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The independent, intelligent guide to everything that matters locally February 2021






Hoddesdon speedway fans in race to save stadium


Local lockdown walks and where to see the snowdrops


Enjoy a restaurant quality Valentine’s dinner at home

Yo u r l e a d i n g h i g h qu a l i t y l o c a l n e w s m a g a z i n e s i n c e 2 0 0 3





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FEBRUARY 2021 | NO. 217

What’s in this issue ABOUT AXIS

05 y Race against time Hoddesdon’s historic speedway track is ripped up without permission

08 y Down by the Riverside Broxbourne’s flagship Brookfield Riverside development moves closer

Axis magazine was founded in 2003 by two award-winning former local newspaper editors who still own and run the business today. We are the independent, intelligent guide to everything that matters in and around eastern Hertfordshire and we aim to provide a concise, useful guide to local life. Our editorial content is targeted towards readers’ interests, to maximise readership and gain the best exposure for our advertisers. The magazine is delivered to homes and businesses in selected areas and copies can also be picked up free from venues across the area.


Axis Magazine, Tooke House, 20 Bull Plain, Hertford SG14 1DT 01992 500198 info@axispublications.co.uk axismagazine.co.uk


Aaron Gransby & Justine Woods


Read us online at axismagazine.co.uk or issuu.com (search axis magazine)


14 y Places to visit Where you might still be able to see the snowdrops this month...

16-19 y Food & drink Food to cook at home, Valentine’s meals and our new wine column

HERE WE GO AGAIN!... A MESSAGE TO OUR READERS Lockdown v3 is now with us. Should these restrictions affect our ability to deliver a physical copy of Axis through your door, or the venue where you would normally collect your copy remains closed, you will still find the latest issue online every month at axismagazine.co.uk. Please tell your friends!

For just £25 per year we’ll send you your own copy of Axis by post upon publication each month. Call us on 01992 500198 with card details to start a subscription or send a cheque made payable to Axis Publications Ltd to the address in the Contact Us section above.


Here at Axis we look to build long-lasting relationships with local businesses that understand the benefits of advertising to an affluent and intelligent audience on a regular, ongoing basis. To find out more about promoting your business with us please call 01992 500198. axis magazine 3

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The independent, intelligent guide to everything that matters locally

November 2020

January 2021


Preparation works begin for new Bircherley Green Broxbourne Council buys The Pavilions Harlow bids for improvements cash Jackson Square redevelopment plans


How the pandemic continues to affect local life


Government grants to help our struggling arts venues

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If you enjoy reading Axis but live outside our free distribution area you can receive your very own copy each month by post 12 issues delivered to your door for just £25 To subscribe, please call 01992 500198 or email info@axispublications.co.uk

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Lockdown v3: As our shops and restaurants remain closed, only the parks are busy Hertfordshire and Essex, along with the rest of England, were plunged into lockdown again from the morning of 5th January, with non-essential shops closed once more along with hair and beauty businesses and most of the hospitality industry, the exception being takeaways. With the public told to work from home where possible and only go out for a small number

of permitted reasons, high streets have often been deserted and some cafés and restaurants that had offered a takeaway-only service during the November lockdown decided to close until the current lockdown ends. When this will be is yet to be confirmed, though we know that the earliest schools could go back will be 8th March, with shops and restaurants likely to follow at

a later date as the Government’s vaccination rollout programme progresses. For affected businesses the Treasury’s Furlough Scheme is set to continue until the end of April. Other grants, including ones specifically aimed at the leisure and hospitality industry, have been announced and are being administered by district councils. Parks and open spaces remain

Loco Steve

Race against time to save historic speedway track after owners start to rip it up before applying for permission The current leaseholders of Hoddesdon’s historic Rye House speedway stadium have begun ripping up the race track without planning permission, as part of their plans to replace it with football pitches. The stadium is one of the area’s most historic sports venues and has existed at the site in Rye Road since 1935. It has been used in the past for greyhound racing (which ceased in 2006) as well as speedway. Rye House Rockets speedway team were still competing in the sport’s top league, the SGB Premiership, and attracting thousands of fans until July 2018 when financial problems led to their closure, meaning they were unable to fulfil their fixtures. Speedway supporters say there is interest in re-starting a team at the track, which was the last remaining venue for the sport in the London area. The land is owned by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and has been leased since early 2020 to Carter and Bailey Ltd, two of whose directors, Kevin O’Malley and Ricky Musk, are also directors of Motorsport World Group, which owns the neighbouring

Rye House Kart Raceway and in whose name a retrospective planning application for the ‘removal of the speedway track and the formation of grassed football pitches’ has now been made. A planning enforcement officer from East Herts Council visited the site after being alerted to work being carried out and confirmed that the owners should have applied for planning permission. According to the subsequent application, which was received by the council on 17th December, work to rip up the dirt track began on 1st September – more than three months earlier. Carter and Bailey had previously built (with planning permission) new gym and fitness training facilities on part of the site and say that speedway is no longer viable at the track. But the Rye House Action Group, which is opposing the application, disagrees and says there are people interested in relaunching speedway there. Now outraged speedway fans have sent in thousands of comments objecting to the loss of the track and opposing the retrospective planning application.

open to enable people to exercise outdoors although Harlow Council closed four car parks serving Town Park in January after it became apparent large numbers of visitors were driving there from other areas to meet people. Harlow also temporarily closed playgrounds after large numbers of families using them made it difficult to ensure social distancing.

