August 2022


Changing the local outlook with a second pop-up art show

20220703_140157©Ron Filer

Art Group Wanstead’s monthly pop-up exhibition on Christ Church Green will return on 14 August.

“Our members will be putting up their work for the second time on the chain-link fences by the High Street from about 10.30am to 3.30pm. They aim to add interest for Wanstead, and to encourage local artists. Stop for a chat, or just check out the work as you walk by. You may even be inspired to pick up a paintbrush when you get home,” said a spokesperson.

The group welcomes all artists with a local connection.



A kind of magic


Redbridge’s Disability Awareness Festival returns to Christ Church Green this month. There will be information stalls, activities for people of all abilities… and a Freddie Mercury tribute act, says Sophie Donelan

The London Borough of Redbridge, in collaboration with its partners, One Place East, Vision, Uniting Friends and Redbridge Forum, will host the annual Disability Awareness Festival on Christ Church Green this month. This is the first face-to-face disability awareness festival since 2019, and the theme this year is ‘back to life, back to reality’.

The festival is a special occasion offering people the opportunity to participate in activities that are accessible to everyone, with or without a disability, as well as the chance to take part in a positive community event that can enhance their sense of well-being. This event is open to the wider Redbridge community and beyond.

We aim to provide a unique opportunity for participants with disabilities to showcase their talents, helping to improve self-esteem and confidence as well as learning new skills or becoming more independent. This is a great chance to strengthen community links between residents and service users with disabilities. 

On the main stage, there will be live music, dance and comedy performances throughout the day. There will also be outdoor games and activities, and the headliner will be a Freddie Mercury tribute act!

A variety of organisations and charities will focus on providing support and service information for individuals with disabilities on the day, and many people will be holding information sessions to consult and advise on options available so that those with a disability can become more independent. This is a family-friendly event, and there will be a wide range of workshops offered throughout the day, such as music, dancing, arts and crafts, sports and wellness. 

Not only do we aim for this to be a fun event for all, but we also aim to improve both the mental and physical health of participants through accessible sports and links to health and well-being activities and services. Redbridge Council and its partners believe the health and well-being of residents, and having access to information, is of great importance, so there will be a chance for attendees to have health check-ups, including with the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.

There will also be local businesses selling a wide range of goods in our market area, and refreshments available from the food and drink village. 

Please show your support and come along. We hope to see you there!

The Disability Awareness Festival will take place on Christ Church Green on 24 August from 12 noon to 5pm. For more information, visit


Dragons & damsels


Tim Harris from the Wren Wildlife Group describes some of our most fascinating insects: dragonflies and damselflies, which thrive in Wanstead Park, like this four-spotted chaser photographed at Perch Pond

Take a stroll along one of the lakes in Wanstead Park on any warm, sunny day from May to October and you have a very good chance of seeing one of our many local dragonflies or damselflies – perched on a lily pad, grasping an iris blade, sunning itself on a path, or whizzing past in pursuit of prey. 

Collectively known as the Odonata, according to fossil records, these flying insects have been around for some 350 million years. There are 46 species in the UK, and 21 have reliably been seen in Wanstead.

Unless we take up pond dipping, we only see the last and shortest stage of their fascinating life cycle. Dragonflies and damselflies undergo incomplete metamorphosis with three life stages, rather than butterflies’ four: egg, larva, and adult. Fertilised females inject many tiny eggs into aquatic vegetation near the water surface, or – depending on the species – deposit them loosely in water. Within a few weeks, the eggs hatch into larvae. This is the longest stage of a dragonfly’s life. Over the course of one, two, or even five years in the case of the golden-ringed dragonfly, they are active underwater predators in freshwater lakes and rivers. As they grow, the larvae are able to eat ever-larger prey, including other insects, snails, leeches, tadpoles and even small fish. 

When they are ready, the larvae climb out of the water and up the stalk of an aquatic plant and squeeze themselves out of their larval ‘skin’. Sometimes, these discarded exuviae can be found still attached to vegetation. The newly emerged adult dries its wings and legs in the sun and, when strong enough, takes its first tentative flight.

The first species to emerge locally is the large red damselfly, which can sometimes be seen by tiny garden ponds in late April, while common and ruddy darters can even be seen on warm days in October. Adults typically live no more than a fortnight, though some may fly for eight weeks before they perish. If they successfully mate during this time, they will have kick-started another generation. 

In Wanstead Park, the margins of Shoulder of Mutton, Heronry, and Perch ponds are alive with these colourful insects on warm summer days; the bank at the east end of Perch Pond is as good a place as any to watch a variety of behaviours. There, aggressive male dragonflies can be seen chasing off rivals, while females lay their eggs among the waterside plants. And sometimes, dozens of coupled pairs of damselflies can be seen mating on the wing or on mats of weed. 

