Plans to cut social housing as part of the six-year redevelopment of two landmark tower blocks were agreed yesterday - despite heavy opposition and fears over where people are going to live.

The number of social housing units will be stripped back from 234 to 160 at the Fred Wigg and John Walsh Towers in Montague Road, Leytonstone.

The decision was voted through by all Labour cabinet members at Waltham Forest town hall yesterday.

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

The council say this will enable it to raise an estimated three-quarters of the £40million required for the project.

A packed public gallery of residents and campaigners, including Focus E15 Mothers, reacted with anger as the decision was made.

Earlier in the meeting, Janet Francis of Tenants’ Action Group, who lives in Fred Wigg tower, said: “I do not understand where we will go.

We have asked constantly whether we be able to stay in Waltham Forest but no one is giving us answers.”

Cllr Chris Robbins said: "There is a long road before us but the time has come for this council to do something about this rather than stand by and watch the blocks deteriorate.”

For more on this story, see this week's Guardian - out Thursday