Monday 9 August 2010

Wanstead Flats - A Visit From Newham's Enforcers

This morning I had a visit at work from two members of Newham's Enforcement Team, who according to the borough's website "carry out the Council's civil and criminal work to tackle all forms of anti-social behaviour, including Prosecutions and Crime matters".

I can't say that in their council insignia shirts, they looked much like Clint Eastwood in the film where Dirty Harry takes on revolutionary militants, but they wanted information: the names of people who had been putting up flyers for the Save Wanstead Flats campaign's Mass Community Picnic on Sunday 5 September.

I was, of course, unable to help them. The flyer has gone out to hundreds of people in Forest Gate, Wanstead and Leyton and the only reason they came to Durning Hall Community Centre is that we have offered the Save Wanstead Flats campaign to use us as a contact address.

But I have to say this: it's the first time I've ever met a council Enforcement Officer. Ever. As I pointed out in a long rant in September 2009 about the ineffectiveness of responses to anti-social behaviour, I've tried to get the council to take an interest in problems in the street where I live and it seems more concerned with "tackling easy targets like illegal street traders, rather than complicated issues like recurring problems affecting local residents".

You can now add to that the publicity for community events where local people come together to protest against decisions that have an impact on their lives - and to meet their neighbours, often for the first time.

The flyer for the Mass Community Picnic can be downloaded from here. A petition is also now available to download. Sticking them up on lamp posts or trees is discouraged, apparently illegal and likely to get you into all sorts of trouble if you are caught - and has nothing to do with Durning Hall, you get me?

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