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Improvements made to recreation areas

10.43am - 2nd September 2014

IMPROVEMENTS have been completed by Harlow Council to several outside free-to-use public recreation areas in the town. 
The surfaces at the council-owned tennis courts at Blackbush Springs, Bush Fair and The Dashes have been repaired and new anti-vandal tennis nets installed. 
Surfaces have also been repaired at multi-use-games-areas at Bush Fair, The Dashes, Foldcroft, Northbrooks and Staple Tye and perimeter fencing has been replaced. 
The money for improvements was allocated from the council's Capital Programme to both improve health and safety at the sites and refurbish facilities to increase sport and play participation. 
The work cost 62,500. 
Youth and Community portfolio holder Emma Toal said: "Harlow has so many open spaces for residents to enjoy but a number of the tennis courts and multi-use-games-areas owned by the council were showing their age.
"This is a major investment by the council to improve free outdoor play areas across the town. 
"It is important we provide facilities and opportunities for families and young people to get active and improve their health and wellbeing.
"The usage of these sites has been low for a long time due to their poor condition. Some of the sites were full of potholes which have now been repaired making it safer and more enjoyable for users."

New Local Policing Team launched

10.43am - 1st September 2014

A NEW Local Policing Team structure for Harlow and the rest of the county is being introduced from today. 
Each of the ten policing districts, under the direction of a local Chief Inspector, has a team of officers responsible for responding to and investigating crime and other community concerns. 
The new Local Policing Teams will work from local stations and operate on a 24/7 basis. 
The changes will move 500 officers to work under the direct control of local police commanders. 
This is made possible by aligning the currently centrally co-ordinated response officers to the local policing teams. 
The reorganisation recognises the importance of local policing, clear accountability to communities and strong understanding local problems. 
A policing 'hub' will operate in each district with each hub, led by a local inspector, and is responsible for maintaining strong community ties and working with partners to tackle local problems. 
The teams will take a particular interest in dealing with issues such as anti-social behaviour, safeguarding repeat and vulnerable victims and tackling drug and alcohol misuse. 
Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh said: "Local policing is at the very heart of how I believe the public want policing delivered in the county. The changes we are making demonstrate our commitment to local policing. 
"The development of local teams, supported by the new policing hubs, recognises the fact that communities want officers with good local knowledge who really understand their local issues. 
"Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) visibly patrolling their beat continues to be a key part of the policing style in Essex. 
"I understand and agree with the importance residents and businesses attach to this local presence."
Essex Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston said: "I welcome the introduction of a new model for local policing which will ensure high levels of local responsibility for responding to and investigating crime and ASB incidents. 
"I'm pleased Essex Police has been consulting widely with local stakeholders about these plans. 
"At the heart of the Police and Crime Plan for Essex is the concept of local solutions for local problems, and I know Chief Constable Kavanagh remains committed to this approach.
"Returning officers to local supervision ensures ongoing ownership of crime and ASB incidents by local officers. 
"I'm delighted that PCSOs remain an integral part of the local policing model. I know how highly they are valued by local communities, and the visible presence they provide through their regular patrol beats is invaluable. 
"Another key element is close working between Essex Police and key partner agencies, such as Community Safety Partnerships, who together can help build a safer Essex. 
"As the local policing model develops, plans for enhanced and focused meetings between local officers and PCSOs and the public they serve will be implemented. 
"I see the opportunity such engagement provides for ensuring local challenges are addressed and resolved over time as a key part of the new local policing model." 
Dedicated domestic abuse investigation teams, code named Op Juno, have also been introduced across the county. 
Specialist officers and staff will oversee all domestic abuse investigations as well as work closely with partner agencies ensuring the best possible support for victims and a robust, co-ordinated response to those responsible. 
The  Harlow Local Policing Team is led by District Commander Chief Inspector Alan Ray.

