Sunday 28 May 2023

Business Parking Bay Controversy Spurs Local Action in Ilford

This vehicle was being used as additional storage and became a magnet for waste and anti-social behaviour.

Community Action Triumphs Over Unscrupulous Businessman's Behaviour

A business parking bay turned storage space has sparked a community uproar in Ilford, leading to a grassroots initiative by the East Ilford Betterment Partnership. The organization is advocating for the transformation of the business bay into a pay-and-display area, a move aimed at enhancing the local community's needs and interests.

Situated at the crossroads of Connaught Road and Green Lane, the parking bay had been repurposed by a local printing firm to store materials, circumventing expenses of approximately £400. This unconventional choice allowed them to avoid steep monthly storage fees, which could have amounted to around £100 for nearby garages located just a few meters away.

The business proprietors took the liberty of occupying the bay with an oversized van, obstructing the view of neighboring shop fronts along Connaught Road. The van remained immobile for prolonged periods, only being shifted for mandatory MOT inspections before promptly reclaiming its spot. This extended occupancy resulted in the accumulation of litter beneath the vehicle, and the emergence of weeds through gaps in the bonnet and windscreen due to accumulated dirt.

The conspicuous presence of this vehicle not only marred the aesthetic charm of the area but also impeded the visibility of local businesses. Furthermore, it significantly diminished the availability of essential parking space, impacting parents of a nearby school, mosque attendees, and shoppers.

Initiating communication with the local council posed initial challenges. Despite submitting a petition and accompanying images illustrating the dire situation, the matter failed to reach the appropriate authorities. However, proactive action from Highways officers brought the issue to light, revealing a regulatory gap that hindered action against such blatant misuse of parking facilities for improper storage.

The relentless efforts of Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the East Ilford Betterment Partnership, served as a voice for the concerns of local residents and businesses, culminating in a potential solution.

In an email dated May 24th, 2023, Adam Warnes from the Highways Department conveyed:

"Thank you for your time on the phone today Mr Chowdhury. 

 "To briefly summarise our conversation

"The petition request for conversion of the existing business bay to P&D is being progressed through our next minor works batch.  The advert/letter drop inviting any objections is due to launch by the last week of June.  The Objections period is legally 21 days.  Should no objections be received we will be able to move forward immediately.  Should objections be received then a report will need to be presented to the Cabinet Member for decision. We may then request additional information at this point so it can be included as part of this submission."

This interim measure aims to address the issue, benefiting both the petition signatories and those who will benefit from the outcome, irrespective of their awareness of the petition. It also marks an end to the unscrupulous practices of the local printing business, which exploited the lack of a by-law safeguarding against inappropriate parking bay use.

However, Mr. Chowdhry expressed reservations about this as a conclusive solution and urged for more proactive measures against potential recurrences. He proposed the introduction of a new by-law to deter businesses and travelers from exploiting parking regulations for prolonged residency on public roads. While Mr. Chowdhry offered to lead a delegation to a full council meeting, he was apprised of ongoing internal deliberations.

Mr. Warnes further remarked:

"The Council will review our Permitting T’s and C’s with the intention to being able to take action to revoke permits where there is clear mis use. 

"I will also speak to my colleagues in the Neighbourhood enforcement team to see whether powers they use in their area could be appropriate to use in situations such as the scenario you have highlighted."

Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of East Ilford Betterment Partnership, said:

"A determined community effort has successfully put an end to the questionable conduct of a local businessman, demonstrating the power of united action.

"The proprietor of the establishment had consistently turned a deaf ear to the appeals of both the East Ilford Betterment Partnership (EIBP) and neighboring businesses, who were urging him to relocate his vehicle. 

"This prolonged disregard for community concerns spanned over a year, causing  an environmental hazard, community nuisance and significant distress within the community.

"The absence of swift resolution and the fact that the local council lacked the necessary safeguards to counter such parking law violations have been a source of disappointment. 

"Nevertheless, unwavering determination prevailed, ultimately leading to a gratifying solution.

"I hope our efforts act as a wake-up call for other local authority highway teams."

The East Ilford Betterment Partnership eagerly awaits confirmation of forthcoming modifications to the parking bays and remains attuned to updates on this evolving situation.

