March 2024


Historic High Stone repaired and reinstated after damage


The historic High Stone at the junction of Hollybush Hill and New Wanstead has been repaired and reinstated following damage sustained in a car crash last August.

The work cost £2,700.

Originally a mile marker showing distances to Epping, Ongar, Whitechapel and Hyde Park Corner, an obelisk has stood in the same location since the 18th century, although the current High Stone dates from the 1930s after the original was also damaged by a vehicle. The base of the monument is a remnant of the original 18th-century stone. 

Print Edition

April 2024



New parking payment service across Redbridge accepts cash

Drivers can now use PayPoint locations to pay for parking in Redbridge.

“The PayPoint scheme gives people the opportunity to pay for a range of goods and services at local retailers signed up as a PayPoint site. More than 100 sites already exist across the borough, and since the start of March, they have been activated to accept payment for parking, including by cash,” said a council spokesperson.

The PayPoint scheme is offered in addition to the existing RingGo parking payment service.



Organising CHAOS

Camp-Fire-v2Camping with CHAOS

Ahead of a fundraiser for Wanstead-based children’s charity CHAOS, co-founder Norman Haynes reflects on the organisation’s beginnings and explains how the money raised will be put to good use

CHAOS (Children’s Holidays and Other Specialities) was founded by myself and two friends – Stuart Ludlow and Mick Bacon – in 1976. We were all aged 22 and, having recognised our own good fortune in life, wanted to do something to help those less fortunate. We visited schools across East London and met with social workers to spread the word that we were offering free camping holidays for eight- to 11-year-olds who would not otherwise be receiving a holiday that year – an escape from the pressures of inner-city life for poverty-stricken children.

We spent the first year recruiting friends, raising funds through sponsored walks, jumble sales and suchlike, booking a campsite and coaches, borrowing camping equipment, selecting the children and organising the programme for a week away at Stubbers Adventure Centre in Upminster. In addition to the sports onsite, we had trips planned to the seaside, Chessington Zoo and a farm in Sawbridgeworth. Our first camp took place in 1977 with 37 children and 10 adults. It rained six days out of seven! But the germ of an idea had sprouted and we grew from there, becoming registered as a charity in 1981.

Our camps provide a safe, nurturing, learning, loving and most importantly, fun environment where kids can just be kids. On a CHAOS camp, children learn a great deal about teamwork and how to look after each other through games, nature walks, camping and beach activities. For some of the more deprived children, waking to the sound of farm animals, meeting the farmer or climbing into the cab of a tractor will be a memorable and positive experience of country life. And nothing beats having hot chocolate and biscuits whilst singing songs around a campfire! The joy this charity brings to kids’ lives is absolutely invaluable. It provides an opportunity to build their confidence, gives them a break from the daily hardships they endure and also affords a brief respite for their families during the long summer holidays. 

The number of children who have benefitted from our camps has been lost in the mist of time, but it is well above 2,500. An interesting side effect of the charity’s work is its lasting impact, which is evidenced by the number of children who choose to return to the charity as adults and volunteer as members of staff. 

When we set up this charity to help alleviate poverty, never in our wildest dreams did we expect the situation to become worse! Each year we are oversubscribed for places on our camps and it is very sad to be turning deserving children away due to a lack of funds. The fundraising events we hold – such as the one at Wanstead Golf Club this month – are invaluable to supporting our work.

A dinner and dance in aid of CHAOS will take place at Wanstead Golf Club on 26 April (tickets: £60; book by 12 April). For more information and to book tickets, call 07982 442 538 or email

To donate to CHAOS, visit



TfL agrees to review impact of changes to local bus routes

DSC_3512©Geoff Wilkinson

Redbridge Council’s External Scrutiny Committee met with TfL last month in light of planned changes to local bus routes.

“We raised several concerns, including the impact of a reduced service to the Nightingale Estate and the new W14 not stopping inside Whipps Cross. TfL acknowledged the issues but reiterated points in the consultation response. We did manage to secure a commitment to review the impact after a year,” said Councillor Daniel Morgan-Thomas. The new routes take effect from September.



Free parking with RingGo app


With pay and display parking machines no longer operational across Redbridge, drivers are reminded that free parking is still available via the RingGo app.

Users should check their app settings to ensure SMS reminders are turned off, otherwise RingGo will charge 15p to confirm a booking by text message and another 15p for an expiry reminder message.

A new PayPoint service has also been introduced as an alternative way to pay for parking.


Snaresbrook station car park closed for housing development

IMG_5531Snaresbrook station car park was in use until 24 March

Snaresbrook station car park has closed ahead of the construction of two blocks of flats on part of the site.

“This will allow work to deliver 74 new affordable homes to commence. Due to the complexities of the construction work, there will be limited access to Blue Badge spaces, but we will work to keep these spaces available as much as possible during construction,” said a spokesperson for Places for London, TfL’s commercial property company.

A smaller car park with 22 spaces is expected to reopen in spring 2026.


Decision delayed: planning application for Evergreen Field

Acr3016372082176-2758320How the development would look from the High Street

A decision on the planning application to build a block of flats on Evergreen Field has been delayed again.

“The developer has been considering [council] feedback and making amendments to their scheme. They have now submitted those amendments… The scheme will be referred to the planning committee for a final decision,” said a Redbridge Council spokesperson. The application – which was first submitted in July 2023 – now has a target date of 30 April. Comments can be submitted until 2 April.



