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

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    A 35-year-old man arrested in connection with a stabbing in Chelmsford has been released without charge.

    The man was on police bail until Friday, January 30 after a 17-year-old boy from Braintree was stabbed in the lower back and leg on Wednesday, January 7.

    He answered bail on Friday and police took no further action against him.

    The attack happened in an alleyway between Waterson Vale and Loftin Way in Chelmsford, at around 5.45pm.

    The teenager did not suffer serious injuries and was released from Broomfield Hospital the same evening.

    A 17-year-old was also arrested in connection with the attack and has been bailed until Monday, March 9. 

    Man arrested in connection with stabbing of Braintree boy released without charge

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    Police are appealing for information regarding a disturbance outside Chelmsford nightspot Missoula last year.

    At about 5.50am on Sunday, October 26 there was a disturbance involving a number of men, believed to be aged in their 20s, outside the bar in Springfield Road.

    Police are looking to identify a number of men captured on CCTV.

    The first is white, with short black hair, black trousers, black Adidas trainers and of medium build.

    The second is white, with short light hair, white shirt, jeans, white trainers and of medium build.

    The third is white, with short light hair, long sleeved white and black horizontal striped top, jeans and white trainers.

    The fourth is white, with curly brown hair, light shirt, light jeans and dark shoes.

    Anyone with information should contact Pc Harriet Ware at Chelmsford CID on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

    Essex Police appeal for help to identify four Missoula men

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    IT'S NO secret that the winter months can be hard for the elderly and vulnerable, as staying indoors to avoid the plummeting temperatures can mean being cut off from company.

    But for the organisers and regulars of the Wisdom Group in Melbourne, there's no skipping the weekly meet-up of the thriving social club, where the emphasis is on friendship and fun.

    And even a nippy January morning couldn't deter its members, who came out in their droves to the Scout Hut on Langton Avenue for cake and bingo.

    "The women outnumber the men 12 to one, that's why we come here," joked Ron Frost, who has been going for around eight years.

    "I actually call this a wisdom gossip club. People are very friendly, there's a good atmosphere; the sisters do a great job."

    Clubs like the Wisdom Group, which was set up by two nuns who used to teach at New Hall School, are at the heart of the Chronicle's Surviving Winter Campaign. The campaign is being run in conjunction with Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

    As well as raising awareness of people who may be vulnerable during the winter months, the campaign is proud to raise awareness and money for groups like the Melbourne meet-up, which provides people with much-needed company and friendship.

    "It's been going for 11 years now," explained Sister Margaret, who set up the Wisdom Group with fellow nun, Sister Moira more than a decade ago.

    "When we got here, we put our heads together and found that things for the elderly were a bit thin on the ground. We began as a small group, just eight people, and now at capacity there are about 45 of us.

    "The ECF has been great for us in all our work, funding has come in for all of it. We've been very lucky."

    And as well as the weekly meet-ups, group members also have the opportunity to take part in trips, activities and classes, although the big draw is clearly the atmosphere.

    "People really like the company," Sister Margaret added. "Most of them live alone, and for some people it is the only outing of the week. For others, they have a social life from the group – they meet up in the week. And we have lots of activities for people to join in with here as well, we go on trips, go to the theatre, have a Christmas party, barbecues in the summer. We also have someone who comes in and does exercise classes, and someone else who comes in and teaches cookery."

    The group also celebrate their member's birthdays, most recently that of 67-year-old Barbara Ricketts, who credits the weekly meet-up with contributing to her social life.

    "I've been coming here for about seven or eight years, I think that meeting people gets you out," she explained.

    "We're all good friends here; I have friends from here who I go on holiday with. It's the social part of it I like. There are people here who understand you, who know what you're talking about or what you're going through."

    The company is certainly important to Doreen Whitehead, 84.

    "You don't meet people if you stay inside," she said. "It gets me out of my shell. It's companionship and it takes us out of our way as we meet lots of people. I've been coming here for years, and it's nice to talk to people – even if you don't know the names of the people you meet, it's good to have a chat."

    SURVIVING WINTER APPEAL: Wise retirees make beeline for Chelmsford Wisdom Group

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    Police are encouraging witnesses to come forward after a man in his 60s was found with a serious head injury in Braintree.

    Officers were rushed to Rosemary Avenue in Braintree shortly before 3am on Sunday, February 1 and found a man seriously injured.

    He was taken to Royal London Hospital for treatment, where he remains in a critical but stable condition.

    Police are now viewing CCTV in the local area and urge anyone with information to contact them.