The former Rye House Rockets captain Scott Nicholls pictured in a practice session at the Hoddesdon track in 2017

Rye House Action Group’s Rob McCaffery issued a statement in January expressing “concern and dismay” at the actions of the stadium owners. The action group also submitted a detailed response to the council, opposing every aspect of the planning application and urging the council to reject it. The Environment Agency has recommended the application is refused, pointing out that the applicant wrongly stated the site was in a lesser flood risk area than it is. It says a Flood Risk Assessment

should have been carried out and that the failure to include this is sufficient grounds in itself to refuse the planning application. Hertfordshire Highways has also recommended refusal, saying there was insufficient information included in the application for it to make a judgement. How to have your say: If you would like to comment on the planning application, you have until Thursday 11th February to do so at eastherts.gov.uk. The application number is 3/20/2563/FUL. axis magazine 5


Curtain falls on plan for theatre at heart of new development Financial pressures force council to re-think its scheme for flagship site in Bishop’s Stortford Plans for a 544-seat theatre for Bishop’s Stortford as the centrepiece of a new arts centre for the town have been scrapped. East Herts Council decided in January that in the light of budget pressures and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, it would not be viable to progress this element of its Old River Lane development, which is earmarked for land mainly made up of The Causeway car park near Waitrose. The plans were for an arts centre comprising the theatre plus a four screen cinema, 150 new homes, retail, office and leisure space. A new multi-storey car park is being built at Northgate End to free up the development site and provide parking for the scheme. However, the plans have not been universally popular and Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors have been calling for the Conservative-led administration to consult the public to gauge support for the development. The council has recently been reviewing the business cases for each of its planned major projects in the light of budgetary pressures. And while it has decided to continue with redeveloping Hertford Theatre, it says the financial burden of proceeding

East Herts is to drop a theatre from what it had previously described as an ‘iconic arts centre’

with a new theatre for Bishop’s Stortford is now too great. Council leader Linda Haysey said: “The fallout of Covid-19 on Old River Lane has meant that we needed to look at all elements of the project, including the arts centre, to make sure it was financially viable and took into consideration the longer-term impact the pandemic could have on public indoor spaces in Britain.” What it will now include The council says the rest of the development will still go ahead with new homes, shops and office space along with a smaller arts centre without an auditorium. The cinema will also increase in size from four to five screens. Cllr Haysey said the proposals for

the arts centre could now include a variety of performance spaces that could be used for some live arts events, a gallery foyer space and a café as well as the “high end” cinema offer. She said an outdoor space could host summer theatre productions and concerts, big screen showings of major sporting events and seasonal activities such as carol concerts and ice skating. She said: “As Leader of East Herts Council my enthusiasm and excitement for Old River Lane is unwavering but I want to assure residents that we will continue to question and scrutinise everything we do to make sure the decisions we make are right for our communities.” But Liberal Democrat councillors said that while they were pleased

that a re-assessment had taken place, they felt that “a full and proper public consultation about the future development of the site” was now required. Group leader Mione Goldspink said: “As a group we Liberal Democrats abstained on the final proposals. I feel very angry that Bishop’s Stortford has had an ugly, six-storey car park forced on it, built on the edge of the conservation area, as part of this scheme. “Now, all we will be receiving is a cinema and not much more of an arts centre than the one which we already have at South Mill Arts.” A full business case will be put to the council for approval in March with a planning application likely towards the end of the year. The development could potentially be completed in two to three years.

Business group will campaign against move to end free town centre parking Hertford Hub, the independent organisation supporting businesses in the county town, has launched a campaign to oppose East Herts Council’s proposal to end all free parking in the town centre. Axis magazine revealed in December that the council had put together a range of options to save money and raise income to deal with a predicted financial shortfall of £4m by the end of the financial year 2023/24 – a situation made worse by the Covid pandemic. In the area of parking, the council plans to raise parking charges, end the current 30-minute free parking in car parks, extend car park 6 axis magazine

Martin Berry of Hertford Hub

charging hours to 8pm (parking is currently free after 6.30pm), end free parking in its car parks on Sundays and Bank Holidays and make the 30-minute short-term free parking bays in Hertford, Ware and Bishop’s Stortford town centre chargeable through a pay by phone system.

The changes would mean the council would receive more revenue from people parking to use the busy night-time economy across East Herts (outside of Covid times), as well as from everyone driving to the town centres on a Sunday. However, Martin Berry, the chairman of Hertford Hub, which was set up in 2019 to support traders, says the move would be another huge blow for local businesses as it would discourage people from coming into town to shop, eat and drink. He said many traders are already struggling and considering not

renewing their leases when they come up for review in the coming months. He said: “It’s been a massive test for us all over this past year to continue trading and the social distancing measures in Fore Street have made it even worse. Now it seems it’s going to get tougher with these proposals.” East Herts is expected to make final decisions on its budget at a full council meeting on 2nd March. Hertford Hub says it will set up an online petition so people can register their opposition to the measures. Find out more at hertfordhub.co.uk.


East Herts to charge £49 to collect your garden waste

New annual fee to come in from April and food waste will have to go in your black bin Residents in East Herts will have to pay £49 a year from April if they want their garden waste collected after plans to introduce a chargeable collection service were agreed by the council. Residents have to opt-in to the service and there are discounts available for those who sign up early. Homes which are not signed up for the service will not have their brown bin emptied. Instead, residents will have to make their own arrangements for garden waste disposal which might include composting or taking it to the nearest waste and recycling centre themselves. Brown bins, which are currently used for both garden and food waste, will be reserved for garden waste only which means that food waste can no longer be put into them. Instead, this will need to be either

home composted or put in with non-recyclable rubbish in black bins. Although the charging scheme was ultimately approved at an extraordinary meeting of the council on 13th January, it was not before opposition Liberal Democrat councillors had raised concerns about the environmental impact of its effect on food waste disposal. Charges for garden waste collection were suggested in the light of pressures on the council’s finances, currently exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. With waste and recycling the council’s biggest expenditure, yet with no statutory requirement to collect garden waste, changes to the service presented an obvious and substantial saving. The council could have ceased garden waste collection altogether but decided instead to follow a

