August 2021


Christchurch Green café kiosk plans approved despite local opposition

saynoCampaigners protested against the café kiosk plans ahead of the decision in August ©Charles Llewellyn

Vision RCL’s application to build a café/bar kiosk on Christchurch Green has been given the go-ahead by Redbridge Council, despite opposition from residents.

“The proposal received 192 objections and five responses in support, the second-highest number of objections to any planning application in Wanstead,” said Scott Wilding of the Wanstead Society.

The plans suggest construction will be complete by November.

Prior to the decision, more than 40 residents gathered in the park to demonstrate their opposition.



Agree to Agree


Mediation is available for many types of cases, from the Small Claims Court to the High Court. It is a flexible form of dispute resolution, says litigation solicitor Serhat Sik from local solicitors Wiseman Lee

Mediation allows two parties involved in a dispute the opportunity to negotiate a settlement deal. This is the key advantage of mediation: both sides control the final agreement so long as they can identify some common ground upon which they can strike an agreed outcome.

In contrast, in court proceedings, once both sides have made their legal arguments, the final decision then rests with the trial judge, and sometimes his or her final decision may not please one or both parties.

A mediation is conducted by a trained mediator. Their job is to work with both sides to identify common ground between them as well as the strengths and weaknesses of their respective cases. That way, some common ground can arise and this can start the journey to brokering a deal.

Whilst mediation can be stressful, it usually lasts for no more than a day. The usual format for mediation is that both sides meet the mediator around a table. Each party’s representatives make an opening statement after which each side goes to their respective rooms and the mediator then conducts a shuttle run between each room.

Each visit of a party’s room is aimed at appraising your own case, which means speaking about its strengths and weaknesses. It may even seem that the mediator is not on your side, but the mediator is doing the same to the other side.

Once some common ground is identified, then hopefully, it is possible to move towards negotiating a deal. Sometimes at the outset, one party has quite differing expectations about what is an acceptable outcome, but the process of mediation does tend to make parties appraise what is actually acceptable.

The key strength to mediation is knowing that it is a golden opportunity for the parties to exert control over the dispute to bring about a negotiated settlement.

Mediation can be conducted at any time, even before a final court hearing, but it is better to try mediation well before then. Ideally, mediation can be conducted once you have enough information about your opponent’s case, and vice versa. This allows both parties to be able to appraise each other’s case and position.

The earlier on in a dispute that a mediation settlement takes place, the lower the legal costs incurred. Going to court is, of course, time-consuming and expensive. Mediation can often be a negotiated outcome at a much lower cost, which all concerned can live with as a fair outcome.

Wiseman Lee is located at 9–13 Cambridge Park, Wanstead, E11 2PU. For more information, call 020 8215 1000


A lot to lose

GKplot© Stephen Lines

In the third of a series of articles by plot holders at the Redbridge Lane West allotments – which are under threat from the adjacent gas works – Geoff King explains why his fruit and veg is unsurpassed

I never knew or met Sandy Sanderson or his wife Gemma. If I had, I’m sure we would have shared our knowledge of gardening for many hours. Sandy was the predecessor of my allotment in Redbridge Lane West. There is no mistaking his skill and the amount of sheer hard work he put in. It is etched (literally) in every corner of my plot. Numerous carvings appear everywhere. He built seats, raised beds and fruit cages, all laid out against neat paths.

Around five years ago I was similarly employed in my large North Lincs garden. A garden I tended for 26 years, which encompassed a veg plot, orchard and herbaceous borders. Little did I think I would be ‘up-sticking’ to Wanstead within months of revamping my own vegetable patch, but that’s another story, and I now find myself on Sandy and Gemma’s former – and much-loved – plot.

Pruning the apple, pear and plum trees and feeding the soil were first on my list of tasks. I also planted new raspberry canes, strawberry beds and a rhubarb patch. All of these require a two-year bedding-in period before maturing or picking. So, patience is required.

