December 2021


Annual mowing of Wanstead’s roadside Grow Zones


Wanstead’s roadside Grow Zones have received their annual mow as part of a strategy to increase the number of flower species.

“Long grass habitats are fantastic for wildlife, supporting eight times more biodiversity than regularly mown areas. Grass cuttings from the verges were removed and composted rather than being left to rot down. This reduces the nutrients in the soil which helps wild flowers thrive. Some of the Grow Zones in park areas are managed in a similar way,” said a Wild Wanstead spokesperson.


Wanstead Park litter picks change to second Sunday of the month


Litter picks in Wanstead Park will change from the first to the second Sunday of every month as of January (meet outside the Temple at 11am).

“This will avoid clashing with the monthly market on Wanstead High Street,” said the Friends of Wanstead Parklands, which has been organising litter picking sessions since June 2020, borne out of a need to tidy up after a lockdown surge in visitor numbers.

“Although in an ideal world we shouldn’t have to do this, a number of our volunteers say that litter picking is actually quite fun!”


Bread is fine: what to feed local waterfowl this winter


Residents are encouraged to feed local waterfowl this winter.

“Good food to use includes peas, sweetcorn and lettuce. Bread is also fine – it will not cause diseases or swell in their stomachs. But never use mouldy bread and never feed meat, fish or dairy. Please feed birds in the water, not on the land. Water aids digestion, and on land they are vulnerable to dogs when engrossed in eating. It’s also a good idea to only throw more food in once they have finished what they are eating,” said Swan Sanctuary volunteer Louisa Green.


To Commemorate


Ruth Martin, chair of the Aldersbrook Horticultural Society, reports on a recent tree-planting ceremony at Aldersbrook Medical Centre to commemorate all those who have lost their lives to Covid

On the last Saturday in November, Aldersbrook Horticultural Society were very proud to take part in a tree-planting ceremony at Aldersbrook Medical Centre.

A crab apple tree and two ‘discovery’ eating apples were planted in the front garden of the surgery on Aldersbrook Road. Dr Mehta, the senior GP at the practice, spoke movingly about his personal experience of Covid and was helped to plant the central tree by his young son and daughter, with staff from the surgery, patients and members of Aldersbrook Horticultural Society planting the remainder.

A commemorative plaque was placed next to the trees to. The plaque reads:

To commemorate those who have died during the COVID pandemic and to thank all NHS and other key workers.

A golden privet hedge was planted below the lime trees in the garden, and as it grows, it will not only look very pretty but will also provide the garden with shelter. The heavy rain from Storm Arwen didn’t deter enthusiasm and made the refreshments of cake and tea all the more welcome for the good crowd that attended the ceremony.

Aldersbrook Horticultural Society has been working with Aldersbrook Medical Centre for several months. The brick planter next to the bus stop has been transformed from a giant rubbish bin into an attractive flower bed planted with shrubs and colourful perennials. We have been working with the Patient Participation Group to develop a gardening club to support patients at the practice. There are monthly working parties and in October, a raised bed was planted with wallflowers and colourful spring bulbs donated by Redbridge Council. Plans in the future involve more planting and ongoing work to keep the front garden looking its best.

Aldersbrook Horticultural Society continues to go from strength to strength and meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 7.30pm at Aldersbrook Bowls Club. Our meetings are open to members (£35 a year) and to non-members (£5 per meeting).

We have a variety of local and national speakers. Nick Bailey from Gardeners’ World wowed us in September with a talk on ‘365 days of colour’, committee members in October talked about the beginning of the gardening year and in November, Ken Clarke from Forest Gate shared his knowledge and love of succulents and cacti, leaving us all more confident about caring for our plants rather than killing them with love.

This year’s programme of events will begin on 11 January with a presentation by Simone Rauxlah on terra preta soils.

For more information on the Aldersbrook Horticultural Society, visit


Restoration work on Wanstead Park’s historic Grotto to start in March


Work to consolidate and stabilise Wanstead Park’s 18th-century Grade II listed Grotto will be starting in March.

“The landing stage at the base of the main structure is in need of immediate treatment. This area has partially collapsed on one side, whilst on the other side it forms part of the support to the base of the main masonry wall of the remainder of the structure,” said a spokesperson for the Heritage of London Trust, which is funding the project in partnership with the Friends of Wanstead Parklands.


Green in the Black

IMG_8454Pop-up Christmas tree market on Christchurch Green

Colin Cronin has organised a public meeting with local councillors and Vision RCL to address the issues surrounding the commercial use of Christchurch Green, as highlighted by the recent Christmas tree market

Christchurch Green has long been the centre of Wanstead. From an arboricultural perspective, the green is a jewel that is home to many different species of trees, both indigenous and non-native to these shores. From a social perspective, it really comes into its own as our ‘village green’, a place where many residents will have fond memories of school sports days, picnics with friends, attending the annual Wanstead Festival or just strolling under the canopy of its trees on their way to support businesses on our local High Street.

This jewel requires constant attention and management to ensure it continues to be the place we love and enjoy so much, and that management comes at a financial cost.

Vision RCL is the social enterprise that has been tasked with managing many of the green spaces in Redbridge, including Christchurch Green, and to meet the costs of maintaining this space has embarked on a number of initiatives aimed at increasing revenue.

In August 2021, Vision announced excitedly that they had been granted planning permission to provide a “new sustainable café kiosk” despite a large number of objections from local residents. Then, in late November, it was Vision who dreamed up a Christmas tree selling gimmick on the green, again designed to increase revenue.