    DS Nick Eliot said: "We believe the victim suffered the injury between 10.45pm and 11.10pm on Saturday, January 31.

    "He was seen in the company of two men opposite the Swan public house, close to Iceland. One was wearing a grey Fred Perry top. I'd urge these men to get in contact."

    Anyone with information should call Braintree CID on 101 or Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.

    Police in Braintree appeal for information after elderly man suffers serious head injury

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    An overturned lorry has blocked the London-bound side of the A12.

    The accident, involving a HGV, happened at around 3.50pm  today between junctions 22 and 21 on the south carriageway.

    Fire crews from Chelmsford, Witham, Coggeshall and Colchester rushed to the scene.

    An air ambulance, a rapid response vehicle and two ambulance crews were also sent to the crash site.

    No one was trapped in the vehicle but the emergency services are now dealing with a fuel spill across the road.

    One man in his 30s was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

    He had suspected leg and chest injuries and was taken by Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford.

    Motorists are reporting queuing traffic from Witham north to Boreham as drivers stop to look at the accident.

    Essex Police say there could be delays of up to four or six hours with a diversion set up to Marks Tey via the A120.

    Overturned HGV blocks London-bound A12 near Witham

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    An Essex businessman was given a six-month suspended prison sentence and his company fined £10,000 for selling potentially toxic vitamins he claimed could cure and prevent cancer.

    Roger Shelley, owner and director of The Vitamin Service Ltd sold courses of "metabolic therapy" treatments, costing £500 a month, as a treatment to prevent or cure cancer.

    Shelley, who pleaded guilty to every charge, was sentenced today (Monday February 2) at Basildon Crown Court after an investigation by Essex Trading Standards.

    He was selling courses of treatment using apricot kernels – which can be fatal in certain doses - as a natural source of Vitamin B17.

    But Vitamin B17, also known as amygdalin and laetrile, is a cyanogenic substance which can cause cyanide poisoning and is a prescription only medication in the UK with no licensed medicines containing B17.

    He was recommending doses for children and adults.

    Shelley, 67, of Olivia Drive, Leigh on Sea, and his company were charged with three offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and two offences under the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 between February 2012 and August 2013. 

    He was given a six month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, for six charges, to run concurrently and a 120 hour unpaid work order. His company was ordered to pay a £10,000 fine and a £15 victim surcharge.

    Cllr Roger Walters, Essex County Council Trading Standards lead, said: "This case was the result of a long and complex investigation by Essex Trading Standards, which required permission from the Secretary of State for Health in order to prosecute under the Human Medicines Regulations, which was new territory for Trading Standards.

    "Trading Standards advice to people who are considering whether to take any substance not prescribed for a medical purpose, either preventative or as a treatment, is to consult their doctor first.

    "I hope the public feel safer knowing that Essex Trading Standards will take action where traders are trying to sell products which are neither medically proven nor safe.

    "It took nearly 12 months to conclude the investigation, as it involved meticulously searching through computer file going back ten years which revealed victims across Europe."

    He was also linked to another website,, which claimed metabolic therapy was non-toxic and could prevent or cure cancer, Basildon Crown Court heard.

    And he directed people to another website,, based in Mexico, which sold pure B17, and received financial remuneration for doing so, Essex Trading Standards claimed.


    Essex businessman guilty of selling fake cancer cure vitamins given suspended sentence and fined £10,000

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    VILLAGERS are bracing themselves for disruption as a new waste centre begins taking in rubbish from across the district.

    Residents in Cressing fear that the use of Cordons Farm in Long Green as a waste transfer station will make roads more dangerous and lower their quality of life.

    Anton Liebscher, chairman of Cressing Parish Council, said: "It's added to the traffic already, I see vehicles come past my window that didn't normally come past before. There have been quite a few more collection carts on the B1018."

    The site is already used as a haulage depot by Essex County Council for scrapping old vehicles and has been partly used as a small-scale waste transfer site since 1993.

    But now the new, larger plant will process about 75,000 tonnes of domestic waste per year from Braintree, Dunmow, Coggeshall, Witham and the surrounding areas. It will also bring changes to rubbish collection dates.

    The plant is part of a network of transfer stations around Essex that will send waste on to a centralised plant for further treatment, likely to be in Basildon.

    "A big concern is the smell," said Cllr Liebscher. "It's fine in February, but during the summer it's going to be so much worse if any of the rubbish is left out in the sun.

    "We are also concerned about the height of the tower. I don't think it 's high enough so the fumes will not be dispersed."

