Wanstead news roundup, 20.03.10; UFOs, dead birds, and the under-40s

UFOs were spotted from Wanstead/Leytonstone borders, apparently, according to the UK-UFO website:

Went to feed the foxes in the early hours Friday night when I noticed that all sound had ceased in the garden. Couldn’t hear the trees or M11 sound in the distance of the motorway which you would expect to hear on a Friday night. Looked up and saw 5 lights coming towards the allotments in the sky. Curious as I thought they might be military helicoptors because of the size but realised I could not hear a pin drop. As they got closer I saw they were very bright and in formation and knew then that they were ufo’s. I ran upstairs to my husband and woke him and pulled the curtains open and said ‘now do you believe’?

Picture: Wanstead Birder
There were two arrests following the deaths of at least 80 birds – and one Alsation – at Alexandra Lake on Wanstead Flats. Scientists are still examining the bodies of the birds. More details at Wanstead Birder; picture courtesy Jonathan Lethbridge.

Twice as many couple under 40 who have children can afford to buy houses in Redbridge compared to the rest of London, according to the National Housing and Planning Advice Unit, which basically means family houses are more affordable in Redbridge than they are in other boroughs. The question is why?

Redbridge Council gave permission retrospectively for the demolition of the Truffles chocolate shop – which had been one of Wanstead’s oldest buildings – but they really had no choice: it was pulled down in May last year by a developer who says it turned out to be dangerously unstable. Abdul Rafeeq told the Wanstead Guardian that he will rebuild the house to its original specifications. He faces legal action for the demolition in June.

Nightingale Primary School has been classed as “outstanding” by Ofsted, a dramatic turnaround for head teacher Liz Barrett since she arrived at the school in 1997. Work by the pupils is currently showing in Wanstead Library foyer.

Another two-hour rushhour delay hits Wanstead commuters

For the second time in just a few weeks an evening rushhour has been severely hit by a tube breakdown.

Hundreds of commuters heading east out of central London suffered a two-hour delay on Friday night as the Central Line became paralysed by a broken train at Stratford. Trains terminated at Liverpool Street while the blockage was cleared, and didn’t start again until after 7pm.

Council tax bills arrive in Wanstead – with some not bad news


The Redbridge council tax bills arrived in Wanstead this morning. And happily had a zero per cent rise on last year. The rates are;
Band A: £936.90
Band B: £1,093.05
Band C: £1,249.20
Band D: £1,405.35
Band E: £1,717.65
Band F: £2,029.95
Band G: £2,342.25
Band H: £2,810.70

Arrests over Wanstead bird deaths

BBC News is reporting two arrests over the deaths of 80 birds and a dog at Alexandra Lake. At the time of writing, the BBC is saying that the two men, aged 35 and 27, were arrested in the Forest Gate area at 8am on suspicion of breaching pesticide control regulations, and were taken for questioning at an east London police station. Meanwhile Wanstead birder Jonathan Lethbridge today reported the death of another bird, a coot, which he has pictured on his blog.

Police told the Wanstead Guardian:

“Despite today’s arrests, analysis of samples taken from the scene last week has not yet been completed by the Veterinary Laboratory Agency (VLA) and it is too early to confirm the animals’ cause of death. All of them died in the area around Alexandra Lake on Wanstead Flats, Aldersbrook Road, or after spending time in the vicinity soon before their deaths. Officers are working with counterparts from Natural England and City of London Forest Keepers in an attempt to establish the circumstances of the deaths. The land around the lake remains cordoned off and dog walkers are requested to keep their pets on a lead in the surrounding area for their own protection.”

Links on Wanstead bird deaths

Jonathan Lethbridge’s Monday update at Wanstead Birder:

“Wanstead is still grabbing the news for all the wrong reasons. My patch has become a crime scene, and is also described as an East London Beauty Spot. Hmmmm… No more birds have died since Saturday. That unfortunate Pigeon on the ITN broadcast was the last one.”

Reports also at London Tonight (in video), BBC London news (text) and the London Evening Standard (text).