Wanstead news roundup, 5.9.11; Art, hope, murder and mystery in Wanstead

• It’s festival week in Wanstead, with the annual party on Christchurch Green taking place next Sunday, 11 September. That is also launch day for the Wanstead Art Trail, an ever-more ambitious showcase of art in shops and other buildings across Wanstead. A fantastically produced brochure is widely available, and is also online here.

• The proposals to introduce pay and display parking restrictions to central Wanstead have, in case you haven’t heard, been dropped. It follows a campaign and mass petition, organised by Michael and Valerie Powis of Grosvenor Road.

• The former Russell’s cafe bar, currently undergoing renovation, is reportedly becoming a Turkish restaurant.

• Could this be another sign of a green shoot in the Wanstead micro-economy? Cafe Voyage at Snaresbrook station has extended its opening hours: now 6am-5pm on weekdays and 8am-2pm on Saturdays.

• Hedgehogs, a cause close to Wansteadium’s heart, are still being spotted. Alasdair Bain sent this photo, reporting: “Saw this little guy trying to hide behind the bamboo in my garden.” Coming soon in Wansteadium, what you can do in your garden as autumn approaches, to make it a hedgehog friendly zone.

• Meanwhile mink are still being spotted in Wanstead Park. Last week one was seen dragging a coot to an untimely death while perplexed parents and toddlers were feeding the ducks. Other coots watched on.

• An item of interest in Wanstead Oxfam: a double vinyl EP of Magical Mystery Tour in near mint condition, with the original booklet and artwork – a snip at £100. Contact the shop directly if you are interested. 020 8530 3413 or oxfamshopf8092@oxfam.org.uk

• And items recently added to Wansteadium Classifieds include a piano, an iPhone 3GS and a tumble drier. Details here, at wansteadium.com/classifieds, where you can also sell your unwanted goods to other Wanstead residents, for free.

Wanstead news roundup: A bumper summer edition, including a new Larder, new jobs, and some hedgehogs

• Plans for a homeless hostel on Cambridge Park were approved by the Redbridge Planning Committee. More than 150 Wanstead residents had opposed the plan. Voting on the committee was split, but the plan went through on the chair’s casting vote. Opponent Mick Goodenough told Wansteadium legal advice was being taken with a view to mounting a judicial review  indicated a judicial review of the decision was unlikely to succeed.
• Litter bins on Christchurch Green are too small for the amount of litter, the Wanstead Society has told Redbridge Council. That, or foxes, or something else,  might be the reason for the regular sight of overflowing litter, though tweeter Paddy Fantastic (below) has other thoughts. The council says it will replace the bins, when the current ones wear out.

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/PaddyFantastic/status/102973321167118336″]

• Welcome to the Larder Mark III. After opening a new branch in Bethnal Green, Wanstead’s favourite is also taking over the Butlers’ Retreat tea rooms in Chingford Plain. The Larder is turning into a Wanstead success story.
• Speaking of which, Little Bears nursery on The Green has announced a pretty big expansion. From having places for 35 children, it is growing by adding a further 90 places, and is creating 20 new jobs.
• They are not the only things growing. The ArcelorMittal Orbit (also known as that weird red sculpture next to the Olympic stadium) is now about a third of the way through its construction. When it reaches its full height, it will disrupt the Freeview signal to houses on Hermon Hill.
• Wanstead is gearing up for the second Wanstead Art Trail, which runs from 11 September. The event’s new website is taking shape too; it’s here.
• Where Wansteadium goes today, the Sunday Times will go tomorrow. After our efforts to prove – despite apparent odds – that hedgehogs still roamed through Wanstead gardens, the paper reported this week that:

Hedgehogs could be wiped out in Britain within 15 years, a study has warned. They are on a list of the 10 indigenous species suffering the biggest decline in numbers in recent decades, along with the cuckoo, left, turtle dove, brown hare and Scottish wildcat. According to the Eden Species Report, which measures native species’ populations and rates of decline, there are about 1m hedgehogs left in the UK — a decline of about 25% over the past 10 years. In some parts of Britain the fall could be as high as 50%. With populations becoming more isolated as a result of the decrease in numbers, naturalists fear that the species will struggle to maintain a sufficiently large gene pool to sustain a healthy and viable population.

• There’s a full calendar of events in Wanstead here. You can submit your events at events@wansteadium.com
• Wansteadium’s fledgling free classifieds advert service, which allows you to sell your unwanted items to other Wanstead residents, can be found here.

The hogs are back in Wanstead

Happy news for hedgehog hunting Wanstead folk. It seems the hedgehogs are back – or conceivably they never went away.

Wansteadium, which last week launched the Wanstead Hedgehog Hunt, is happy to announce the following sightings:

• Wansteadium reader Tony on Rodney Road, plus a non-plussed dog, spotted this rather impressively sized hog on 23 June.

• Nearby, on Colvin Gardens fellow reader Colin spotted another large hedgehog on 26 June, trotting along the pavement. Could easily be the same animal.

• Further away, at 3.15am on 26 June, Rebecca Strong had another sighting, tweeting:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/Rebeccafstrong/status/84984287555887104″]

• And not too far from that, on 25 June, @AlasdairBain, who also follows @Wansteadium on Twitter sent this message:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/AlasdairBain/status/84450196775374848″]

• Michael of Warren Road said he has a hedgehog which visits his garden most evenings.

So it seems there are at least two pockets of hedgehogdom surviving in Wanstead. The map below is looking a bit healthier (2011 live sightings are yellow markers) but there are still big gaps. Please keep your ears peeled for night-time snuffling. Report any sightings to hedgehogs@wansteadium.com

View Hedgehogs in Wanstead in a larger map

First sighting in Wanstead Hedgehog Hunt

The Wanstead Hedgehog Hunt, launched by Wansteadium last week, seeks to disprove the notion that there are no hedgehogs left in Wanstead, despite the greenery, the open spaces, and the lush gardens.

First reported sighting comes from Jo Mussett, who took this photo of a hedgehog in her Woodbury Close garden. The bad news though is that this was in 2008.

Wansteadium reader Mark Bentley, however, offered this tweet on Saturday morning:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/markb999/status/82029109311569920″]

So the map now has one pin dropped on it. Please report any sightings (dead or alive, current or within past five years) to hedgehogs@wansteadium.com, and pass the word around…

View Hedgehogs in Wanstead in a larger map