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."