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

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    CLIFF AKURANG was left to rue his side's missed chances after they went down 2-1 at Redbridge.

    It was Akurang's first defeat as a manager since taking over at Swifts four matches ago and the loss drags them closer to the Ryman North relegation dogfight.

    The visitors took the lead on Tuesday night through Reece Morgan but the Heybridge boss was left disappointed that his side could not get a second goal after creating the better chances.

    "It was a game of missed opportunities, there were a couple of gilt-edged chances for us to put the game to bed and we failed to take our chances and the more that happens the more pressure goes on your defence," said Akurang.

    "It's disappointing and I said to the boys I wasn't pleased, I felt they could have made their job a lot easier by putting their chances away. Yes, we can look at the defenders, but the attack for me were as guilty for not putting their chances away when they got them.

    "When I say the attack I don't necessarily mean the forward players, I mean every player that gets an opportunity, whether you go up for set-pieces or you find yourself in an area where you can get a shot off.

    "We just have to be a bit more ruthless in front of goal and make these chances count.

    "I think the pitch levelled the game up. Second half, there was a real dodgy patch in one of the boxes and anything that went in there caused defenders problems and it ended up telling because every time they kicked the ball in behind us, it held up really nicely for them and eventually they got a goal out of it.

    "I try not to set out to play to those conditions because I like us to play the way we play and, again, I think we still had the better opportunities but they just took theirs and we didn't take ours.

    "They were just working off of individual errors or scraps that they could get and their substitute came on and he ended up making the difference."

    Since taking over as manager Akurang has lifted Swifts out of the bottom three and closer to safety but he knows they're still very much in a dogfight.

    "The results haven't changed anything we still want to try to get as many points on the board as possible," he added.

    "When we're mathematically safe then we can relax a little bit, but along the way everyone is going to be giving 110 per cent to keep their team in the league and we have to be exactly the same."

    Heybridge Swifts boss Akurang rues side's missed chances as he suffers first defeat

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    WITHAM Town assistant manager Brad King is hoping to put a run of four tough away matches behind them when they host fellow strugglers VCD Athletic this Saturday.

    Town lost 3-1 to Met Police on Tuesday night, their fourth straight defeat on the road in the Ryman Premier after matches at Leiston (sixth), Dulwich Hamlet (third) and Bognor Regis Town (tenth) respectively.

    The loss leaves them just a point and a place above the relegation zone but, with games in hand, King is confident his team can return to form at home in a six-pointer against second-from-bottom VCD.

    "The four away games we've had are against some top sides and it's been very difficult," said King

    "We always knew it was going to be difficult but we're playing well, we're not getting carved open and we've been quite evenly matched.

    "We are pleased to return home on Saturday and we'll hope it's on because of the weather, we need to get our home games on.

    "It's tough to keep playing away from home but I still believe in the boys, we're creating plenty of chances.

    "At Met Police I think we matched them, apart from a five-minute period where we conceded two goals and switched off, but we were the better side in the second half and if we were more clinical with our five chances then it would have been different.

    "The performance is there, which is one positive, but obviously they've got to start turning those performances into points now. But the main thing for us is winning our home games and picking up as many points as we can away from home."

    Just six points separate 23rd and 14th in the Ryman Premier and King believes that having up to four games in hand on the teams around them can help get Witham out of a sticky situation.

    "It's still early days in the season but the difference between us and most teams down there is we're in a better position, with three or four games in hand," King explained.

    "I believe if you win your home games against the teams around you it puts you in good stead to finish where the club are hoping to go and that's to stay in the division.

    "It is really close. I think if you win three in a row you're right up there. We've got a home game Saturday but then we've got another away game against a tough side in Wingate & Finchley so we've had a tough run of fixtures but we've competed with most of them.

    "We just need to turn those performances into points now."

    0 0

    BRAINTREE Town take on last year's FA Trophy runners-up Gosport Borough this weekend and Alan Devonshire admits they'll go there to attack.

    The competition is the best chance for a non-league club to reach the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium and the Braintree boss admits his side will be taking it seriously when they make the trip to the Conference South side on Saturday.