With global climate change, some continental species are colonising southern England. Others seem to be struggling. In our area, they have both unpolluted water and emergent vegetation, and that’s why they’re thriving. If you see anything interesting, you can report your sighting to the British Dragonfly Society (BDS). Better still, join the BDS and help their efforts to conserve these beautiful creatures.

For more information on the British Dragonfly Society, visit

For more information on the Wren Wildlife Group, visit


Paint the town pink: join the Haven House Sparkle Walk this September


Haven House Children’s Hospice is inviting residents to sign up for this year’s Sparkle Walk.

“Grab a team of friends and family and help us paint the town pink with a 10km walk through Wanstead, South Woodford and some parts of Epping Forest,” said a spokesperson for the Woodford Green charity. The event – which starts and finishes in Wanstead – will take place on the evening of 2 September. “Every participant will receive a T-shirt and a glass of fizz at the finish line!”



London City Airport consultation: more flights over Wanstead


A consultation on London City Airport’s expansion plans is open until 9 September.

“Wanstead is facing the prospect of more flights from City Airport at weekends, in the early mornings and late evening. The airport argues only quieter, cleaner aircraft will be used during these hours. However, the aircraft are only significantly quieter on departure and within about four miles over the airport. So for Wanstead, that difference could be negligible,” said a spokesperson for campaign group HACAN East.



Himalayan balsam removed from Wanstead stretch of River Roding

Screenshot 2022-07-25 at 16.31.00

Volunteers joined Vision RCL’s nature conservation rangers last month to remove Himalayan balsam growing along the Wanstead stretch of the River Roding.

“Our volunteers weren’t afraid to get stuck in and wade in the river, setting up a great production line. The stems pulled out of the water were eventually placed along the side of the footpath to allow wildlife to crawl out and find cover,” said Tajinder Lachhar.

Introduced to the British Isles in 1839, the invasive weed prevents native species from growing.


Water Works

IMG_20220705_171531©Stephen Lines

Iain Ambler updates on the recently restored Redbridge Lane West allotment pond, which has become a biodiversity hotspot. Photo by Stephen Lines

In the December 2021 edition of the Wanstead Village Directory, I wrote about how a group of 15 plot holders had restored the main pond on our Redbridge Lane West allotment site so it is wet year-round and a great habitat (again) for wildlife. We were sparked into life by the proposal of our neighbour Cadent, the global gas company, to use part of the site as a compound to support their works and to permanently acquire a strip of allotment land along the current boundary.

Having a year-round wet environment is critical for native amphibia (frogs, toads, newts) and insects. There was already a very overgrown and dried-out pond on the site. So, in 2021, we cleared the pond surrounds (including felling two large willow trees that were overgrown), relandscaped the pond and relined it with a butyl liner. Then, we added pond plants so they could establish.

Over the winter, the pond lay dormant, save for the odd visit by passing waterfowl. But then, when spring arrived, slowly wildlife returned to the pond and it’s now a real biodiversity hotspot.

It was not long before we spotted many baby newts, now at an age where they will shortly leave the pond as ‘efts’ to seek out other damp areas in the allotment (several plot holders installed mini ponds on their plots during 2021 which we hope they will find).

Frogspawn and then baby frogs also appeared and some large dragonflies – male and female broad-bodied chasers with stunning, bright blue and yellow abdomens – have become regular visitors, as are common blue, large red and emerald damselflies. Bees of various kinds and hoverflies are regularly seen drinking at the water’s edge, and water boatmen row over the surface.

We also found evidence that larger mammals, possibly foxes, are using the pond as a water source, and Nathusius pipistrelle, a nationally scarce bat species often found near water, has been recently surveyed overflying the site.

The plants we added have all survived and blossomed, including yellow flag irises, water lilies, marsh marigold and purple loosestrife (common yellow loosestrife has also magically reappeared, a result of the scrub clearance by the side of the pond), and these are all attracting pollinators.

What’s next?
New ponds need maintenance to ensure they stay free from blanket weed – this has meant regular weeding by our volunteer group. Eventually, we hope that a combination of oxygenators and shade from plants and trees will self-regulate.

The pond surrounds will continue to require some work – this includes strimming and the clearing of brambles around the pond to ensure they don’t grow back.

We have also created two mini-wild flower meadows alongside the pond, with plants grown from seed over the winter (to varying degrees of success), and plug plants funded by Vision RCL, and we will continue to add to and maintain these. 

