Central Line noise between Wanstead and Leytonstone

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In response to a query from The Wanstead Post about the continuing screaming noise when trains travel between Wanstead and Leytonstone, London Underground’s Director of Asset Operations, Peter McNaught, said:

“We understand the importance of minimising noise levels on the tube and we are determined to do more to achieve this.

“We have carried out a huge programme of work and spent over £200 million replacing and grinding over 500km of track and installing over 11,000 new shock absorbent fixings across all of our Night Tube lines, which help reduce the sound when trains run over them. We are also actively exploring other options to reduce noise levels even further such as installing noise barriers and noise dampening pads as well as ensuring new rail infrastructure incorporates noise reduction technology.

“As we continue carrying out all this work I encourage anyone affected by noise to contact our dedicated customer services line, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We will then send our engineers to investigate and work out how we can reduce the noise most effectively.”

Popular music festival returns

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Music in Wanstead Park will take place on Saturday 14 July 2018 after the festival was taken over by new organisers.

The event features musical cabaret artist Tricity Vogue (and her all girl swing band), jazz/soul/blues singer Toby Corton and instrumental three piece Forty Elephant Gang as well as live bands from Wanstead High School and the Sing Up Choir.

Food and drink will be provided by CHAOS children’s charity, Time For Tea, The Wanstead Tap, Burgess & Hall and Maud’s Ice Cream.

Family tickets are available priced at £34 for two adults and two children.  Adult tickets cost £12 while children are £6, under 3s are free.

Further information can be found at: https://www.musicinwansteadpark.co.uk/

Wanstead features in The Times

The Times newspaper has published a photograph of an urban fox sitting on a doorstep in Wanstead.

The fox sits next to a pair of floral Wellington Boots and is accompanied by what The Times describes as an “ageing cat”.

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The photograph can be found on page 22 of The Times published on Friday 8 June 2018.

Local Authorities to be notified of rates of stability for children in care

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The Children’s Commissioner for England has published a report tracking the experience of children in care.

The Stability Index gathered data from local authorities in England to assess how frequently children in care were changing home, school or social worker over the course of a year.

The report found that most children in care experienced some kind of instability in one form or another throughout the course of a year with almost 2,400 children (6% of children in care attending school) changing home, school or social worker in 2016/17.

The Index revealed that some children experienced several types of instability within the same year while some also experienced repeated instability over two years.

Over 3,000 children (6% of those in care in both 2015/16 and 2016/17) experienced four or more placement moves over two years including 1,300 (3% of those in care in both 2015/16 and 2016/17) who experienced multiple placement moves in both years.

Among children in care who were enrolled at school, around 1,600 (4%) experienced a school move two years in a row.

“Every day I hear from ‘pinball kids’ who are being pinged around the care system when all they really want is to be settled and to get on with normal life,” commented Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England.

“These children need stability, yet far too many are living unstable lives, in particular children entering care in their early teens. This puts them at greater risk of falling through the gaps in the education system and opens them up to exploitation by gangs or to abuse.”

“I want all local authorities to make reducing instability a priority and to measure it. I would also like to see Ofsted assessing the stability of children in care as part of their inspections and for the Department for Education to start asking for data on this in their annual returns from Local Authorities.”

Following publication of the report, the Children’s Commissioner will be writing to every Director of Children’s Services and every Lead Member for Children’s Services to notify them of their local area’s rates of stability. She will also ask them to adopt the Stability Index as a tool for identifying areas of concern and for measuring progress and improvement.

Councillors set date for advice surgery

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The newly elected councillors for Wanstead Village are planning to host their first advice surgery on Saturday 9 June 2018 at Christ Church in Wanstead Place.

Residents have been advised to attend if there are any issues they would like to raise.

New contact details, including email addresses, for all councillors in Wanstead Village and Wanstead Park wards can be found on the updated website for Redbridge Council.

Meet the Councillors

Candidates from the Labour Party won all five seats representing Wanstead on Redbridge Council following the local elections at the beginning of May 2018.

Jo Blackman, Paul Donovan and Daniel Morgan-Thomas won Wanstead Village while Sheila Bain and Paul Merry won Wanstead Park.

Following their success, the newly elected candidates kindly agreed to answer some questions about issues of concern to the local community:

How do you feel now the campaign is over?