number of other local authorities in offering a service for those prepared to pay. Food for thought Unlike some local authorities however, East Herts does not yet have a separate food waste collection service (although the Government is due to require all councils to do so by 2023). Liberal Democrat group leader Mione Goldspink urged delaying a decision until arrangements for food waste collection had been formulated. The group’s deputy leader, Watton at Stone councillor Sophie Bell, called the proposal “quite poorly thought out”, and said she thought it “rather odd, considering how emphatic this council was on sustainability at the last meeting, that they want to implement a scheme which will undoubtedly have a negative impact on the

levels of recycling in this county.” She added that while she applauded a planned council campaign to encourage residents to reduce food waste, “the idea that all residents can get around this by composting feels rather out of touch with the situation of many residents”, particularly, she said, where they live in flats or houses with no, or limited, outdoor space, or where work commitments meant they had limited time. But majority Conservative group councillors said that money wasn’t available to introduce a separate food waste collection at the current time and while the decision was difficult, the changes were necessary to avoid having to make cuts to other service areas. l Residents who wish to sign up for the new garden waste collection service should do so at eastherts.gov.uk.

Major improvement works due to begin at M25-A10 junction this month Major construction works designed to improve junction 25 of the M25 begin this month, continuing all the way through to the summer of 2022. The junction which connects the motorway with the A10 is a busy one with over 6,300 vehicles per hour travelling through the roundabout at peak times. This causes regular delays in Enfield and Broxbourne while westbound traffic leaving the M25

regularly queues back to the Holmesdale Tunnel. With traffic levels expected to rise by a further 20% in the next 15 years, the works, which will cost between £25-50million, aim to reduce congestion and delays, improve safety and traffic flow and speed up times through the junction. Reduced delays will also mean less impact on air quality. The works involve widening the

A10 southbound entry to the roundabout, widening both the M25 east and west slip roads, the additional of a segregated left turn from the M25 eastbound to the A10 northbound, the widening of the roundabout with an additional lane and the upgrading of the existing subway and a new signalised crossing for pedestrians and cyclists. Highways England says that delays will be kept to a minimum but

motorists can nevertheless expect overnight closures of the slip roads and the A10 to ensure the safety of the workforce and travelling public. There will also be mandatory speed limits in force throughout construction on the approaches and the junction. There will be advance warning signage of closures and suitable signed diversion routes. For more information visit highwaysengland.co.uk/m25j25. axis magazine 7


Brookfield Riverside moves a step closer


Larger car park plan for popular Panshanger Park

These artist’s impressions show how the proposed development at Brookfield Riverside could look

Plans for the creation of a new town centre for Broxbourne just off the A10 at Cheshunt moved forward in January with the signing of a development agreement between Broxbourne Council, Hertfordshire County Council and development partners Sovereign Centros and Peveril Securities. Up to 315,000 sq ft of retail space, 250,000 sq ft of leisure space including restaurants and a cinema, 160,000 sq ft of office space including a new civic centre for the borough, around 250 homes and 100 assisted living units plus car parking for 2,500 cars are planned within the £400million Brookfield Riverside development. The site, which is predominantly owned by the two councils, is next to the existing Brookfield Centre shops that include Tesco Extra and Marks and Spencer. It forms part of a much larger planned development (called Brookfield) comprising 330 acres in total, which would also see 1,250 new homes constructed in a new Brookfield Garden Village. The overall site is currently occupied by the New River Trading Estate, a travellers’ site and allotments at Halfhide Lane whilst some additional land to the north of the New River will also be used. The signing of the agreement 8 axis magazine

A new, larger, car park may be built for the public to use at Panshanger Park in Hertford. The park’s owner, Tarmac, says it is preparing to make a planning application early this year for a new 150-space car park on the western side of the park making use of the former quarry entrance. It will be three times the size of the current Thieves Lane parking area and will have a public toilet and provision for a mobile café and seating area. If the application is approved, Tarmac hopes building work will begin this summer.

Historic Ware building to be brought back to life

follows a competitive tendering exercise which took place in 2019 run by the councils’ advisors Cushman and Wakefield. The next stage will be to secure planning consent and a planning application is expected to be submitted later this year. A development at Brookfield has been a long term aspiration of Broxbourne Council to provide facilities for a growing local population along with new homes

and employment opportunities. During and after its development Brookfield Riverside is expected to create more than 2,000 new jobs. In welcoming the signing of the agreement the leaders of Broxbourne and Hertfordshire County councils, Cllrs Lewis Cocking and David Williams, said the project would also make an important contribution to the borough’s long-term economic recovery from the pandemic.

The charity which owns the former HSBC bank premises at 75 Ware High Street is seeking planning permission to convert it, and a range of outbuildings to the rear, into a new commercial unit and five new homes. The Ware Charities plans a new commercial unit on the ground floor along with a two-bedroom flat above and a terrace of four one and two-bedroom homes beyond. Trustees hope the plans, which are currently with East Herts Council for determination, will protect and conserve the Grade 2-listed buildings for the future by bringing them back into viable use. They have been empty since the bank closed in 2017. Originally built in the 15th century, numbers 73 and 75 High Street together formed The White Hart Inn, first recorded in 1476 and which in 1610 was home to the famous Great Bed of Ware.

