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Essex Chronicle stories feed from registered users of the site and Northcliffe Media editorial

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    A DISTRESSED girl sitting over train tracks on a bridge was talked down by a man after initially being ignored by passers-by.

    Chris Hanks, 47, a self-employed gardener, was walking to work when he noticed a girl sitting by herself at the top of Pump Lane railway bridge in Springfield, Chelmsford.

    "Everyone was ignoring her," he said.

    "I have five children myself and I had to intervene. I think people are frightened of speaking to people in situations like that, but I just went for it.

    "She was sitting on the highest point of the bridge, and I approached her and just quietly and calmly asked if she would like to talk.

    "She looked quite young, somewhere between 14 and 17, and I explained that she could talk to me because I had children and asked her if she would she like to come down and we could have a chat so that she could get it off her chest and feel better."

    While Mr Hanks was talking to the girl, a bystander had called the police, who sent out several cars as well as a helicopter to search for her.

    Police confirmed that they had been called by a member of the public about a young woman who was seen on the bridge, adding that they returned her to The Priory in Chelmsford.

    Mr Hanks, of Pollards Green, Chelmer Village, said: "Once she realised I wasn't with the police, she spoke to me calmly.

    "I was trying to discover what had happened as I could see that she was distressed and tried to get her to elaborate.

    "I was asking if it was about her parents or boyfriend and she said it was nothing to do with that.

    "Eventually she came down and walked with me.

    "I was just glad to get her down, and it all happened within about 15 minutes by the time I managed to get her off the bridge.

    "I told her she could sit in my car and left the door open, so she didn't feel trapped.

    "She was very honest, and was a very intelligent young lady but was obviously in a bit of a state.

    "Apparently, the police had been informed as two uniformed police officers were walking over the bridge towards us, and a helicopter was overhead, but as soon as she heard the helicopter she panicked and just ran.

    "Luckily, with the police officers, I was able to grab her and stop her running away."

    Although police told Mr Hanks they would keep him informed, he never heard from them.

    But he hoped the girl he saw on the bridge on Thursday, July 31, was safe.

    He said: "I am a family-oriented guy, but I have never had to deal with anything like that before.

    "Everyone had good words to say to me afterwards, but you have to try – my heart was beating so fast, it was still going a few hours later.

    "I couldn't understand why no one else was stopping to help."

    Distressed girl talked down from from Pump Lane railway bridge, Chelmsford

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    MOULSHAM Lodge Community Trust may finally have found a home at a former police station, after years of campaigning for a community space.

    The empty police station, in Gloucester Avenue, Chelmsford, is intended to become a community hub for residents, and the keys were officially handed over to Essex County Council.

    Trust chairman and Chelmsford city councillor Mark Springett said: "It has taken a long time to get to this point.

    "It is a symbolic first step, and this is a stepping stone for us getting the keys, because the lease is between Essex County Council and the police, so the sub-lease will be between Essex County Council and the community trust for an initial year and will allow us to develop.

    "We are very pleased because this issue had been stagnant for a long time, and I think quite a few of the people involved were beginning to feel a bit despondent about it all.

    "As the police station is right in the centre of town, it will provide a hub for the community; we will be able to provide meeting room facilities, training, holiday clubs and then branch out from that."

    It hasn't been an easy journey for the trust prior to Tuesday's handover.

    Its previous base at nearby Waltham Glen became derelict after the former trustees left it with financial problems in 2005, and the building was eventually demolished last year due to vandalism and trespassing.

    In addition to the demolition of its former premises, it was also turned down for lottery funding, a further setback to plans to replace and rebuild the old property.

    There is still work to do before the police station is fit for purpose – planning permission is required, along with some general maintenance work, and discussion will continue over the next year about whether the council is able to buy the site and provide a more permanent lease for the trust.

    Councillor Dick Madden, Essex County Council's cabinet member for families and children and the county and district ward councillor, said: "The one-year lease gives the trust and the local community the chance to develop a vibrant and exciting centre.

