Cafe culture and ‘hipsterisation’ of Wanstead is disconnecting long-term residents

PUBLISHED: 16:27 25 October 2016

Wanstead High Street

Wanstead High Street


The unveiling of a new cafe in Wanstead has been met with anger by residents, who claim the High Street is already full to the brim with coffee shops.

On Friday Cafe Chicchi, which is replacing interior decorators The Orange Tree, showed its new sign.

The cafe promises to sell paninis, pasta, salad and breakfast, along with numerous other institutions in the High Street.

Wendy Poulton, who has lived in Wanstead for more than 25 years, told the Recorder: “There simply cannot be enough cafes to go around.

“I call it the hipsterisation of Wanstead. It’s happened at the expense of the residents, I don’t feel like these places represent me.”

Wendy, of Foxglove Gardens, feels the coffee shops cater for customers from outside Wanstead and not the long term residents.

She said she cannot afford the new Ginger Pig butchers, which opened in June.

The 48-year-old added: “People of my generation grew up here, and have lived here their entire lives.

“Two banks have closed, the Londis has closed, Nish [the owner] was very well known in the community. We need shops.”

Another resident said she was concerned the amount of cafes would “cannibalise” existing coffee shops.

Darrell Toakley, chairman of the Wanstead Business Partnership, agreed with Wendy’s sentiments.

“It’s no longer a High Street where people come to browse,” Mr Toakley explained.

“People come for specialist shops, like the opticians, or they come for a coffee and a cake.

“I would rather it be filled, than stay empty, but I think everyone would prefer a shop instead of a cafe.”

Despite the banks and Londis closing, a new greengrocers has recently opened, as well as the popular Ginger Pig.

Last year the road was shortlisted as the best high street in London.

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