Redbridge to open café kiosk on Christchurch Green

Christchurch Green (Google Streetview)

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’.

(Pic: Thanks, Shane)

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.

47 thoughts on “Redbridge to open café kiosk on Christchurch Green”

  1. A scurrilous waste of public money. Why do we need a 12th choice of coffee provider? Also the bins on the green are already overflowing every Monday!

    1. They may want to consider spending the money on refurbishing the toilet block instead – it’s disgusting!

      1. 100% agree. No cafe needed but decent loos are a must for the park users. Redbridge Council need to wake up to what is really important

    2. Simple – don’t use it then Andrew.
      Do you not think the profit made by the kiosk would cover the cost? And I’m sure they’ll provide more bins!

  2. We definitely do not need another cafe selling drinks, especially selling alcohol. It will invite unnecessary noisy crowds and drunks. We need a safe environment for the children to run around and play.

  3. Andrew, fabulous use of the word ‘scurrilous’! I love to eat cake scurriously in a public place then scurriously fill the bins up with the detritus of my elevenses. Can’t wait!

  4. Heraclitus (I’m hoping I’ve spelt that correctly) is credited with saying that “the only thing that is constant is change”, although I first heard that quote from India Arie and I’m sure she said it/sung it better than ol’ Heraclitus.

    Either way let change be inevitable elsewhere. Wanstead is amazing as it is. And Christchurch Green is in some ways the jewel in the crown.

    I’m going to hold a peaceful protest against this Kiosk at 9pm this evening (from home obviously, respecting the lockdown) I hope everyone will join me in maintaining a minutes silence at 9 pm

  5. Buy the evergreen field to create a forest school garden for our children. Christchurch green needs extending to accommodate the increase of numbers.

  6. Does anyone know which bit of woodbine place it will be on? Opposite the houses or opposite the shops – I am struggling to understand what behind the toilets on woodbine place means as that would put it not on woodbine place?

    1. That may just be Wansteadium’s fault in phrasing. It appears to mean behind the toilets (which are on Woodbine Place).

      1. I’m a bit confused as to where this idea has sprouted from. I appreciate that Wanstead doesn’t have a town square, but it’s not a town either. It has a green, which has demonstrably been more than sufficient for events to take place pre lockdown without the need for any building to be put up on the green itself. I really don’t understand the point of this at all. I would be interested in the budgeted cost of this work and its impact on existing abs struggling businesses that pay their rates to the Council and will not be subsidised or Council licensed or sponsored, unlike this proposed cafe.

  7. So, we’ve had cafés = businesses struggling to stay afloat all year, we’ve had pubs (licensed to sell alcohol) closed — and now, just when life will be returning to some sort of normality, our local government has decided to kick them in the teeth. Is this responsible behaviour?

    1. Absolutely bonkers!! They’ve just granted planning permission for another coffee shop on the high street, how many can this little area sustain?
      We don’t need alcohol being sold on the Green, it encourages thoughtless behaviour and so much litter.
      I agree with the suggestion to improve the toilets and/or extend public recreation into the eyesore that is the ‘Evergreen’ site.

  8. Is the Council planning to compete with existing refreshments providers in the area … and possibly put them out of business??? It’s been a tough enough year for existing outlets.

    They would be better putting the money into upgrading the public toilets, which are a bit pongy … I wouldn’t want to run an establishment next door to a building that smells of “Eau de Izal”

  9. Absolutely no need for yet another place to buy coffee or cakes – or alcohol for that matter. It seems just a waste of money, even if well intentioned. Why do we need a ‘town square’? Is this yet another thing that will be imposed on us without consultation? Please Council, don’t do this to us. The money could be put to far better use including improving and especially maintaining the public toilets.

  10. Totally agree with some of these comments.
    We have licensed premises that can supply off sales we have a great choice of coffee/ tea establishments that can supply hot and cold drinks, we have excellent bakeries that can supply delicious cakes, why spend all that money on building another establishment that is just selling the same goods that can be already bought from local suppliers. Wake up LBR spend the monies more wisely.

  11. Does anyone know what is happening/has happened to The Cherry Tree Cafe in Woodbine Place? Wouldn’t it make more sense for Redbridge to work with the owners in a purpose-built building, which I know has also hosted small events in the past, rather than decrease the amount of green space on Christchurch Green?

  12. Oh Goody – Another place to pay exorbitant prices for something you can have indoors – another place for ‘The Yuppies’ to be seen – makes a change thought it’s on the Green and not I guess ‘Officially’ in the High Street – bet the new people opening up in the old ‘P.Ingles’ shop are pleased – When will somebody in the Council have the sense to say ‘Enuff is Enuff’ or is there ‘ANOTHER’ reason the Council allow all these places – makes you wonder WHY permission is given for this sort of thing.

  13. I’m in a minority here but I think this proposal is really cool. I think it could be excellent news for activities in Wanstead in the summer, a real focal point for the High Street. It’s weird but with every new thing that opens (and to which there are predictable groans here and on Facebook) more and more people come to the High Street. Just look at what effect Gail’s has had. The High Street gradually turning into a leisure destination – that’s no bad thing.

    But yes, I agree, we need properly managed public toilets to match the aspiration of this proposal. That should be part of the deal.

