Comments sought on proposed new swimming pool


Local residents have been offered the opportunity to view and comment on proposals for a new swimming pool to be built at Wanstead Leisure Centre.

Following a drop-in event on 30th July at Wanstead Library, the plans have been made available on the London Borough of Redbridge website.

As well as a new community pool, the proposals include better leisure facilities, a dance studio, an improved teaching environment at Wanstead High School and improved disabled access for the Leisure Centre and School.

The proposed plans can be viewed here and feedback should be emailed to

Opening date for new M&S revealed

M&S logo

The new Marks & Spencer Foodhall will be opening on Wanstead High Street at 10.00 on Thursday 23 August 2018.

The store will offer a range of products from the retailer including M&S Detroit Pizzas, veggie Not Dogs and M&S Best Ever Burgers as well as basics such as milk, eggs and cheese.

Customers will be able to access M&S Clothing & Home products via a Collect in Store service. If they order before 22.00 the night before on M& they will be able to opt for next day pick up in the Wanstead store.

“My team and I are really excited about opening in Wanstead and we’ll be working hard to offer outstanding service for customers,” said Claire Benson, Store Manager.

“It’s exciting that the store will bring a bespoke Food offer to Wanstead for the first time and I can guarantee we’ll have all the everyday essentials customers need, as well as seasonal inspiration and innovation.”

“With Collect in Store, from dresses to duvets, busy customers will be able to easily collect and return – with next day pick up available seven days a week.”

“Cutting the ribbon and welcoming customers in for the first time will be a great moment for the team and I hope lots of local customers will pop down and join us.”

The store will be located at 157 High Street, Wanstead, E11 2RL and will be open from 07.00 to 22.00 Monday to Saturday and 09.00 to 19.00 on Sunday.

TfL: management structure and salaries


As I was researching the Central Line on the internet I came across this document.  According to the URL it can be found somewhere on the Transport for London (TfL) website.

The chart appears to show the organisational structure of TfL in 2016/2017 and includes information about salaries.

There are a number of common sense questions which might be asked about this management structure:

  • What do the Head of Transformation and Business Transformation Director actually do?
  • Why are there two Senior Principals of Commercial Finance?
  • Why are there three Heads of HR plus a Head of HR Services?
  • What does the Senior Executive Advisor do?
  • Is it really necessary to employ so many people on salaries in excess of £100,000 when the majority of TfL’s budget comes from fares and grants from central and local government?
  • Are these salaries in any way performance related?
  • In what way are these people accountable to passengers?

In view of the deteriorating standard of service delivered across the TfL network, isn’t it time passengers were given the opportunity to ask these questions and time we were given some answers?


How to improve the Central Line


I write this after another disastrous morning on the Central Line.

I arrived at Wanstead Station at approximately 06.00 earlier today to be told simply “there are no trains”.  When asked how I was expected to travel to work in Central London the sole member of staff told me to “get the bus to Stratford”.

This cessation of service – which became severe delays later in the morning – must have caused misery for thousands of commuters.  As I left the station I saw many people running for buses desperately telephoning their workplaces to patiently explain that, yet again, they would be late, if they could make it at all.

My concern is the toll this situation is taking on the mental health of commuters who have no other choice but to use this line of doom.  The delays and regular cessation of service create a daily nagging concern for anyone who uses the line: “what chaos is going to ensue today”?  The situation leads to stress, anxiety, increased workloads, loss of time with loved ones and lack of leisure time.  This is not to mention the loss of pay for freelancers and the deduction of salary for people, such as those who work in the construction industry, for those who arrive at work late.  And this goes on day after day after day.

The reason given for the delay this morning was “late finish of engineering work”.  Surely with better planning and management this could have been avoided?  I think it is time for financial penalties for those responsible for the management and operation of the line.  I don’t mean the hard working operations people who do the real work.  I mean the Managing Director of London Underground, who according to a Transport for London document earned between £275,000 and £279,999 in 2017, and the Head of Network Operations and Resilience, who earned between £120,000 and £124,000.  Perhaps if the continuing appalling service directly impacted them the situation might improve?

In the meantime, please become part of the campaign to #improvethecentralline.

The MD of London Underground responds


The campaign has received a response from Mark Wild, Managing Director of London Underground, to a letter sent on 9 July 2018.  His letter is dated 1 August and was received on 2 August.

