Answers sought over Christmas tree business in Wanstead park

Last week I wrote to the editor of this newspaper about the sale of Christmas trees on Christ Church Green in Wanstead. A scheme that, by and large, has not been received well by most local residents who prefer to support their local traders, seven of whom also sell the same product.

To be fair to Tree Amigos, the business supplying the Christmas Trees, they are just trying to make a living and do some business.

The issue here is that a private business has been set up on public land that competes directly with existing local retailers.

No consultation was undertaken. No planning application submitted. No public oversight as to who approved it, or why our local retailers weren’t asked to bid for the contract. In fact, our local shops didn’t know and the public don’t know what, or even if, there was a bidding process or how much Redbridge is being paid for this venture.

All of these questions come on the back of the same type of questions we have asked over the proposed new kiosk on Christ Church Green. We’ve been met with total silence on that one, which is why we asked the Local Government Ombudsman to investigate.

But this style of operation is symptomatic of how this Labour run council tends to behave.

At some point the idea to use our green to operate a private business was approved by the council cabinet or by our local Labour ward councillors. Decisions are always approved by those we elect, not by officers either in Vision or the council itself.

To get some clarity on this issue, we have written to the chief executive of Redbridge Council to get some answers to the above.

We can’t change what is already here, but if this is to go ahead next year, we hope the council will take some time to think about what they are doing and the impact these closed door decisions have on our local businesses.

As ever, we always support Wanstead retailers. If we don’t use `em we’ll lose `em. So shop local this Xmas and support local businesses. They deserve our support.

Scott Wilding

Wanstead Liberal Democrats

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