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The charity offering practical help to make everyday life easier for those living with a disability CHARITY FOCUS The practical challenges faced by people living with a disability day to day can be numerous, varied and often unique. But the team at Remap Hertfordshire South like nothing better than having these challenges passed their way. Remap is a national charity which designs and produces all manner of custom-made equipment to help disabled people live more independent lives – from access ramps for outside the home to aids and equipment for use indoors, at school or in the workplace, even to help someone enjoy a new hobby. Its volunteer base includes a host of ‘practical types’ as well as experts in their field – from mechanical, electrical and computing engineers to woodworkers. They catch up once a month to discuss the challenges sent in to them before heading to their sheds, garages, workshops and kitchen tables to work on solutions, and then supply high quality equipment free of charge. You can find out more about the group and about volunteering at Hertfordshire-south.remap.org.uk. If you need the team’s help just call 01727 613177 or email herts.s@remapgroups.org.uk.

How the team have helped This tactile teaching device (above) was created for a school for blind children to help teach students everyday living skills. It features handles and locks, belts, electrical plugs and switches. l Vision problems meant that guitar player Graham was unable to use an electronic guitar tuner which has a row of LED lights that indicate when you pluck a string if it is above or below the correct note. Remap modified an off the shelf tuner by connecting

it to a small computer that converts the visual signals into a series of bleeps that are played through an earpiece and indicate if the note is too high or low and the adjustment required. l Picking up tissues is hard when you can’t move and grip well. This simple yet ingenious use of a soft plastic ball with a slit

(above) was the perfect solution for Peter who has motor neurone disease. l The charity has made a number of pieces of equipment for a young boy with cerebral palsy including these therapy steps (top) to help him improve his core strength before he undergoes specialist treatment.

Could you become a Friend of Parndon Mill? Parndon Mill, Harlow’s hub of creativity, is looking for members of the public to join a new Friends of Parndon Mill initiative. Members will be asked for their support, advice and ideas to help further the development of Parndon Mill and secure its future. There have been artists working at the mill since the 1960s but it is in the last 20 years that the venue has really developed into the artistic community that it is today. A series of studios are home to creative businesses run by everything from blacksmiths and carpenters to painters, glass artists and architects. An open studios event once a year 10 axis magazine

offers the public the chance to see creatives at work while The Gallery on the ground floor of the mill building hosts regular exhibitions. In 2016 Parndon Mill became a charitable trust and has since gained funding from Arts Council England to ensure that its valuable work in advancing arts, culture and heritage in Harlow and the surrounding area can continue far into the future. A board of trustees is currently being recruited and now a new Friends organisation is being set up through which it is hoped supporters and members of the public can get involved.

There’s no annual subscription and no pressure to undertake voluntary work – although offers are welcomed! There will be an occasional newsletter about what is going on plus invitations to private views at The Gallery when it is open again. If you’d like to express an interest in joining please email info@parndonmill.co.uk. l The Gallery is currently closed although a new online gallery offers the chance to view and purchase works online and has proved so popular that there are plans to continue with it even once the mill is able to re-open. View at parndonmill.co.uk.

View the mill’s online gallery


New future beckons for Eileen Gay Opticians in Broxbourne Eileen Gay Opticians in Broxbourne is to have a new owner as Eileen and her husband Gerry, who have run their own practice for 34 years, ease into retirement. The couple opened their first practice in 1987 in Waltham Abbey, and have been based in Broxbourne since 2000 when they were the first business to move into what was then a new development of shops in Station Road. The practice has been sold to the Hakim Group, whose custom it is to keep its sites running as “independents” whilst enabling them to benefit from larger back office services. Patients should notice little difference and the

practice will remain under its current name. Eileen herself will continue to carry out vision therapy assessments and treatment for the foreseeable future, to help ensure continuity, whilst other qualified optometrists will gradually take over the more routine examinations and contact lens fittings. Gerry Gay said: “We would like to express our thanks to all our patients for their continued support over the years – we can guarantee you will be in safe hands.” To make an appointment at Eileen Gay Opticians call 01992 476300 or for more information visit eileengayopticians.co.uk.

Gerry and Eileen Gay at their opticians in Station Road, Broxbourne

After a year off due to the pandemic, the Love Hertford Awards are back: enter now! After a break for a year caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Hertford Town Council’s Love Hertford Awards return for 2021. Launched on 11th January, the awards are designed to recognise and promote the best of the county town’s businesses, from clothes and interiors shops to hair and beauty salons, restaurants and cafés; as well as those providing services such as banking and estate agency. Businesses are invited to enter up to two of the ten categories by Wednesday 10th February. The council will then draw up a shortlist for each category and

invite the public to vote for their favourite businesses over a four week period from 26th February. A panel of judges from the council, local media and business will then select the winners and runners-up, taking into account the public vote. Pandemic permitting, there will be an awards ceremony of some kind in April although this is, of course, still to be confirmed. This year’s categories are: fashion; pub or restaurant; café or fast food; hair and beauty; health and wellbeing; home and interiors; community and voluntary; food and drink retailer; professional

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services; and specialised retail. To enter your business visit gohertford.co.uk and follow the link to the Love Hertford Awards 2021. Entries close at 5pm on Wednesday 10th February.

It’s been a tough year for everyone, especially in retail and hospitality, so if you’d like to show some support for the town’s businesses you can vote for your favourites from 26th February.

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When the boat comes in

Sebastian Pena Lambarri / Unsplash

Stuart Everett of Hertford accountants Meyer Williams says it’s all a bit fishy...

