A housing expert has described a plan to cut council housing at two tower blocks and create homes for the private market as “the worst and most risky improvement scheme I have ever seen”.

Residents of Fred Wigg and John Walsh towers in Monague Road, Leytonstone, gathered at a meeting last night organised by housing campaign group Focus E15 Mothers at the Epicentre in West Street.

Group member Jasmine Stone called on them to fight the council decision to cut the number of homes for council tenants from 234 to 160.

The £40million project would see the towers refurbished over at least five years, with a separate building erected between the existing blocks.

Some of these new flats would be sold on the open market to raise £30million towards the project. 

The public meeting heard from the former assistant director of housing for Hackney council, Peter O’Kane, who lives in Ferndale Road, Leytonstone.

He was scathing in his assessment of the plan.

He said: “This is the worst and most risky improvement scheme I have ever seen and I will be very surprised if the council goes ahead with it.

“It is a massive financial risk for the council as it relies on the fact they will be able to sell some of the flats.

“If for some reason they can’t then it will leave a huge financial black hole.”

Residents spoke out last night of their desire to return to their homes after the refurbishment work.

Jordan Ajayi, a 22-year-old student, lives in Fred Wigg tower.

He said: “I don’t want to leave the place that I live, it is a perfect area overlooking Wanstead Flats and close to the Leytonstone town centre, I worry the council could make a lot of money from it.

“This is a democracy so we can do something about it, I am not prepared to give up my home and I will not be moved, I am planning on fighting this.”

The Labour council’s cabinet member for housing, Khevyn Limbajee, has dismissed Focus E15 Mothers’s campaign against the plans as “scaremongering”.

He said every resident will have a chance to return to the towers when they are finished and the renovation is needed to provide better homes and tackle overcrowding.

Focus E15 Mothers plans to attend a full council meeting at Waltham Forest town hall in Walthamstow on March 5.