The East Ilford Betterment Partnership (EIBP) is a dynamic community-driven initiative focused on enhancing the local environment, promoting inclusivity, and fostering a sense of unity within the East Ilford community. Through collaborative efforts, the EIBP seeks to effect positive change and create a thriving community for all. To learn more, please visit

Thursday 14 August 2014

Hannah Chowdhry Redbridge's Mary Anning!

A rare find - a fossil sourced via Brett Lafarge's quarry in Romford.

With plans afoot for the EIBP to create a glass display containing a replica of the mammoth skull found locally and some gravel from different periods charting the significant pre-history of our area, members of our team visited Brett Lafarge's Quarry at Hainault Road in Romford.  Whilst there the management team kindly allowed us obtain samples of oversized gravel for our display cabinet for the ‘Ilford Mammoth’, keen fossil hunter Hannah Chowdhry (10 years) later  discovered her second fossil while we sifted through our collection back at our offices.  Read about her first fossil discovery by (clicking here)

We sent an image of the fossil to experts at the Natural History Museum and Geological Association for identification and were notified it was an Inoceramus bivalve.  Diana Clements from the Geologists’ Association and London Geodiverstiy Partnership wrote in an email;

"Well found!

This is an Inoceramus' bivalve that has been enclosed in the flint.  The original shell has been dissolved during the process of the formation of the flint to leave an exterior mould of the original shell of the bivalve.  Most of the gravel you will have collected is flint that originated at certain horizons in the Chalk.

Unfortunately at > 65 million years it is not contemporary with the Mammoth but interesting none the less. 

Thanks for telling me about your find."

Excited by the find Wilson Chowdhry asked Diana how rare the fossil was, she replied;

"I was once given an Inoceramus by a French farmer when we used his Chambre d’hôte for the night but I have not found one myself.  Fossil echinoids (sea urchins) are more common but still comparatively rare when considering the totality of the flint.  Shells of Inoceramus are common right through the white Chalk itself and are useful in distinguishing the different layers as they evolve through time but they are not so commonly preserved in flint."  

Hannah Chowdhry the discoverer of the fossil said;

"I feel very proud of myself for finding this second fossil.  It was covered in muck but the strange lines stood out for me.  I immediately washed the fossil and suddenly noticed how bright and colourful the stone was.  It looked so beautiful."  

She added;

"I learnt about Mary Anning and her famous fossil collection whilst reading a horrible history book.  She used to sell fossils she found on a beach near where she lived.  One day I want to be a famous fossil hunter too!"

Jason Tomlins the quarries manager for Brett Aggregates East London said;

“Quarries are often rich with fossils and we are delighted Hannah was able to find her second only fossil in a stone from our site.  We are always pleased to contribute materials from our quarry to local community projects – whether it’s sand for the Flower Festival or lumps of flint for the mammoth display project.”

“I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that quarries can be dangerous places and should not be treated as playgrounds during the weekends and school holidays.”

Hannah was also inspired by the large Plesiosaurus dolichodeirus  known more commonly to us as a Plesiosaur (a large sea creature), which is currently displayed in the Natural History Museum (NHM).  She saw this whilst on a private tour to see the huge collection of pre-historic remains found in Ilford in the NHM archived collections.  The Plesiosaur is in a public gallery but after Hannah asked about Mary Anning Professor Adrian Lister kindly took children to see the wonderful find and described the amazing feats of Mary Anning often referred to as "the greatest fossil hunter of all time."

Hannah Chowdhry was also the inspiration behind our current EIBP project to bring the Ilford Mammoth home.  When she saw the Mammoth skull at the Natural History Museum during a trip with family in 2008. She said;  "This mammoth belongs in Ilford, look it even has our town name on it [talking about label referring to Ilford Mammoth]."  She asked her father to bring it home and a project began."

We would like to thank the Brett Lafarge Quarry at Romford to collect gravel for our Mammoth display project.

Freshly dug gravel form which the fossil was found.

Fresh mix has larger and smaller stones. larger stones are later broken down into smaller sizes for use as construction material.

A slimy clay covers freshly dug gravel.

The stone containing the fossil looked very attractive after washing.

The fossil found will be displayed in our potential mammoth display cabinet if funding is gained.

A rare find and one that young Hannah is extremely proud of.

Thursday 7 August 2014

Mammoth Free Art workshops for children

The East Ilford Betterment Partnership has secured funding via the Departmental of Business Innovation and Skills, for a series of free art workshops to promote learning in Natural Sciences.

