The Woodford Green Amenity Group campaigns on a number of issue that may (or do) impact the area, including
The Library’s and Hawkey Hall’s Future.
We asked this question at the last Redbridge Council Meeting (19 Nov ‘18)
“Under LBR’s heading of Opportunity Sites (LP202) the Woodford library was to be demolished to make way for a housing development so where would the library be located?”
The Council Leader replied that, after 4 1/2 years as leader of this administration, all Redbridge libraries remained open. This was a proud record when other councils had closed their libraries, Redbridge had kept every single one of theirs open. They had even expanded South Woodford library adding a gym and now residents could enjoy the library for longer. The services there were much more well used than they were before because of the use of the Gymnasium. The Local Plan was being delivered this year after many years of infighting. It spanned three administrations and as there was a housing crisis in this country the council had tried to allocate land where there could be dual use service. The council had introduced Community Hubs where the library offer could be strengthened to make sure that libraries were not just book lending services but a hub for all the community to get together, whether it was going to have a doctor’s surgery, a leisure centre, police service, children’s centre or a gymnasium attached to it. The aim was to work together for a better Redbridge and with the housing targets the council had to meet this administration was trying to leverage all its might against trying to lose any of the services. Councillor Kothia said earlier that he came here in 1974; 46 years as a local resident. He did not join the council to close services. Councillors were united to enhance the services offered and that’s what they were going to fight for.
We then asked, given that the local plan was closing the library, is the location of Hawkey Hall to be retained?
The Council Leader replied that any plans coming forward would have to be consulted upon. There was a consultation out on the council’s libraries offer at the moment. There would have to be consultation on any building before anything could be done. However if nothing was was done it meant there would be closures later on. The problem was that our libraries were buildings sitting in isolation doing nothing other than being book lending services. The Council had to look at trying to bring in state of the art libraries that residents could be proud of and would be there in the future. If the Council made sure that something was done now there would be no need for closures later because some of these buildings were very old and as they became harder to maintain they would be closed. The idea was to pre-empt that by making them stronger so that we can keep them in the future.
The Group’s committee are very aware that this item has many supporters and opposers in the community. A letter has been received from Councillor Jas Athwal of the London Borough of Redbridge confirming that there is no current plan to construct a playground on The Green and there would not be a plan without full public consultation
Horse Chestnuts Trees on the Green and Jubilee Avenue trees.
There is a report on the condition of the trees in Jubilee Avenue (Churchill statue to Hawkey Hall) and unfortunately 89 trees, including Black Poplar and London Planes, are at the end of their lives or are suffering from Massaria disease. A Poplar has also recently fallen over in the high winds. We believe there will be a public consultation on the future of this avenue of trees because replacement of these trees is not simple or cheap. The existing trees are probably the wrong species and new choices will be required.
Along the High Road in Woodford Green only 64% of the original 191 Horse Chestnut trees have survived. 40 trees are missing as avenue gaps and 25 trees have been replanted as young trees but these are struggling to survive in the shade of the older existing ones. Recent mature tree losses have been attributed to Bleeding Canker Disease and weakening caused by the Leaf Miner Moth. Interestingly these trees are the property (responsibility?) of Redbridge Council, although they are grown on Forest land. Replacement costs would therefore seem to lie with Redbridge Council.
Noise and nuisance