The cabinet member for housing in Waltham Forest has defended his decision to back proposals to cut social housing provision at two landmark tower blocks.

Cllr Khevyn Limbajee will recommend that cabinet backs his recommendation to strip back the number of social housing from 234 to 160 at the Fred Wigg and John Walsh Towers in Montague Road, Leytonstone.

Under the preferred plan, a building will be erected between the existing blocks, which overlook Wanstead Flats, and some new flats will be sold in the open market.

This would enable the council to raise an estimated three-quarters of the £40million required for the project.

Campaign groups Focus E15 Mothers and Tenants’ Action Group spoke out against plans at a public meeting on Tuesday evening, calling for a simple refurbishment to be completed instead.

But Cllr Limbajee defended his recommendation, which he claims will transform the quality of housing in the two blocks and help to alleviate overcrowding.

He said: “It will be up to the council to decide next week whether they approve our preferred option, but I believe the plans we have to transform the estate and area will allow us to address some of the big issues facing residents.

“We know that over half of the people living in the tower blocks are currently suffering overcrowding and that there is a pressing need to improve the quality of the housing inside and out.

“The scheme we are proposing to adopt will provide a long term solution that is financially viable, providing not just 160 new high quality council homes but almost 40 shared ownership homes too.

“From a broader perspective, the council is planning for 8,000 new homes over next five years.

“Half of these will be affordable, and where development takes place on council-owned sites these will be new council owned homes.”

The council’s cabinet will make a decision at Waltham Forest town hall in Walthamstow at 2pm on Tuesday.