The sheer pleasure of working on this plot and watching things grow has been immeasurable. I had help, of course: Sandy had left his ‘man cave’ little shed packed with tools, books and every conceivable item you could ever want. In the early days of the pandemic, I found myself drawn to the plot almost daily. What a mental life-saver. Then came the news of the Cadent gas company proposed takeover. Am I to be uprooted again?

If this is the case, do I have the sheer will to start over again? Bearing in mind, if one is offered a new council plot, it is most likely to be untouched by spade or fork for a considerable time. I don’t know the answer yet, but what I do know is that my investment on the plot has been substantial, not just my time, but financially.

I am often asked if the investment in an allotment is worth the expense. The answer is yes and no. My personal opinion is: no, you can eat cheaper from your supermarket shop. But yes, the fruit and veg from my plot is unsurpassed. Until you have tasted your own potatoes, which were in the ground an hour before, or eaten strawberries that have never seen a plastic carton, then you have missed a rare treat.

So, if you’re thinking of starting an allotment yourself, seek me out at Redbridge Lane West and I will show you around.

For more information and to view the petition to save the Redbridge Lane West allotments, visit


Rewarding Award

e8c204d7-312d-4b35-be55-ce5acfbde860Marnie during her expedition in the Peak District

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award will broaden a young person’s future prospects, says 15-year-old Wanstead resident Marnie McPartland, who completed her Silver Award last month

Waking up to the gentle reproach of the wood pigeons’ call and the fresh scent of dew covering the fields, I could almost forget the intensity of the previous day of walking. I am on my Duke of Edinburgh’s Award training expedition, trekking across the Peak District during the day and pitching tents in farmers’ fields for the nights. The weather is searingly hot, and it seems every hill just leads on to another; a trail of false summits leaving us exhausted. The best time of day is the end, when we cook dinner on tiny gas stoves and play cards as the sun sets behind us in a glory of colour.

Does this sound like something for you? Do you yearn for the rolling hills and fresh air of the British countryside and national parks? Are you a motivated and active young person who wants to take on new challenges and broaden their horizons? Then I urge you to consider signing up for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. This involves three stages: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each consists of volunteering, physical, skills and expedition sections, with increasing length and difficulty as you progress up the levels. Each section is designed to improve a young person’s skill set.

Volunteering in a nursery or food bank allows young people to gain perspective, empathy and teaches the value of hard work, whilst learning a new skill, such as a musical instrument or knitting, encourages perseverance and attention to detail. The feeling of reward and achievement which comes with completing the award can be matched only by the enjoyment of the experience. Strengthening bonds with others, improving your sense of teamwork and community, and demonstrating your resilience and perseverance to prospective universities and employers are just some of the benefits of completing the scheme.

The award also provides an assigned space for you to pursue any activity you are interested in but never quite got around to doing. Do you want to join a local hockey team, take up the flute which you gave up three years ago, or help out at your town’s charity shop at the weekend? The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award offers a safe space for you to improve your fitness, self-discipline and commitment. Although you may be daunted by the situation regarding the pandemic, there are still many opportunities available to allow any young person to gain experience and skills, which will widen their perspective and broaden their future prospects.

For me, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme encouraged me to reflect on my interests and escape my comfort zone. Ultimately, I would wholeheartedly recommend the award to anyone aged between 14 and 24 who wants to meet new people and give back to their community.

For more information on the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, visit


Walking in Wanstead


Every Saturday morning, a group of walkers depart Christchurch Green for an hour’s stroll in and around Wanstead. The social reward is as important as the health benefits, says Paul Turner

Walking in Wanstead was set up 11 years ago by members of the Wanstead Place GP Surgery Patients’ Group because of a training course offered by Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure. We wanted to do something positive for everyone. It is part of the Walking for Health programme organised by Vision’s Sport and Health Team, which is affiliated to The Ramblers Association.

Brian Lewis and I are the walk leaders and enjoy meeting up with the group every Saturday morning, not only for the walk but also to socialise with everyone.

A little about both of us. I work full time, importing and exporting food. I have two cats and I am interested in local history. Brian is a retired Black Cab driver, now spending time with family and researching and leading walks in central London. We are both volunteers and have been trained in walk leading and first aid.