    "It will be nice [to go to Wembley] but it's miles away at the moment, we're just looking at the next round, it's going to be a difficult game away at Gosport," said Devonshire.

    "They got to the final last year so it's going to be a tough game, but we're going there to attack it and have a go so we'll wait and see.

    "They'll be a good side, I know some of the players they've got and their two boys up front are good so we'll have to handle them. We'll have to be on it and if we are then hopefully we will win, but it will be a hard game.

    "Some teams take it seriously, some don't, I think it all depends on where their priorities lie.

    "If they want to get promoted to the Conference Premier they will probably rest a few players but, if they're like us, we're not going to win the league, they want to do well.

    "So we will try and attack it on both fronts. We've got near enough a fully fit squad at the moment so let's attack it."

    Braintree have been in their best form of the season over the festive period, taking 12 points from a possible 15, and Devonshire believes that is down to players returning from injury, including Jordan Cox, who bagged a brace in the 3-2 win at Chester on Sunday after spending two months on the sidelines.

    "We won four out of five so it's been a really good Christmas, it was just about getting the players back. I've always said that being able to get the players back and being able to move them around will help us," he said.

    "At the end of the day we've not had much on the bench to change it until now because we've had so many injuries.

    "You need to get people on the bench that can change the game for you if you see things are going wrong. We've had that over the Christmas period and it's showed in results, so I'm very pleased.

    "We've got 12 points out of 15, which is really good and I'm really happy about that, so when the league games start again, we can get a few more points towards the 50 that we want."

    Braintree Town manager Devonshire expects tough FA Trophy test at Gosport Borough

    0 0

    BURNHAM Ramblers gained their first point in two months in the New Year's Day derby against Maldon & Tiptree.

    The 1-1 draw at the Wallace Binder Stadium ended Ramblers' seven-game losing streak but still left Bertie Brayley's side bottom of the Ryman North table, 12 points from safety.

    Brayley admits his team's performance in the first half of the season – they have won just three of their 27 league games – has put them in trouble but says they know exactly what they have to do to get out of it.

    "There's no doubt about it, it hasn't been a great first half of the season," he said. "It has been about building and trying to get players in and trying to get players to try and work together.

    "It's a club that has been totally uprooted from the season before, so it's always going to be a tough task, but I think we're getting there as we all know each other now, we all know the situation we're in and it's about pulling together as a team.

    "We've had a couple of suspensions to our big players, including our captain, Michael Bell.

    "Confidence hasn't been very high because of our position but I've said to them, 'Come on we're men, we can play football'. I've seen in spells over the course of the season how good we can be.

    "We've put in good performances against teams like AFC Sudbury and we should have won that but we came away with a 2-1 loss and we felt hard done by.

    "I know it's there, it's just about the boys believing and having the confidence to go out there and do what they can do."

    Burnham's match on Saturday at home to Waltham Abbey was postponed after the day's heavy rain, denying them a chance to build on the Maldon draw, but Brayley feels this Saturday against table-toppers Harlow Town could be their moment in the season.

    "I would have loved to have played Waltham Abbey with the momentum we would have carried from the draw but, unfortunately, that got called off and now it's going to be a tough task for us going to top- of-the-league Harlow on Saturday," he said.

    "Anybody on their day can beat anybody in this league. I did say that early on there is a big gap between the top five teams and the rest, but you do get upsets throughout the season and you get the odd result where you think 'Wow, how'd they manage that?' and hopefully that can be us.

    "The fact of the matter is we need to get points.

    "I think it's very tight, we're only four points off Cray Wanderers [second bottom] so they're catchable and then two or three wins gets us into the pack and we can pull in the other teams around us."

    Burnham Ramblers clear on what they need to do to beat the drop says boss

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    MORE than 170 drivers were arrested during Essex Police's 2014 Christmas Anti-Drink Drive campaign.

    Officers were out in force across the county between December 1 and January 1, 2015, taking what they say was a "zero tolerance" approach to drink drivers.

    A total 2,429 drivers were stopped and breathalysed and 143 were arrested either because they were driving over the legal limit or because they refused to supply a sample.

    Of the 143, 32 were aged below 25 years old.

    A further 32 were arrested over drug-driving offences.

