A series of measures paid for through the controversial scrapping of area committees were approved.

Redbridge council's Policy and Resource Committee agreed to invest £209,000 of a £500,000 saving at Ilford town hall last night.

Measures include free swimming for the over-60s and those who qualify for concessions and lifting parking restrictions in roadside parking bays on bank holidays. 

A total of £32,000 will be spent on crime prevention, including support programmes for victtims of hate crimes and improved street lighting in crime hotspots.

Free bulky waste collection available to over 60s, the unemployed and disabled since April will apply to all residents in an attempt to tackle fly-tipping.

Other measures included the reinstatement of a public toilet at The Wash in Cranbrook Road at a cost of£25,000 and new toilets in Barkingside.

Opposition Conservative councillors have attacked the move to scrap area committees, which enabled councillors and residents to discuss issues such as planning and allocate funds to neighbourhood projects, saying it removed democratic accountability.

The committee will be replaced by forums covering larger areas, which will not be allocated a budget.

But Labour leader Jas Athwall said: “I want to get rid of the silo mentality that area committees fostered and do what’s good for the whole of our borough.”

“There will be no more pet projects to be spent [in councillors] own wards.”