Neighbours have accused the council of “very weak” communication with regards to plans for a new community hub in Gants Hill.

Redbridge Council wants to consolidate a number of services – including council offices, pharmacies, libraries and police stations – under one roof.

Before the proposals move onto the design stage, the council is holding two public meetings to give residents the chance to tell officers what services they would like.

But Kartik Parekh, of Barkingside has accused the council of “very weak” communication. He said he only found out about the proposals through the local press.

He said: “The whole lack of communication is one aspect, but the bigger concern is that decisions have already been made by the council as evidenced by ‘new Community Hub is coming’ statement on the council website and banners, as well as questions on the online consultation which ask residents which local services are important without providing important context on what that means for housing.”

Mr Parekh said he believes the public consultation is “more of a tick-box or PR exercise” and will have “little impact” on the proposals.

He added: “The considerations of residents are being brushed aside where they are in opposition to the project or where suggestions are beyond any cosmetic changes.”

The Barkingside resident is also worried that cabinet documents and the Redbridge Local Plan, which allocates developments across the borough, both indicate plans for housing around the new hub.

Mr Parekh worries this would put greater pressure on already stretched resources.

He said: “It all seems needlessly vague and the full context in terms of housing and the bearing that has on what residents are being asked to consult on has not been provided; where housing will cross-subsidise any services that residents would like to see within the Community Hub.

“Questions on the online consultation do not ask directly if residents would like certain services accommodated but if they find those certain services very important, important, somewhat important etc.

“From a general communication perspective these services are important but any new housing that will be cross-subsiding these very important or important services will be in an area that is already very densely populated with high-rise buildings.”

Mr Parekh is urging people to fill in the online consultation feedback form on the issue.

He said: "This is the only way your views and concerns of the project will be recorded."

A council spokesperson said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming residents to one of our community engagement workshops in Gants Hill. Our consultation has been widely publicised through all of the council’s channels, including Redbridge Life hard copy and online copy, information in public buildings and posters and leaflets in the local area.

“The headline dates and outline information were also communicated at a public meeting in Gants Hill earlier in the year. We are grateful to the local media for picking this up, and pleased to have confirmation that residents have heard the message.

“The council is committed to co-designing these hubs with residents and finding solutions to protect our services for the long term, we have had a very positive experience working with people in Seven Kings.

“We obviously can’t provide a detailed proposal until we know what residents want from their hub and the subsequent designs are produced, but we look forward to coming up with the right solution for local people in Gants Hill.”

The first two public sessions will take place at Redbridge Institute, Gaysham Avenue, Gants Hill on Wednesday, July 10 at 2.30pm to 5pm and 6pm to 8pm. Further sessions will be arranged.