Cllr Michael White apologises for ‘no-show’ at own ‘Meet the Leader’ session

11:41 25 March 2013

Leader of Havering Council Cllr Michael White

Leader of Havering Council Cllr Michael White


Council leader Michael White has come under fire from Elm Park residents after failing to turn up for his own Q&A session.

Residents were bemused when Cllr White sent a replacement to the monthly “Meet the Leader” session at the Tesco in Elm Park Avenue last Friday (March 15) –community safety boss Cllr Geoff Starns.

Those who had arrived were told Cllr White had been called away to an “emergency meeting in London”.

Cllr White told the Recorder: “I’m sorry that, on this occasion, I wasn’t able to attend the event. But, rather than cancel, I ensured there was a cabinet member there in my place to answer residents’ questions and feed back their comments.”

The choice of venue was also criticised, with Tesco’s management apparently not having been adequately informed the meeting was taking place.

“It was a total farce,” said Elm Park resident Barry Mugglestone. “It appeared that the manager of Tesco had no idea the consultation was taking place, and shoppers in Tesco had to keep asking if they could pass while the discussions were taking place with Cllr Starns.

“When the question was asked why this location had been chosen, the response was: ‘Where else could it be done?’

“But we have a library, a church hall and the Royal British Legion.”

Streetlife user Stephanie Nunn added: “The venue was inappropriate and a resident on a mobility scooter was frustrated at not being included in the discussion, which I pointed out.

“I thank Cllr Starns for coming, but he didn’t really know our area.”

Cllr White said: “Our residents’ views are really important to us, which is why we try to use busy places like supermarkets for Meet the Leader events. Tesco already hosts them in their larger local stores, and had offered us the use of their Elm Park store.

“We will take on board people’s feedback about limited space at the recent event, and look at other locations in Elm Park.”

In February last year Cllr White was criticised for “pulling a sickie” after failing to attend an “Ask the Cabinet” session – only to arrive at the cabinet meeting minutes later.

The same meeting in August was cancelled without notice, even though 10 members of the public – including one who had come all the way from Hertfordshire – had already turned up.

That session has now been replaced by monthly “Community Questions” sessions, the next of which will take place tomorrow at Langtons in Hornchurch from 7pm.


Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 12:00
Havering Town Hall.

Havering Council has approved releasing more than £83million to provide affordable housing in the borough.

Yesterday, 12:00
Campaigners demonstrate in front of the Mecca Bingo hall in Hornchurch after Lidl submitted a planning application to demolish the Tower building

Campaigners battling to save the Mecca Bingo Hall building in Hornchurch are vowing to battle on and will appeal a decision not to list the building.

Yesterday, 10:00
Borough commander Jason Gwillim told the Recorder it was

The Borough Commander and MPs have welcomed the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s decision to scrap cuts to police forces.

Fri, 16:10
Recorder reporter Hayley Anderson with her national journalism award

Recorder reporter Hayley Anderson was highly commended in a national journalism awards evening in Birmingham last night.

Fri, 15:45
Time FM Steve Allen will host the chat with the Recorder's Chris Carter and Laura Burnip

A swan that got police in a flap, term-time holidays and Havering’s mirocpub were the topics covered on today’s Recorder paper review on Time 107.5FM.

Fri, 13:29
Ryan Machin and his mother Michelle Bennett at their home in Romford after Ryan took the last British Airways flight back from Sharm el-Sheikh to London

A 17-year-old who worked in a hotel in Sharm el-Sheikh was one of the last passengers to be repatriated to the UK and calls on people not to be afraid to return to the holiday resort.

Fri, 11:28
Two fire engines attended a house fire at an address in Park Lane, Hornchurch on Wednesday evening and a man was rushed to hopistal where he was treated for smoke inhalation

A man was rushed to hospital for smoke inhalation after firefighters were called at a flat in Hornchurch on Wednesday evening.

Fri, 10:57
Boys born in Cranham will live healthily for 17 years longer than those in Harold Hill

New statistics show the inequality in expectations for our children

Most read news

News from your area


Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.


MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!


You are never far from an Argos, wherever in the country you may be. They are like a magical cavern where whatever you need they seem to have it out the back behind the counter. So why not put them to the test with this great MyOffers competition to win £1000 to spend in-store.

Digital Edition

Read the Romford Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder