Burglary up 15% in Redbridge – Wanstead, Snaresbrook & Aldersbrook vulnerable


Crime in Redbridge has risen by 3.7% since January 2011 with burglary seeing the largest increase with a 15% rise.

Wanstead is the second highest place for burglary in the borough, and it looks set to increase.

Sources told the Wanstead Society that, with heightened security in Stratford, criminal gangs from those areas are fanning out into neighbouring areas – namely Wanstead, Leytonstone, Ilford and Barking – as it has become too dangerous for them to operate near the Olympic site.

Of course, all of this coincides with a general reduction in police numbers across England. The number of police officers in England and Wales has fallen to its lowest level for a decade with just 135,838 police officers in September 2011 – 6,012 fewer than the 141,850 there had been a year earlier. Police civilian numbers have also fallen by 11% over the same period.

Chief Constable Peter Fahy, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ lead for workforce development, told the BBC that it was “not surprising” to see a fall in the numbers of officers as most police forces had seen significant cuts.

“We will shortly enter the most difficult financial year for policing in living memory but forces have the plans to cope with what will be a most challenging time,” he said.

With crime up, police numbers falling and Wanstead Police Station still under threat, the outlook for Wanstead, Snaresbrook and Aldersbrook looks grim.

What makes this issue so topical is that there is a Mayoral election on 4th May this year. Who ever wins will have financial control over London’s police force for the next 4 years.  Whilst there is a lot of focus on the Olympics – which is only right – what happens after? Police budgets are going to be even tighter than they are now, and the MET will be looking for a saving.

When the political candidates come knocking on your door – ask them this: “Do you intend to keep Wanstead Police Station open, with a staffed counter service if you win?”

Listen to what they say. It might just influence how you vote.

This is what we are fighting against – this is why we exist!

Front Garden Parking 2

Our partners at Living Streets, formally the Pedestrian Association, have undertaken an audit in a section of Ilford called the Commonwealth Estate with the aim of  promoting how it could be improved. Reading their report is a very sad experience. Ilford, with its once beautiful double fronted Victorian homes, has been destroyed over the last half century.

Parking in front gardens has lead to the removal of any green or pleasant frontages, pavements are cracked, there are no street trees and the rise of rented accommodation and absentee landlords who turn large homes into small flats has left the area scarred and barren, void of its once pleasant street scene.

This is what we are fighting against, and why the Society exists. Without the Society keeping an eagle eye on what developers are doing, it could all so easily happen to us!

The Society campaigns for good quality, and sympathetic development that seek to preserve and enhance our community. We lobby the Council for good quality public realm improvements, such a better lights and paving, and seek to aid developers and businesses with advice on how best to renovate our historic buildings.

Don’t let this happen to Wanstead. Join the Society and help support us protect our community. Wanstead is worth keeping.

Rise of the rats – but where are the bins?

Park Litter 1

The Wanstead Society has been campaigning for the installation of more bins, with lids, on Christchurch Green.

Sadly we have not been getting very far, as observed by some of our eagle-eyed members who have sent in these photos of Christchurch Green taken on a Monday morning following a sunny weekend. As you can see, it’s not the prettiest of sights.

Now, we have to be fair – if some people weren’t so irresponsible with their litter there would be less of a rat/fox problem in Wanstead. So it’s not just a Council issue, it’s a Wanstead problem that we all must take control of.

However as can be seen, a few more bins, with lids, in the park wouldn’t go amiss… so if your listening Redbridge, please help!

Is our Police Station about to be sold off?

Police Blue Lamp

It would seem that the building in Spratt Hall Road is worth some where in the region of £3-5 million – an attractive prospect for the cash-strapped Metropolitan Police.

A 2007 report commissioned by the Met said the station was “underused” and was a prime target to be “sold off”.

The Borough Commander admitted in 2010 that there were no “imminent” plans to sell the station, which means there are plans to sell it, but they are not yet in place.

Whilst we all realise that police need modern working facilities and are in desperate need of funds, there are some very salient points that need answering.

When the station was re-opened in 2004/5 crime fell by 23% in Wanstead.

The nearest police station after Spratt Hall Road is Woodford, or Ilford. This means increased response times.

If Wanstead were to close, the London Borough of Redbridge – which has over 268,000 people living in it – would be reduced to 3 police stations. That’s 1 police station for every 90,000 residents!

At weekends, only Ilford and Barkingside stations are open 24 hours as it is.

Closing the station before the Olympics would seem unlikely, but not impossible.

Wanstead has lost nearly all of its major community facilities. The fire station went many years ago, the hospital went in the 1990s – and what there is of it that’s left, looks likely to go as well. The police station is the last reaming facility still operating. We have no other public facilities running in the buildings or places they were designed for.

The Wanstead Society has little doubt that there is a long fight ahead of it, and as such, is teaming up with the Counties Residents Association to see if we can get any more info, which we will pass on.  So watch this space and have this one on your radar!

Rats on the march!


Submitted by a Wansted Society member and local resident:

“Hey, chaps, there’s a load of litter in the bins tonight!  There’s no-one on the Green, so let’s go along and poke around and see what we can find.  There’s sure to be  a few chips and even the odd bit of chicken – or best of all, some cheese – much tastier that underground cables!  And if some foxes come along and want to butt in, we’ll just show them our teeth and they’ll soon scarpa.  Are you ready, chaps?  Come on, let’s go!”

 Seriously, I dare say this could easily happen if something drastic isn’t done about the rats which not only I, but others have seen, even in day-light.  It seems to me that there is every likelihood of a link between the lack  and poor design of the bins overflowing with litter and any creatures that want to explore them.  In June 2009 a letter I wrote to the local paper about the lack and poor design of the bins on the Green was used as a basis for an article;  the paper made its own enquiry and was told that people should take their litter home with them. 

Perhaps the way to change the public’s expectation that litter bins will be there, is to remove them completely – then we would really find out what people would do with their rubbish!  Since that article, nothing has changed; no-one responsible seems to have given the problem a second thought.  In the meantime, the rats flourish on their pickings!