

During the consultation stage, the Hills Committee met with Technical Team Leader Shane Taylor of the North Essex Parking Partnership to discuss proposals for residents’ parking restrictions in the Staples Road, Queens Road and York Hill areas on 16 April.  The meeting was also attended by County Councillor Chris Pond among a limited number of invited representatives.

Shane told the committee that the residents parking proposal had come about as a result of  specific complaints being made by a number of residents.  In particular these concerned cars parking at the bottom of Forest Way causing obstruction to vehicles entering and exiting the road;  parking and waiting vehicles at the bottom of York Hill causing obstructions in the road and on the pavement; and congestion and illegal parking on Staples road and School Green due to school traffic.

‘None of these issues would be resolved by a residents’ parking scheme’

He said that in his professional opinion none of these issues would be resolved by a residents’ parking scheme.

In discussion potential solutions for these specific complaints were discussed.  These might include double yellow lines at bottom of road Forest Way. Double yellow lines and enforcement by parking authorities and police at the bottom of York hill.  However based on revidence from other schools there was no real solution to the problem of parking around the school, particularly at dropping off and picking up times.

Issues around shoppers parking in Staples Road  and  the junction of Pump Hill and Queen’s Road along with a general problem of not enough spaces for residents had led NEPP in consultation with Epping Forest District Council to propose residents’ parking along with particular measures such as yellow lines.

There was consensus in the meeting that residents parking would not solve the issues raised.  Some issues such as general overcrowding could not be solved like this as the vast majority of the cars are owned by residents. Shane agreed with this assessment.

It was agreed that commuter parking was not the issue in this area at the moment.  Other localised issues such as Forest Way and Pump Hill could be solved by yellow lines and the school problem was best addressed by working with the school. Chris Pond, Shane Taylor and Alison Trauttmansdorff, a school governor, agreed to talk to the school to raise this.

Shane explained the proposal process and noted that the proposal would be based on the feedback he received. Residents’ parking may not be imposed if  the conclusion is that it would not help.

The current ‘informal’ consultation stage was being held before any decisions on a solution had been made. NEPP would not start to design the scheme until all residents  had been given the opportunity to voice opinions. Any resulting scheme would be based on this feedback.

Important residents make opinions known

This meant it was important that residents made their opinions known now at the ‘informal’ questionnaire stage so NEPP could make a decision on whether there should be full residents’ parking or a scheme more appropriate to the area’s needs.

If the majority of residents did want some form of parking restrictions (residents parking or otherwise) NEPP would  advertise the proposal with full details to all residents and there would be 21 days to object to any detail. The proposal would then be redesigned to resolve outstanding issues.

Shane told the committee that NEPP and LRA were very conscious of conservation needs of the area. Any implementation would have to take this into account and all residents, the Hills Society and the district council would have the opportunity to comment on any proposal.

It was also mentioned that residents’ parking or restriction in general could lead to residents creating more drive ways and removing protected hedges etc, meaning that the area would lose its feel and become harder to conserve.

Residents parking would potentially mean a need for pay and display or waiting bays but NEPP would endeavour to keep street furniture and markings to a minimum, such as signs only at the entrances to the area.

There was no set timeline for implementation. The larger the proposal the longer it would take. If a small solution of only double yellow lines in certain places were adopted then this would take less time to put in place.

If no proposal was taken forward it was not unusual for an area  not to be considered for another five years  because of limited resources. But at the same time it was important to make the right decision so residents did not have to live with restrictions that were a disadvantage to the area for the next five years.

Stephen Cohen, chairman-elect of the committee said: “It is hoped this information will help residents make a decision and residents  are urged to reply to the questionnaire and give their feedback at this stage so the most appropriate action can be taken. Please share this information with fellow residents.”

Questions and answers

Shane Taylor had previously  responded to questions put to him by the Hills committee (in green)

1. Could you give a brief outline of the steps to the whole process, including the ‘informal’ and ‘formal’ stages and highlighting at what steps:

At this current time we are merely ascertaining the general views/opinions regarding the introduction of a residents parking scheme or leaving things as they are. Depending on the results of the survey, we will then decide, in conjunction with the District Council if a scheme will be progressed to an official design stage or if no further action will be taken.

If majority support is available we would then arrange for the necessary advertising and formal consultation which would involve lettering residents again with details of a scheme, including information such as the position of signs and lines for example. This period lasts for 21 days and objections are viewed and answered within this time period. If objections are received they would be considered and if necessary amendments to a plan may be required. If amendments were considered to be above and beyond those planned then re-advertising would need to occur and a further 21 day consultation period adhered to. As you can see this can “drag” the time that schemes take to implement considerably and in some cases, schemes may be withdrawn if too many objections are received. If we advertise our intention to install a scheme or restrictions, after successfully answering objections but a party is still not happy with our response or plans they can challenge this in the High Court in the form of a judicial review. As you can see these matters can become quite complicated and there are numerous scenarios which can occur. We are not legally obliged to install restrictions or schemes however we can be legally challenged once we state our intentions to complete work. If we successfully answer objections and are not challenged we then advertise the fact that we intend to install a scheme etc which would then lead to the installation of the design elements such as signs and lines and enforcement would occur once this has been completed.

2. Will residents be able to feedback and vote on the project continuing/residents parking being implemented?

This will depend on the results of the survey which is currently being conducted and this is seen as an opportunity to have a say on whether further investigation/work is warranted.

3. Will Epping Council be able to input on conservation requirements?

This would need to be considered if a scheme is progressed.

4.Please explain the context of what is being proposed – why it is being proposed and the sorts of complaints you were receiving

We have received complaints from various parties from a number of the roads being surveyed and need to consider the area holistically as restrictions in one road will affect others if they too are not included. Complaints relate to access issues for larger vehicles, driveway/road obstructions/non resident based parking/school based parking
5.  Will there be an opportunity for an alternative solution to be considered if residents’ parking is not found to be appropriate. Would this opportunity be available if residents vote no at this stage?

Unfortunately we have consulted with the District Council and ward members and the two options detailed on the questionnaire are seen as the only two available in this scenario. Our work has had to gain the approval of the parking partnership board (consists of Harlow, Tendring, Braintree, Epping Forest, Uttlesford District Councils & Colchester Borough Council) due to the significant work required. Similar consultations have occurred elsewhere and future work is very much controlled by the responses we receive. We may consider nominal changes in locations where additional lines may be needed to prevent any parking such as the entrance to Forest Way and certain parts of York Hill.