Redbridge Council’s Vision group, who are responsible for culture, leisure and parks in the borough, are planning to spend “up to £2 million” on a new shipping container kiosk for Christ Church Green in Wanstead.

Due for installation this autumn the enormous cost associated with this project will sit directly in the centre of a conservation area and leaves some questions unanswered.

How can such a poor quality building cost so much?

How can something that looks like a shipping container possibly comply with the rules for Wanstead’s conservation area?

Given that the council have to make £16 million of funding cuts in 2021/22 alone, where is the money coming from to fund this project? The £2 million estimated cost, shown within Section 7 of the planning application itself, would account for 12 per cent of the total cost savings needed to be made this year.

With at least 14 places to buy take away coffee in Wanstead High Street, questions also have to be asked over the viability of this new kiosk. Will it make any money, and what is the business case for it?

Local traders are the life blood of High Street and this potentially represents direct competition to them, so the business case and profit projections must be good enough for the council to be eyeing this kind of spend. However, as none have been released nobody can know for sure.

The container kiosk will no doubt provide another place to buy take away coffee. But it is surely in the public interest to know if the project will end up as a flat white loss or has mocha choca profit potential?

Scott Wilding

Wanstead Liberal Democrats