We have been looking back through the Guardian Series' archives to bring you stories that were making the headlines in our areas five and ten years ago this week.


Doubts still exist about plans to use a local beauty spot as a temporary police headquarters during the Olympic Games, despite the launch of a new website outlining the proposals.

The Metropolitan Police is planning to build a muster briefing and deployment centre (MBDC) on Wanstead Flats for 90 days over the London Olympics in 2012.

The force will pay a £170,000 “fee in lieu of rent” for the use of the site, which will be up to 340 metres long and 127 metres across.

This money will be used to pay for improvements to Jubilee Pond, Alexandra Lake, and the landscaping of the Bushwood area.

Wanstead Flats are part of Epping Forest, which were given over to the public by Queen Victoria in the Epping Forest Act 1878.

The police are seeking a temporary amendment to allow them to build on and enclose the area of the flats for the centre, both of which activities are prohibited by law.

Members of local interest groups have been invited to a meeting next Monday (August 16), at a venue yet to be confirmed, to put their questions to the police and the City of London.

Around half the site appears to have been earmarked for parking, raising questions about the relatively small amount of space set aside to stable police horses which will be used during the games.

Chairman of Friends of Wanstead Park, Alan Cornish, has claimed the plans feature a number of inconsistencies and objects to the overall impact that the centre will have.

Mr Cornish, of Tennyson Avenue, said: “If it's going to be used 24 hours a day then will it all be flood-lit? What about the light pollution that will cause?

“And where are those 80 horses going to be exercised? Galloping about the flats?

“It's inconceivable that this wasn't allowed for when the Olympic Games were being planned for in the beginning. There must be areas in the Olympic Park that could be used.

“It seems to be an exercise in trying to grab land off the flats This should be resisted by everybody.

“The more you look at it, the more ludicrous it seems. [The police should] go away and go somewhere else.”


Former RAF pilot visits airfield on fundraising mission

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Mr Allerton, centre, with supporters and sponsors at the airfield

A former RAF gunner has completed a lap of an airfield as part of his challenge to travel 8,000 miles by wheelchair to raise money for charity.

Sean Allerton, who was severely injured in a motorcycle crash 22 years ago, visited North Weald Airfield in Meridian Way, North Weald, on August 12 as part of his Push 500 challenge, which has already seen him travel more than 1,610 miles.

The challenge, which Mr Allerton began in 2012, is based on the song lyrics of ‘500 miles’ by The Proclaimers and is raising funds for the RAF Association, RAF Benevolent Fund, RAF Charitable Trust and Flying Scholarships for Disabled People.

If successful, the 50-year-old will have travelled the same distance as London to South Africa in his wheelchair.

Mr Allerton went round the 3.5mile route on August 12.

He said: “I have visited airfields around the country to travel huge distances in my wheelchair.

“Travelling round North Weald on Wednesday was absolutely fantastic.

“I had members of the airfield fire section walking with me as well as a friend who used to serve with me in the RAF.

“It was incredible, I was travelling around the airfield and directors from businesses located there were literally running out and putting cash in my hands to donate.

“It was also my 50th birthday so it was a great way to celebrate.

“I have 390 miles to go until I complete another 1,000 miles, then I will be starting the next 1,000.

“These charities really need help and I will continue fundraising for as long as I can.

"I definitely hope to return to North Weald in the future.

“8,000 miles seems like a long way to go but it is amazing what you can do with an iPod.”

Mr Allerton has already raised more than £23,000 for the charities in his challenge so far.