The Prime Minister’s oven-ready deal smells a bit fishy to Stuart Everett

So, the Brexit deal is now done. It was supposed to be oven-ready but if that’s what oven-ready means, we would all have gone very hungry waiting to be served. Judging by the empty shelves in the local supermarket it wouldn’t surprise me if we found ourselves going without in a few months’ time. There is so much to distract our attention at the moment could it be that the Great P is getting away with having brokered the worst deal possible? It is all a bit fishy really. The fishing industry contributed about £437million to the UK economy in 2019. The entertainment industry, on the other hand, contributes £63billion (how can bands or any other entertainers tour without special arrangements?). So why attach so much importance to fishing? Well,

yes, it is a popular and relaxing sport, and it is easy to socially distance whilst taking part. And where would we be without cod and chips being sold at our great seaside resorts (remember, the only holiday we can take without masses of paperwork will be in the UK) but is it really that important? Apparently so. The final Brexit document is in excess of 1,200 pages. Here are examples of a handful of subjects covered by the paper: l Visas for short term visits: One page. l Aviation safety: Six pages. l Transport of goods by road: Seven pages and one annexe. l Fisheries: 13 pages and four annexes. And the fishy deal is: l EU boats will continue to fish in UK waters for some time. l But UK boats will have a greater share of the fish that are

caught in UK waters. l The shift in the share of fish will be phased in between 2021 and 2026, with most of the shift this year. l After that there will be annual negotiations to decide how the catch is shared between the UK and the EU. (That’s something to look forward to; maybe it will be like the Eurovision Song Contest). l The UK has the right to completely exclude EU boats after 2026. l But the EU could respond with taxes on exports of British fish to the EU or by denying UK boats access to EU waters. Sounds like a recipe for more Cod Wars to me! But in the short term if we have shortages of food due to customs checks we will at least have plenty of fish. To add to the excitement of the new year there is the second

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Budget by our new Chancellor, due in March. Balancing the books So, what will Rishi have on his little dishy for us this time? He has spent a lot of money recently so how is he going to be able to pay for everything without breaking the election pledge of no tax increases? l Extending the Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday? l Extending furloughing? l Continuing the Universal Credit boost? I think we should prepare for a sleight of hand tax increase which is so ambiguous it cannot be labelled ‘tax increase’. Though of course the simplest way to raise revenue would be to impose a Fish Tax!! I hope you have got your tax return in by the deadline; if not and you need help give me a ring.


Lanes launches new company to promote sale of new homes Hertford-based Lanes estate agents has launched a new arm to sell new homes and land, which has been branded as Lanes Exclusive Homes. The new company will be based at three of Lanes’ offices, at Market Street in Hertford as well as in Cheshunt and Enfield Town, and is a specialist land and new homes agent. The directors are Peter and Hannah Cunningham, Alex Ward and Jake Holloway who, between them, have more than 100 years of experience in the industry. The company will be covering Hertfordshire, Essex and north London and will work with small, medium and large developers, selling anything from a single property to new-build schemes of 500 or more homes.

Lanes Exclusive Homes have a selection of high profile developments in Hertford and its surrounding towns and villages launching soon. Among those already on sale are: Boxwood Park in Hertford Road, Hoddesdon, which is a collection of 24 three, four and five bedroom houses set in an enclave of mature woodland; The Square, Harlow – modern, high specification one and two bed apartments with a landscaped garden for residents; and: Victoria Gardens, Cheshunt – eight one, two and three bed apartments and mews houses in landscaped grounds. You can contact Lanes Exclusive Homes on 01992 940955 or visit lanesexclusivehomes.co.uk for more information.

Lanes Exclusive Homes are currently marketing homes at Boxwood Park, The Square and Victoria Gardens (clockwise from top left)

The Brewery: Don’t miss this chance to own a piece of Hertford’s history The former McMullen’s brewery is one of Hertford’s most iconic buildings and it has been tastefully converted over the last couple of years into smart new homes. Thomas Childs & Co is currently marketing two beautiful new mews houses within the development, which fronts Hartham Lane. Both marry period features with a contemporary twist with nods everywhere to the building’s past. There is also a private communal courtyard with that Hertford town centre rarity: off-street parking. There is a three-bed home for sale at £775,000 and a two-bed at £749,950. Call 01992 721321 to arrange a viewing or visit thomas-childs.com to see more.

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Where to go for a winter walk during lockdown Whilst Covid lockdown rules mean we are allowed out for exercise, we also have to stay as close to home as possible. There appears to be no precise definition of what ‘locally’ means in this context and every individual is asked to exercise common sense and discretion. So, assuming you live near enough to take advantage of them, here are some places that remain open to visitors this month…

Glen Faba, Hoddesdon

River Lee Country Park, Broxbourne Stretching from Broxbourne to Waltham Abbey, the River Lee Country Park remains open for walking, running and cycling. Enjoy the Board Walk around Broxbourne Old Mill and Meadows and, if you walk along to Fishers Green near Waltham Abbey you will discover a wildlife watcher’s haven, with large expanses of reedbeds across Seventy Acres Lake. Nearer Hoddesdon and Nazeing, you can also enjoy relaxing and educational walks at the popular Dobbs Weir, while just north of this is the quieter Glen Faba, an area of water, grassland, reedbeds and woods, which is great for viewing wildlife. Within a 10-minute walk south of Dobbs Weir (that surely counts as being ‘local’ doesn’t it?) Nazeing Meads features three large lagoons, wildflower meadows and woodlands. The lagoons are ideal for wintering birds such as Goldeneye and Blackheaded Gulls. All sites are looked after by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority. Visitleevalley.org.uk 14 axis magazine

Benington Lordship

National Trust Images / Ben Rosendale

Hatfield Forest, near Bishop’s Stortford If you are lucky enough to have the National Trust’s Hatfield Forest as your local area for exercise, you will be pleased to know that it is still open. However, to help keep everyone safe the National Trust is limiting the number of people visiting, so you do have to book a parking space in advance. Tickets are released online every Friday and parking spaces must be booked by 3pm on the day before you intend to visit. People who haven’t booked will be turned away. If you do make it, you will find the forest can be magical in winter, with a vastly different appearance to the summer. Views you never normally see are opened up and the landscape is dominated by tree silhouettes. On a clear day, the lake can offer some vivid reflections too. Nationaltrust.org.uk

