BACKGROUND - TOWN CENTRES
Sainsbury’s (Torrington Drive) (February 2014)
The store has now closed for refurbishment. The empty shops will be demolished and a new, larger car-park created.
The High Road and The Broadway
These are our two major shopping centres - the High Road is the largest
in Epping Forest District. Both centres are showing their age and are
not well suited to modern shopping habits and traffic conditions.
southern and middle sections of the High Road were refurbished in the
first half of the 2000’s – we are working to get improvements to the
rest of the High Road, north of the traffic lights, and to reduce the
traffic and pedestrian delays caused by these lights.
We are trying to improve the planting of the central islands in The Broadway. the Broadway have had to be watered down.
Maintenance & Repairs
LRA councillors are always active in seeking much-needed maintenance and repair works.
You can help by reporting problems.
Please contact your local LRA councillor if the problem continues.
Between the Forest and the river
Surrounded by land that cannot be developed, Loughton's 'island'
situation can be threatened as the demand for homes grows. In-filling -
the demolition of a large building and replacement by a number of
smaller dwellings - has become common and can be acceptable if the
design is in sympathy with surrounding buildings and the site is not
overcrowded. However LRA opposes backland development - the building of
houses on parts of gardens - as there are often problems of access,
site overcrowding and overlooking other properties. We do not support
the use of Green Belt land where other options exist.
LRA Town Councillors have worked to preserve the surrounding
environment for local residents, particularly by reinforcing the open
aspect of land between Loughton and Theydon Bois and acquiring the
Willingale Road fields as a playing field. They secured transfer of two
allotment sites from the District Council to the Town Council, and the
transfer of ownership of the Roding Valley fields.
Loughton (February 2015)
are afoot at both the High Road and The
Broadway Town Centre Partnerships, which bring together traders and
The High Road team (known as Loughton1st)
welcome anyone who’d like to join in with organising their exciting
range of 2015 events – just email Loughton1st
for more information, or
come along to the meetings on
the first Tuesday of each month, 6pm at St Mary’s Church, 201 High Road.
The provisional list is:
Friday April 3rd: St Mary’s & Churches Together
Saturday April 25th: Morris Dancing
on Centric Parade
Saturday May 2nd: May Queen on
Saturday May 16th: Fashion event
Sunday June 21st: Classic Cars/
Saturday July 4th: Independents Day
Sunday July 5th: Howzat! Event
on the cricket field
Saturday July 11th: Love
Saturday October 31st: Halloween
Friday November 27th: Light
up Loughton – children’s
concert at St Mary’s
Saturday November 28th: Light
up Loughton events
Pavements (north end) (February
After long discussions, Essex County
Council have finally admitted
responsibility for maintaining the pavements outside the shops to the
north of the traffic lights, on the west side. LRA Cllr Chris Pond is
now trying to get them to actually carried out repairs on the areas
which have been trip hazards and puddle-creators for far too long.
The hall has been refurbished, and now
has the Arts
Centre on the ground floor. More.
Loughton High Road refurbishment scheme
After years of campaigning by LRA and planning by consultants, council
officers and Town Centre groups, two-thirds of the planned work was
completed. LRA has been pressing for more work to be done to improve
the appearance of the north end of the shopping and to improve the
traffic flow in the High Road – see High Road enhancement.
High Road rubbish collection
Problems are caused by traders' rubbish being put out ahead of its
collection, often overnight and often for more than one day. Legally
rubbish left on the pavement is the responsibility of the trader until
it is picked up by the contractor. District Council officers are on the
lookout for 'offenders'.
The hall has been refurbished, and now has the Arts Centre on the ground floor. More.
Broadway Post Office (February 2015)
understand that the business of the PO has more
than halved in recent years, and as a result a standalone PO in the
Broadway is no longer viable. The Post Office are intending to
re-contract the post office provision to McCalls opposite, where much
longer hours will be worked. This is similar to what was done in Epping
High Street 3-4 years ago. The existing premises will revert to Epping
Forest District Council, who have plans to extend the premises down
into Torrington Drive.
There will be a period of consultation
from Thursday February 5th, when
the PO will ascertain the views of customers.
