March 2023


Wanstead Climate Action prepare for The Big One at community discussion


More than 45 people attended a Wanstead Climate Action community discussion earlier this month.

“Marilyn Taylor of Extinction Rebellion gave a talk in Christ Church about the dire climate situation, and on the day of the event, UN Secretary-General António Guterres also delivered his ‘final warning’ on the climate crisis. Following breakout discussions, Marilyn encouraged the audience to join The Big One, a mass demonstration that will take place outside Parliament from 21 April,” said a spokesperson.



Garden waste collections


Redbridge Council’s garden waste collections will resume from 3 April.

Waste can be left in up to five open black sacks (garden waste must be visible), two reusable garden waste sacks, or one reusable garden waste sack and up to two open black sacks. Waste presented in any other way will not be collected. The fortnightly service runs until 27 October.

To check address-specific dates for all waste collection services, visit


Easter Holiday Activities and Food Programme


Parents still have time to book their children to attend the Easter Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme in Redbridge.

The Redbridge HAF programme provides healthy food and enriching activities for children and young people over the school holidays, with free places for eligible children.

Each HAF location offers children and young people a range of activities from football and basketball to arts and crafts and drama. There is also an opportunity to learn about food and nutrition, meet new people, have fun, and make new friends.

Is my child eligible? 

Children must meet the following criteria to be eligible for a HAF place:

  • In Reception up to Year 11
  • In receipt of benefits-related Free School Meals (FSM)

The programme runs from Monday 3 April until Thursday 6 April.

For more information, click here.


Centre of Attention


Earlier this month, over 250 residents attended a public meeting to discuss the future of Wanstead Youth Centre with Redbridge Council. Kate Sloan from the Save Our Wanstead Youth Centre campaign reports

It is clear that residents from across Redbridge are very worried about the proposal to close Wanstead Youth Centre. Approximately 1,200 people use the venue per week, including young people, vulnerable groups and the wider community. It provides a safe space for social interaction and makes an invaluable contribution to the well-being of its users, with facilities including a main hall, a large sports hall and a fully equipped music recording studio.

At the public meeting on 7 March, Mark Baigent, Redbridge Council’s Corporate Director of Regeneration and Culture, said the reason for considering the closure was due to the £2.4m required for maintenance and repairs (as outlined by a surveyor’s report dated 22 April 2022), and the £86,000 a year the centre receives in subsidies to run it.

Whilst we accept the centre does need repair, we feel this is because, sadly, maintenance and repairs have not been properly undertaken over the years. We also feel that if the centre was advertised more, it could be used to its full potential and then little or no subsidy would be required. John Cryer MP has also expressed a similar view, recently tweeting: “[Vision] do not advertise the facility as far as I can see and make it very difficult to book, unlike all their other facilities.”

Key concerns from residents who packed the venue for the meeting included:

  • Why more had not been done to maintain the centre over the years.
  • That there was no suitable alternative location or provision that accommodated users’ needs available in the borough.
  • That no work had been done to look at external sources of funding, such as grants or other investment.

Local young people also spoke passionately about the positive impact of the venue on their well-being. One centre user, Ellie, 15, asked: “Is the mental health of young people who use the centre being taken into account?” Concerned about the warnings young people receive about gangs, exploitation and mental health, she added: “This is one of the few places that holds our society together.”

The council’s proposal was to close the centre by May, so we called for a 12-month moratorium so we can engage with them and work together to secure the retention of the venue. At the time of writing, we are awaiting the council’s decision. Whatever the outcome, please get in touch if you would like to join the fight to save this valuable community facility.

Details of the council’s decision will be posted here when available.

For more information on the Save Our Wanstead Youth Centre campaign, email or contact Liz Martins on 07403 649 306

To stay up to date on the campaign, join the Save Wanstead Youth Centre Facebook group, or follow the campaign on Twitter


Take part in the Wanstead Community Coronation Festival


A Wanstead Community Coronation Festival will take place on Christ Church Green on 7 May in aid of the Mayor of Redbridge Appeal and supporting Tin in a Bin.