    Adam Pipe, casualty reduction manager for Essex Police, said: "It is always frustrating to see that, despite knowing the consequences, some drivers still consider themselves to be above the law by getting behind the wheel having knowingly consumed too much alcohol."

    During the 2013 campaign, 3,409 drivers were breathalysed and 124 were arrested for driving over the limit or refusing or failing to give a sample of breath. Of those 124, 33 were under the age of 25.

    Mr Pipe added: "Perpetual drink drivers will choose to drink and drive any day of the year so I want to ask for support from the public 365 days a year to help take them off the roads of Essex.

    "Please help keep the county's roads safe by reporting drink drivers."

    People can dial 999 if they know someone is getting behind the wheel drunk, or can call police on 101 or via Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

    More than 170 drivers arrested in Essex Police anti-drink drive campaign

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    The final preparations are being made to Chelmsford City Racecourse and the venue gets ready to host its first meeting in six years.

    The former Great Leighs Racecourse had its final inspection by the British Horse Racing Authority on Monday (January 6) and was given its official licence to hold race events.

    On Sunday (January 11) the invitation only day will see the movers and shakers of the racing world descend on the course in Great Leighs for the first race at 12.50pm.

    Here are 11 important things to know ahead of the opening:

    1. Capacity: The track will be able to hold 3,000 people when it opens to the public, potentially on February 1, depending how well the first test events go.

    2. Big money: The £25 million renovation included a £6 million grandstand built

    3. Fixtures: Course bosses have secured 58 fixtures for the 2015 season and may get as many as 90 later in the year.

    4. Night races: It has an all-weather track, but also a turf course and will be the first in the country to hold night races on a turf track.

    5. Numbers: Between 500 and 600 people will be at the event on Sunday.

    6. Wrestling matches: The track's owner Betfred – the world's largest independent bookmakers – has a licence to host live and recorded music events, indoor sports, dance performances, film screenings, plays, plus wrestling matches and boxing at the racecourse.

    7. Betting: There will be two ways to bet including Totepool or fixed odds betting with the bookmakers.

    8. Races: There will be seven races along the seven furlong track on Sunday.

    9. Prize money: Total prize money will be over £78,000 with £20,000 given out in two races each.

    10. Prices: Online prices will be starting from £15 with tickets also available to buy at the entrance from £17.

    11. Food: Two restaurants are in the grandstand including The Fairwood restaurant on the ground floor will offer two and three course menu options starting from £41 person. The Club Restaurant and Lounge a la carte restaurant is on the first floor of the grandstand offering panoramic views over the racecourse with packages starting from £62 per person.

    For more information on ticket availability

    Chelmsford City Racecourse: 11 things you need to know about Britain's newest race track

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    It's a triple rollover on tonight's National Lottery, so are you a winner? Tonight's jackpot is a mammoth £9.5million and somebody needs to win soon, with Saturday the last chance to win. So check that ticket! The draw has been completed and tonight's winning numbers are 04, 05, 10, 12, 20, 23, and the bonus ball is 24. And 50 lucky people also have the chance to win £20,000 in the Lotto raffle. Last Wednesday the National Lottery made more than 200,000 winners.

    National Lottery results: Winning Lotto numbers on January 7 - are YOU a winner?

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    LEGAL wrangling over a controversial supermarket plan on the outskirts of Braintree was due to finish this week, ahead of a final decision on the matter.

    Sainsbury's want to build a new 19,000sq ft store with a 500-space car park, 42 bike spaces, a click-and-collect point, bakery and delicatessen, with some 400 new jobs, on the Broomhills Industrial Estate, off Pods Brook Road.

    But Braintree District Council rejected its application in November last year, saying it breached local and national planning policies and feared it would suck trade from the town centre.

    A public inquiry into the council's decision to refuse permission for the new supermarket in Braintree began last month.

    Lawyers acting for the council and Sainsbury's were summing up their case to the Planning Inspectorate as the Chronicle went to press.

    But residents who live near the site and other parts of Braintree have strong opinions about the plans and the future of the town centre.