Broadway – parking (February
The Broadway review may start in
2015-16 – the District Council is
finally making (slow) progress on the Buckhurst Hill scheme.
Broadway – redevelopment (February
Despite strong opposition from
residents and LRA, developers have
obtained planning permission for a 7-storey block with 64 flats and
ground-floor retail units to replace the Sir Winston Churchill pub and
the garages behind it – the site is owned by the Council. More.
green. (February 2014)
LRA Cllr Jennie Hart has succeeded in getting the District Council to
plant a shrub border along one of the walls of Brickclamps Path.
In addition, The Broadway’s
central reservation is being planted with roses and ground cover – we
wait to see whether the plants will survive. We have so far failed to
persuade the council to put paving on the central reservation beds at
the places where people actually cross (“non-designated crossing
points”) – a bit of “health & safety” silliness – but we hope
that in 2014 the area will be greener.
Winston Churchill site. (February 2014)
Redevelopment has been approved by the
Debden Broadway - please visit the shops!
How many other shopping areas are there where small "real" local shops outnumber the big chains and supermarkets?
For the background to the 2009/10 changes, see here.
The latest position - parking
Despite a clear agreement by the District Council to provide a
residents’ parking scheme, and a significant reduction in the projected
advertising costs, we are still unable to get a firm date from the
Conservative majority for when the scheme will go ahead – although it
has already been through an initial public consultation! The schemes
for Epping and Buckhurst Hill will be carried out first, and then the
Broadway scheme. Given the mismanagement so far by the District Council
and the County Council, we are very concerned – and very angry – about
the situation, which leaves Debden residents under tremendous parking
The latest position - redevelopment
Despite strong opposition from residents and LRA, developers have
obtained planning permission for a 7-storey block with 64 flats and
ground-floor retail units to replace the Sir Winston Churchill pub and
the garages behind it – the site is owned by the Council. More.
On March 29th 2011 the District Council (EFDC) discussed the draft West Essex Local Investment Plan, which includes the following:
“The Broadway is part of overspill estate from 1950s, town centre
constructed in range of 2 broad runs of buildings with retail and
community facilities on ground floor, residential above. Debden estate
was originally 100% council housing with substantial homes now sold
under right to buy with the remainder still in Council control. Most of
the land is in public ownership, apart from Debden Underground Station.
Land assembly is expected to be straightforward, but existing
developments may cause problems, e.g. BP site and the small
Sainsbury’s. There is a local aspiration for a petrol station but the
current brief specifies the site as re providing retail, with housing
above, and significant improvement to transport interchange. Other
sites such as the Winston Churchill Pub have fairly new leases. There
is lot of interest in the pub site from one small-scale developer.
The Broadway Development and Design Brief was adopted by EFDC at Council on 25 September 2008(Public
reports pack, page 108 onwards); the report included the following
paragraph; “Following adoption, the brief will become a material
consideration in the assessment of any future planning applications for
the locality. The brief will also build upon Local Plan policies and
may eventually provide the basis of an Area Action Plan – a Development
Plan Document within the new Local Development Framework."
The Council is looking at how it can use its land assets to deliver the
aspirations set out in the Brief. Discussions are at an early stage and
an officer group is being formed. The Council needs to determine how
much housing should be affordable and how much private. Affordable
housing is the priority for the Council in the area although a
substantial capital receipt could be gained from market housing. The
expectation is that there will be at least 40% affordable housing as
set out in the policy. The location is sustainable as it is near a
school, tube station, shops etc.
Individual developments under consideration at the District Council
- Vere Rd –
- south - residential, plus some relocated parking, 40% affordable housing.
west - on under used garages - residential, or become part of
development of Winston Churchill site, or 100% affordable housing.
- north east - 100% affordable housing.
- Burton Rd –
- next to the car park back of shops-keep in Council ownership for
present, possible One Stop Shop in future. Investigate re-letting
- south and east - investigate reuse
or development of the Parking Office and depot, investigate possibility
of providing a church with community facilities with St John’s Parish
and Trinity church, try to acquire a small plot of land within the
south site to facilitate development. Including these possibilities to
develop site as residential 60% affordable, 40% private.
