Last week I wrote to the council to ask them to take the decision to approve Wanstead’s new café kiosk to their External Scrutiny Body. This is the committee which should hold the council to account on decisions it makes.

I set out three key questions on the kiosk around, how much it will cost, what is the business case for its implementation and why the decision to approve the scheme was taken behind closed doors. The decision to approve the kiosk in the face of 192 objections was, we felt undemocratic, and the reasons for its approval need to be examined in public. That request was rejected.

I also wrote to Cllr Islam, who chairs the Planning Committee on 10th September to ask why she decided to approve the scheme under delegated powers?. What were her reasons? I’ve yet to receive a reply. So, I asked the Chief Executive’s office if they could remind the councillor and ask them to reply. But, apparently, no councillor “is obliged to respond” to a member of the public.

If we can’t get an explanation from Vision Redbridge who developed the scheme, the council that granted itself planning permission, the councillor that made the decision in a closed meeting and no one can be made to make them answer – what hope is there for democracy, or is there something to hide? If there isn’t, why not just answer the questions in full, in public and for the people to see?

Scott Wilding

Wanstead Liberal Democrats