    Essex County Council has set the expansion as part of their waste strategy to "bulk" or condense black-bag rubbish before taking it to another site for treatment.

    Cllr Liebscher added: "There are already a lot of accidents on that roundabout and the problem is likely to get worse. Often incidents that don't involve injuries are not recorded in the statistics so nothing is done about it.

    "The parish council is also concerned about HGV drivers taking shortcuts through the old village. They know they are not supposed to but it's something a couple of people have been spotted doing."

    Braintree District Council say a fully operational plant and associated changes to the service will save around £400,000 a year by not having to take waste to places such as Boreham or Haverhill.

    Wendy Schmitt, district council cabinet member for the environment, said: "The lorries will have to use that same road and roundabout when they go to the yard or if they have to go off to other stations around the county. With this new station, we can save taxpayers a lot money."

    The council also spent £240,000 on new in-cab technology, so waste crews can receive real-time updates on the progress of routes and report information directly to both office staff and the authority's customer service centre.

    Robert Mitchell, deputy cabinet member for waste management, said: "It means most households in the district will find some changes to their route and collection day. This is not simply a money saving measure; it's about improving the service we deliver while offering even better value for money to our residents.

    "The investment in new technology provides our crews with detailed information on routes, the exact number of bins expected – which is important with an ever-increasing number of properties – and information on assisted collections – and properties with access issues."

    To see your new calendar, visit calendar2015 and to receive text message reminders on service updates and bank holiday changes, sign up to the council's ReText service by texting your postcode and house number or name to 07797 803203.

    Cressing villagers fear disruption from new Cordons Farm waste centre

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    GROWING old is often associated with retirement homes and a sedentary lifestyle.

    But a centenarian from Witham is proving that reaching the age of 100 doesn't have to mean slowing down.

    Florence Seymour, who turned 100 on December 27, said there are no magic secrets to staying young at heart – but the daily lunches with her grandson Mark Aldridge, 39, and weekly visits to the Red Lion pub with Mark and his brother Dean, 43, may have something to do with it.

    The trio have been meeting for a weekly lunch in the Witham pub for the past five years, and aren't showing any signs of changing their routine as the years pass and their nan gets older.

    "I go to the pub once a week, and celebrated my birthday at my daughter's house," the great-grandmother of 11 told the Essex Chronicle.

    "There's no secret really to a long life, I can't really believe I'm 100."

    The former shoe factory worker, who was born in Tottenham, still lives in her bungalow and has retained a great sense of humour, along with her independence.

    On opening her letter from the Queen, she remarked: "It's very nice, but there's no money in it!"

    "She looks very old fashioned on the card," Mrs Seymour observed of her royal letter. "She really should get herself a new haircut."

    Her grandsons, who clearly adore the weekly lunches with their spirited grandmother, said they were proud of her milestone.

    "A lot of people my nan's age are in a home, but by going to see her every day I hope it gives her a purpose," Mark explained.

    "Two or three years ago, when she was 97, she was still going out into town on the bus, which is amazing."

    Dean added: "Mark and I have always been local, so we've seen our nan a lot; we used to spend Saturdays there when we were kids and stuff our faces with sweets, so it's always been the three of us."

    And the threesome have also proved popular with the pub's other regulars, one of whom told the Chronicle: "They are very much loved in this pub, they're a wonderful family."

    Staff at the pub presented Mrs Seymour with a bouquet of flowers to celebrate her special birthday.

    "We have a chat and a laugh at lunch," said Mrs Seymour, who celebrated her big day with her two surviving daughters, six grandchildren and all of her great-grandchildren.

    Her daughter, Barbara Collis, said: "We had a party for her at Walton-on-the-Naze and it was a really lovely get together.

    "We must have had more than 30 of us all here."

    She added: "Mum's a real character, and has had a very difficult life in many respects."

    Mrs Seymour retired to Witham 40 years ago after losing husband George in 1963.

    Barbara recalled her devotion to her family. She said: "Mum raised three daughters on her own and had very little time to enjoy herself when we were young.

    "For me, she's just a very ordinary mum, who has worked hard for all of us.

    "Even when she retired, she was always looking after her grandchildren and helping us.

    "My mum has been the backbone of the family, always there to give a helping hand."

    Chelmsford pub regular Florence turns 100

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    People across Essex are waking up to a light dusting of snow this morning and should therefore be vigilant out on the roads and footpaths. 

    The Met office issued a warning for snow last night and that remains in place until 10am this morning, with officials urging the public to be aware of potentially tricky driving conditions. 

