Ward Forums will not be fit substitutes for Community Councils unless changes are made to Labour’s proposals, say local Liberal Democrats.
It is clear that Labour is trying to muzzle the voice of the local community and avoid the challenge of having to justify their policies and proposals to residents in public.
said Liberal Democrat Leader Bob Sullivan.
A ward forum appears to be little more than a fancily titled ward surgery, which all good councillors do regularly anyway. Ward Forums ill not be subject to the same legal requirements at Community Councils so they will have no decision-making powers and can be more ecretive in how they work. Labour also proposes that they should meet less often and have very little support from council officers.
Cllr Sullivan also pointed out that most wards do not represent natural communities with some ward boundaries running arbitrarily through areas which share common interests.
One ward boundary runs straight through the middle of Lloyd Park. Issues relating to Walthamstow High Street are relevant to all Walthamstow residents, not ust those who live in High Street ward.
If the Labour Party is still interested in what the community want to talk about then why not reduce the current six community councils to hree that represent Chingford, Walthamstow and Leyton/Leytonstone. The majority of people do not relate to ward boundaries but they do elate to these areas. This would not only make a financial saving ut continue to give a voice to the borough’s residents.