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Councillor speaks out over grass cutting

8.45am - 29th July 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 - 29th July 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.

Warning to motorway drivers after vehicle thefts

3.22pm - 28th July 2016

DRIVERS are being told not to pull over if requested unless it is a marked police vehicle after two vehicles were stolen on the M11 and M25.
A white Mercedes Sprinter van was stolen on Saturday after four men in a silver Ford Mondeo stopped the van between junctions 7 and 8 of the M11 at Hatfield Heath purporting to be police officers. 
One of the men was armed with a firearm. 
The Mondeo was registration LO62 FOU and the stolen Mercedes van KR60 NHZ. 
The two occupants of the van were left at the roadside unharmed. 
And then between junctions 28 and 27 on the anti-clockwise carriageway at about 2.10pm on Monday a silver Ford Mondeo equipped with blue flashing light requested a grey Volkswagen Transporter van to pull over. 
Three male occupants purporting to be police officers made the driver get out of the vehicle. No weapons were seen but one of the men had handcuffs. 
Two of the men then got in to the van and both vehicles drove off. 
The driver did not get the index number of the Mondeo. 
The stolen vehicle was registration RE16 UCV. 
DCI Stuart Smith, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, who is leading both investigations due to their similarities, said: "In a direct response to these incidents occurring a direction has been given to our officers that they should not, unless in emergency circumstances, be in an unmarked car and attempt to stop a driver. 
"We have taken this decision to safeguard motorists in Essex while these offenders remain outstanding. Our victims have told us that the suspects are purporting to be police officers and are wearing body armour to further enhance this deception in order to steal these vans. 
"Anyone who is signalled at to stop by someone in a car which may appear to be an unmarked police is asked not to stop but to call 999 immediately to verify whether the vehicle and its occupants are genuine.”
Anyone with any information about either of these incidents is asked to contact detectives on 101.

Rugby stars support breast unit charity

3.20pm - 28th July 2016

FORMER England rugby players Paul Sackey and Andy Goode helped raise over £24,000 for the Princess Alexandra Hospital’s breast unit charity. 
Global bespoke logistics specialist Peters & May Group hosted its annual charity clay pigeon shoot at Pennsport Shooting School, West Berkshire. 
Eighteen teams took part with the morning shoot followed by a gourmet barbecue lunch and drinks and a charity auction which raised over £24,000. 
Auction lots iincluded signed editions by digital artist Dean Fox, a week’s catamaran cruise in the British Virgin Islands,donated by The Moorings, and a Royal Yacht Association sailing day for two with members of the British sailing team.
Peters & May Group chief executive David Holley said: “Each year our charity shoot gets better and better, with more teams attending, more auction prizes and even greater generosity from our guests. 
"Having lost my mother to this horrific disease, it means a huge amount to have been able to support breast cancer clinical trials in this way.” 
David Lewis, chairman of the Breast Cancer Charity advisory board, said: “What we’ve been able to achieve together with the support of companies like Peters & May is amazing. 
"Over the last 13 years we’ve significantly improved outcomes for patients as a result of the hard work of the charity, which is at the leading edge of treatment and aftercare for breast cancer patients.”
Ashraf Patel, breast surgeon at the breast unit, said: “Thank you to Peters and May for choosing us as their nominated charity and supporting the team at PAH NHS Trust.” 
The charity aims to raise awareness of the importance of clinical trials in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, giving women the chance to take part in ground-breaking research using cutting-edge technologies. 
The charity has raised over £2.5m in the past 13 years and has been able to conduct over 30 clinical trials, leading to new drugs receiving approval from the Food and Drugs Administration and the European Union as standard treatment.

Award for residents' association

3.43pm - 22nd July 2016

BERECROFT Residents’ Association in Harlow has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK. 
The association, which is a volunteer group of people who live on the estate, was formed 17 years ago when Berecroft moved from council control to a housing association. 
The volunteers work closely with the council, housing association, police and fire and rescue service and has run clubs for fishing, football, craft, swimming and jobs. In addition, weekly walks and trips for the elderly are arranged. 
Berecroft Residents’ Association will receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant later this summer.
Harlow Council leader Jon Clempner said: "Congratulations to Berecroft Residents’ Association for this fully deserved award. This is an excellent example of the community spirit for which Harlow can be rightly proud. 
"The group of volunteers work extremely hard to make a positive and visible difference to the community they represent. 
"Harlow has a thriving network of residents’ associations and this award shows what can be achieved over time through the dedication and commitment of volunteers. 
"The council is keen to help set up and support more residents’ associations and information on what we can do to help can be found at www.harlow.gov.uk/residents-association.”

