â€¢ Wanstead’s role in the running of Redbridge Council has increased with the appointment of Wanstead Conservative Councillor Alex Wilson to the Redbridge ‘cabinet’ – the executive part of the council. Now three of the nine councillors on the cabinet are Wanstead Conservatives (Alex Wilson, Thomas Chan and Michelle Dunn) following the resignation of Cllr Sue Nolan, who is admittedly a Snaresbrook councillor. (If you’re expecting Wansteadium to assess whether this shift in the balance of power is going to have big effect on the governance of Redbridge, you must be new here.)
â€¢ So it may or may not be good news for residents of Wellington Road who are planning to be out in force at the Area One committee on Monday evening – after they got word that their campaign to stop or slow through-traffic had not succeeded. Motorists coming down Hermon Hill cut down Nelson Road and go on to Wellington Road to avoid the traffic lights at the junction with the High Street. Except on Mondays when the bin lorry completely blocks the road, and said motorists curse, slam into reverse and retrace their tracks. Residents say 60 cars a day speed down the road at up to 70mph.
â€¢ Congratulations to Keatings Jewellers on Wanstead High Street which is celebrating its 25th anniversary. And congratulations also to nearby Santa Fe which has marked its 20th anniversary.
â€¢ And at the other end of the High Street, it’s reported in the Wanstead Guardian that the owner of the buildings which house Snaresbrook Cars and the much loved Ironing Board outside Snaresbrook Station has applied for permission to demolish the buildings and put the business into temporary cabins. More here.
• And finally, the new subscribers keep on coming. At the time of writing there were 352 people who had signed up to receive Wansteadium by e-mail. Each morning, on those days when we have published a new entry, they get a beautiful and fascinating e-mail with which to wow their friends and colleagues. You can join them by signing up here.
â€¢ 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 reviewÂ indicated a judicial review of the decision was unlikely to succeed.
â€¢ 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, Â 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.
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 speciesâ€™ populations and rates of decline, there are about 1m hedgehogs left in the UK â€” 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.
Noticed the alarmingly large number of street trees in Wanstead and Snaresbrook which have been chopped down and bound in red and white tape, as if to stem the bleeding? If you have, you’re not alone. One Wanstead-resident tweeted last week:
So what’s going on? Wansteadium asked Redbridge Borough Council which helpfully explained thus:
The 2010 annual safety inspection of the 2,621 Highway trees in Wanstead and Snaresbrook identified 104 dead, vandalised or structurally unsound trees. Work to fell, remove stumps and then plant replacement trees, is programmed for completion by 31 March 2011.
In other words, it appears this is not a story about council cuts.
The paper says the council “tried to obstruct publication of its holdings in such companies”, and says that Â£1m of the council pension fund is invested in RJ Reynolds, manufacturer of Camel, and a further Â£500,000 in other tobacco firms.
This is, it says, in spite of Redbridge having “one of London’s strongest anti-smoking policies”. The council told the paper that it had an ethical investment policy, but did not “fetter the discretion” of its investment managers.
The BBC has today published a whole series of statistics about how vulnerable different areas of England are to public sector cuts. They have been calculated by the credit rating agency Experian, which has vast databases of the make-up of the country, and are based on a range of different factors such as the number of people employed in the public sector, life expectancy, benefits etc. The BBC News website has all sorts of whizzy maps to explore on the subject.
The overall picture for Redbridge is that it is almost exactly at the mid-point of vulnerability in England – 166th out of 324 areas. But beneath that are a number of interesting figures.
The borough scores highly for the number of self-employed people – 83rd – and is 50th where earnings are concerned. Crime is relatively high at 231, and considering the image many have of Redbridge it scores poorly – 273rd – for the amount of green space (though given the number of very rural districts in England, this is perhaps not so surprising).
Where Redbridge really stands out is on the number of business start-ups since 2008 – third out of the whole of England, behind neighbouring Barking and Dagenham in second place, and Newham in top spot. This is a fascinating picture of enterprise in east London, perhaps influenced by Olympic investment, and particularly important in difficult economic times when so much store is being set on a revival led by the private sector.