The Nationwide Building Society in Wanstead is to close leaving a high street with only the NatWest left standing.

A poster placed the window on Thursday announced the closure, which is to take place in August. Customers are directed towards branches in South Woodford, Walthamstow and Ilford.

The past few years have seen Santander, HSBC and Barclays close. The HSBC in South Woodford has just closed, with its customers directed towards the Post Office in Wanstead.

This week the Nationwide announced that its profits had doubled to £823m.

On a message on its website, it says that it has chosen to close Wanstead branch because there are five other branches within a 2.8-mile radius. It says only 13% of members use only the Wanstead branch, and that 72% of Wanstead branch members are registered for online banking.

Bizarrely the building society had promised that there would be no branch closures until January 2023. It’s not immediately clear how the two positions can be reconciled.

UPDATE, FRIDAY AM:
Wanstead Councillor Jo Blackman issued a statement saying:

Bank and building society branches provide a crucial lifeline for older residents in our community who may not be comfortable with online banking. Wanstead high street has lost many of its branches over the years and it’s really disappointing to see Nationwide shut theirs. I’ve written to Nationwide to ask them to urgently reconsider their decision.

We kind of missed this during lockdown, but the new flats built behind the Manor House Bull look, to Wansteadium’s untrained eye, quite acceptable. Other views are of course possible.

The complete gridlock which hit Wanstead on Friday afternoon and evening was something to behold. Nothing could move anywhere – caused, it is believed, by an earlier lorry crash which seized up Charlie Brown and Redbridge roundabouts. Thankfully it appears no one was injured.

Wansteadium sends its best wishes to Ilford North MP Wes Streeting, who has announced he has been diagnosed with kidney cancer. His statement came in a tweet, below. Wes’s constituency includes much of the Nightingale Estate south of Hermon Hill/Chigwell Road.

Steven Ifield holding a folded walking stick intending it to look like a shotgun Photograph: Metropolitan Police

A man who attempted to rob Wanstead Post Office while pretending to be carrying a gun has been jailed for 16 years. Steven Ifield, 52, of Hornchurch was refused by staff at the post office who told him the till was on a time lock.

He was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court last week. The Metropolitan Police have issued this press release:

An armed robber who targeted two banks and a post office in Redbridge has been jailed.

Steven Ifield, 52 (08.02.69) of Park Lane, Hornchurch appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday, 30 April. He was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment.

Following a two week trial at the same court in January, Ifield was found guilty of two counts of robbery, one count of attempted robbery and three counts of possession of an imitation firearm.

Between 7 October and 7 November 2019, Ifield targeted two banks and a post office in Gants Hill and Wanstead.

On two occasions he produced what police believe to have been an imitation handgun but which to staff, appeared genuine.

On the third occasion, he used a folded walking stick half concealed inside a carrier bag and held it as if he was carrying a shotgun.

He pointed the imitation weapons at staff, demanding that they give him money.

At the banks, Ifield managed to steal cash and stuffed it into his coat before fleeing. He made off with £3,230 from one raid and £1,360 from the other.

His attempt to rob the post office was foiled when staff refused to open the till, telling him it was on a time lock. 

Detectives identified Ifield after tracing the route he took as he fled the scene of each robbery.

By examining extensive CCTV from buses, shops and tube stations, they were able to follow his movements and place him at all three venues at the times the raids took place.

PC Stefen Rule, from the Met’s Flying Squad, said: “Ifield has a long and serious offending history, including nine previous armed robberies. Each one will have caused a huge amount of distress to the innocent members of staff who were targeted.

“I am pleased that he will no longer be able to pose a threat to the public. I hope that these convictions and the length of the sentence imposed by the court will be of some comfort to the victims and help alleviate the trauma they have experienced.”