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Town Mayor talks of ‘her year’ to Hills Society AGM – and urges closer cooperation

by admin on May 21st, 2016

Councillor Judith Jennings, a York Hill Resident, spoke of her year as Loughton’s Town Mayor at the annual meeting of Hills Amenity Society held at Gardeners Arms, York Hill on Thursday 19 May and urged closer co-operation between the Town Council and the Society.

In his report the chairman, Stephen Cohen, highlighted the work of the society on planning issues, street lighting, parking, litter and community building through the autumn lunch, this year attended by more than 40 residents, and the picnic on York Hill Green.

A highlight of the year had been the joint project between Essex County Council, Loughton Town Council, the City Corporation and the Hills Amenity Society to erect an orientation plaque at the top of York Hill Green – a project proposed by the Society to mark its formation 40 years earlier.  The plaque had both a civic and a society unveiling, the latter performed by Councillor Jennings before the autumn lunch at Gardeners Arms (pictured).


Perhaps the greatest disappointment had been the Inspector’s overruling of district council rejection of plans for a new development adjacent to Woodberrie, the prominent corner site of Woodbury and Kings Hill.  Proposals to develop the site with four houses in 1972 had been the spur to form the Society following a number of unpopular hoping developments in Baldwins Hill and York Hill during the 1960s.

Treasurer Peter Wynn reported that a series of unusual items, including a dip in subscription revenue,  had combined to create a small deficit in the year’s accounts for the year ends 31 March 2016.  However subscription revenue looked more promising this year and had already exceeded last years’ figure.

He reported:

Income from subs last year was £373.00 and has been gradually declining over the last 3 or 4 years. However to date this year we have had subs payments from 80 residents amounting to £413.00 with a couple paying a supplementary donation and a couple paying the old amount of £4.00.

Expenditure for the year was rather more than usual due to various factors- an increase of 25% in cost of insurance,  rather more printing costs than in previous years, purchase of a printer for use of the planning representative to name a few.

We are very grateful and fortunate that the newsletters are produced free of charge by one of our residents, Marcus Warren of the OMM group. Without this assistance the newsletter would be a much less attractive production so thank you indeed Marcus.

The committee will be looking into ways of either reducing expenditure or generating more revenue to ensure continuity of the society.

In her address Councillor Jennings said:


What Does the Mayor Actually Do?

My name is Judy Jennings and I am the current Mayor of Loughton. I am a Loughton Town councillor and last May I was elected to be Mayor by the other members of the Town Council. I have been the Mayor for eight months and during that time I have carried out 68 engagements, not a bad record, but people have often asked me “but what does the Mayor actually do?” so I will try to give you a brief explanation of what goes on in a Mayor’s year.

My first role is to chair Council meetings. I make sure that all councillors are involved in the discussions and that they have an opportunity to speak and keep to the point (sometimes a challenging task). I have to ensure that the decisions taken by the council are lawful and effective.

I also represent the Council at official events such as those put on by the City of London, Epping Forest District Council, and other neighbouring local councils.

You may have seen me in all my finery at official functions in the town or spotted me shopping in the High Road or having a cup of coffee with a friend in one of our many cafes or bistros. What a contrast! I look quite different!

And no, there is no clothes allowance or official limo. It is lucky I like to walk!

As Town Mayor I have attended many local charitable events and also represent the Town Council at important ceremonies that the Town organizes for its residents.

Many Charities benefit from a visit by the Mayor enabling them to raise their profile in the community.

I have attended events organised by the St. Clare Hospice, Chigwell Riding Trust, Restore Centre, Abbeyfield Society, Loughton Voluntary Care and the Jack Petchey Awards.

The Town Council and the Loughton Residents Association Councillors make sure that they support the local community and in addition to their other duties they organise many important events where the Mayor takes a central role representing the Council.

This year’s events have included Remembrance Sunday, the Dedication of new names on the War Memorial and the Commemoration of the falling of the first bomb in the London Civil Defence Area, which was marked by the dedication of a lovely planter in The Drive.

These events mean so much to Loughton families and I am glad to be able to show my respect by attending and saying a few words at these moving ceremonies.

The Town Council also organizes a number of local competitions, such as Best Allotment, Best Christmas Card design, Best Christmas Window Display in a local Shop and these are great fun for the Mayor as I get to go around Loughton meeting people and finally helping to judge the winners and award the prizes.

In the Spring I lit a beacon for the Queen’s birthday on the 21st April and also dedicated a plaque in memory of Ruth Rendell, the author of the famous Inspector Wexford stories.

I am also busy making final preparations for the annual Civic Awards Service when we honour Loughton’s Citizen of the Year in a very unique ceremony with guests including the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, a soprano soloist, a Brass Band Ensemble, a children’s choir and of course our local citizens.

And so you see that the Town Mayor’s role is not just to cut silken ribbons and pat little babies on the head. I look forward to those things very much but it has not happened yet.

I chose The Lopping Hall and Loughton Voluntary Care as my Mayor’s charities and also raised funds for St. Clare’s Hospice. This was raised as part of Loughton Town Council’s Charity events that I attended.

I write my own speeches for the events that I attend. I prepare for Council meetings by liaising beforehand with the Town Clerk and making notes on what I am going to say.

I read the agendas carefully and note who might like to speak and make notes on any questions that might arise during the meetings.

I also read the briefing notes on the events that I am to attend so that I understand what the event is about and so that I know whom to to greet when I arrive and whom to thank when I leave.

I do like to prepare for each event carefully as I know what hard work goes into these events and how important it is to the organisers that these things run smoothly are enjoyed by everybody.

You have asked me about the role of HAS in relation to the Council

The HAS can play a vital role in the future of Loughton by contributing to the Local Plan.

The Town Council needs your contribution by perhaps a membership survey or by setting up a workshop to put forward what your vision for the future development of the area might be.

Members of HAS or their representative are welcome to attend Planning meetings and are able to speak at meetings for a maximum of three minutes providing they make sure they inform the Town Clerk before the agenda is set.

The Town Council would like to hear your views on the Local Plan






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