    Primary school teacher Nicola Larkin, who lives on Rayne Road near the proposed site, said: "The traffic towards the roundabout will get so much worse, it's bad enough as it is but with a new store it will cause a lot more congestion around the industrial estate at rush hour.

    "The market traders are suffering as it is, and if a huge store is put on the edge of town that will kill them of completely."

    At the moment there are only two businesses occupying units on the industrial site – Grahams Plumbing Merchants and UK Electrical Wholesale Lighting.

    As Sainsbury's own the land, neither business knows how long they can remain on the site and depending on the planning appeal ruling, may have to look for new premises.

    Robin Fisher, a resident who lives in Jersey Way, a road which backs on to Pods Brook Industrial Estate, said: "I was against the store, but now I'm in favour of it, mainly because we need something there, the current site is getting more and more derelict and the Sainsbury's in the town centre isn't big enough.

    "The traffic is a concern but it will bring a lot of jobs into the area."

    A spokesman for Sainsbury's said: "We are pleased that the appeal has demonstrated the need and desire from residents for the out-of-town Sainsbury's store.

    "We believe that the store will enable the regeneration of the site off Rayne Road and will also offer residents of Braintree a greater deal of choice, all of which was well articulated by the numerous residents who turned out to speak in support of the scheme.

    "We are hopeful that the Planning Inspector will recommend that the appeal is upheld by the Secretary of State."

    The decision is likely to be announced this spring.

    Decision imminent on proposed Braintree Sainsbury's

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    EXCITING new plans for the former Dukes nightclub site in Chelmsford have been unveiled, almost three years after the popular nightspot closed.

    Owner of the site, Fitzpatrick New Homes, wants to regenerate the area with 93 luxury apartments, shops, businesses and even a farmer's market.

    A new square will connect Duke Street with Victoria Road, creating a "community hub" which will provide the area with accommodation and jobs.

    Fitzpatrick New Homes has been at the forefront of luxury development for 20 years, mainly in London, but it wants to lay down roots in Chelmsford, having based its Essex office in Duke Street.

    The business venture is the company's first in the county and the owners are keen to remember the site's night-clubbing history with a memory wall put up during construction, where people can share photos and reminisce about Dukes' heyday.

    Plans are now being discussed to replace the landmark with 93 homes consisting of 29 one-bed and 64 two-bed apartments, with a large public piazza at its core, as well as a medical centre and a coffee shop.

    Managing director Brian Fitzpatrick, who aims to create a new bustling neighbourhood in Duke Street, said: "As with everything we build, our aim is to improve the street scene and give something back to the areas we develop.

    "We have the opportunity in Duke Street to create something really special. We have decided to build an interactive scheme whereby the site is not closed off and isolated from Duke Street, but instead opened up to the public for wider use."

    It has not yet been confirmed which company will occupy the coffee shop, although the owners are hopeful of attracting premium brands.

    "In the long-term, we want to see this as a destination and a welcome mat for Chelmsford. Therefore, it's really important we get the right quality commercial tenants," Mr Fitzpatrick said.

    "This will be an exciting development for Chelmsford and will invigorate the area, as well as generate employment."

    Former Dukes nightclub site to be transformed into luxury apartments

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    THE family of a student killed just before Christmas say they are determined to give him the best send off they can.

    On Monday, January 19, friends and family of Ashley Woolley, as well as staff and students from The Boswells School and Chelmsford College, will gather to celebrate his life at Chelmsford Cathedral.

    "It's a relief that we can plan it, but now reality is kicking in that we are burying him," said Ashley's dad Trevor Woolley, 45.

    "Not knowing when we would get him back was the hardest thing, but now we want to give him the best send-off we can."

    During the service, the family have said they will play some of Ashley's favourite songs, including tracks by his beloved Bob Marley, and have picked hymns and poems he would like too.

    "There will be a lot of people there," said Mr Woolley, who lives in Bramble Road, Witham. "He did touch so many people and was a part of so many lives."

    The funeral comes after the teen's loved ones threw a 19th birthday party in his honour on Tuesday last week, less than two weeks after Ashley, who lived in Rutland Road, Chelmsford, was fatally stabbed in the city's Oaklands Park on Thursday, December 18, while on his way to college.