    It is expected to remain cloudy and grey until around midday when the sun is due to break through the clouds. 

    Snow causing dangers on Essex roads

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    Snowy showers could return to Essex today as the cold air flow, dubbed the "Beast from the East", hits the UK.

    The wave of freezing temperatures is breezing its way from Siberia in Russia, and in the process, threatening lows of -15C.

    It would mean the country being colder than Greenland.

    The Government has issued a Level 3 cold weather health warning for the UK, meaning a 90 per cent probability of freezing temperatures.

    The East of England however has been issued with a Level 2 warning, meaning an 80 per cent probability of freezing temperatures.

    Temperatures will reach highs of 3C in Chelmsford today at about 3pm.

    More snowy showers as 'Beast from the East' hits Essex

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    Southend-on-sea has been crowned the UK's most romantic place, according to new figures from ecommerce experts, Postcode Anywhere.

    The experts found that more people in Southend bought more presents online in the run up to Valentine's Day last year than any other place in the UK, ahead of Wigan, Sunderland and Ipswich.

    Postcode Anywhere analysed the volume of purchases for flowers, chocolates, lingerie, jewellery, adult gifts and fragrances, across its 9,000-strong customer base.

    Among the findings, the research discovered people from Romford are more likely to buy their partners lingerie as a Valentine's Day present, consumers from Watford are more likely to purchase jewellery, and in Blackburn perfume proves a popular choice.

    The research also found Hull to be the least romantic place in the UK.

    Guy Mucklow, CEO of Postcode Anywhere said: "Online sales in the US and UK have continued to rise considerably year on year in the run up to Valentine's Day. With almost £1billion now being spent on gifts and going out in the UK, Valentine's Day has firmly established itself as one of the biggest retailing events of the year.

    "Figures from Postcode Anywhere's Big Data Labs indicate that traffic for ecommerce retailers specialising in Valentine related gifts peaks on the 13th February. The peak which was only eclipsed by the Christmas and Easter build-up was 63 per cent up on a typical day in 2014.

    "With shoppers becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to spending their hard-earned cash, retailers have been forced to compete for every sale. For an online business to succeed this year, there needs to be a focus on the whole customer journey. The importance of a fast and efficient checkout process cannot be underestimated."

    Southend is crowned UK's most romantic town, ahead of Wigan, Sunderland, Ipswich and Stoke

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    Hundreds of thousands of innocent people may be on a facial recognition database, after it was revealed that up to 18 million mugshots were uploaded by police in England and Wales, in spite of a court ruling it may be unlawful.

    The  photos, which included people who were cleared of an offence or never charged, were uploaded without Home Office knowledge or approval, and there are concerns that the database is a breach of people's civil liberties.

    According to Biometrics Commissioner Alastair MacGregor QC, who was interviewed on Newsnight, almost every police force in England and Wales has submitted mugshots.

    But Essex police said it has not sent any images into the facial recognition database.

    And despite police saying the database did not breach the Data Protection Act, several MPs also expressed their concern with the system.

    Essex police says it has not uploaded pictures of innocent people to facial recognition database

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    Police investigating an aggravated burglary in Corringham, Thurrock have released the name of someone wanted in connection with the incident as well as an e-fit of another suspect.

    Detectives want to trace 26-year-old Syd Slingo, who was last known to be living in London Road, Tilbury, in connection with an aggravated burglary at a house in Branksome Avenue at 6.50pm on Friday, January 16.

    Three men armed with a baseball bat and a hammer forced their way in to the house and stole a cream coloured safe and jewellery.

    The female victim who is also the occupant of the house, aged in her 20s, was left shaken but was unhurt.

    Anyone who has information about Mr Slingo's whereabouts, or who can identify the man in the e-fit, should contact Dc Clive Day at Grays CID on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

    Cream safe and jewellery stolen from Corringham home in aggravated burglary

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    Essex Police are investigating the circumstances that led to a man in his 60s being left in a critical condition with serious head injuries Sunday morning.

    Police were called to Rosemary Avenue shortly before 3am on February 1 and found a man seriously injured.

    He was taken to Royal London Hospital for treatment where he remains in a critical but stable condition.

    DS Nick Eliot said: "I'm keen to speak to anybody who saw the injured man between 10.50pm and 11.30pm (on Saturday, January 31) behind the Argos car park, near to Bank Street."

    Anyone with information is asked to contact Braintree CID on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

    ​Elderly man left in critical condition after suffering serious head injuries in Braintree

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    THE ALLEGED victim in a murder trial may have been stabbed with two different knives, a court heard today.