Over the last couple of weeks, we have had a few new walkers join us. “The group is so friendly and welcoming,” commented Lynne. “I thought I knew Wanstead, but Paul and Brian have taken me to many different places I have not been before,” added Linda.

We meet at 10.30am every Saturday morning, just off Wanstead Place in Christchurch Green at one of the park benches. If you are unsure, Vision have given us fluorescent yellow rucksacks for our first-aid kits, which everyone says stand out a mile. There is no charge, except for tea or coffee if you want to join us after for refreshments. You don’t even have to live in Redbridge to join us – we once had  someone from New Zealand who joined us for a walk while on holiday here!

We normally try to do a circular walk lasting about an hour, and can get to Redbridge, South Woodford, Leytonstone and Hollow Pond. Every few months, we also try to do an hour’s linear walk to places like Valentines Mansion, Walthamstow Village and Redbridge Lakes, just to do something different, and then we can either walk or get public transport back home.

Vision’s Walking for Health programme also offers free weekly walks for adults at various other parks and open spaces across Redbridge on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Inclusive walks for people living with dementia, mental health illnesses, disabilities, cancer and stroke survivors are also available. All walks are led by fully trained, friendly walk leaders, and provide a chance for you to socialise and participate in small activities at a pace that suits you. Walking has many health benefits, and best of all it’s free. All you need to do is turn up and enjoy the company and the changing seasons.

For more information on Walking in Wanstead and the Walking for Health programme, call 020 8708 0951 or visit


Silver service

DSCF5389© Geoff Wilkinson

As the Wanstead Society prepares to celebrate its silver jubilee, the group’s chair Scott Wilding reflects on their work to date and looks forward to the next 25 years of ‘protecting and enhancing Wanstead’

The Wanstead Society celebrates its silver jubilee in 2022, and as we have been active now for nearly a quarter of a century, we thought it would be good to take a look back at what we think we got right, where we can improve and how we might change to meet the challenges of the next 25 years.

The Society was formed in 1997 when the average cost of a pint of beer was £1.84, leaded petrol was around 60p a litre and the average cost of a three-bedroom terrace house in Wanstead was around £190,000. How times have changed. What hasn’t changed is the Society’s founding principles of protecting and enhancing Wanstead.

Our main aim 25 years ago, when a small group of like-minded individuals got together, was to prevent overdevelopment in Wanstead and protect its historical characteristics. This soon branched out to a wider movement to help improve the area where we live. Over the last quarter of a century, the Society has taken on a variety of projects, from aiding the start of the Wanstead Festival, working with others to create the first art trail, paid for bins and benches on Christchurch Green, planted trees and bulbs, offered advice to help start the South Woodford Society and funded the Wanstead Community Gardeners. We have also spent many hours working with developers to secure good-quality design for new and existing buildings in Wanstead.

While we haven’t got everything right over the last 25 years, we can be proud that our contribution has made a difference to our community.

Looking back to take stock of what has been achieved is always worth doing. It reminds us of how far we have come. But, if the Society is to remain relevant over the next 25 years, we have to adapt and change.

The next quarter of a century will present challenges not yet invented. But one challenge facing us now, and in the future, remains: the climate crisis. Nowhere will escape the effects of changing weather and an altered environment. To pass on a better Wanstead to a future generation, we will update our constitution to have a greater environmental focus, form stronger links with local schools and environmental groups as well as maintaining our core commitment to a better urban realm.

The pandemic has showcased how valuable our parks and green spaces are, but also how important our community is when things get tough. For this reason, and with the advert opposite this article, we hope you will want to find out more about us and join our action group.

For more information on the Wanstead Society, visit or write to:
Wanstead Society, c/o Wanstead House 21 The Green, Wanstead, E11 2NT.


Past tense


Wanstead resident, hypnotherapist and emotional freedom technique master practitioner Loveleen KPS encourages us to leave our stresses and anxieties in the past and lead a life filled with inner peace

Most people experience stress and anxiety from time to time. Stress is any demand placed on your brain or physical body. People often feel stressed when they experience multiple, competing demands. Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry or unease. It can be a reaction to stress, or it can occur in people who are unable to identify significant stressors in their life.

