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Four 15-year-old boys arrested over "brutal" attack

1.32pm - 29th August 2016

FOUR 15-year-old boys have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a man was critically injured and another knocked unconscious in a "brutal" attack in Harlow. 
Police were called to The Stow shortly after 11.35pm on Saturday with reports that the victims had been assaulted outside the TGF Pizza and Mr Luigi’s takeaway shops. 
A 40-year-old Harlow man suffered head injuries and was taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital before being transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, where he is in a critical condition. 
A 43-year-old man, from Harlow, was taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital with suspected fractures to his hands and bruising to his stomach. 
He has now been discharged. 
Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Al Pitcher, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "Our investigations into this brutal attack are progressing and overnight we have arrested four boys on suspicion of attempted murder. 
"We continue to appeal for anyone who was in the area at the time to come forward. 
"We know there were numerous people outside the shop, many of whom will have witnessed the incident, and I urge them to make contact with officers. 
It is only a matter of time before we identify everyone at the scene so I encourage those people to assist us by coming forward now. They can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously if they are afraid to give their name or speak directly with us.
 "Did you witness this brutal assault? Do you know someone who did? We are determined to bring those responsible to justice.” 
Anyone with information should ring the Harlow Major Investigation Team on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Man critically injured and another knocked unconscious in "brutal" assault

8.17aam - 29th August 2016

A MAN has been critically injured and another knocked unconscious in what is believed to be an unprovoked assault at The Stow, Harlow. 
Police were called shortly after 11.35pm on Saturday with reports that the victims had been assaulted outside the TGF Pizza and Mr Luigi’s takeaway shops.
A 40-year-old man from Harlow suffered head injuries and was taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital. He was later transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, where his condition is described as critical.
A 43-year-old man from Harlow was taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital with suspected fractures to his hands and bruising to his stomach. 
Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Al Pitcher, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "This was an extremely vicious and unprovoked attack which has left one of the victims in a critical condition in hospital. 
"At this stage we are treating the assault as a potential hate crime but the motive remains unclear and we are continuing to keep an open mind. 
"From our initial enquiries we understand the victims were chatting and eating together when they were approached by a group of teenage boys. 
"They were verbally abused before being assaulted and knocked unconscious. 
"It is not yet clear how many attackers there were but the suspects were part of a group of about 15 to 20 youths, both girls and boys. 
"We understand not all these people were involved and we believe there will be witnesses who were deeply shocked by what took place. 
"We know they may find it hard to come forward but we would encourage them to discuss it with their parents and to contact police. They can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously if they are afraid to give their name or speak directly with us. 
"This was a brutal assault and we are grateful for the public’s support so far in coming forward with information to help us identify those responsible for this horrific incident and bring them to justice.” 
Police will be carrying out extra patrols in the area and we are working with partners to provide reassurance to the community. 
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Harlow Major Investigation Team on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Burnt Mill Academy celebrates results

9.56am - 27th August 2016

BURNT Mill Academy has been celebrating its GCSE results after 83 per cent of students gained top marks in both their English and Maths exams. 
The number of students achieving A* and A grades this year rose to 66.3 per cent compared to 42 per cent last year. 
Overall this year 81 per cent of students achieved five or more A* to C grades including English and maths compared to 80 per cent last year. 
The top ten students in the year group are Lauren Nicholson (five A*s and six As), Lucy Palmer (four A*s and seven As), Amy Richardson (four A*s, six As and one B), Jordan Chow (four A*s, four As and two Bs), Maria Kruger (three A*s, five As and three Bs), Lauren Legate (two A*s, six As and three Bs), Sophie Manning (two A*s, six As and three Bs), Maria Johnson (two A*s, six As and two Bs), Bradley Gosnell (two A*s, five As and two Bs) and Ashley Banham (one A*, seven As and two Bs). 
Headteacher John Blaney said: “I am absolutely delighted the hard work of our fantastic students and amazing staff has paid off. 
“For the third year in a row, more than 80 per cent of our Year 11 students leave with at least five GCSE grades, including English and Maths. 
“Even amid the curriculum changes that have taken place, these results prove great teaching is what impacts most. It really is an amazing achievement. Congratulations to them all.”