Views sought on future of The Stow

7.41am - 1st September 2014

RESIDENTS, businesses and community groups are invited to have their say on how The Stow area of Harlow could be improved. 
The Stow is 62 years old and Harlow Council is looking at ways to regenerate and secure investment to improve the area. 
The council is working with Essex Place Services to produce a Design Framework which will help guide improvements. 
A drop-in event for the community to give their views is being held at the Annexe, Moot Hall, The Stow, between 1pm and 7.30pm on Thursday (September 4). 
Further consultations events will be held as plans progress. 
With the recent Aldi supermarket opening it is hoped this will help support and secure further regeneration of the Stow. 
It also highlights the need for a plan to promote and guide further improvements in the neighbourhood centre, ensuring a well-integrated, designed and complementary mix of uses which is sustainable, best meets local community needs, supports business and improves quality of life. 
The study will explore a range of issues, likely to include access, security, future development, links between different parts of the neighbourhood centre, the condition of buildings, and the quality of streets and spaces. 
Harlow Council regeneration and enterprise portfolio holder Tony Durcan said: "The Stow was the first neighbourhood shopping centre in Harlow and will always have an important place in the town's history. Today it is still a vibrant place with many local businesses operating in the area and there is some community activity but we know it could be a better place for local residents. 
"Recent investment with the Aldi development gives us the opportunity to regenerate the Stow and we want to put a plan in place to help make that happen. 
"The first, and most important, phase of this work is get the views of local residents, businesses and community groups so we can start putting options together." 
The views and opinions expressed as part of the consultation will help inform the Design Framework options. 
Views can be made online at www.harlow.gov.uk/spd-the-stow
Completed questionnaires can be handed in at the drop-in event, sent by post or emailed to the council. All comments should be returned by Friday, September 19. 
Once proposals for the Design Framework are put together a formal consultation exercise will be undertaken to gain local opinions and views on the proposed content and preferred options. 
Any comments received will be analysed and a final proposal published. 
The plan will be known as The Stow Neighbourhood Centre Design Framework Supplementary Planning Document.

BREAKING: Nine injured in M11 collision

UPDATED 5.00pm - 26th August 2014

Paramedic Officer Louise Samouelle said: "We've taken three patients including two children to Princess Alexandra Hospital with minor injuries. 
"Emergency services worked well together to deal with what turned out to be a big operation. 
"Due to the number of people requiring assessment we had to move them to a nearby service station for safety reasons."

4.01pm - 26th August 2014

AMBULANCE crews are treating nine casualties after a four-vehicle collision on the M11 near Harlow.
The crash involving a minibus happened shortly after 2pm on the northbound carriageway half-a-mile from junction 7. 
An ambulance spokesman said: "Thankfully there is no-one thought to be seriously injured but because of the number of people requiring assessment we've had to move them to a nearby service station for safety reasons.
"There was extensive damage to the vehicles but it appears to have been several shunts."

GCSEs: Burnt Mill students celebrate success

3.38pm - 21st August 2014

BURNT Mill Academy students are celebrating after helping the school achieve record GCSE results.
Eighty-six per cent of students achieved five or more A* to C grades, including English and maths. 
A quarter of all students achieved five or more A* and A grades. 
Burnt Mill saw 93 per cent of students achieve C grades and above in English and 91% in maths. 
When headteacher Helena Mills took over just a few years ago the school only saw 27% of students achieve the same. 
The school has seen its results leap year on year since, with an improvement of ten per cent from last year. 
Miss Mills said: "We knew we had a great group of students but with recent education reforms we had a very slight concern about what the results might be. 
"I had hoped for about 78 per cent which would have been a small improvement on last year, but I did not expect 86 per cent. 
"Our children and staff work incredibly hard. All of my staff are in school at 7am offering extra revision and study opportunities and students come in to Saturday school to strive for their absolute best. 
"These figures show if you work hard, you get great results." 
Katarina Sucikova joined the school two years ago from Slovakia, speaking very little English. She recorded five A* grades, one A, two Bs and a C. 
She said: "The teachers have been really kind to me. I struggled to understand in my lessons so got a lot of books to do extra study at home. It was not just the language; I came from a school with just 20 students so there was a lot of change for me. I feel great!" 
Among the top achievers were Shannon Haynes two A*s, six As, 1B, 1C and a distinction) and Jack Brough (7Bs 3Cs and a distinction).