Our event coincides with the 150th anniversary of the excavation of steppe mammoth remains in Ilford by Sir Antonio Brady, and participants will be learning about the famous palaeontological discovery and other local history.

Event Title:   Mammoth Steppes
Date:            Starts Monday 11th August 2014
Time:            12:00 - 16:00
Venue:          Clementswood Community Centre, Connaught Road, Ilford, Essex, IG1 1RN
Price:            Free
Details:          Arts and craft workshops with strong natural sciences learning theme.

Children and young people will hear a series of short talks from key figures within the field of natural sciences and will produce a range of drawn images to displayed in Redbridge Central Library.  Drawn images may include, crystalline structures, mammoths, prehistoric animals, skeletons and much more.

The groups will also produce painted boards that will be displayed around local parks and two 3D maps of Ice Age and Stone Age Ilford that will also be displayed at Redbridge Central Library.

It is hoped that artwork will also be unveiled to the public at a two day festival held in Ilford Town Centre on the 27th and 28th September 2014.   The event will have further free art workshops for Children and art produced will be included at our Redbridge Library Exhibition.  Details of the vent can be found by clicking (here)

For Further details please call Wilson Chowdhry on 020 8514 0861 or email

This project has been co-funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) as part of the BIS Science and Society Community Challenge Grant Scheme’.

A spokesperson said;

‘The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is pleased to support this project which takes science into a community setting. It is our hope as a result of the audience being engaged with this project that they will feel better informed about science issues affecting them and be inspired to be involved further in the future’.

Thursday 17 July 2014

Mammoth Day Celebrations set for 27th and 28th September 2014

Ilford celebrates the 150th anniversary of the discovery of the Ilford Mammoth this year!

Image of Ilford Mammoth at Natural History Museum.

Excavations led by Sir Antonio Brady in 1864, led to the discovery of bones belonging to prehistoric Steppe Mammoths, lions, elephants, giant deer and other ancient mammals.  A skull now named "Ilford Mammoth" now resides at the Natural History Museum.  It is hoped that a replica will be installed somewhere in Ilford Town Centre to coincide with our event.

The dates set for the the borough celebration are 27th -28th September 2014, and local history groups will be joined by wider more established groups, to promote Natural and Life Sciences locally. The event is funded by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

Event:       Mammoth Steppes Festival
Location:    Ilford Town Hall steps
Date:       27th and 28th September 2014
Times:      12:00 - 18:00
Activities: International Food Stalls, Music, Dance, Drama, Singing, Bouncy Castle, Funfair,  There will also be a Natural Science Activities including Quizzes, Treasure hunt, Badge Making, Mammoth making, Recycled Mammoth badge making, Pseudo archaeological digs, art workshops and much more.
Price:         All activities will be free.

In the run up to the event the EIBP will be holding a series of art workshops that will lead to a mammoth exhibition at Redridge Central Library, including 3D maps of Ice Age Ilford and Stone Age Ilford.  Some art boards will be placed across certain parks across the Borough.  For further details please contact the EIBP using the following details:

Tel: 020 8514 0861 or Email:

Event Organiser Wilson Chowdhry said;

"Few people in Redbridge are knowledgeable on the great prehistory that emanates from our borough.  When Mammoths once roamed Ilford the area was a beautiful Savannah and although we are now far removed from this idyllic landscape, the significance of the finds is best recognised in the fact that the Ilford Mammoth is the only complete mammoth skull ever discovered in Britain. "

We hope that the event and our project will create a lasting desire to learn more about the Natural sciences, Earth sciences, Life sciences and our colourful local history.  Moreover, we hope the replica of the mammoth skull will draw international visitors to our borough and create a stronger sense of local pride."

Partner Groups include:

British Pakistani Christian Association London Geodiversity Partnership
Geologists' Association
Ilford Mammoth Project
Redbridge Museum
Natural History Museum
Essex Field Club
Ilford Historical Society
Youth Offender Team
Redbridge Enterprise

This project has been co-funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) as part of the BIS Science and Society Community Challenge Grant Scheme’.

A spokesperson said;

‘The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is pleased to support this project which takes science into a community setting. It is our hope as a result of the audience being engaged with this project that they will feel better informed about science issues affecting them and be inspired to be involved further in the future’.