    1. I agree with this. My instinctive reaction was supportive of the proposal. I think it is a good idea and I like the idea of the activity on the Green it could support.

      I agree with comments about improving the public toilets and hope this can happen too. However, I think it is important to recognise that it isn’t a case of either/or. The cafe would be a revenue generating facility, possibly it would pay for itself? If it is a successful enterprise then it is public money well spent.

      1. Hear hear, Frankie – those of us who think this idea has potential need to make sure we speak up. I’ll be responding in support of the application because, although a lot will depend on HOW this is done, in principle I think the idea is a really good one. I mean, Redbridge so rarely make any investment in the cultural life of Wanstead (with the honourable exception of the Library), that it’s good to see they are wanting to innovate.

  14. Permission is NOT yet granted. We have until 12th March to object to the licence application – so go onto the Redbridge website (licencing) and object. The application number is 030782.

  15. Christchurch Green is for everyones use, young or old. A place where you can sit or walk or take your children to play. As a quite small area incorporating a church building, it is not large enough or suitable for any events large or small(it is right in the middle of resident’s houses). Sectioning it off for events especially playing live or recorded music will make the green a totally different place.
    I agree with all of the comments above regarding businesses getting a kick in the teeth, why put a cafe there when The Cherry Tree Cafe and the High St shops can be used? Alcohol sold until 10pm will cause ASB in the form of extra noise and possible disorder and low level crime from people drinking too much. Events will also add to the volume of traffic on the High St resulting in less parking for people who would normally visit to shop. The bins are already unsuitable and an unsightly skip was left on the green all last summer for the overflow. If you have objections, please could you object on the link below within the four parameters, crime and disorder, public nuiscence and public safety and potential harm to children

  16. My objections to this plan rests with the fact that I would like to see the Cherry Tree Cafe – a place developed to give work experience to people with disabilities – given the opportunity to ‘up its game’ and provide appropriate refreshments to The Green users. This Green is NOT a park – it is a breathing space for all and does not need more licenced or commercial activity. I welcome small scale Charity and Children’s events and appropriate family centred activities but this plan for amplified music and alcohol sales is not acceptable. Remember twilight is about 10 p.m. in June!!!

  17. I agree re. Cherry Tree Cafe should be given more support and a greater chance to be the hub however it is a bit cut off from the park by the road and the cars racing down it to miss out the traffic lights around the corner. Perhaps an idea would be to put some money into closing off Woodbine Place halfway down to give the buses a place to stand and incorporate the rest of the road and the library into the park proper, including the Cherry Cafe. Failing that, perhaps the equipment and the staff from the Cherry cafe could be used in the proposed cafe. The idea of a hub generally appeals to me.

  18. The Green is surrounded on three sides by houses and is a totally unsuitable space for amplified music and alcohol sales. Christchurch Green should be kept the way it is now – a haven for local families, dog walkers and wildlife. Please object!

  19. I’m going to risk being screamed at but I like the idea. Some seating in the park with refreshments. Maybe a game of cards or chess. A little focal point. Opportunities to use it for other events. Just another enhancement for Wanstead. I imagine the parents that use the playground will also love it. Scream away.

  20. It’s a duplication of effort – we have cafés, restaurants & bars and throughout the year, we have such events – the summer festival, talks at the library, the fair etc. I agree with looking at other priorities- improving the conditions of the toilets, making sure park wardens are around, keeping dogs on leads, reducing litter? The Council managed The Cherry Tree Cafe nearby and it failed. Cllr Kam Rai, please visit the area, have a look at the facilities, get a Council officer to list what Wanstead has on offer already and please re-think this idea.

  21. Where is your evidence that alcohol will only be served on special occasions? The Council has applied for an alcohol and entertainment licence operational from 10.00 am to 10.00 pm on Friday and Saturday and until 9.00 pm the rest of the week.

    This is not clear from your article.

    1. Hi Grace – only what we’ve gleaned from what the council told us, that “The café kiosk will have an alcohol licence providing a limited offering, allowing the kiosk to complement events.” It doesn’t appear to be their intention to run a pub on the Green. Also, it feels like it means something that the proposal has come from Vision, which is responsible for cultural events. A limit on the number of days alcohol may be served could be be the sort of thing included by the licensing department when it makes its decision.

      1. That may be the current intention. What about the future? Remember that selling alcohol is more profitable than soft drinks. If the kiosk goes the same way as the Cherry Tree Cafe, for example, then alcohol sales could be extended to the full extent of the licencing hours to bolster the profits.

          1. Thank you Wansteadium. You are correct. The PSPO extends to the green itself – but is that sufficient to stop the kiosk going ahead? It sounds as though one can sell alcohol, but not consume it on the green!

          2. (Though only if asked not to consume it by an officer, as far as I understand it… which would I suppose mean either a police officer, a PCSO, or a Redbridge enforcement officer.)

  22. One thing does occur to me about this idea… is this the best spot on the Green? It’s very shady there, which would be good on the hottest days, but otherwise might be too dark/cold.

  23. Another thought has occurred to me. If the kiosk goes ahead, then must it be used to supply all the alcohol sales for, say, the Wanstead Festival? In the past, the Duke has supplied the beer etc for the festival with a wide range of draught and specialist brews. The kiosk will, it seems, be limited to cans only! If that happens, the Wanstead Festival is doomed!

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