The village â€“ if you can call Wanstead a village when itâ€™s five minutes from the M11 and served by two Underground stations â€“ has managed to retain a strong identity… And the community of Wanstead â€“ and it does have a nice community; we know all our lovely neighbours â€“ seem keen to ensure the shop is empty… Which is why I was surprised to see people virtually fighting to get into the Tesco earlier this week, while the local Co-op â€“ which is normally packed â€“ was the retail equivalent of the Mary Celeste: â€œItâ€™s always like this now,â€ said one of the workers to me at the Co-op.
When developers were given permission to renovate the old Cuckfield Garage in Wellington Road, Wanstead, there was concern in some quarters that the building itself might not make it through the process.
After all, the thinking went, the chocolate shop is now no more, so who knows what might happen.
The building, which until last autumn was a hand carwash, used to be petrol station, and was originally built in the 1800s as stables for the customers of the Cuckfield Hotel (now the pub).
One commenter on the Wanstead Society blog said he had spoken to someone who was erected the hoardings round the Cuckfield garage, and as told the building was going to be demolished, to be replaced by flats.
So it’s something of a relief to see the quality of the new roof on the garage – it looks (to an untrained eye) to be a quality job and not the sort of thing you would want to knock down once you had put it up. The renovations of the brickwork also look attractive.
As predicted by Wansteadium on Saturday, the new Tesco on Wanstead High Street opened, unannounced, with no fanfare – and thus with no anti-Tesco demos – at 7am on Monday morning.
Two customers were spotted inside at 8am.
The poster on the outside says: “We’ll be opening some time in January.” The activity inside, with checkouts being tested and shelves being stocked says it’s going to be any day now. So what’s going on?
Could it possibly be that Tesco is wanting to avoid the promised demonstration at its opening from its Wanstead opponents? And thinks that if it should just happen that it opens at 7am on Monday morning, as if it was nothing special, then somehow the heat will be taken out of the whole thing?
Yes, it’s here – a search up and down the highways and byways of Wanstead to find the biggest pot idol.
It’s the toughest competition in town.
Perhaps you know better. Let us know in the comments field below or upload pictures to Flickr tagged WANSTEADIUM.
Things don’t look too bright for the Wesley Owen Christian bookshop in South Woodford. The company went into administration just after Christmas, but, as the Bookseller magazine reports, church members in South Woodford have pledged Â£23,000 of a total Â£100K needed to keep the shop open. More details at the Christian Bookshops Blog.