Friday 30 May 2014

Natural History Mammoth Exhibition could be prelude to Ilford celebration!

Wilson's children drew images of a mammoth similar to ancient cave paintings.

Wilson Chowdhry and his family were one of only 190 guests invited to the launch of the Natural History Museum's Mammoth Exhibition.  The key attraction at the exhibition is the actual body of Lyubia a baby mammoth that was excavated in Russia.  Lyubia is the most complete mammoth ever uncovered and is on loan for the length of the exhibition, which ends 7th September 2014.  

Their VIP invite entitled them to a reception that included Ice Cream with Mammoth wafers, Naomi Chowdhry (6) said;

"The big mammoths were scary and I kept thinking they would come to life, but the ice cream was very tasty"

Hannah Chowdhry said;

"I felt very excited going into the museum late at night.  I have never seen the museum so empty, parts were creepy.  The Mammoth Exhibition was very exciting, the baby mammoth was very cute, I wish they were still alive today."

Wilson Chowdhry said;

It was a privilege to be invited to this wonderful Mammoth Exhibition launch.  Having seen the exhibits and the interactive displays, I would recommend the exhibition to all Redbridge residents as there is something for everyone.

He added;

Ilford is steeped in Mammoth history, and excavations here led to discovery of the only complete mammoth skull ever found in the UK."  

The East Ilford Betterment Partnership are working on a project with the NHM and Redbridge Museum, that could eventually lead to the installation of a replica of the complete mammoth skull found in Ilford.  The EIBP also hope to hold a mammoth celebration in Ilford Town Centre to commemorate 150 years since Sir Antonio Brady excavated mammoth remains locally.

Dates and times: Opens 23 May to 7 September 2014, 10.00–17.50 (last admission 17.15)
Visitor enquiries: 020 7942 5000
Admission: Adult £10*, child and concession £6*, family £28*
Adult £9, child and concession £5.40, family £25
Free for Members, Patrons and children under four
Nearest tube: South Kensington

A full press release regarding the Mammoth Exhibition at the Natural History Museum can be found at the end of the post (after images)

Supervised by capable NHM Staff  Hannah and Naomi learnt how to use their hands to create the mammoth shapes.

Young children were given clear instructions on how to use this ancient form of art.

Mammoth images allowed children to compare their artwork with the actual shape of mammoths.

Children were taught about scale and size.

A very popular activity that children instantly migrated towards.

The mammoth models helped children to conceptualise their art.

Attentive to the very end.

An illustration of the use of tusks in battle and their purpose in attracting mates, fascinated children (we think they just adored the toys!).

Mammoth wafers in ice cream were a special treat.


Even the adults could not resist!

Mummy I found a mammoth!

A wonderful evening in the museum was filled with surprises!

Palaeontologists allowed children to hold bones of ancient mammals, the most of which were derived from the UK

Screens displayed the history of mammoths in moving images.

Mammoth teeth were on display and illustrated the huge size of the mouths of these prehistoric beasts.

Teeth from an ancient predecessor to contemporary sloth illustrated its huge size.

A replica skeleton is one of the oldest exhibits in the Natural History Museum.

Wilson could not resist a picture.

Moving images illustrated the evolution of mammoths to elephants.

Replica tusks and mammoths filled the exhibition.


No Leah, it is not a removable toy!

Told ya!

Images of elephants contextualised the evolution of mammoths to elephants.

Replica mammoth poo brought out some giggles amongst children.

The displays were extremely eye-catching and informative without being over-written.

Wow this feels like real mammoth fur!

Mummy I want a baby mammoth.

Images caught the eyes of all visitors!

I can see the eyes!

Err?  My nose is not that big?

I like the baby!

Wow is this how people lived? 

The mammoths are coming! Mammoths: Ice Age Giants opens May 2014

Enter the amazing world of some of the largest creatures to have ever walked the earth in Mammoths: Ice Age Giants at the Natural History Museum. Be awestruck as huge fossils and life-size models of mammoths tower above you and come face to face with the powerful trunks and tusks belonging to these great beasts.
You’ll even be able to try out life as a mammoth: tusk jousting, trunk moving and feeling the weight of the hundreds of kilos of food a mammoth ate each day, equivalent to 230 bags of sugar.