Green Flag award for nature reserve

8.11am - 21st August 2014

HARLOW'S Parndon Wood Nature Reserve has been awarded a prestigious Green Flag, which officially recognises it as one of the best kept green spaces in the country, for the sixth successive year. 
The nature reserve is among a record-breaking 1,476 parks and green spaces to receive the national award from environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy. 
The award recognises and rewards the best parks and green spaces across the country. 
A Green Flag is a sign to visitors that the space boasts the highest possible standards, is well maintained and has excellent facilities. 
The awards are judged by more than 700 volunteer experts who assess sites against eight criteria, including horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability and community involvement. 
Parndon Wood Nature Reserve is maintained by Harlow Council and volunteers with local organisation ECCO managing the Conservation Centre and running community activities as part of a partnership agreement. 
Harlow Council leader Jon Clempner said: "This is an excellent achievement for Parndon Wood Nature Reserve. To carry on achieving such high standards year-on-year is testament to the hard work of council officers and the many volunteers who help maintain the reserve and ECCO. 
"Every year hundreds of children and families take part in community events at the reserve organised by ECCO, which plays a vital role in improving people's health and wellbeing. 
"This award recognises and highlights that people in Harlow continue to benefit from a green open space of the very highest quality."

Child injured after collision with ice cream van

UPDATED 8.09am - 21st August 2014

THE 22-month old boy who was injured following a collision with an ice-cream van in Harlow on Monday is now in a stable condition, a police spokesman said.

6.43pm - 19th August 2014

A 22-MONTH-OLD boy is in a critical condition after being in collision with an ice cream van in Harlow.
Police were called to Northbrooks shortly before 5.30pm yesterday (Monday) following reports of a road traffic collision. 
The boy was taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital and later transferred to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge where he remains in a critical condition. 
The road was closed until 9.05pm while police carried out initial investigations.

Knitters to mark First World War centenary

7.59am - 19th August 2014

RESIDENTS are being encouraged to knit poppies for a special display in the entrance of the Civic Centre as part of Harlow's First World War centenary. 
The community knitting project is being launched tomorrow (Wednesday) with residents invited to a special 'Knit In' at the Gibberd Gallery between 6.30pm and 8pm. 
Residents can take along their knitting or crochet needles and get knitting. Knitting and crochet patterns and initial wool will be provided along with light refreshments. 
Residents are asked to knit poppies over a 12-week period in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday on November 9. Anyone can take part - knitting, crocheting or even weaving loom bands. 
The poppies will go on display in the Civic Centre entrance from Monday, October 20. 
The project is being run by Harlow Council chairman Ian Beckett and Harlow Art Trust. 
Mr Beckett said: "This will be great way to bring the community together to create something to help remember those who sacrificed their lives for us. 
"Poppies are a symbol of remembrance of soldiers who have died during wartime and each poppy created will be gradually arranged in the entrance to Harlow Civic Centre. 
"It is hoped this will give a poignant impression of a field of poppies growing as the town approaches Remembrance Day." 
After the project the poppies will be donated to the Royal British Legion to raise funds for their work. It is also hoped the project may lead to the creation of a Harlow Knitting Group that might be interested in engaging in future projects. 
For more information email ian.beckett@harlow.gov.uk