Too much stress and anxiety creates a negative impact upon your body. People experience stress and anxiety differently, but common physical symptoms include stomach ache, muscle tension, headache, rapid breathing, fast heartbeat, sweating, shaking, a change in appetite and fatigue. There are also mental and emotional symptoms, including feelings of impending doom, panic or nervousness, difficulty concentrating, irrational anger and restlessness.

We may need help for long-term stress and anxiety, so please seek help and you – yes, you – can learn to take on life with a new confidence and sense of calm you might have never felt before, with a stronger immune system and better physical and mental health. We can all start with these self-managing tips:

  • Laugh it off: laughter releases endorphins that decrease levels of the stress-causing hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
  • Listen to music: calm music can lower blood pressure and reduce cortisol.
  • Eat right: stress and diet are related. Fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce stress symptoms.
  • Be mindful: from yoga and t’ai chi to meditation and Pilates, these systems of mindfulness incorporate physical and mental exercises that prevent stress from becoming a problem.
  • Exercise: getting your blood moving releases endorphins and can improve your mood almost instantly.
  • Sleep better: turn the TV off earlier and give yourself time to relax before going to bed. It may be the most effective stress buster on our list.
  • Breathe easy: the advice to “take a deep breath” may seem like a cliché, but it holds true when it comes to stress. While shallow breathing causes stress, deep breathing oxygenates your blood, helps centre your body and clears your mind.

Hypnotherapy and emotional freedom technique (EFT) are guided methods of reducing stress and anxiety. In hypnosis, you are in complete control and deeply relaxed, and through EFT tapping on meridian points, negative energy and emotions are released, bringing harmony to your mind and body.

For more information and to contact Loveleen, email


Endangered in Wanstead


The Wren Wildlife Group, London Wildlife Trust and Wild Wanstead have compiled a list of 10 species at risk of local extinction. In the sixth of a series of articles looking at each species in turn, Alex Deverill reflects on Wanstead’s skylarks

August marks the end of the breeding season for skylarks. Wanstead Flats is home to the only breeding population of these birds in inner London, and this year has seen the use of temporary fencing to stop their nest areas from being disturbed by people and dogs. Initiatives like these are essential if we are to prevent the extinction of skylarks locally – and in the UK more generally.

Skylarks are on the Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern. In the UK, the population halved during the 1990s and is still declining. They are a victim of modern intensive farming. Cereals are now sown in autumn, not spring, which has resulted in a dramatic reduction in the number of chicks raised each year. Skylark numbers are also thought to have been affected by increased use of insecticides and weedkillers (contributing to insect declines), intensification of grazing on grasslands, and the switch from hay to silage, which results in many nests being destroyed by cutting machinery. In their preferred habitat of farmland, numbers crashed by 75% between 1972 and 1996. This makes the survival of the skylarks on Wanstead Flats even more important. In the absence of arable fields locally, skylarks construct their nests on the ground in areas of unmown grass; they also feed on areas of mown grass, such as football pitches.

Skylarks are streaky brown birds with a crest. Their song has inspired many musical and literary works. Male skylarks can be spotted rising almost vertically from the ground before hovering effortlessly and singing at great height. Their song flights can last for up to an hour and the birds can reach 300m before descending.

Despite their aerial activities, skylarks nest on the ground, laying three to four eggs. The nest is a hollow, lined with leaves, grasses and hair. The eggs are incubated for 11 days. The parents feed the chicks on insects for their first week, then gradually introduce small quantities of shoots and seeds for a mixed diet. Chicks become independent after only two weeks, but skylarks need two to three broods of young each year to maintain populations.

How to help:

Being able to rear their chicks in peace is essential if Wanstead’s skylarks are to survive, so please support the ring-fenced areas on the Flats, always stick to the paths and keep dogs on a lead where indicated.

Oppose plans that would create increased disturbance on Wanstead Flats – this would harm the skylarks and many other creatures that rely on this important area of wild land.

