REVIEW OF THE YEAR - September to December
15:13 03 January 2014
It has been another eventful year in Saffron Walden and the surrounding villages. The Reporter takes a look back at some of the events that made the headlines in 2013.
• A doting dad placed a £10 bet on his 15-year-old daughter becoming more popular than Justin Bieber. Bookmakers William Hill gave Karim Ullah odds of 1,000-1 for his singer and musician daughter Shakila to become the first person to reach 100 million followers on Twitter.
• Hollywood movie star Nick Frost paid a visit to Saffron Screen ahead of the screening of his film, The World’s End. The actor had agreed to introduce the film at the independent cinema in support of a charitable cause.
• Audley End House announced that its nursery suite would be regenerated as part of a £1.1 million project. A team is piecing together evidence of what the 1830s and 40s nursery on the second floor of the Jacobean mansion would have looked like, to improve the visitor experience.
• Health chiefs denied rumours that Saffron Walden Community Hospital was at risk of closure. Despite the Radwinter Road facility operating under capacity, the West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group in fact confirmed there was a trend towards moving more services locally and highlighted that the hospital could become an integral part of service provision.
• Saffron Walden Golf Club scratch team made history after winning the Goddard Cup, Cambridgeshire’s premier club competition. The team, already promoted back to CAGU Division 1, thrashed Ramsey 12-0 to lift the trophy for the first time in the club’s history.
• Uttlesford was chosen as the launch pad for a Government blueprint aimed at empowering people to shape their area. Communities Minister Don Foster visited the district to mark the one-year anniversary of community rights coming into force under the Localism Act.
• Blueprints were published revealing how motorists will navigate Saffron Walden roads in the future. The Essex Highways plans suggested a number of mini-roundabouts be removed and one-way systems introduced. The proposals are likely to be adopted in the district council’s controversial Local Plan.
• Apples were everywhere during a community initiative. The Community Apple project was hailed a success with people from across the district collecting apples to be made into a unique cider.
• Hundreds of people turned out to show their support for a safe cycle and pedestrian route between Saffron Walden and Audley End station.
The second Ride n Ramble, organised by Access Walden, saw people cycle, scoot and walk the Wenden Road.
• Plans were unveiled for a new secondary school in Uttlesford. The district council released revised plans for an additional 2,100 homes on land between Elsenham and Henham – including provision for a new school to ease the burden on the County High and Newport Free Grammar for school places.
• Strong winds uprooted trees and caused damage as storm St Jude left its mark on Uttlesford. The storm caused road blockages, disruption to rail commuters, and left homes and businesses without power.
• Saffron Walden Tourist Information Centre collected two coveted awards at the Essex Tourism & Hospitality Awards. The TIC was successful in both the Best Tourist Information Centre and Best Tourism Service.
• Ten-year-old Max Norris launched a petition to get a safer crossing measures installed on along the top of the Common, where DeBohun Court meets Ashdon Road. He later handed a petition with over 200 signatures to Saffron Walden Town Council to be passed to the Uttlesford Highways Panel for consideration.
• Celebrations were in full swing for the Uttlesford Buffy Bus after it was announced the charity would receive more than £160,000 to continue its work. The playbus, which provides early years activities for pre-school children and their carers in rural and isolated communities, was given a share of the Big Lottery’s Reaching Communities Programme.
• A post-16 Music Academy was officially launched at Saffron Walden County High School.
• Saffron Walden Library held its own exhibition to mark the 50th anniversary of Dr Who. The idea was devised by Krishna Mukhoty, a member of staff at the library and huge fan if the popular TV show. The exhibition focused on his personal collection of Dr Who memorabilia.
• The festive season was kicked off in style as thousands of people turned out for the first Saffron Walden Christmas Fayre.
It included a special visit from Santa!
• Walden’s stunning £10million, world-class performance venue Saffron Hall was opened in a blaze of glory with a weekend of festivities. County High held music and theatre performance in the hall for the first time. The official unveiling was conducted by actress Penelope Keith and the ceremony was followed by the first official concert, led by the Britten Sinfonia. Over 600 people then passed through the doors during an Open House event to showcase what the venue has to offer.
• Passengers arriving to catch a flight at Stansted Airport got their first glimpse of new facilities being created as part of an £80milliopn refit of the terminal. The project was part of a £250m plan to improve the transport hub over the next five years.
• Teresa Sandeman-Charles reached her goal of signing an extra 10,000 people up to the NHS Organ Donor Register. ‘T’, as she is better known, launched Save5 after being diagnosed with two incurable lung diseases four years ago. She was “over the moon” to reach her target.
• Campaigners welcomed the news that Stansted had not been included in options to expand the country’s aviation capacity. The Airports Commission announced interim proposals which could see a new runway at either Gatwick and Heathrow, but not the Uttlesford hub.
• Uttlesford was ranked the second most desirable place to live in the UK, climbing six sports from 2012, according to the Halifax Quality of Life survey.