Both of these initiatives have been developed and implemented without any consultation with or concern for local residents’ views or the impact they might potentially have on rate-paying businesses on our High Street. Indeed, so ill-conceived was the pop-up Christmas tree market idea that local traders were subsequently approached by Vision asking if they could sell their surplus Christmas trees at other green spaces in Redbridge.

Whilst we all appreciate that costs need to be met for the maintenance of our green, Vision needs to rethink their approach as to how they go about working with local residents and the businesses of Wanstead going forward to ensure all members of the community can have their say and be heard.

We will therefore look to host a public meeting with our local councillors and Vision representatives to hear their plans and aspirations for Christchurch Green for the future, how we as local residents can be included in those conversations and how we can all work together to ensure the mistakes of last month are not repeated.

The public meeting will take place on 5 March from 2pm at Christ Church, Wanstead.


Gift of Giving

Screenshot 2021-12-20 at 12.00.12

Donations of food, clothes and chocolates came in thick and fast during Wanstead’s Christmas gift appeal. Juliette Harvey and Suzi Harnett thank the community on behalf of a wide range of local charities

December is a time of fun, frolics, exchanging gifts and lots and lots of gorgeous food. That was true for most, not so true for others. Sadly, the far-reaching impact of this awful Covid-19 pandemic means more and more people were stressed and stretched; food versus heating, warm coat versus school shoes, bus fare versus walking, and so on.

However, you, this community, with your consistent thoughtfulness, has spread a lot of kindness over the past month. Your generous donations – from a warm bowl of rice pudding with a dollop of jam to a sleeping bag and clean pants – has meant so much.

The successes of our December collection days at Wanstead Cricket Club, Eton Manor Rugby Club and the Co-op is a testament to just how blessed we are to live in such a caring environment. And thank you for allowing us to use these community spaces.

The charities and organisations that benefitted from your extensive December donations were: local care homes, The Corner House Project, NHS local heroes, women and children’s refuge services (including The Magpie Project and Hestia), Mill Grove, Whipps Cross Hospital, young carers (boys and girls aged 10 to 17), local food banks, Project Malachi (temporary accommodation in Ilford), Alternatives (for families with no funding who are waiting for universal credit), The Cranbrook Hotel, Hope for Humanity, Leytonstone Fridge, Highway Foodbank and Redbridge Foodbank.

The Tin in a Bin network and The Corner House Project teams are truly humbled that you have taken us into your hearts and continue to inspire us to keep going. Please be assured that you truly do take some of the strain away from families and individuals who find themselves in unfortunate circumstances. We all know it’s been a challenging couple of years and we are not out of the woods yet. Often, people will not admit they need help, but through our community network (you again), we get to go where we are needed and discreetly help.

We also extend our thanks to the Waltham Forest Drama Group and the Woodhouse Players for their fundraising production of A Christmas Carol at St Mary’s Church on 30 December. Later in the year, they will also be performing Alice in Wonderland.

Please keep sharing what you have and carry on thinking of others, because, honestly, without you, there is no us.

Donations to the Tin in a Bin network can be made at a number of drop-off points across Wanstead. For more information, visit Items can also be left at St Mary’s Church from 10am to 12 noon every Wednesday and Saturday.


Laptop for Christmas? Donate your old devices to local schools


The Redbridge For Education campaign – which is tackling digital exclusion in the borough – is appealing for residents who received new laptops or tablets for Christmas to donate their old devices.

“Upgraded your tech? What are you doing with your old devices? Let us take them off your hands and put them to good use! We need pre-loved laptops to recycle for local children to access online learning,” said Wanstead resident and campaign and co-founder Vicky Taylor.



Charges now apply to Wanstead Park’s Warren Road car park


Charges have been implemented at Wanstead Park’s Warren Road car park, which is managed by RingGo on behalf of Epping Forest.

Income from these charges will help to maintain and protect Epping Forest, which is a registered charity. Charges apply every day and start at £1.50 per hour (blue badge holders free), with a £60 fine for those who do not pay to park. The parking zone outside the car park on Warren Road itself is managed by Redbridge Council and remains free for three hours.



New hedge for wildlife and stag beetle stumperies on George Green


As part of the National Tree Planting Week, members of Wanstead Climate Action and Wild Wanstead have planted a new wildlife hedge on George Green.

“We received 105 native whips from the Woodland Trust. We can’t wait until these tiny saplings grow into a dense hedge, providing much-needed habitat for birds and other creatures. Thanks to Councillor Jo Blackman who helped with this project, which also saw the installation of two stag beetle stumperies on the Green,” said Vanya Marks.


Cadent unveils devastating new plans for Redbridge Lane West allotments

IMG20211111131422The newly restored pond on the allotments is at risk of damage if Cadent uses the site. ©Stephen Lines

Plot holders met with Cadent earlier this month to discuss revised proposals for improvement works to the gas company’s Redbridge Lane West site and impact on the adjacent allotments.

“The impact will be worse than we initially thought… Nine allotments will be lost for the duration of the works and five of them will lose part of their plots permanently. A further nine plots face loss of light and disruption to growing conditions by virtue of being adjacent to the contractor’s hoardings. Mature trees will be removed, and Cadent’s site will be surrounded by a new electrified fence, causing permanent damage to the ecology and biodiversity of the area, which will be further exacerbated by soil removal… We call upon Redbridge Council to reject Cadent’s unnecessarily damaging proposals,” said Sally Parker.