A petition calling for the reintroduction of an advisory panel which protected conservation areas has reached the figure necessary to trigger a full council debate.

The Conservation Advisory Panel, which worked to prevent inappropriate development in 16 areas of special architectural or historical interest across Redbridge, was abolished by the council's regulatory committee in July.

Ten of the conservation areas are in Wanstead and Woodford.

An attempt to have the decision reversed failed last month when it was upheld by the overview committee, despite an urgent plea by Historic England to reinstate the panel.

By removing the panel, and introducing a twice-yearly forum instead, the council said it expects to make annual savings of between £3,000 and £6,000 and free up planning officers time to refocus their efforts on planning applications.

But Conservative councillors and campaigners are not giving up, and have secured more then the necessary 1,500 signatures needed to trigger a full council.

The Labour council’s leader, councillor Jas Athwal, last month slammed opposition councillors and campaigners for fighting the "relatively minor matter" which needed to be done due to "budget challenges".

He said: "It's unhelpful that at such a time such a relatively minor matter has been needlessly extended.

"There are still robust methods in place for dealing with conservation as part of the planning process.

"Organisations that have an interest in particular conservation areas will still be able submit their comments on planning applications and have them carefully considered."

The petition will be handed in to the full council meeting at 7.15pm this Thursday (September 17) at Redbridge town hall in Ilford.