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Heated debate on area committees set to take place as Labour prepares to axe them

Cllr Paul Canal, leader of the Conservatives Cllr Paul Canal, leader of the Conservatives

Thursday, July 17, 2014
10:43 AM

A heated debate on whether area committees should be abolished is set to take place at the town hall tonight.

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Wes Streeting, deputy leader of Labour in RedbridgeWes Streeting, deputy leader of Labour in Redbridge

Members of Redbridge Council will be asked to agree with plans to bin the committees, in proposals brought forward by Labour.

Cllr Paul Canal, leader of the Conservatives, said the move was a “disgrace”.

“I think it is going to be a very sad meeting,” he said. “It is the first time in 14 years that the council is going to disengage with the people of Redbridge.

“Nothing will happen to engage with the public for the next few months – that is simply a disgrace.

“We still hope Labour will listen to us and agree to put in place their alternative before they abolish area committees.”

But Cllr Wes Streeting, Labour’s deputy leader, said he hopes his party’s plans for “less bureaucratic” community forums, which are due to launch in the autumn, would be well received.

He said: “I think what we are setting out is a really positive proposal for community forums where residents are able to go along and raise concerns about the local area.

“We are making these far more accessible and I think they will be welcoming places – they will also have stalls from different voluntary and council organisations.”

The community forums would take place every month in different sites.

The contentious plans have led to opposition from some residents, but Labour has insisted that area committees are not value for money.

If council members agree, the proposals will be explored and a report put before cabinet in October.

Read more:

Labour leader Jas Athwal: Keeping area committee meetings will bankrupt the borough

Labour election candidate Mark Santos under fire over area committee criticism

Area committees: Vital for local democracy or failed way to engage with residents?

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