Waltham Forest Council leader will not attend housing hustings organised by Save Our Square E17.

Clare Coghill has decided not to take part in the pre-election event, on April 24.

In a letter to the council leader, independent candidate James O’Rourke expressed his disappointment.

He also invited Cllr Coghill to meet the Save Our Square E17 group at another time before polling day to discuss policy issues in person.

Addressing Cllr Coghill, Mr O’Rourke wrote: “As I’m sure you will agree housing is one of the key issues in the forthcoming local elections.

“As a High Street ward councillor your electorate has a right to hear your thoughts on the Capital & Regional plans to regenerate Walthamstow Town Square which was given approval by your colleagues at the end of last year.

“As Leader of the council, the wider electorate of Waltham Forest has a right to hear what your plans are to deliver affordable housing for local residents in the coming years.”

The suggestion was also made that, if Cllr Coghill could not personally attend a meeting with the campaign, cabinet member for Transformation and Commercial Operations, Cllr Liaquat Ali, could go instead.

Mr O’Rourke added: “To not have a public debate on housing prior to polling day is simply unthinkable.

“I look forward to [Cllr Coghill’s] reply and the opportunity to debate housing in Waltham Forest with a Labour Party representative.”

In a statement, Clare Coghill said: “Myself and other Cabinet Members have been invited to attend and speak to residents at numerous hustings, which we have accepted. I am speaking at the WF Citizens hustings, for instance.

“During the busy election period, it is not always possible to attend every hustings, but I make myself available to speak to residents about any and all issues they may have”.