    "They did such a wonderful, fantastic party, and there were so many memories of Ashley," added Mr Woolley. "It was sad because he wasn't there, but it was humbling to know that they were there for him. He would have loved that party."

    Other relatives took birthday balloons to Oaklands Park, and Mr Woolley said people have continued to put fresh flowers and cards outside the park for Ashley.

    Chelmsford Council has confirmed that a more permanent memorial to Ashley will be placed in the park, in the form of an English oak tree.

    The council fast-tracked the request over the Christmas period and it will be planted next Wednesday.

    "I think it's nice that there will be a tree for Ashley in Oaklands Park, it's near to the college," Mr Woolley said. "And the fact that there are still people coming and laying flowers, it is incredible, they're not forgetting him. It is a comfort."

    Ashley's tree is expected to cost around £100. If you would like to make a donation towards its cost, contact the newsdesk on 01245 602700.

    Chelmsford Cathedral to host 'celebration' of stab victim Ashley Woolley's life

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    Lakeside and Bluewater shopping centres have been earmarked as two possible locations for the family of missing Pat Lamb to install large banners in an attempt to raise awareness of the engineers disappearance.

    The 28-year-old has not been seen since he disappeared after a night out in Maidstone nearly a month ago.

    He was last seen in Bar Chocolate on Friday 12 December he had booked a hotel in St Michael's Road but did not return there.

    CCTV captured a number of images of Mr Lamb, who was last sighted on Fairmeadow at about 00:20 GMT on 13 December.

    He is described as white, 5ft 7in tall, slim to medium build, with hazel coloured eyes and short dark hair.

    His sister, Zoe Lamb, says that she will "not stop" until she finds Pat.

    At midnight last night family and friends of Pat Lamb changed their facebook and twitter photos to a picture of him.

    And the family also want to get their search trending on social media using the hashtag #‎findpatlamb.

    Kent police are continuing to carry out daily searches of the river although extensive searches on foot and of CCTV footage have proven to be fruitless. 

    Banner to be installed at Lakeside today to help find missing Pat Lamb

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    Supermarket giant Tesco have announced that they are about to shut their head office and 43 stores after a fall in sales.

    Tesco made the announcement as it revealed like-for-like sales for the 19 weeks to January 3 fell by 2.9%.

    Tesco has also said it is to close its final salary pension scheme and shut its main headquarters in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, in 2016, and move to Welwyn Garden City.

    A restructuring of central overheads is expected to save £250 million a year.

    And Tesco have stated this morning (January 8) that they will not be revealing any further details of the locations of the closing stores as staff have not been informed yet. 

    Britain's biggest supermarket is also selling Tesco Broadband and UK download business Blinkbox to TalkTalk.

    Chief executive Dave Lewis said: "We have some very difficult changes to make.

    "I am very conscious that the consequences of these changes are significant for all stakeholders in our business but we are facing the reality of the situation.

    "Our recent performance gives us confidence that when we pull together and put the customer first we can deliver the right results."

    Tesco to shut head office and 43 stores after fall in sales

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    A pedestrian has been hit by a car in Market Road, Maldon, causing the road to be closed while emergency services attend the scene.

    The air ambulance and ambulance were called to the incident, which occurred at around 8.23 this morning.

    More to follow

    Market Road in Maldon closed after pedestrian hit by car

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    UNCONFIRMED reports suggest a stabbing took place last night (January 7) in Chelmsford.

    The alleyway between Gloucester Avenue and Waterson Vale in Great Baddow remains sealed off by police this morning.

    Essex Police have yet to confirm why the area is under investigation.

    More to follow.

    BREAKING: unconfirmed reports of a stabbing in Chelmsford

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    Detectives have appealed for witnesses after a teenager was stabbed at Chelmsford last night (January 7).

    Police were called at about 5.45pm following reports of an incident in an alleyway between Waterson Vale and Loftin Way/Gloucester Avenue.

    Officers found that a 17-year-old youth from the Braintree area had received puncture wounds to his lower back and leg.

    He was taken to Broomfield Hospital but was released several hours later after treatment.

    A 17-year-old boy from Chelmsford was arrested in the early hours of this morning on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm.

