This year’s Wanstead Fringe comedy line-up

Comedy has always been at the heart of the Wanstead Fringe, and this year is no different. The line-up includes new talent, different voices, some classics and the Fringe’s faithful favourite too. Tickets are on sale now.

Line-up for 2023 Wanstead Book Festival revealed

The first events in this year’s Wanstead Fringe have been unveiled, with the publication of the Wanstead Book Festival line-up. They include star novelist Jonathan Coe, former BBC Arts editor Will Gompertz, actor-turned-author Paterson Joseph, and the historian of Ladybird Books Helen Day.

Authors also include Natalie Lee, Miriam Frankel and Matt Warren, Dr Sohom Das, Tim Burrows, and a return visit from Ian Dunt.

This is the second Wanstead Book Festival. It is put together by Wanstead Bookshop, Wanstead’s Oxfam Bookshop and Redbridge Libraries.

  • The 10th Wanstead Fringe is from 9-30 September. Details of events and tickets are being unveiled in the next few days.

Plan for four-storey flats on Evergreen Field submitted

A visualisation for the plan’s initial consultation – Caerus Developments

It feels like it’s been coming a long time, but the inevitable planning application for a block of flats on the Evergreen Field – at the heart of the Wanstead Conservation Zone – has been submitted to Redbridge Council.

The plan includes a new children’s nursery and 24 flats and is currently being considered by officials. There is also an area described as a “new public open space” including a pond. Public comments are open until 24 August – the papers can be seen at this address.

Evergreen Field, the land next to Christ Church which has for decades been unused, is currently fenced off and overgrown. The lack of development on that side of the High Street has been credited with part of the open feeling of central Wanstead, allowing views of the church.

Previous applications have been rejected by planners and have been controversial with locals to say the least. The shortage of available housing is however putting pressure on planners – a large development on Snaresbrook station car park, which few expected to be approved, was given the green light.

Visualisation of the flats from the High Street – from Heritage Statement for Caerus Developments

Happy Cherry Pey Day, people of Wanstead

It’s July 17, the day Wanstead folk celebrate by spending half a guinea on a Cherry Pey. And we’re pleased to report that, after a fair bit of lobbying by this very website, the sign on the side of the George which gives the day its name, is looking in better health.

For the past two years a leaking drainpipe has caused water to run down the sign – one of the rare bits of Wanstead’s past which has survived – threatening its future. But after a couple of false starts it looks like the pipe has been mended and the moss cleaned away. Thank you to the Wansteadium reader who put a few words in the right ears.

Let’s hope we can celebrate the sign for many a year.

Wanstead Youth Centre campaigners stand firm

The group campaigning against the closure of the much-used Wanstead Youth Centre are holding an activity day at the centre on Saturday, hoping to demonstrate to councillors the wide-range of roles the centre plays in the lives of Wanstead young people.

The event will include sports and demonstrations of martial arts – just some of the uses the centre is put to every week.

Redbridge Council is to decide on the future of the centre in September, but the leader, Councillor Jas Athwal, has not sent encouraging signals. In an article in Wanstead Village Directory last month he wrote that “we do need to spend our limited funding wisely “.

The campaign group Save Our Wanstead Youth Centre responded to Cllr Athwal, writing:

“We want to re-iterate our request for the council to grant a moratorium, of at least 12 months, to allow further time to explore and pursue other options and funding streams to retain the only remaining youth centre of its kind in the borough.  And to make available, as previously requested, the necessary financial documents to allow this to happen.

We remind the council that over 5,000 people signed the petition to oppose the closure of the centre; and at the public meeting in March many young people spoke about the importance of the centre to their physical and mental health. We sincerely hope this will be central to the decision making in September.

We urge the council to commence a meaningful consultation with the users of the youth centre, to inform the report being compiled for September’s Cabinet meeting. 

We would also like to ask for clarity from the council regarding the statement in the article that £14 million that is being invested in the borough into leisure facilities, where in the borough is this investment happening and when? We also request further details on the £4million being spent on the lido in Valentine’s Park and substantiation for the claim the lido will ‘cover its own costs’, as we are unaware of a single open-air lido in the country that is self-sufficient.

We invite councillors, as well as the wider community to come and experience the youth centre by attending the ‘Activities and Fun Event’, which is being organised by the campaign group and held at the centre (114 Elmcroft Avenue, E11 2DB) on 15th July  2-5pm.

The group can be contacted by email at or can be found on Facebook or Twitter.

NatWest closure: This is the problem

Wansteadium reader Jeffrey puts the case against the closure of Wanstead’s last remaining bank pretty succinctly:

I was angry when NatWest decided to close their branch in South Woodford which was very convenient for me and my family. I accepted that I would have to travel to Wanstead mainly for cash withdrawals and such like. With the impending closure of Wanstead branch please tell me what kind of service you’re providing for your loyal customers these days. Not everyone is techno savvy. How do we get cash and or coins out (we still use cash where I live)! Both branches were always busy on my frequent visits. NatWest – be ashamed of yourselves.

Meanwhile the bank is explaining to customers a range of options for their future banking. They include the same things all the other banks have relied on – going to the nearest branch (Walthamstow), using the Post Office, using mobile or phone banking and, hilariously, using Video Banking. It says:

“Chat to us face to face from the comfort of your home, at at time that suits you.”

That will go down well with fans of Back to the Future II. For older customers constantly warned of the risks of scammers and hoaxes, one suspects it will be less of a draw.

And a final thought – a word of thanks to the loyal and patient staff at the branch who have given years of service to the community.