- Torrington Drive -
BP have renewed their lease. The shops at the Sainsbury’s site will be
demolished, parking increased and controlled for the benefit of
shoppers, and the Sainsbury’s store refurbished.
Langston Road Retail Park
The Council’s joint venture with a developer, to build a retail park on
the Roding Road Industrial Estate, obtained planning permission in
February 2012. As part of the plans, Chigwell Lane would be widened to
three lanes, and traffic lights would be installed at the junctions
with Borders Lane and The Broadway.
Since then there have been no public developments, but we are watching the situation with considerable concern.
Current position (March 2014)
The District Council has given outline planning permission for a retail
centre on the Langston Road Industrial Estate. We and many others were
very concerned about this proposal, and its potential effect on the
town’s shopping centres. We await further information.
RODING ROAD RECREATION GROUND
More on leisure activities in Loughton, and Events
Loughton Town Council (LRA-led) has set up an
outdoor gym at the end of Roding Road, alongside the tennic ourts, for
every-one to use.
Motorbikes on the Roding Valley Meadows and elsewhere:
LRA Cllr Leon Girling recently reported a motorbike on the Willingale
playing field. As the weather improves we get more reports of
thoughtless youngsters on motorbikes on the Nature Reserve and other
green spaces, where they shouldn’t be. The police do their best to deal
with the problem (often a quiet word is enough, but bikes can be
confiscated from repeat offenders!). Please ring 101 if you see this
happening (a licence number and brief description is a great help, and
even if nothing can be done at the time, it will go into the police
intelligence system and may help later).
Roding Valley Recreation Ground Tennis Courts.
If you use the courts, please report to the police (dial 101) any-one
you see climbing over, or damaging, the locked fence surrounding the
all-weather running track. Any “lost” tennis balls will be put in the
container (made from tennis netting) on the courts bordering the track
(the Park Wardens access the track each morning and place any lost
tennis balls into the containers). More (item 5.3.1)
Roding Valley Lake. As part of a partnership project with the District Council, the Environment Agency has restocked the lake with bream. More
Roding Valley Recreation Ground. At a recent meeting of the Loughton Town Council recreation Committee it was reported that
- bank erosion on the river Roding.
This is giving rise to concerns, and ideas were being considered for
inclusion in the Roding Action Plan, a project led by the Environment
- Charlie Moules Bridge: options are being considered for repairs and improvements
- new activities on the tennis courts during the summer holidays
(to include athletics and tennis coaching): discussions are being held
with the Sports Development Officer at Epping Forest District Council
- plans for a range of community events in the Town in 2013:
LRA Cllr Girling reported on discussions with the Community Development
Officer, Epping Forest District Council, Luke Lowrie (Grosvenor Hall)
and the Town Clerk. Possible locations for these events include the
Greens in the Debden Estate, where it was hoped to encourage greater
Vandalism on the tennis courts – again! We
are delighted that the new courts are so popular. However, we are very
disappointed that Town Council tax-payers money will have to be spent
to replace three nets, destroyed by vandals. If you see any suspicious
behaviour on the Roding Valley Recreation Ground, please ring 999 (if
vandalism is taking place) or 101 to report an incident that’s over.
New Junior Football Pitches & mini-pitches now available on the Roding Valley Recreation Ground: contact Terry Hudson (Loughton Town Council; 020 8508 4200).
Fishing Club at Roding Valley Lake. A
new fishing licence is now operating at Epping Forest District
Council’s Roding Valley Lake. The club hopes to get funding for new
platforms (or ‘swims’) which will be friendlier to disabled people than
the current platform, which is probably too high for wheelchair users
and may cost too much to modify, although that has not been ruled out.
Tennis Courts Refurbishment.
Following the recent vandalism, the contractor has undertaken to
reinstate the damaged fencing at no cost to the Town Council. The
Council will replace the damaged basketball hoops with a sturdier design
Loughton Town Council is looking into ways of dealing with
problems of nuisance and potentially dangerous dogs and the increase in
dog fouling on the Recreation Ground and other open spaces across the
- unauthorised use of the
Recreation Ground and its various facilities by an increasing number of
groups (both business and community organisations) for regular
coaching/training sessions without permission from the Town Council;
problems experienced included additional wear and tear on the football
pitches, the blocking of emergency access gates and inconsiderate
parking in neighbouring residential roads.