Keir Harlow becomes Living Wage Employer

9.54am - 17th August 2014

KIER Harlow Ltd has joined Harlow Council in being accredited as a Living Wage Employer. 
The Living Wage is an hourly rate (currently 7.65 per hour, compared to the Minimum Wage of 6.31 per hour) set independently and updated annually, based on the cost living in the UK. 
The Living Wage campaign has been running for over ten years and has lifted over 45,000 people out of poverty. Harlow Council attained Living Wage Employer status in July last year. 
Kier regional operations director John Phillips said: "We are dedicated to providing the very best opportunities for our employees, as well as investing in the communities in which we work. 
"Our commitment to the Living Wage standard is just a small step in recognising the vital contribution our staff make to the local community and our company." 
Harlow Council leader Jon Clempner said: "I am really pleased to see Kier Harlow Ltd has achieved Living Wage Employer status. 
"This takes Harlow one step closer to achieving the council's aspiration of making Harlow a Living Wage town to ensure that low-paid staff are protected and looked after, which is something my predecessor, Mark Wilkinson, had championed in addition to the introduction of the Living Wage within Harlow Council." 
Environment portfolio holder Mark Wilkinson said: "Paying employees a living wage as a minimum is fair, increases equality and independence and has real benefits for employers and the local economy. 
"It's great news that Kier Harlow Ltd has joined the growing number of organisations paying staff a living wage."

Town's tributes to comedian and inventor

8.24am - 15th August 2014

A 20FT tribute to the late comedian Rik Mayall has been unveiled outside The Playhouse in Harlow. 
The mural, painted by professional artist David Nash, was given the go-ahead by Harlow Council after it was approached by the artist who offered to do the mural for free in return for a contribution towards paint and a location for the work. 
Harlow Council youth and community portfolio holder Emma Toal said: "At first we had difficulty finding such a large space for the mural but we think the town's theatre, which entertains thousands of people every year, is the perfect location for this tribute. 
"Rik grew up in a village just on the outskirts of Harlow (Matching Tye) and local people are proud that Rik is nationally associated with the town. 
"We felt if we could help recognise the joy he brought to so many people we should do something. The final result is absolutely stunning and a fitting tribute to a man who made millions laugh." 
The mural has been painted on a large dock door on the side of the rheatre which is run by Harlow Council. 
A second mural next to Rik Mayall of the inventor of fibre-optic cables which powers broadband - Sir Charles Kao - has also been completed. 
Sir Charles invented fibre optic cables while working in Harlow for STL in the 1960s. 

The Sir Charles Kao mural PICTURE 
The Ric Myall mural PICTURE

Refurbishment work set to resume on Derwent Centre

3.20pm - 14th August 2014

WORK on the 9m refurbishment of the Derwent Centre, Harlow, will restart on September 22 following a delay of almost four months. 
North Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation NHS Trust says work was "temporarily suspended" ten weeks ago while issues with some of the structural beams were investigated. 
The trust's west area director, David Olive, said: "I am delighted to say that the issues that were found are now being resolved and work on this much needed refurbishment can get back on track." 
The Derwent Centre, which is owned and run by NEP, provides in-patient wards and day centre facilities for mentally ill patients in west Essex. 
The refurbished centre will provide two, new state-of-the art wards each with single en-suite rooms for a total of 32 patients, together with their 'hub', where daily activities will take place. 
There will also be lounge space, a dining room and servery. 
The Derwent Centre will continue to function as a treatment centre during the building work with patients and staff continuing to use some parts of the building while work is carried out. 
The refurbishment is expected to take two years to complete.

Man arrested over sex assault released on police bail

8.40am - 13th August 2014

DETECTIVES are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding a sexual assault in Harlow. 
A 47-year-old woman, who lives locally, was sexually assaulted in a park off School Lane shortly after 4.30pm on Sunday, July 27. 
A 34-year-old man from Gravesend, Kent, who was arrested on Monday in Harlow on suspicion of committing sexual assault has been released on police bail until Monday, January 12, pending further enquiries.