    Michael Haastrup, 24, of Southend, collapsed outside a flat in Cressing Road, Braintree, after a fight on April 16 last year, with Luke Eva, also 24.

    Witnesses reportedly saw walking sticks, pieces of wood, a belt, rope, a hammer and a knife used as the "scuffle" spilled out into the street.

    Mr Haastrup died at Broomfield Hospital the next morning and Eva was arrested in Loughton and charged with murder, an allegation he denies.

    A trial started last Wednesday (January 28) in which it was alleged the pair were both selling drugs in the area and that Mr Haastrup had the better quality cocaine and heroin than his competitor.

    Today the court heard evidence from forensic pathologist, Dr Benjamin Swift, who told jurors that from the marks to Michael's body and fibres found on two knives at the scene, it was likely he was stabbed in the thigh with a straight edged knife and in the chest by a serrated blade.

    The trial continues.

    Southend's Michael Haastrup may have been stabbed with two knives in Braintree drug feud, court hears

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    BELEAGUERED Braintree's 15th straight league defeat of the season, a 58-0 reverse, proved even more painful after Saturday's game was granted "double header" status when Rochford Hundred agreed it should also act as last season's postponed Essex Intermediate Cup Final.

    Tree won the cup in 2012/13 and found themselves in a position to defend the trophy after a series of withdrawals and byes catapulted them back to the final last season.

    But despite the best attempts of both clubs to arrange a fixture before the end of the last campaign nothing could be finalised – until Saturday's London Two North East showdown in south Essex

    The black and ambers were always going to face an uphill task against fifth-placed Rochford, and their cause wasn't helped when several players arrived only shortly before kick-off due to work commitments, making any kind of pre-match preparation nigh on impossible.

    It was evident Tree were in for a long afternoon straight from the kick-off, as the home side's forwards quickly took control, dominating scrums, line-outs and the break down.

    The visitors defended manfully but suffered a major blow when second row Dan Johnson was forced to leave the field of play with a shoulder injury after just 10 minutes, followed 10 minutes later by skipper Tom Carslake courtesy of a dead leg.

    Rochford made hay while the proverbial sun shone, running four tries past their hapless opponents and converting all but one of them for a 26-0 interval lead.

    Tree were forced to make more changes at half-time as veteran prop Matt Moore was forced off with a shoulder injury to be replaced by club stalwart Paul Aldridge, but his presence did at least add some stability to the pack.

    Things went from bad to worse on 45 minutes when Mikey Benfield was harshly sin-binned for being caught offside, and hooker James Jones was forced off with a neck injury soon after.

    With their front row replacement already deployed Tree were forced to play with 13 men for a 10 minute spell before Benfield's return, all of which helped Rochford to run in another six tries, only one of which they managed to convert.

    BRUFC joint-coach Brian Joslin said: "It was another testing afternoon for all involved and it's hard to find many positives looking at things where we are now.

    "But Tim Ashford and debutant Liam Evans both had good games in defence and our more senior players like Neil Fitzearle, Paul Aldridge, Matt Moore and Darren Page showed great commitment for the club as always."

    Tree host Essex rivals South Woodham Ferrers at Robbs Wood this Saturday, but with their injury list mounting and the forthcoming Six Nations sure to lure some senior players away from Beckers Green Road things aren't going to get any easier for the black and ambers.

    Braintree's 15th straight league defeat counts as double

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    Tonight's Ryman North division clash between Witham Town and Enfield Town has been called off following a pitch inspection this afternoon.

    The postponement leaves Witham three games behind their league rivals fighting for survival and Saturday's defeat to Margate dropped them into the relegation zone for the first time this season.

    A new date is yet to be set for the fixture.

    This Saturday they're set to face Leatherhead at home and Witham will be hoping to emulate the result against them earlier in the season where they came out 2-1 winners.


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    Great Notley Country Park has been crowned the finest in Essex in a poll of the county's parents. 

    The annual Primary Times Essex Star Awards recognises the best places and businesses in Essex for families with young children.

    Councillor Wendy Schmitt, Deputy Leader of Braintree District Council and Cabinet Member for Place, added: "Over the past few years there has been significant investment into Great Notley Country Park, and the many thousands of visitors of all ages who use it every year really demonstrate what an important facility it is for the local community."

    In April 2008 an investment of £750,00 was dedicated to the development of a play trail, which offers a wide range of different play experiences for kids. Since this time the park has really seen a rise in visitors.