    "We will continue to work with Essex Police and the trust over the coming year to see if we can turn this into a more permanent arrangement.

    "The important thing is that this building will be a community hub, but equally I have approached local police about them using the building for surgeries, so they will be back in the area, which is really good for the community, so I am very happy."

    The trust's base in the police station also hinges on Essex County Council being able to develop the group's former Waltham Glen site, something Cllr Madden said the council was being "proactive" in working on.

    Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: "Moulsham Lodge was one of the former police buildings identified for closure and sale as part of the Essex Police Reform programme.

    "We took the approach that, if it would be possible and appropriate for these former police buildings to continue to be used to serve the local community, then we would look to make that happen."

    Former Chelmsford police station becomes hub for Moulsham Lodge Community Trust

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    BUDGET airline Ryanair has launched a new 'business class' available to passengers from this week.

    Customers travelling from Stansted on the airline can now choose to pay from £59.99 to enjoy a number of privileges, including priority queues at security and boarding, a 20kg luggage allowance and the ability to reserve a seat at no extra cost. 

    It makes a change from 'economy class' where families rush on-board to sit together rather than pay the £15 reservation fee, and all that passengers can squeeze into the meagre hand baggage allowance is a toothbrush and a spare pair of pants for their two-week break. 

    Chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs, said: "Businesses are becoming smarter with their travel and over 25 per cent of our customers already travel on business, choosing Ryanair for our low fares, industry-leading punctuality and the largest route network in Europe."

    Ryanair launches new business class for passengers

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    Former Bake-Off contestant Ruby Tandoh has said she is "gutted" to see Diana Beard leave the competition following the infamous "Bingate" scandal of Wednesday's episode.

    The 79-year-old amateur baker and WI member found herself at the centre of a Twitter storm after this week's episode, in which she was depicted as removing fellow contestant Iain Watters' Baked Alaska from the freezer, before viewers are shown it collapsing into a puddle.

    Exasperated Iain then stormed out of the baking tent before returning to dump his molten efforts in the bin - ultimately sealing his fate as the fourth contestant to leave the competition at the hands of judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.

    Viewers have pointed the finger of blame for this disaster firmly at Diana, despite assurances from presenter Sue Perkins that the pudding was out in the warm for a mere 40 seconds, and the news that the amateur baker, and oldest ever member of the competition, quit straight afterwards confirmed her guilt in the eyes of many. 

    But ex-philosophy student Ruby has waded in to defend Diana and instead blamed the show's editors for depicting a "jolly Shropshire lass" as a villain. 

    Writing in the Guardian Ruby said: "I'm gutted to see her go. Shame on the online lynch mobs and on the show's editors for letting a jolly Shropshire lass's Bake Off dreams end in a witch-hunt. 

    "The only consolation is that she's not on Twitter to see what's being said.

    "We'll never know exactly what happened in that tent but I'd hazard a guess that apart from a few over-zealous hockey tackles many years ago at school, Diana's likely to have never done a malicious thing in her life. 

    "If there was nastiness in the tent this week, it came in the form of making a humiliated Iain parade the dustbin – into which he'd dumped his baked alaska – to the judge's table. 

    "Nastiness was spinning a story that cast an old lady as a pantomime villain. Nastiness was setting a challenge as embarrassingly retro as baked alaska in the first place."

    Great British Bake Off: Ex-contestant Ruby Tandoh slams Baked Alaska

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    ALEX LYNN stretched his lead in the GP3 Series by one more point after winning at Spa.

    The Dunmow driver now sits 32 points clear of main rival Richie Stanaway at the top of the championship.

    In challenging conditions in Belgium, where it was a reverse grid, the Carlin driver battled his way around the track and stayed ahead of Stanaway.

    "We're not comfortable in the championship by any stretch, but we're still really fast," said Lynn afterwards.

    "Next up is Monza, and I just need to concentrate on putting it on pole, winning some more – that's what we're here to do, and that will make winning the championship easier."

