Abolishing planning and area committees 'a democratic outrage' according to Redbridge Conservatives leader Paul Canal

Paul Canal, leader of Redbridge Conservatives, is outraged at the centralisation move by Redbridge council

Paul Canal, leader of Redbridge Conservatives, is outraged at the centralisation move by Redbridge council

First published in News
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East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Scrapping planning and area committees is a ‘democratic outrage’ according to the Conservative leader in Redbridge.

Leader of Redbridge Conservatives, Paul Canal, has spoken out against the move to centralise decision-making in the borough.

Local area and planning committee meetings were officially abolished in a council meeting last Thursday at Redbridge Town Hall in Ilford.

All planning decisions will now be made by planning officials, while council leader Jas Athwal proposes to replace the area meetings with monthly public forums around the borough, with no decision-making powers.

Cllr Canal, of Bridge ward, said: “This is a democratic outrage which will destroy local accountability and it has been replaced with a Jas and Wes [Streeting] roadshow.

“To destroy these meetings is simply arrogance from Labour and the alternative offered is unworkable.

"There will now be no money or decisions on a local level which I would quite simply call theft.

“The Conservatives are not against reform but we are against centralised control where the residents who use these services are ignored."

The Labour-led council hope the new arrangements will save the council £845,000 a year.

The new approach is being described as a ‘market place’ where residents can browse and ask questions at stalls staffed by council officers, councillors and partner and voluntary sector organisations.

These proposals will be discussed and implemented at a cabinet meeting in September.

Council leader Jas Athwal said: “We believe this is best option for local residents.

"Area committees in their current state were only engaging a very small percentage of the borough’s residents and were costing you, as taxpayers, an awful lot of money.

"We said we would deliver on a workable alternative and I believe we have kept our word.

“If this new model is introduced we believe we can reach a larger section of the community and get to the heart of what really matters to residents.

"The format is flexible and offers much more scope for discussion or for personal one to one concerns to be dealt with."

Comments (2)

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8:30pm Mon 21 Jul 14

Villagecranberry says...

This statement from the Tories is long overdue.
This statement from the Tories is long overdue. Villagecranberry
  • Score: 1

9:54am Tue 22 Jul 14

T. Watts says...

I think PC anal needs to have a good look around Wanstead before he starts whining about the 'good old days' of Tory planning rules - hideous extensions thrown up all over the place (white plastic column anyone?); horrible houses squeezed onto the tightest of plots without any consideration given to the surrounding architecture or the impact on their neighbours; ugly illegal extensions allowed to stay because the council has no will to enforce the law or demolish them; block after block of flats chucked up wherever you like, further stressing an already overstetched infrastructure. The new system may not be perfect - but can it be any worse than what the old system has left us with?
I think PC anal needs to have a good look around Wanstead before he starts whining about the 'good old days' of Tory planning rules - hideous extensions thrown up all over the place (white plastic column anyone?); horrible houses squeezed onto the tightest of plots without any consideration given to the surrounding architecture or the impact on their neighbours; ugly illegal extensions allowed to stay because the council has no will to enforce the law or demolish them; block after block of flats chucked up wherever you like, further stressing an already overstetched infrastructure. The new system may not be perfect - but can it be any worse than what the old system has left us with? T. Watts
  • Score: 0

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