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Oct 19 18

Plans for 20mph zones move step closer

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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!

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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!


May 15 18

Speeding: Your bin can be in the front line

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Speeding: Your bin can be at the front line

While we continue to press for a 20 mph speed limit, here is a simple idea for traffic calming which may appeal to Hills residents concerned about the seemingly increasing speed of so much local traffic, especially along those lengths with no footpaths – and pavements blocked by parked vehicles. Hills Amenity Society is purchasing stickers which can be placed on wheelie bins and act as a reminder one day a week that many of our local roads are shared by vehicles and pedestrians.  To apply for your FREE sticker please email The Hon. Secretary on with your name and address and one will be delivered to you.


May 15 18

Hills open meeting and AGM – all welcome

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Hills open meeting and AGM – all welcome

Hills open meeting and AGM will be held on Tuesday 22 May 2018 at the Gardeners Arms at 7.30pm followed by a talk by County Councillor Chris Pond whose talk will be entitled Old as the Hills – Local issues over the last 30 years as I saw them. All residents of the Hills Conservation Areas and adjoining roads are most welcome to attend.


Nov 1 17

Blue Plaque Heritage Trail

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There are 11 Blue Plaques dotted around the three conservation areas of Staples Road, York Hill and Baldwins Hill marking former residences of famous people. Make that 12 – which we do – if you include the one for Ruth Rendell – she of the mysteries – in Millsmead Way, just off Baldwins Hill on the way down towards Homebase.

We have put together a heritage trail in the form of a walk around the three conservation areas which can be downloaded here. Enjoy!



Nov 1 17

HillsWatch now active

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A Facebook Page has been created for HillsWatch, the neighbourhood watch scheme for the Hills Conservation areas of York Hill, Staples Road and Baldwins Hill.

May 13 17

Stony Path and Wroths Path

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For our Spring/Summer 2017 Newsletter we invited local councillor Stephen Pewsey to comment on our story concerning the corner of the two roads following a picture submitted by a local resident.  Councillor P{ewes responded, but his contribution was too late to ben included.  Here is what he says:

“Firstly the verge. I’m not sure when the photo was taken but the greenery has since re-grown with considerable vigour (I don’t know anybody who’s successfully killed a determined clump of green alkanet!) and it looks pretty much back to normal. You might not be aware but Wroths Path residents have for years regularly cut back and reduced the shrubs at this corner as it’s otherwise difficult to spot cars coming up Stony Path when you’re trying to turn out of Wroths Path.

“On the fence itself, which is within the conservation area, I believe the owner was informed that he had breached CA guidelines and was advised to apply for retrospective planning permission. This he did, and the application was turned down, and the issue is now with the enforcement team although, as is so often the case, they may decide to take no action. The fence was of course installed following an evening of arson attacks in the area by a marauding gang of teens known as the “Cottage Loaf Mob”. Although most of the fires they lit around the town were small-scale, this one did burn down the chap’s conifer hedge.

“On the external damage caused by contractors, a request for a permanent new street nameplate has been made to ECC Highways, as has the damage to the road/pavement surface. Although the nameplate will be replaced in due course, repairing the surface damage is far less certain. As I’m sure you know, there is a great deal of this sort of thing going on across the town (I have had my eye on a very bad example in Forest View Road where about 50m of pavement has been completely wrecked by builders). In theory, Highways inspectors are meant to check sites where planning permission has been granted before and after work has been completed, and bill the contractor for any defects, but in practice they are overwhelmed with work and too few in number, so this rarely happens.”

Dec 8 16

Local Plan – make your views known

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Hills Amenity Society has been largely silent on the Local Plan and the massive changes proposed by the Epping Forest District Council because no part of the plan directly impacts on the three Loughton conservation areas.  Individually your committee members all have their own views – some strong – about the loss of car parking space, intensification of development and loss of amenities which the plan, if implemented, will mean to the Town.
However it has been pointed out to us that the plan is silent on the fact that part of Queens Road (that is, all but the bottom end adjoining York Hill) is currently an Area of Townscape Merit.

Your committee feels that this is unfortunate and that the Draft Development Plan should specifically include the status of Area of Townscape Merit for Queens Road. We have accordingly made representation through the Local Plan consultation process and do please make your views known through
The consultation period ends on 12 December so this is a final call to make your views known. The plan can be found at and the consultation link is
The Hills submission states:

Draft Development Plan –  Area of Townscape Merit Queens Road, Loughton

The Hills Amenity Society, the organisation for the York Hill, Baldwins Hill and Staples Road Conservation Areas, Loughton, wishes to express concern over the position of Queens Road, Loughton, in the plan. Part of Queens Road is included in the York Hill Conservation Area and part, currently, is designated an Area of Townscape Merit.
The Heritage Assets Review EFDC in 2013 recommended the designation of Areas of Townscape Merit for areas – which included Queens Road and the Uplands in Loughton – that did not meet the criteria for Conservation Area designation but which still merited planning protection.
This has been omitted from the draft local plan and largely overlooked so far in the conservation area process and we now formally ask for the designation of Areas of Townscape Merit to be reinstated into the plan with proposed policy DM7.