“This will be a fabulous opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate the King’s Coronation. There will be music, entertainment, fairground rides, stalls, food and refreshments,” said Suzi Harnett, who is helping to organise the event. Volunteers, performers and stallholders are invited to take part.

If you would like to have a stall at this event,
Melissa: or call 07714 947 210 

If you would like to perform or get involved and volunteer on the day,
contact Suzi: or call 07917 670 664


Stand up, Speak up


Stand-up comedian Stephen Catling will be performing in Wanstead this April as part of the Laugh-Able Comedy Night to mark Autism Awareness Month. He believes people with autism need to speak up 

I am autistic and came from the North to live in London in 2016. I have been a comedian performing regularly on the London and general UK circuit since 2017. I am known for being an alternative act, who uses clowning and inventiveness on stage on the mainstream circuit. I’ve achieved several accolades including at the Stand-up for Cider comedy competition (finalist, 2023) and from both the South Coast Comedy Awards and the Student Comedy Awards (semi-finalist, 2022).

My earliest pathway into comedy was through watching Monty Python in high school, where friends and I wrote our own Pythonesque parodies of biblical stories, such as Noah’s Tardis. But I didn’t start performing solo until I joined the Lancaster University Comedy Institute during my studies in biomedical science and psychology. There I discovered a particular aptitude for surrealism. When I started performing in London, I began to hone my craft by incorporating other forms of comedy, such as clowning. I am now taking my solo show Beehavioural Problems: Something Something Autism to the Edinburgh Fringe this year.

I will be headlining the award-winning Laugh-Able Comedy Night at Wanstead Library this month, where the wonderful Mark Nicholas (promoter, comic, host and fellow autistic) has curated a line-up of comedians with autism spectrum disorder as part of Autism Awareness Month. Mark has hosted many amazing comedians at Laugh-Able over the years, some being very established on the scene, such Joe Wells, Andrew O’Neil and even Rosie Jones. While the commonality of the comedians is having a disability or being neurodivergent, the comics who perform are quite an eclectic mix.

How has autism made my life harder? As a child, I was bullied a lot for being weird and sensitive, but even as an adult I have found many employers (or would-be employers) make mistakes, usually out of blatant ignorance, but the result is the same and many have caused a great deal of harm (even when they’ve tried to do right). One research company did send a particularly problematic manager on an autism training course, but this was an exception in my career.

Many people get information about autism from inaccurate stereotypes in the media. Even today, Rain Man is people’s go-to idea of autism, but Dustin Hoffman’s character in the 1988 film had savant syndrome, which is very specific and very rare. And there are also issues with characters like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, who perpetuate the common stereotypes. So, my advice for other autistic people is to speak up and tell people more about our condition. The more diverse they see it, the less they treat us with misunderstanding and ignorance.

Stephen will perform at Wanstead Library on 5 April from 7.30pm (tickets: £3). Visit


Plans to build flats on Snaresbrook Station car park approved

pl-1Artist’s impression of the five- and six-storey flats

A controversial plan to build two blocks of flats on part of Snaresbrook Station car park was approved by Redbridge Council earlier this month.

Developers Pocket Living are due to start the two-year construction project in the spring of 2024, creating 74 homes, all of which will be available to first-time buyers in Redbridge at a 20% discount compared to the local market.

Residents who formed the Real Snaresbrook campaign opposed the development for a number of reasons, including the height of the buildings. 


Large tree on Grosvenor Road felled for safety reasons


A large cedar tree at the Shrubbery apartment blocks on Grosvenor Road has been felled for safety reasons.

The tree was at least 15m high and was a familiar landmark in Wanstead. Planning officers gave permission for it to be removed because of the risk of branches falling. There was a 1.5m crack in the tree’s main stem at 6m above ground level, likely caused by a storm, which meant the weight of the crown could not be supported by the trunk.