    According to Tim Dixon, Head of Country Parks, the numbers have risen from 40,000 annual visitors to an excess of 120,000.

    Every year the park and Discovery Centre hosts different events and activities, from horse riding, cycling to stargazing.

    Essex County Councillor Roger Hirst, Cabinet Member for Customer Services, Libraries, Planning and Environment, said: "It is a fantastic place to keep active, explore and have fun for all ages who visit it."

    If you're interested in popping down to the park and discovering it for yourself, the next event is stargazing taking place on Saturday, February 21, between 6 to 9pm. 

    Great Notley Country Park is crowned as Essex's finest

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    THE Dengie's picturesque wild coast could become a magnet for tourists after the Big Lottery Fund pledged to give £292,000 for improvements.

    The money from the Coastal Communities Fund must be spent within the next financial year, but Maldon District Council wants to put its Dengie Gateway project into motion immediately after a visit from the Government's housing minister on Monday.

    Cllr Bob Boyce, the leader of Maldon District Council, said: "The impact of Bradwell power station closing down has been felt particularly in the southern part of the district.

    "This money will enable us to develop and stimulate our visitor economy, benefiting the district as a whole and will also help to create and stimulate employment in the area."

    The Dengie Gateway proposes to build on the success of its Saltmarsh 75 event, a 75-mile run along the coast, by developing a coastal trail that mirrors the route from North Fambridge to Salcott.

    The 75-mile path will be revitalised with the introduction of route surfacing, signage and easy links to other countryside attractions and restaurants, allowing visitors to enjoy the wild coast experience.

    The two other chief investments include the development of Burnham-on-Crouch as a major access point to the RSPB's ongoing Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project – a £50 million plan to create Europe's biggest wetland wildlife haven – and the appointment of a tourism business advisor.

    These further upgrades specifically include promoting the town's road and rail links, as well as championing its maritime connections.

    The council also wants to rejuvenate the local economy by increasing visitor numbers through more rural business opportunities after the community lost around 1,000 workers from the closure of Bradwell power station.

    It is anticipated that 38 jobs will be created as a result of the government support, with up to 50,000 visitors expected to come to Burnham-on-Crouch each year, once improvements to the town's pontoon have been made.

    These upgrades in infrastructure are hoped to boost tourism even further, regardless of the Wallasea Island project.

    Housing and planning minister Brandon Lewis, who visited the coastal town to celebrate the announcement, revealed his delight at being able to support the community.

    He said: "It was a competitive bid process, but we feel Maldon District Council's plans will deliver long-lasting benefits for people.

    "It's a beautiful part of the country down here and I'd love to come back and see it when everything is finished.

    "Coastal towns can get left behind out of season, but the council's proposals should keep the economy going all year round."

    A Dengie Tourism group will be launched later in the year to work alongside the tourism business advisor, expected to be appointed in April, to develop a tourism brand for the area.

    Work to extend the town's pontoon will begin in spring, with improvements to the 75-mile coastal trail set to start in summer.

    Along with Maldon District Council, the Department for Communities and Local Government announced it awarded a record £36 million in funding to 36 seaside towns around the country.

    Maldon and Dengie coastline to be overrun by tourists thanks to £300,000 windfall from government

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    KNIFE crime was an extra element included in the play, at the request of Chelmsford City Council.

    Concerned about recent knife incidents in the city, including the murder of Ashley Woolley, 18, in Oaklands Park, the council asked the Solomon Theatre Company if they could add in detail about the dangers of young people carrying knives.

    Rachel Kearn, the council's community safety officer, said: "We knew this was going out to an audience of 1,830 young people so, in the light of recent incidents in the city, felt it was too good an opportunity to miss to get this vital message across.

    "We are at the very early stages of planning further work in schools with the charity Only Cowards Carry Weapons, which was set up by an Essex mum as a result of a fatal stabbing."

    Josh Marriott, of Solomon Theatre Company, said: "We are happy to adapt the production to suit local needs and Chelmsford council asked us to include some details about knife crime, so we put in a few lines saying the male character Dan carried a knife.

    "In the workshop I talk about Joint Enterprise legislation and the fact that most people who are killed by knives are the owner and carriers of the weapon."

    References to the Stephen Lawrence case and other crimes are also made during the workshop.

    Pupils are warned about Joint Enterprise legislation whereby a person may be charged with a knife crime committed by a friend if they knew he or she was carrying the weapon, even if they are not actually involved.

    Theatre group's knife warning to 1,800 Chelmsford pupils after teen's murder

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