Man attacked in home

9.54am - 27th August 2016

A MAN suffered facial injuries when he was attacked by two men who forced their way into a property in Brockles Mead, Harlow.
 The men knocked on the front door at about 8.30pm on Monday (August 22). 
When the occupant, a man in his 20s, answered the door the men forced their way into the hallway. 
The victim managed to fight them off, stopping them from going further into the property. They then fled. The man was left with facial injuries. 
One of the men is described as black, in his mid to late 20s, 6ft 4ins tall, slim, of athletic build, with short, dark cropped hair and a neatly trimmed beard. 
He was wearing a grey tracksuit and grey trainers. 
The other man was black, 6ft 4ins tall, slim, of athletic build with short, dark cropped hair, with short facial hair. He was wearing a navy blue tracksuit and blue trainers. 
Anyone with any information should ring PC Donna Money at Harlow CID on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Have your say on Local Council Tax Support Scheme

9.52am - 27th August 2016

HARLOW Council is asking residents to have their say on how the Local Council Tax Support scheme is funded. 
The scheme provides help to low-income households with their Council Tax bill and provides help to about 8,400 households. Around 5,000 of these are working-age households. 
The LCTS scheme costs just over £6m annually. 
Continued reductions in Government funding for the scheme, in line with other central funding cuts and increasing financial pressures on councils, may mean that the council has to reduce the amount of support given. 
Pensioners are not affected by reductions meaning any changes would only affect working-age residents. 
Decisions about how to fund the LCTS scheme include varying the maximum level of help given, as well as considering alternative funding options such as reducing the spending on other services, or increasing the Council Tax overall have to be made. 
The public consultation runs until October 5 and is open to everyone in Harlow, including local support organisations. 
The scheme will be reviewed and agreed at a full Council meeting in December. More information about the scheme and a link to the online consultation can be found at www.harlow.gov.uk/lcts-consultation
Paper copies are available from the Revenues and Benefits Service via Reception at the Civic Centre, Harlow.

Girls rescued from mud

9.17am - 24th August 2016

TWO teenagers trapped in mud in Harlow were rescued after being found by police. 
The 13-year-old girls, both from Harlow, had been following a canal walk from The Stow but got into difficulty after walking through marshland off Eastwick Road, Gilston, on Monday afternoon. 
One of the girls called police on her mobile phone but was not sure of their precise location. 
Officers assisted by a police helicopter searched the area and found one girl up to her waist in mud and the other up to her knees. 
Two members of the public assisted officers by providing mooring ropes which were thrown to the girls to tie around their waists. 
Attempts were made to pull them free but they were stuck too fast. 
A broom handle and a shovel were used to help dig out enough mud from around them and they were helped out of the marsh. Both were pulled to safety after about an hour-and-a-half. 
The fire service, Hertfordshire Constabulary and ambulance service were also called to the scene. Paramedics checked both girls for injuries and one was taken to hospital with an ankle injury. 
PC Tom Lennon, one of the officers who attended the scene, said: "The girls had stepped off the main canal path and down a grass bank onto what they thought was a bridleway. 
"Unfortunately they stepped into a peaty bog and one of the girls tripped, causing her to fall into the mud up to her waist. 
"It was fortunate they had a mobile phone to dial 999 as they were not sure of their location and were found in a secluded spot. 
"Luckily neither was seriously injured but it is important for walkers to stay on established footpaths when exploring marshy or coastal areas of the county and to be vigilant, especially in areas you are unfamiliar with.”

