A group of school pupils felt left out in the cold as the festive season began.

Plans to build houses near Chigwell Primary School had been in the works for years, with £5m of the profits to pay for a major school refurb and £800,000 to fund the parish council's community bus.

On June 4, 2018 however, the earmarked land was sold to Coral Properties for £18m - handing offshore Antilla Holdings a £17m profit.

With building yet to begin and Coral indicating “changes to both the scope and the value of the investment”, it was and is unclear whether the houses will be built, the school done up and the bus paid for.

Over in Buckhurst Hill another group of pupils were disgruntled.

At the end of November Essex County Council announced plans to shut half of the libraries in Epping Forest, citing demand as the reason.

In order to show how much the threatened Buckhurst Hill library meant to them, St John's CofE pupils drew colourful banners and staged a protest.

For Mandy Smith, a mother of four including two St John’s pupils, the library is a vital resource.

She said: “It is important for children to enjoy books from a young age.

“For kids who can’t afford to buy books the library is the best way to enjoy literature.

“I have four children and they each have their library cards. We go every week. They get the enjoyment of choosing their own books.”

Even bigger changes were being planned by the district council however.

Plans to move all but 40 of the council's staff to a new building North Weald Airfield were published, along with proposals to build and sell houses behind the Civic Office site in Epping.

Council leader Chris Whitbread said: “The council is modernising to ensure we are fit for the future.

“The overall number of staff we employ is reducing.

"Along with home working, we are radically reducing our need for office space.

“Moving all but our customer facing, civic and democratic staff to North Weald will significantly reduce our office costs, but that must not come at an economic price to Epping High Street."