For more information about the 10 species under threat of extinction in Wanstead, visit


Mayor of Redbridge thanks volunteers for laptop campaign

image_123927839Left to right: Caroline Killick, Vicky Taylor, Councillor Roy Emmett and Marc Newman

Volunteers behind the Redbridge For Education campaign were thanked by the Mayor of Redbridge last month for their work raising funds to supply children across the borough with devices for remote learning.

The campaign recently purchased 13 new laptops for a local school using money donated through their Just Giving page.

“We will also be setting up donation stations at all local festivals this summer and at the Seven Kings Climate Emergency Centre,” said Wanstead resident Vicky Taylor.



Mayor of Redbridge visits Wanstead to thank local volunteers


The Mayor of Redbridge visited St Mary’s Church last month to thank the Tin in a Bin volunteers and those who work with The Corner House Project.

“It was a lovely afternoon of sunshine, tea and cake. Also, a great boost for all volunteers. Thank you for the recognition; we will keep going!” said Juliette Harvey.

Tin in a Bin foodbank donations can be made at 50-plus drop-off points across the local area and at the church on Wednesdays and Saturdays between 10am and 12 noon.



Jumble trail to return to Aldersbrook and Lakehouse Estates next month

trailDover Road during last year’s trail

Aldersbrook and Lakehouse Estate residents have until 20 August to register a stall for this year’s jumble trail, which will take place on 4 September from 12 noon to 3pm.

“The jumble trail is a day when the local community comes together to set up stalls in their front gardens and sell pre-loved items. This could be toys, clothes, books, whatever you like really!” said an event spokesperson.

All registered stallholders (£6) will be added to the trail map, with proceeds going to Aldersbrook Primary School PTA.



Cleaner & Greener

treepitTree pit, Dangan Road

In the first of a series of articles providing an update on the Cleaner Greener Wanstead initiative, Councillor Paul Donovan (Wanstead Village, Labour) looks at how local biodiversity is being improved

The Cleaner Greener Wanstead initiative (also known as the Environmental Charter) has been gaining momentum over recent months. The framework involves a number of different strands, including biodiversity, reducing litter and plastic waste, sustainable travel and energy efficiency. Over the next four months, there will be updates on how things are going in each of these four areas.

The first, biodiversity, has seen several moves to improve the situation in Wanstead. The Grow Zone initiative, whereby areas are managed but allowed to run wild, now covers parts of Christchurch Green and George Green, as well as Roding Valley Park (at the end of Elmcroft Avenue). The Grow Zone methodology has also been expanded out across the borough. Those who took part in No Mow May will have seen first-hand the fantastic effect that letting an area run wild does for flower and insect life.

There has also been an increase in the number of people adopting tree pits, with more than 1,200 adopted across the borough – these too increase insect life, with bees particularly prospering. The council has also replaced more than 1,000 trees across Redbridge, 50 of those in Wanstead.

The whole High Street area is looking greener, with more planters, people and businesses adopting tree pits, as well as putting in their own hanging baskets and raised beds. The addition of the mobility hub outside the Co-op also brings more greenery, as well as cycle rings and an electric vehicle charging point.

Community composting has begun, with a new project starting out, based on the Wanstead Place side of Christchurch Green. Hopefully, this will lead to a wider uptake. And the work of Wild Wanstead and the Community Gardeners continues to massively add to the biodiversity right across Wanstead.

So, things are happening in terms of creating a really clean, green culture. There is, though, always more to do. There are plans to make Cambridge Park – between the Green Man and Redbridge roundabouts – into a greener corridor, with more trees, hedging and other initiatives to increase biodiversity and combat pollution and climate change. It would also be good if people could be dissuaded from converting their gardens to concrete – this reduces biodiversity as well as drainage capacity. Better still would be if those who have concrete areas returned all, or part, to the natural state.

To really succeed in improving our biodiversity, there has to be a public and private conversion to a new, more green and clean way of living. In Wanstead, the early signs are encouraging, but there is still much to do.

For more information on the initiative, visit