    It was wet for qualifying on Saturday morning and from holding pole earlier in the session Lynn ended up fifth on the grid.

    "We just didn't hook it up how we wanted and didn't quite get the balance we needed," he explained. "There are so many variables, including tyre pressures, and it's a case of who the conditions come to. In my case, I didn't even improve on my second set of tyres when the circuit was drier. That shows how critical it is."

    With the forecast saying rain was imminent at the start of the first race Lynn, like the rest went out on wet tyres, but soon after they'd started the rain appeared to miss the track.

    A shunt on slicks by Marvin Kirchhofer on the green flag lap meant they had to pit at the end of the formation lap and start from the pit lane. Lynn pulled a bit of a gap on Stanaway on the first lap on brand-new slicks, but then they came across some slower cars.

    "Everyone started tripping over each other," said Lynn. "There was a great battle – I got pushed on the grass – and it ended up with Richie passing me at La Source.

    "By the time we'd worked through the wet-tyred runners I was ninth – in the points but needing one more place to take pole for the reversed-grid race."

    In the end Matheo Tuscher crashed out of the lead, promoting him to eighth.

    "That was super-important," said Lynn. "It's a situation you don't want to be in, but with the circumstances we had on the weekend we had to take what we could."

    On Sunday's race he started well from pole but the track was damp. The field were all on slicks, and it was very cold making conditions very difficult.

    Most of the circuit had only half a dry line, and as the race leader Lynn was constantly having to evaluate how much grip there was while trying to build a gap to Stanaway.

    On one lap Lynn went a little bit hot in at Les Combes, got into a slide and lost the lead, but it was for all of about 10 seconds as Stanaway went wide at the next corner and he regained the lead.

    Alex Lynn shines at Spa to increase championship lead

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    WITHAM Town assistant manager Brad King says the club are still finding their feet in the Ryman League Premier Division despite an unbeaten start to the season.

    The Whites have won one and drawn five of their opening six matches in their first crack at football in non-league's third tier.

    King says that while happy with the start, the team could be in an even better position than their current 12th place.

    "We're one of three teams in the division to remain unbeaten and if you'd have offered us that at the start of the season we would have snatched your hand off," revealed King.

    "We're still finding our feet in this league and it's still early days, and teams, just like ourselves, are still gelling.

    "I think we could have turned one or two of the draws into wins. We're still happy with the points total at the moment and we're still on track.

    "Our aim, like it was last season, is to stay up and we'll be aiming to get to that 50 points total as soon as possible and then look at it from there.

    "I think the boys just need to put a little more faith in themselves and maybe we'd have won a few more games.

    "Me and Garry [Kimble, manager] believe in them they've just got to do it more."

    One thing that has been impressive this season has been Witham's ability to fight back after going behind.

    The Whites have conceded first in five of their six matches and King says that although he is happy the team is getting back into matches, they need to look at the issue.

    "I see it as a positive and negative," said King. "We're going behind and maybe we have to look at a lack of concentration or a naivety.

    "But then the boys have shown great character to claw it back in almost every game so far.

    "On Saturday at Harrow Borough that happened and we then took the lead twice before letting them back in.

    "It has to stop because we can't keep giving teams head starts at this level."

    Witham saw three players leave the club this week, with Danny Lopes and Paul White joining Heybridge Swifts and Paul Burnett moving to Maldon & Tiptree.

    "We've got a squad of 20 players and it's hard to keep everyone happy," explained King. "We had a chat with Paul and Danny because they were important players for us last season and told them that they were probably down the pecking order.

    "They've gone to a good club and we wish them all the best and thank them for what they've done for the club.

    "Paul Burnett hadn't been involved in the last two games."

    Assistant manager King happy as Witham Town find their feet

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    CHELMSFORD City boss Mark Hawkes has paid tribute to strike duo Luke Callander and Michael Cheek.