A replacement tree is to be planted on the site.


A load of rubbish


If we all love living in Wanstead as much as we say we do, then we all need to do more about the litter problem. It’s not the council’s job to clear up what we can’t be bothered to, says Jennie O’Beirne

Redbridge Council’s ‘Don’t be a tosser’ anti-litter campaign may be a bit crude for upmarket Wanstead – and it is certainly low profile – but the message is important. Litter is a huge problem, with more waste than ever being produced globally. The volume of dropped waste is an eyesore and has knock-on effects.  

If you don’t really see litter as a problem, try taking a short walk anywhere and consciously look for it. You won’t get far before you see rubbish thrown ‘away’. But there is no ‘away’; it’s all still out there somewhere! And it will affect you whether you ignore it or not. That beer bottle someone discarded can easily smash, leaving glass shards for your dog to walk on. That dropped sweet wrapper can blow around until it eventually finds its way into a drain, adding to blockages that increase the chances of your home being flooded. That thrown-away takeaway attracts rats and diseases. It’s no easier to ignore if you’re driving – look at Redbridge Roundabout and see the piles of litter thrown from cars.

Plastic bottles take around 450 years to break down, drinks cans take 100 years, takeaway coffee cups take 30 years and plastic bags can take up to 1,000 years! They all cause massive litter problems and they are everywhere. The rubbish we are surrounded by comes from the general public, not factories or industry, so we only have ourselves to blame.  

We can’t constantly blame the council for the problem of litter. Yes, the bin men can be a bit careless sometimes, but it’s easy to take responsibility for the rubbish outside our own doorsteps and clean up our streets and pick up rubbish when we see it. Everyone has a bin in their house. We all have multiple bins outside our houses and all around Wanstead.  There are rubbish bins on most main street corners and in the parks. There are 11 rubbish bins on the High Street between The George and Gail’s alone. So why is there still rubbish on the ground there? If a bin is full, any overflow will just blow ‘away’ and cause a problem. Empty packaging weighs nothing to take home to your own bin. Landfill isn’t ideal, but it’s better than ending up in our waterways and then in the sea.

Do schools teach the problem of littering?  Do parents make sure their children don’t litter? Do children make sure their parents and grandparents don’t litter? Do you pick up litter when you see it? Would you ask someone to pick up their litter if you saw them drop it?

It’s not OK to drop your litter on the street. It’s not OK to throw your litter out of your car window. It’s not OK to litter! Despite the kindness of a few local litter pickers, the problem is far bigger than they can handle, so we all need to take action. Let’s take responsibility for the rubbish all around us and make Wanstead clean again.

For details of community litter pick events in Wanstead and Wanstead Park, visit


Springtime walk in Wanstead Park with Epping Forest Heritage Trust


The Epping Forest Heritage Trust will host a guided walk through Wanstead Park on 23 April.

“Join historian Georgina Green for a stroll around the lakes and woods to see some of the historical features from the Georgian heyday of the park’s palatial building, which was demolished in 1824. Hopefully, the bluebells will be at their best and we will find other signs of spring,” said a spokesperson.

Tickets for the free two-hour walk – which starts at 10.30am – will be available from 12 March.



Park life


In the second of a series of articles featuring the images of local photographers who document the wildlife of Wanstead Park and the surrounding area, James Ball presents his close-up of a long-tailed tit

I’m James, a local estate agent with a passion for photographing all types of wildlife and, in particular, birds. I find it amazing the variety of wildlife we can see almost on our doorsteps.

Here’s an image I took earlier this winter in Wanstead Park. It was an overcast day, which didn’t provide brilliant light but did mean the light was evenly spread with little shadow.

This bird is a long-tailed tit, resembling a pink, white and black ball of fluff, with a long tail. Like candy floss with wings, they can be very photogenic. Gregarious and noisy residents, long-tailed tits are most usually noticed in small, excitable flocks of about 20 birds.

