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Housing scheme a step closer

7.55am - 28th May 2015

A MAJOR scheme to regenerate three housing estates in Staple Tye - The Briars, Copshall Close and Aylets Field - has moved a step nearer with the signing of a Development Agreement. 
This means Harlow Council, Home Group and Countryside are now in a contract to deliver the regeneration scheme which will see 343 homes built with a mix of homes to rent, shared ownership and homes to buy outright. 
The scheme will also provide new landscaping, roads and parking and a new community centre as well as training opportunities for local people. 
The scheme includes replacing the current ageing bungalows which do not meet the Decent Homes Standard. 
Residents were involved in producing the Design and Development Brief for the regeneration scheme and have met with the developers and attended consultation events over the last two years. 
A planning application will be submitted shortly and a planning consultation period will begin. 
The council has been supporting, and will continue to help, council tenants living on the estates with their individual needs and future housing options.
Council tenants are given the choice of moving on a temporary basis and then moving back onto the estate once the new homes have been built, or they can choose a permanent move to an alternative council or housing association property elsewhere in the town. 
The plan is to develop the scheme in three phases. 
Residents in phase one will shortly be contacted for face-to-face meetings on how relocation will work and given information on applying for alternative housing. 
A council spokesman said: “The signing of the Development Agreement is a key milestone for the scheme which will now be submitted for planning permission. This redevelopment will help deliver the council’s priorities to provide more and better housing and to regenerate Harlow.” 
A newsletter updating residents on the estates has been delivered and further updates will be issued in the coming months.

Fire-ravaged building demolished

7.53am - 28th May 2015

THE former Maypole Sports and Social Club in Harlow has been demolished following Monday's fire which tore through the building.
 Harlow Council says the remains have been demolished to ensure the safety of the site. 
The building is within an area of land known as London Road North which will be developed into a new Science Park as part of the Harlow Enterprise Zone.
Harlow Council is appointing a partner to take forward the development for research and development, office and some light industrial uses and it is anticipated the development will create about 2,000 jobs.
The site will also accommodate associated secondary retail and restaurant/café/leisure uses to support the main employment use. 
Work on a new road through the London Road North site, which links the A414 to London Road and Newhall, is set to start in the autumn.

Award for Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator

3.01pm - 26th May 2015

A NEIGHBOURHOOD Watch co-ordinator has received a countywide award. 
Christine Beetlestone, who looks after the Mulberry Green, Old Harlow Neighbourhood Watch, was recognised by Essex Neighbourhood Watch at its annual Member Awards event. 
Each district within the Essex Police area was invited to submit nominations for the awards and all were invited to attend a ceremony last week. 
Christine's nomination stated: "Christine has been extremely ill over the past three years and despite many visits to hospital for treatments she has continued to keep us informed of everything she knows will be of interest to us even when she is feeling unwell. 
"Our residents look forward to her chatty newsletters which keep us informed, but also make us smile.
"Her commitment, positive attitude and enthusiasm are an inspiration to everyone. 
"She gives freely of her time and effort and we are extremely lucky to have her as our representative."

Students working on mental health app

1.17pm - 26th May 2015

YEAR 10 students at Burnt Mill Academy are working with Anglia Ruskin University on a Europe-wide study into teenage mental health. 
Tim Waller, a professor of child and family studies at the university, spoke with staff at the school and others from within the academic health science partnership UCL Partners. 
Paul Williams, responsible for research projects at Burnt Mill, said: “We were told about the project and asked our professional advice on how to take the findings forward to develop tech to support young people with mental health issues. 
“With teen suicide on the rise, it’s a very important research project.” 
Burnt Mill peer mentors have been gathering information and views from students on what form the app should take and what signposts there are to getting the right help. 
In July, the students will go to Anglia Ruskin to work with the science faculty on developing the app. 
Robyn Gilbert, co-head of science at Burnt Mill, has been co-ordinating the research project at the school.
She said: “Our students have come up with some excellent ideas.
"It’s great to be involving them in this process as their whole lives are centred around apps and technology so they are the very best people to make suggestions.” 
Mr Williams said: “Our children’s views and opinions will be involved in this whole development. They will also get invaluable experience of developing an app and see how computer science can be used in a real-life career.” 
The app will be trialled at Burnt Mill in December.

