Examples of our work

Extending the conservation area

We worked with the Counties Residents Association to present a case to include the Grove Estate in the Conservation area. The Grove Estate is the heart of old Wanstead and encompasses Grove Park, The Avenue and the Counties roads. The area, including Grosvenor Road, was awarded Conservation status in March 2009.

The Corner House
Not only was this iconic Victorian house under threat, so was the Age Concern Lunch Club, who Corner_house_small
used the ground floor. We organised a petition which made it clear to Redbridge that the future of this building was of great concern. The house is now being restored, and the Lunch Club will have its favourite venue back.

Cuckfield Garage

We presented a detailed case against the demolition and replacement of the building with an intrusive, three-storey development. So far, we get to keep this charming stable, which
used to be part of The Cuckfield pub.

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Trees on The Green
Some of the trees on Christchurch Green had become damaged and diseased; we contributed funds towards new planting. Look out for the plaques which identify them.

A greener High Street
We also planted trees at the Snaresbrook end of the High Street. We lovingly watered and nurtured them and now they’re beautiful specimens, transforming
what was once a barren, grey pavement.

The Cherry Tree Café garden
The Wantead Society secured funds from a local benefactor and helped other volunteers overhaul and rejuvenate the garden.

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Victorian drinking fountains
The Wanstead Society pressed for funding to renovate the grade II listed fountains at both ends of the High Street.

Wanstead Police Station

The Metropolitan Police Authority decided that the Victorian red brick building was no
longer suitable for requirements. We proved that their arguments had no
grounds, and that the building would only need minor adaptations to
continue functioning as a Police station.

It’s not all over yet… but let’s hope this building, which has parking facilities surely vital to our police, will continue to serve us.

Become a member today

Our annual subscription is £8 per household (£5 for non-working members).

Download a membership form here (PDF format).

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Members’ benefits

Keeping you informed

We will send you a quarterly newsletter, with updates on our latest campaigns, success stories and general news.

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Getting together

We have an annual social evening, where members can meet the committee, local Councillors and each other. Do come along – you will find many like minded, passionate Wansteadites.

At our AGM, you will be invited to take part in the open forum, which is attended by Councillors. It is your chance to air your views.

Wanstead is an attractive place to live. Join us today and help us campaign to keep it that way.

If you’d like further information, call Derek Mathew on 020 8530 3227 or email info@wansteadsociety.org.uk

Current projects

Wanstead Art Trail 2010

We are delighted to tell you that work is underway to bring the first ever Art Trail to Wanstead this coming September. The trail will be launched at the Wanstead Festival on Sunday 19th September and will run for 8 days, until the end of Sunday 26th September.

Work from local artists will be exhibited at shops and venues in and around the High Street and it will be a chance for visitors to appreciate the wealth of artistic talent flourishing in our area. We also hope to increase footfall to the High Street to support our local businesses through these tricky economic times. Nearby schools are even getting involved and will be exhibiting works so this really is a community effort.

For further information email art@wansteadsociety.org.uk.

The Smarter High Street Campaign

Last year we launched our campaign for a better-looking High Street. We believe – and trade figures prove – a handsome high street attracts shoppers and enhances business.

Wanstead’s best advertising is its character. Unfortunately, over the years, a lack of attention has led to our high street looking like the poor relation when compared with other conservation areas.

With Stratford City – a shopping centre bigger than Bluewater – about to appear, we urgently need to promote Wanstead to keep it thriving. Click here for The Smarter High Street Campaign website.

New Trees for Wanstead

The Wanstead Society wants to make sure that funds raised through membership are re-invested for the benefit of the community and for the last few years has sponsored the planting of new trees around Wanstead. 
 
This planting season we have received matched funding from the London Borough of Redbridge for another 10 trees from a variety of species which will soon be spreading their roots in Christchurch Green – keep an eye out towards the end of November for the new additions. 
 
You may have also noticed some new trees at the Snaresbrook end of the High Street.  There are approximately 20 new trees in total, including silver birches, London planes and a Turkish hazel, all helping to transform the more barren end of our High Street.  Again, Redbridge Council has matched our contribution pound for pound. 
 
If you know of any spots that might benefit from some new plant life please feel free to offer your suggestions.

About The Wanstead Society

The Wanstead Society is an independent, non-political organisation that works to protect, preserve and improve our local area.

Our committee meets every month, where a range of issues is discussed. The agenda may include planning applications, conservation matters, street enhancements or other community affairs.


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Investigating planning issues

We check planning applications monthly and, when necessary, put forward our views to the council and attend public enquiries.

We promote good conservation practices, applying pressure for enforcement where appropriate, particularly to listed buildings and those within conservation areas. Historic buildings at risk are referred to English Heritage.

We organise meetings with Redbridge Planning Chiefs, officers and Councillors.

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Green spaces

We promote the appreciation of our green spaces and trees, Wanstead’s greatest assets. One of our ongoing projects is making sure our trees are well managed and will be enjoyed for generations to come.

Our committee members have put much work into the gardens at The Corner House and The Cherry Tree Café.

Community

We fight for services and amenities that are under threat.

We champion local businesses with such schemes as our Shopkeeper Award.

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The Cuckfield Garage

Report By Sam Adams, Wanstead & Woodford Guardian. Reproduced with permission.

Protesters rejoice as garage is saved

A GROUP of determined campaigners are celebrating after winning their fight to save an historic Edwardian coach house from the wrecking ball.

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The future of the Cuckfield Garage in Wellington Road, off Wanstead High Street, had been reserved after the Planning Inspectorate turned down an application to demolish the building and replace it with shops and flats.

The property, which is currently used as a hand carwash, was originally built to provide stabling for horses owned by customers at the former Cuckfield Hotel, during the 19th Century.

Residents in the road joined forces with the Wanstead Society to oppose a plan by developers, Belgrave Properties, to build six apartments and commercial units on the site – which is part of the Wanstead Village conservation area.

The scheme was rejected by the council, but protesters feared the developers might win planning permission on appeal – and were relieved when the Planning Inspectorate finally turned it down.

Cuckfieldgarage

Paul Turner, who has lived opposite the garage for 15 years, was delighted with the decision, but is still concerned about what the building will be used for in the future.

He said: "Of course I’m delighted that the building has been saved, but the question now is what they will do with it.

"It is a carwash now, and that’s fine, but it needs to be properly protected, and maybe listed.

"It is full of period features like cobbled floors and a hay loft, and we don’t want these things to be lost."

Andrew Wernick, of the Wanstead Society, said he hoped the decision would make developers think twice about applying to demolish buildings in the area.

He said: "This is fantastic news for all of the people involved in trying to stop the demolition.

"I hope this sets a precedent to stop these developers trying to make unnecessary changes to our built environment."

In his report the planning inspectorate wrote: "Even though the Conservation Area boundary does not cover the entire Cuckfield Garage site, the structure as a whole contributes to the character and setting of the area. The overriding objective is to preserve or enhance it.

"As the proposed redevelopment would conflict with that objective, there is a strong persumption against the grant of planning permission."

Belgrave Properties was unavailable for comment.

Pictured: Peter Sandy, Michele Ruffray (whose family used to own the garage), Maurice Hill, Deborah and Paul Turner and Andrew Wernick.