Campaign launched over advertising boards

1.17pm - 22nd August 2016

HARLOW Council is calling for estate agents to end the competitive nature of putting up masses of unauthorised roadside advertising boards. 
The council says some roads in the town are being blighted with 'for sale', 'to let', 'sold' and 'let by' boards which attract complaints from residents and estate and letting agents. 
With support from estate and letting agents Guardian Residential Lettings, Howick & Brooker and Ron and Jane Carvin, a company employed by estate agents to put up boards, Harlow Council has launched the call for all Harlow estate agents to agree to a code of practice to cover where boards can go, how long they can stay up for and who is responsible for taking boards down. 
Harlow Council environment portfolio holder Danny Purton said: “All around the town you see masses of boards on the public highway which become semi-permanent advertising signs and they don't have any consent to be there. 
"These boards are an eyesore and it is a continuing problem in Harlow." 
He added: "The council has legal enforcement powers it can use but this can take up resources and lots of staff time so we would rather come to a voluntary agreement with estate agents first. 
“Especially where you have blocks of flats estate agents are in competition to see how many boards they can put up alongside the road and these just end up being left for months or longer. It blights the environment, harms the appearance of the town and is a distraction to road users. 
"If boards end up eventually having to be removed or dumped it’s normally Harlow Council who pays for the clean-up bill and the storage and disposal costs. 
"In the modern world of technology estate agents should be reducing the number boards and the length of time they are up. 
"Most communication about homes for sale or rent is now done online and people who are interested in moving can find information easily on the internet."

New community transport minibus launched

1.15pm - 22nd August 2016

HARLOW Community Transport, which provides bus services across Harlow and Epping Forest, has taken delivery of a new minibus to increase its services in the Harlow area. 
The new accessible minibus helps the registered charity meet the needs of local people who, for various reasons, are unable to use conventional public transport. 
Community Transport co-ordinator Angela Canham said: "The service provides a lifeline in both rural and urban areas. 
"We run local bus routes and provide transport for a wide range of clubs, voluntary/community groups and care homes." 
Community Transport offers various services - Dial-a-Ride, a social car service, transport for voluntary and community groups, community buses and transport for excursions. 
Angela added: "Our vision is to operate a service that will allow everyone to be able to experience the same freedom of travel." 
For more information, ring 01992 579556 (Epping Forest) or 01279 446855 (Harlow).

Town Park refurbishment celebrated

10.53am - 14th August 2016

WORK to revitalise and restore Harlow Town Park was celebrated at an official completion event for the Town Park Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) project. 
The event at the new Learning Centre next to Pets’ Corner included a speech from Harlow Council chairman Edna Stevens who commended the hard work that has gone into making the Town Park the excellent open space it is today. 
The project was funded by £1.83m from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund as part of Harlow Council’s £2.8m restoration of Harlow Town Park. 
The park has been completely transformed with the project split between physical improvement works (landscaping and building) across the park and an activity plan that has helped increase education and volunteering opportunities as well as the range of activities and events the park hosts. 
The Town Park has seen a number of landscaping and building projects completed since work began in December 2014. 
In addition, Pets’ Corner was refurbished with new main gates and access points around the site, a new events barn, improved drainage to ensure the site meets zoo licence requirements, new quarantine zones for the animals, reconfiguration of the site to provide a new staff room and gift shop. 
The Town Park activity plan has led to several major achievements for the Town Park, the most recent being the Green Flag Award which recognises the Town Park as one of the best kept open spaces in the country. 
The activity plan has also seen the set-up and running of regular volunteer groups which provide invaluable support for the maintenance and upkeep of the park, and work experience projects with Harlow College students including painting the inside of the Bandstand, laying paving and creating raised beds in the Walled Garden, and Graphic Design students undertaking a module producing publicity and street furniture designs. Regular monthly guided walks weekly ‘Social Strollers’ health walks are held as well as specialised walks and talks such as bat walks. 
A new orienteering map and markers have been produced in partnership with Chigwell & Epping Forest Orienteering Club, and weekly parkrun events, which regularly attract more than 100 participants, have been introduced. 
Thanks to the activity plan the Walled Garden is starting to become a community horticultural hub both for Land Based Studies students and wider community members. 
The new raised beds in the Walled Garden have helped to produce food for the animals at Pets’ Corner (as well as the volunteers and students). 
The Walled Garden is evolving and has, over the last year, seen the introduction of a greenhouse, bee hives (honey from these is sold in the Pets’ Corner shop) and a wildflower area. 
Over the coming year a container area will be developed to provide additional storage for Pets’ Corner and the park, and another classroom. 
The activity plan also included the production of a new Education Resource pack, which provides a programme of activities for local schools and preschool groups to use the Town Park as an education facility, including the opportunity to attend sessions in the new Learning Centre. 
Harlow Council regeneration and enterprise portfolio holder Tony Durcan said: “Thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the BIG Lottery Fund we have been able to completely transform our much loved park and restore it to its former glory. 
"It is great to see so many local families enjoying the new surroundings. 
"The Town Park’s transformation has been one big team effort with volunteers, council staff, Town Park User Group and contractors all working together to make this once again a place to be proud of.”