Snowdrops: some venues hope to open this month Normally, during February, several of our excellent local outdoor venues would be opening their doors to give people the chance to enjoy the snowdrops, an annual sign that Spring is on its way. Because of the current lockdown restrictions, many venues have been unable to confirm whether they will be open. Benington Lordship Gardens near Stevenage are closed until further notice, but they do hope to open for snowdrops for a week or two. Updates will be posted on their website if they can open safely, so check for the latest information, including booking details (beningtonlordship.co.uk). The Gardens of Easton Lodge, near Dunmow, hope to be open on Sundays 14th and 21st February as well as Thursdays 18th and 25th, depending on whether rules allow. Keep up to date at eastonlodge.co.uk for the latest throughout the month.

Panshanger Park, Hertford The beautiful Panshanger Park remains open. The 1,000-acre ex-quarry parkland includes a nature reserve and historic landscape created by Capability Brown and Humphrey Repton, with lakes that are winter magnets for visiting wildfowl such as Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler and Gadwall. Panshangerpark.tarmac.com

The Gibberd Garden in Old Harlow has said it will not be open for its planned snowdrop days in February. The trustees hope to open at Easter on Sunday 4th April but will keep the situation under review. Keep up to date at thegibberdgarden.co.uk. Myddelton House Gardens in Enfield remain closed. Keep up to date at visitleevalley.org.uk.


Above left to right: Work by Naomi Jayne, Nick Shipton and Macy-Leigh Birleson

Brothership artists in weekly challenge during Lockdown v3 Regular readers will recall the fantastic work done by the tribe of artists at Hertford’s Brothership studio and gallery during the first national coronavirus lockdown last year when they worked in conjunction with fellow artist Paul Crowley to create striking rainbow prints of our local towns and villages and raised a remarkable £50,000 for local charities. Now, with Lockdown v3 on, the artists have come up with another creative plan to keep working and benefit charity once more. The artists based at the Bull Plain studio are taking part in a weekly challenge to each create a piece of art based on a theme, the subject of which they brainstorm and choose each week. All the pieces are made available to view on the Brothership website and social media, and the originals are displayed in the window of the gallery from the Saturday of each new week. People are then encouraged to vote for their favourite. Each piece is also made available for sale via the Brothership website, with 30% of the sale price going directly to a charity, which is chosen each week by the artist whose work wins the public vote. Every Friday at 6pm the artists also release a short IGTV film which is posted on the @brothershipstudio Instagram page which shows the creative process that week. The #brothershipchallenge is due to run every week during this current lockdown period. During the first week the chosen theme was ‘Love’ and the charity to benefit to the tune of £640 was the Royal Marsden. The theme for the second week was ‘Stag’, chosen for its obvious connection to Hertford and Hertfordshire, and the artists’ entries for that are shown on this page. You can follow the challenge every week at brothershipstudio.com.

Above clockwise from top left: Work by Georgina Clark, Cherry Pie Makes, Tracy Charlotte Power, Amanda House and Ceri House axis magazine 15



Cooking at home – where to find the best ingredients locally The way we eat has been changed by the Covid-19 pandemic. With our favourite pubs and restaurants closed, family meals around the dining table are back on the menu and we’re spending more time preparing them. Businesses too have had to adapt to these new circumstances, with local pubs opening up as shops to sell not only their own meals but also some of the great produce from their trusted suppliers. And some of those businesses which usually supply restaurants and pubs have even begun selling direct to the public themselves. Here are some ideas to help you make the most of these new opportunities…

The Fox and Hounds shop While the popular pub and restaurant The Fox and Hounds in Hunsdon is closed to diners, it has been turned into The Fox Shop, and is packed full of essentials like bread, meat, eggs, deli items, beers and wines from local producers and some of the pub’s favourite suppliers. It also offers both refrigerated and frozen ready meals to heat at home from chef James Rix and his team. Coffees and pastries are available to take away too. The Fox Shop is open Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 2pm and on Friday from 5.30 to 7.30pm. For details of the pub’s “At Home” special Valentine’s Day menu see page 17. Foxandhounds-hunsdon.co.uk 16 axis magazine

The Orange Tree farm shop The Orange Tree Farm Shop is next to Sawbridgeworth’s Orange Tree Pub in West Road. It is open six days a week (10am to 4pm Tuesday to Sunday with late opening until 7pm on Thursday) and has a fresh meat counter, fresh fruit and veg, cheeses and other dairy items, prepared meals, wines and beers plus grocery essentials as well as fresh coffee, cakes and pastries to take away. The Orange Tree also offers cook at home meals, plus see online for its Valentine’s brunch special. Orangetreesawbridgeworth.com

The Fox Inn shop The Fox Inn at Matching Tye operates its own “Fox Shop” on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10am to 2pm. It offers fresh fruit and veg, meat, breads, eggs, milk butter and cheese, store cupboard essentials including pasta and beans, homemade ready meals, biscuits, snacks, tea and coffee, beers, wines, spirits and soft drinks and household cleaning items and more. If you’re shielding they can deliver in the local area. The pub also offers takeaways on Friday nights and Sundays. Thefoxinn.com

