Wanstead photographer gets the picture of the year

Stefan Rousseau, longtime Wanstead resident and chief photographer for the Press Association, has captured the political photograph of the year so far (there’s probably quite a lot of madness to come…). Congratulations to him.

Things to notice

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Wanstead’s guerrilla gardener Marian Temple writes:

We hope everyone is enjoying the glorious Garrya elliptica shrubs with their amazing long catkins at present strutting their stuff in beds around the station. These have not been seen for years. The Garrya must have been in the original planting after the new road in the tunnel was  built. They are grown for their glorious catkins Decemeber to May.  Unfortunately, Redbridge have always sent their contractors round in Autumn to give all the shrubs a trim. Just what you don’t do with a Garrya!  This year, the Wanstead Community Gardeners met with the council contractor and he immediately agreed to change the timetable, cancel the autumn trim and wait for us to let him know when the shrubs needed a hair cut. So this year, possibly for the first time ever, those wonderful catkins are in full growth. When I saw them the other day, it almost looked as though the shrubs were raining! The Wanstead Community Gardeners hope you will take a look and enjoy them.

IMG_0024The other Wanstead Station first time event is the line of glorious vermillion geraniums lined up on that long window sill inside the station. We have for some years past brought in our geraniums to overwinter them away from frost on the station inner window sill. We always cut them right down which is what you are supposed to do but this year we left them at full height. How we have been rewarded!  Never mind about it being winter. Geraniums don’t know the rules anyway. They love the light and the warmth (or lack of cold) and have cheered up their surroundings no end flowering all winter. Wonder how many other stations have a line of geraniums flowering away this time of year. We hope you are enjoying them and will make sure that we do the same next year.

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NEW TREES IN THE HIGH STREET. WHY NOT ADOPT A TREE SURROUND?
The surrounds of newly planted trees are ideal for seed sowing because
a) there’s a good amount of space round the tree
b) the new top soil is sterilised so will have no weed seeds, and
c) the young tree will not make the soil too dry and will not cast much shade so sun and rain will reach the soil.

New trees have been planted outside Longhorn and Sumo Fresh. There’s another one opposite outside the Majestic Wine Warehouse. In Cambridge Park, other new trees have been planted and they would be ideal for seed sowing as they get full sun and the pavements are wide, so less likelihood of them being walked on. There’s one outside Treehouse Nursery, (the old church) and another at Tish Press and co, no 27. Between Addison and Gordon Roads there are more trees, one or two recently planted but the others are silver birches which have a light leaf canopy.  Again, they’re in full sun and don’t get walked on.

What to sow? A meadow mix is good, tough plants that don’t need watering, are good for bees and look wonderful. Wanstead Community Gardeners use a meadow mix in the Fountain Beds on George Green. Poppies, cornflowers, marigolds,  lovely stuff.

How to do it?  There is a window of opportunity slightly open at the moment as the council spraying regime is being finalised. If you want to adopt a tree surround, you need to move fast. Get in touch with Stephanie Orrell at the council.  Indicate clearly which tree surround/s you’re interested in. They usually need a house or business number or failing that, a good description of where it is. The tree surround will be put on the register as “resident maintained” and should not be sprayed. It works pretty well. Her email is  This needs to be done immediately. The seeds don’t need to be sown till March or April when they will get nicely rained on.

What would you need to do? You will need to keep the surround weed free and hopefully litter free. If you get bored and don’t want to do it next year, let the council (Stephanie) know and it will be put back on the spraying regime. If you plant early enough with suitable stuff as suggested, there should be no need for watering.

Need any help or advice?  Get in touch with Wanstead Community Gardeners at wanstead.community.gardeners@gmail.com or drop a note to us at the library.

We hope some of you will adopt these tree surrounds.  It makes such a difference to see flowers blooming in what was, formally a depository for dog ends, plastic bottles and tired looking weeds. All power to your gardening elbows. Marian Temple.

Signs of change

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Rumours that an estate agent is lined up to move into Wanstead’s favourite building, currently occupied by Stitch, have proven to be unfounded. One IS going into the former Wanstead News site, though. (Despite appearances to the contrary, it’s definitely not going to be a car showroom.)

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Anyone who’s been following the Twitter feed on this site might have noticed that it’s going to be a branch of hip Walthamstow-based estate agents Stow Brothers.

Ilford ‘worst for burglary in the country’

Photo: John Salmon
Photo: John Salmon

Ilford has the worst record for burglary in the UK, according to a survey compiled by MoneySupermarket, although numbers of break-ins are falling.

The Guardian is reporting that the figures are based on insurance claims made over the past five years.

Even in the Redbridge/Gants Hill area, where the analysis found that 55 homes out of every 1,000 said they suffered a burglary in the past five years, the crime rate has fallen slightly from last year.

But it topped the table because the postcode district that was worst last year, Dulwich in south London, reported a 29% fall in burglaries. Neighbouring areas to Redbridge, including Barkingside, Goodmayes and Hainault also featured among the worst parts of Britain for break-ins.

Redbridge residents blamed the close proximity to motorways for the area’s high crime statistics, plus a drop in the number of police on local streets.

A spokesperson for Redbridge Council told the paper:

“In the last year Police figures show burglary has dropped 5% and since 2011/12 burglary has gone down by over 30%… MoneySuperMarket base their information on insurance claim quote figures. These figures do not reflect actual burglaries in the Borough or match figures held by the Police which means it’s difficult to make accurate comparisons.”

According to the Wanstead Safer Neighbourhood Team, in 2016 Wanstead was in the top three wards in Redbridge for theft of bikes, theft from and interference with vehicles. It was in the bottom three wards for assaults, harassment and offences of violence. It was average for burglary from dwellings.

You can see a Money Supermarket interactive burglary tool here.