    The pair ended their goal droughts on Monday as both netted in the 3-2 derby victory over Bishop's Stortford, with Callander scoring a brace.

    Hawkes said their hard work had paid off after they had gone four games without scoring.

    "On their day they're a handful," he said. " In the last three games they haven't worked hard enough and if you don't work hard enough, you don't get lucky and you don't get the rewards.

    "On Monday they worked their socks off from the first minute until the last and have had a bit of luck along the way and got their rewards.

    "So it's not rocket science. What you get out of the game is what you put into it."

    While he is reasonably happy with his squad, Hawkes is he is always on the lookout for new players and will be aiming to add more experience to the team in the near future.

    He said: "As a manager you're always looking for players. You never stop.

    "If I wasn't looking to better the team or squad I wouldn't be doing my job right. The fact is sometimes they come along and sometimes they don't.

    "I'm happy with the players I've got here. Perhaps we could have a touch more experience and if we find that person or persons, we might find them in a week or two weeks. I'm always looking for players right up until the last game I can."

    The Clarets were missing injured left-back Leon Redwood at Stortford, but Hawkes is hopeful the defender will be available for selection again for Saturday's home match against Staines Town.

    "He took a heavy knock on Saturday," said Hawkes. "I don't think that will be a problem for this coming Saturday, but we'll see how things are on Thursday when he sees the physio and we'll go from there."

    Chelmsford City boss pleased to see strike duo get off the mark

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    HOSPITALS are to be ranked according to the quality of food they provide to patients, it has been announced. 

    New legally binding rules will be entered into hospital contracts obliging them to look at the health and quality of meals provided to patients, staff and visitors, according to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, and institutions will then be evaluated and ranked accordingly. 

    Hospital canteens will be forced to comply with strict rules on fat, sugar and salt with healthy options available under the new rules. 

    However shops, coffee bars and junk food outlets will be exempt meaning chocolate, crisps, burgers and supersized sweet drinks will still be available.

    Hospitals to be ranked according to the quality of food

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    Police have released a CCTV image of a man they want to identify in connection with an attempted robbery in Chelmsford.

    The 19-year-old male victim, from the Rayleigh, was walking through a car park from Coval Lane in Fairfield Road at around 8.30pm on June 13 when he was approached by two men who demanded that he hand over his belongings. 

    Nothing was taken from the victim.

    Anybody that recognises the man in the photo is asked to contact officers at Chelmsford CID on Essex Police 101. People can also leave information anonymously via independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

    Window cleaner Mark Collins, 43, has already been charged with attempted robbery in relation to this incident and will appear before Chelmsford Magistrates Court on Wednesday, September 3.

    CCTV appeal over attempted robbery in Chelmsford. Do you recognise this man?

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    THREE men were attacked in Colchester as they walked past two gangs of people having an argument in the street.

    During the early hours of Sunday morning, at about 1am, three men their early 20s were assaulted as they walked along Head Street towards Crouch Street on August 24.

    One of the victims was a 21-year-old man from Braintree who suffered a fractured eye socket.

    Detectives have arrested a 18-year-old man from Colchester on suspicion of inflicting GBH without intent and being drunk and disorderly and he is currently on police bail pending further enquires until October 12.

    Detectives investigating the incident say that this was a nasty unprovoked assault and urge anyone who was in the area and witnessed the incident to contact DC Duncan Collyer or DS Dan Jefferies at Colchester CID on 101 or give information anonymously via Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.

    Braintree man, 21, suffers fractured eye socket in Colchester street brawl

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    The UK's largest grant giving animal charity, Support Adoption For Pets, is hoping to raise thousands of pounds for local animal sanctuaries and rehoming centres in Essex with the launch of its Summer Fundraising Drive.

    Between 6 August and 2 September, Support Adoption For Pets' Summer Fundraising Drive in partnership with Pets at Home stores in Essex, will be raising money and awareness for Wallace Kennels Dog Rescue, Cats Protection, Mutts in Distress, Claws and Tails and Dogs Trust by asking customers to purchase a £1 raffle ticket for the chance to win a new car, amongst other high value prizes. 

