ANGRY residents slammed the new format for council forums last night, arguing it puts a stop to open discussion.

Dozens of people turned out to Chipping Barnet residents’ forum to discuss important local issues, but left feeling disappointed saying too many rules stood in their way.

Changes made to the council’s constitution in May mean the same matter cannot be raised twice within a six month time period.

The constitution also states matters must not relate to planning or licensing issues.

But irritation swept the floor last night as residents were told they could not discuss their traffic concerns relating to plans for a major waste plant in Bounds Green.

The Pinkham Way proposals could see Europe's largest waste plant built on their doorsteps, but the council’s business governance officer, Maria Lugangira said questions should be submitted to the planning and environment sub-committee.

Frustrated residents were backed by Councillor Pauline Coakley Webb who argued the matter referred to traffic issues.

She said: “This forum is for residents to discuss highways and roads so I don’t see why they can’t speak about the matter.”

After Councillor Barry Evangeli told residents to submit a question for the next meeting, one man said: “We already did and you said we couldn’t discuss it.”

Another resident walked out on the meeting, saying: “This is a waste of time.”

Speaking after the forum Fiona Brickwood of Stanford Road, Friern Barnet, said: “There’s too many rules and regulations barring us from talking about what’s important to us – it’s a residents’ forum, it should be for discussion.

“I find it intensely frustrating – We’re being pushed out.”

Ms Brickwood wanted to dicuss the affects the waste plant could have on the environment, house prices, pollution and traffic congestion.