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Work starts on Market Square
MARKET Square is undergoing a major
facelift to transform it into a mixed-use area
and restore it to its former glory.
The facelift will see the removal of the decking
features and playground that were installed as
part of the Harlow Renaissance project in
The square will be restored with the original
floor design by Fredrick Gibberd reinstated,
albeit with a colourful contemporary
A range of contemporary concrete street
furniture, including colourful canopies, table
tennis and chess tables, and public access wi-fi
will also be installed to create an environment
suitable for all ages offering a place to meet,
relax and enjoy Harlow Town Centre.
The red pots that have formed part of Market
Square’s landscape are making a return but
will be repositioned and replanted with suitable
trees to add some greenery to the area.
Councillor John Strachan, Harlow Council's
regeneration portfolio holder, said: "The
‘new’ Market Square aims to stay true to the
original concept that it should be an informal,
lively and varied place, and the street
furniture will certainly add much-needed colour
and offer an alternative experience.
"It is hoped Market Square will become a
place that is embraced by the Harlow community
A council spokesman said that over the years the
northern part of Harlow town centre has
struggled to maintain footfall seen in other
parts of the town centre.
The spokesman added that for this reason, and
because of a lack of private sector investment
in commercial properties and a declining market,
the council has made a commitment to improving
Market Square so it can be used for a range of
activities that could help attract
Specialist markets and live performances could
well become regular features.
Work is scheduled to be completed by
Couple jailed over bouncy castle
THE grieving parents of a girl who died
after the bouncy castle she was playing on
became untethered during poor weather conditions
have described the enduring pain of losing their
Cara Blackie and Lee Grant spoke about the
impact of their daughter Summer Grant’s death
two years ago after two fairground workers were
both jailed for three years at Chelmsford Crown
Court on Friday.
Married couple Shelby and William Thurston stood
trial at Chelmsford Crown Court on April 16 in
connection with the incident in Harlow Town Park
on March 26, 2016.
On Wednesday, May 9, a jury convicted them both
of manslaughter by gross negligence and two
counts of failing to discharge a general health
and safety duty under the Health and Safety at
They were both sentenced to three years in
prison for manslaughter by gross
They also received one year sentences, to run
concurrently, for failing to discharge a general
health and safety duty under the Health and
Safety at Work Act.
Seven-year-old Summer, from Norwich, was trapped
inside the Circus Super Dome bouncy castle when
high winds blew it into the air.
It travelled 300 metres down a hill and struck a
tree before coming to rest.
She was taken to hospital but died a short time
Shelby Thurston, 25, and William Thurston Jnr,
28, both of Whitecross Road, Wilburton, had not
adequately anchored the inflatable to the ground
and failed to monitor weather conditions to
ensure it was safe for it to be in use, the
Witnesses told the court it had been raining and
windy on the day of the incident.
A yellow weather wind warning was in place and
the weather forecast for the coming weekend was
stormy, with Storm Katie expected to arrive on
Summer’s mum, Cara Blackie, from Norwich,
said: “I remember walking in and seeing my
daughter’s lifeless body. What she went
through was just awful; how scared she must have
been. I sat with her for a while in disbelief
not knowing what to think or feel.
“I felt numb, and in complete shock. This
couldn’t be happening to my beautiful Summer.
“The feeling I felt leaving her at the
hospital alone will be with me forever. “I
kept thinking how an earth am I supposed to tell
Lily, my younger daughter, that Summer wasn’t
“The next day Lily came to the hotel and I
laid with her on the bed and broke the news. She
was only five and didn’t quite understand what
I was saying.
“I explained that Summer was now up in the sky
with the angels. That night Lily was at the
hotel window and we asked what she was doing to
which she replied ‘I’m saying good night to
Summer’. It was killing me inside but I knew I
had to be strong for her sake.
“Since losing Summer, our lives have changed.
We are always aware that Summer is missing,
whether it be at a birthday party, a family meal
or just snuggled up on the sofa watching a film.
“We have good and bad days but our lives will
never be the same.
“I never thought that my Summer playing and
having fun on a bouncy castle would end her
“No amount of words will ever explain how this
has affected mine, my daughter’s and the rest
of my family’s lives.
“I have to live with this horrible pain the
rest of my life, which no mother should ever
have to go through.
"I hope that lessons are learned from this
and that changes are made by those who run
similar funfairs. I don't want any other family
to go through what we have."
Senior investigating officer Detective Chief
Inspector Daniel Stoten, of the Kent and Essex
Serious Crime Directorate, said: “I often
think of Summer.
"The words of her parents Cara and Lee will
bring a lump to the throat of anyone that reads
"My dearest thoughts are with Summer, Cara,
Lee, Lily and their wider family. I wish the
family peace for the future.”
Council thanks volunteers
MORE than 50 local people who give up
their time to volunteer for Harlow Council have
been recognised and thanked.
Fifty-six volunteers attended a reception at The
Playhouse organised as part of National
Volunteers’ Week which celebrated volunteering
in the UK.
The volunteers work alongside Harlow Council
staff within different community services, from
tending to the Town Park and Parndon Wood Nature
Reserve to helping at Pets’ Corner, the Leah
Manning Centre and The Playhouse.
Harlow Council chairman Maggie Hulcoop and
community and wellbeing portfolio holder Eugenie
Harvey thanked the volunteers who each received
a certificate in recognition of the work they
put in for the benefit of the town and the
Councillor Harvey said: “We are very fortunate
that in Harlow we have residents of all ages who
are community-spirited and willing to give their
time and energy to support the delivery of some
of our vital community services.
"I met some great people including Jean
Morgan who has volunteered at the Leah Manning
Centre since 1986, painting nails, giving hand
massages and taking the time to talk to the
elderly residents, and Muriel Lee who has
volunteered as an usher at The Playhouse and at
the hospital for a quarter of a century! Muriel
says The Playhouse is like her second
“I also met two young people who volunteer at
Pets’ Corner providing care for the animals
and helping in the shop.
“On top of this, many of our volunteers raise
money to support the work of these services -
Harlow Conservation Trust volunteers have raised
over £100,000 over the last ten years.
"Volunteers do not replace paid employees
but in working alongside them, they enable us to
provide even greater benefit to the community
and for that we say a heartfelt thank you.”
Man jailed over M11 pursuit
A MAN has been jailed for six years
following a high speed pursuit on the M11 that
saw five vehicles being struck and a determined
Unemployed Cormack Doolin, 24, of Albany Road,
Hornchurch, received three years for robbery,
two years for dangerous driving, six months for
theft and six months for actual bodily harm, all
to run consecutively.
At Chelmsford Crown Court on Monday, he was also
disqualified from driving for six years and
received no separate penalty for driving without
At about 10.50am on Sunday, February 18, police
were carrying out speed checks on the M11 when
Doolin drove passed in a Kia Sportage at
Roads policing officer PC Mike Bignell followed
the car and signalled for it to stop, without
Doolin drove off, weaving in and out of lanes at
120mph over 11 miles before crashing into two
vehicles on the junction 7 slip road at
PC Bignell got out of his car and tried to open
Doolin’s door but was run over and knocked to
the floor suffering a hand injury.
Despite this he got up and continued the
pursuit. Doolin was later involved in two
further head-on collisions with four cars on the
A414 at Church Langley - one car carrying two
He ran off but was tripped over by a member of
the public, Mark Solomon, and was quickly
arrested by PC Bignell.
The Kia Sportage was found to have been stolen
from Heaton Avenue, Romford, overnight on
Monday, February 5.
Doolin was also sentenced after robbing a guard
carrying an empty cash box in Brentwood High
Street at 12.45pm on October 11 last year.
The box was later found smashed in a car park in
Investigating officer DC Mel Keen, of Brentwood
CID, said: “Doolin was determined to escape at
any cost. He drove at dangerous speeds, collided
with five vehicles and run over a police
"His dangerous actions resulted in an
innocent woman suffering broken ribs and a man
having to undergo surgery for back pain.
"PC Bignell suffered soft tissue damage and
despite being in pain still bravely pursued the
vehicle and arrested Doolin. I would like to
thank him for his courage and
"My praise and thanks also goes to Mr
Solomon who tripped Doolin and has since been
rewarded with £200.
His actions have resulted in a dangerous
individual being locked in prison for a number
PC Bignell, DC Keen and Mr Solomon have all been
nominated for commendations.
MP launches petition against
hospital parking charges
9.45am - 8th
HARLOW MP Robert Halfon has launched a
petition to bring an end to car parking charges
at NHS hospitals in England.
In 2014, through his own research, Mr Halfon
discovered that some hospitals were charging
patients, visitors and staff up to £500 per
week to park.
As a result of Mr Halfon's campaign, the
Government introduced guidance with the aim of
limiting the effects of the charges on the most
Despite Government guidelines being introduced
in 2014, 47 per cent of hospitals have increased
hourly parking charges and almost half on
hospitals offer no concessions for disabled
drivers, Mr Halfon said.
Major charities, Headway and CLIC Sargent,
FairFuelUK and MPs from across the House are
backing Mr Halfon's campaign.
The Government will respond to the petition if
it is signed by 10,000 people. If it gains
100,000 signatures, it will be considered for
debate in Parliament.
Mr Halfon said: "It’s time the Government
stepped up and ended this stealth tax on the
"I am incredibly pleased to have launched
this petition alongside FairFuelUK, Headway and
"I have no doubt it will garner the support
necessary to bring the issue back to Parliament
- and urge the Government to listen to the
thousands of people across the country and MPs
from across the House and scrap these unfair
"Ultimately we cannot say that the NHS is
free at the point of access if drivers are
charged to attend appointments or visit
relatives - and it is appalling that hardworking
NHS nurses, porters and cleaners are charged to
go to work.
"The Government’s 2014 guidance is
clearly being ignored by trusts.
"This petition will urge the Government to
listen to the thousands of people across the
country and scrap hospital parking charges, once
and for all."
Plans unveiled for old Lister House
4.48pm - 4th
PROPOSALS to redevelop the old Lister
House site in Staple Tye into housing have been
unveiled by Harlow Council.
The plans were published ahead of a pre-planning
consultation meeting for local residents and
Due to public interest on social media a further
drop-in consultation event will take place on
Wednesday (June 6) at the Civic Centre from
4.30pm to 7pm.
A webpage - www.harlow.gov.uk/perry-road-staple-tye
- details the proposals and includes a 3D film
of the proposed development. The council-owned
Perry Road development will see up to 46
apartments built with a minimum of 30 per cent
The council is committed to ensure that as many
affordable homes as possible are provided for
local people on Harlow’s Housing Needs
Register as the plans develop.
The development is possible as the existing
Lister House is moving to a new site on
Abercrombie Way. This is set to be completed in
Next to the new health centre, a new
multi-use-games-area is due to be completed
shortly. The fenced area will have line markings
for football, basketball and tennis and will be
Hospital to be discussed in
8.33am - 1st
THE future of Harlow's Princess Alexandra
Hospital will be discussed in Parliament on
Tuesday after a debate was secured by MP Robert
Mr Halfon and six fellow MPs, including Epping
Forest MP Eleanor Laing and Brentwood and Ongar
MP Alex Burghart, sent a joint letter to Health
Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The debate is part of Mr Halfon’s ongoing
campaign for capital funding for a new hospital
The campaign is supported by key health
organisations and a number of other MPs
representing neighbouring constituencies.
The letter presses the need for a new hospital
Mr Halfon said: "Protecting Our NHS has
been one of my priorities since becoming MP and
this debate is an absolutely vital part of my
campaign to ensure that healthcare in Harlow is
fit for the 21st Century.
"Due to changes to NHS services in
neighbouring towns, and Harlow’s growing
population, the Princess Alexandra serves a huge
number of patients.
"The failing infrastructure means that the
hardworking staff are finding it increasingly
difficult to care for residents of Harlow and
the surrounding area.
"In our letter we made clear that there
continues to be a vital and pressing need for
the development of a new health campus in
"During the debate I will raise this with
Health Ministers and press for capital funding
to make it a reality."
Police appeal after man assaulted
8.32am - 1st
POLICE are appealing for information
after a 19-year-old man was seriously injured
when he was assaulted in Harlow.
Officers received reports that the victim was
approached by three black men, who had got out
of a black people carrier type taxi on Bowhill
Way at about 8.30pm on Friday.
The three men threatened the man with a knife
before hitting him on the head.
The men then left in the same taxi, having
stolen a three figure sum of cash from the
Police want to speak to anyone with information
about the incident, in particular the driver of
Anyone with any information should ring Harlow
CID on 101, quoting incident 1321 of May 25, or
Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.