Pride London’s chair has stepped down following criticism of the organisation’s handling of WorldPride 2012, which has been scaled back at the last minute.

Dr Patrick Williams is standing down with immediate effect and Tony Hughes has taken over days before WorldPride on Saturday.

A notice today said: “Pride London is today announcing that long-standing board member Tony Hughes has taken over as Interim Chair of the charity. The appointment follows the resignation of Dr Patrick Williams but will not affect this weekend’s World Pride celebrations.

“Dr Williams resigned from his position following criticism of the Board’s handing of World Pride 2012. The rest of the Board remains unchanged and committed to delivering an event London can be Proud of. As previously confirmed this will be a scaled-down event from the original plans.”

WorldPride has been reduced to a walking parade, starting at 11am instead of 1pm this Saturday. With just over a week until the event, it was announced that floats and vehicles would not be allowed to take part in the procession.

As well as the earlier start time, the celebrations in Trafalgar Square will end at 6pm and no official Pride events will go ahead in the Soho area.

A last-minute attempt with financial support from Gaydar and Smirnoff, owned by Diageo, to save abandoned elements of the day was made but proved unsuccessful.

Earlier today, Pride London explained the reasons for adopting a ‘Plan B’ for the event and apologised to those affected by the last-minute cuts to the event.

Crowd safety notices have been issued by all agencies saying anyone attending the Pride procession should be at Portman Square at 10am in order to leave at 11am. If the event in Trafalgar Square reaches capacity, access will need to be restricted.

With no outdoor events, the crowd safety notice warns that bars in the Soho area “are expected to be extremely crowded, with limited capacity” and urges visitors to “follow the advice being given to ensure a safe and successful Pride”.