You asked, so we asked, they listened and said….!

Having met with a number of our members at our last Annual General Meeting the Wanstead Society Committee raised our members questions (and others) at one of our recent monthly Committee meeting at Wanstead House (27th February), whereby Councillors Daniel Morgan- Thomas and Jo Blackman kindly attended.

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Our hour and a half meeting covered a wide range of topics including; the phlebotomy service at Wanstead Hospital, plans for Wanstead library https://www.redbridge.gov.uk/about-the-council/future-plans-for-community-hubs/ , graffiti, street cleaning, bollards on Cambridge Park Road, Wanstead swimming pool https://www.redbridge.gov.uk/news/july/residents-invited-to-view-initial-design-proposals-for-the-new-wanstead-pool/ , concerts on Wanstead Flats, street tree cutting, facilities for teenagers and the planning portal https://wansteadium.com/new-homes-to-built-in-wanstead-on-top-of-old-ones/.

Health is one of the Society’s key focus points for this year, so we started off asking about our beloved phlebotomy service, as it had been noted that the service appeared to be reducing and increased waiting times were becoming the norm. The phlebotomy service affects the majority of people, as a blood test is often part of the routine care for multiple health conditions. Daniel Morgan-Thomas advised that the size of the phlebotomy team is going to increase from 2 to 3 people, plus a manager.

What about plans for our Library I hear you cry? We were told there will be budget proposal in 2020. Jo Blackman met with the person in charge and was able to relay to us that the intention is to group services on one site- hub use for the community, that local Councillors sought and received assurances that; there is no planned decrease in local services, the development  will be in keeping with the area, there are three sites to be done before Wanstead’s and it will be energy efficient.  Our Peter Arben voiced he felt a community hall must be included in the plans too.

Our Iris Vandenberghe told us what she’d be doing by way of organising for the removal of the Graffiti. She had been on a walk around with Tracy Scott from Civic Pride noting low level stuff- all was removed the next day. She said that Tracey Scott would like the public to report  any graffiti seen https://www.redbridge.gov.uk/about-the-council/privacy-notices/civic-pride/

Both Councillors asked that the public let them know if they feel what they are reporting isn’t being actioned. Peter further enquired as to what happens when the graffiti is on private property? Daniel Morgan-Thomas thought the Council has limited authority in these instances unless it’s inciting violence.

Further updates from Iris Vandenberghe on our street cleaning included that the new automated street cleaner has improved the collection of litter. Jo Blackman was able to feedback that there is a re-organisation of the street cleaning planned and if  any street cleaning picks planned to let Tracey Scott know, as there is a monthly meeting where it can be discussed. Jo has met with Vision regarding Christchurch Green, they have re-organised the rota, there will be an increased collection in summer and she has requested slightly bigger bins with lids, the request is under review.

Who has noted the bollards outside the Tree House Nursery School- former church on Cambridge Park Road? When the initial sprayed white spots appeared our Scott Wilding got on the case, emailed the appropriate people providing some alternatives to bollards, he requested the Councillors monitor the situation when we met. Jo Blackman said she had raised concerns, the latest plans are to include trees, cycle racks and bollards. Bollards are needed though, as people drive over smaller trees to park. There are also to be trees outside the accountants Tish Press & Co.

Daniel Morgan-Thomas responded to our questions on the Swimming pool telling us that redevelopment schedule is dependent on school holidays. Hopefully, work will be done this summer holiday with a view to open in the autumn. Our Eileen Flinter asked what the parking situation will be like and how will it be self-funding? Daniel Morgan-Thomas reply included that; the school will have priority use during term time in the day, there will be bus links to the area, the school will pay for the use of it during the day but will not pay the redevelopment costs as the charge is incorporated in the leisure centre plans. Further, the plan is for the fitness studio above it to provide yearly running funds. I asked if the plans will incorporate specific thought for those with disabilities, including access for parking, Jo Blackman said that she will keep an eye that is does.

Scott Wilding moved on to raise concerns that the plans for the concerts on Wanstead Flats are happening on land that comes under City of London and we couldn’t influence the impact these festivals will have on the wildlife. Jo Blackman advised that the concerts are planned for 2020, originally the plans were for multiple weekends which would have resulted in the area being shut for most of summer. Now the plan is for one concert over one weekend. Epping Forest Commons will meet on 30/5/19, residents and community groups are to be consulted and the licencing application has still to go through.

Our Geoff Horsnell commented that he had noted a large number of trees had been cut down in the area and the trees had not looked sick. Daniel Morgan-Thomas advised that it is council policy to only cut trees which are dead, dangerous or ill. All trees cut down will be replaced. Scott remarked that an email response he received said that the replacement of the trees would be ‘budget dependent’ at which Daniel Morgan- Thomas advised there will be an overall budget review in the next financial year. The Councillors are working with Peter Marshall on a project ‘Trees for Cities’ https://www.treesforcities.org/ .

Our Marion Temple told us that in the past new trees were planted with a water tube dug into the ground, tankards would come and connect to the tubes and water them. She asked if it be possible to resurrect this? Or at least have the tubes installed properly so the public could get involved in watering them? Jo Blackman advised that the government is introducing a bill for the public to be consulted on the tree cutting. The Councillors confirmed that the fortnightly garden waste collection is to start up again shortly and continue through the year  https://www.redbridge.gov.uk/bins-waste-and-recycling/garden-waste/ .

