September 2019


Old enough to…


In the third of a series of articles looking at the work of Age UK Redbridge, Barking & Havering, Janet West explains the importance of Older People’s Week and looks at what will be happening in Wanstead

The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution on 14 December 1990 declaring 1 October as an International Day of Older People. The day is to acknowledge and appreciate the enormous contributions and achievements that older people make to the functioning of society and the economy.

According to the United Nations, almost 700 million people are now over the age of 60. By 2050, two billion people, over 20% of the world’s population, will be 60 or older. The increase in the number of older people will be the greatest and most rapid in the developing world, with Asia as the region with the largest number of older persons, and Africa facing the largest proportionate growth.

Each year, the International Day of Older People has a different theme. Last year’s theme was ‘Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions’ and for 2019 the theme will be ‘The Journey to Age Equality’.

Age UK Redbridge, Barking & Havering have been working alongside Redbridge Council and other local organisations for many years, arranging events to celebrate Older People’s Day. In fact, in Redbridge, there is usually a whole week of celebration and this year is no exception!

There are events planned throughout the week, ranging from information sessions about keeping safe at home, to health and wellbeing, leisure and culture, and there will also be opportunities to try out new exercises in classes around the borough for free, and a celebratory lunch with the Mayor of Redbridge at the Allan Burgess Centre on 2 October.

In fact, Wanstead’s Allan Burgess Centre has an event each day during the week commencing 30 September. There will be a performance from Redbridge Music Lounge, the Redbridge Rhymesters will be having a poetry session with the children from Snaresbrook Primary School, a general knowledge quiz will take place and a comedy performance will keep everyone entertained, all in addition to the Mayor’s celebratory lunch.

Programmes are available from the centre and from local libraries, as well as from Age UK in Ilford. We hope to see lots of people enjoying events throughout the week. Do pop in to the Allan Burgess Centre and join us and enjoy one of the events as well as a home-cooked meal, which will include a free glass of wine on the day of the celebratory lunch.

For more information on Age UK Redbridge, Barking & Havering, call 020 8989 6338 or visit

For more information on Older People’s Week in Redbridge, visit


Gardening movement

02-Wanstead-Place-Clinic© Denise Rooney

Marian Temple from the Wanstead Community Gardeners takes a look at the Wanstead Place Clinic garden, a site that epitomises the group’s ethos of collective effort, but is also home to some mystery goings-on

Our latest garden has really taken on a life of its own. Planted only in April in order to catch the spring showers, which didn’t come, it has been lovingly watered by the wonderful Carmel who works in the British Heart Foundation shop. She has the enviable ability of involving the whole world in the watering. Thus, the neighbours, the minister one side and the man in the tall house the other side, have been filling watering cans and barrels.

Helen and Eileen who work at the clinic have been doing their bit, as well as a neighbour in Church Path. This really has turned out to be a community garden with us, the Wanstead Community Gardeners, setting it up and the locals taking over from there. This is exactly as we would like it to be. It makes sense. The garden flourished, and in seemingly no time was awash with colour. This is the only one of our patches which has the luxury of being regularly watered. What a difference that makes!

Right from the beginning this garden seems to have had a life of its own. It wasn’t long before four fairies appeared, plus two frogs and a pair of boots! Two scarecrows arrived on the scene plus a cat missing a hind leg, two rabbits, one without ears, and so it goes on. The latest addition to the menagerie is a meerkat!

This is not our normal style but something else. The children pass by on their way to the Church of England school every day. The mums visit the clinic with their toddlers, as do elderly people coming to have their feet done. Passers-by enjoy this corner of quirkery with its colourful flowers appearing in what was a desolate empty patch and its ever-increasing population of who knows what? It really is a winner and maybe will become as much a Wanstead iconic garden as is the Corner House garden and the fountain beds on George Green.

Now where is the mystery? This concerns the pair of scarecrows. Not only do they move about, sometimes appearing in friendly conflab, at other times back to back, having had a tiff maybe? More mysterious than that is the fact they frequently change their clothes! They have rainwear for inclement weather and quite a wardrobe. Barbie watch out!

All this makes this corner an ongoing delight, full of surprises. Who could have guessed in April that Wanstead would gain such a successful addition to its street patchwork gardens? This one really makes people smile.

For more information on the work of the Wanstead Community Gardeners, email or leave a note for them at Wanstead Library.

Meet and… Greet?

37608320500_7c32c4a29d_k© James Petts

On 3 October, Wanstead residents will get the chance to quiz London City Airport representatives about their expansion proposals. John Stewart of campaign group HACAN East reports.

London City Airport has extended the consultation on its expansion proposals in its draft Master Plan to 18 October. The airport wants to almost double flight numbers from today’s levels, end the 24-hour weekend break and bring in more planes in the early morning and late evening.

The proposals have proved highly controversial. The Mayor of Newham called the draft Master Plan “fundamentally flawed”. Other local authorities have come out against the proposals and local residents from many parts of London have been sending in objections. Climate change activists have also raised big concerns.

London City Airport does seem to have miscalculated just how much opposition its proposals would generate. When the consultation ends, it will look at the responses and publish a final Master Plan towards the end of this year. If it does decide to take any of the proposals forward, the airport will need to draw up a detailed planning application to Newham Council, the planning authority for the airport. It will be required to consult on its proposals before submitting the application. It means the earliest any application is likely to be considered will be the middle of next year.

London City Airport has also been asked to look again at its flight paths. It narrowed and concentrated all its flight paths in 2016, resulting in a five-fold increase in complaints to the airport. Parts of Wanstead are directly under these flight paths. The flight paths will be reconsidered whether or not expansion takes place. It is part of wider airspace changes taking place at all airports in London and the South East as air traffic controllers move to a satellite system to guide planes.

London City Airport expects to consult on options for altered flight paths in 2021. Almost certainly, one of the options it will put forward will be for flight paths to be rotated during the day to give communities a break from the noise. This would tie in with Heathrow’s commitment when it introduces its new flight paths to give all communities a break from the noise each day. These flight path changes bring some hope for people in Wanstead but they are unlikely to be introduced until about 2024. The reason for the delay is that changing flight paths at all airports in London and the South East is a complex task as the airspace is among the busiest in the world.

In the immediate term, though, the concern is London City’s proposals for expansion. You can find more details about these, plus some handy hints on making a response, on our website.

For more information on HACAN East and the consultation, visit

A public meeting to be attended by airport representatives will take place at Wanstead Library on 3 October from 7pm.


A guide to Shakespeare’s London: hear the talk or enjoy the walk


William Shakespeare’s London haunts will be the subject of this month’s Wanstead Park Women’s Club meeting.

“This talk has developed out of a walk I have led a number of times through and around the City of London, where we explore the places that Shakespeare lived and worked,” said Russell Kenny, who has also devised a self-guided version of the tour (visit

The presentation will take place at Aldersbrook Bowls Club on 21 October from 8pm (visitors: £3).

Call 020 8925 4875


Orienteering in Wanstead Park: exercise your mind and body


Local families are invited to explore Wanstead Park next month by taking part in an orienteering event.

“Using a map, go exploring and try to navigate your way around all the markers. The whole family can get involved and get active in this fun activity that exercises mind and body,” said a spokesperson for the Field Studies Council.

The two-hour activity – which is suitable for children aged seven and over – will take place on 5 October from 10am and 1pm (children: £5; adults: free; booking required).



Cricket club to install defibrillator following member’s heart attack

John-PluckJohn Pluck

A defibrillator will be installed at Wanstead and Snaresbrook Cricket Club following a heart attack suffered by scorer John Pluck, whose life was saved by the quick action of fellow club members and the use of a defibrillator from neighbouring Linkside Lawn Tennis Club.

“The club is pleased to advise that John is making good progress. The club would like to place on record the heroic efforts of Joe Ellis-Grewal, Pinder Grewal, Ben Phillips, Paul Baily and Jayden Rising, among others, who saved John’s life,” said a spokesperson.


Young actor ‘couldn’t have wished for a better experience’ in Fringe show

image1-copyDashiell Ratcliffe as Jim in The Railway Children, performed at Forest School earlier this month

An aspiring young actor from Wanstead has spoken of his enjoyment after being cast in a professional production of The Railway Children for this month’s Wanstead Fringe.

“There was never a dull moment and I couldn’t have wished for a better experience, from late-night rehearsals to the adrenaline rush before each show! I learnt so much from working with such a warm, friendly and professional cast,” said 14-year-old Dashiell Ratcliffe. “There was a lovely family bond working with a cast so closely, and I already miss the buzz of it all!”


Construction begins on Gardner Close affordable housing development

Cllr-Farah-Hussain-Cllr-Jas-Athwal-and-Marc-VlessingCouncillor Jas Athwal and Councillor Farah Hussain kicked off construction

Affordable housing developer Pocket Living has broken ground on its latest project on Gardner Close in Wanstead.

“Pocket Living will transform the disused garage site into a two-storey building offering 20 affordable one-bedroom homes for first-time buyers – with a 20% discount off the full market value,” said a spokesperson.

Pocket Living’s commitment to delivering affordable housing has been backed by the Mayor of London, who in 2017 provided the company with a £25m loan to develop sites like Gardner Close.


Free on-street parking has been doubled to one hour

payd-1Leader of the Council, Councillor Jas Athwal

Redbridge Council has doubled the amount of time drivers can park for free on the borough’s high streets from 30 minutes to one hour.

“This will be a real boost for our high streets and help revitalise the local economy whilst making sure there is still a good level of turnover in parking bays – giving as many people as possible the opportunity to use parking spaces to pop to the shops,” said Councillor Jas Athwal.

Motorists can activate the free on-street parking via the Ringo app or at an upgraded pay and display machine.


Bigbelly smart bin installed on Snaresbrook Road next to Eagle Pond

Screenshot 2019-09-27 14.45.23

Redbridge Council has installed a hi-tech Bigbelly bin on Snaresbrook Road as part of work undertaken with residents and the City of London to clear up Eagle Pond.

“It’s a smart bin that can accommodate more rubbish, lets the council know when it’s full, requires emptying less often and reduces the risk of litter blowing out and into the pond,” said Councillor Jo Blackman.

Big Belly bins hold roughly eight times more rubbish than a regular bin and compact waste automatically throughout the day.


Wanstead Park needs you: group seeks members with editorial and web skills

Screenshot 2019-09-27 14.42.10The Ornamental Water – the largest of Wanstead Park’s five lakes – has suffered from low water levels

The Friends of Wanstead Parklands – which has been campaigning for the regeneration of ‘east London’s hidden gem’ for the past decade – is seeking to recruit new members to support their work.

“Our committee needs new blood. If you value the park and would like to contribute, why not come along to one of our meetings to get some idea of what might be involved? The editor of our popular members’ newsletter has stepped down so we are looking for a someone to take over this role… Someone with experience of website management would also be welcome,” said a spokesperson.

The group – which normally meets on the second Wednesday of the month from 7.30pm at Wanstead Golf Club – is involved in shaping the long-term plans for the park’s regeneration. Email