    Customers can also choose to take part in a 'Round up to a £1' initiative, whereby they opt to round up the cost of their purchases to the nearest pound, with the difference being donated to the appeal. 

    In addition, following the success of a cover version of the Wannadies' "You & Me Song" which features in Pets at Home's "My Pet Moments" ad campaign, the single is now available to download or purchase in store, with all profits going to Support Adoption For Pets. "You & Me" was released on 4th August and is available to download for 79p on iTunes and all good digital retailers, as well as CD versions available from all Pets at Home stores nationally, priced at £1.

    Over the last eight years Support Adoption For Pets has fundraised over £10million and helped over 1,000 rehoming centres and animal welfare organisations across the UK by awarding grants and running fundraising campaigns with Pets at Home. In addition to its fundraising work it also runs dedicated adoption centres in more than 375 Pets at Home stores nationwide and has found happy homes for 375,000 abandoned small animals. 

    Amy Wilson, charity manager at Support Adoption For Pets, explains: "We have set ourselves our biggest target ever with this fundraising campaign as we're aiming to raise half a million pounds.

    "2014 is proving to be a spectacular year, not only has the charity celebrated reaching the £10 million milestone but we're also on track to help even more local animal sanctuaries, charities and welfare organisations through our fundraising and grant giving activity. We're very grateful to customers of Pets at Home in Essex, who are always very generous and help to make our fundraising campaigns successful.

    All the money raised by Pets at Home stores around Essex will be donated by Support Adoption For Pets to the local animal rescues which are working hard to rescue and re-home abandoned animals. 

    National charity aims to lend a helping paw to Essex sanctuaries

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    POLICE want to question this man pictured in the CCTV images over two possible skincare and make-up thefts from Boots stores in Chelmsford and Tiptree.

    It is thought he went into the shop in The Centre sometime between 11am and 1pm on Friday, June 27, took the items worth £200 from the display and left without making an attempt to pay for them. 

    It is also thought that he may have carried out a similar offence at the Boots store in Torquay Road, Chelmsford, on Thursday, July 10. 

    It is alleged he went into that store at around 11.30am, selected cosmetics and skincare worth around £200 and left without paying for them.

    He is described as white, aged in his 40s and wearing dark rimmed glasses.

    Anybody with any information about the man in the photo is asked to contact PC Rob Bentley at Chelmsford Neighbourhood Crime Team on Essex Police 101. 

    People can also leave details anonymously by calling independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

    CCTV image of man wanted for make-up thefts in Chelmsford and Tiptree

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    POLICE would like to identify the man seen in this CCTV image in connection with the theft of tobacco from a Chelmsford store.

    It is alleged he went into the The Cabin in Beehive Lane at around 8.10am on Wednesday July 17, distracted the shop assistant and took the packet of Amber Leaf tobacco.

    Anybody with any information about the man in the photo is asked to contact PC Christ Leavett at Chelmsford on Essex Police 101 or leave details anonymously by calling independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

    Have you seen this man? CCTV image of suspected tobacco thief in Chelmsford store

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    A six-year-old boy was airlifted to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford after injuring his leg at the Great Baddow skate and BMX park

    The youngster reportedly suffered the injury after falling from his bike at the venue in New Road. 

    Paramedics and the Essex Air Ambulance were called to the scene at around 2.10pm yesterday (August 28). The boy is in a stable condition.