We are considering what we might do in partnership with Vision and Cadent to further enhance the site for wildlife, as Cadent will be required to demonstrate a biodiversity net gain from their works. 

For me personally, I’ve enjoyed seeing how such a small area – the size of a small back garden – can do so much for wildlife, even when only metres from the busy A12. It has also been great to see the interest in and enjoyment of wildlife from many plot holders.

We have continued to receive expert advice and support from Vision’s allotments officer Simon Litt and his team, as well as from Tim Harris of the Wren Group, to whom we are very grateful.

For more information on allotments in Redbridge, visit


If truth be told


Property sales should be plain sailing, but can sometimes go wrong. Not telling the truth about some aspect of the sale can cause great upset, says Derek Inkpin from local solicitors Wiseman Lee

The word ‘misrepresentation’ simply means not telling the truth, and if a property seller fails to inform a buyer of a given situation, this can give rise to a substantial claim to compensate the buyer.

Part of the conveyancing process involves the seller completing a Property Information Form. If the seller has been truthful in response to the questions raised, this would not normally give rise to a claim, but if a misleading impression or wrongful information is given, the buyer can claim the expenses (sometimes substantial) in correcting the position.

Examples could include stating that: 

  • There have been no disputes with neighbours if untrue.
  • The property does not suffer from a flooding issue, when it does.
  • The property does not suffer from Japanese knotweed, when it does.
  • The position of the boundaries have not been changed, when they have.
  • The property does not suffer from damp, when it does.

These are some examples of how a buyer could be misled, and if the buyer relies on these inaccuracies to their detriment, financial consequences could result. The picture becomes blurred when it transpires that an incorrect ‘statement of fact’ is actually the seller’s opinion, and therefore no claim for misrepresentation will arise. However, if the seller’s opinion turns out to be untrue and was given recklessly, a claim could be made.

Take the well-known 1993 case of Sindall vs Cambridgeshire CC, where land was being sold for development. In answer to the question: “Is the seller aware of any rights affecting the property other than those which can be seen on inspection?” the seller’s answer was: “Not so far as the vendor is aware,” which the court found to mean the seller had effectively said: “I have checked but cannot find anything.” This was held to be a false statement of fact because a sewer ran underneath the land, which was not discovered until after completion of the purchase. If the buyer decided to keep the land, he could claim compensation for the cost of rerouting the sewer (assuming this to be possible) or could claim rescission of the contract whereby the seller must take back the property. Damages to compensate the buyer may also be awarded.

All this is at the court’s discretion. Sometimes, damages will only be awarded subject to exploring all circumstances of the case.

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


Wanstead resident commended for her work in ‘ensuring human dignity’

elssaElsa received her commendation at a ceremony in Parliament

Local resident and mental health campaigner Elsa Arnold was highly commended at the Million Minutes Celebrating Young People Awards last month for her work in ‘ensuring human dignity’.

“When we think of well-being, we may often think of positive and enjoyable activities. Living in Wanstead, we may also think of Elsa Arnold. Elsa works tirelessly to support others and uses her lived experience of mental health positively. Congratulations, Elsa! Thank you for all you have done and continue to do,” said Katharine McKnight.


New police pop-up hub launches at Wanstead Library


A new series of police pop-up hubs have launched across Redbridge, including regular sessions at Wanstead Library.

“This is a borough-wide initiative, and the contact points will be conducted by Safer Neighbourhoods Team officers from wards across Redbridge. The public can meet and talk to us face-to-face about any local policing concerns or safety issues they may have,” said a police spokesperson.

This month’s sessions in Wanstead will take place on 3, 10 and 24 August from 4pm to 7pm. 


Wanstead Park litter pick update


The monthly litter pick in Wanstead Park will take place a week later than usual this month and will be held on 21 August from 11am (meet at the Temple).

“Trigger-action litter pickers and bags will be provided (£5 cash deposit), but please bring your own gloves for hygiene reasons,” said a Friends of Wanstead Parklands spokesperson.

Additionally, there will be no litter pick in September to avoid a clash with the Wanstead Festival.


Wanstead Park swan family rescued by volunteers as lake dries out

Screenshot 2022-07-25 at 16.33.10

An entire family of swans from Wanstead Park were relocated to The Swan Sanctuary in Middlesex last month.

“The Ornamental Water swan family were living in horrendous conditions due to low water levels. The swan rescue volunteers monitored the family of six daily, and as temperatures started to soar, the decision was made to remove them from their territory and temporarily relocate them to a woodland pond in the sanctuary,” said Helen O’Rourke.

Donations to the swan rescue fund are welcome.