    He remains in custody this morning.

    Forensic investigations in the alleyway continued this morning.

    Enquiries are continuing and any witnesses or anyone with information about events leading to the incident, should call Pc Dan Smith at Chelmsford CID on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. 

    UPDATE: Teenager stabbed in back and leg in Chelmsford, suspect in custody

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    After Christmas your bank account might be slightly worse for wear, but it doesn't mean you can't afford to go out and enjoy a great meal.

    Why not have a look at these dining deals and indulge in some delicious bargains.

    Pizza Express

    Register with PizzaExpress and get a voucher for 40% off your food bill between Monday to Thursday and after 5pm Sunday, until Sunday, January 18. We reckon this is a great deal as we haven't seen any better than 25% off your food bill since around this time last year, unless of course you use Orange Wednesdays' 2for1 code or get a Tastecard.

    One voucher is enough for the whole table and you can either print it or show on your smartphone. It is valid at the restaurant you choose when registering.

    It includes takeaway orders, but not those made online. Be aware, there are a lot of excluded restaurants - see more info below. It's valid on the Piccolo menu but excludes Calzone pizzas. 

    219 Moulsham Street, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 OLR

    Unit R, Freeport Designer Village, Charter Way, Braintree, Essex, CM77 8YH

    1 St Runwald Street, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1HF

    Toby Carvery

    Register with Toby Carvery and get a voucher for a free dairy ice cream (usually £2.79) when an adult orders an adult main (£8ish). A child can also get the offer, but they must order a children's main meal and they will get a child portion ice cream.

    You can print the voucher or show it on your smartphone. The voucher's good for up to six people, and it's valid at all restaurants Mon-Sat for four weeks after you register your voucher. This is an ongoing promotion

    The Chelmer Tavern, Dukes Lane, Chelmsford, CM2 6AD

    Notley, Braintree, Essex, CM77 7AB


    You don't need a voucher to get this 2for1 (Tuesday only) offer. Just order over the phone, in-store or from the 'meal deals' section of the website on a Tuesday. It's valid on medium and large pizzas only.

    75 Rainsford Lane, Chelmsford, CM1 2QS

    196 Coggeshall Road, Braintree, CM7 9EL

    3 Century House, North Station Road, Colchester, CO1 1RE

    Pizza Hut

    Enter the code AF111E online at Pizza Hut Delivery* or quote over the phone or at the counter on any Tuesday. It's for both delivery and collection though it's valid on medium and large options only. The offer's ongoing.

    5 Moulsham Street, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 0HR

    Unit 11 Chelmer Village Retail Park, Chelmer Village Way, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 6XE

    3A Galleys Corner, Braintree Road, Cressing, Braintree, Essex, CM77 8GA


    You can walk into Harvester on a weekday and treat yourself to a selected main, unlimited salad and soft drink, plus a Sunday Best sundae for £9.99.

    Choose between six mains, plus a tea or coffee, or unlimited soft drink. If you fancy something stronger, you can get a pint of Carling or Strongbow or 175ml glass of Vinewood wine (usually around £3) for £1 extra.

    Kids can also get in on the action for £5. It includes any children's main meal, unlimited salad and a kids' Sundae Best ice-cream, saving you around 30p to 70p. 

    The Plough, 306 Springfield Road, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 6BA

    The Talbot, 275 High Road, North Weald, CM16 6EE


    Register with Zizzi and get a voucher for 50% off main courses (including takeaway and kids' menu) until January 15. Simply present your code at the restaurant for the discount to be applied to your bill.

    It's valid for the whole table (no matter how many people) but the days and times it's valid vary by restaurant, so check your voucher. Can't be used at Twickenham, Victoria, Wembley, or The O2 when an event is on.

    1-5 Grays Brewery Yard, Springfield Road, Chelmsford, CM2 6QR

    12 Headgate, Colchester, CO3 3BT


    Sign up via this Beefeater page to get 50 per off at least two main courses on the main menu at all its restaurants, until January 9. Once registered, you'll be emailed the voucher which will contain a code to either print out or show on your smartphone. 

    One voucher is valid for up to six people, although you must order at least two mains.

