A parklet problemlet?

We love new things, and despite all the naysaying, we’re rather keen on the Wanstead Parklet (aka the Wanstead Village Hub), now in full service outside the Co-op.

Along with the new flower baskets adorning the railings at the side of the road outside the Corner House, it all feels fresh and summery. Other views may be available.

We have three observations about the experience of sitting in the parklet enjoying a cup of coffee – one good, one bad, and one kind of neutral.

  1. One is that this innovation could increase the number of casual encounters between acquaintances, and that’s a great thing.
  2. Second is that you are, as you sit, unfortunately very close to the traffic – something which doesn’t apply to the corresponding parklet in South Woodford, as that part of George Lane is not a main thoroughfare.
  3. Third is that to fulfil its promise, this is going to have to be kept clean. No one wants to sit at a manky table with other people’s detritus. Feels like we might be heading for an illustration of the tragedy of the commons.

23 thoughts on “A parklet problemlet?”

  1. I am afraid I am not at all impressed by this so called parklet. Fumes, rubbish and a great bed for rough sleepers will make this a no go area for a lot of us and no amount of flowers will help. Ridiculous waste of money.

  2. From what I’ve seen a number of people have been using it and seem to be enjoying it.

    It’s an excellent and welcome addition.

    1. I’m not keen on sitting next to the traffic and what a small area for bike parking, I’ve yet to see a bike locked up in these , the 2 other high st bike rack areas are never full as people park shop & move on. Actually it’s a great place for street sleepers they just need a roof so that the pigeons don’t poo on them from the trees above! Time will tell how useful these are and how they are maintained eg the plants and hygiene for the seating area.

  3. This will exacerbate our rough sleeper problem. Too close to Tesco where they buy their drink. At night this could be a problem.

  4. Should have put it on the pavement as there is plenty of room. Made one of the parking bays disabled, put bike parking on the other bay. This could have increased the amount of seating in the parket, or reduced the overall size. Poorly thought out and executed.

  5. Who is going to look after the plants as the council already leave the other planters in the high street for volunteers to look after ?

  6. Sad that people are so negative about rough sleepers. ‘There but for fortune…….’ It does seem to be a bit of a vanity project and reduces the amount of parking space for users of the High Street.

    1. Where is the water fountain that was in the original plan. I’m sure it was on the drawings?
      It would be useful to have a place to fill up a water bottle.

    2. But they aren’t rough sleepers – they are beggars who are addicted- begging for money to fuel addiction is what’s going on here – they need intervention not dopey locals handing over cash

  7. Total waste of money and bad for health. Who wants to sit in the road? next to exhaust fumes. I only hope no vehicles plow into it by mistake. They could have put a couple of extra benches on the pavement and even another cycle rack at far less cost

  8. I agree, a poorly thought out idea that should have stayed on the dreaming board. I saw one man struggling to keep his child from climbing up the back of the seat into the road

    1. Why do you say it looks like a rush job? What would improve it?

      On point 3, the street cleaners will be keeping it clean if people do inconsiderately leave rubbish. Not sure about the plants.

  9. This folly is a vanity project and a waste of public money. It reduces the number of car parking spaces.
    It is not opposite the Co-op but is near to the pitch for political meetings stall!
    Who wants to breathe exhaust fumes while drinking coffee? The existing seating and flower beds should have been upgraded and extended on the pavement pro bono and not on the carriageway! No credible consultation either!
    A complete waste of public money.

  10. Anything new seems to bring reaction, and often negativity these days. Roll on the day when there are less (or no) cars on the Hight Street and all vehicles are electric. People using the parklet this morning seemed totally happy, though it would be good if it was on the pavement until the cars are gone.

  11. Closeness of the traffic? Sounds like there’d be support for closing this section of the high street to traffic altogether, and pedestrianising it (or at least buses+cycles only). Good idea – I’ll propose that to the council planners.

    1. I found the tables just right for reading and eating a snack. The seating doesn’t feel like the middle of the road but rather protected from the traffic. However, if you use it regularly you must be getting more exposed to fumes than people on the pavement.

      It kind of also gives the pavement itself a sense of protection and the feeling of an open square. Schoolkids seem to like the benches. I’ve not used the cycle racks yet, but may do so on the way home.

      1. That wasn’t in any way meant as an argument against closing the High St to most through traffic. In fact, I’d really like to see that.

        ANPR technology might be used to allow easy access for residents, businesses and disabled drivers, although I believe it is expensive.

  12. It’s great. But it’s not enough. Close the high street to traffic so we can all enjoy the heart of our community without fear of pollution and speeding cars. Still, baby steps… Well done Redbridge.

  13. it’s all pointing to reducing the high street traffic not stopping people enjoying an attractive seat that’s not commercial. Let’s all see how it goes before being negative

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