Town Council (LRA-led) has set up an outdoor gym at the end of Roding
Road, LRA Cllr Suzanne Harper (who chairs the Town Council's Recreation
Committee), said: "The gym appeals to all age groups and those who
would not normally go to an indoor gym. We see it as a great way to
promote health and fitness for everyone, free".
The cost of this new facility has been met by the Town Council and by
grants from the Awards for All (Big Lottery Fund) and Essex County
Council's West Area Forum. The Town Council
hopes to run introductory sessions in from time to time; it also hopes
to provide a similar facility on the Willingale Road playing fields in
outdoor gym forms part of the Town Council’s forward plans to improve
the facilities at the Roding Valley Recreation Ground. The tennis
courts have been resurfaced, and internal fencing provided so you no
longer have to chase after missed balls, and a multi sports court (5 a
side and basket-ball) has been added.
The works on the courts are nearing completion with only the
installation of the cricket wicket, signage and the repainting of the
playing lines outstanding. Officers are working to secure funding
through various sports organisations for free training sessions during
the Easter school holidays. See pictures
“teen shelter” was installed in 2006, and the children’s play area was
refurbished in 2007. An additional park warden employed from June 2010
to improve maintenance of the area and provide reassurance for users.
Council’s next project, currently in the planning stages, is to improve
the football changing rooms and car park area to provide a community
café and toilet – they are keen to encourage more people to use this
wonderful amenity, but without spoiling the quiet nature of the area.
Dogs on Roding Valley Recreation Ground
campaign has been launched for dogs to be kept on leash near a
children’s football club in the wake of an attack in which a
six-year-old was mauled by a bull terrier. Members of Shiners FC, based
in the park, say that they often arrive on Saturday mornings to find
the pitch covered in dog mess.
Lopping Hall has had a refurbishment, and now has the Arts Centre on the ground floor – but there’s more to be done!
Widespread work has been carried out on the Hall, including the
installation of a life for the disabled connecting the ground and first
floors. The lift has been paid for by the Hall’s Trustees with grant
funding from the Grange Farm Trust and the District Council’s 2000
Chairman's charity. Much of the design work was done by local architect
Ron Heath. The foyer and stair areas of the Hall have also been
redecorated and re-carpeted. Other work included re-roofing, upgrading
the toilets and remodelling the entrance.
Today the hall is best known as the home of several local amateur
dramatic companies, including Loughton Amateur Dramatic Society (LADS)
(founded 1924) and West Essex Repertory Company, not to mention the
Loughton Operatic Society (LOPS), which is one of the oldest arts
organisations in Essex (founded 1894). A variety of other community
groups also use the hall, ranging from children's ballet classes to
lady masons, and a bar provides revenue income for the hall. Parts of
the premises are let out for commercial functions, including a bank and
a shop, and the hall is available for wedding receptions etc.
Lopping Hall is managed by the Loughton Lopping Endowment Fund,
comprising six members elected annually by the parishioners of Loughton
and various co-optees, including a representative from Loughton Town
[Thanks to LRA Cllr Stephen Pewsey for this information.]
The Trustees want the local community to get involved and are seeking
all kinds of support, especially from those with experience of
fundraising, publicity and architectural/building practices. Would you
consider becoming a trustee at this exciting time? More
More on the Hall and events
More on the Loughton Arts Centre at the Hall.
More on the history of the Hall
Loughton residents are justifiably proud of our trees, from forest
giants to ornamental street trees. LRA tries to protect and enhance our
Missing or dead street trees
Please let the District Council know of any dead or missing street
trees so that they can plan next winter’s planting, and place the right
number of orders: please contact ContactTrees@eppingforestdc.gov.uk or 01992 564120 with precise details of where the gap or the dead tree is.
If there’s a road, or a wider area, where there are several dead or
missing trees, or extra trees are needed , please let us know at email@example.com and we’ll take it up with the Council.
If a street tree was planted near you last autumn/winter, please do
keep an eye on its progress, and water it if it looks like drying out.