The exhibition will take you on an inspiring journey from the time when these titans roamed the land through to today’s research into the causes of mammoth extinction and ways to protect their precious modern relative, the elephant. Meet some of the best-known species, from the infamous woolly mammoth and the spiral-tusked Columbian mammoth to their island-dwelling relative the dwarf mammoth. Discover prehistoric giants such as the mastodon, the fearsome sabre-tooth cat and the giant cave bear. Find out how they evolved, uncover their environment and behaviour, and consider how they finally went extinct.

Professor Adrian Lister, mammoths researcher at the Natural History Museum says, ‘This exhibition is very exciting as these amazing creatures were not only giants of the Ice Age, but the science behind their incredible lives is still relevant to the natural world today. This exhibition promises a rare glimpse into the Ice Age world of mammoths and their relatives through life-sized models, original skeletons and the latest science.’

Dates and times: Opens 23 May to 7 September 2014, 10.00–17.50 (last admission 17.15)
Visitor enquiries: 020 7942 5000
Admission: Adult £10*, child and concession £6*, family £28*
Adult £9, child and concession £5.40, family £25
Free for Members, Patrons and children under four
Nearest tube: South Kensington

* A voluntary donation is included in our admission ticket prices. If you are a UK taxpayer and pay the ticket price including donation, the Natural History Museum can reclaim the tax on the whole ticket price under the Gift Aid scheme.

Friday 2 May 2014

Police action on Ilford Lane pushes prostitution into other areas!

Cheap adverts like these awful stickers are becoming more commonplace around the borough as Police efforts to remove prostitution form Ilford Lane, result in a new wave of brothels across Ilford.  

The problem has been reported to Police since our Distraction Theft Police meeting held in February.  Yet adverts of this type seem to be proliferating and rather brazen women have recently took to the streets and tried to thrust their "business cards," into the hands of unsuspecting single men, innocently travelling along public walkways.  

Concerns about a particular brothel currently being run from Gordon Road (door number known), has meant that these stickers now appear on every lamp post on Gordon Road and Green Lane.  Moreover one of the neighbours who has three daughters, is concerned at the huge amount of footfall into the property throughout the day and night, and the quite considerable antisocial behaviour it has attracted.  

Our Local ASB Team has been informed of serious noise levels emanating from the property - not related to the business activity - I must add.  However, our Local Neighbourhood Police Team have had to stop their work on this social malaise, due to a special police operation that is underway.  

PCSO Heidi of Mayfield SNT updated us on the matter;

I tried calling but... In regards to XXXXXXXX. We are aware however, as previously explained Its being looked in to but with specialist units. I cant reveal to much but its being looked in to.

All of the above means that residents are going to have to bear with the problem for a while longer, while investigations take place.  I have been told the stickers I have sent photographs of,  have been used to identify the venue for the illicit activity and that Police have confirmed that the address is suspected for other criminal activity also, including drug trafficking. 

Wednesday 30 April 2014

Local children learn tolerance through art

Children from Clementswood Ward, Ilford, gathered at the location of their new art creation at Loxford Park.

A new art board created to highlight the benefits of peace was installed to the railings of Loxford Park yesterday (29.04.14).  The East Ilford Betterment Partnership challenged local children to design a piece of art that would highlight the pain and suffering that war can bring, while reflecting on how peacetime can generate great hope.

Local children from Clementswood Ward learnt about the severe loss of life during World War 1 at a series of art workshops in February.  Talks via members of the local TA centre and other local community leaders highlighted the futility of hatred and the need for tolerance. Children contemplated on how the world had changed over the last 100 years and created individual 3D poppies, that were showcased at Redbridge Central Libraries exhibition foyer (1st floor), from February to March.  The art workshops which were funded by London Community Foundation were held at Clementswood Community centre and were led by local artist Matt Ryan AKA MYCO.

Mr Ryan said;

"Children developed significant art skills and each participant created one of the poppies in the two zeros within the image.  The idea behind the design was a concept the children developed collaboratively and expressed a perception of new life and hope, that change over time has fostered."

Sania Satwat Chair of the EIBP said;

"Millions lost their lives during World War 1, which in all honesty had little purpose and benefited no-one. We hope the lessons children learnt about the value of life and the need to be more accepting, will make future society a better place to live."  

She added;

"The art board displayed at Loxford Park will be a reminder to people of all generations and diversities, that we must all be prepared to make the changes we feel are necessary for a fairer world."