Two arrested over assault

1.17pm - 26th May 2015

TWO teenagers have been arrested over an incident in Post Office Walk, Harlow, when two boys were assaulted. 
The incident happened at about 4.30am on Friday, May 8. 
One of the victims, a 17-year-old who lives in the local area, suffered serious head injuries. He is now recovering at home. 
The second victim, a 17-year-old from Epping, was assaulted but did not require hospital treatment. 
A 19-year-old man, from Epping, was arrested on suspicion of assault and is now on bail until August 17 pending further enquiries. 
A 17-year-old boy, from Harlow, was charged with two counts of assault and is due to appear before magistrates at Chelmsford Youth Court on June 19. 
Any witnesses or anyone with information who has not spoken to police officers should ring DC Lauren Strangward at Harlow CID on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Entrepreneur nominated for award

8.46am - 20th May 2015

A HARLOW entrepreneur has set up a charitable trust to help other young people. 
Now Matthew C. Martino is in an Essex-wide competition for young positive role models who ‘give to others’. 
The 22-year-old has been nominated for the Essex Young People of the Year Awards or ‘YOPEYs’ - Oscars for young people who ‘give to others’. 
Martino who is a film executive, entrepreneur and philanthropist was nominated for being a positive role model for young people and founding his international charity MMBF Trust which provides grants and sponsors young people, actors and filmmakers. 
He donated a £50,000 endowment to the founding of the charity in 2014. YOPEY was founded by former national newspaper journalist Tony Gearing, who said about Matthew: 
“Many rich people do not take giving to charity seriously until their twilight years. 
"The fact that Matthew is doing it so young makes him a stand-out success in more ways than one.”

'Good' report for primary school 

8.44am - 20th May 2015

A HARLOW primary school once considered inadequate is celebrating being graded as Good by Ofsted.
Freshwaters Primary Academy received a two-day visit by inspectors last month. The repor graded the school as good in all categories. 
The school joined the Burnt Mill Co-operative Academy Trust in September 2013 and an independent report commissioned by the Trust found the school to be inadequate. 
Head of school Marios Solomonides, who was appointed acting headteacher in January 2014 before being promoted, is described as a “dynamic and highly motivated leader” in the new report. 
He said: “When I began leading Freshwaters and put together my first report for the local advisory board, I could not bring myself to write down that we were inadequate as I did not want anyone to feel there was no hope. But, the school was inadequate; our teaching and achievements were just not good enough and children were not making enough progress. 
“My most recent report considered everything to be good; achievement, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety, leadership and management and our early years provision. Ofsted agrees.” 
Ofsted inspectors praised pupils for behaving “exceptionally well” and having “outstanding attitudes”. 
The biggest change at Freshwaters, Mr Solomonides said, is everyone at the school now has more freedom to be creative. 
He said: “I feel teachers, parents and children should be able to make decisions which affect them. The rule is, if it is going to benefit the school, then do it. 
"I do not need to be notified of every last decision. As a result, people come up with all sorts of wonderful ideas, solutions and improvements. 
"We have worked hard to develop our staff, given them a voice and encouraged them to develop themselves professionally and to take ownership of that. 
"We now have pupils represented through a junior leadership team and we see far more parents coming into school; we used to go a whole week between visits from parents, but we opened up our reception to make school more welcoming for our community. 
“Ofsted saw we all have a shared vision and that we all know exactly what we are here for. “I am very proud. We all feel even more motivated now – positivity breeds positivity.” 
Helena Mills, head of BMAT schools, said: “We are very lucky to have a leader like Marios in our family of schools. His passion for the children to be successful learners and ambitious is infectious and is shared by all of us. 
“Freshwaters is a special place to be for children.” 
Freshwaters achieved its best ever SATs results last year with 79 per cent of pupils reaching the expected level four in Year 6.

Macmillan GP appointed 

4.10pm - 14th May 2015

A DOCTOR is dedicating one day a week to improving cancer services in Harlow, Epping Forest and Uttlesford after becoming the Macmillan GP for west Essex. 
In a new role funded by Macmillan Cancer Support, Dr Sara Astbury will work with NHS West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group over the next two years to identify areas for improvement which could include early diagnosis and more supported care in the community. 
As well as continuing her day job as a GP in Dunmow, Dr Astbury will now spend one morning and one afternoon each week working alongside GPs to enhance their knowledge and skills around the delivery of services for patients with cancer. 
Drawing on her experience from working with people with cancer in general medicine, Dr Astbury aims to improve early diagnosis and communication between GPs and hospitals to ensure early intervention and the best follow-up care is provided. 
Dr Astbury said: "I'm looking forward to working with my colleagues in west Essex and the Macmillan network who have a wealth of resources and enthusiasm for improving cancer care. 
"This role offers an exciting opportunity to improve services for local patients and families experiencing the difficult period that a cancer diagnosis can bring. 
"My efforts will be to improve links between GPs and hospitals and to promote further resources available in west Essex." 
West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group clinical director Dr Christine Moss said: "This is a great opportunity to make the most of the partnerships we have been busy creating as part of our aim to commission, joined-up, high quality care for local people."