Tree problem solved (December 2013)
A resident who is a District Council tenant contacted LRA Cllr Tracey Thomas LRA
member because the Council were refusing to remove a tree which he felt
had become dangerous (they had dealt with similar problems in the
past). Following Tracey’s intervention, the Council have inspected the
tree and have promised to take action.
Missing tree outside 4 Forest View Road. (January 2014)
LRA Cllr Sharon Weston followed up with the District Council their
previous failed attempts to plant a new tree here because a car has
unhelpfully been left blocking the verge – the replacement tree has now
Community Tree Strategy for Loughton – More. This
tells the story of the trees of Loughton, sets out the current
situation, and then addresses the way forward.
It is a
partnership document produced with Loughton Town Council, and tree
wardens. The next stage will be to produce an action plan. More (pages 4 -7) and more
Ash disease found in Essex. More
Trees in the High Road
LRA has fought a long campaign to get new trees on the High Road, and we eventually succeeded! For more.
Plant a tree: the
District Council have a scheme whereby you can apply to have a tree
planted on the verge. It costs £75. You can use it as a memorial or, as
for a recent case LRA was involved in, to hide an unprepossessing view
from your window. More details on http://www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/ (enter "tree donation" in the "search site" box).
Existing trees on public land. If
you want to get a dead or missing tree replaced, or an overgrown tree
dealt with, ring 01992 564562 for trees on the highway or on District
council housing land.
Existing trees on private land. For potentially dangerous trees on private land adjacent to the highway, 01279 624500.
Tree Preservation Orders: 01992 564117
Vandalism of Trees
If you see anyone damaging trees, please ring the police at once (999
for emergencies; 0300 333 4444 otherwise). Apart from the possibility
that they may be able to take action, it is important that the local
crime figures fully reflect what goes on, as they help to determine how
many officers we get locally.
Loughton is situated in a valley, and flooding can occur near to the
River Roding, its subsidiaries or the many springs in the steep
Be aware and be prepared - get local information and advice on flooding here
Worried about flooding?
Call Floodline on 0845 988 1188 or register online
Flooding in Loughton
Please report any blocked drains/drain covers here and let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org, please.
Flooding has always been a big issue in Loughton. LRA Cllr Ken
Angold-Stephens (a resident of some 50 years) can remember seeing the
Roding Road/Valley Hill area under water on several occasions and High
Road shops also flooded from time to time. The causes were the volume
of water coming off the forest and the Roding overflowing its banks to
cover the flood plain (playing fields) at least once every other
winter. Loughton Brook, which comes off the forest and runs under the
High Road and alongside Roding Road, also used to over-spill its banks
regularly. After heavy downpours the drainage systems around Loughton
simply could not cope and unfortunately this is still the case today.
In the 80’s a flood relief scheme was built in the forest and the Brook
was culverted to stop it overflowing - this has been very successful,
except when a year or two ago the system became blocked by foliage;
problems with the surface water drains remain.
A large part of the Epping Forest District is designated a flood risk
area and the District drainage engineer is on a 24 hour call-out due to
the risks that are posed after heavy rain across much of the District.
Flooding in the High Road.
LRA Cllr Chris Pond has commented that those who build on a floodplain
must expect floods. Until 1934, the Brook did a big loop in front of
what is now Brooklyn Parade and the mouth of Brooklyn Avenue. This
meander, like those on the Brook in the Forest, was a natural feature
of the river system, and it flooded in times of heavy rainfall. It was
also fed by a streamlet coming in from the Staples Road school
direction (much mapped by the late Mike Wardle; it may have been a
former course of the brook). Then some landowner straightened out the
meander and culverted both the brook and the streamlet.
When it rains really heavily, these watercourses try to regain their
ancient courses (you see the same on the Brook in the forest). Hence
the shops north of The Drive are particularly prone to flooding
(there’s a good photo of flooding in 1930 that shows exactly this) and
this is why Morrisons keep a stock of sandbags to protect their rear
entrance, which they deployed to good and prompt effect in the recent
Check for flood warnings
Staples Road Flood Alleviation Scheme. Following
the slump of the retaining wall, contractors Bryony have undertaken
£250,000 of work to stabilise and rebuild the retaining wall. More