Families concerned about cuts to adult social care packed Lewisham Council's meeting room last week as a top councillor warned three-year cuts of £85m would bring "severe suffering".

With £40m of cuts planned for this year alone as Lewisham loses one-third of its budget thanks to government austerity measures, Councillor Kevin Bonavia warned a mayor and cabinet meeting: "All residents of Lewisham are going to see a difference in the services that are provided and some of the most vulnerable residents are going to feel it."

The councillor - Lewisham's cabinet member for resources - said: "It's not something that, I'm afraid, we can deliver without there being severe suffering for some people."

Nick O'Shea from Lewisham Mencap was applauded by supporters as he addressed councillors on proposals to convert day centres into "community hubs" and reduce the council's door to door service.

Mr O'Shea claimed the proposals "frightened" him, saying: "I can't think of a more expensive way to save £1m a year."

But, launching a three-month consultation into those changes, Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock said: "If we do nothing, the risk is that we, or someone else, would be back here in the future making changes in a much less considered way. That's the reality of the financial pressures that public services are facing."

Elsewhere in the budget, a campaign to keep the borough's baby cafes open was told the council wanted the "fantastic project" to keep running, but they would see a cut in funding.

Cabinet member for young people Councillor Paul Maslin also tried to assure others at the meeting, saying: "We have no plans, I repeat, we have no plans to close any of our children's centres. We plan to reconfigure the service to make it more flexible."

"Cuts," someone yelled out in response.

With an estimated 289 job losses, an end to the council's Meals on Wheels contract, cuts to park wardens and a reduced programme at Catford's Broadway Theatre being proposed, it was a depressing evening at the town hall.

Discussing slicing third sector funding by £2.5m, Sir Steve complained: "I never thought I'd be sitting here doing this having presided over making the budget bigger for years."

At one point an audience member interrupted, politely telling them to scrap all the cuts. "That opportunity comes on May 7," Sir Steve told him.

Lewisham Council will vote on the budget on February 25. Protestors plan to lobby the meeting, calling for cuts to be rejected.