Poetry, cartoons and folktales at World Book Day celebrations

Screenshot 2024-03-25 at 13.02.34

Pupils at Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School in Wanstead enjoyed a week of workshops as part of World Book Day celebrations in March.

“Pupils had a lesson with cartoonist James Parsons, were entertained with Caribbean folktales by storyteller Wendy Shearer and completed a poetry workshop with World Poetry Slam champion Harry Baker. The week ended with a whole-school storytelling bonanza, including a parent session with tales from around the world led by storyteller Pat Ryan,” said headteacher Ruth Boon.


Election hustings in Wanstead: submit your questions and join the debate


A hustings will be held at Wanstead Library in April ahead of the GLA elections on 2 May.

Jointly organised by Wanstead Climate Action and the East London Humanists group, the debate is set to have an environmental focus. “A candidate or representative from each of the main parties contesting the Havering and Redbridge constituency has been invited… There will be many topics on the election agenda, but few can be as important to the future of Londoners as how issues facing our environment are tackled… This is a rare and important opportunity for local people from across the political spectrum to gather to quiz candidates and hear them discuss the issues,” said a spokesperson.

The hustings will take place on 17 April from 7.30pm to 9pm. Written questions can be submitted in advance (see below) or on the night.

Submit a question for the hustings:

    Click here for a full list of Havering and Redbridge constituency candidates.


    Park Life


    In the 10th of a series of articles featuring the images of local photographers who document the wildlife of Wanstead Park and the surrounding area, Mark O’Dell presents his shot of a Mute Swan in flight

    I took this image of a Mute Swan flying towards me in Wanstead Park. I find photographing wildlife is a fantastic way to capture the beauty of the natural world, get out in the fresh air and exercise both body and mind. 

    I’m a professional photographer and content creator based in Woodford Green. I’ve shot a diverse range of subjects for commercial and editorial clients and the occasional wedding, too. I enjoy photographing people, both professionally and those I meet in day-to-day life. I love telling stories through my images and my love of photography allows me to connect with awesome companies and individuals. I also provide one-to-one photography training sessions, covering aspects such as setting up your camera, learning about exposure, flash or anything connected to photography. I now also provide advice and tuition on getting to grips with wildlife photography. When I’m not working, you’ll find me out and about photographing the wonderful wildlife we have locally. 

    We are so lucky in Redbridge, having access to fantastic parks and, as individuals, there are numerous ways we can engage with and support wildlife conservation efforts. I support the RSPB and regularly visit their reserves throughout the country. I also photograph birds and insects that exist within the borough and share my images with the local community (some of which are housebound) through social media. Bringing the outside world to them through my images and words is particularly fulfilling. 

    On my regular walks in the local parks, I’ve met and photographed some interesting people and made some long-lasting friendships, too.

    A lot of our parks, including Wanstead, rely heavily on volunteers to keep them looking shipshape by litter picking and other manual labour, so a big shout-out to those who give their time freely to maintain and improve these green spaces.

    To view more of Mark’s wildlife photos, visit

    For more information on Mark’s portrait photography, visit


    Checking in


    The public inquiry into London City Airport’s expansion plans ended last month. As we await a government decision on the plans, Councillor Jo Blackman explains her contribution to the proceedings 

    London City Airport was originally designed for business travel and smaller aircraft in the late 1980s. However, it has since seen a significant increase in jet engine flights, with leisure flights now making up 50% of trips. And the concentration of flight paths in 2016, including over Wanstead, exacerbated the impact of aircraft noise and pollution. So, the airport’s latest plans to increase passenger numbers from 6.5m to 9m a year, with more flights early in the morning and on Saturday afternoon, are a cause for concern. 

    The current 24-hour respite period (from 12.30pm on Saturday to 12.30pm on Sunday) was considered a crucial condition in the original agreement to allow residents a break from aircraft noise. Arguably, this is more needed than ever as flight numbers have increased and the population has grown around the airport.

    The government requested a public inquiry after City Airport’s expansion plans were rejected by Newham Council. 

    I spoke at the inquiry in December and highlighted concerns raised by residents about the plans, as did John Cryer MP and Stephen Timms MP. I highlighted the current impact of City Airport on noise and air pollution in Redbridge for those living under the flight path, in particular in Wanstead. I shared concerns from residents who are woken by the morning flights and are unable to sit outside during flight times. I also highlighted concerns about the impact on Epping Forest as a Special Area of Conservation and Site of Special Scientific Interest, which is an internationally important site afforded the highest level of protection due to its habitats and species that are vulnerable or rare and under threat. 

    The additional emissions generated by the increased passenger numbers would also contribute to climate change. Our borough is already suffering from more extreme weather events – droughts and flooding – and an increase in emissions has both global and local impacts through changes in the climate. 

    The public inquiry ended on 2 February and the inspector now has three months to write the report and recommendation, which will go to the Secretaries of State (for levelling up and transport) who will make the final decision on whether the expansion plans can proceed. 

    London is well-served by many airports which are accessible and aren’t in such built-up areas. Let’s hope the Secretaries of State recognise the adverse impacts on residents and the climate when considering the inspector’s report later this year.

    Councillor Jo Blackman (Wanstead Village, Labour) is the Cabinet Member for Environment and Sustainability. Email