    Boy, 6, airlifted to hospital after he is injured in Great Baddow skate park

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    The name of the opposition might have been different, but it was the same team and the same result. Essex exited the quarter finals of the Royal London One-Day Cup at the hands of Varun Chopra's team in similar fashion to the way they had at the same stage of the t20 Blast, struggling to live up to their form earlier in the competition when the big match came around. Chopra's Warwickshire, rebranded the Birmingham Bears for the t20 Blast, were organised, ruthless and relentless, making sure Ryan ten Doeschate's men got nowhere near their total of 271 for seven off 50 overs. Indeed, the home team didn't even use up their allocation of overs, folding to 204 all out in the 43rd over. For Essex it was a double disappointment in a month, having lost to the Bears just four weeks before. Chopra's side, buoyed by winning the t20 Blast Cup on Finals Day last Saturday, remained focused to ensure they remained in with a chance of a domestic treble. After a solid start from former Essex man Varun Chopra (36) and his opening partner, William Porterfield (27), both fell in quick succession to leave the visitors on 67 for 2 but ex-England man Jonathan Trott (61) and all-rounder Rikki Clarke (68) then put on a century partnership to tip the balance of the game in Warwickshire's favour, although the scoring tended to be steady rather than spectacular on a pitch Clarke later called "sluggish." After Trott fell with the score on 180, Warwickshire lost wickets regularly and failed to make the most of their batting power play. On 216 for 5 off 45 overs and the visitors stifled by the Essex attack, it looked like the hosts might keep Warwickshire down to a total of around the 250 mark, but in an explosive final over that all changed. Warwickshire scored 20 runs off David Masters to finish on 171 for 5 with wicket-keeper Peter McKay taking 19 off the veteran bowler. Psychologically, that over seemed to take the wind out of Essex's sails. The home side started their innings slowly, creeping along to 12 runs before both openers were removed on that score, Pettini caught by McKay off Hannon-Dalby before Westley was out lbw to Clarke. Smith followed not long after for 10 runs leaving Essex on 38 for three in the ninth over. Jesse Ryder and Ravi Bopara then steadied the Essex ship for a while before Bopara edged while trying to drive Boyd Rankin and was caught by Chopra. It was then down to Ryder and James Foster to try to consolidate the innings and they played cautiously, nudging the score along and hitting the odd boundary, reaching the 100 mark in the 23rd over. When Foster lofted a delivery from Clarke to Hannon-Dalby at mid-on for an easy catch, it brought in the captain Ryan ten Doeschate with the score on 106 for 5 at the halfway mark in their innings. It was slow progress initially for Ryder and ten Doeschate, scoring just 17 off the next five overs and the game seemed to be slipping away from the Eagles as darkness descended on the Country Ground. Seeing the need to accelerate, Ryder shifted up the gears but just as it was starting to look hopeful for Essex, ten Doeschate was given out lbw off Javid to a ball that looked to be going down leg side. While Ryder was in there was still a glimmer of hope and the New Zealander clubbed two huge sixes off Patel in the 39th over. But when he was caught by Chopra off the bowling of Hannon-Dalby, off the first ball of the next over it was all but over. Essex went from 189 for six after 40 overs to 204 all out in the 43rd over and that was it. The bitter taste of a quarter final defeat against Chopra's impressive team again. Essex one-day captain ten Doeschate looked understandably deflated afterwards but Essex have more than a week to regroup before their next Championship game against Kent at Chelmsford begins on Tuesday, September 9. It's one of three Championship games left for Essex and they'll probably have to win all three to stand a chance of being promoted from Division Two. Warwickshire 271 for 7 Essex 204 all out Warwickshire won by 67 runs.

    Match report: Essex v Warwickshire

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    BROOMFIELD hospital has been named as one of the worst in the country for the quality of food it provides to patients, staff and visitors. 

    The Chelmsford institution has been classed in the lowest twentieth percentile for the quality of it's meals with an approval rating of 83.83%. 

    The results come from the 2014 Patient-Led Assessments of the Care Environment with assessment teams visiting every hospital and tasting the food on a sample of wards. They tasted every item of food on offer, and rated it for taste, temperature and texture. 

    Despite it's poor rating for quality Broomfield did score among the top twentieth percentile for choice of food, and in the middle range for the choice of breakfast available. 

    It was also found fresh fruit and snacks were available, and approved by a dietitian with the cost per patient, per day for food at £9.90. 

