Council to discuss Wanstead allotments petition at meeting

Redbridge Lane West allotments

The gas company Cadent owns a site next door to the Redbridge Lane West allotment. - Credit: Stephen Lines

Redbridge Council will discuss two residents’ petitions this evening (Thurs) in the first full council meeting since the summer recess. 

Councillors will debate a petition relating to the proposed use of allotments in Wanstead for gas maintenance works and another petition regarding the council’s decision to lease a former bowls club to a private nursery. 

The ‘Save Redbridge Lane West Allotments from Cadent’ petition – which has 4,211 signatories – urges the council to reject plans by the gas company to use the allotments for two years to complete works on a nearby gas plant. 

The land is owned by the council and the site’s 40 plotholders are concerned that its use by the company would destroy years of gardening work. 

A report by the council notes that they became involved with the matter after residents raised concerns in June, urging the company to minimise the area and duration of impact and to relocate proposals for vehicle parking off-site. 

The authority said that Cadent had “responded very well” to its suggestions, and while the company has yet to confirm revised proposals, officers suggested that the council intervention had already secured the outcome sought by the petition. 

The ‘Elmhurst for Everyone’ petition asks the council to ensure that the empty bowls club in Elmhurst Gardens, South Woodford, is used as a resource for the whole community and “not just a select few”. 

'Elmhurst for Everyone' protestors gathered in Elmhurst Gardens on Saturday, August 7

'Elmhurst for Everyone' protestors gathered in Elmhurst Gardens on Saturday, August 7 - Credit: Elmhurst for Everyone

The petition, which contained 1,537 signatures, expresses disappointment that private nursery kGems was given the lease, which is managed by Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure, the council’s cultural contractor. 

The tendering process was re-run in June, as it was felt that lockdown had affected the ability of some interested parties to apply, but the nursery chain was once again given the lease. 

Campaigners, who held a picnic protest last month, maintain that they were not given a fair opportunity to bid; Vision RCL has denied this. 

A council report notes that kGems has agreed to financially support the Friends of Elmhurst community group with a contribution of £1,000 per year. 

The agenda will also see the council discuss the borough’s flood response strategy, following the flash floods of the summer; and a proposal to waive the requirement of councillors to attend at least one meeting of the authority within a six-month consecutive period or else be disqualified as a councillor.