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More than 30 residents attended the new Havering Communty Questions.

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The public forum, which replaced the Ask the Cabinet meetings took place on Monday November 19 in Havering Town Hall in Main Road, Romford.

The panel included Dr Atul Aggarwal, who leads Havering’s new GP commisioning group, council leader Michael White and Chief Supt Mick Smith.

The meeting was chaired by Mark Sweetingham, the editor of the Romford Recorder.

It saw residents quizzing the panel about a range of topics including the future of St George’s Hospital and their local Safer Neighbourhood teams.

The meetings are set to take place quarterly in different locations throughout the borough, but resident Lorraine Moss said that there weren’t enough oppertunities for residents to speak to Cllr White about their concerns.

She said: “I feel that these meetings are not fit for purpose.

“Who did you consult about introducing these meetings?

“The most obvious people to speak to would have been those that attended the ask the cabinet meetings but we weren’t consulted.

“The only other chance that people have to chat to you is at the Meet the Leader sessions, but they take place during the day so they are not ideal for people who work full time.”

Leader of the Council, Michael White said: “I think this is a much better public forum than the ask the cabinet meetings.

“They provide an opportunity for people to ask questions to those people who run public services.

“This is the first meeting that has been held and I would like to take it out of the town hall.”

He added: “I think I am the only leader in London that stays in the town centre and talks to people, I do that every four weeks so I am always open to speaking to residents.”

The session was webcast and can be viewed at http://www.havering.public-i.tv/core/

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