    You'll notice when you sign up you can add one of two extra offers to your voucher which can be used at the same time: 50 off kids main or second drink - see below for more details.

    50% off kids main

    For each person who orders a main from the main menu with the 50% off code, one child (up to 12 years old) will get 50 per cent off a main from the Kids menu.The offer can't be used with Kids Meal Deals. Valid for up to six kids.

    50% off second drink

    Each person who orders a main from the main menu with the 50% off code will get their second drink half price. The second drink must be the same price or cheaper than the first. You can use this code for soft or alcoholic drinks, excluding bottles of wine, champagne, spirits and unlimited soft drinks - In Scotland this offer's only valid on soft drinks.

    The manager has the right to offer an alternative drink at their discretion. Make sure you keep a tab open and keep hold of your receipts to use this offer. You must be 18 or older if you choose an alcoholic drink. Valid for up to six people.

    The Albert, Cowdray Avenue, Colchester, CO1 1UT

    Papa John's

    Go online to Papa John's* and get 50% off all pizzas when your order's at least £15 (before discount) until 11.59pm on Sun Feb 1. The discount should be automatically added to your basket when you follow our link, but if not, enter the code AAPJOFF50 at the checkout. Alternatively, go in store to one of 250 Papa John's outlets where the discount should be applied automatically.

    Drinks, sides and ice creams are excluded and will not count towards the minimum spend. It also excludes Papa John's branches at motorway service stations, food courts and holiday parks.

    15 Bishop Hall Lane, Chelmsford, CM1 1RP

    2 Middleborough, Colchester, CO1 1QS

    7 Rayne Road, Braintree, CM7 2QA


    Order two 'classic' or 'light' pizza or pasta dishes at Prezzo and get the cheapest one free until Mon Jan 19. What's more, you'll also get a free Nutella and banana mini calzone dessert (normally £5.35). Register with Vouchercloud* and either print the voucher or show it on your smartphone at the restaurant. Valid every day except Saturday. Prezzo pizzas normally cost up to £11.50 each, and desserts over a fiver, so you're making a decent saving with this deal.

    Only one voucher is required for the whole table. It can't be used on takeaway orders, fixed menu dishes or with other offers, including Tesco vouchers. A few restaurants are excluded, see the 'more info' box for details.

    Unit 1, 113-115 Bond Street, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1GD

    70 Newland Street, Witham, Essex, CM8 1AH

    Unit 2 - Freeport Village, Charter Way, Chapel Hill, Braintree, CM7 8YH

    Slug and Lettuce

    Kids get a main and a drink from the under-8s menu for £1 (usually £5ish) when an adult dines from the main menu every Sunday at Slug and Lettuce. No voucher's needed, simply walk in. The offer's ongoing.

    111 High Street, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1TB

    Hungry Horse

    Simply walk in any time during the week to get two main meals for £8.49.

    Dog & Pheasant, 24 Nayland Road, Mile End, Colchester, Essex, CO4 5EG

    Flyer, Dickens Place, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 4UU

    Swan Inn, 285 London Road, Stanway, Colchester, Essex, CO3 8LU

    Flaming Grill Pubs

    When an adult orders a main meal (£4.50-£10ish) at any Flaming Grill pub, up to four children (aged 12 or under) can get a 'Build your meal' main from the kids menu for £1 each every Thu 3pm-7pm. These meals usually cost £2.99 so you're saving £2 per child.

    There's no max number of children per table as long as there's one adult per four children - so if there's two adults, up to eight children can eat for £1. Kids can upgrade to a mighty meal for an additional £1 per child, making the meal £2 in total.

    It's an ongoing offer that is valid at all Flaming Grill pubs.

    Rovers Tye, Ipswich Road, Colchester, Essex, CO4 9BA

    Queen B, 6 Waterson Vale, Off Princes Road, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 9PB

    Top 12 secret dining deals and money off meal offers in Essex

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    Police in Colchester investigating a sexual assault are appealing for witnesses after a female victim was grabbed outside the Willows shopping parade.

    The incident reportedly happened at 9.25pm on Sunday (January 4) on Mersea Road.

    The victim, a woman in her 30s, was grabbed by the arm and kissed by a man before he touched her breast over her clothes.