Geoff further raised the matter that the Chestnut on George Green, M11 which the Corporation of London removed 2 years ago due to rot was earmarked to be made into a bench, as of yet no bench, Jo Blackman will look into this.  Our Eileen mentioned that there is a considerable amount of mistletoe growing on the roads on the Ashbourne Road trees, could the council raise funds by cutting this down and selling it?

Eileen further requested if more could be done by way of provision of facilities for teenagers, such as an area for them to meet and socialise informally. Jo Blackman advised that the youth club has asked for help in advertising their services.

Who saw the article regarding the Planning portal as per the information in this link? https://wansteadium.com/new-homes-to-built-in-wanstead-on-top-of-old-ones/Jo Blackman was able to allay our concerns and state there are no discussions with developers on this, at this time. Scott remarked that more housing provision is needed but must be done within the confine of acceptable planning.

So, all in all we can report a fruitful meeting was had. We will continue to keep in touch with our Councillors and work with them. We’ll keep informing you of any updates and links you can access for useful information, proposals and ways to be involved in topics that affect Wanstead.

 

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.

How does your [front] garden grow?

Front Garden

Thinking of making some changes to the appearance of your front garden? There may be a few things to consider before sacrificing those flower beds for a new driveway.

With a quarter of front gardens in the South East now covered with non-permeable surfaces, our choice of paving for front gardens is having a greater impact on our natural and urban environment. Not only is the risk of flooding to your property and pollution in our natural waterways increased, but it can also negatively affect the street scene.

What you may not realise is that legislation is in place that requires planning permission to pave over more than 5 metres of your garden with non-permeable surfaces, such as tarmac, concrete or flag paving.

Examples of permeable surfaces that do not require planning permission are grass, pavers on a sand bed or loose gravel (exceptions may apply if you live within a conservation area).

Not only will the appearance of your house and street improve with the planting of shrubs and trees, they are important for the ongoing battle against climate change. Redbridge Council supports the planting of trees in front gardens under their Pound for Pound Scheme – so if the tree will be visible from the street, the Council may pay half the cost.

Visit the Redbridge Council website for more guidance on this legislation and ideas on how to give your front garden an environmentally friendly makeover.

Chepstow – Developers & community work together

Chepstow before demolition

Following on from our recent update on developments with the Chepstow estate, here is a joint statement issued by the Wanstead Society and the Counties Residents’ Association:

An important and positive precedent has been made, in that the Counties Residents’ Association [CRA] and the Wanstead Society have joined forces to meet with Telford Homes Plc to find a scheme which local residents would should find suitable for one of the most picturesque sites in Wanstead.

Chepstow, 49 Leicester Road Wanstead is a prime site, being situated in the Wanstead Grove Conservation Area; facing the playing fields on Nutter Lane, one of the oldest roads in the Borough.

The battle which Telford has had with local residents is well known. It began in April 2007, when 400 people signed a petition opposing their first planning application and reached a peak this year when two alternative schemes were rejected at a Public Inquiry.

Three planning applications and two public inquiries later, Telford and the two local Societies met to discuss the design of a fourth scheme, which would meet the requirements of the local community. This has resulted in a scheme which both the CRA and WS feel respects and ‘preserves’ the character of the Conservation Area and fits in with adjacent properties.

The main reasons why this scheme is regarded as acceptable by the two Societies are:
• Traditional design, keeping in with the character of the area
• Slight reduction in the overall size of the buildings
• Traditional design throughout the scheme
• Consistency of design across the whole scheme:
• The design facia of the houses on Gloucester Road are similar to the existing houses
• Some features of the house design facia have been copied on the three blocks of flats.
• The blocks of flats on Nutter Lane also reflect some of the features of the Roding Cottages, while continuing the line and style of existing buildings.

Therefore we shall be actively supporting this fourth planning application and lobbying Redbridge Council to approve this scheme.

Helen Zammett, Chair of the CRA says: “I hope that this level of co-operation between developers and the local community can be repeated elsewhere in the Borough and beyond. After all, if this had happened at the beginning, a lot of time, effort and money could have been saved. The way in which Telford has now listened to the concerns of residents and the conservation experts at Redbridge is to be commended.”

Geoff Horsnell of the Wanstead Society said: “It is really good to see that developers and the local community can work together for a common aim. It is just a pity that it has taken so long for such co-operation to be realised.”

Chepstow Update

Chepstow before demolition

Things are moving a pace with the Chepstow Estate. The LBR Planning Inspector Hilda Higgenbottam has dismissed the developer Telford Homes’ appeal for the second and third scheme submissions. She also invalidated the appeal on the first scheme on the grounds that it was given before conservation status was awarded to the area.

Unfortunately the Planning Inspector also liked the Art Deco style of the flats which local residents abhor, but rejected the appeal on the grounds that the six semi-detached houses on Gloucester Road were out of keeping with the rest of the road. A pity, because the locals like these houses. This leaves us with a quandary – any further rejections by Redbridge Council will mean that a new appeal will give significant weight to these findings, much to the dismay of local residents.

The Wanstead Society have therefore joined forces with the Counties Residents’ Association to lobby both Telford and the Council. We propose that Telford liaise with us before any new application is submitted. We have also proposed to the Council that they consider a third party arbitration approach this time. In this way, perhaps we can help steer Telford towards an acceptable design which all parties – The Wanstead Society, the Counties Residents’ Association and the Council – can support rather than object to.

We have heard from Telford that they will be submitting a new planning application which seems to address all our joint concerns. This is a victory for the Wanstead Society and Counties Residents’ Association, and it just goes to show we can make a difference.