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.
â€¢ Meanwhile reviews of the delicacies on offer at BBQ Express, Wanstead’s favourite talking point, after it apparently opened. The tweet and photograph below were posted on Friday night by Uzii Shaban who uses the hashtag #boss. But Uzii seems inadvertently to have posted a picture of a different branch of BBQ Express since as we all know, Wanstead’s sign now has no flames and is not illuminated as in the picture. Maybe the photo of the real thing just didn’t do it justice.
• 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.
• Wanstead, like the rest of the world, is bracing itself for cuts – this time in council services. The Wanstead Society has kicked off the debate, warning of cuts to street cleaning, parks police, slower planning, and more potholes. Redbridge-i has more information on the various options here.
• Some good news though – 10,000 trees are being planted in Roding Valley Park (off Onslow Gardens and Chigwell Road) as part of an initiative led by Trees for Cities. The benefits will be to some birds and bats, prevention of soil erosion, and minimisation of road noise for residents. Plus, you know, trees are nice.
• Harmony reigns over a plan to build 24 new homes on Leicester Road, Wanstead; yes, after three years and lots of public hearings, there is now agreement over the building of three sets of flats and a semi-detached house on the former Chepstow House. More here and here, with a joint statement between the Wanstead Society and the Counties Residents Association.
• A security guard at Snaresbrook Crown Court has been arrested on suspicion of dealing drugs to prisoners. More details here.
• The Majestic Wine Warehouse on Wanstead High Street, currently being refurbished, could have an illuminated sign 16 metres long, if its planning application is approved. The Smarter High Street campaign has views on the matter.
[picappgallerysingle id=”9380062″]Publication of Redbridge Life, the monthly council newspaper distributed free to houses in the borough, could be cut to once every three months under a plan to be announced by Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles (above).
Council-run newsletters, dubbed “town hall Pravdas” by some, have been criticised by owners of local newspapers for making their business harder. As well as meeting some appetite for local news, they are usually part-funded by advertising.
Thanks to a Freedom of Information request by L Barnett, it is known that 110,000 copies of Redbridge Life are printed each month, and that it has a readership of 250,000. In 2009/10 it was budgeted to cost Â£141,761, and up to last December, Â£17,810 of that had been offset by non-council adverts, including some from the NHS, TfL and universities and colleges. The council is aiming to save Â£4m from its budget this year, and had already been planning to cut the cost of Redbridge Life by Â£25,000.
Mr Pickles is reported by the Guardian to be about to believed to be about to announce a tightening of the rules. The paper reports:
Under the new rules, it is understood councils will only be allowed to publish free titles four times a year. They will also have to remove any content which appears to praise the council or endorse the quality of its local services, including quotes from local residents
* Among the cuts forecast for Redbridge Borough Council are the complete closure of public toilets and the possible ending of lollipop men and ladies, the latter on the basis that most primary school children are accompanied to school anyway. It does mean there is a possible business opportunity for Christchurch Green, though. A former public toilet on Shepherd’s Bush Green became a trendy members’ club.
* Wanstead-toddlers-are-the-least-overweight-in-the-whole-of-Redbridge shock
* After 50 votes, it’s neck and neck between The Lane and Purbani for Wansteadium readers’ favorite Indian takeaway or restaurant. Voting still open here.
* And finally. This poster (below, but without the number being obscured) was spotted on the old antique shop next to the pet shop on Wanstead High Street. Either someone with a sense of humour and a car to dispose of, or someone put out of work by the closure of Wanstead Sauna whose poster has been amusingly annotated. There’s only one way to find out – ringing the number – but perhaps it can comfortably remain a mystery.
â€¢ Following Wansteadium’s report about blue recycling boxes, and Redbridge’s non-acceptance of card and cardboard, the Wanstead Guardian reports that a trial is beginning in July in parts of Redbridge which might lead to card being accepted with paper.
â€¢ An instance of Chutzpah Car Crime in Colvin Gardens – not content with housebreaking while householders slept upstairs, thieves took the car keys of the family’s Toyota Verso and nicked that too.
â€¢ Redbridge Council’s colourful but harmless freesheet Redbridge Life could be under threat – more than 100,000 copies are distributed each month and it could fall prey to budget cuts. The Ilford Recorder puts the cost of the publication at Â£100,000 – which seems low but must account for revenues from advertising. Council-run publications are one of the targets of the new government, especially where they amount to unfair competition to the local press.
â€¢ Fatboy in EastEnders is from Wanstead.
The results of the Redbridge Borough elections bear an uncanny similarity to the national Parliamentary result. It means the council is classed as NOC – no overall control.
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The Wanstead ward councillors are Thomas Chan, Michelle Dunn and Alex Wilson, all Conservatives. (Full ward results from Redbridge-i here.)
The Snaresbrook ward councillors are Christopher Cummins, Peter Goody and Suzanne Nolan, again, all Conservatives. (Full ward results available here.)