50th anniversary celebrations for Pet's Corner

10.40am - 14th August 2016

MORE than 5,000 people joined in the celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of Pets’ Corner. 
The event, opened by Harlow Council chairman Edna Stevens, featured stalls, tractor trailer rides, birds of prey, shire horses, bee displays, bat displays, sideshows and face painting. 
There was an animal parade, performances from Makin’ Steps Dance School and Harlow Rock School, dog and duck shows, dog agility shows, a ukulele band and the Celebration Duo Singers.
The day also featured a memory walk with a selection of photos and banners showing significant events in Pets’ Corner’s 50-year history, and an art workshop where visitors contributed to making an animal display to celebrate the anniversary. 
Pets’ Corner has always been run by Harlow Council supported by volunteers and more recently the Friends of Pets’ Corner.

Nominations open for sports awards

10.37am - 14th August 2016

NOMINATIONS have opened for the annual Harlow Sports Awards organised by Harlow Council and Active Harlow. 
The aim of Active Harlow Sport Awards is to celebrate and recognise sporting talent and achievements in the Harlow area. 
The awards are nominated by members of the public and funded by Active Harlow and Active Essex. 
Last year some 100 people were nominated and the achievements of almost 60 people celebrated on the evening. 
The awards ceremony is in the Council Chamber at the Civic Centre, Harlow, on October 3 (6.30pm-8.30pm). 
Nominations close on September 12. 
The categories are: Sports Personality of the Year, Disabled Sports Personality of the Year, Unsung Hero (Volunteer), Young Volunteer (under-18), Community Club of the Year, Coach of the Year, School, college or University of the Year, Young Sports Personality of the Year (under-18), Active Workplace of the Year, Changing lives through sport and physical activity through an outstanding project. 
Harlow Council youth and community portfolio holder councillor Emma Toal said: “Last year’s awards highlighted some fantastic local sporting achievements and we are hoping for more of the same this year. 
“The Harlow Sports Awards are an excellent opportunity to celebrate and recognise sporting achievement. 
"They also highlight the contributions made to the local sporting community by the many volunteers and individuals that make grassroots sport work. 
“I would encourage everyone to get involved and nominate anyone they feel has made a big impact on sport in the town.” Nominations can be made at www.harlow.gov.uk/sports-awards 
All winners will be automatically nominated for the Active Essex Sports Awards. 
For more information email Chris Purvis at chris.purvis@harlow.gov.uk or Rachel Jeffs at rachel.jeffs@harlow.gov.uk

New M11 junction plans receive £1.5m boost

9.47am - 13th August 2016

ESSEX County Council has received Government funding of £1.5m towards the cost of design work for a new Junction 7A on the M11 at Sheering. 
The council made the bid to the Department of Transport through the South East Local Enterprise Partnership. 
The funding will contribute to ongoing works designing and creating the new junction between junctions 7 and 8. 
The plans will be shaped by the results of a recent consultation into the proposals which are due to be released this summer.

Redundancies "likely" in health trust merger

2.18pm - 11th August 2016

REDUNDANCIES are "likely" with discussions over the proposed merger of South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust and North Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust at an "advanced" stage. 
Provided the change gets the approval of both boards in the New Year, the new merged organisation will come into being on April 1, a public meeting has been told. 
SEPT chief executive officer Sally Morris told this morning's meeting in Harlow that the new organisation would provide a countywide mental health service and maintain the current commitment to community care in the local area providing a "seamless service".
Mrs Morris said the move would have numerous benefits at a time of financial pressures. 
These include having one board and reduced back office costs. 
"We will be able to protect frontline services," she added. In reply to a public question about potential job losses, she said it was "likely" that there would be redundancies, especially in back office areas.
Highlighting current staffing positions in the two organisations, Mrs Morris said vacancies were currently at 11 per cent in SEPT and 19 per cent in NEPT. 
The favoured name for the new organisation is Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust.

