HAVERING Council has been accused of deliberately stifling criticism of controversial flightpaths over the borough.
Residents at the Hornchurch Area Committee meeting held at Langtons Junior School last Tuesday, April 7, were furious that the council twice delayed debate on proposals for increased aircraft flights over Hornchurch.
Under a proposal made by the National Air Transport Service, two flight paths from London City Airport would be re-directed over Hornchurch.
Coupled with the airport's plan to increase flights by 50-per-cent, this could spell a daily increase of 40 flights per day crossing the borough.
Yet when Havering Council had the chance to voice an opinion on these proposals, which many residents fear will create added noise and pollution, it did not respond to consultations, or invite residents to comment, the meeting heard.
Labour Leader Cllr Keith Darvill planned to raise a critical motion on the administration's inaction at a full council meeting in early February. But he never got the chance as the meeting was cut short because of snow.
He was stopped from raising the issue at the last council meeting in March, when yet again, it ran out of time.
Cllr Darvill will now have to wait until the end of July - six months after he first planned to raise the issue.
Hornchurch residents slammed the delay at the area committee meeting, with one saying: "I was at that council meeting and it's pretty obvious that the administration deliberately tried to fiddle it so that this hasn't been heard.
"They don't want to debate it, they just want a vote where they can steamroll it."
Cllr John Mylod said: "It was up for debate on two accounts and it was talked out. Instead, they dealt with silly things they probably shouldn't have."
Cllr Keith Darvill said he wanted the motion to be debated, rather than simply voted on. He said: "There was a delay on debate because of a long discussion on members' allowances, and then the Ombudsman report on Mark Cannon."
Leader of the Council, Cllr Michael White said later: "I have become increasingly aware of residents' concerns about the planned changes to flight paths and we will contribute to the NATs consultation on the flight paths."
"All motions are placed on the agenda after general business, voting, reports, questions and other business are debated. Unfortunately we didn't get time to debate this motion but it is listed as the first motion for the next time and I look forward to the debate.