Councillor embarks on fundraising diet

3.40pm - 22nd July 2016

A HARLOW councillor has started his attempt to get fitter and healthier and raise money for a charity which supports young people. 
Harlow Council’s mental health champion, councillor Ian Beckett, aims to lose three stone in six months and raise £500 for Young Concern Trust (YCT). 
He says this will be the first of many initiatives in his role to raise awareness and engage with local providers and users of mental health support services in Harlow. YCT is a counselling and therapeutic support charity specialising in helping children and young people. 
Mr Beckett started his challenge by taking part in the Harlow parkrun in the Town Park. 
He said: "I visited the doctor recently and was told I need to lose three stone. Losing weight is never an easy thing to do but if I can raise money for YCT while doing it, this will make it even more worthwhile.
"YCT is a locally based charity which supports young people and children to get through very challenging times. 
"The service they provide supports young people’s emotional health and wellbeing and as the council’s mental health champion I want to start raising awareness of the great work and support which is available in the town." 
He added: “We are fortunate in Harlow to have such a great range of sports facilities and things to do which can keep both mind and body in good shape. Harlow parkrun is a fantastic initiative and as part of my challenge I am committed to joining the parkrun movement and will be running each week over the next six months, including the Christmas parkrun, all in the name of YCT." 
To sponsor Mr Beckett click here

Woman sentenced for "deceitful" actions over fatal road crash

8.09am - 19th July 2016

A WOMAN who lied to police and disposed of part of a motorcycle involved in a collision which killed a Harlow man has been sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court. 
Lucy-Jane Williams, 27, unemployed, of Fillingham Way, Hatfield, was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months, a community order for 12 months, 200 hours unpaid work and disqualified from driving for 12 months. 
At an earlier hearing she pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice, failing to stop and failing to report a road traffic collision. 
The court case followed a fatal collision in the early hours of Christmas Eve 2014. Williams was driving a black BMW M3 along Tylers Road, Roydon, when she collided with a motorcycle ridden by Jonathan Aicken, 24, from Harlow. 
Mr Aicken died at the scene although Ms Williams drove away. 
She only identified herself to police the following day and claimed that she thought she had struck an animal. 
Although Ms Williams was not at fault for the collision, a police investigation showed that she not only left the scene but disposed of a part of the motorcycle left in the car, deleted data from her phone and lied to police about her knowledge of the collision. 
Three other people who assisted Ms Williams have already received police cautions for perverting the course of justice. 
Senior Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Scott Egerton said after the hearing: "We will never know the true reason Lucy-Jane Williams did not want to remain at the crash. 
"By choosing to leave she delayed the arrival of paramedics and left Jonathan Aicken to die. 
"The actions she took to hide her involvement were deceitful and caused further heartache for his family. It is some small relief to them that she has admitted her guilt at court.”

Police investigate after woman assaulted

8.07am - 19th July 2016

POLICE are investigating reports of a serious assault in Harlow. 
A woman in her 40s was approached by two men in Broadfield between 11.15pm on Saturday, July 9, and 12am on Sunday, July 10. 
They attempted to steal her handbag before assaulting her in a garage area nearby. 
The suspects were described as white and aged in their 30s. 
Temporary Detective Inspector Bonnie Moore said: "This happened in a residential area near a pub and there would have been people in the area at the time. 
"I am appealing to anyone who may have seen anything suspicious or who noticed two men hanging around the area before or after the time of the assault to contact us. 
"I am particularly keen to trace a man who saw the victim with the two men and spoke to them, but was told by the suspects that they knew her.” 
Anyone with information can ring T/DI Moore on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Citizen of the Year gives prize money to two causes

5.41pm - 4th July 2016

THE recipient of Sheering Parish Council's Citizen of the Year award has donated her prize money to two causes. 
Sheila Caves decided to share her £100 prize, awarded at the annual parish council meeting, between Epping Forest Community Transport - which runs services serving the village - and St Clare Hospice.
Sheila, who was recognised for her community work in the village, said: "I decided to share the money between two charities close to my heart; Epping Forest Community Transport provides the 347 bus that runs between Hatfield Broad Oak and Harlow and is a lifeline to many, andSt Clare Hospice which is well known for providing excellent palliative care. My thanks go to all who nominated me for this award."

Man charged over 'offensive' tweet

8.16am - 1st July 2016

A 21-YEAR-OLD man has been charged under the Communications Act 2003 in connection with an offensive message posted on social media site Twitter which was directed at Harlow MP Robert Halfon.
The man has been charged with sending by means of a public electronic communications network a message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character. 
A police spokesman said the charge relates to a message posted on Twitter on June 23. 
The man is due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on July 13. 
West Local Policing Area Chief Superintendent Sean O’Callaghan said: "While people in public office attract comments on social media on a daily basis, the public must expect abusive or offensive messages that relate to violence to be dealt with robustly."

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