Cyclists raise £75,000 for breast unit

2.13pm - 9th August 2016

A TEAM of 40 cyclists took on the Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100 race and raised £75,000 for the Princess Alexandra Hospital’s breast unit charity. 
#TeamBreastCharity2016 rode from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, along climbs through the Surrey countryside before finishing back in the Capital, on Pall Mall. 
The unit’s fastest rider was father-of-two Chris Lomas who finished in 4hrs 55mins.
 He said: “It was a tough challenge but it makes it all worthwhile to know we have raised a tremendous amount of money for such a worthy cause.” 
Steve Risk said: “It was an absolute privilege be part of very special group of people. 
"The day was gruelling but absolutely superb, the finish along Pall Mall is something I shall never forget, it was just amazing and to be honest quite emotional." 
The breast unit charity team cheered riders through the day, greeting them at the finish with drinks and snacks. 
Breast surgeon Ashraf Patel said: “We are so grateful to the riders who through sponsorship and kind donations raised a staggering £75,000 and generated much-needed awareness for the progress that is being made by the breast unit in prevention, early diagnosis and treatments through our research into breast cancer.”

Councillor speaks out over grass cutting

8.45am - 1st August 2016

A SENIOR Harlow councillor has spoken out after "current issues" regarding grass cutting across the town. 
Harlow Council environment portfolio holder Danny Purton said: “I am aware that there are current issues with the frequency and standard of grass cutting across the town and this is causing some concern from residents and councillors. 
"I am disappointed that standards are not being met and I apologise to residents. 
“Grass is being cut but not always within the number of working days promised and not to the standard our residents expect. These issues are being taken up with our contractors, Kier Harlow, and I will be monitoring the situation very closely to ensure things get back on track sooner rather than later." 
He added: “Subject to weather conditions we aim to cut the grass in housing areas every 17 working days, highway verges cut every 24 working days with large open spaces cut every 34 working days. 
"Some areas of grass are left long and only cut once a year to encourage wildlife and promote biodiversity. 
“The strimming team’s main work recently has been cutting back summer obstructions along footpaths and sight-lines around main road junctions and in housing areas. This has meant strimming around fence lines and other more remote obstacles is taking a lot longer than expected leaving areas which have been cut still looking messy. 
“In addition to grass cutting, every year three town-wide weed sprays of hard surfaces are carried out. "The first took place in March and Kier Harlow completed the second weed spraying treatment last week.
"Spraying had been delayed due to the wet weather over the last two weeks in June; as this would weaken the chemical being applied. 
"The third treatment is planned for the second week of September. 
“It is the case that we do cut the grass less than we once did many years ago simply because we have less money however we are aware that keeping open spaces properly maintained is a priority for residents. 
"We currently receive £41,500 a year as a contribution to the maintenance of the highway areas owned by Essex County Council. 
"This is roughly what it would cost to give the grass on these areas two cuts per year: but we cut it seven times a year between mid-March and mid-October, and we also provide weed spraying on hard surfaces and maintenance of trees and hedges on county council land.”

Appeal after two men assaulted

8.42am - 1st August 2016

POLICE are appealing for witnesses after two men were assaulted in Chippingfield, Old Harlow. 
One of the victims, a man in his 20s from the Harlow area, suffered a fractured cheek bone and two knocked out teeth. 
Another man, aged in his 40s from the Harlow area, suffered a laceration to his ear and lost one tooth and broke another. 
Two 16-year-old boys, from Harlow, and a 16-year-old boy, from Sawbridgeworth, were arrested on suspicion of GBH following the incident which happened between 10.40pm and 10.55pm on Saturday, July 16. 
They were released on police bail pending further enquiries until October 5. 
Anyone who was in Chippingfield at the time and witnessed the incident is asked to ring DC Richard Canning at Harlow CID on 101.



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