Corner House Garden
For many years the Corner House on the High Street/ junction with Grove Park has had wonderful floral displays throughout the year. This sterling work has been carried out by Marian Temple and her team of Wanstead Society volunteers. Their hard work keeps the garden clean, lively and blooming all year round. Without Marian and her team there would be no garden, nor would it be full of life no matter what the season.
Campaigning for Conservation Area Signage & Better Paving
A success! The Society has spent many months campaigning for signs that highlight the High Street as a Conservation Area, which it has been since the 1970s. In March 2011 the Council agreed to fund these signs. The aim is that we can raise awareness of the unique nature of our High Street and, perhaps, prevent poor quality designs or materials being used in our local shops.
In addition, we have been asking the Council to repair the poor quality paving in the High Street, and, give them their due, they said they will. Work started in April 2017 and was completed over the summer. The main points here, if we hadn’t been asking for these two things, we wouldn’t be getting them!
Smarter High Street Campaign/ Shop Keeper of the Year
The Wanstead Society helped launched the Smarter High Street campaign, founded and run by Gabrielle Collard. The campaign aimed to promote, and congratulate, those shops and businesses that had made a conscientious effort to gentrify their frontage in line with the High Streets conservation area status.
The campaign is designed to promote local businesses and raise awareness of the area’s conservation area status. Many people are not aware that there are strict rules governing how a shop front must look in a High Street like ours. Too many of these rules are ignored, or not upheld by the Council, so this campaign aims to protect the character of the High Street and of Wanstead itself!
In April 2018 Gabrielle received funding for the campaign from a charity to really get things going. This, in addition to the Wanstead Society’s part funding should make the High Street a much better place.
Save our Hospital Campaign
On the 15th December 2015 the NHS took the decision to abolish the King George A&E and maternity units in Redbridge. In addition the remaining blood testing and physiotherapy units at the old Wanstead Hospital are under threat.
As a result, the Society joined forces with the Counties Residents Association (CRA), and its members have been campaigning hard to alter the decision of the NHS. Members have campaigned at Council Committees, direct with the Leader of the Council, in the press, established a petition and even had a visit to No. 10 Downing Street.
Through the hard work of Geoff Horsnell and the CRA we have forced the Government to an independent review of these decisions. Geoff and the Wanstead Society will be watching closely.
Planning & Regeneration
The corner stone of the Society’s existence is to protect and promote the local character of Wanstead, Aldersbrook and Snaresbrook. That means ensuring that alterations to buildings are sympathetic to their surroundings and that new developments adhere to the rules of conservation areas.
One of the major successes we have had over the last year has been on the Chepstow site in Leicester Road. The Society joined forces with the Counties Residents Association in working with the developer to ensure the site is developed to a high standard. The Society, with the CRA, has fought 3 planning enquiries and various planning applications to ensure the best design for Wanstead was submitted.
“Stepping Out” – Working with Living Streets
Over the last 12 months the Society has worked with Living Streets, the national charity dedicated to pedestrians, to make Wanstead more “walkable”. Living Streets and the Wanstead Society came together to examine barriers to walking which included lack of information, too much street clutter and broken paving. As a result of our work, Living Streets are seeking sources of funding to tackle the problems we highlighted in addition to providing guided walks in the local area.
Guided Historic Walks of Wanstead
The Society, through John Goodman, runs various walks around Wanstead to highlight the history and natural beauty of our area. More to follow!