Police hunt gang who robbed minicab driver and torched his car

4.38pm - 12th August 2014

DETECTIVES have released an Efit image of a man suspected of robbing a minicab driver and setting his car on fire in Harlow. 
The driver had answered a call to pick up a woman and four men outside the Heart and Club pub in Pypers Hatch at about 12.40am on Friday (August 8) but once the five people were in the cab they demanded the driver's takings and assaulted him when he refused the demand.
The front seat passenger grabbed the driver round the neck while others took his wallet and 190 in cash and a Samsung PDA computer device worth 500.
The driver, aged in his 50s and from Harlow, was forced out of the car as the vehicle was driven away with the five suspects still inside. 
Officers later found the 3,000 blue Peugeot 307 estate, index number HK56 OAV, burned out at Peldon Road, Harlow.
Investigating officer DC Mike Ferguson, said: "This was a vicious attack on a taxi driver who had been booked to take five people from the pub to the Pinnacles. Instead he was assaulted, robbed, injured then had his car taken and destroyed by fire. 
"All five people were involved in the robbery but the Efit is of the man who was sitting in the front seat and carried out the assault. 
"The driver suffered cuts and bruises but did not need hospital treatment, although he was badly shaken. "We want to hear from anyone who can identify the man or from anyone with information about the robbery or when the five people abandoned the car and set it on fire." 
Anyone who can help should contact DC Ferguson at Harlow CID on 101 or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. 

Police efit of front seat passenger click here

Man arrested over sex assault

4.48pm - 11th August 2014

A MAN has been arrested in connection with a sexual assault in Harlow. 
A 47-year-old woman, who lives locally, was sexually assaulted in a park off School Lane shortly after 4.30pm on Sunday, July 27. 
A 34-year-old man, from Gravesend in Kent, was arrested in Harlow on suspicion of committing sexual assault. He is currently being questioned by detectives at Harlow Police Station.

Traveller issues raised during Minister's visit

4.45pm - 11th August 2014

COUNCILLORS in Harlow have discusses problems of travellers in the town with Planning and Housing Minister Brandon Lewis. 
Harlow Council leader Jon Clempner said: "I welcome the Minister coming to Harlow to see first-hand the issues that are being caused by the recent spate of illegal encampments. We made him fully aware of the anger and frustration that local residents are feeling. 
"It was a positive meeting and showed that Harlow Council is doing everything it can to tackle the issue. "The Minister toured the town to see the current illegal encampment on Essex County Council land at Passmores School and examples of the work which Harlow Council has taken to prevent vehicle access to as much green open land as possible.
"The council is calling on the Government and the Association of Police Officers to review the law and the associated guidance to deal with illegal encampments. 
"Action needs to be taken to prevent travellers merely moving from one illegal encampment to another within communities. 
"This issue is of national significance as many areas throughout the country experience similar difficulties to those currently being experienced in Harlow. I stressed this point to the Minister and he listened." 
Mr Clempner added: "The powers that are available to Harlow Council are being used and fully considered but we have a situation in the town where a group of travellers have been here for more than 10 months and continue to move from site to site within the town. 
"Outside of the current powers, the council continues to look at every possible legal avenue to find a solution to this issue."