    St. Peter's Hospital in Maldon scored 'in the middle range' for all its assessments with an equivalent spend of £9.90 per patient, per day, while hospitals in Braintree have no data available. 

    Broomfield Hospital 'among the worst' patient meals  in the country

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    Motorists on the A12 face misery this afternoon after an earlier serious collision near Chelmsford.

    Emergency services, including the air ambulance, were called to the southbound carriageway at around 2pm today (August 29) to reports of a crash at the central reservation between junctions 15 at the A414 and junction 16.

    One lane of the southbound stretch remains closed, although the northbound section has since been re-opened.

    An Essex Police spokesman said: "Emergency services are at the scene of an incident on the A12 between junctions 16 and 15 at Galleywood. 

    "A vehicle was in collision with the central reservation. This happened at around 1.50pm.

    "The road was closed to allow the air ambulance to land. One lane of the London bound carriageway has reopened but motorists are advised there could still be delays whilst emergency services continue to deal with the incident."

    Witnesses also described the various emergency services in attendance. @ShellzJackson tweeted: "A12 is at a standstill as a very nasty accident! Air ambulance, normal Ambulance, fire and rescue, police and army all in attendance."

    Delays on A12 near Chelmsford as collision brings road to a standstill and air ambulance called

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    A FIVE-star cat 'hotel' has been opened by a husband and wife team aiming to provide a "truly luxury holiday experience" for felines.

    Hanbury Luxury Cat Hotel operates out of the East Hanningfield home of Dean and Emma Fleming.

    Emma, 33, said: "My husband and I have always had animals and cats.

    "We've looked at catteries nearby and not really been happy with them. I find when you put cats there, they are left completely alone, and I wanted to create something more luxurious and a home experience."

    Emma, who works as a physiotherapist, and Dean, 41, who runs his own electrician's business, have found they are given the brush off from their eight-year-old Bengal cross Purdy when put in a standard cattery.

    The mother-of-two said: "Our cat is quite grumpy when you leave her at these places, they are left alone and not given any attention.

    "We started Hanbury because of a lack of other options, we couldn't really find anything different, apart from family and friends helping out.

    "And I've always wanted a business run from home and something we can do as a family."

    Hoping to make everything purrfect for the moggies, the cattery boasts five heated 'hotel suites', with background music played in each.

    The suites, with "individual play areas" also offer "elegant beds with luxuriously soft pillows and throws," according to Emma.

    The cats are groomed daily, with Emma's children Archie, four and San, two, helping out with play time.

    "I don't have to worry about the children, they love helping with the cats," she said.

    And for those who really want to splash out on their cat they can indulge in a spa pamper session or choose meals from the fine-dining Diamond Menu.

    "It's like a home experience – we want people to feel comfortable leaving their cat here, like they would be at home."


    Five star treatment for felines: Hanbury Luxury Cat Hotel is cattery with a difference

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    A HOUSING association took a family's pram and buggy from a hallway outside her flat and only offered to return them if she paid a £300 fee.

    Krystal Hockley, 20, of St James Road, Braintree, says an arrangement to leave the equipment for her eight-month-old son and two-year-old daughter outside her one-bedroom flat was in place.

    But Family Mosaic, which runs the block, says no such deal was in place and Mrs Hockley was warned several times to move them.

    Krystal said: "It's beyond ridiculous, I'm stranded and can't go anywhere, I can't use the car without the seat and can't get the bus without the buggy.

    "I can't carry two children around with me, I'm not even supposed to carry the buggy up the stairs because of a problem with my joints, my nearest relatives are in Chelmsford so I can't leave them there either.

    "Without my husband I can't go anywhere. It's been terrible, I missed a dentist's appointment last week."

    But Family Mosaic that runs the block removed both the seat and buggy from the hallway and took it 25 miles away to its HQ in Ongar.

    Since the equipment was taken two weeks ago on Wednesday, August 13, Mrs Hockley contacted the housing association to find out how much it would cost to have the items returned.

