Campaigners gathered outside Waltham Forest town hall last night, but were disappointed to learn the meeting they had planned to attend had been postponed.

A full council meeting due to be held last night at 7pm was postponed until September. There hasn’t been a full council meeting since April – it is the longest the council has gone without a full council meeting in more than a decade.

Families and teachers demanding change from the council on its treatment of children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) turned up to protest against cuts to funding.

At the same time, other residents gathered to protest against plans for the installation of residential tower blocks at Walthamstow Town Square and the felling of mature lime trees as part of the project.

But as of Friday July 12, Waltham Forest Council announced the postponement of the full council meeting, stating it would instead be held in September due to a “lack of business”.

A spokesperson for the council said: “The council meeting due to take place on Thursday July 18 has been postponed after consultation with both political groups until Thursday September 12 due to a lack of business.

“The meeting has not been cancelled. If there is a lack of business to discuss, it is more cost-effective for the public purse to wait until there is a full agenda of items.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused to members of the public who were due to speak at this meeting. They will be welcome to speak at the 12 September meeting.”

The protests went ahead regardless last night and one SEND campaigner, Claire Bithnell, later commented on the council’s “cowardly behaviour” on Twitter.

She said: “There was going to be schools & families affected by the special educational needs and disability cuts being made by Waltham Forest Council attending [the full council meeting]. Cowardly behaviour by the council – but we are still going ahead with our ‘celebrate our kids’ picnic.”

James Cracknell, editor of the indepedent newspaper the Waltham Forest Echo, also took to Twitter to voice his concerns.

He said: “By the time of the next meeting of full council – the main forum for debate among councillors about important local issues – it will have been nearly four months since the previous one.

“I just checked the records – there hasn’t been such a long gap between meetings for 14 years.”

He added that “[he has] little faith left in this council’s commitment to local democracy and being held to account by its residents.”