Wanstead news roundup, 29.05.10; A gun, some trousers, and a flag

• There was a nasty-sounding van-jacking in Snaresbrook when a driver was threatened with a gun. According to the Wanstead Guardian, though, the driver, a former doorman, seems to have been more traumatised by being made to take off his trousers by his attacker.

    It’s hard to stay calm when you’ve got a gun held at your head. But you’ve got to do it. It’s when you panic that you get problems. At the time I just kept as calm as I could. I’ve had knives waved at me before when I used to do the doors – but a gun is different altogether. I was a bit confused when he asked me to take my trousers off. I thought ‘if he tries anything funny here he’s going to have to start shooting.

    Wansteadium noted two weeks ago that the Redbridge council elections had turned out to be a mirror-image of the national election result. To make the parallel even more apt, the Tories and Lib Dems have formed a coalition in Redbridge too. Wanstead councillor Thomas Chan, who was the first Chinese mayor in Britain, has now finished his term as mayor.

    The Wanstead Society
    has decided to oppose new plans to demolish the historic Kinema building. Its owner wants to build eight flats and a restaurant, but says the plans would be sympathetic to the style of the High Street.
    There’s another flag on a tree.

    Wanstead driving test routes mapped

    Wanstead is, of course, no stranger to L-plates. In fact it seems to be an irresistible draw to learner drivers – some say the reason is that it’s in London but relatively suburban, others that there’s no car park attached to the test centre and so the parking tests are easier. Whatever the reason, Wanstead drivers will continue to grit their teeth, count to 10, and refuse to let any frustration show.

    Wansteadium reader Cliff Xuan has usefully plotted on Google Maps the various test routes around Wanstead. The full selection is here.

    View Wanstead Hermon Hill, Test Route 11 in a larger map

    Wanstead Boots in Top of the Pops re-run

    It looks dramatic – smoke billowing out of the Boots shopfront on Wanstead High Street, while people huddle on the pavement not knowing what to do.

    But it’s not quite what it seems. For the second time in two months, a security system which pumps dry ice into the shop to befuddle intruders has gone off, making passers-by think something disastrous is going on. But all’s well – the ‘smoke’ cleared and the shop opened as usual.

    Look inside Wanstead church, while you can

    Cambridge Park Methodist Church, which started life in Wanstead in 1875, held its last service on Sunday. The roof had been crumbling, and was too costly for the congregation to replace. They will from next week be joining with the Hermon Hill Methodist Church, which may be renamed Wanstead Methodist Church. Here, though, is a glimpse inside. The future for the building is uncertain; it will in due course be put up for sale, and though not listed, may well live on as a place of worship – other churches are believed to have expressed interest in the building.

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    Wanstead’s got blue boxes. (But keep your cereal packets.)

    Wanstead blue recycling box
    The new blue newspaper recycling boxes distributed to Wanstead houses are part of a trial to see if they increase recycling rates. Wanstead is the only part of Redbridge taking part in this trial, but the council’s intention is that if successful it will be extended borough-wide.

    As the table below shows, Redbridge is mid-ranking among London boroughs in its recycling rate. The increase in recycling, from pretty much nothing in 1998, is in its way remarkable. But with London boroughs being given targets of 50% by 2020 and 60% by 2031 by the Mayor of London, Redbridge and others have their work cut out.

    So why can Wanstead residents still not put cardboard with their kerbside recyclables, especially when they can take it to recycling centres?

    An answer comes from the Redbridge website:

    We do not accept cardboard in your recycling box and this includes thin card such as cereal boxes and small food packaging.  The reason why we don’t accept these is because your recycling box is taken to a facility that cannot recycle cardboard therefore we encourage you to take this to a cardboard recycling bank or if you can’t then put it in the rubbish.

    With many councils offering cardboard collections, and even moving into the realm of food waste collections, this is evidently an area for future activity.

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