Fears for local democracy as public committees abolished on 'dark day for Redbridge'

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Area committees were abolished officially last night. Area committees were abolished officially last night.

Residents reacted angrily after local area committee meetings were officially scrapped yesterday evening at Redbridge Town Hall in Ilford.


The decision-making committees, which had an annual budget and enabled residents and councillors to discuss policies and local issues, were set up in 2000.


Diana Watson, coordinator for Wanstead Gordon Road Neighbourhood Watch, said: “This will take away our voices in the local community.


“We pay council tax so we should decide what is an appropriate use of public money and taking away our democracy is wrong.”


Michael Powis, 73, of Grosvenor Road in Wanstead, said: “Residents are not going to come to full council meetings to air their views because it is too intimidating and formal.


“We don’t have time to travel to Ilford for every council meeting, it was much more convenient to meet with councillors where we lived, it’s terrible this has been passed.”


Labour is proposing to replace the meetings with monthly public forums, with no decision-making powers.


Liberal Democrat Cllr Ian Bond said: “It is a dark day for the borough and this is a shameful decision to make as residents have a right to challenge councillors.


“There will now be very little opportunity for residents to speak face to face with councillors, it is quite simply the wrong thing to do.”


Council leader Jas Athwal defended the decision, citing savings of around £800,000 as the reason for the move.


He said: “The cost and poor attendance of these meetings means they could not be justified, we have to save £50 million in the next four years and hard decisions need to be made.


“We have been transparent and it was one of our election pledges so residents had their say on the matter by voting us into the council.”

 

Comments (7)

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8:59am Fri 18 Jul 14

UKIP-local says...

This is a bad day for democracy in Redbridge. It tells us a lot about the contempt they have towards the public and politics in general.

In Norfolk Labour councillors worked in alliance with UKIP to abolish the cabinet system (in which decisions are taken in secret meetings). Cabinet members are not even allowed to discuss policies outside cabinet in case they are influenced by what the public want! I had begun to think Labour really had embraced democracy.

In Redbridge, meanwhile, the council is going in completely the wrong direction. Clearly they only act to change the system when another party is in power. That is not democracy it is tribalism.
This is a bad day for democracy in Redbridge. It tells us a lot about the contempt they have towards the public and politics in general. In Norfolk Labour councillors worked in alliance with UKIP to abolish the cabinet system (in which decisions are taken in secret meetings). Cabinet members are not even allowed to discuss policies outside cabinet in case they are influenced by what the public want! I had begun to think Labour really had embraced democracy. In Redbridge, meanwhile, the council is going in completely the wrong direction. Clearly they only act to change the system when another party is in power. That is not democracy it is tribalism. UKIP-local
  • Score: 0

9:14am Fri 18 Jul 14

Villagecranberry says...

This is a worrying trend.

Why are the Tories not saying much on this?
This is a worrying trend. Why are the Tories not saying much on this? Villagecranberry
  • Score: -2

9:14am Fri 18 Jul 14

How It Is... says...

Yet more centralisation from Labour, first Local Area Committees, now Local Planning Committees. The moves will make it far easier for Labour to sell off land, build inappropriate developments and ignore local concerns.

Have a developer put a planning application in for your house he does not own? Tough, it complies with planning law...

Local Village green proposed for houses and shops? Tough, it complies with planning law...

Proposed Mosque of inapropriate design, totally out of keeping with the local area? you can guess the answer....

Wonder what the borough will look like after Labours four year term....
Yet more centralisation from Labour, first Local Area Committees, now Local Planning Committees. The moves will make it far easier for Labour to sell off land, build inappropriate developments and ignore local concerns. Have a developer put a planning application in for your house he does not own? Tough, it complies with planning law... Local Village green proposed for houses and shops? Tough, it complies with planning law... Proposed Mosque of inapropriate design, totally out of keeping with the local area? you can guess the answer.... Wonder what the borough will look like after Labours four year term.... How It Is...
  • Score: 1

11:45am Fri 18 Jul 14

mdj says...

The answer is for local neighbourhoods to hire a church hall every couple of months, hold their own meetings, and invite their councillors, telling them in advance what will be discussed. This should only cost a pound or two a head for those who care enough to get involved.
See if the councillors dare not to attend...
The answer is for local neighbourhoods to hire a church hall every couple of months, hold their own meetings, and invite their councillors, telling them in advance what will be discussed. This should only cost a pound or two a head for those who care enough to get involved. See if the councillors dare not to attend... mdj
  • Score: 6

11:46am Fri 18 Jul 14

RedbridgeCouncil says...

Residents interested in the proposals for local forums which will replace Area Committees, can find more information about them here

http://www2.redbridg
e.gov.uk/cms/news_an
d_events/latest_news
/2014/july/area_comm
ittees.aspx
Residents interested in the proposals for local forums which will replace Area Committees, can find more information about them here http://www2.redbridg e.gov.uk/cms/news_an d_events/latest_news /2014/july/area_comm ittees.aspx RedbridgeCouncil
  • Score: -3

2:55pm Sun 20 Jul 14

weknewit says...

Maybe people should just start turning up at the full council meetings, airing their views by protest.... im sure the press would have a field day. Sod the formality, gate crash the full council meetings and just start shouting until you are heard or removed..... that's how the minorities get what they want. Labour will lose what they "save" in the extra they have to spend on security.
Maybe people should just start turning up at the full council meetings, airing their views by protest.... im sure the press would have a field day. Sod the formality, gate crash the full council meetings and just start shouting until you are heard or removed..... that's how the minorities get what they want. Labour will lose what they "save" in the extra they have to spend on security. weknewit
  • Score: 0

2:58pm Sun 20 Jul 14

weknewit says...

How It Is... wrote:
Yet more centralisation from Labour, first Local Area Committees, now Local Planning Committees. The moves will make it far easier for Labour to sell off land, build inappropriate developments and ignore local concerns.

Have a developer put a planning application in for your house he does not own? Tough, it complies with planning law...

Local Village green proposed for houses and shops? Tough, it complies with planning law...

Proposed Mosque of inapropriate design, totally out of keeping with the local area? you can guess the answer....

Wonder what the borough will look like after Labours four year term....
More mosques by stealth and brown envelopes, and nice dinners had by some councillors to "get them on side" (you know who you are if you're reading this).. it will all come out one day, and the people that let these go through had better be afraid of the ramifications.
[quote][p][bold]How It Is...[/bold] wrote: Yet more centralisation from Labour, first Local Area Committees, now Local Planning Committees. The moves will make it far easier for Labour to sell off land, build inappropriate developments and ignore local concerns. Have a developer put a planning application in for your house he does not own? Tough, it complies with planning law... Local Village green proposed for houses and shops? Tough, it complies with planning law... Proposed Mosque of inapropriate design, totally out of keeping with the local area? you can guess the answer.... Wonder what the borough will look like after Labours four year term....[/p][/quote]More mosques by stealth and brown envelopes, and nice dinners had by some councillors to "get them on side" (you know who you are if you're reading this).. it will all come out one day, and the people that let these go through had better be afraid of the ramifications. weknewit
  • Score: 2
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