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Redbridge Council revamp Local Forums but opposition warn changes are ‘cosmetic’

PUBLISHED: 10:40 05 September 2018

Council Leader Cllr Jas Athwal,  Cllr Paul Canal, Redbridge Council chief executive Andy Donald and Cllr Dev Sharma attended the Karamsar centre local forum in November last year. Photo: Aaron Walawalkar

Council Leader Cllr Jas Athwal, Cllr Paul Canal, Redbridge Council chief executive Andy Donald and Cllr Dev Sharma attended the Karamsar centre local forum in November last year. Photo: Aaron Walawalkar

Archant

Redbridge Council has revamped the format of monthly Local Forums – but the opposition warn the changes will be merely “cosmetic”.

The new format will again see twelve Local Forums - meetings between residents, councillors and officers - take place each year across four “neighbourhoods” into which the borough’s 22 wards have been divided.

Residents, councillors and officers will agree the priorities for their area in the first meeting as well as questioning Council Leader Jas Athwal.

Cllr Helen Coomb, cabinet member for transformation and engagement, said: “We envisage a more market-style approach to the forums with our valued residents given the opportunity to chat with officers and councillors about any issue in a more relaxed way before we tackle a key issue.

“However, nothing is set in stone and it will be for individual forums to collaborate on the format that works best for their area.”

But Conservative group leader Cllr Linda Huggett said: “The time slot for questioning the Labour leader should not be cut, and a representative from each Ward should be on the panel in their area.

“Unless there is consultation with ward Councillors over the appropriate format and date, the changes Labour propose will be cosmetic.

“We continue to be believe that Labour should bring back Area Committees, which made Ward Councillors fully accountable to residents and gave residents a real say in what happens locally.

Last month the Recorder reported that no Local Forums took place between March and July this year while the council was “examining [their] future”.

To view a full schedule of meetings go to redbridge.gov.uk/about-the-council/local-forums/

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