Redbridge Council has announced it is planning to build a café kiosk on Christchurch Green which will, it is likely, be open from 9am until twilight each evening.
The kiosk will be a single storey unit, built behind the existing toilet block on Woodbine Place, and will offer tea and coffee, cakes, fruit, and sandwiches. It will also serve alcohol but only for special occasions.
The council says the kiosk will “work with local groups and residents to host a range of activities in the park – like children’s storytime, poetry readings, outdoor book clubs, and potentially small film screenings”.
There will some seating around the kiosk, but the area will not be floodlit.
The application, which has been posted around the park, has been causing some consternation among people living nearby, who are concerned about the effect on residents’ ‘right to peace’.
This is the first time the Council has given greater detail on its plans, however. The proposal is likely to raise eyebrows among some Wansteadium readers who believe Wanstead has already reached saturation point for cafés.
It is also the case, though, that Wanstead has lacked the equivalent of a town square where small events can easily take place, and this proposal could make those more possible.
Cllr Kam Rai, Cabinet Member for Finance, Culture and Leisure, said:
“With summer approaching, we want to support local people to enjoy our parks and green spaces as much as possible.
“Wanstead benefits from such an active, creative community, and our council wants to engage with local people and groups to help organise activities from craft workshops, talks, Sunday afternoon Jazz all the way to puppet shows and school choir performances, all centred around a small café space serving locally sourced products.”
A spokesman added: “To support the café kiosk and small events, there will be a daily staff presence on-site, additional bins located around Christchurch Green, and litter picking patrols will be expanded.
“The café kiosk will have an alcohol licence providing a limited offering, allowing the kiosk to complement events. All staff will be fully trained in managing public behaviour to ensure the Green remains a welcoming family-orientated space.”
The council says the position of the kiosk had been chosen to minimise the impact on the users of the Green, and that deliveries could be made easily. Its design will be in keeping with the Green, it says, and would comply with Wanstead Conservation Area requirements.
One Wansteadium reader, Toni, said – before the new details had been announced – that she and other residents of Spratt Hall Road were ‘very concerned about plans to extend the licensing… which may impact on local residents’ right to peace’.
Full disclosure: Regular readers will know that Wansteadium is deeply involved in the Wanstead Fringe which each year organises several events on or near Christchurch Green, including the annual Wanstead Kinema.