Future of Redbridge’s area committee meetings to be reviewed

� Public meetings for residents to discuss neighbourhood issues could become “open forums” after a newly-formed panel was given the task of how to improve attendance.

Redbridge Council leader Cllr Keith Prince said he and the ruling coalition would nurture the seven area committee meetings, which serve and represent different parts of the borough.

“It has to be a one size fits all agreement,” he said.

“We’ll do some work on them and look at how we can get more people attending.”

This month, area committee four meetings were reduced from six a year to four, which sparked fears that the coalition may be trying to phase them out.

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Liberal Democrat leader and deputy council leader Cllr Ian Bond said: “We signed a partnership agreement with the Conservative Party to ensure the area committees are kept and helped to grow. The Big Society is all about things like area committee meetings and getting to the heart of local issues. They are a valid interface between the council and residents.”

Labour leader Cllr Bob Littlewood said: “Redbridge Council should assist in publicising these so there are more people at the meetings.

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“But I can speak for the whole of our group when I say we will defend any attempts to disband or reduce area committee meetings.”

Cllr Prince said the newly formed corporate panel would look at ways to get the public more intrested and involved in the meetings.

“We will look at devolving a bit more on spending and decision-making, and are definitely aiming to make them appeal to the public more,” he added.

The corporate panel is primarily councillors and non-voting council officers.

Redbridge Council said area committee meetings are publicised in several ways, including on noticeboards, in its Redbridge Life paper and on its website.

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