Like most tits, they rove the woods and hedgerows but are also seen on heaths and commons with suitable bushes. They move quickly and rarely stop for longer than a second or two, so you have to try and get a step ahead. I positioned myself in front of the flock and took this image when the bird landed on an isolated branch with a clean foreground and background.

Here are some of my top tips for taking better wildlife photographs. 

You’ll be lucky to stumble across your target subject on the first attempt, even the second or third. Learning your subject’s habits will help you put yourself a step ahead.

Try to position yourself as close to the subject’s eye level as you can, even if it means lying on the ground! This connects your camera to the subject, creating a more emotive and often dramatic image.

Fast shutter speed
This will allow you to capture wildlife whilst it’s on the move. Birds all move at different speeds, depending on their size and how much of a rush they are in. So, you’ll need to adjust your settings accordingly. Gulls over a lake are a great entry subject for capturing birds in flight.

Use ‘continuous shooting’ mode and ‘continuous focusing’ to take multiple bursts of photographs and to continually track the subject. These modes will have different names on different brands of camera.

In my opinion, the best lighting is at dusk and dawn during the ‘golden hour’. The sunrises over Wanstead Flats and the sunsets in Wanstead Park are beautiful, and when you can time this with passing birds, you can achieve great results; well worth the early alarm!

Position yourself so the sun is behind you and you’re facing the bird you’re photographing for the best lighting setup. Shooting into the sun can also sometimes create lovely photographs, especially when the sun is low and the light is less harsh, making perfect conditions for artistic silhouettes.

To view more of James’s wildlife photos, visit


Modern privacy

AdobeStock_265757430Tate Modern viewing platform alongside the block of flats

Derek Inkpin from local solicitors Wiseman Lee looks at the concept of private nuisance and reflects on a recent court case which determined Tate Modern’s viewing platform invades the privacy of nearby flats

A 2023 Supreme Court decision (Fearn and others vs Trustees of the Tate Gallery) has highlighted the law in relation to ‘private nuisance’. What’s wrong with the following?

Your neighbour has an adjoining garage to his home which is used for the purposes of a business, where he continually operates noisy machinery.

Your neighbour owns kennels where there is continual barking, preventing you from enjoying the quietness of your home.

Your neighbour has a tree growing in his rear garden close to the flank wall of your house, which causes damage to your property.

The common denominator of these examples is the word ‘neighbour’. Whilst we still cling to the notion that an Englishman’s home is his castle, and that private nuisance protects a person’s use and enjoyment of their land, for a successful claim in tort to be brought for damages and an injunction, there must be a clear, unreasonable use of the land. Nuisance may therefore be caused by inaction on the part of the neighbour, such as escaping water or something which is intrusively unpleasant. 

There are three elements of the tort of nuisance, which is either an act or omission, interference or damage. To succeed, a claimant must firstly own the land where they claim their use and enjoyment have been interfered with. However, the blocking of a pleasant view or a TV signal which has caused the nuisance has failed in court.

Whilst each case is judged on its own merits, it is perhaps easy to see that it cannot be predicted with certainty that a court case will succeed where private nuisance is alleged. One-off instances will not be enough but continuous activity that really harms the use and enjoyment of a neighbour’s property will likely succeed. The real problem with private nuisance is the apparent right of the judges to decide each case on its merits, as opposed to a set of concrete definitions of legal principles, which therefore makes it difficult for legal advisers to assist on how a particular case will be decided.

In the recent Fearn case, it was decided the owners of flats which can be seen from the Tate’s viewing gallery succeeded in their appeal where the Supreme Court held that visual intrusion into a home can be considered a private nuisance. Looking from a viewing gallery across the London skyline seems, on first thought, to be a normal enjoyable activity, but not, the court has decided, into someone’s home. However, the Fearn case is not over yet. It has been referred back to the High Court to determine the appropriate remedy. Watch this space!

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