    She was shocked to be told a fee of £250 plus VAT of £50 would need to be paid for the buggy and seat to be taken from Ongar to Braintree.

    "It's absolutely disgusting," the mother-of-two said. "I can't believe they're asking for so much money, for something they've taken.

    The way I see it is they've stolen them from me and won't given them back. They are the worst housing association I've ever come across."

    She has also been told that if she doesn't collect the buggy and car seat by Monday, September 8, they will be sold.

    Family Mosaic says that it is policy to remove objects from communal areas that are fire hazards, especially after repeated warnings to remove them.

    A spokesman for the association said: "Family Mosaic is committed to keeping all of its residents safe from health and safety risks including fire. Mrs Hockley's large personal items in the communal hallway of one of our properties, placed other residents at risk in case of fire, and therefore we removed them in line with our policies.

    "We discussed the issue of the personal items in the communal hallways with Mrs Hockley, both verbally and in writing on several occasions, offering her several opportunities to remove them before they were taken by our contractor to storage in Ongar.

    "We have offered for the items to be returned to Mrs Hockley, though she will be charged for this."

    But Mrs Hockley says without access to transport, she has no means of getting the equipment back as her husband, Tom, works during the day as a chef in a nearby Wetherspoon.

    She continued: "I've got nowhere to leave it as it's too big to fit through the front door. The manager said I could leave them in the hallway, as long as it was inside the buggy.

    "I'm trying to find a babysitter, but at the moment I can't go and collect it as I can't use my car or get the bus without the seat or buggy.

    "I need Family Mosaic to bring my stuff back, if it doesn't get sorted out soon I'm going to speak to my MP. If they had given us a two-bedroom flat in the first place it wouldn't be a problem, but in a one bedroom with two kids, there's not enough room to store them."

    Housing bosses tell mum-of-two: 'You can have your buggy back if you pay £300'

    0 0

    SOUTHEND Airport has been named the best UK airport for passenger satisfaction for the second year running in a survey.

    But the Which? report found popularity for Stansted Airport has nosedived to 43 per cent, with only Luton rated worse at 37 per cent.

    Roger Clements, Southend Airport managing director, said: "This is fantastic news and once again testament to all the hard work that the team here at London Southend has put in."

    Mr Clements thought the short walking distances, friendly staff, and brisk transitions worked in the airport's favour.

    He said: "Around the time this survey was undertaken we completed a £10 million extension to the terminal in order to ensure that we continue to deliver these high standards of customer service as the airport grows.

    "As well as increased check-in and security desks the departure lounge also became four-and-half times larger, meaning a huge increase in seating provision.

    "We are now investing heavily in new restaurant and bar facilities and we hope to have them open by early 2015."

    The Essex terminal topped the poll with a customer score of 85 per cent and a maximum five star rating in seven of the ten categories assessed, a one per cent increase on last year.

    The Which? survey in June asked 7,011 people to complete an online survey about their experiences of flying from a UK airport in the past year.

    That included queues at security, pick-up and drop-off, queues for passport control, queues for bag drop, queues for baggage reclaim, space following security and distance to boarding gate – all of which London Southend scored the maximum five stars in – plus seating provision, queues for check-in and food outlets.

    A spokesman for Stansted said it took feedback on board but that it was in the process of a five-year transformation after it was sold by British Airports Authority last year.

    It stressed it had more than 160 routes and 18.7 million passengers a year, up more than a million since 2013.

    The spokesman added: "Stansted Airport is currently undergoing a significant transformation as part of a £260 million investment programme to redevelop and improve passenger services and facilities.

    "The transformation project includes an extensive range of new restaurants and bars, a substantial increase in seating, an extended border control area and an enhanced security area.

    "Stansted has been voted world's best airport for low-cost airlines four years in a row at the World Airport Awards, a worldwide survey of 13 million airport users, but we are committed to delivering more improvements."

    Stansted Airport's popularity plummets as Southend flies high

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