A group of Redbridge residents are campaigning to wrestle power away from the council leader and cabinet.

It’s Our Redbridge needs petition signatures from five per cent of the borough’s voters, around 10,500 people, to trigger a referendum on how council is run.

Residents would be offered a choice to stay with the current system, in which leader Cllr Jas Athwal and his cabinet make almost all decisions, or a “modern committee” system.

Under this system, used for all local councils until 2000, decisions are made by committees, where the number of councillors from each party reflect the make-up of the council as a whole.

Petition leader Caroline Porter said: “There are 70 councillors voted in and then the main leader chooses 10 and the rest do not have a say. Where’s the democracy in that?

“If they are all best buddies, they can do what they want and ignore everyone else.”

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The petition emerged from a campaign to stop development on Manford Way park (credit: Caroline Porter)

Redbridge Council currently has 63 councillors and nine cabinet members, including leader Cllr Athwal.

Ms Porter explained the campaign was sparked by anger over the Manford Way Green development, a project to which more than 4,000 residents objected.

She added: “It’s not fair for the borough to be ignored when important issues like a community park are just bulldozed over.

“This is not just Hainault’s fight, this is for the whole borough. There are other developments going on which people have objected to and are not happy about.

“We want to get the referendum up and running so people can decide how they want the council to be run and hopefully they will make the right choice.”

Read more: Asbestos and lead found at Manford Way park site

Building work on temporary homes for 60 homeless families in Woodman Road park, near Manford Way, began last month and is expected to last until July.

The campaign group took the council to a High Court judicial review in an attempt to halt the development but was unsuccessful.

Caroline Porter explained It’s Our Redbridge planned to start knocking on doors in the area and aimed to reach its ambitious target in six months.

So far, only two London boroughs have gone back to the committee system since it was made possible in 2011: Barnet and Richmond.

A spokesperson for Redbridge council said: “We’ll consider the merits of any petition when it is received, as per the existing rules.

“In the meantime, we’ll continue to operate council business as usual through the current, tried-and-tested system.”

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