GP staff learn more about cancer

1.03pm - 7th August 2014

PRACTICE nurses and nurse practitioners from GP practices across west Essex have completed a Talk Cancer Workshop delivered by Cancer Research UK. 
The group spent an afternoon becoming more confident talking about cancer as well as learning more about the disease and what the benefits of screening and early diagnosis are. 
As part of the workshop the nurses were given information packs containing leaflets that they can give to patients who may raise concerns in conversation. 
Dr Rob Gerlis, GP and West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group chairman, said: "This workshop means nurses in west Essex now have the tools they need to talk confidently to concerned patients, relatives or friends about cancer. 
"Their certificates of attendance show that they can take the crucial message of getting any unusual changes checked by your doctor early, into the heart of their communities." 
Ingrid Sollis, Practice Nurse at the Hamilton Practice, Harlow, said: "It was a very informative workshop and I came away feeling more comfortable and confident in talking about cancer with patients at my surgery. 
"It gave me lots of ideas about how to promote cancer awareness, where to direct patients for further information, and how to talk more openly about cancer, cancer screening, treatments and survival rates."
Cancer Research UK delivered the workshop free of charge to practice nurses from each locality who will use the training in their day-to-day work with local people. 
The nurses are also now better able to encourage people to make lifestyle changes, access local services and visit their GP promptly with any concerns.
Talk Cancer workshops aim to equip and empower community-based staff with the knowledge, skills and confidence to deliver key messages around cancer prevention, screening, and early diagnosis to their patients. 
This additional training of practice nurses and nurse practitioners is part of the CCG's commitment to promote early diagnosis of cancer and timely referral to the appropriate treatment.

Rapper performs at Farm Fest

3.43pm - 4th August 2014

VARIOUS bands performed at the Farm Fest event in Harlow. 
Among them was rapper Jones 2.0 who performed with others during the second half of the all-day event at The Square, Harlow. 
The event, which ran almost until midnight, showcased many talented acts such 28 Boulevard, Harripaul and Jones 2.0 as the headliner. 
Local singer and festival organiser Charlotte Howell said: "It was a great night and Jones 2.0 was amazing. He will always be on our list of performers!" 
Earlier in the day Jones 2.0 teamed up with the charity Practical Action to help raise money for developing countries across the world. 
The small but action-packed event at the Harlow and Essex Community Farm, included a barbecue, live music and face painting and was attended by more than 100 people. 
Donations were taken and a percentage of all sales at his stall were donated to the charity. 
Jones 2.0 said: "It's great and always feels good when you try and help those who are less fortunate, even if it's only small bit of help." 
Through technology Practical Action enable poor communities to build on their skills and knowledge to produce sustainable and practical solutions. 
For more info on Practical Action visit http://practicalaction.org/
For more about Jones 2.0 visit www.jones2point0.com

Police appeal over M11 collision

7.58am - 4th August 2014

POLICE are appealing for witnesses to a two-vehicle collision on the M11 near Harlow in which a woman was trapped. 
The collision, which happened on the northbound carriageway between junctions 7 and 8 at about 11.30am yesterday, involved a silver Citroen C5 estate and a silver and black Mitsubishi Shogun. 
The Shogun left the road and hit a tree. 
The Shogun's driver, a 26-year-old woman from Margate, was airlifted to the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel. Her condition was described as serious but stable. 
The northbound carriageway was closed so the air ambulance could land and for forensic collision investigators to gather evidence. 
Police officers are grateful to motorists who patiently endured the delays whilst this vital work was carried out. 
Anyone who witnessed the incident should ring PC Paul Lindup at Chigwell Road Policing Unit on Essex Police 101.

Woman sexually assaulted by man she had just met

7.32am - 2nd August 2014

A WOMAN was pulled into a wooded area in Harlow and sexually assaulted by a man she had met earlier the same day. 
Police want to speak to a couple who may be able to help with their investigation after the woman, who is in her 40s and from the Harlow area, was attacked in Harlow Town Park at about 4.30pm on Sunday (July 27). 
A police spokesman said the man pulled her into a big wooded area of the park and sexually assaulted her. 
She shouted at him and ran away. 
The woman reported the incident to police and is now being looked after by Essex Police's Sexual Offences Investigation Team. 
Detective Inspector Terry Balding said: "After the incident the victim ran off down the path towards School Lane. 
"The man then pulled up in his silver car and asked her to get in but the victim shouted at him and walked off along First Avenue. 
"She saw a white man and woman, who she thinks were in their 50s, who may have seen or heard their exchange. 
"I would really like them to contact my team as they may be able to help with information into the investigation." 
The man and woman or anyone with any information should ring the West Sexual Offences Investigation Team on Essex Police 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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