    The suspect is described as approximately 5 ft 11ins, with dark skin, short dark hair and of medium build. He was wearing a dark top with dark blue jeans, described as baggy.

    Anyone with any information is asked to contact Ps Tyhurst at Colchester Police station on 101.

    People can also give information to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or via

    Woman grabbed and sexually assaulted in the Willows in Colchester

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    A brave Chelmsford city councillor died on Christmas Eve following a long battle with cancer.

    Robert Burgoyne, 65, from Springfield, a Conservative elected in May 2011, leaves behind wife Patricia, two children and a vacancy for The Lawns ward.

    He sat on the council's licensing and regulatory committee as well as the planning committee.

    City council leader Roy Whitehead said: "Councillor Burgoyne had been battling with cancer for the last few years and was incredibly brave dealing with it.

    "All city councillors, regardless of their political allegiances, are saddened by his passing." 

    Mr Burgoyne's funeral will take place at All Saints Church, Springfield Green, on Tuesday, January 20, at 12.30pm. 

    Leader pays tribute to brave Chelmsford city councillor Robert Burgoyne after Christmas Eve death

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    AREAS of Moulsham Lodge is Chelmsford remain cordoned off this afternoon as the investigation into the stabbing of a 17-year-old continues.

    Essex Police were called at 5.45pm to an alleyway between Waterson Vale and Loftin Way.

    When officers arrived at the scene they found a 17-year-old boy from Braintree with stab wounds to his lower back and leg.

    Residents of Waterston Vale saw police cars at around 5.50pm patrolling the area, which then moved towards the vast grass area near Goodwin Close.

    A dog walker, who did not want to be named, told the Chronicle: "I came out at about 6pm and saw police cars then when I came out again at about 9.30pm the green had been cordoned off."

    The grass in front of Goodwin Close and Bawden Way remains under police cordon this morning, as forensic officers comb the area for clues.

    A green area along Waterston Vale and Rosseter Close is also taped off.

    As of 12.30pm today five police cars and a van remain dotted around the nearby roads as the investigation continued.

    Police are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information to contact them.

    In the early hours of this morning a 17-year-old boy from Chelmsford was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm and is still in custody.

    The 17-year-old victim from Braintree was treated at Broomfield Hospital and released last night.

    Anyone with any information can call PC Dan Smith at Chelmsford CID on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

    Police officers search green in Moulsham Lodge after teenager stabbed

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    Now that contractors Bowland & Kirkland have descended onto Bond Street in Chelmsford, soon to be home to the £120 million upmarket shopping complex surrounding a three-storey John Lewis, the much talked-about project feels like a reality.

    Metal fencing blocking off the entire 550-space car park was erected on Tuesday (January 6) - albeit three days late due to a delay in the delivery of the hoarding.

    When the hoarding is removed in September 2016, in its place should be 20 shops, five restaurants and a Cineworld.

    But will this shopping centre persuade you to do the bulk of your shopping in the city rather than heading to Lakeside and Bluewater?

    A consultant from the developers, Neil Ridley from Aquila, has already said the Chelmsford site doesn't compare to the industrial scale of the two mega malls - but here, regardless, we argue why staying local will be better.

    1. Lakeside has no John Lewis!

    And if you truly want to shun John Lewis in Chelmsford for an alternative elsewhere, you will indeed have to venture as far as Bluewater in Kent or Norwich - or the capital.

    2. A 'town centre' feel

    You can't walk to a green space like Central Park, no further than three/four minutes from Bond Street, in Lakeside and Bluewater.

    3. Condensed

    The 20 shops, five restaurants and the Cineworld will be condensed tightly around the current Bond Street car park. Lakeside is 133,200 metre-squared in floor space - which is quite big.

    4. Traffic

    Is traffic on the A12 and M25 worth bearing in order to get to Lakeside and Bluewater?

    5. Supermarket

    A large Tesco supermarket sits opposite the future John Lewis site, a touching distance away for our food shopping needs. Lakeside merely has a Tesco Express.

    John Lewis in Chelmsford: 5 reasons why £120m complex will be better than Lakeside and Bluewater

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