No fireworks for Wanstead Flats, as festival opposition organises

There will be no fireworks this year on Wanstead Flats, after the traditional display was moved to a different part of Newham.

(Eton Manor’s display is taking place on Sunday evening, details below.)

Meanwhile, opponents of the plan to stage an unprecedentedly massive music festival on Wanstead Flats are marshalling their arguments ahead of a meeting of the Corporation of London committee which oversees the Flats.

The proposal has changed from its original scale – it would now be a three-day festival – and it’s been put off until September 2020. Details of the plan are not yet finalised, but it’s likely to be a high-profile music act with either a main stage or a series of smaller stages. The Corporation says there would be an “extended public consultation period”, and permission would in addition be needed from Redbridge which would be the licensing authority for the event.

Campaigners living near the Flats are concerned about the size and scale of the proposal, the effect on wildlife, especially birds, as well as noise, crowd control, crime and transport.

And it’s not clear either whether there would be any benefit to nearby residents or to Wanstead from the event. The Corporation of London would make significant money from the event, but it’s not clear what would actually happen to that money. Suggestions include investment in the flats, still recovering from this summer’s fires, or in Wanstead Park, which has waited years for renovation investment.


Farewell, Wanstead’s PCSOs

PCSOs Winston and Singh on duty last year at the Cherry Tree (Pic: @MPSRedbridge)

Wanstead’s two Police Community Support Officers, Alan Winston and Harjinder Singh are both leaving the Metropolitan Police. Alan, who covered Wanstead Park, and Harjinder, who covered Wanstead Village, had become familiar faces in Wanstead. Both are understood to be moving into jobs away from the police, and it is not clear what the Met’s approach to replacing them will be – we’ve asked and will let you know what we hear.

Gentlemen, good luck for the future and thank you for your service.

So… not a furniture shop, then?

Welcome to the fine people of the St Francis Hospice who have opened their charity shop in the former Starbucks on Wanstead High Street. It’s an excellent organisation that, sadly, too many Wanstead families have reason to be grateful for, and we naturally wish them luck in their new fundraising venture.

So it seems a bit churlish to mention it, but we were told it was going to be a furniture charity shop, not just another second hand clothes & shoes shop, and that’s a bit disappointing…

Wanstead High Street gap to be filled

Work is beginning to fill the quaint gap between shopfronts in the middle of Wanstead High Street – the site for many years of Joliffe’s builders.

Planning permission was granted over the summer for the demolition of the distinctive wood-clad single storey building, and replacement with a new three-floored construction comprising seven one-bedroom flats, six two-bedroom flats and new shops.

The rear of the property, currently a yard, will lose its access to the road but will be replaced by landscaped garden.

Top: Google Streetview. Bottom: Harper Downie via Redbridge

The plans are far more modest than an attempted development in 2015 which was a mini shopping mall dubbed ‘The Cube’ and which was criticised for being out of character with the rest of the high street.

Planning officials are insisting on prior approval of bricks, roofing materials, windows and window frames, balconies and guttering, “to ensure satisfactory appearance and to comply with… the Redbridge Local Plan”.

Details of the plan are available on under planning referenceĀ 0141/18.

The site as seen from above, courtesy of Google Earth


The Wanstead ’15’ to be marked at Westminster Abbey

Margaretha Pollitt Brown and Diana Forster in front of the memorial bearing the names

A historical project which traced the stories of 15 members of Wanstead United Reformed Church who died in WW1 is to be marked in the centenary events on Armistice Day in Westminster Abbey.

The project, called ‘Our 15’, pieced together the stories of the 15 members of the congregation who died. The church decided to embark on the project when it realised that only one of the families still had members in the congregation. Though the names were marked on a memorial, there were few written memories – the church decided to “attempt to turn the names inĀ stone back into remembered lives”. With the aid of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, their stories were reconstructed.

Margaretha Pollitt Brown, the project co-ordinator, and Diana Forster, researcher and exhibition guide, will be attending the Westminster service marking 100 years since the end of the war. They have been invited in recognition of the contribution the project made to commemorating the war.