Loughton Residents Association

LRA

BACKGROUND - TOWN CENTRES

General


High Road

 

The Broadway

 

http://ts2.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.4532591956854824&w=123&h=151&c=7&rs=1&pid=1.7

Langston Road Retail Park

 

http://www.loughtonresidents.co.uk/images/outdoorgym.jpg

 

Roding Road Recreation Ground

Lopping Hall

 

Lopping Hall, Loughton, Essex

Trees

 

    Flooding  


GENERAL

 

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.

The 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.

Open aspects
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.


HIGH ROAD

 

High Road

Livelier Loughton (February 2015)
Changes are afoot at both the High Road and The Broadway Town Centre Partnerships, which bring together traders and residents.
The High Road team (known as Loughton1st) would 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 Easter Event
Saturday April 25th: Morris Dancing on Centric Parade
Saturday May 2nd: May Queen on Standard Green
Saturday May 16th: Fashion event
Sunday June 21st: Classic Cars/ Fathers’ Day
Saturday July 4th: Independents Day
Sunday July 5th: Howzat!  Event on the cricket field
Saturday July 11th: Love Loughton event
Saturday October 31st: Halloween event
Friday November 27th: Light up Loughton – children’s concert at St Mary’s
Saturday November 28th: Light up Loughton events
Pavements (north end) (February 2014)
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.

Lopping Hall
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'.

Lopping Hall
The hall has been refurbished, and now has the Arts Centre on the ground floor. More.


THE BROADWAY


The Broadway Post Office (February 2015)
We 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.
 

The Broadway – parking (February 2014)
The Broadway review may start in 2015-16 – the District Council is finally making (slow) progress on the Buckhurst Hill scheme.

The Broadway – redevelopment (February 2014)
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.

Going 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.


cid:image003.png@01CEF7D3.4113CD60


Sir Winston Churchill site. (February 2014)
Redevelopment has been approved by the District Council.

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.


PARKING


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 pressure!

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.


DEVELOPMENT PLANS



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.
    • north 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 –
    • north - next to the car park back of shops-keep in Council ownership for present, possible One Stop Shop in future. Investigate re-letting housing office.
    • 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.
More.

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

Outdoor Gym
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 Agency’s consultants
  • 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 community use.

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.
More

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.
More


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

  • reported problems of nuisance and potentially dangerous dogs and the increase in dog fouling on the Recreation Ground and other open spaces across the town
  • 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.

Outdoor Gym
Loughton 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 due course.

Pictures

The 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

A “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.

The 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
A 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


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 Council.
[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


TREES


Trees
Loughton residents are justifiably proud of our trees, from forest giants to ornamental street trees. LRA tries to protect and enhance our treescape.

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 contact@loughtonresidents.co.uk 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 been planted.

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 EssexMore

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.


FLOODING

Loughton is situated in a valley, and flooding can occur near to the River Roding, its subsidiaries or the many springs in the steep Loughton hillsides.


Flooding
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 contact@loughtonresidents.co.uk, 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 rains.

Check for flood warnings
More

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