Council to refuse demands about Heygate Estate
Southwark Council is set to refuse to release confidential information about a development deal that saw them reduce the amount of affordable housing.
The borough will appeal the Information Commissioner’s Office decision that it should release the financial viability assessment used by Lend Lease to slash the affordable housing from 35 to 25 per cent in its £1.5 billion regeneration of the Heygate Estate in Elephant and Castle.
Local campaigners have been demanding to see details of the decision since the development agreement for the development of the estate, which once provided 1,200 affordable homes, was signed in 2010.
But Southwark refused the order, warning it could lead to developers refusing to work with councils.
‘The ICO’s decision has huge implications for councils wanting to enter into commercial partnerships with developers across the country,’ said Fiona Colley, cabinet member for regeneration.
‘We could find ourselves sleepwalking into a situation where developers refuse to work with councils for fear their commercially sensitive information will be forced into the public domain.’
She added: ‘There is nothing I would like more than to publish this document and show the world what a fantastic deal we negotiated for the people of Elephant & Castle. However, we entered into those negotations with Lend Lease on a confidential basis, and I am not willing to break that agreement because a handful of people wrongly think the document contains something sinister.’
A tribunal is expected to take place next year.