Anti-mini Holland protesters have expressed their disgust at not being let into the public gallery whilst a crucial council vote on the cycle scheme was passed.

Hundreds of people turned out to show their opposition to road closures across the borough at a full council meeting at the Town Hall in Walthamstow on Thursday (October 22).

The meeting was placed on restricted access for health and safety reasons as groups from both sides held a 'peaceful' rally in the grounds, yet the protest group E17 Streets For All say only two speakers were allowed in the council chamber to the mini-Holland supporters' three.

Aarif Gearay, of E17 Streets For All, told the council the group weren’t against the £30 million scheme but that road closures were 'tearing the community' apart.

“It is very sad but with such a strong majority Labour they think they can do whatever they want”, the 29-year-old said.

“I have spoken to councillors who are personally against the plans but fear of being suspended if they vote against them.

“We are just asking for a more equal scheme that takes into account the rich and the poor, the cyclists, the disabled and elderly, who were not consulted fairly.

He added: “Why weren’t our supporters or even our parents allowed into the chamber?”

“When we got inside there can’t have been more than ten people in the gallery.

“It undermines democracy and the very idea of a public meeting.”

Before the meeting Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow, revealed she had still not received a response from the council for a guarantee that a full review of the scheme will take place after six months.

Mr Gearay added: “If they do not respond to a Labour MP what chance does a resident have?”

Kathy Woodman, of Beech Hall Road, claimed the council had allocated tickets to the meeting throughout the day but had only informed select people by email.

She said: “This is not democracy. As a Labour supporter I think the way the consultation was carried out and the manipulation of access to the council meeting is an absolute disgrace and an embarrassment to them.”

In the meeting the council committed to rolling the scheme out throughout Waltham Forest but agreed to prepare a new strategy for improving engagement with residents, businesses, the disabled, and emergency services.

Cllr Grace Williams said: “Mini Holland is about road safety and road safety isn’t just about accidents, it’s about encouraging people to get out of their cars.”

Fiona Stevens, of Pembroke Road, agreed that people should be dissuaded from using cars for local journeys.

The 41-year-old said: “Not only is more walking, scooting and cycling positive for health, well-being and safety – but it is so important in creating local community cohesion and supporting local business, as people chat to neighbours and shop on their way."

However, Cllr Matt Davis, leader of Waltham Forest Conservatives, said he was deeply disappointed with the “cack handed and arrogant way” that the council had chosen to implement the scheme.

“It’s hard to remember when we last saw a protest that big outside the Town Hall. Surely that must give Labour pause for thought,” he said.

Waltham Forest council has been approached for comment.