Man accused of 'threatening' councillor over controversial Hainault housing is just 'passionate', campaigners say
PUBLISHED: 12:34 22 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:35 22 March 2019
A campaigner has denied accusations he sent a councillor a veiled threat on Facebook in protest at plans to house homeless families in Hainault parks.
Hainault councillor Mark Santos called on a deputation of campaigners at last night’s full council meeting, in Redbridge Town Hall, to condemn and disassociate themselves from the offending post.
But accused campaigner Les Kaye denied his post was threatening and said the council is using “diversionary tactics” to derail his deputation’s efforts to speak about protecting the Hainault estate’s green spaces.
Cllr Santos read the post aloud: “‘You are a disgrace to Hainault. How you can claim to represent people’s views when you’re proceeding to build 60 units in Manford Way is beyond rational thinking.
“You have no idea what outrage is felt among your constituents.
“And this is the point I wanted to raise - I hope I don’t bump into you. We will not forget.”
Les said: “I just said I hope I don’t bump into you in Manford Way. There is nothing threatening about that at all.
“I genuinely hope I don’t bump into you in Manford Way. But that’s not a threat. I just don’t want to meet you in particular.
“And that’s not the issue as well. This is a diversionary tactic by Mr Santos.”
Earlier that day Redbridge Council confirmed it had withdrawn plans to build 30 units of temporary accommodation in Brocket Way Park amid protests from nearby residents.
But it added that its application for Woodman Road, near Manford Way, would press ahead.
Among the deputation were campaigners Sam Chapman and Ashley Papworth who handed in a 3,000-signature petition against the proposal to the prime minister earlier this month.
Sam added: “What you’re trying to do is split the group, unfortunately. And that is a good tactic because it is an emotional one, but it is not a matter for the deputation.
“We disassociate ourselves with anything you might associate as violent or threatening somehow.
“I don’t think that is how Les meant it. Les is very passionate when he talks. He would not have meant it in a threatening or violent way.”