Butchered swan found on towpath 

9.24am - 10th May 2015

POLICE are working with colleagues from Harlow Council and the RSPCA to identify who was responsible for killing a swan and leaving its butchered remains along a tow path in Harlow. 
A member of Harlow Safer Partnership Team discovered the remains next to the River Stort towards The Moorhen at 1.30pm on Saturday, May 2. It had been left in public view in an area frequented by families.
Inspector Paul Maleary said: "This is a very disturbing occurrence and it is an offence for any person to kill a swan. 
"There have been a number of high profile cases where members of the public have been convicted for offences against the Wildlife and Countryside Act. Swans are the property of the Crown and are a protected species." 
Anyone with any information about this or any similar incident should ring Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Theatre launches fundraising appeal 

9.46am - 7th May 2015

THE Victoria Hall Theatre is looking to raise £30,000 for new seats and disabled access. 
Martin Colton, chairman of The Victoria Hall Preforming Arts Association, said the theatre has launched a seed funding campaign using the crowdfunding platform www.igg.me/at/vht 
To help mark the 20th anniversary of the community-run theatre, it is attempting to raise £30,000 in 60 days (by June 23) for much needed full disabled access and new seating. 
The current seats have been in use for 20 years and are beyond repair. 
Should the full amount be raised the new seating plan will fully cater for wheelchair users with removable sections towards the front and rear of the auditorium. 
Currently patrons who use wheelchairs have to enter the auditorium via the external fire exit or use their own portable ramp. 
In addition, the theatre is also seeking a sponsor for a ramp to be installed at the rear of the auditorium. 
Donations, from £1 up to the full purchase of an individual seat for £250, can be made.

MIND charity seeks votes 

9.27am - 7th May 2015

WEST Essex Mind is calling on people to support its bid for funding via the Aviva Community Fund. 
The charity needs votes to be in with a chance to secure the money. 
Votes can be cast online here by registering or using your Facebook login. 
The project, 'Understanding Troubled Teens', has been devised to help parents/carers recognise, understand and know how to deal with adolescents with actual and potential mental health issues. 
One in ten secondary children suffer with a diagnosable mental health disorder. 
West Essex Mind aims to deliver Emotional Wellbeing Information courses to groups of 12 parent/carers in school premises across west Essex. 
The courses will run over a three-week period for 60 minutes each session. This will enable the charity to deliver 42 courses in one given year. 
The courses will take place during term times in the early evening and will be delivered by trained West Essex Mind facilitators with a potential audience of 524 parents/carers.

Children receive pen pal letters 

9.17am - 7th May 2015

CHILDREN at Freshwaters Primary Academy have received their first pen pal letters from Spain and Ireland. 
The pupils are enjoying the traditional hobby of writing and sending notes to pen pals in other countries.
Year 1 sent letters to Dublin while Year 3 and 4 have struck up correspondence with Spanish pen pals in Barcelona. 
Year 3 and 4 teacher Clara Breakwell said: "We had already written to our pen pals in Spanish introducing ourselves and telling them about our school and our families. In their replies, the Spanish children asked us about our favourite hobbies and subjects at school. 
"Some of the children were pleased to discover they shared similar interests with some delighted to find out their pen pals like Minecraft! 
"Writing to Spanish children has been a great opportunity for our children to understand the practical importance of learning a language and they are constantly keen to learn new vocabulary which will help them with their letters to their Spanish friends."

School band perform at music festival 

9.15am - 7th May 2015

MUSICAL students at Burnt Mill Academy performed at the Stortford Music Festival. 
The Hunt House Band was picked to perform after coming runner-up in a competition organised by Harlow College. 
Fifty artists, headlined by The Undertones and Toploader, played across four stages at St Mary's Field, Bishops Stortford, over the recent Bank Holiday weekend. 
Year 7, 9 and 10 students make up the rock band which performed five songs - from Stevie Wonder to Ariana Grande hits. 
Music teacher Carla Rubery, who also plays in the band, said: "I am so proud of the band. They practise so hard on their own at home and together so they deserve this experience."

Pitch and Putt plans tee off 

2.05pm - 1st May 2015

HARLOW Council is looking to bring the once popular Pitch and Putt facility back as part of measures to improve the Town Park and promote health and wellbeing.
The council is inviting Expressions of Interest from suitably experienced companies to reinstate and manage the pitch and putt facility which is set within open parkland.
It ceased operating seasonally by the council in the late 1990s and was taken over as a private venture for a few years. 
The operations will include land management as well as building management for the kiosk. 
The plans are part of improving Harlow Town Park's facilities and promoting health and wellbeing alongside the recently installed outdoor gym following a grant from Harlow health Centres Trust and the £2.8m regeneration works of the park as a result of a grant from the heritage lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund. 
For an informal discussion or a tender pack ring Chris Purvis on 01279 446435 or email chris.purvis@harlow.gov.uk by Friday, May 8.

Academy shortlisted for award 

2.03pm - 1st May 2015

BURNT Mill Academy is the only Essex school shortlisted for a prestigious national award. 
Burnt Mill is among eight secondary schools in line for a TES Schools Award from newspaper The Times. 
The awards recognise the outstanding contribution to education made by teams and individuals both inside and outside schools. 
Helena Mills, head of the Burnt Mill Co-operative Academy Trust schools, nominated Burnt Mill for the award. 
The winners will be revealed at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London, on Friday June 19.

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