Consultation on London’s Police stations – 7th January to 4th March 2013

Police Blue Lamp

Further to the decision on the future of police stations in London, and Wanstead in particular, MOPAC (The Mayor’s Office for Police And Crime) will be holding a consulation with the general public.

As the decision seems to be already made (note the recent national news stating that the decision document had been leaked), we are not too sure of the composition of the consultation. However, the period runs from 7th January to 4th March 2013. For further details and to participate in the consultation, visit the MOPAC area of the GLA website.

As part of this consultation process, a public meeting will be held on Monday 11th February 2013 at 8.00pm in Redbridge Town Hall. Stephen Greenhalgh (the deputy mayor of London) will be making an appearance, and is scheduled to be there for about an hour.

If you wish to either attend the meeting or put questions to the deputy mayor, please contact the Town Hall for further details.

Wanstead Police Station set to close – official!

Police Blue Lamp

The Met Police have finally admitted what we all suspected; the front counter service at Wanstead Police Station is to close. In the first step towards closing the station entirely, from 1st April 2013 the front desk service will be withdrawn in order to reduce costs, but the station will remain operational.

Woodford Police Station will also have its front desk service withdrawn and Barkingside will only have a counter service during daylight hours. Ilford remains the only 24 hour operational station in the Borough.

Sadly, this will leave Redbridge – a Borough with 270,000 people – with just 1 fully operational police station. The story is much the same across London as the Met attempt to save £500 million from their annual budget. The plan is to leave just 136 police stations in a Capital city with a population over just over 8 million.

Ironically, once the front counter service is closed – in Wanstead at least – the Met are looking for a suitable place to base police officers for a few hours each day. This seems like a false economy as why not base the officers in a police station the Met already own, rather than rent a new space?

The Wanstead Society also understands an announcement will be made on 10th or 11th  December 2012 as to which police stations will close fully while in January 2013 the Met will undertake a consultation on this process.

We remain committed to a fully operational police station that serves Wanstead, it’s just a shame that the Mayor of London – who decides the budget for policing in the capital – doesn’t.

A proactive campaign for the Evergreen Field

Evergreen Field 2

The Evergreen Field has been part ofWanstead’s green and open character for about 50 years, ever since the original buildings were demolished. But the field remains completely unused. After development proposals were rejected in 1998, Redbridge planning policy now protects the open land. But the various owners have never brought it into use or maintained it.

The Wanstead Society recognises that many Wanstead people want to keep the land green but believes this should be achieved by making the land accessible, used and improved.  Active community use would contribute to the life of Wanstead.

It is therefore applying for planning permission to make the field a multi-purpose space for community activity. We can make an application even though we don’t own the land. We see the best way to defend the space against unsuitable development is to set out a positive vision for its future.  We can do that with a real alternative use established by planning permission.

The planning application proposes a circular meadow surrounded by woodland, with new access points and improved edges to Christchurch Green and an opening through trees framing the church spire. You can see the application here, do write a note of support on the council’s website – ref 2254/12.

How should the land be used for the benefit of Wanstead?

Our planning application is only the first step. We need to back that up with a detailed plan setting out how it would be used and managed. This has to be based on a range of clear-cut, practical activities for the field. We have to bear in mind that Redbridge Council and Epping Forest already look after good green spaces in Wanstead and we can’t assume either would maintain the field. We need a strong strategy to claim it for the community – and we need suggestions for how the space could be used in imaginative and economically viable ways.

The Evergreen calendar of activity

So what activity can you suggest for Everbody’s Evergreen? It might be something for one day only we would like ideas covering 365 days to assemble an Evergreen calendar.

For example – could a school do Maypole dancing on 1 May? Could one of the churches have an outdoor harvest festival service on 1 Sept? Could we have a snowcrowd on 1 Jan? It is a good place for a temporary marquee which is not so easy in the park. Then there could be an antiques fair on 1 June, a wedding reception on 8 June, and a theatre performance on 15 June.

And many other days the field will be an alternative peaceful destination next to Christchurch Green.

What would you do that might not be so easy to do in the park or on the street?

The tricky next step

The third step is to work out how to manage the field as an accessible public facility. The land remains in private ownership and we don’t have any control of it. We therefore need a clear strategy to help negotiate a secure future for the field.

Everybody’s Evergreen – can you help?

get involved

We are looking for someone who has experience of writing funding bids to take a lead in developing a bid for funding to help in the purchase of the Evergreen Field, if it comes on to the market.

We would also like to hear from anyone who has experience of fund raising – large or small scale – who would be interested in contributing ideas – and cautions!

If you are interested in  the future of the Evergreen Field and would like to join a small group focusing on the ‘Everybody’s Evergreen’ Project, we would love to hear from you. We would like to develop our marketing and promotion skills – perhaps you could give us some advice. If you would like to get involved, please contact: eileenflinter@yahoo.co.uk or ring 0208 989 7793.

The Emerald in our Crown – Everybody’s Evergreen

Evergreen Field

As the population in Wanstead and the rest of Redbridge continues to grow, increasing pressure is being put on the open spaces available to us.The Wanstead Society is keen to put the Evergreen Field – the fenced off part of Christchurch Green – into community use.

Unbelievably, for an area with so much forest, several of the primary schools have no green space for their children. Some of you will have seen the small garden which has been created at the back of the Church School playground and possibly agree it is not enough.

We would like to see the Evergreen Field put to use as a sports/recreation facility, primarily for the older children in the area. This is in keeping with the Olympic Legacy and would give schools, the Brownies, Scouts, Guides and other youth groups an area to use for environmental study and fitness pursuits. We would also like to see it used for outdoor performances and events which would maintain and increase the footfall on the High Street to make Wanstead a destination of choice and help keep our diverse shops afloat. There are some lovely trees already – it needs new fencing and gates plus landscaping.

None of this is impossible. If we lose it, we lose it forever. We want to use it. How can we use it? How can we improve it? All ideas and practical suggestions will be taken on board as we strive to make this everybody’s Evergreen Field.