Have fresh fish and seafood delivered to your door S&J Shellfish has been a leading supplier of fine fish and seafood to some of the best restaurants in London and Hertfordshire for over 30 years and now, during lockdown, has launched a home delivery service for local people too. You can create your own fish boxes of luxurious fresh and frozen seafood and shellfish online and receive free home delivery from this family-run, independent local business. Products change regularly but the fresh fish and seafood available usually includes items such as salmon, smoked haddock, crab meat, sea bass, sea bream, dover sole and skate and the majority of the fresh fish comes directly from Newlyn Fish Market in Cornwall. The frozen selection often has items such as tiger prawns, swordfish, tuna, cod, mussels and scampi. To order, you first register your email address by sending an email to sarah@sjshellfish.com. You will then be added to the mailing list and will receive a newsletter every Monday morning detailing that week’s availability together with a price list. You can then make your order by email. There is a minimum order of £50. Sjshellfish.com


Valentine’s Day: Meals to order from three top local restaurants Valentine’s Day, on Sunday 14th February, will look a little different this year. Whereas, in more normal times, couples of all ages would be busily making their arrangements to book a table at one of their favoured restaurants, this year it will be all about sitting down together to dine at home. But if you still crave something a bit special to mark this occasion, three of our top local restaurants have come up with fabulous meal options that can be ordered and then ‘cooked’ at home to ensure a top quality restaurant experience in the comfort of your own home... Popular Valentine’s dishes from The Fox & Hounds The Fox and Hounds at Hunsdon has chosen its most popular Valentine’s Day dishes from previous years and will be creating them for you to collect and ‘cook’ at home. Meals come with simple heating/ cooking instructions where necessary. Starters are a choice of scallops in the shell with lime, chilli and coriander butter or duck ragout with tagliatelle and parmesan. Mains are beef wellington with braised savoy cabbage and gratin dauphinoise or southern Indian monkfish curry with pilaf rice and raita. And desserts are apple tart fine, caramel sauce and crème fraiche or a European cheese plate with crab apple jelly and biscuits. The cost is £40 per person with the option to upgrade your meal to include a bottle of wine, half bottle or bottle of Champagne and 100ml bottles of Negroni or vintage port. How to order Select your choices of starter, main and dessert (mains and desserts come as sharing dishes for two), order by Wednesday 10th February and collect between 11am and 12noon on Saturday 13th February to enjoy at your convenience over the weekend. For more details see the website, foxandhounds-hunsdon.co.uk. To order, call 01279 843999.

Three cook at home options from The George IV The George IV at Great Amwell, which has been closed since the advent of the third lockdown at the beginning of January, is offering a cook at home Valentine’s menu to take away so you can experience chef Oliver D’Arcy’s superb cuisine in the comfort of your home on 14th February. There are three different meals available to order: l Hereford fillet of beef and mushroom wellington to share (£49.50). l Chargrilled field mushroom,

spinach and aged Tunworth wellington (£17). l Hereford chateaubriand to share (£47.50). All are served with dauphinoise potato, steamed spinach and English carrots and each meal comes with full cooking instructions. Bottles of wine are also available to order. How to order Collection or delivery will be available on Friday 12th February from 11am to 1pm. You can order online at georgeivpub.co.uk.

Luxury Lobster and Steak Boxes from Lussmanns Created with Valentine’s Day in mind, but also available for other occasions, Hertford’s fish and grill restaurant Lussmanns has launched its Luxury Steak Box and Luxury Lobster and Steak Box, each for two people to share. Selected by Lussmanns’ founder Andrei and freshly prepared by group head chef Nick McGeown and team, the boxes, priced at £95 and £99, come with easy-to-follow cooking instructions and are delivered straight to your door in selected postcodes. Each of the two boxes offers a starter of Hampshire chalk stream trout along with a quarter bottle of Prosecco. The Steak box also includes mains of 28-day dry aged, free range rib of beef on the bone with chimichurri sauce, truffle, parmesan and black pepper butter or dijonnaise dressing plus sides and wine. The Lobster and Steak Box has a whole native lobster and prime outdoor-reared British rib eye beef (sauces and dressing as above) and sides plus half bottles of Chablis and St Emilion. Desserts in each box are homemade sticky date pudding with sticky toffee sauce and a dollop of mascarpone. How to order Order at lussmanns.com by noon on Friday for delivery on Saturday. axis magazine 17


The Wine Column

By Ritchie Tough of Cavavin

The best wines for Valentine’s

Revealed: The local restaurants that have made it into The Michelin Guide this year The Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland 2021 is out, this year for the first time online only rather than as a printed publication. A number of extremely high quality local establishments across Hertfordshire and Essex made it into this year’s publication, achieving either a Michelin Plate (the symbol of a restaurant that inspectors recognise as serving good food) or a Bib Gourmand (an award for restaurants that offer good food at competitive prices). These included The Fox and Hounds at Hunsdon which achieved a Bib Gourmand for an impressive ninth year running. The guide describes James and Bianca Rix’s pub as: “A welcoming high street pub with contemporary styling. The chef’s ethos is to let good quality ingredients speak for themselves. Alongside homemade pasta dishes you’ll find meats cooked on the Josper grill and plenty of local game. Flavours are pronounced, combinations are classical and portions are hearty.” Bib Gourmands were also awarded to the Galvin brothers’ Galvin Green Man at Howe Street near Chelmsford and The Windmill at Chatham Green. Other Essex restaurants to achieve recognition in the guide with a Michelin plate were The Flitch of Bacon at Little Dunmow, Haywards at Epping and The Cricketers at Clavering.

