Friday, July 03, 2015

Civic Pride in Redbridge
– Redecorating the Borough

One of the perennial problems for Neighbourhood Watch has been that when our council replace lampposts the Neighbourhood Watch signs disappear along with the old lamppost. In days past these signs were provided through the Metropolitan Police usually paid for by a sponsor, such as Yellow Pages; you may still see some of these, there are a few left. Those days are gone; the police no longer have any role in the administration or registration of Neighbourhood Watch and we now have a charitable trust run by unpaid volunteers; the Redbridge Neighbourhood Watch Trust.

The Trust has secured funding of £5,000 from Redbridge Council to replace all our ageing lamppost signs, most of which are damaged, faded or just missing. As you can see they no longer bear the Met Police Logo, but most importantly they do bear the London Borough of Redbridge logo; they paid for them. So, hopefully they will feel obliged not to throw them away when they replace lampposts.

Delivery of the first batch of signs has been received centrally and the roll out has begun, based around electoral wards. Not every ward has a ward coordinator yet, but where they exist it is they who have audited the street sign situation with the help of their watch coordinators, and are dishing them out to the watch coordinators to be fitted. They have LB of Redbridge permission to fit them to lampposts and they are insured through the National Neighbourhood Watch body.

Here’s a picture of some of the Ward Coordinators at a gathering in Barkingside Police Station.

"Crime will not flourish in a community that cares."

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Newbury Park Tube Station to get a Face-Lift without the Lift

We are informed by our good friend Ron Jeffries that Newbury Park Tube Station is to get a Face-Lift.

As part of Transport for London’s plans to modernise the tube they will be carrying out improvement works as from 13 July (expected to last for up to one month) and the station will remain open during this period. There will be changes to the ticket hall and the ticket windows will be permanently closed due to the window tax. However, the ticket hall will be staffed between the first and last trains on each day (which may vary due to signalling or leaf problems) and will be available to assist and advise customers on how to make the most of their travel experience but, due to health & safety regulations, not carry anyone up or down the stairs which separate the ticket hall from the platforms.

Smarter ticket machines have already been installed which can speak 17 languages, making paying for travel a pleasant and joyful experience. Staff will be on hand to show customers how much more these machines can do, except that is, get you to and from the platform.

To pay for travel you can’t access, you can now:
  • Use the smarter ticket machines
  • Use your contactless payment card. It’s the same fare as Oyster and no need to top up
  • Buy tickets or top up your Oyster card online or at nearby Oyster Ticket Stops
Ron Jeffries, Chairman of the Aldborough Hatch Defence Association said: “In 2009 TfL spent £4.5m on constructing lifts only to discover that they had run out of money, so they spent another £1m filling in the lift shafts.”

He went on “we know that TfL have stated that lifts will go in at Newbury Park, but the condition is that Redbridge Council have to find half the cost. That is a pipe dream of major proportions! LBR is cash-strapped like most Councils.”

“We and others have suggested they seek sponsorship from major businesses in the area – such as Sainsbury’s, B & Q, Holiday Inn – to name a few. But they don’t seem to be listening. We suggest the Managing Director comes to see for himself, and watch struggling parents with buggies, the old folk with holiday baggage, the infirm, the disabled and work-weary residents.”

But we guess he will continue to find other ways to spend the money he doesn’t have.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Month without Single-Use Plastic

Tomorrow is July. And your task for this July, should you choose to accept it, is to refuse any single-use plastic for a whole month. It’s not going to be easy, as reported back in 2008 when Chris Jeevons attempted to go a whole month without any plastic at all.

Why should you do this? Well, Plastic is designed to last forever, yet every day we use it for disposable items which last a few minutes and throw away. Most is landfilled, some is recycled and some ends up in the environment. It is estimated that 8 million tonnes enter the oceans per year where it entangles and is ingested by wildlife. Every bit of plastic ever made still exists somewhere and in the first 10 years of this century there was already more plastic produced than the entire last century.

Hence …. Plastic Free July

The challenge is quite simple. Attempt to refuse single-use plastic during July. "Single-use" includes plastic shopping bags, plastic cups, straws, plastic packaging...basically anything that's intended only to be used once and then discarded. If refusing ALL single-use plastic sounds too daunting this time, try the TOP 4 challenge (plastic bags, bottles takeaway coffee cups & straws).

Attempt to refuse single-use plastic during July. Remember it's not going to be easy! It is a challenge, not a competition so don't worry about being perfect. Collect any unavoidable single-use plastic you buy. Keep in a dilemma bag and share it with us at the end of the challenge.
It's up to you regarding how long you participate. You might decide to go plastic-free for a day, a week, a month or longer! However long you choose will still make a contribution.

Head over to the Plastic Free July website to register and they will send you some tips and tools as well as let you know about Plastic Free July events in your area. They have toolbox of ideas, recipes and tips to make your Plastic Free July a breeze. Any questions? Check out the FAQ page.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Could Redbridge be a “Walkable Borough”

car: kɑː/ noun
a gas-belching, time-wasting, life-threatening prosthetic device

Since local planning and urban sprawl are hot topics here in Redbridge at the moment I thought this TED talk by Jeff Speck, an American urban planner, might go some way to enlivening the debate. To borrow a phrase from Jeff, borrowed from Churchill, “Redbridge Council can always be relied on to do the right thing, once they’ve tried everything else”.

The Walkable City by Jeff Speck via TED Talks (16 minutes)

Hat/tip Clive Durdle

Armed Forces Day in Redbridge

Technically speaking Armed Forces Day was yesterday, Saturday, but here in Redbridge it is today, Sunday, so it’s up with the virtual Union Flag to pay respect and solidarity with our armed forces past and present.

The parade will be led by the Band of the Scots Guards and will commence at 10:45am in the High Road, Ilford and proceed towards the Town Hall followed by an inspection by the Mayor.
The parade will conclude with speeches and the band will continue to play for the public.

Read about Ron’s early exploits in Korea before he became a founder member of Barkingside 21.