“We enjoyed meeting so many residents in the run up to the election and hearing about their concerns.  We are grateful for the support that the people of Wanstead have shown by electing us to represent them and we are looking forward to serving all residents and delivering on our election pledges.”

Gwyneth Deakins, a former councillor in the Borough, has criticised the way the local elections and particularly the count were conducted.  What are your views about her concerns?

“The count could have gone more smoothly on the night.  There were some delays due to various malfunctions.  However, it was a long night for everyone concerned, not only the candidates but the Council staff who did the count.  They deserve our thanks.”

What were the issues in Wanstead Village and Wanstead Park which dominated the campaign?

“There were particular concerns over crime and pollution.  On the wider political scene, a lot of people are concerned about the impact of Brexit, though this falls outside our remit as councillors.  There was though also plenty of positive feedback.  Most people, for instance, think Wanstead is a great place to live.”

What are your priorities for the next 6 months?

“Our priorities will be to deliver for the residents of Wanstead.  This will mean standing up for issues that concern people in the area.  It will also be good to see work on that swimming pool get underway.”

There has been some discussion online about a general impression of an increase in crime in Wanstead.  Do you think this is true and what can be done about it?

“Crime is certainly a concern in the area that needs to be addressed.  The cuts to policing have no doubt impacted on the rise in crime across the whole Borough.  This is something the Government should be looking at.  More police would no doubt help cut crime.”

In March 2018 it was reported that £5-£10m may be required to improve the safety of three Wanstead Park lakes which continue to be rated at “high risk” of flooding.  What added impetus can be given to the long-awaited Heritage Lottery Fund bid?

“There has been close involvement on the part of the incumbent and new Labour Councillors in the affairs of Wanstead Park.  The Corporation of London has to fund the flood prevention programme or suffer the consequences from the Environment Agency.  This injection of funds could provide some much needed investment, though mainly focusing on flood prevention.  The Heritage Lottery Funding bid is vital.  We do hope, after much delay, that the Corporation of London will move on with the bid in order that the vision outlined for the Park can be brought to fruition.”

Some residents in Wanstead Village have expressed concerns about an increase in litter particularly in places like Christchurch Green.  Will you be taking steps to address these concerns?

“We want an area that all can be proud of and it’s important that everyone plays a part in keeping it clean.  We will be discussing this with Council officers as a priority.”

The food and agriculture policy alliance London Food Link recently revealed that Redbridge Council has yet to pass a resolution in support of Fairtrade and is not yet making significant progress towards Fairtrade.  Do you feel this is important and will you be pushing the Council to show initiative in this area?

“Fairtrade can play an important role in securing livelihoods for farmers and their families in developing countries and we support efforts in that direction so will be raising this with Council colleagues.”

During the campaign, Daniel Morgan-Thomas said he wanted to put Wanstead “back on the map” after the area had seemed “remote from the wider concerns of Redbridge Council”.  In practical terms, how do you think this can be achieved?

“The election of a Labour Council in Redbridge in 2014, together with two Labour Councillors in the former Wanstead Ward, was a significant step forward in putting Wanstead “on the map” and back at the heart of Redbridge Council’s priorities.  We’ve seen amongst other things our local library refurbished, investment in our children’s centres, major improvement works planned at Wanstead High School together with a new public pool, and the doubling of free parking time on the High Street.  Going forward, with five Labour Councillors now serving the Wanstead area, we will all work to ensure that Wanstead continues to thrive and benefit from Borough-wide investment programmes.”

It is sometimes said of local councillors that after being elected they disappear from public view.  How do you propose to make yourselves as accessible and representative of the local community as possible?

“We will be holding regular surgeries, holding a weekly street stall on the High Street, as well as attending local events.  We will also be looking to stay in touch with people via local media.  Wanstead Ward News (now The Wanstead Post) and the Wanstead Directory have proved particularly adept at providing information during the campaign.  We will certainly be doing all we can to sort out problems, get involved and stay in touch with the people of Wanstead.”

M&S “will be opening in summer 2018”

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Rumours continue to circulate in Wanstead about whether the new Marks & Spencer’s food store will ever open.

Following a request for an update, an M&S spokesperson has issued the following statement:

“Due to construction delays, our new Wanstead store will be opening in summer 2018.

“We’d like to thank the community for their patience. We will provide a date for opening as soon as we can.

“We’re working hard on the store and remain committed to bringing the very best of M&S to Wanstead.”