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In Hertfordshire, The Falcon at Buntingford, The Fox and Hounds at Barley, The Fox at Willian and The Zebra Riding Club in Cheshunt all achieved Michelin Plates. So a few for the diary for later in the year (hopefully!). Foxandhounds-hunsdon.co.uk Galvinrestaurants.com Thewindmillchathamgreen.com Flitchofbacon.co.uk Haywardsrestaurant.co.uk Thecricketers.co.uk Falconrestaurant.co.uk Foxandhoundsbarley.com Foxatwillian.co.uk Thezebraridingclub.com

We will all be eating at home for Valentine’s this year rather than going out, so how about splashing out on some great wine to go with your meal? When I even think of a cosy meal for two, a drop of fizz or wine comes to mind. Personally, I start with bubbles as they make great aperitifs to stimulate the senses, waking up the taste buds ready for the meal. This Lallier Grand Reserve (£32.50) with its butter, brioche and apricot aromas, along with a palate that is balanced with fruit and toast, would be an ideal choice to pair with oysters and get your night off with a bang. Next up we’re going all the way to sunny Hazel End – a village just north of Bishop’s Stortford. This is their ‘Anniversary Blend’ as it’s 40 years since they planted the vines. They use a blend of Germanic grape varieties including Huxelrebe and Reichenstenier (good luck pronouncing) – these grapes work really well in our cold, wet climate. The result is an aromatic wine packed full of personality with lots of refreshing citrus – and for just £11.50. It’s a tough time at the moment for South African winemakers; there’s an alcohol ban on, so the movement and drinking of alcohol is not allowed. Buying and supporting South Africa wines at the moment could go a long way. This Shiraz at £17.50 from The Goose based in Upper-Langkloof is packed full of richness and spice, perfect with a steak. It’s the kind of comforting and warming wine to put a smile on your face – perfect for this time of the year. Cavavin is your local, independent wine shop. It’s at 22 Maidenhead Street, Hertford SG14 1DR. Call 01992 558311 or visit cavavin.co.uk. Online ordering available. “I only drink Champagne on two occasions, when I am in love and when I am not” – Coco Chanel




THE FOX INN Traditional English Pub


The quality of the well-established Saffron in Hoddesdon was recognised when it won Best Indian Restaurant in Hertfordshire in the 2017 Curry Life Awards. This stylish restaurant is a contemporary venue in which both traditional and unique Indian dishes can be enjoyed alongside superb service. It can cater for both large gatherings and more intimate dinners. If you fancy trying Saffron’s great food at home, both delivery and collection are currently available with a 10% discount for collections.

The Fox Inn at Matching Tye near Harlow is once again offering its lockdown takeaway meals at weekends, including roasts on a Sunday, and opening as a pop-up shop selling local produce. The Fox is a traditional English village pub that reinforced its place at the heart of the local community during the first lockdown and is continuing in the same vein now. For full details of operating hours and the menu, which changes regularly, keep up to date on social media at facebook.com/thefoxinnmatchingtye.

The Golden Fleece is an old English pub with a contemporary twist, and one where the food is so good that it has earned an entry in the Michelin Guide for Hotels and Restaurants. Set at the heart of the village of Braughing, Jess and Peter Tatlow’s pub offers a menu of fresh, seasonal and delicious locally sourced food and also caters for diners who require gluten-free meals. As a free house at the heart of its community, the Fleece is also able to offer a wide range of real ales, beers, wines and spirits. A takeaway menu is now available.

25 High Street, Hoddesdon EN11 8SX 01992 461171 / 01992 461160 saffrononline.co.uk

The Green, Matching Tye, Essex CM17 0QS 01279 731335 thefoxinn.com

20 Green End, Braughing SG11 2PG 01920 823555 goldenfleecebraughing.co.uk



FOX AND HOUNDS Restaurant & The Fox Shop & Deli

The Village Taverna is a well-established Ware restaurant that offers high quality Greek food from an award-winning chef. When the restaurant is open live music is often available, which adds to the atmosphere that is already generated by the friendly and accommodating owners and staff. It also usually offers takeaway with delivery anywhere in Ware and collection available for anyone who lives outside the town. The Village Taverna’s lockdown takeaway and delivery service is currently available from Thursday to Sundays.

This family-run restaurant, which opened in 2020, offers a menu of Turkish cuisine, high quality drinks and cocktails. It is housed in a Grade II listed former pub that has been refurbished into three contemporary and comfortable dining areas, with an outside garden for warmer months. The menu offers hot and cold starters, grills and Erman’s signature dishes that include Turkish fish and seafood specialities. Erman’s Kitchen plans to reopen shortly for takeaway and delivery; keep up to date on Facebook.

The Fox and Hounds, now in its 16th year of trading under owners Bianca and James Rix, is well established as one of Hertfordshire’s leading eating out destinations. The Josper oven, seasonal menus, superb Sunday lunch and relaxed atmosphere are all great reasons to visit. Bianca and James have also added a popular shop and deli in the bar area, selling their homemade ready meals to take away, Brindisa deli treats, fresh bread, pastries, flowers, plants and gifts from local suppliers. Open from 9am (10am weekends) Weds-Sun.

2 Fore Street, Old Harlow CM17 0AA 01279 454000 ermanskitchen.co.uk

2 High Street, Hunsdon SG12 8NH 01279 843999 foxandhounds-hunsdon.co.uk

42-44 West Street, Ware SG12 9EE 01920 460607 Facebook: thevillagetavernaware

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9-13 Parliament Square n Hertford n SG14 1EX


For Sale: Tamworth Road, Hertford ÂŁ650,000 Rarely available three-bedroom Victorian semi-detached family home with a large town garden, parking and potential to extend

01992 721 321 n www.thomas-childs.com

Profile for Axis Magazine

Axis magazine February 2021 issue  

The February 2021 issue of Axis, the independent local news magazine for Hertford, Ware, Hoddesdon, Broxbourne, Cheshunt, Bishop's Stortford...

Axis magazine February 2021 issue  

The February 2021 issue of Axis, the independent local news magazine for Hertford, Ware, Hoddesdon, Broxbourne, Cheshunt, Bishop's Stortford...