RESIDENTS' groups have slammed the consultation process for the West London Tram branding it as discouraging.

Save Ealing's Streets and other community groups were invited to a meeting to discuss new options and plans for the proposed £425 million tram scheme last week but some came away disappointed with what they were presented with.

Jane Ashley, of Save Ealing's Streets, feels the residents views have been ignored by the scheme's designers and claimed tram bosses had already decided which option they favoured.

She told the Times: "What they have done is narrowed down the options and only take a few forward for this round of consultations.

"Two of the key ones that the residents preferred for Ealing are not going forward. They have presented four options but they have already said which option they want to go for.

"They have already got a pre-consultation design that they want to go with so is this a genuine consultation? Are they going to take any notice of what people are going to say?"

Six local groups are being consulted by West London Tram (WLT) scheme bosses and Transport for London (TfL) in the run up to a major public consultation in June and July where members of the public will get to see detailed information.

However, Bill Hamilton, head of group public affairs for TfL, disagreed with Save Ealing's Streets and confirmed they had not selected a final preferred option.

He said: "What we are doing is taking them through the latest traffic modelling and a whole heap of possible options. These are the ones that are viable from all the ones that we have seen, the others are not.

"We do have a front runner option but this is by no means the final preferred option. We will have that option at the end of April.

"We have looked at every single option and taken them into account. We have also been very upfront and honest. We have been changing plans for the tram since 2000."

TfL and WLT confirmed they need to make a decision over the next few weeks not only on the plans but also whether the project is still viable.