Wanstead Police Station

The station is now open from 7.00am-11.00pm Monday to Friday, 10.00am-6.00pm on Saturday and closed on Sunday.

The Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) has announced that it will undertake a new appraisal of all the police stations in their area.

One weakness in keeping Wanstead police station is that the police authorities keep saying that it has a very low "foot fall". Our response has been that this is because residents believe that the station is rarely open and so do not try to visit it.

It is vital that the public visit the station as much as possible so that footfall increases before the new appraisal begins.

If you feel that you receive a poor response when you go to the station, please contact either George Roughley, the Wanstead sergeant or Kate O'Riordan, the Snaresbrook sergeant.

Tesco comes to town

So Tesco is after Woolworth’s old premises – where they plan one of their Tesco Express stores.

Does the thought fill you with pleasure? Or with concern, perhaps that our smaller shops will suffer and eventually become empty?

It is said there is nothing can be done to stop Tesco and maybe you feel “okay, that’s life – the strong guy wins”.

If, however, you think there could be a detrimental effect to our area, you may at the very least wish your representatives to know how you feel.

Unfortunately, by ‘your representatives’, do not think we mean your local councillors or even your Council. They haven’t a say because Tesco’s business, as was Woolworth’s, is A1 (retail). It doesn’t represent a change of use therefore does not have to secure planning permission, other than for the signage which must meet Conservation Area rules.

Plenty of residents are content about this – better than a fast-food chain or a discount shop, they think. Others fear parking problems and increased deliveries that may accrue in and behind the High Street. Some are concerned about the possible future expansion of this powerful store.

Not long ago The Wanstead Society backed the Evening Standard’s SAVE OUR SMALL SHOPS campaign. We were given hundreds of your signatures which were passed to our Council. They supported the movement and also the allied Sustainable Small Communities Bill but, without having signed up to use the Act which came into effect in October 2007, their 'support' is meaningless.

It would be helpful for us as a residents’ community group, to know how you feel. If overall, there are concerns, we would submit our evidence to our local MP and to Central Government. Of course you may feel otherwise. Please say that, too.

What practical impact – good or bad – do you think Tesco will have on Wanstead? Do you think that a planning law which does not allow you or your council a say – as when a change of occupant does not represent a 'change of use' – need amendment?

Please leave your comments.

Stephen Alsop

The WS joins with its many members who've expressed sadness at the recent death of Steve Alsop, our High Street butcher.

Steve will be much missed by hundreds of Wansteadians.

His shop – still known as Dennis the Butcher after its former owner with whom Steve trained – will continue to serve us in the care of Steve's son (also Steve), with the help of long-term assistant, Pam.

Our sympathies to Steve's family.

The Corner House – look carefully

This lovely old house (the one on the corner of the High Road and Grove Park) looks like it’s going through the mill at the moment. However, everything is on track and our old people should be returning there to their reinstated Luncheon Club in January.

Skylight windows are creeping out of the roof to give more light to the attic floor which will become a flat (with one of the nicest views in Wanstead) and wonderful things are happening internally. The poor garden is looking very sad at the moment but once the scaffolding has gone and the paths relayed, we’ll tackle it and it won’t be long before that garden is back to its old character.

The rendering with its semi-geometrical patterns has been lovingly restored. There is something of a mystery here. The patterns incised in the rendering are a mixture of wavy lines, circles etc. all except one panel to the left of the large staircase window facing onto Grove Park. Look carefully. This one has a stylised tulip, totally different from the rest of the rendering. Intriguing to think where this might have come from. Did the usual renderer have a day off sick? Maybe somebody else came along to put in a day’s work and left his own individual design so different from the rest.

Something else has appeared on the gable facing the High Street. At present, it’s shrouded in the protective netting. Jason Harris of Orient Design, the firm of architects who now own the house, had noted the empty gable and had planned to have some sort of ornamentation put there. (By contrast, the Grove Park gable has a very attractive brick and plaster design.) How serendipitous that a long time resident of Wanstead should offer his services in the making of a sundial! He had watched with great interest, the restoration of the house and since he had the expertise in the field, had offered to do the calculations and design for a gable end sundial.

Like many people, I had thought that a sundial was just something that one went and bought at Homebase or some such. Not so! Well, you could buy one at Homebase, but it wouldn’t work. Apparently, the lines on each dial have to be worked out with extreme mathematical accuracy according to where it will be placed in relation to where the sunlight strikes it. Wanstead High Street will now have a fully working sundial. Our thanks go to John Moir for this and we hope for many sunny days so that Wanstead residents can work out accurately, just how late they are!

The Cornerhouse before

PS. Offers of help for the Corner House front garden will be most welcome. We will need a working party session when we first get the garden back. No expertise needed. A bit of muscle would come in useful and for anyone interested in knowing more about cottage gardens – well here’s your opportunity. Phone no. 8989 9553.