The letter recognises that the Central Line is “not operating as London expects” and suggests that recent signal failures have “masked some of the real improvements”.  It claims that teams are working hard to put things right and refers to efforts to deflect sunlight from carriages and encourage customers to leave trains if they feel unwell.

These initiatives are worthy but they are simply not good enough.  More ideas and creative solutions are needed to tackle the appalling service currently being delivered on the Central Line.  It is no longer acceptable to have an “oh well, there is nothing more we can do” attitude.  The Central Line is one of the most important on the tube network.  It carries hundreds of thousands of passengers to key areas of the capital.  The current situation, with severe delays almost daily and sometimes complete cessation of service, cannot continue because it is negatively affecting so many people, businesses and the reputation of our city.  The Mayor of London, Transport for London, the Department for Transport and all those responsible for the management and running of the line must step up their efforts to deliver tangible improvements for customers who pay so much to travel on a line which many now describe as “hell”.

There has still been no direct response to the campaign letter sent to the Mayor of London.  Preparations continue for the meeting with the Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee in September.

Please keep supporting the campaign to #improvethecentralline in whatever way you can.

Update on #improvethecentralline


Thank you to everyone who has supported the campaign so far.  Unfortunately, there have been severe delays again this week.

A meeting has been arranged with Caroline Pidgeon, Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee and representatives from Transport for London.  This will take place on Friday 28 September 2018.

The campaign has received a response to the letter sent to Mark Wild, Managing Director of London Underground.  Regrettably, the letter is from someone called Belinda, a customer services representative, rather than Mr Wild himself.  It contains the usual well-worn excuses and lack of aspiration so typical of those responsible for Central Line management.  This response and attitude is no longer good enough.  It is time to expect better.  Why is Mr Wild not responding to complaints?  Why is he hiding from the passengers who pay his salary?  He is – after all – accountable.

The campaign has received no response to the letter sent to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.  He has however found the time to give an interview to Time Out in which he claims he could beat the former mayor, Boris Johnson, in a boxing match saying: “I could ‘ave ‘im, all day long”.  If only he could take the same pugnacious approach to fixing the transport problems in London and improving the lives of the people he is supposed to represent.

Many responses to the campaign have referred to the issue of funding and the lack of investment in Central Line infrastructure.  While funding is undoubtedly an issue it is not the only solution.  A new attitude and culture is required from all those responsible for the management and running of the line.  The situation can be improved through ambition, aspiration, innovation, creative solutions and hard work as well as more money.

The campaign continues.  Please be part of it.

What can I do?


Tag @CentralLine and use the hashtag #improvethecentralline

Write to:

The Mayor of London

City Hall

The Queen’s Walk

London SE1 2AA


Mark Wild

Managing Director, London Underground

C/O TfL Customer Service

4th Floor, 14 Pier Walk

London SE10 0ES



Caroline Pidgeon, Chair, London Assembly Transport Committee

Children in Redbridge ‘gang affected’


Thirty-nine percent of children in Redbridge have been identified as “gang affected” in a new report presented to the Council.

The Youth Justice Plan 2018/2019 by Councillor Elaine Norman, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, was discussed at a meeting on 17 July 2018.

The Plan found the number and proportion of young people who are known to be “gang affected” has been increasing since 2014.

In 2014/2015 the percentage was 10.6 while in 2017/2018 it was 39.2.  Reasons for the increasing trend were described as “due mainly to better police intelligence and identification of cases”.

The Borough has a statutory duty to formulate, implement and publish an Annual Youth Justice Plan which sets out how Youth Justice Services will be provided and funded.  The report must also set out how the Youth Offending Service will be composed and resourced.

The Plan identified priorities for 2018/2019 which included maintaining the low level of young people entering the youth justice system, supporting vulnerable young people from re-offending and strengthening collaborative work on serious youth violence, child sexual exploitation, knife crimes and gangs work.

Statutory partners involved in the delivery of the Youth Justice Plan include the Metropolitan Police, the Probation/National Offender Management Service, The Connexions Team, the Mental Health and Well-being Service and North East London Foundation Trust.

The Redbridge Youth Justice Plan 2018/2019 will now be submitted to the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales.