Recorder letters: Wild Wanstead, phone-only parking, road safety, high street rents and battlefield visits

PUBLISHED: 12:00 01 April 2018

Wanstead community gardener Marian Temple installed an insect hotel at the Corner House garden. Picture: WILD WANSTEAD

Wanstead community gardener Marian Temple installed an insect hotel at the Corner House garden. Picture: WILD WANSTEAD


Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

We should all encourage nature

Paul Donovan, Dangan Road, Wanstead, writes:

It is great to see the launch of Wild Wanstead, which seeks to make the area more welcoming for wildlife.

The initiative seems to have got off to a flying start with people flocking to sign up on the website and start doing creative things with their gardens and open spaces.

One initiative launched a few years ago involving Friends of the Earth and Redbridge Council saw seeds provided for planting around the bowls of trees in the roads around Snaresbrook.

I was part of that initiative, helping to co-ordinate distribution as well as planting a lot of tree bowls in my own road. Others in the road helped out.

The results were pretty spectacular with the wild flowers really creating a striking vista. We still have the remnants of that work but it would be great to renew the plantings as well as spreading the work out to many more streets across Wanstead.

The initiative is a bit like the excellent guerilla gardening initiatives that Marion Temple has so successively pursued around Wanstead.

Wild Wanstead is about making our own spaces more accessible to wildlife, whether that involves planting a tree, having a pond or a log pile. We should also think more about opening up our gardens and drives to nature. Too much of Wanstead has been covered in concrete. This is not conducive to wildlife, so it would be great to see some of that concrete coming up and being replaced with wild life inducing developments.

The Wild Wanstead initiative seeks to increase the green lung capacity of Wanstead. It is vital to the environment in which we all live. It is also important for all of us – old and young – to have that connection with the earth. The feeling of contact with the earth is spiritually, mentally and physically important for all of our well beings. Long may Wild Wanstead prosper.

Phone-only parking discriminatory

A Wanstead resident, full name and address supplied, writes:

Well done Redbridge Council for supporting Spare Tyre theatre group’s interactive show The Garden for people with dementia.

But how absurd that a number of dementia sufferers had to miss it at Wanstead Library’s Churchill Room last week because their drivers were unable to use the compulsory parking-by-phone system.

While I was in the small library car park for a few minutes, two drivers gave up.

One had forgotten his mobile, and hadn’t realised there was a phone-only parking system.

He took two elderly passengers away again. The other driver accompanying a frail friend said she didn’t own a mobile phone because she wears a hearing aid – which is not compatible with mobiles.

I was using a Blue Badge and my mobile needed recharging, so sadly I was unable to help.

Why is Redbridge Council discriminating against the elderly, the disabled and those with hearing problems?

Cash machines or an alternative method of paying is essential. There should at least be a pay machine inside the building.

It makes me wonder how many other people are missing library events or are unable to use public facilities and parks across the borough because of this new policy.

I’ve even heard that Vision (the cultural arm of Redbridge Council) may have to find alternatives to using its own space at Wanstead Library hall in the future because of the parking problems. It’s farcical.

Vision needs to be permitted to take a stand to protect its own facilities and serve the community. Instead it is appointed by the council and so, presumably, has to toe the line.

Council to blame for road safety cuts

An Ilford resident, full name and address supplied, writes:

I am writing in reply to the letter from Trevor Wilding entitled “Road safety should be a priority” in last week’s Recorder regarding the lack of road safety education for children in the borough’s schools.

At the end of June last year the whole of the council’s Road Safety Team in Redbridge was made redundant.

This very dedicated team of three officers had decades of experience and knowledge of the borough between them, especially vast experience of working in the borough’s schools, delivering a comprehensive programme of road safety lessons, events and competitions for children of all ages. They were well known to, and had a good rapport with the schools, teachers and head teachers.

However, it would appear that this was not considered important to the powers that be.

After the Road Safety Team was dispensed with, a new junior position was created to fulfil the statutory obligation to cover road safety and a new employee was brought in whose time is now split between delivering a very reduced road safety package, coupled with working on travel plans.

The blame for the current serious lack of road safety education in Redbridge schools must rest squarely with the council’s Labour administration and their swingeing cutbacks in an effort to save money, but, I ask, what price is a child’s life?

High rents hurt high streets

Mr A Still, York Road, Ilford, writes:

I know it’s boring but what really hurts the high street shops is the greed of the property giants who charge such massive rents for the shops/premises.

A man I know of tried to sell shirts in the mall. He had a stall for £1,000 per week. He called it a day after two weeks, he had no chance of selling enough shirts in a week just to cover the rent.

Surely it’s better to have shops rather than empty properties?

Chance to return to battlefields

Charles Byrne, director general, Royal British Legion, writes:

It’s The Royal British Legion’s belief that every World War II veteran should have the chance to revisit the battlefield on which they served. Thanks to new LIBOR funding from HM Treasury, we are now able to offer a fully funded trip to anyone who served in our Armed Forces during World War II.

The trips will take place between spring and autumn this year and a family member and a carer will also be able to go along and share this pilgrimage of Remembrance with them.

Apply through our tour operator, Arena Travel on 01473 660800, or visit

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